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Week 12 Yahoo! DFS Picks

Identifying my Week 12 NFL DFS picks was easier than it’s ever been thanks to the continued work of our apps development team. The NFL Stat Explorer, the DFS Lineup Optimizer, and our world-famous Game Splits App are three windows I never close on my screen. Let’s build a plan of attack for Yahoo! DFS using my favorite research tools.

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Matt Ryan ($33) and Jameis Winston ($33) face off in a game that could provide something like 800 passing yards, but of course it will somehow end up being a 13-9 snore-fest. Disclaimer: I may still be jaded from the Saints-Falcons game a few weeks ago. It’s truly a pick-your-poison scenario here since the salaries are the same and the defenses are equally putrid. Many have noted the improving Falcons defense since Dan Quinn gave up play-calling duties. I’m not sure how real the impact is, though there’s certainly a correlation. I’m going to lean Ryan here but every receiver suiting up in this game is in play.

Though he’s been Matty Ice Cold since week six, Ryan has a pair of games over 30 points this season and a date with the defense surrendering an average of 27.48 points to opposing quarterbacks (including 3.2 touchdowns per game) over the past five weeks seems like a great way to get healthy.

Jeff Driskel ($24) has established a rushing floor (37 yards and 51 yards each of the past two weeks, respectively). Washington has actually not been a great matchup for quarterbacks in fantasy this season, as they give up the second-fewest expected points per game to the position. Sam Darnold seemed to crack the case last week as he managed 293 yards and a quartet of touchdowns. At this discount price, Driskel could return something like 200 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns (one on the ground, perhaps) and it would be enough to justify paying down – provided you spend the saved salary wisely.

Dwayne Haskins ($21) is only a dollar over min-pricing for quarterbacks and the Lions are the friendliest pass defense in the league of late, ranking first in expected fantasy points and second in actual fantasy points to quarterbacks over the past five weeks. The average passing line against Detroit during this streak is 313/3.2/0 — that’s right, no interceptions.

Running Back

Christian McCaffrey ($40) auto-post — the great one actually dropped a dollar in salary this week! He’s exceeded 20 half-PPR in eight of 10 contests this year and four straight.

Derrick Henry ($32) has four touchdowns over his past two games and looks to have entered “ride me” mode even earlier this year. The Jaguars have struggled to contain running backs over the past two weeks, giving up over 400 total yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns to the Texans and Colts.

Ezekiel Elliott ($29) dropped $5 this week thanks to his matchup against New England. It’s only the second time all season he’s been priced under $30. He’s up to eight touchdowns on the year and has an active streak of six games with at least 18 touches. I think Belichick is going to sit back and try to take away the deep passing game and will be happy to let Zeke run for five-yard chunks all day long.

Joe Mixon ($16) has quietly amassed three consecutive games of at least 15 half-PPR and looks like *gasp* a value here. The Browns found a way to crack the tough Steelers defense last week using their combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Mixon has the skill set to do things either of those back can do. I’m not sure how high the ceiling is, but you might not find more touches for a cheaper salary this week.

In the bargain bin, Patrick Laird ($10) is min-priced and had six targets last week. He won’t return value unless his role grows against the Browns in week 12, but with only Kalen Ballage standing in his way, it’s certainly a possibility.

Wide Receiver

Michael Thomas ($35) has been a half-PPR WR1 in five of his past six games, cresting 21 points in four of those contests. He faces Carolina, a squad giving up the most expected fantasy points per game to wide receivers over their past five contests.

Against the hapless Buccaneers defense, Julio Jones ($35) has tantalizing upside, as does running mate Calvin Ridley ($28). I’m nearly certain that one of them goes off in a big way. The Bucs have stunk against the pass all year and nothing has changed in recent weeks. They rank first in fantasy points allowed to WRs over the past five games and have surrendered 2.2 touchdowns per game to the position over that period.

The Bucs receivers are both in play, but I don’t like either one as much as Thomas or Jones since we can’t be sure about who the volume play will end up being. Chris Godwin ($32) is a few bucks cheaper than Mike Evans ($35) and that breaks the tie for me.

A fully healthy Davante Adams ($28) priced outside the top-five at the position is a value I can get behind. San Francisco is a tougher matchup for wide receiver units, so I’m not calling for a full Packers aerial onslaught, but I do think he can find the end zone and in addition to posting a workman-like line of 8/90.

Odell Beckham Jr. ($22) is a ridiculous value against the Dolphins this week. He’s not even the Browns WR1 based on Yahoo! pricing. The Fins have allowed seven touchdowns to WRs over the past five games, including three over that span to John Brown, a deep threat game-changer in his own right. Though he hasn’t popped off, Beckham has owned at least 32% of the Browns target market share in each of the past two games. Beckham’s ranks among wide receivers this year:

  • Targets – 10th
  • Air Yards – 11th
  • Expected Fantasy Points Per Game – 13th

All of these riches, yet he’s just WR27 on the year. At some point, this thing is going to break. The Browns are on a mini-roll, have a weakened defense (no Myles Garrett or Larry Ogunjobi), and they’re playing a team the bleeds touchdowns to his position.

I’m not going to ignore Jarvis Landry ($24) in this space in a revenge homecoming game he’s waited two seasons to see on the schedule. He’s scored a touchdown in three straight games. If you play heavy Beckham, I think a few direct swaps for Landry in a few lineups would be prudent.

D.J. Chark ($21) draws the Titans, who’ve allowed a 100-yard receiver in three consecutive games and five touchdowns to the position over the same span. He posted a 4/76/1 line against Tennessee earlier in the year with Gardner Minshew under center.

Terry McLaurin ($20) has been quieter over the past month or so, but if it wasn’t for an unfortunate penalty he would’ve been well over 100 yards last week in Haskins’ second start. McLaurin gets the Lions, who allow an average line of 13.2/196.2/1.4 to opposing WR corps over the past five weeks. Everyone knows this is a spot to target in DFS, but I’m truly not sure how many have the stones to roll out Washington passing-game pieces yet.

Jamison Crowder ($18) has at least 76 yards and a touchdown in three consecutive games. His salary rose another two dollars after last week’s performance against the Washington football team, but he’s still a relative bargain considering his role.

It seems like a fantasy generation ago that Randall Cobb ($11) was last relevant, but he’s back. In each of the three games since the Cowboys bye, he’s seen at least eight targets, posting over 100 yards and a TD in two of those games. I expect the Patriots to scheme the Dak Attack out of the game, which means a heavy dose of Elliott and check-downs galore to Cobb. At just a buck over minimum, Cobb is bordering on a cash lock and deserves tournament consideration, too.

Tight End

Zach Ertz ($22) looks like a clear value here, with a suppressed salary despite back-to-back games with 11 targets and nine receptions. He’s a borderline lock at the position for me this week given some of the values at other positions.

For those looking to save a few bucks, Jared Cook ($12) has a touchdown in three of his past four games.


I’m going to take Oakland ($14) against the Jets this week, despite their cross-country trek to the east coast. They’ve wreaked havoc over the past two games, posting 10 sacks, five turnovers, and a defensive touchdown.

Image Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Derrick Henry.

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