Week 12! There is a plethora of uncertainty with injuries this week, but plenty of options to love before even factoring that in. It also sets up as a week where stacking the right game is more important than normal.
If you are new to this article, this will be a source for you to get all the necessary information that you might not recognize quickly looking through the slate early in the week. The goal of this first look is to help leave no stone unturned before the week kicks off. Being able to project for different potential outcomes of players and games is a crucial trait to have as a DFS player. Here is my first look and deep dive on the Week 12 slate:
Game Script Targets
Chargers +5.0 (@ BUF)
TE Hunter Henry (LAC, @ BUF)
WR Keenan Allen (LAC, @ BUF)
QB Justin Herbert (LAC, @ BUF)
The Chargers unleashed Justin Herbert last week. A 71% pass rate in neutral game script made a Herbert/Keenan stack one of the best on the slate. In a positive game script against the Bills, there is no reason to change that formula. Keenan has been insanely active in the passing game basically every week. He leads the NFL in targets/game (11.2) and is second in the NFL in target share (30%).
Keenan’s production has led to Herbert averaging 25.3 FPPG in 8 starts. He has 4 Tier 1 QB weekly finishes in those 8 starts. He has shown a very high ceiling with his rushing ability and in a more pass-heavy game script can hit it here.
Hunter Henry can be added in a Chargers stack. The Bills allow the 2nd most FPPG to TEs (15.9). Also the 2nd most schedule adjusted FPPG to TEs. Henry has had consistently good usage ranking Top 5 in both routes run and targets at TE this season.
Buccaneers +3.5 (vs. KC)
WR Mike Evans (TB, vs. KC)
WR Antonio Brown (TB, vs. KC)
The Buccaneers offense could not have looked much uglier against the Rams. The good news is that the Chiefs do not pose the same threat as the Rams do defensively. It should be a much easier game for them to get going offensively. One of the causes of the struggles can be attributed to pass protection and guard Ali Marpet would help a lot to have back. He has a chance of returning this week with three straight full practices (concussion protocol).
The game environment projects as the most fantasy friendly on the slate. The 56 point total is highest O/U on the slate and both are Top 10 in neutral game script pace. The Bucs also have the 2nd highest pass rate in neutral game script.
For the Bucs offense I am targeting Mike Evans and Antonio Brown. Evans always has massive upside with his countless chances of scoring TDs. He leads the NFL in red-zone targets with 30. Antonio Brown has been heavily targeted on his routes so far. He has run 60 routes and has seen 21 targets. XFP suggests that Evans and Brown are due for positive regression. Both have fallen short of their XFP lately ranking Top 10 in points below expectation at WR over the last two games.
Giants -6 (@ CIN)
RB Wayne Gallman (NYG, @ CIN)
Wayne Gallman has looked rejuvenated since given the opportunity to start for the Giants. In his four starts he has 15.5 touches/game. He has 50+ total yards and a TD in each of those starts. The biggest factor leading to his fantasy production has been the carries in the red zone. Over the four games, he has 9 red zone carries including 6 inside the 5-yard line. He has not had the huge fantasy game but the 4 games have all come in tough spots (PHI x2, TB, WSH). All three defenses are Top 10 in limiting fantasy production to RBs. In an easier spot against the Bengals expect better efficiency. Our DFS projections project him as the second-best FPTS/$ value on DK this week.
TE Travis Kelce (KC, @ TB)
Against a zone heavy Buccaneers defense, Travis Kelce is going to have another monster game. Per SIS, the Bucs play 71.3% zone coverage which ranks among the highest rate in the NFL. Kelce has made hay with finding the soft spot of a zone and getting chunk gains. On the flip side, some of his worst performances this year have come against man heavy teams (NE/BAL/DEN).
In his last 3 games, he has 34 targets (11.3 avg) and 356 air yards (118.7 avg). On a per-game basis, that puts him in the elite fantasy WR conversation. Davante Adams has 11.1 targets/game (2nd most) and DK Metcalf who leads the NFL in air yards has 116 air yards/game.
RB Nick Chubb (CLE, @ JAX)
In a positive game script (7-point favorites), the Browns should have plenty of opportunities to get Nick Chubb going. The Jaguars offense will have their share of struggles without both DJ Chark and Chris Conley due to injuries. If they are not able to get any drives going, the Browns could have an uptick in plays. Chubb can do a lot of damage on the ground as the Jaguars allow the 4th most rushing only FPPG to RBs. Outside of the game Chubb left early due to injury, he has had at least 19 carries in each positive game script.
WR Jakobi Meyers (NE, vs. ARI)
Disappointing last game for Jakobi Meyers, but that was somewhat forced by how the Texans defended him. Meyers after the game said he saw more safety help against Houston which made Cam Newton look the way of other players (Meyers quote).
The Cardinals play at the fastest neutral game script pace in the NFL so the Patriots passing offense will get more chances. It is a spot that Meyers can bounce back. Prior to last week’s down game, he had a 40% target share in 3 straight weeks. Cardinals allow 3rd most FPPG to slot WRs and Meyers has 48.4% of his snaps in the slot so can expose that weakness this week.
RB Alvin Kamara (NO, @ DEN)
Alvin Kamara had a catch in every game of his career. With Taysom Hill starting at QB, it was his first game without a catch and only saw one target. In a negative game script (6-point favorites), Kamara is unlikely to see his typical receiving game work again. The upside is severely handicapped with that in mind.
RB Jonathan Taylor (IND, vs. TEN)
Taylor is coming off one of his best usage games in a while. However, we have seen with the Colts RB usage all year that they will ride the hot hand. It is implied as a positive game script (3-point favorites), but if the Colts get down here it would be a scary proportion for Taylor’s game script dependent usage. Prior to last week, Taylor had three straight games with under a 40% snap share.
WR Robert Woods (LAR, vs. SF)
Robert Woods has been one of the biggest overperformers this year. He has the 6th most WR fantasy points above his XFP. Richard Sherman has a chance to return this week which would be bad news for Woods. He was one of the worst matchups for WRs allowing 0.44 yards/snap in 2019. That was the lowest amount among CBs with 50%+ of the coverage snaps. The Rams offense had their worst passing game against the 49ers earlier this year without Sherman. Woods was only able to go for 29 yards on 10 targets. Regression will catch up to Woods this week.
Pace of Play
Patriots (vs. ARI) - Cardinals fastest neutral game script pace
Raiders (@ ATL) - Raiders 3rd slowest neutral game pace -> Falcons 15th fastest
Saints (@ DEN) - Saints slowest neutral game pace -> Broncos 6th fastest
Broncos (vs. NO) - Saints slowest neutral pace
Cardinals (@ NE) - Cardinals fastest neutral pace -> Patriots 13th slowest
Projected Fast Pace Game:
Buccaneers vs Chiefs - Both teams Top 10 in neutral game script pace