DraftKings Plays - Week 12
The players in the cash games lineup are chosen primarily with strong salary value, significant projected touch volume, and favorable matchups that occur in games with a high Vegas over/under. While not every selection will meet each threshold, the quest for a high statistical floor will be a common theme.
Week 12 Cash Games Lineup
QB: Colin Kaepernick ($6,500) vs Washington (44)
Over the last two seasons, Kaepernick averages 5.52 more points against teams with top-half run defenses and bottom-half pass defenses (h/t RotoViz). Washington’s 31st-graded pass coverage (-41.8) allows the second-most fantasy points to passers, giving Kaepernick a relatively high floor when combined with likely positive regression from his rushing output (eight Week 11 attempts; six-week high). As the 15th-most expensive passer in a tough week for quarterbacks, he’s the choice if you’re not paying up to be Lucky.
RB: DeMarco Murray ($8,500) at New York Giants (47.5)
After a week to recharge, Murray will feast on a run defense that’s been circling the drain ever since linebacker Jon Beason was lost. Beason’s last game was against Dallas, and Murray rang up 128 yards (and a score) on 28 carries. Since then New York’s run defense grade has plunged to 25th (-19.1), and they’re allowing the third-most fantasy points to running backs. The Cowboys will want to get back to basics after their bye, and we’ll do the same this week by riding the third-most expensive running back.
RB: LeSean McCoy ($6,200) vs Tennessee Titans (48.5)
We’re going to go back to the well, although if you understandably want off this train, pivot to Rashad Jennings and save $1,100. McCoy is tied for the third-most carries since September and he’s facing a run defense with a grade of 9.5 less than the 31st-ranked unit. As an 11-point home favorite, behind the league’s best run blocking (+44.8), against a creampuff on a short week off a gashing by the Steelers (10th-best run blocking; +6.0), McCoy is a solid investment as the ninth-most expensive running back.
WR: A.J. Green ($7,300) at Houston Texans (43.5)
A $1,300 price jump isn’t ideal, but Green was criminally underpriced last week. He paid off big in Week 11 and is poised to do the same, whether or not you put much stock into his significant production splits that favor road games. The Texans allow the most points to fantasy wideouts and the fifth-most snaps to opponents. After surrendering 4.79 yards per carry in their first five games, Houston’s allowing 3.76 over the last five – and that includes a 35-carry, 135-yard game against the Eagles. Green will be a busy man.
WR: Sammy Watkins (5,600) vs New York Jets in Detroit (41.5)
With news that this game will be played in a climate-controlled dome instead of on the Planet Hoth, Watkins immediately becomes viable. A duplication of his 157-yard, one-touchdown (should’ve been two) dismantling of the Jets’ pathetic pass defense a month ago isn’t out of the question. He’s been dealing with a groin injury since then, but has had an extra-long layoff since last Thursday. The Bills won’t find success on the ground against the NFL’s best run defense (+61.1), ensuring they take to the air.
WR: Percy Harvin ($4,700) vs Buffalo Bills in Detroit (41.5)
Harvin’s averaged 3.7 carries and 8.7 targets per game since becoming a Jet. His price has fallen $600 from when he last played in Week 10, to 39th-most expensive at his position. Even though his point production was disappointing that week, he still almost doubled his salary. Since joining the Jets the uber-involved Harvin has been lining up all over, so he’ll see a good cross-section of the Bills’ middling pass coverage (-3.2; 16th) – including some routes against slot cornerback Nickell Robey (-5.9 coverage grade; 89th).
TE: Martellus Bennett (4,000) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (46)
With the two big-name tight ends prohibitively priced, we’re going back to Bennett in a solid matchup – even if the Bucs haven’t given up a ton of points to the position. A schedule full of tight end black holes, including two games with Atlanta, has kept the points-against average down. However in a potentially high-wind environment, with Tampa’s Cover 2 scheme drawn to Chicago’s twin-tower receivers, the Unicorn will have open fields upon which to frolic and lay out a security blanket for Jay Cutler.
FLEX: Isaiah Crowell ($3,800) at Atlanta Falcons (47)
Like in recent weeks with Jeremy Hill, Crowell’s price and opportunity will make him highly owned. That’s fine in a cash lineup since he allows us to hold serve, stock up elsewhere, and gain sneaky exposure to Josh Gordon’s return. The matchup with the Falcons is ripe, as they allow second-most points to running backs. During the five weeks Crowell’s gotten double-digit carries, he’s the RB10 in fantasy. Of course knowing the Browns, on Sunday morning Tony Grossi might Tweet that Eric Metcalf is starting – so stay frosty.
DEF: Philadelphia Eagles ($3,400) vs Tennessee Titans (48.5)
I almost picked the Packers, who had 35 pressures, six sacks, and a defensive score the last time they faced the Vikings. Yet the Eagles are at home and favored by more points. Plus their run defense is better. Tennessee will need to throw right away, and it’ll be often since Philly is like catnip for opponents’ snap counts (“snapnip”?). Zach Mettenberger will make mistakes when pressured by the Eagles’ fifth-ranked pass rush. Even if he connects on a couple against suspect perimeter cornerbacks, the bad will outweigh the good.
Total Salary: $50,000
It might seem crazy (okay, it’s crazy), but if you’re searching for a quarterback that nobody’s playing this week, look no further than the passer who’s tied for sixth-best in fantasy points per dropback – Philip Rivers. There’s essentially no chance that the Chargers will be able to run, considering their league-worst run blocking (-46.1) and an opponent that’s allowed 2.6 yards per carry over their last three games.
However, the Rams are allowing 12.2 more snaps per game than before their early-season bye, and have a pass coverage unit that still only ranks 23rd-best. Janoris Jenkins is the 107th-graded cover cornerback in the last four weeks he’s played, and will give Malcom Floyd opportunities for big plays in their likely matchup. Rivers is getting the ball out in exactly the same amount of time (2.64 seconds) as he was before things started falling apart a month ago, and will need to chuck it around the yard.
Rashad Jennings is very appealing as a highly-involved back with a plus matchup against Dallas’ well-hidden run defense. Ultimately the potential for that leaky defense to remain hidden is what kept him out of the cash lineup, especially considering a bullish outlook on Murray. The last time the Giants faced the Cowboys, they only ran 59 plays – and the prospect of a similar result offers an uncomfortably low floor. Yet a huge game from Jennings is both plausible and New York’s best shot – making him nice GPP value at $5,100.
The Packers have the 26th-graded run defense and the Vikings have the sixth-best rushing attack. Obviously it won’t be as simple as that for Jerick McKinnon, but as the 27th-priciest running back ($4,500), he’s got a lot of ways to triple his salary. Minnesota will run early and often for as long as they stay in the game, but eventually will need to throw. With short-yardage and goal-line back Matt Asiata doubtful to suit up, that leaves McKinnon with a potentially huge workload. The recently-signed Ben Tate, who may see goal-line work, won’t be tasked with pass-blocking for a rookie quarterback.
Some juicy matchups for wideouts include:
Jeremy Maclin vs Jason McCourty – The Titans used McCourty to shadow Antonio Brown quite a bit in Week 11, and he was predictably roasted – allowing eight catches on nine targets for 89-yards and a score. PFF’s 92nd-graded cover corner since September, McCourty (and Blidi Wreh-Wilson) are the perfect foils for Maclin – who caught nine of 11 targets against far better coverage in Green Bay.
Cecil Shorts vs Greg Toler – Toler may not be available (concussion protocol), but even if he isn’t, Shorts will see a ton of targets against Indianapolis’ top-heavy secondary. Vontae Davis (+10.7 coverage grade) sticks to the offense’s right side, and Shorts runs more than half of his routes on the left. He’s just the 24th-priciest wideout and since short ain’t sexy, his usage level should be suppressed in tourneys.
Marques Colston vs Lardarius Webb – Webb (or safety Matt Elam) have been Baltimore’s primary slot cover guys and neither has covered himself in glory. Webb ranks as the 103rd-“best” cover corner since September. Both are 5-foot-10 and will be dwarfed by the 6-foot-5, 231-pound Colston. Without Brandin Cooks, Colston and Kenny Stills will see more work – with Stills being far trendier this week.
Last Week’s Lineup
Aaron Rodgers (31.84) – Tough to complain, but Green Bay let off the gas after actually running more first-half no-huddle plays that the Eagles.
Mark Ingram (16.70) – The RB8 in PPR leagues for the week, his workload wasn’t an issue (23 carries; 7 catches) during a surprisingly ineffective performance.
Alfred Morris (15.20) – Barely qualifying as an RB1 for the week with the 11th-most PPR points, he still nearly tripled his salary.
A.J. Green (27.70) – A fifth-best wideout finish for the 18th-most expensive price is a beautiful thing.
Keenan Allen (14.30) – He hauled in eight (6th-most) of 11 targets (10th-most), but a 5.5 aDOT shows he was running Welker/Wright-level routes. He still more than tripled his salary, but…
Pierre Garcon (1.60) – This was just stupid.
Jimmy Graham (5.90) – Even during a horrific week for fantasy tight ends, given the opportunity cost to roster him, this one hurt.
Jeremy Hill (20.50) – He was a widely-owned obvious play, but a strong one nonetheless. DFS style points can be redeemed for toilet paper.
Denver Broncos (3.00) – I don’t even want to talk about it.
Total Points Scored – 136.74
Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy and was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman