Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 12


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Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 12

Last week’s column included some pretty good calls in terms of weekly winners, and there were fewer bad calls, but a little too many “okay” calls for my taste.

The QB list last week included great options in Justin Herbert (QB1) and Aaron Rodgers (QB2), and Tua Tagovailoa (QB13) was okay. But the week was tarnished by poor plays in Derek Carr (QB20) and Patrick Mahomes (QB25).

At RB, we had Joe Mixon (RB4) covered, and Myles Gaskin (RB10) was good. Najee Harris (RB11) and AJ Dillon (RB14) were okay. But Antonio Gibson (RB25) should have done better, as the analysis was there (he lost a quarter’s worth of action due to a fumble). Jeff Wilson (32) got the promised 20 touches, but did little with them.

I was selective with the WR picks, and Darnell Mooney (WR4) and Davante Adams (WR2) came through majorly while Tyreek Hill (WR15), Jaylen Waddle (WR11), and Keenan Allen (WR14) were pretty good. On the lower-end, the analysis was there for Kadarius Toney (WR33), but the results were only okay. And two low-end guys came up pretty small in Michael Gallup (WR40) and Rashad Bateman (WR60). On Bateman, I obviously didn’t know Lamar Jackson would miss the game.

It wasn’t a bad week for TEs, but it wasn’t great, either. Dawson Knox (TE6) was nice and Dalton Schultz (TE12) and Pat Friermuth (TE15) were okay, but Cole Kmet (TE41) came up small.

This week, I was extremely picky with my selections, so let’s see if that increases the accuracy of the picks.


Note: I’m ranking them in order of my favorite plays, mainly for cash games.

Tyrod Taylor (LAC, vs. NYJ — $5300 DK) — DK only, where he’s the #5 value. He’s not even in the top-20 on FD, so forget it. The Jets are now giving up the third-highest EPA/attempt on the season and QBs are completing 73% of their passes with a 9.4 YPA against the Jets the last four weeks. Tyrod ran last week with 2 TDs and is a lock to deliver a 3x return on DK.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, vs. Min — $5700 DK, $6500 FD) — He’s the top value on FD, and a top-8 value on both sites. Jimmy G is rarely a good DFS play, but this week could be an exception. Garoppolo has two TD passes in three straight, but he’s attempted just 41 passes over the last two weeks. The Vikings are allowing 37 attempts per game the last four weeks, and with an expected total of 50 and a potent Vikings offense on the other side, this could be a surprisingly good fantasy game for both passing games. Jimmy G’s averaging 8.0 YPA or better in four straight with his full cast of receivers, and the Vikings have been ripped for 32+ FP twice in the last three weeks by Aaron Rodgers (385/4 passing) and Lamar Jackson (266/3). They are giving up a very promising 293/2.5 passing per game to QBs the last four weeks.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pit, at Cin — $5200 DK, $6600 FD) — He’s a top-6 value on both sites. I’m a DK guy, though, and I look at that $5200 price tag and have to believe he can hit 15.6 FP in this one. He does have 6 TD passes in his last three games in this matchup, and Big Ben hit 3+ passing TDs for the first time last week, and looked good while finishing with a season-best 22.9 FP against the LAC. The Bengals are giving up 288/1.8 passing per game to QBs in their last four, so I’m looking at 240 yards and 2 TDs from Big Ben.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Tom Brady (TB, at Ind — $7600 DK, $8300 FD) — He’s a top-3 value on both sites. Brady won’t have AB again this week, but he’s still rolling with 2+ TD passes in six straight and he’s now averaging 42.3 attempts and 317.7 passing yards per game. Despite limiting Josh Allen to 209/2 passing and 6.0 YPA last week, the Colts are still giving up the fourth-most FPG (20.8) to QBs. Big Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both have very good matchups, and Rob Gronkowki has a great matchup.

Running Backs

Joe Mison (Cin, vs. Pit — $7500 DK, $8000 FD) — He’s the top value on both sites, although I don’t love him as a must, must play. But I’m no longer afraid of the Steelers defense (giving up 4.9 YPC to RBs the last four weeks) for Mixon, who is rolling with 24+ FP in three straight games. He’s carrying the offense and has scored in each of his last seven games. He got only 18/90 rushing with a four-yard catch in this matchup back in Week 3, but he’s been getting more action in the run and pass games now.

James Robinson (Jax, vs. Atl — $6200 DK, $7600 FD) — He’s a top-7 value on both sites. Robinson’s snaps have been down to about 60% the last two games as he plays through his knee/heel issue, but he’s been solid with volume, and he did work all week in practice with a full practice Friday. The Falcons are respectable on the ground, but they are giving up a healthy 147.2 scrimmage yards per game to RBs this season, so J-Rob is a good bet for 100+ yards, and if he scores and adds 2-3 grabs, it’s a fine day.

Miles Sanders (Phi, at NYG — $5100 DK, $6100 FD) — He’s a top-8 value on both sites and the #4 value on DK. Sanders has a real shot in this run-heavy offense with Jordan Howard out, which increases his chances of scoring a TD. The Eagles have outrushed their opponents over the last four games by an insane margin of 129.8 yards, and Sanders last week stepped back into a large role with season-highs in carries (16) and rushing yards (94), despite a benching for a spell due to a fumble. Boston Scott is lingering but the Giants are giving up a generous 4.5 YPC and the fifth-most FPG (27.1) to RBs this season along with the fourth-highest EPA/attempt on the season. If Sanders can find the endzone, he’ll come through for sure.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Saquon Barkley (NYG, vs. Phi — $6300 DK, $7500 FD) — It’s probably a tall order to expect 18+ FP from Barkley, but it is very doable if he’s able to get back into the flow of the offense more in his second game back. Barkley with a 62% snap share had only 6/25 rushing, but his 6/31 receiving was encouraging, and the Eagles are giving up the eighth-most FPG (26.7) to RBs. If Mark Ingram can go for 22/113 scrimmage against them as he did last week, then Barkley looks sneaky to me this week. I could see 6-7 checkdowns in this one, so if he can pop off a big play on one of them, he’ll likely come through.

Wide Receiver

Deebo Samuel (SF, vs. Min — $7900 DK, $8000 FD) — He’s the top value on FD and a top-8 value on both sites. Deebo had season-lows in targets (2), catches (1), and receiving yards (15) last week, yet he still came through with 16.4 FP thanks to season-highs in carries (8) and rushing yards (79) with a rushing TD. Davante Adams feasted in this matchup last week with 7/115/2 receiving, and Minnesota is giving up the third-most FPG (41.5) to WRs. Deebo could go HAM in this one on Breshad Breeland, who is as beatable as they come at CB right now.

Justin Jefferson (Min, at SF — $8300 DK, $8100 FD) — He’s balling right now, and he’s being fed the rock with a combined 21 targets for 17/312/2 receiving and 60.1 FP the last two weeks. Based on how the 49ers play coverage wise, it looks like a Jefferson game. That’s because they are more zone-based, running zone at the sixth-highest rate in the league this year. Jefferson is also a good bet to see a lot of CB Josh Norman, who may be burnt toast by game’s end.

Laviska Shenault (Jax, vs. — $4400 DK, $5600 FD) — He’s a top-3 value on DK. I have to go here with this underachiever, since Marvin Jones is facing a tough matchup and Shenault moving back into his ideal role in the slot after Jamal Agnew was lost for the season. He caught all five of his targets for 50 yards last week and Atlanta has been vulnerable inside since slot ace Isaiah Oliver went on IR a few weeks ago. Shenault may also get 1-3 carries in this one.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Mike Evans (TB, at Ind — $7200 DK, $7500 FD) — He’s a top--5 value on FD, but he’s buried on DK. Big Mike had a full practice on Friday (back), and no Antonio Brown means he’s safer than usual, as he’s shown. He’s now scored in four straight (6 TDs) and the Colts are giving up a league-high 1.5 receiving TDs per game to WRs after Stefon Diggs got them for two scores last week. CB Xavier Rhodes won’t have an answer for him on the outside this week.

Brandin Cooks (Hou, vs. NYJ — $5800 DK, $6500 FD) — He’s not much of a value on either site, but I have to go here due to the matchup. The Jets are handing out 13/206/1.3 per game to WRs the last four weeks, good for 46 FPG and Cooks is due.

Michael Pittman (Ind, vs. TB — $5600 DK, $6600 FD) — He’s a top-11 on both sites, but a better value on DK. But I’ll take a shot on Pittman in a game with one of the highest totals of the week (53). The Bucs faced a league-high pass rate of 66.9%, so this may be a game in which Jonathan Taylor doesn’t dominate in the running game. Our guy Wes Huber likes the matchup from a schematic perspective, and Pittman has a nice size advantage over Sean Murphy-Bunting, who has been playing outside lately (normally their slot corner). Pittman will need to score, but 80+ yards should be in order with 5 catches or more.

Diontae Johnson (Pit, at Cin — $6600 DK, $7100 FD) — He’s the fourth-best value on FD, but only 12th on DK. But with no Eric Ebron and Ray-Ray McCloud, Big Ben will lock on Diontae even more than usual. He missed the game earlier this season, but he posted a combined 14/190/2 receiving on 24 targets in two matchups against Cincinnati last season.

Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert (Phi, at NYG — $4800 DK, $5900 FD) — He’s a top-5 value on FD, but down the board on DK. Regardless, while he’s tough to trust, his upside is tantalizing. He put up 5/62 receiving on a season-high eight targets last week and he owns 27% target share over the last five weeks. The Giants have been hit hard by Rob Gronkowski (6/71 receiving) and Darren Waller (7/92) in their last two games.

Evan Engram (, vs. — $3800 DK, $5500 FD) — I will hate myself if this guy falls flat, but listing him has to be done, given Kyle Rudolph’s doubtful status and how low Engram’s price on both sites. Kadarius Toney is doubtful and Sterling Shepard is out, and the Eagles have been the friendliest matchup for TEs (19.8 FPG) with nine different TEs reaching double-digit FP in the last six games. I’d expect the Giants to show some signs of life with OC Jason Garrett gone, and it can be argued that Garrett did his most horrible job utilizing Engram. I think we’re getting 11-12 points from him this week.

Noah Fant (Den, vs. LAC — $4600 DK, $5900 FD) — He’s a top-6 value on both sites, despite the annoying Albert Okwuegbunam, who is good and is coming off a 3/77 receiving performance before their bye. But the Chargers have given up four TDs to tight ends over their last two games and they are first in FP/Target to TEs and second-worst in terms of EPA/attempt and YP/T (yards per target). The toughest matchup overall is for their WRs outside and in the slot, so I like Fant’s chances of having a prominent and productive game.

Not the best values, but I do like them this week:

Rob Gronkowski (TB, at Ind — $4400 DK, $6500 FD) — He’s a much better value on DK (#6). Gronkowski returned to a full-time role last week and dominated with 6/71 on eight targets against the Giants. He’s got 4+ catches in his four full games with 18.9 FPG in those games and the Colts have been hit for 12+ FP by individual TEs in four straight games (Knox, Arnold, Griffin, Swaim). They’ll likely look to take away the deep ball by playing their two (shaky) safeties deep and take their chances with Gronk beating them over the middle. There’s upside for a big game here.

Primetime Players

Antonio Gibson (WFT, vs. — $5700 DK, $6600 FD) — He’s a top-3 value on both sites. Gibson has been frustrating, especially last week when he lost about a quarter’s worth of action because he was sat after a fumble. But TFT seems determined to feed Gibson, he has 43 carries the last two weeks with two good gamescripts, which he should get for the third week in a row in this one. Gibson ran angrily last week after his fumble and he averaged 5.0 YPC for the first time since he suffered his stress fracture in his shin around Week 3. Gibson is sixth in the league with 11 carries inside the five-yard line, and James Conner (26/99/1 scrimmage) and A.J. Dillon (23/128/2) have each gone for 20+ FP against the Seahawks since they came out of their bye. All he’ll likely need to come through is a TD or 2-3 catches (they give up 7.8 per game to RBs the last four weeks).

Mark Andrews (Bal, vs. — $6200 DK, $7500 FD) — He’s actually the top value on FD, but not even a top-10 value on DK. Andrews balled out last week with the backup QB and he’s now put up 5+ catches eight times already this year. T.J. Hockenson managed 6/51 receiving in this matchup playing with Tim Boyle last week, and Andrews recorded a combined 10/136/2 receiving in two matchups against the Browns last season. Also, per our Wes Huber, the Browns have given up the 11th-most FP/CS this season on play action, which Andrews excels with, and Cleveland has also given up the seventh-highest rate of deep receptions on play action, and Andrews is averaging the second-most air yards/game (78.4) at TE.

Logan Thomas (WFT, at Sea — $3900 DK, $5500 FD) — He’s a top-8 value on both sites. Thomas is obviously risky given his long layoff, but this is a clear TE1 situation for the top guy, and he’ll need to be the top guy with Ricky Seals-Jones likely out. Thomas posted 9.5+ FP in each of his first three full games to open the season, and he ran a route on 93% of Washington’s dropbacks. He could step right back into a huge role and Zach Ertz ripped the Seahawks for 8/88/2 receiving last week. Seattle is now giving up the eighth-most FPG (14.6) to TEs.

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on,, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded