FanDuel NFL Week 12: In-Depth Player Pool With Expert Analysis
For the first time all season, I had back-to-back losing FanDuel Main Slates. I had too much exposure to Saints RB Alvin Kamara, who did not catch a pass for the first time in his career and only scored 10.5 fantasy points, and not enough exposure to MIN RB Dalvin Cook. I look to correct the ship this week to high exposure to Cook and two value plays at RB in Wayne Gallman Jr. and Brian Hill.
I’ll be building lineups around three of the four top projected QB and one value QB in Derek Carr. These QBs will be paired with the WR(s) who have great CB matchups to exploit.
Research, The Mikes
As regular readers of my column, you will not only see my research of stats but the analysis of some of the best experts in the industry (If you can’t beat them, join and credit them). Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros and Mike Woellert of 4for4 are quoted frequently.
Tagliere’s weekly column, The Primer, is the most compressive look at Fantasy Football. It’s typically about 20,000 words and had well thought out information on every fantasy-relevant (and not so relevant) player. Tagliere takes into account defensive injures, schemes, matchups, and historical numbers. I admire Tagliere’s work. This article is somewhat modeled after The Primer but reduced to only the players I’m using.
Woellert is an expert at WR vs CB matchups. He continually finds low owned undervalued players that have huge weeks. When spending up at WR, it’s great to know they are in advantageous situations. As the season progresses, patterns emerge, and it becomes clear which CBs should be exploited. Our goal will be to play WRs covered by CBs, who average near or above 2.0 fantasy points per target.
While my articles give you free exposure to a sliver of the information, at FantasyPros and 4for4, I would recommend subscribing to help with your research.
Week 12 FanDuel Player Pool
The top three QBs of Kyler Murray (23.9 fantasy points projected), Patrick Mahomes (23.9), and Josh Allen (23.8) have nearly identical fantasy points projections at 4for4 fantasy. I’ll be playing Mahomes and Allen with Allen in my most expensive tournament because he provides the best-projected value. I’ve decided to fade Murray despite the fact he leads all players with 283.7 fantasy points on the season. I’m concerned that Murray is dealing with a shoulder injury that could limit him in the passing and run game to avoid contact and further injury. He also has a tough matchup against the Patriots, who allowed a 10th best 17.1 fantasy points a game to QBs.
Patrick Mahomes ($9,000) has the second-most fantasy points this season with 259.5. The matchup is not fantastic as they rank just below the Patriots with 17.3 fantasy points allowed per game. However, Mahomes is healthy and has scored over 20 fantasy points in all but one game this season. The game has the highest over/under projection at 56 points, with the Chiefs favored by three to give Kansas City the highest implied score of 29.5 points.
Josh Allen ($8,600) has the sixth-best QB matchup in the Chargers, who have allowed 20.12 fantasy points a game. The game has the third-highest over/under projection at 53 points, with Bills favored by five to give Buffalo the second-highest implies score of 29 points.
Justin Herbert (LAC, $8,400) is the opposing QB to Allen. Herbert is coming off another monster game. Herbert completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and three TDs. He also rushed twice for 11 yards to score 27.74 fantasy points. Herbert has scored 21.48 – 38.48 points in each of his last seven games. The Bills have allowed a fifth-most 20.48 fantasy points a game to QBs.
Derek Carr (LVR, $7,100) looks to be value QB of the week. The Raiders play the Falcons, who have allowed a league-worst 25.48 fantasy points a game to QB. The game has the second-highest over/under projection at 53.5, with the Raiders favored by three to give Las Vegas the third-highest implied score of 28.5 points.
Tyreek Hill (KC, $8,600) has the second-best CB matchup on the slate in terms of fantasy points allowed per target. Hill should be covered by Sean Murphy-Bunting, who has allowed a 77.4% catch rate and 2.45 fantasy points per target. Hill has scored the second most WR fantasy points on the season at 174.7. Davante Adams (not on the slate) leads all WRs at 176.7 but has done it in two fewer games at eight. Nevertheless, Hill is the leading WR on the slate and has one of the best CB matchups to exploit.
Keenan Allen (LAC, $8,200) and Michael Williams ($6,100) have outstanding CB matchups. Allen should be covered by CB Taron Johnson, who has allowed a 70.7% catch rate and 1.73 fantasy points per target. Williams should be covered by CB Tre’Davious White, who has allowed a 51.6% catch rate and 1.91 points per target. Allen leads all players on the season with 112 targets, according to the 4for4 Players Target App. Allen is coming off a massive 19 target game against the Jets where he caught 16 passes for 145 yards a TD. Williams is also coming off a solid performance where he caught four of seven targets for 72 yards and a TD.
Stefon Diggs (BUF, $7,900) with Cole Beasley ($5,400) stacked with Josh Allen provide the second-best (QB/WR1/WR2) stack value, according to the 4for4 Stack Value Report. The trio cost $21,900 and is projected to score a combined 51.2 points for a 2.34 X return. Diggs should be covered by CB Casey Hayward Jr., who has allowed a 45.6% catch rate and 1.59 fantasy points per target. Beasley should be covered by CB Tevaughn Campbell, who has allowed a 50% catch rate and 1.80 fantasy points per target. Gabriel Davis ($4,800) also has a nice CB matchup against CB Michael Davis, who has allowed a 63.5% catch rate and 1.65 fantasy points per target. The (QB/WR1/WR2) stack of Allen/Beasley/Davis is actually the top projected trio stack for value. The trio cost of $18,800 and is projected to score 45.2 points for a 2.40X return. Leaving out Diggs from Allen stack is certainly contrarian but provides high risk. Diggs only trails Allen on the season with 101 targets. Davis has twice had no receptions in the last three games, but in Week 10 against Seattle caught four of five targets for 70 yards and a TD to score 15 fantasy points.
D.J. Moore (CAR, $7,300) is cheaper than Allen and Diggs and can provide similar production. Moore has scored 35.9 fantasy points a game in the last two games (17.6 vs. TB, 18.3 vs. DET). Moore has a great chance to continue the streak this week as he should be covered by CB Tavierre Thomas, who has allowed a 63.9% catch rate and 2.09 fantasy points per target. “Since seeing just three targets in Week 9, he’s received 18 targets, hauling in 11 catches for 223 yards,” wrote Woellert. “He’s just behind Robby Anderson for the market share of targets but leads the team in market share of air yards.”
Sterling Shepard (NYG, $5,400) has one of the best CB matchups on the slate. Shepard should be covered by Bengals CB LeShaun Sims, who has allowed a 78.4% catch rate and 2.43 fantasy points per target. “Since returning from injury, Sterling Shepard is averaging eight targets per game over the last four games and is appearing in 77% of the snaps,” wrote Woellert. “LeShaun Sims has one of the Bengals’ worst corners in coverage this season. He’s allowed the most yards in coverage among corners and has been responsible for four scores.”
Keelan Cole Sr. (JAX, 5,300) has a great CB matchup but is playing with a backup QB. Cole will be number one WR for the Jaguars with DJ Chark Jr. (ribs) out. Cole should be covered by Tavierre Thomas, who has allowed an 85.7% catch rate and 2.07 fantasy points per target. QB Mike Glennon ($6,200) has already told reporters that he plans to let it rip because he doesn’t know if he will get another chance to start. “With a new QB, targets can be unpredictable, but Cole has drawn 12 over the last two weeks, wrote Woellert. “The Browns just lost Denzel Ward for the next few weeks, which has caused a shift in their secondary. It looks like Tavierre Thomas will move the slot, and Kevin Johnson should stick outside. Thomas hasn’t played since Week 4. He’s been responsible for a score and has allowed nearly 86% of his targets to be caught, resulting in 2.1 fantasy points per target. If I’m Glennon and the Jags, sure, I’ll take some shots downfield, but I’m also targeting Cole in a favorable matchup to move the ball downfield.”
A.J. Green (CIN, $5,300) has the best CB matchup on the Main Slate in terms of fantasy points allowed per target. Green should be covered by CB Isaac Yiadom, who has allowed a 65% catch rate and 2.73 fantasy points per target. Green has averaged 8.6 targets a game over the last five. Green hasn’t had a monster game this season, but this could be it. Yiadom’s fantasy points per target of 2.73 X 8.6 = 23.5. That projection, however, is admittedly likely wishful thinking. Brandon Allen ($6,000) under center instead of QB Joe Burrow went on IR due to a knee injury. I do not yet have exposure to Green because I prefer Shepard and Cole.
Take a Side
Travis Kelce ($8,000) is the top projected TE at both FantasyPros (15.6 projected points) and 4for4 (16.2). Kelce has scored 162.8 fantasy points this season, 53 more than the next closest TE in Darren Waller (109.8). Kelce faces the Buccaneers, who are middle of the pack against TEs at 12.90 fantasy points a game.
Darren Waller ($7,100) has the best TE matchup. The Cardinals have allowed 16.72 fantasy points per target. What makes Waller even more intriguing is the Raiders’ top WR Nelson Agholor ($5,200) has a tough CB matchup. Agholor should be covered by CB Darqueze Dennard, who has allowed a 46.7% catch rate and a measly 1.17 fantasy points per target. While both Henry Ruggs III ($5,500) and Hunter Renfrow ($5,100) have matchups against CBs who have allowed over 2.0 fantasy points per target, neither has seen a ton of targets as of late. That suggests the offense is going run through Waller.
Hunter Henry ($5,900) has scored TDs in back-to-back games while being targeted 13 (6,7) times and catching four passes in each. Henry faces the Bills, who have allowed a third-most fantasy point a game to TEs at 15.52.
Dalvin Cook (MIN, $11,000) is the most expensive and highest projected RB on the slate by a large margin. Fantasy Pros projects Cook at 25.6 points with a ceiling of 31.8 points. That’s a fair range considering the Cowboys have allowed a ninth-most 25.21 fantasy points a game to RBs. Cook gets nearly all the carries and over the last five games has received an average of 30.5 touches and a whopping 62.6% of his team’s touches per snap, according to the 4for4 Players Touch App. Cook leads all players by a large margin in both categories. At 25.6 points, Cook would provide the highest projected return of all RBs at 2.33X. While you are paying more Cook, the chances are he will provide the best return. “We’re starting to enter 2019 Derrick Henry league-winning numbers with Cook, who’s now totaled at least 27 carries in four of the last six games,” wrote Tagliere. “He’s rewarded fantasy managers with 1,184 total yards and 11 touchdowns over his last seven games, which is flat-out ridiculous. We’ve actually seen the Vikings start to involve Cook more in the passing game the last few weeks, which is massive for this matchup. The Panthers have allowed running backs a massive 6.8 receptions and 46.6 yards per game against them. When you add in the two receiving touchdowns, you’ll find the team that’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points through the air to running backs. They’ve also been pretty horrendous against the run as well, allowing 4.76 yards per carry and 10 rushing touchdowns. There’s legitimately nothing that stands out as a negative in this matchup, including the opportunity, as the Panthers have faced far more weighted opportunity to running backs than any other team in the league. There have already been six running backs who’ve posted top-five numbers against the Panthers, and Cook should make it seven.”
Derrick Henry (8,300) appears to be in a tough matchup against the Colts, who have allowed fifth-best 20.14 fantasy points per game. However, Henry gets the built of the vast majority of the touches for this his team, and the Titans will be without two top defensive linemen and a top linebacker. “He leads the league with 49 carries inside the red zone and 26 carries inside the 10-yard line,” wrote Tagliere. “I continually tell people to beware of the Colts defense, and after holding the Packers running backs in check, they’ve allowed just 3.43 yards per carry on the season, which is tied with the Eagles for the second-lowest number in the league. They’re one of just five teams who’ve allowed fewer than 100 fantasy points on the ground to running backs this year. They’re extremely good against the run. The worst part about Henry’s lack of passing-down usage is matchups like this, as the Colts have allowed the second-most points per target (1.82) to running backs. But are you ready for the good news? In Matt Eberflus’ 42 games as the defensive coordinator for the Colts, there’s been one running back who’s been able to total 100-plus yards on the ground. It’s Derrick Henry, and he’s done it twice. In fact, here are his last three games against them (most recent first): 19/103/0, 26/149/1, and 15/82/1. We also know about Henry’s late-season onslaught, right? No? Check this out:
Winter is coming, and Henry absolutely loves it. Keep him rolling as your RB1, who remains a bit touchdown-dependent. Oh, and we just got word that interior lineman DeForest Buckner will be out for this week with COVID, only further enticing us.”
Mike Davis (CAR, $7,200) faces the Lions, who have allowed the most fantasy points a game to RBs at 33.20. Davis could have a monster day if he is fully utilized as a pass-catcher. The Lions have allowed the second-most receiving yards to RBs at 543 and the most receiving TDs at seven, for more than any other defense.
Wayne Gallman Jr. ($5,700) is coming off his best performance of the season. He rushed 18 times for 53 yards and two TDs against the Eagles. He also caught one pass for seven yards to score 18.5 fantasy points. Gallman now has at least one TD in four straight games. His lowest fantasy score in the stretch was 12.7 points against a very good Buccaneers’ run defense. “The Bengals have allowed a massive 5.24 yards per carry,” wrote Tagliere. “There’s just one other team in the league who’s allowed more than 4.78 yards per carry. There’ve been eight running backs who’ve totaled at least 75 yards on the ground against the Bengals, and that’s while they’ve run the ball just 43.0 percent of the time (hint: that rate will go up moving forward). Gallman has totaled 32 carries over the last two games and is now coming off his bye week with fresh legs. He should be in lineups as a mid-to-low-end RB2 due to his lack of usage in the passing game but should offer a stable floor regardless.”
Brian Hill (ATL, $5,100) appears to be the value play of the week. With Todd Gurley II (knee) out, Hill should be in for a workhorse load against the Raiders in a projected high scoring game. Las Vegas has allowed a fourth-most 28.48 fantasy points a game.
FanDuel Lineup Build
There isn’t an exact science in what a winning FanDuel lineup looks likes. However, they should tell a logical story, and certain elements are frequent.
When building a FanDuel lineup, I’ll try to check off most of the criteria:
1) QB stacked with a WR: This allows for a double score when the two connect.
2) Opposing WRs: A recent analysis of big tournament winners found a high percentage were constructed with two WRs in the same game from both teams. This combination makes sense because high scoring shootouts allow for opportunity on both sides of the ball. Based on matchups, some of our builds incorporate this.
3) RB stacked with Defense: There is a strong correlation between an RB performing well with their team’s defense. That’s something to factor in when choosing a reason, but in reality, it’s often the perceived best available defense with money left from the build that gets plugged in.
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