Another week of NFL football is in the books, which means that more NFL football is right around the corner. With both FanDuel and DraftKings having released their Week 13 DFS pricing, it’s time to look ahead to next Sunday’s DFS slate.
Here are the most glaring values I’ve found after analyzing pricing.
Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders (VS. WAS)
DraftKings: $6,000 (QB11) | FanDuel: (QB9)
Carr undoubtedly draws the best matchup of any Week 13 QB, facing a Washington defense that’s allowed both the most raw FPG to opposing QBs (24.7), and the most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing QBs (+4.8). If we add our schedule-adjustment to Carr’s season-long FPG of 18.1, then we get 22.1 fantasy points, which, if extrapolated out for the full season, would rank 5th among slate-eligible QBs. And this is a strong scoring environment, with a 49.5 total that represents the 3rd-highest on the slate. So anyway we choose to look at this, it’s an outstanding game environment, and likely the best one Carr has seen all season.
Carr is simply priced too low given the circumstances, and I’d expect him to be one of the chalkiest QB options in Week 13. Granted, if Darren Waller sits out this week, Carr’s viability in DFS is sure to take a hit.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts (AT HOU)
DraftKings: $9,200 (RB1) | FanDuel: $10,500 (RB1)
Taylor has done nothing but dominate as of late, averaging 32.9 FPG over the last four weeks. It’s hard to see that changing in Week 13 as he faces a Texans defense that ranks dead last in YPC allowed to opposing RBs (4.81) and 4th-worst in rushing FPG allowed to opposing RBs (17.5). And that’s after averaging 5.6 YPC in his last three games against run defenses that all ranked in the top-12 toughest by YPC allowed to opposing RBs.
Taylor should be mega chalk this week in a slate without Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, as the Colts are likely to take a run-heavy approach given they are favored by 8.5-points (the 3rd biggest spread on the slate). Thus far in his career, Taylor has averaged a completely ridiculous 30.2 DraftKings FPG and 26.7 FanDuel FPG when the Colts are favored by 8.0-points or more (5 instances).
30.2 DK FPG is 35% more than the RB2 on DraftKings (Austin Ekeler) is averaging this season, and 45% more than the RB2 (Joe Mixon) on FanDuel. Given that Taylor is only 11% more expensive than the RB2 on DK, and 12% more expensive than the RB2 on FD, it wouldn’t be hard to argue he’s an outstanding value relative to the other high-priced RBs on the Week 13 main slate.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers (AT SEA)
DraftKings: $6,000 (RB14)
#49ers Week 12 RB opportunities (carries + targets):— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) November 29, 2021
Elijah Mitchell - 33 👀
Jeff Wilson - 3
On Sunday, Elijah Mitchell earned a 70% snap share and handled 92% of backfield opportunities, scoring a season-high 27.8 fantasy points. Over the full season, a 70% snap share would rank 4th among all RBs, and 92% of backfield opportunities would lead all RBs, and is actually 5% more than the No. 2 player, Najee Harris. While I’m not sure Mitchell will continue to dominate backfield usage to this extent, he’s an RB1 if stays remotely close to those numbers going forward. So, at least on DraftKings where he’s the RB14 (by salary), he’s obviously underpriced, especially once we account for the outstanding matchup. Seattle has given up the 2nd-most schedule-adjusted FPG (+7.0) to opposing RBs this season and has given up the most receiving FPG to opposing RBs this season (15.5) - an important note given Mitchell recorded 86% of RB targets (and a season-high 6 targets) in Week 12.
Mitchell also may be in line for more rushing work than usual this week, with Deebo Samuel, who has averaged 6.3 rushing attempts per game over the last 3 weeks, likely out for the next 1-2 games. Although, the one knock on Mitchell this season has been his consistency. He has averaged 20.2 FPG in his best four games, 8.2 FPG in his worst three games, and 12.9 in his one other game. So maybe he’s not as great of a play in cash games compared to tournaments. Regardless, it’s tough to look at him as anything other than one of the top RB values this week, at least on DraftKings where he’s the RB14 (by salary).
James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals (AT CHI)
DraftKings: $5,900 (RB15) | FanDuel: $7,300 (RB11)
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Monday that he’s “hopeful” that Kyler Murray (ankle) will return to the field in Week 13, dependent on how he looks in practice. Kyler, meanwhile, tweeted a gif on Sunday that suggested to many (myself included), that he’s likely healthy again and ready to play in Week 13. While we won’t know Kyler’s status until later in the week, James Conner shapes up as an incredible play (especially on DraftKings) should Kyler suit up in Week 13.
Conner has handled at least 77% of RB snaps in every game sans Chase Edmonds this season, and over that three week stretch Conner has earned 74% of backfield opportunities. His results over that stretch? 25.5 FPG. And that was without Murray under center, who we know boosts the overall efficiency of the backfield. While Murray’s return may harm Conner’s TD expectation, it’s worth noting Kyler may still be dealing with the lingering effects of his ankle injury and was only averaging 6.1 rush attempts and 0.4 goalline carries per game this season prior to getting hurt - a 27% and 20% dropoff from his 2020 averages. And given this offense averaged 30.8 PPG with Kyler versus 21.3 without him, I’d say his return is massively beneficial for Conner even once we account for the probability of vultured TDs.
The matchup with Chicago is largely a neutral one, as the Bears have allowed the 15th-most FPG to opposing RBs this season (22.9), granted they’ve been a slightly more favorable matchup as of late, allowing the 10th-most schedule-adjusted FPG over the last 5 weeks (+3.5). With Arizona as a 7.0-point favorite, the positive gamescript, usage, and matchup that Conner should see in Week 13 make him one of the most obvious RB values of the week should Kyler return.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins (VS. NYG)
DraftKings: $5,800 (RB16) | FanDuel: $6,400 (RB21)
Over the last four weeks, Gaskin is averaging 21.3 touches per game, 46.5 snaps per game, and 14.8 FPG. Over the full season, those numbers rank 5th (tie), 8th, and 20th among RBs.
So what’s going on here? How is Gaskin putting up low-end RB2 numbers behind mid-range RB1 volume? Well, Miami is PFF’s 3rd-worst graded run blocking offensive line (55.1 run blocking grade) and Gaskin hasn’t been able to overcome that, or maybe he’s just bad, as he’s averaging a putrid 3.5 YPC this season. Still, with this level of volume, Gaskin certainly makes for an intriguing tournament play if the matchup is right. And for Week 13, I think the matchup is close to ideal.
The New York Giants are giving up 4.6 YPC (6th-worst), rank 7th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (+3.0), and are PFF’s 3rd-worst graded run defense unit (40.3 run defense grade). If there was a spot for Gaskin to overcome his porous offensive line, it would be against the Giants. There’s still significant risk with this play, whether it be with Gaskin’s own inefficiency, the recent signing of Phillip Lindsay (who recorded 15 snaps and 12 rushes in his first game in Miami), or the Dolphins seemingly random RB usage at various points this season. But, volume is king. And with Gaskin seeing outstanding volume, I’m willing to take the plunge in GPPs (especially on FanDuel) given the strong matchup.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (AT PIT)
DraftKings: $6,500 (WR12) | FanDuel: $7,100 (WR13)
Brown has seen 11.8 targets per game over the last four weeks, which would rank 1st among all players if extrapolated out for the full season. Granted, that’s only translated to 15.6 FPG (approximately -10.0 PAR), but Lamar Jackson has a brutal 49.3 PFF passing grade and a 72.0 passer rating in that stretch, so Brown can't be considered completely at fault for his inefficiency. With how streaky Lamar has been as a passer throughout his young career, better days are almost surely on the horizon for Brown, assuming he maintains this league-leading volume.
And at least right now, the Steelers’ defense is looking like an outstanding ‘get right’ spot for both Jackson and Brown. Pittsburgh ranks 7th-worst in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA (16.6%), and 5th-worst in PFF coverage grades (44.5). From a fantasy perspective, they rank 3rd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+4.3). Should Brown see similar volume to his last 4 games (which I think is likely given the 3.5-point spread), then we are looking at around 19.9 FPG, using our schedule adjustment. And that’s if he continues his ridiculous inefficiency. Should Brown’s efficiency return to league-average this week, then he’s a top-5 WR play (regardless of salary) on the slate. And Joe Haden (foot) is questionable for this game, further solidifying the matchup for Brown, should he sit out.
I’m expecting relatively high ownership for Brown, but unless he’s the highest-owned WR by a significant margin, I can only see myself being massively overweight on Hollywood compared to the field.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers (AT SEA)
DraftKings: $5,600 (WR23)
#49ers coach Kyle Shanahan with following injury updates:— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) November 29, 2021
WR Deebo Samuel (groin) -- It's a strain. Expected to miss 1-2 weeks.
LB Fred Warner (hamstring) -- Also a strain. He'll be out this week, hope to return for Cincinnati.
Fire up Brandon Aiyuk this week if Deebo Samuel is out. While much of what Samuel does, at least from a rushing perspective, is unrealistic to prescribe to Aiyuk, Samuel does leave behind 8.4 targets per game (29% target share), and some, if not all of that volume is likely headed Aiyuk’s way given the 49ers remaining WRs are Mohamed Sanu, Jaun Jennings, and Trent Sherfield.
Since the 49ers Week 6 bye, Aiyuk has averaged 6.7 targets per game. If we give him even just 40% of Deebo’s 8.4 targets per game, then we are looking at approximately 10.1 targets per game - a mark that would rank 7th among all WRs this season. Could that be a generous estimate? Sure. But it’s tough to argue against Aiyuk being, at the very least, a high-end WR2 without Samuel. We saw evidence of that in 2020, when Aiyuk averaged 9.8 targets per game and 17.3 FPG in the four games he played without Samuel in the 2nd half of the season.
Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (AT LAR)
DraftKings: $4,400 (WR45) | FanDuel: $5,400 (WR45)
Laviska Shenault in first game without Jamal Agnew:— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 29, 2021
* 53-of-73 snaps
* 41 slot, 10 wide, 2 backfield
* 36 routes on 45 TLaw dropbacks
* 9 targets for a 21.4% share
Shenault had one of his best games of the year on Sunday, at least from a usage and volume perspective. While it translated to just 8.3 fantasy points, it did show that Shenault is the Jaguars primary slot man with Jamal Agnew out. Agnew averaged 12.0 DraftKings FPG during his time as the starter, and if all Shenault does is pick up where Agnew left off, then he’s a 2.72X value on DK in Week 13. But Dan Arnold, who averaged 5.2 targets per game and ran 62% of his routes from the slot, was also just placed on IR. When combined with Agnew, nearly 55% of the Jaguars slot targets from Weeks 6 through 11 are on IR. That should mean somewhere in the realm of WR3 levels of volume for Shenault, who’s run 55% of his routes from the slot this season.
While I’m quite bullish on Shenault for the remainder of the season, his Week 13 matchup is on the tougher end, as the Rams have allowed just 10.3 FPG to opposing slots this season (6th-toughest). That may take Shenault out of cash game consideration, but the Jags have basically no slot receivers left and I’m more than happy to bet on Shenualt being underpriced, despite the tough matchup, as he’s a strong talent after the catch and is on a team that will need to throw as much as any team on the Week 13 main slate as 13.0-point underdogs.