NFL H2H vs. GPP Picks: Week 12

In daily fantasy football, there are two main types of playing formats; head-to-head games (including 50/50 and double-up formats, in which half of the entries win and half of the entries are left wondering what went wrong) and large field guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPPs), where between 10-20% of the field is paid out.

In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 12 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Cleveland Browns.

Looking through the lens of the FanDuel pricing and scoring system, we will key in on players suited for both H2H and GPP game formats.

Head-to-Head/50/50/Double-up Format

When constructing a H2H roster, the important thing to remember is that you want construct a team that has the highest projected “floor” with regards to projected scoring production. The reasoning behind this is simple, you just need to be better than half of the field. Whether it is mano-a-mano or a whole crowd, the top half are victorious and the others are looking ahead to next week.

For this reason, we will want to focus on players that have the highest projected points per salary cap dollar. The key word to remember is probable. In today’s NFL, just about any offensive player could have a three-TD day, or they may not see the end zone for a month.

As a general rule of thumb, in this format on FanDuel you will need to score about 120 points in order to put your team in a good position to win. Sometimes you will win with fewer points, other times you will lose with a much higher score, but that is a reasonable target figure.

With an overall in-game salary cap on FanDuel of $60,000, this means we need our players to score two points for each $1k of salary. The roster format includes one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one K and one D/ST.

Now for the fun part, let’s look at a few players at each position that should be able to “return value” on their FanDuel in-game salary. These will be players that I will be using myself on various iterations of my FanDuel H2H lineups this week.


Picking a QB all depends on the style that best suits your team-building preference and risk-reward potential. One school of thought focuses on anchoring your roster with a premium guy like Cam Newton or Tom Brady; another way to approach a week may be with a mid-tier QB who has a great matchup, or perhaps even someone who has come into the starting job after that week’s pricing was already created. The key thing to keep in mind though is that we need to find a production ratio of 2pts/$1k of salary.

Carson PalmerARI at SF – $8,100: Over the last two weeks, San Francisco is allowing 282 passing yards and two aerial touchdowns per game, in addition to getting crushed by running backs. Although this is a road game, this is a good matchup for Palmer who should see a minimum of 20 FanDuel points. In his last three games (vs CIN, at SEA and at CLE) he has thrown for 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Brian HoyerHOU vs NO – $7,100: Yes, Hoyer is really going to be a thing this week. On the season the Saints are allowing just over 300 passing yards and nearly three touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks. Even changing defensive coordinators is not going to fix a unit with this many leaks. Keep an eye on Hoyer’s status, however, as of Tuesday he did pass the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Turkey Day OptionsCam Newton, Aaron Rodgers

Running Back

While QBs are a very important building block for a solid fantasy roster, RBs are absolutely crucial, running backs have the volume and opportunity to earn points with touchdowns, rushing and passing yards, AND receptions. This usually makes them the steadiest source of daily fantasy production.

Generally it is wise to “pay up” for a premium RB in a good matchup by utilizing your savings from another position such as defense and kicker, which will be addressed in short order.

Thomas RawlsSEA vs PIT – $6,300: It sounds like there is a good chance that Marshawn Lynch may need surgery for a sports hernia, though that has not yet been determined. All signs point to Rawls starting this week. This is not an easy matchup against the Steelers, but Rawls has proven effective and he is averaging nearly six yards per rush this season on 101 carries.

Mark Ingram – NO at HOU – $7,400: It has been three full games without a touchdown for Ingram. On the positive side of the ledger, he is averaging 104 combined yards per game over that same stretch. Houston has been in the middle of the pack this season against running backs and the Saints should be focused on trying to control the clock more in order to keep their defense off the field. Ingram also has hauled in 40 receptions through ten games so he will be involved, regardless of the score.

Turkey Day OptionsDeMarco Murray, Jonathan Stewart

Wide Receiver

There are always great WR options at varying price levels and matchups. Typically what you do at the other positions will dictate how you assemble your receiving corps.

Top Shelf Options – DeAndre HopkinsHOU vs NO – $9,400: Let’s see, two touchdowns and 26.3 FanDuel points with a backup quarterback. It seems like Darrelle Revis may have been on Hopkins Island last week! With the discounted running backs, there is enough wiggle room in the salary cap to reach for Hopkins in this excellent matchup, though it is not necessary.

Mid-Tier Choices – Brandon MarshallNYJ vs MIA – $7,800: Marshall gets to face one of his former teams this weekend and there is a decent chance he will extend his consecutive touchdown streak to four games. Only twice this season has he been below a dozen fantasy points and that is some consistency worth this price tag. Teammate Eric Decker – $7,100 has scored a touchdown in all but two games himself this season and as long as he is able to manage to play with his sore knee, he is another fine option.

Bargain Bin Ballers – Stevie Johnson – SD at JAX – $5,500: Johnson was solid last weekend against Kansas City, but with the Chargers managing just a field goal, he did not make his supporters happy. Both Malcom Floyd (torn labrum) and Keenan Allen (lacerated kidney) will be out and at this price I am fine with this price point considering Johnson should see 8-10 targets in this game.

Tyler LockettSEA vs PIT – $5,600: The Seahawks continue to increase Lockett’s role each week and while we won’t likely see him with another two touchdown game this year, with all the injuries to key offensive personnel this matchup against the Steelers is going to be an “all hands on deck” game with the potential for a lot of points. Pittsburgh is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Turkey Day OptionsCalvin Johnson, Golden Tate, James Jones, Terrance Williams, Marquess Wilson

Tight End

Delanie WalkerTEN vs OAK – $6,100: Oakland is allowing the second most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Walker is averaging the fifth most FanDuel points per game for tight ends at a dozen per game. Put those hands together and welcome the top tight end option for Week 12!

Turkey Day OptionsGreg Olsen, Richard Rodgers


Kickers are very tricky to project, so I typically look for the lowest-priced kicker in a decent matchup, ideally in a dome or a fair weather stadium.

Adam VinatieriIND vs TB – $4,700: This is a fair price for the steady veteran kicker at home in a game with the second highest projected point total for the week.

Chandler CatanzaroARI at SF – $4,700: Over the last five weeks, Catanzaro has had at least two field goal attempts and in the last six games he has made 21 of 22 extra point attempts. That is a lot of opportunity for a very fair price point.

Turkey Day OptionsDan Bailey, Matt Prater, Caleb Sturgis

Defense / Special Teams (D/ST)

D/ST is another position that is very hard to predict because so much of their value comes from return touchdowns. The best teams will have 10 return scores on the season and the worst around four, which makes it tough to know which team to roster.

This week there is no real need to allocate a lot of salary cap towards the defense/special teams slot. The Cincinnati Bengals – $4,800 vs STL have a nice projected point total this week against the Rams who are in need of an effective quarterback. The New York Jets – $4,500 vs MIA is a solid low-cost defense this week in a decent matchup. Despite just one sack against Houston last week, projections are still bullish for the Jets, who had 10 sacks in the two preceding contests. Miami has allowed the seventh most sacks this season.

Turkey Day Options – Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers

Large Field Tournaments aka Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)

Depending on the contest, GPPs will generally pay out 10-20% of the field. It will take an outstanding score in order to finish in the money, so your mentality needs to be that you want to be in the top 10% or finish last. Being middle of the pack or even above average does not come with any reward, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks and stray from the herd.


Eli ManningNYG at WAS – $7,700: With a week of rest for the Giants, they should be ready to rock and roll in this division rivalry game. Washington has allowed opposing signal-callers the third most touchdowns this season, and we have all seen Eli have big weeks against the familiar foes in the NFC East.

Russell WilsonSEA vs PIT – $7,600: Last Sunday was the first time in eight weeks that Russell Wilson posted more than 20 FanDuel points. With RB Marshawn Lynch likely out of this game, it is going to be up to Wilson to lead the team down the field to glory. This game has the potential to be high scoring and Wilson will likely have a hand in most of the touchdowns, making him a fine tournament play.

Running Back

Javorius AllenBAL at CLE – $6,300: While this is a great price for a starting NFL running back going against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, we must remember that the Ravens have also lost their Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Joe Flacco and their future Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Smith. It would not be a shock to see Allen end up with two touchdowns or just have a single digit fantasy point outing. This risk makes him more fit for tournament play.

Wide Receiver

Generally in a GPP, it is a good idea to pair a receiver with your QB so you can double up on your points if they connect for a score or two. Remember you want to go big or go home in this format.

Amari CooperOAK at TEN – $6,800: Okay, so he didn’t even register a full fantasy point, so what. That just means the “never again” crowd won’t be using him this weekend. This is a fine matchup for both Cooper and teammate Michael Crabtree – $6,500, and I am once again going to recommend using them with QB Derek Carr – $7,400 in tournaments. Remember, this trio has paid off more than once this season already.

Odell Beckham JrNYG at WAS – $9,100: This is a lofty price point for ODB, however, he is an excellent target to pair with his quarterback in a tasty post-Thanksgiving matchup.

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski – NE at DEN – $8,400: Another week in which Gronk did not SMASH! That is okay, the recency bias should serve to keep his popularity in check. In large field tournaments we want to have as many players with multi-touchdown upside on our rosters as possible. Gronkowski certainly fits that criteria.

Gary BarnidgeCLE vs BAL – $6,500: Barnage has been outstanding this season and he has posted double-digit FanDuel points in seven of his last eight games. While it may be a stretch to put him in the same category as Gronkowski, when you take into account the difference in price points, he may very well be the better play this week.

Kickers and Defense / Special Teams

Generally I will utilize the same handful of cheap kickers and D/STs across my H2H and GPP lineups because of their inherent boom/bust nature.

Feel free to send questions via Twitter: @EmacDFS

Good Luck Gamers!

About the Author

  • Emac (emac)

  • Emac won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. You can check out his ESPN Fantasy Experience here. Emac finished in the top ten for the DraftKings inaugural $1,000,000 Chase for the Crown promotion and also won the first ever MLB King’s Crown ($5k top prize) on DailyJoust.


  • Music2004Man

    EMac, thanks so much for the article. Any chance you could add a couple of GPP options for the Thanksgiving games? Thanks

  • emac

    Hi Music Man!

    On a three game slate, everyone is in play for tournaments. The Thursday players listed above are the ones I think are the best plays overall.

    If you are looking to be a little different and away from where THE MASSES will probably gather, then:

    QB – Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler
    RB – James Starks, Jeremy Langford
    WR – Cole Beasley, Josh Huff
    TE – Brent Celek, Zach Ertz

    Good Luck!


  • wavesweb

    Great Article Emac .. !! Always enjoy your analysis

  • emac

    @wavesweb said...

    Great Article Emac .. !! Always enjoy your analysis

    Thanks for the kind word Waves, it is a labor of love, but I enjoy every minute!

    Let’s go kick some azz and take some names :)


  • wavesweb

    won 75 K on fan duel on turkey day !!!!! >>> !!!!! >>>> WOOT WOOT >> gl sunday ..

  • emac

    @wavesweb said...

    won 75 K on fan duel on turkey day !!!!! >>> !!!!! >>>> WOOT WOOT >> gl sunday ..

    VERY COOL!!!!

  • Liloldad12

    I never win anything more than $5. Is there a strategic encloser I’m missing or do I just have horrible luck?

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