NFL Week 12 – After a few weeks with limited budget options in daily fantasy, Week 12 has delivered plenty and there are lots to be excited about, including several games that look ripe for stacking aggressively.
Lamar Jackson $8000 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
We’re entering last-chance saloon kind of territory for Lamar Jackson in DFS after one 20-point game in his last seven outings. Jacksonville has allowed 20 points or more to opposing quarterbacks in three of their last five games, allowing the eighth-most fantasy points on the season, and their defense ranks 30th in DVOA over the last four weeks. Jackson might have disappeared slightly in fantasy, but he ranks eighth in QBR and should be far too much for this Jaguars defense to handle.
Usage Suggestions: With Lamar’s recent disappointments, it’s unlikely that he’s very highly rostered this week at this price, which makes for a great tournament play. Because of the value elsewhere at quarterback, you may wish to opt for someone else in cash games (double-ups and 50/50s).
Justin Herbert $7000 @ Arizona Cardinals
In the loss to the Chiefs on Sunday night, Justin Herbert looked back to his old self, flinging the ball downfield with ease and completing 90% of passes from a clean pocket, a significant jump from his season average of 71% going into that game. Herbert ranks sixth in effective yards and faces a Cardinals defense that ranks 29th in DVOA over the last four games, when they faced the likes of Andy Dalton, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Geno Smith, each of whom surpassed 20 fantasy points against them, with an average of 274 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Usage Suggestions: With the matchup looking friendly, Herbert could be the most popular quarterback on the slate, and as such is fine for both cash games and tournaments. In tournaments, stacking him with Austin Ekeler will be less common than with the likes of Keenan Allen or Josh Palmer.
Joe Burrow $6700 @ Tennessee Titans
Only Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have had more games with 300-plus passing yards than Joe Burrow, who has four. The Titans passing defense ranks fifth-best in DVOA over the last four weeks but has allowed two top-12 fantasy performances to opponents in that period and has allowed an average of 370 passing yards in that time. With Joe Mixon potentially missing with a concussion, it’s possible the Bengals best route of attack is through the passing game.
Usage Suggestions: Burrow is a fine play for either cash games or tournaments, but I would lean slightly closer to tournaments with this game featuring an over/under of 42.5 points.
Geno Smith $6000 vs. Las Vegas Raiders
After a trip to Germany and a bye week, Geno Smith and the Seahawks return to the main slate and do so with a favorable matchup at home to the Raiders, who rank 31st in pass defense DVOA over the last four weeks and have allowed a top-eight finish to opposing quarterbacks in seven of their last 10 games. Smith ranks sixth in DVOA, has averaged 19.7 fantasy points over his last three games, and should be in for another good day against the Raiders, who allow the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Usage Suggestions: Because of the favorable matchup and Smith’s price, I would be fine playing him in either cash games or tournaments. For tournaments, Smith can be stacked with DK Metcalf and Noah Fant, who both have good matchups.
Mike White $4900 vs. Chicago Bears
On Wednesday, Robert Saleh announced that the Jets would be benching Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White for the time being, and White will get another chance to prove he belongs in this league against a Bears passing defense that ranks 32nd in DVOA over the last four weeks. Since Week 8, the Bears defense allows a league-worst 8.9 yards per passing attempt, has the fewest quarterback sacks (three), and has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Even Wilson might have been able to put up points in this matchup.
Usage Suggestions: Whilst White is cheap enough to appeal for cash games, I believe there are enough savings on this slate to not need to, and I would rather play him in tournaments, stacked with Elijah Moore for 16.8% of your total salary.
Kenneth Walker $6900 vs. Las Vegas Raiders
If Geno Smith does not tempt, you then perhaps his stud rookie running back, Kenneth Walker is more your flavor. Like Geno, Walker has a good matchup with the Raiders defense ranking 26th in rush defense DVOA over the last four weeks and allowing seven touchdowns to opposing running backs in that period. Since Week 8 the Raiders have missed 37 tackles, second worst across the league, and it’s very hard to imagine them managing to contain Walker, who is running excellently this year. Walker averages 20.2 PPR points over his last five games and looks like one of the best plays of the slate.
Usage Suggestions: Walker can be used in both cash games and tournaments. For tournaments, I would avoid correlating him with Josh Jacobs, who faces a Seahawks defense that has allowed just one running back to have more than 60 yards since Week 5.
James Conner $6600 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
When things got out of hand against the 49ers in Mexico City, the Cardinals pulled their starters, but until then, James Conner had 16 touches to Keontay Ingram’s one rushing attempt. Since Conner’s return, he has been the clear RB1 and it seems that the Cardinals are intent on feeding him the ball heavily. The Chargers rushing defense ranks 30th in DVOA over the last four weeks and only the Texans have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Usage Suggestions: Conner is a fine play for tournaments and cash games, but I would prefer to correlate Cardinals pass-catchers with Chargers stacks in tournaments.
Jeff Wilson $5900 vs. Houston Texans
The Texans might just be the worst team in football, and they’re definitely one of the worst teams at stopping the run, ranking 31st in rushing defense DVOA and allowing the most fantasy points to running backs this year. Over the last four games, the Texans have allowed 801 rushing yards, 140 more than any other team. Before Miami went on their bye, Jeff Wilson had out-touched Raheem Mostert 31-21 in the two games since his trade from the Niners and frequently saw the higher-value touches of the pair, scoring 38.5 PPR points.
Usage Suggestions: Wilson is in play for both cash games and tournaments. He will likely be a chalky play, and as such it’s worth considering how you build around him.
Michael Carter $5400 vs. Chicago Bears
Since James Robinson was acquired by the Jets, Michael Carter has had to share the workload but hasn’t let it stop him from being the better runner of the pair, averaging 4.1 yards per carry to Robinson’s 2.8. The Bears have the eighth-worst rush defense in DVOA over the last four weeks and have allowed six top-10 running back performances along with 14 touchdowns to the position. With the Jets starting Mike White at quarterback, it’s likely that Carter sees an uptick in targets, with him averaging 7.8 targets (and 19.2 PPR points) per game with White.
Usage Suggestions: It’s a little hard to trust this Jets offense, and as such, I would reserve this play for tournaments. If Justin Fields plays, Carter can be correlated with him, but otherwise, the Bears pass-catchers have a tough matchup, and I’d be fine using Carter on his own.
Antonio Gibson $5400 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Many expected Antonio Gibson to see a reduced role with Brian Robinson in the mix this year, but since Robinson took the field in Week 5 Gibson has been the better back, rushing for 4.0 yards per carry to Robinson’s 3.4 and turning his touches into enough production to be the RB16 in that span compared to Robinson’s RB37 performance. The Falcons have allowed eight rushing touchdowns in the last four games along with seven top-12 fantasy performances to running backs this season, and Antonio Gibson’s usage in the passing game prevents him from being scripted out of the game more than Brian Robinson.
Usage Suggestions: Gibson’s floor doesn’t feel safe enough for cash games, but he’s a fine play for tournaments and can be paired with Drake London.
Rachaad White $5100 @ Cleveland Browns
Before the Buccaneers had their bye week, there was an increased effort to get Rachaad White more involved from the start of the game against the Seahawks, and then Leonard Fournette left with a hip injury, giving White all the opportunity he needed to rush for 100 yards for the first time in his NFL career. Tampa beat reporters expect White to get the start this weekend, and it’s a favorable matchup with the Browns ranking 31st in rushing defense over the last four weeks and allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs in that period. Cleveland has also allowed six running backs to have four or more receptions in a single game this year, which is an area the Bucs have utilized White in.
Usage Suggestions: Unless Fournette is ruled out of this game, then White is a better play for tournaments than cash games, where we want safe floor plays.
Latavius Murray $5000 @ Carolina Panthers
On Monday the Broncos cut Melvin Gordon after he fumbled the ball for the fifth time this season, and with Chase Edmonds now on IR, this backfield belongs firmly to Latavius Murray until Mike Boone can return from injury. Murray has been a steady but unimpressive runner, putting up three double-digit performances in his last four games, which have all involved rushing touchdowns. Carolina has allowed 5.0 yards per carry over the previous four games, which ranks sixth-worst across the league. This is an ugly-looking game with bad teams, but if you’re looking for salary relief and opportunity, Murray has both.
Usage Suggestions: Strictly for tournaments only with the Broncos so wildly inconsistent.
Cam Akers $4900 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Rams’ weird relationship with running backs moved another step forward this week as they cut Darrell Henderson, turning over the primary responsibilities to Cam Akers, whom they were actively trying to trade a few weeks ago. Akers has been running better in recent weeks than he was to start the year improving in both yards before and after contact despite the Rams’ offensive woes. The Chiefs rank 28th in run defense DVOA over the last four weeks, and with the Rams’ passing game struggling, it’s possible Akers sees enough volume to pay off, particularly with Matthew Stafford looking unlikely to play this week.
Usage Suggestions: It’s not an easy-to-stomach play, but the opportunity and matchup are enough to consider Akers for tournament games, where he can be correlated with Chiefs pass-catchers.
Tee Higgins $6900 vs. Tennessee Titans
When Ja’Marr Chase was lost to a hip injury, it felt like we might get a few weeks of truly elite work from Tee Higgins, but with Joe Mixon going nuclear against the Panthers and Samaje Perine having himself a day against the Steelers, it hasn’t left many touchdowns to go around. Higgins did however have a great day against the Steelers, setting a season-high in targets (13) and receiving yards (148), and now faces a Titans side that has allowed three wide receivers to score more than 18 points in their last three games. Higgins, who ranks sixth in DYAR, should be in for a good day, and I like his chances better than Perine’s at a fraction of the ownership.
Usage Suggestions: If Chase should miss this game, then Higgins is in play for tournaments and cash games. Otherwise he’s best kept for tournaments.
Keenan Allen $6100 & Josh Palmer $5400 @ Arizona Cardinals
The Chargers looked back to their old selves on Sunday night with Justin Herbert slinging the ball and Keenan Allen looking fully recovered from the hamstring issues that have hampered his season to date. Both Allen and Palmer are priced at a level where they can be considered for a matchup against a Cardinals defense that has allowed seven 15-plus-point performances in 11 games and has given up the second-most passing touchdowns (21). Palmer has been a top-10 receiver in two of his last three games, and Allen turned eight targets into 94 yards on Sunday night.
Usage Suggestions: Both players are fine for cash or tournament selections, and the Chargers mega-stack with Justin Herbert is very affordable and has a high ceiling.
Chris Godwin $6000 @ Cleveland Browns
Unusually for Chris Godwin, he has yet to eclipse 100 receiving yards in a game this season and has just one touchdown through eight games. Thankfully for Godwin, he has a prime matchup against the Browns, who rank 24th against WR2s and have allowed big days to the likes of Tyquan Thornton and Trent Sherfield, amongst others. The Bucs passing offense started the season in poor form but ranks fifth best in DVOA over the last four weeks and should be too much for the Browns.
Usage Suggestions: Godwin sees enough volume to have the kind of floor we like in cash games, and he is a fine play for tournaments too.
Terry McLaurin $5800 vs. Atlanta Falcons
With Taylor Heinicke named the starter for the significant future, Terry McLaurin will continue to have a higher floor than in games with Carson Wentz, who threw his way 5.6 times per game, compared to 8.1 with Heinicke. McLaurin has scored more than 16.5 PPR points in three of his last five games and faces a passing defense that ranks 25th in DVOA over the last four weeks. The Falcons have allowed six receivers to exceed 100 yards this season, and no team has given up more fantasy points to opposing receivers.
Usage Suggestions: McLaurin is in play for both cash games and tournaments. I like the idea of correlating both McLaurin and Drake London in tournament teams.
JuJu Smith-Schuster $5700 vs. Los Angeles Rams
On Wednesday, JuJu Smith-Schuster returned to practice after missing Week 11 with a concussion, and it appears he’ll be ready to play in Week 12. Before missing Week 11, Smith-Schuster had established himself as the go-to option when Patrick Mahomes wasn’t targeting Travis Kelce, averaging 22.2 PPR points over his last three games and ranking 12th in catch rate amongst receivers. The Rams rank 29th against WR1s and are likely going to struggle against a Chiefs passing offense that ranks third over the last four games.
Usage Suggestions: With eight or more targets in five of his last six games, Smith-Schuster sees enough volume to be relied upon for cash games and can also be used in Chiefs stacks with Patrick Mahomes.
Marquise Brown $5300 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The Cardinals have struggled to field a full receiver room all season with suspensions and injuries getting in the way, and whilst Rondale Moore suffered a groin injury on Monday night, it sounds possible that Marquise Brown returns this week from a foot injury that has kept him out since Week 6. Brown might struggle to command the 26% target share he enjoyed without DeAndre Hopkins on the field, but he will benefit from slightly less defensive attention and faces a Chargers defense that allows a league-leading 10.3 air yards per target.
Usage Suggestions: When a player returns from an injury like this, there is always an element of risk involved, particularly with a poorly coached team like the Cardinals, so it’s best to reserve this play for tournaments, where Brown makes for an inexpensive runback to Chargers stacks.
Drake London $4900 @ Washington Commanders
Kyle Pitts was placed on IR this week, ending his disappointing sophomore campaign, and whilst that’s terrible to see, it does open up the chance that perhaps Drake London might see slightly more volume going forward. The Commanders have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, including seven games over 17 PPR points. The Commanders are better at stopping the run than the pass, and if the Falcons are forced to throw, London figures to be involved, having seen 28 targets in his last five games.
Usage Suggestion: London is a better play in tournaments, where we’re chasing his ceiling, than in cash, where he has a shaky floor.
Elijah Moore $3500 vs. Chicago Bears
It has been a bleak few weeks for Elijah Moore, and it’s hard to imagine he didn’t feel happy when the news broke that Zach Wilson was being benched in favor of Mike White for this week’s game against the Bears. In the four games Moore has played with White, he saw his average PPR points per game jump from 7.2 to 16.0, with White consistently able to make more of the simple throws than Wilson, who managed just four passing touchdowns in his seven starts this year. The Bears passing defense ranks dead last in DVOA over the last four weeks and has allowed five top-12 performances from wide receivers this year.
Usage Suggestions: At this price Elijah Moore might run as high as 30% or 40% rostership in tournaments, so we need to be mindful of how we build around him. In cash games that goes out the window, though, and we can embrace the chalk. Garrett Wilson ($4300) is also very much in play, and whilst we haven’t seen him play with White before, there’s no reason to think Wilson’s game won’t translate too.
Mark Andrews $6500 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars defense ranks dead last against tight ends in DVOA and struggled like most teams do to contain Travis Kelce in Week 10 as he strolled to 20.1 PPR points. Mark Andrews had a relatively quiet day on his return against the Carolina Panthers, who sent considerable coverage his way, but he still managed to be the TE7 on the week. Andrews is occasionally prone to disappearing when the Ravens offense zags a different way, but he averages 9.2 targets per game when he has been healthy this season and has an elite floor.
Usage Suggestions: Andrews is in play for both cash games and tournaments and is an obvious stacking partner with Lamar Jackson. If you take this route, look to get contrarian elsewhere.
David Njoku $3600 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After missing two games with an ankle injury, David Njoku had a quiet return against the Bills, with his second-fewest targets (three) and receiving yards (17) of the season. The Bills excel at defending tight ends, ranking third, whereas the Buccaneers rank 18th and have allowed seven top-18 performances this season.
Usage Suggestions: Njoku is a fine play in cash games if you’re looking to punt the position, or can be correlated with Bucs pass-catchers in tournament lineups.
Foster Moreau $3400 @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, with eight touchdowns given up and six tight ends managing five or more catches. In the five games in which Moreau has played over 60% of snaps, he has averaged 5.2 targets, and whilst he hasn’t turned in many good fantasy performances, the opportunity and matchup are there.
Usage Suggestions: I prefer Njoku in cash games, as we have seen a bigger sample of him performing at a consistent level. Instead I prefer using Moreau in tournaments and he can be correlated with Kenneth Walker.
Trey McBride $3100 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Many rookie tight ends don’t come in and contribute massively in their first year, and that was certainly the way things were playing out for Trey McBride before Zach Ertz got injured, but now he’s in a near-every-down role and his fortunes should improve if Kyler Murray is back under center this weekend. The Chargers rank 24th in DVOA against tight ends and have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position this season, including five games where they allowed over 50 receiving yards.
Usage Suggestions: McBride is best suited to tournament lineups and as part of Cardinals and Chargers game stacks.