Here are the Week 12 picks along with a few players whose prices and match-ups combine to make them enticing plays this weekend in DFS.
Note: all home teams are in caps, all lines are from ESPN and are accurate at the time of writing, and that all prices for DFS are from DraftKings.
WASHINGTON +2.5 over Giants
Kirk Cousins has been money at home. He threw for three touchdowns and 317 yards against Tampa Bay last month and a couple of weeks ago, he tore through the Saints with 324 yards and four touchdowns on only 25 attempts. Yeah, New Orleans is awful at defense, but then again, so is New York. Only the Saints allow more overall yards per game than the Giants and its hapless secondary allows 309.9 passing yards each game, the worst in the league by 16.8 yards.
New York is missing its two best offensive linemen, Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, so the Washington defense shouldn’t have any trouble getting to Eli Manning and he can’t throw touchdowns to OBJ while on his back.
This confluence of factors seems to point towards a Washington blowout victory. Kirk Cousins will set you back only $5300, a great price which will allow you to spend on other positions. The Washington D/ST at only $2000 makes it a fine play if you plan on punting the position as there should be plenty of opportunities for sacks and Manning hasn’t had one of his classic four-pick games yet this season, and we all know it’s coming soon.
JETS -4 over Miami
This one’s a toughie. This is a matchup of a pair of teams that make you feel awful abut betting on them. The Dolphins haven’t put together a solid victory against a half-decent opponent since Week 7 against Houston. The Jets, on the other hand, haven’t had one since October 18th, against Washington. The deciding factor for me is that the Jets won earlier this season in Miami, 27-14, but I’m not sure how much that means because Darrelle Revis is out for this game with a concussion. This game is screaming “STAY AWAY,” so let’s heed its advice and move on.
Oakland -0 over TENNESSEE
These are two up-and-coming teams and it’s a tough game to choose. While the Raiders have the better offense, the Titans have a very strong pass defense. Although Oakland has a good young quarterback in Derek Carr, Tennessee has one too in Marcus Mariota. I’ve been betting on Oakland for the last few weeks, and there’s not enough of a reason for me to stop now.
Delanie Walker is a name you should watch out for. Oakland is awful at defending tight ends, and Walker gets plenty of targets as Mariota’s safety valve. He’s priced at $5400, third-highest among tight ends, but he’s safe with a high ceiling, making him worth it.
KANSAS CITY -5.5 over Buffalo
The Chiefs are getting hot at the right time. After a five-game losing streak dropped them to 1-5, the team has won four straight in dominating fashion, with an average point differential of 22.75. The Bills aren’t doing too shabby themselves, with a couple of wins over the Jets and Dolphins followed by a competitive loss against New England, but they’re a weaker team than the Chiefs.
One important note: Charcandrick West is out for this game with a hamstring injury, meaning that Spencer Ware will take over as the lead back for Kansas City. Ware scored a pair of touchdowns on 101 all-purpose yards and is in line for another massive workload. At his $3800 salary, he’s a bargain.
Tampa Bay +2.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
Like the Eagles on Thanksgiving, I’m not sure why Vegas continues to make the Colts the favorite. With Andrew Luck, Indy would be the choice, but without him, the team just isn’t very good. Even at home, the team will need a lot of luck (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to defeat a suddenly very dangerous Tampa Bay.
St. Louis +10 over CINCINNATI
After an embarrassing loss on Monday Night Football to the Texans, the Bengals bounced back with a somewhat less embarrassing loss to the Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. I fully expect the home team to win this game but St. Louis always seems to play close, competitive games, and Cincinnati doesn’t have the offensive firepower to score enough on the strong St. Louis defense to put the game out of reach early. Yeah, Case Keenum is awful, but Todd Gurley is a stud, and the Rams can just hand the ball off to him again and again to shorten the game, another way of preventing the Bengals from scoring a ton of points.
If Cincinnati is unable to take a big lead, any garbage time touchdown from St. Louis will pull the game within ten and give me the win.
JACKSONVILLE -5 over San Diego
The Chargers are down to Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman, an oversized gravy boat, and an old boot as Philip Rivers’ wide receivers. That group doesn’t inspire much confidence, although I’ve heard that the gravy boat had a surprisingly good 40 time at the draft combine a couple of years ago. The Jaguars, on the other hand, have a pair of Allens at wide receiver, Robinson and Hurns. Robinson is a rising star, and Hurns has been very good too, so Blake Bortles should have no trouble ripping through San Diego’s awful secondary en route to a victory.
Johnson is $4500 and because he’s going to get a ton of targets, he’s a solid play at receiver, especially if you want to save money to allocate elsewhere.
HOUSTON -3 over New Orleans
The New Orleans defense can’t stop anyone. The lowest point total they’ve given up this season was twenty points to a Dallas squad missing Dez Bryant and Tony Romo. For the Texans, it doesn’t matter that their quarterback is a castoff from Cleveland, it doesn’t matter that their starting running back is averaging 3.3 yards per carry, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve only scored more than 26 points once this year. All that matters is that the Saints defense is coming to town. Even if Drew Brees throws five touchdown passes, his defense will allow six, so I’ll gladly lay the field goal and take the Texans
Accordingly, Brian Hoyer at a mere $5000 dollars is a bargain, and I would pay $12000 for DeAndre Hopkins, so at $9100, he’s a must-have. Having Hoyer on the cheap frees up money to get Hopkins, so that Hoyer/Hopkins stack is both enticing and easily attainable.
Minnesota -0 over ATLANTA
The Falcons have been awful lately. They lost to San Francisco. They haven’t had a good win since Week 4 against Houston. Nothing about this team makes me want to rely on them. On top of that, Devonta Freeman is out with a concussion. No thanks, Atlanta, I’ll pass.
Due to Freeman’s absence, Tevin Coleman will be Atlanta’s starting running back. He’s only $4300 so he’s a solid choice if you want to go cheap at running back. Plenty of touches will be freed up, so Julio Jones may get even more of a workload than usual. He’s the most expensive player in the league at $9400 so I’m generally not paying up for him, but if you can fit him under the salary cap, he’s a great player to have.
ARIZONA -11.5 over San Francisco
Last week I made the mistake of taking the points with San Francisco against Seattle. I’m not going to make that mistake again. The Cardinals should rip the Niners to shreds. Carson Palmer will score plenty through the air, and once Arizona is up big, they can simply hand the ball off to a resurgent Chris Johnson.
CJ2K is CJ4.6K in DFS, and due to the heavy workload he’s expected to have, $4600 isn’t much to spend on his guaranteed production.
Pittsburgh +3.5 over SEATTLE
Why is Seattle still considered to be among the best teams in the league? They’re still solid overall, but the trade for Jimmy Graham hasn’t worked out at all, Russell Wilson has been struggling, and the vaunted defense has become less of a strength as it’s turned into a stars-and-scrubs situation due to the huge new contracts handed out to Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.
While Seattle’s offense has been poor, Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has one of the best offense in the NFL. The Seahawks won’t be able to pull away from the Steelers, so even if they win this game, I doubt it will be by much. Accordingly, I’m happy to take that extra half-point, so a Pittsburgh loss by a field goal still gives me the win.
New England -2.5 over DENVER
In Belichick we trust. The Patriots have lost Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola so their only proven pass-catchers are Brandon LaFell and Rob Gronkowski. The Broncos know this, and their elite defense can shut them down. Brock Osweiler was brock-solid last week against the Bears, but if he gets off to a brocky start, his team could be in for a rough night.
This is actually a matchup between the two top scoring defenses in the league so points will be put at a premium. In addition, snow is expected, making it even harder to score. This type of game is one that the Patriots often face at home in Foxborough, and it’s one that they often win.
CLEVELAND -3 over Baltimore
In an incredibly scintillating game, two teams with a combined five wins will square off. The Ravens don’t have their starting quarterback, their starting running back, or their best wide receiver. At this point, even Cleveland has better offensive weapons than Baltimore.
This game should be the antithesis of entertaining, unless you enjoy seeing ugly football games between subpar players on awful teams, in which case this is your game of the year.
The Cleveland D/ST is an intriguing play at a mere $2000 against a team led by the immortal Matt Schaub who, as we discussed last Thursday, was last seen throwing touchdowns to the other team in 2013. In addition, Josh McCown at $5000 and Gary Barnidge at $4800 are both decent options for those wishing to be contrarian.
We’re through the picks and it’s nearly time for football, so it’s time to finish off this article. If you enjoyed it, feel free to click the “Follow” button on the right side of your screen and to share this article. Check back in on Tuesday for another article, this time discussing the impending SuckBowl between the Lakers and Sixers taking place that night.
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