The Fantasy Football Party will post a values story every week at ZoneCoverage.com to help you set winning DFS lineups for the show listener league and all the other great games at FantasyDraft.com — our exclusive DFS partner for 2018!
Thanksgiving week is one of the most fun DFS weeks of the season, so if you’re reading this before Thursday, make sure you’re getting in the Thanksgiving 3-game slate! But don’t worry, even if you miss it there’s still plenty of fun to be had on the standard Sunday main — where you can get into our weekly listener league for just $5. Plus they’ve got the $12,500 Wishbone with a top prize of $1,250 and the $75,000 Run & Gun for the big-money players with first place taking home a cool $10,000.
I’ve got some players from the main slate noted below, highlighting guys that stand out either for the good or the bad using the modeling tool at FantasyLabs.com. All scoring projections/rankings are from their cash model for Week 12. If you’ve never played at FantasyDraft before, use the listener league link above and deposit at least $10 and you’ll automatically get a free $4 GPP ticket! And if you’re not a FantasyLabs subscriber, get half off a trial membership with the code 50OFF.
Jameis Winston vs. San Francisco — $11,300
Combined this season, Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick are still the QB3 overall — they were No. 2 before Jared Goff’s huge game on Monday night, and will be again with Goff on bye this week. This despite the fact that Fitzpatrick is currently second in the NFL in interceptions, and Winston is third. Yes, this is insane. But hey, welcome to the NFL in 2018.
Winston’s back in the driver’s seat with a very palatable price tag and arguably has one of the highest ceilings of the week. Only Josh Rosen and Derek Carr have failed to throw for multiple touchdowns against the 49ers this season, though Rosen made up for it in his second go-round. Four quarterbacks have tossed three scores against San Francisco, including Eli Manning in Week 11. It might not be pretty to watch, but you’ll be happy with the end result. In fact, FantasyLabs has Winston as the top value rating at the position on the main slate.
Aaron Rodgers at Minnesota — $12,600
Any negative outlook for Rodgers needs to be caveated with the fact that he’s still among the league’s elite quarterbacks who can blow up at any time. But even with his price down $800 from last week’s matchup with Seattle, I’m pretty hesitant here. Rodgers has 30 or fewer attempts in three of his last four games as Aaron Jones gets more involved, and any benefit from Randall Cobb’s potential return is negated by Jimmy Graham’s absence (or presence with a splint on his broken thumb). Rodgers’ Week 2 matchup with the Vikings in Green Bay resulted in Rodgers’ second-lowest fantasy output of the season — and Minnesota hasn’t allowed multiple touchdown passes in a game since Week 5. As a result, 14 main-slate quarterbacks have a higher value rating than Rodgers this week.
Marlon Mack vs. Miami, $10,400
Mack’s price is down $500 from the previous two weeks after low outputs against the Titans and Jaguars. Now is the time to pounce. Sure, he’s still sharing snaps in Indy’s backfield, but he’s also getting at least two targets a game and hasn’t gone below 12 carries in five weeks. And while Tennessee and Jacksonville are only bested by Chicago and Baltimore in limiting running back fantasy scoring, the visiting Dolphins are allowing more fantasy points to the position than all but three teams. It all adds up to Mack earning the fourth-best running back value on FantasyLabs.
Elijah McGuire vs. New England, $6,600
Just three spots behind Mack on the value ratings is McGuire, whose ceiling is capped by a split backfield and generally bad offense — but whose price makes him a reasonable punt play allowing you to spend up elsewhere. McGuire’s only played in two games since being activated from IR, but he immediately got 36 of 56 snaps back on Nov. 4 at Miami, then played on an even higher percentage of snaps against the Bills before going on bye. He only combined for 13 carries (for 60 yards) in those games, but what was most notable were his 11 targets in the passing game.
Given the PPR scoring here and the upward playing time trend, McGuire has the chance to put up a solid score at a bargain price in a game where the Jets will most certainly have to score to stay close with the Patriots.
Gus Edwards vs. Oakland — $8,800
Alex Collins turned out to be a fairly polarizing player this fantasy draft season; one whom I was most comfortable just avoiding. That’s turned out prescient, but this isn’t to rub salt in the wounds of those on the other side of the Collins coin. This is more a warning for those who were in my camp to be wary of just jumping into the Edwards pool head first. He’s as not special of a talent as Collins was, and got the benefit of playing alongside Lamar Jackson in his first extended action.
This could lead to more work, or John Harbaugh could still go to Collins, Buck Allen or Ty Montgomery enough to torpedo any value Edwards has. I’m not necessarily expecting that, but there’s enough risk of it that Edwards’ relatively low price still has him as just the 27th value at the position per FantasyLabs.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Pittsburgh — $10,300
Matchup + price + recency bias = great spot for Sanders in Week 12. It’s been three poor box scores in a row for Sanders, which has brought his price down a full $3K from its peak in early October and $1,300 from just last week. Denver was able to move the ball on the ground in Week 11, but their injured O-line will have much more difficulty opening holes against the stout Steelers front.
And with rookie DeSean Hamilton reinjuring himself early in his return to action last week, Sanders doesn’t have a threat to his primary spot in the slot. It all adds up to a bounce-back spot that has Sanders as FantasyLabs’ top WR value for the FantasyDraft main slate.
Tyler Boyd vs. Cleveland — $10,700
Right behind Sanders on the value list is Boyd, who comes with a giant asterisk because this is all based on AJ Green returning from his toe injury in Week 12. Even if Green’s partially a decoy, Boyd is far less likely to see much of stud rookie cornerback Denzel Ward. The biggest risk here is volume, as Boyd has fluctuated between double-digit targets and four targets in the last four weeks.
He still managed 3-65-0 two weeks ago on his four looks, leaving him with just one dud game in his last five. But the real story here is price, as Green’s imminent return has Boyd down $3k from two weeks ago and at his lowest price overall since September.
JuJu Smith-Schuster at Denver — $14,100
JuJu is one of my favorite receivers to watch, but he’s decidedly NOT one of my favorites to play this week — for two reasons. The first reason is the price. Only seven receivers cost more than Smith-Schuster this week, which would be fine if it weren’t for reason No. 2: Chris Harris. He’s the best slot corner in football and will be attached to JuJu all afternoon. I’m told the games aren’t played on paper, but on paper, this is shaping up as a James Conner/Antonio Brown type of day. FantasyLabs agrees, with a whopping 50 receivers listed as better values on FantasyDraft on Sunday.
Zach Ertz vs. New York Giants — $12,000
Ertz had a season-low three targets last week when he was priced at a season-high $13,900. That’s not going to sit well with anyone who rostered him—which makes Week 12 the perfect time to pounce. He’s only been under double digits for targets three times all year, though it’s worth noting all three have come in the last five weeks. It’s probably just noise, though, as his season high of 16 targets came just two weeks ago against Dallas. I expect the targets to be there again this week, and with his price the lowest it’s been since September, there’s a lot of reasons to forgive and forget Week 11.
And if you’re worried about the Giants having only allowed one tight end score all season, note that the one touchdown was scored by Ertz five weeks ago. Ertz is the top TE value per FantasyLabs on this slate.
Greg Olsen vs. Seattle — $8,300
Olsen’s got four touchdowns the last five weeks and his lowest price in a month. So what’s not to love? How about just three targets and nine yards last week, giving him just 49 combined yards on six catches his last two weeks. Olsen’s still playing virtually all the snaps so his touchdown probability remains higher than most tight ends, but with the yardage floor starting to disappear and a tough matchup with the Seahawks in Week 12, I’d rather spend my dollars elsewhere. FantasyLabs agrees, with Olsen way down at No. 21 in the tight end value rankings for Sunday.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota — $4,200
FantasyLabs has the Packers as the top value defense this week despite playing an explosive offense on its home turf. Why? The Vikings’ porous offensive line. Minnesota could — and probably will — put up a decent number of points in this game. But they’ll be passing a lot, giving Green Bay the opportunities for sacks and turnovers it needs to pay off its low salary. Minnesota has at least two turnovers in each of its last three games and has allowed seven sacks in that time — and now faces a Packers defense trailing only Pittsburgh and Kansas City in sacks this season.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland — $4,900
The days of targeting Cleveland for your fantasy defense are over. The Hue-and-Haley-less Browns had the shackles removed from their offense prior to the bye week, leading to Baker Mayfield’s best day as a pro.
With so many weapons on that side of the ball and the Bengals losing defensive players to injury seemingly by the minute, this isn’t the spot to attack Cleveland or its rookie quarterback. FantasyLabs has the Bengals as its seventh-highest value on the slate, but I’m not picking up what they’re putting down.
There is an endless trove of additional data plus incredible tools for modeling, lineup building and more at FantasyLabs.com. If you play DFS, FantasyLabs will make you a better player. Use the code 50OFF to get half off a trial membership. And be sure to get in on the DFS fun at FantasyDraft! Start by joining the listener league for just $5. Good luck this week!
The Fantasy Football Party is recorded each week by John Tuvey, Bo Mitchell and Anthony Maggio. You can also find a story from one of the three each week right here at ZoneCoverage.com. Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode by clicking here for iTunes or here for Android.
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