Week 12 DFS Strategy & Picks – Real Deal Fantasy HQ – Covid-19 has struck hard, but we can still CASH!

I hope everyone had a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving. I want to take a second to thank everyone who checked out my Thanksgiving DFS Primer. We had the highest views on any DFS Article this season on Turkey Day and I just want to say thank you. I hope you all Gobble Gobbled some cash… The smash play for me was Antonio Gibson, hope you grabbed him too.

Well here we are in Week 12 and I have to tell you, it’s getting pretty crazy out there. We already knew that the Steelers and Ravens had been postponed but then Lamar Jackson himself is Covid Positive and suddenly we ‘may’ have a Tuesday Night Game on our hands. I say ‘May’ because there is a strong belief that the game may not play at all. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen. In the meantime over the last 4 days we have had: Jonathan Taylor test positive (will not play), James Conner test positive (will not play), Adam Thielen test positive (will not play) and we already knew about JK Dobbins and Mark Ingram. Who’s next – who knows…sadly.

This is coupled with the fact that we also have Christian McCaffery out for another week, Julio Jones is looking doubtful, Joe Burrow after that horrific injury is out for the season, Todd Gurley has been ruled out, Gio Bernard may not clear the concussion protocol, sudden star Salvon Ahmed has been ruled out, DJ Chark is out, John Brown is out, Jerry Jeudy is highly questionable, Irv Smith is highly questionable and Tua is DOUBTFUL … PLUS the entirety of the Steelers offense (and to a lesser extent the Raven’s) as well as the Steelers Defense (seriously, TJ Watt gets RG3 to sack all day – good luck RG3) are completely off of Sunday’s slate. Holy schniekies Batman, that’s a lot to take in!

So today I am going to take a pause on the format I have been running with over the last 5 weeks of picking the games I am targeting in DFS and give you a full article of my Darts. Again Darts here don’t mean ‘dart throws’ (although there will be some ‘dart throws’ mentioned) Darts here means singular thoughts I have about a player, a team or a game that I think you need to make note of as you build your DFS lineups. The reason is simple. With all of the above Covid Absences and injuries there will be a TON of value plays for you to consider and I don’t want to miss any of them here for you. PLUS, with 6 games projected at 50+ points there are games that are going to go under the radar too and I want to make sure you are aware of them. So lets get started:

DARTS – Week 12

I’m really intrigued by the Atlanta Falcons Matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders. I think both Matt Ryan and Derek Carr are potential sneaky starts right now, particularly Carr who is projecting around 5% ownership. Even though Matty Ice may be without Julio Jones, you can’t help but love the matchup for Calvin Ridley who is also flying a but underowned at a projected 12%. In seven of his nine games played Ridley has seen 9 or more targets from Ryan and if Julio sits that number easily could be in the double digits. The Raiders are giving up nearly 280 yards through the air and I think Ridley will have a lot of room to dominate. Again if Julio sits, I think you can find value in Russell Gage who should be the next man up but I really like Hayden Hurst here. Hurst is listed as questionable, so keep an eye out, but prior to him producing a dud in Week 11, Hurst was seeing 7+ targets in weeks 7 – 9, with 8 in Week 9 when Ridley was out. If Julio misses 5+ targets isn’t out of the question and he could fly under the radar here. If he sits, I think Jaeden Graham is great low owned dart throw in Showdown lineups. Additionally with Todd Gurley out, Brian Hill needs to be on your radar. Hill has been coming on in the latter half of this season and at a cheap price he will be chalky – BUT, if Matt Ryan and Ridley’s ownership holds you can automatically have a contrarian lineup with a Ryan, Ridley, Hill stack… On the other side of the ball, did you know that Derek Carr has been elite this season with 20+ yard passing? Yep. A lot has to do with field stretcher Henry Ruggs on the field and that has helped Nelson Agholor suddenly become relevant again! I like Agohlor’s chances this weekend against a shaky Atlanta secondary and I don’t mind Ruggs’ either. Agholor is coming off a 9 target 88 yard and a score game and he could pick up right where he left off against an Atlanta defense giving up over 300 yards per game. He is cheap and no one is playing Nelson Agholor after being burned so many times in Philly by him. Your chalkiest players in this entire game are Josh Jacobs (projected 2nd highest owned RB on the slate) and Darren Waller (projected as the highest owned TE on the slate) both men are in prime positions to SMASH for sure and stacking with Carr and Agholor is a way to get contrarian with them. I’ll be honest I love a full game stack here Carr – Ridley – Agholor – Waller – Hill for example. Keep an eye on Julio news, but I think that stack has a lot of legs…

If I were to tell you that the Highest Owned projected player in the Chiefs Buccaneers game was Travis Kelce (projected 25% ownership) and literally no other player in that game is projected at more than 11% owned, how fast would you be locking in Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Chris Godwin, Tyreek Hill, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and any other player you like? Well why aren’t you. About the only player I will likely fade this weekend is CEH as I just don’t like playing running backs against Tampa Bay in DFS – but the rest of the lot? Play who you want – no one else seems to! Now look, this article is being writing on Saturday afternoon and this game has the highest projected point total on the slate at 56 – so things could change. Plus you won’t be able to fit all of these guys in a lineup just to do to salary cost. But let me at least tell you my favorites of the bunch and give you a road map. For me, Patrick Mahomes is the best Quarterback play on the slate. When you look at this game, you have to know that the Bucs will do what they can to keep Mahomes off the field but when he gets on the field he makes things count and with Tyreek Hill projected at less than 6% ownership (CRAZY!) I just don’t see how you avoid at least a couple lineups with a Mahomes Hill stack. You can absolutely throw Kelce in there too and I love running it back with Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette or Antonio Brown on the other side. Tom Brady has looked bad two weeks in a row now, so it’s tough to trust him right now but at a projected 3.5% ownership on the slate, I think if you are multi entering a Brady – Godwin – Evans stack is in play and I’d run that back with Tyreek Hill as a pivot from the chalk Kelce. This is another game where a full game stack is definitely viable and I may add that he Chiefs defense could be a sneaky play at next to no ownership. If Brady’s play continues as it has recently, I think there is potential for sacks and turnovers…

Another game flying under the radar here is the Titans and Colts which has a projected 50 Points. This game will take place in a dome in Indy and is a big time target for me – especially in Showdowns. These two teams just saw each other in Week 10 so we can generally gauge where production is going to come from and I am A-OK going right back to the well. Ryan Tannehill had his statistically worst game of the season against the Colts in Week 10 as did all of his primary pass catchers. However this is a different Colts defense in Week 12 including major holes in the defensive line with DeForest Buckner and Denico Autry both still on the Covid-19 list and linebacker Bobby Okereke already ruled out. Additionally there are pieces missing and/or questionable in the Colts Secondary as well. So could this be a Tannehill revenge game? I’ll take that bet. Additionally in Week 10 Derek Henry went for 103 yards on the Colts on 19 carries but with Buckner and Autry out, I think Henry makes for an excellent pivot from some of the higher owned Running Backs that we will talk about. It is tough to say when AJ Brown or Corey Davis will have a game but with Tannehill having potentially more time to throw I think both are viable for stacking, just not together. I also think you need to be looking at Jonuu Smith here. With so much ownership going to Kelce and Waller, I think Smith is a sneaky TE play as I do expect the Titans to be able to move the ball on Sunday. Currently Smith is projected at 3% ownership for what it’s worth. BUT my contrarian pick of the week may be TE Anthony Firsker who has taken the Adam Humphries role of underneath target for Tannehill while Humphries has been out. Firsker also gets red zone targets and he is especially a favorite play of mine in Showdown contests. No one ever plays Anthony Firsker and I don’t know why. He has seen 5 or more targets in 2 of his last 3 games and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t see 5 more on Sunday. On the other side of the ball Phillip Rivers is questionable but practiced on Friday so I’d expect he will play. If he does I think a stack with Rivers and Michael Pittman Jr has a lot of upside that no one is really looking at. In Week 10 against the Titans Pittman had 10 targets and took them for 101 yards and while he finally got his first touchdown last week, in 2 of his last 3 games he has seen 7 or more targets from Rivers. Additionally Zach Pascal is leaning towards doubtful, which makes me like Pittman even more here. I think my favorite Colt to target though is Nyheim Hines. Hines went ballistic against this same Titans Team in Week 10 with 70 yards and a score on the ground and 45 yards and a score through the air. With Jonathan Taylor ruled out, I’d expect to see a lot of Hines on Sunday and as of right now he is projected to be under 5% owned. Additionally because the Taylor news came out after DK set their pricing Hines is criminally under priced at $4,600. C’mon now. I may have Hines in every lineup I build on Sunday and I’m not kidding. I think you can also look at TE Trey Burton who has emerged as somewhat as a Red Zone safety net for Rivers this season and again is a massive pivot from Kelce and Waller who are looking to combine 50% of the overall field. I also think if you want to go even cheaper than Hines, RB Jordan Wilkins should be in your player pool. Even with Taylor active, the Colts have been mixing Wilkins in and he will definitely get playing time on Sunday. Additionally, the Colts like to use Wilkins at the goal line and I could see him scampering in for a touchdown in this matchup. I can tell you no one is looking at a Rivers – Pittman – Burton – Hines game stack and it could pay dividends. I’d run it back with Derek Henry and because of Hines’ pass catching ability I don’t mind including both back from the game on one lineup.

A couple more things to talk about and then I am going to build a DK lineup for you. I’ll show you my thought process as I go and will include value as well as studs, to give you an idea of how I am attacking the slate. Ok let’s wrap up.

The Two Single Highest Owned Plays on this slate are Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson. A couple reasons why. Cook is in an absolutely smash spot against the Carolina Panthers giving up the 3rd most yards to Running Backs. It is hard to look past Dalvin Cook as a lock for Cash Games and he may be the most beneficial chalk play of the day in tournaments as well. Without Theilan on the field, Jefferson also is in a great spot. Right behind Derek Carr for passes of 20 yards or more is Kirk Cousins and I think this game could shoot out. By the way, TE Irv Smith is doubtful and Kyle Rudolph is only $2,800 on DK. Just sayin’. On the other side it looks like Teddy Bridgewater will be back on the field for the Panthers which is a huge upgrade for Robbie Anderson, DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel and Mike Davis. There are a lot of parts to this game to attack but my favorite is Samuel who we have seen with Christian McCaffery out be involved in the running and passing game and the Vikings defense doesn’t scare me. A way to get leverage off of the Dalvin Cook Chalk is to stack Samuel with him. Any of the Carolina Pass Catchers will do, Samuel is just my favorite. Also for what it’s worth I think this will be the Mike Davis game we have been waiting for.

Another game going way under the radar is the Patriots and Cardinals. I could see this game becoming a shoot out too. The Cardinals Defense has been torched enough this season that we shouldn’t fear them and the Patriots unbelievably have given up big play after big play. Kyler Murray should have a big game but I really like Cam Newton who even in a loss last week had 365 Passing Yards. Deandre Hopkins could see a lot of Stefon Gilmore and JC Jackson so while I never will tell you not to play Nuk, the guy I am most interested in stacking Murray with is Christian Kirk who has really become the down the field threat for the Cardinals. Additionally, after seeing what Houstons Tight Ends were able to do against New England, I think you have to take a strong look at Dan Arnold or Maxx Williams as contrarian pivots in the position, though I prefer Arnold. I’m not saying load up on them but a Kyler – Kirk – Arnold stack is going to be a very contrarian approach. Lastly, as much as it begrudges me to say Kenyan Drake should be on your radar. With likely a lot of attention going on Kyler, Drake should find room to run as we saw the Raven’s backs do with attention being diverted to Lamar. Drake is a risky pivot from the Chalk running backs on this slate and he is in my player pool. I think we saw last week, Drake was the clear #1 to Chase Edmonds and barring injury I don’t think that shifts in this game. On the flip side, while it’s tough to pinpoint which Pats receiver will be Cam’s fave – I think going back to the well on Jakobi Meyers is perfectly fine and I don’t mind taking shots on Dameire Byrd either after the big game last week. I think who I am most interested in from the Pats is the running backs. With Rex Burkhead out James White just seems like a lock for me. Coming off a game with a season high in targets, yardage and snaps, it is clear without Burkhead on the field White is in the game plan. Additionally, Damien Harris has just been playing lights out and no one is looking at him with other great RB plays available. I don’t even mind taking a shot on Sony Michel as without Burkhead it is expected he will be activated in this game – though, he is more of a Showdown play for me to be honest. I never mind playing Cam without a stack either. He has 300 yard passing and rushing TD upside in every matchup and a unique stack would be Cam – Kirk – Arnold or Cam – Hopkins – Drake.

The game that is receiving the most attention on this slate is the Bills and Chargers and my analysis is simple – play everyone. Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry and Mike Williams, Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, Singletary, Moss, Ekeler (if he plays), Ballage (if he plays and Ekeler doesn’t), Josh Kelley (if both Ekeler and Ballage miss). Everyone is in play here. Mix and match ’em, stack ’em – if you are into full game stacks, this is the one to do it. Allen, Herbert, Keenan and Diggs are chalk – everyone else is under 10% owned, just get after it. Even a Buffalo Tight End can make the cut here with John Brown out. Speaking of Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie make for low owned Showdown plays too with Brown out. ‘Nuff Ced

I’ll wrap up with defensive matchups I like. Miami against the Jets who are getting Sam Darnold back and somehow look worse with Darnold on the field. By the way Fitzmagic will be back under center for the Fins and Myles Gaskin may be back as well (keep an eye on that news). Miami is an under the radar stack this week against the Jets: Fitz – Davante Parker – Miami Defense. I like the stack of Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt and the Cleveland Defense against Jacksonville a lot too. Don’t sleep on Baker and Jarvis Landry or Rashard Higgins in that game or James Robinson on the other side of the ball either. All sneaky plays. Chubb and Hunt are chalky, but including another piece of this game gives you leverage. How can you not like the stack of Wayne Gallman and the Giants Defense against Jeff Driskel by the way. Seriously. Last but not least while I don’t like the offensive pieces of this game for DFS, I think the Rams Defense and 49ers Defenses are both fine plays.

Oh and by the way #BreakingNews the entire Denver Broncos QB room has covid … think I’m joking? I’m not. Or at least all of the Denver Broncos Quarterbacks are hurt at the same time, believe what you want to believe – but either way, my new Defensive Start of the Week is the New Orleans Saints. Just going out on a limb here…

Check this Lineup Out! DK Pricing:

QB: Cam Newton

RB1: Josh Jacobs

RB2: Nyheim Hines

WR1: Calvin Ridley

WR2: Stefon Diggs

WR3: Christian Kirk

TE: Kyle Rudolph

Flex: James White

DST: Saints

How about one for FanDuel:

QB: Patrick Mahomes

RB1: Nick Chubb

RB2: Brian Hill

WR1: Tyreek Hill

WR2: Antonio Brown

WR3: Michael Pittman Jr

TE: Jonuu Smith

Flex: Nyheim Hines

Def: Cleveland Browns

Good Luck in your Contests!

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