NFL Reid Option: Week 12
Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!
Week 12 – Thanksgiving
I love Thanksgiving. Sure, you don’t get any presents, but you don’t have to buy any, either. All you do (or at least all I do) is chill, peel potatoes, drink suds, and watch football. And in the middle of it all, you eat like a king with the people that you love the most.
It might also be the best football week of the regular season. The weather is cold, the games are meaningful, and the DFS tournaments are swole. Best of all, recreational players everywhere come out of the woodwork to donk their account funds off. And who’s gonna be there to catch all that beautiful money falling from the sky? That’s right! You and me!
In addition all of the delightful drinking and gambling, Thanksgiving also gives us a stark reminder to be thankful – something I think we could all stand to do a little more in our everyday lives. Gratitude is one of the most healthy and positive qualities we possess as people, yet we forget it every day. I think we’re all guilty of taking some of the most important things in life – things such as good health, loved ones, and freedom – for granted on a daily basis.
I know I’m guilty of it. Sometimes I look right past the great things that happen to me but will give so much mental space to the most trivial of life’s inconveniences. Bad traffic or coming home to dog dook on my carpet can completely overshadow the taste of cold beer on a hot day or the sound of a kitten’s purr.
I know it’s cheesy, but there was a time when I would start every day by writing down three things in life that I was thankful for. Sometimes they were big things, like my mom’s love and support. Sometimes they would be simple things, like having a comfortable bed to sleep in every night. I started every day off with the feeling of gratitude, and as corny as it is, it made me a genuinely happier person. I don’t know why I stopped.
This Thanksgiving, remember to be thankful for all the good things in life. Be thankful for good food and good wine. Be thankful for your family, even if they piss you off sometimes. And most of all, be thankful for all the no-badge fish that you scooped. Let’s get to this week’s picks.
(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week.)
For the Thanksgiving slate, I’m going to forego the normal exposure format – I play 100% GPPs on Thanksgiving – and just give some thoughts on each game.
Vikings @ Lions (+3)
This game has the lowest over/under of the day at 44.5, but there’s reason to think we could be seeing more fantasy goodness than that figure would imply; the Vikings play at the third-fastest pace in gamescript neutral situations and the Lions have a 47% no-huddle rate at home (per Pat Thorman). Even though both of these teams have been solid against the pass, I like both Matt Stafford and Case Keenum here. Stafford in particular interests me; he’s a borderline Top-5 IRL quarterback and should have lower ownership than Keenum, who I’m guessing will be pretty popular because he’s A) hotter than a tin pistol and B) cheaper than a QVC pearl necklace.
Jerick McKinnon is my favorite RB play here and one of my top three of the week considering price and projected ownership. I have the inkling that JMcK will not be widely owned since he’s put up two weak fantasy games in a row, but he’s averaging 13.8 carries and 4.5 receptions per game – good for 18.3 total touches, for those of you who aren’t too hot at adding – since Dalvin Cook got hurt. Since DT Haloti Ngata went down, the Lions have allowed 5.3 yards per carry, and JMcK gets all the passing down work as well if the Vikes happen to go down in this game. Ameer Abdullah is a blunderer and a fool and won’t see any of my rosters.
There’s a gaggle of strong receiving options here, and parsing them out will be key to binking on this slate. Adam Thielen has been hotter than Alabama asphalt and I’m guessing he’ll be one of the the highest-owned (if not the highest) WRs on the slate. He’s a great play of course, but I’ll probably choose to get contrarian here and go overweight on Stefon Diggs for leverage off the chalk. Diggs is set to see a lot of CB Darius Slay, but Slay is more name value than elite shut-down production this season, and Diggs is one of the league’s elite talents at WR. He’s seen just 5.6 targets per game since Week 4, but has big-game potential if he lands one standard deviation above that mark here. Kyle Rudolph should see sparse ownership as well and could be a long-shot tourney winner at the position; his five targets inside the 10-yard line are just one fewer than Thielen for the team lead.
On the Detroit side, Golden Tate and his 7.5 targets per game are a legit under-price; I’ll be overweight on him, considering his matchup against geriatric slot CB Terrance Newman. Stud CB Xavier Rhodes rates to shadow Marvin Jones Jr (as he did in their first matchup this season), which makes Kenny Golladay a strong GPP dart throw on the other side. He played 55.6% of Detroit’s snaps last week after logging just 11 snaps in his first game off of injury the week before, and has snagged a bomb of 40+ yards in each game.
Chargers @ Cowboys (-1)
One of the big storylines here is that stud LT Tyron Smith is practicing and appears on track to play. Most squares assume that Ezekiel Elliott’s absence is to blame for the Cowboys’ struggles over their past two games, but the run game has been fine while the pass protection has not. I don’t love the matchup for Dak Prescott but I think he’ll probably be under-owned and is worth being overweight on because of this. Phil Rivers is fine but I probably won’t own a ton of him; both teams are on the slower side in terms of pace, Rivers has just two 300-yard games this season, and in Dallas’s five home games this season they’ve held opposing QBs to an average of 225.4 passing yards per game – and those games have come against Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, Alex Smith, Jared Goff, and Eli Manning.
Both main RBs in this game get a Bitcoin-like value jump because of the matchup. Melvin Gordon is easily the most expensive back on the slate but faces a Dallas defense that has allowed 150.3 rushing yards to villain RBs without stud LB Sean Lee, as opposed to the 83.8 they’ve allowed with him on the field. However, while the matchup is hot, I’ll probably choose this spot to be underweight on MG3; his snap rates over the past four weeks are 50%, 68%, 59%, and 69% (nice) as Austin Ekeler has ganked an average of 9.5 touches per game over that span. Rod Smith is the contrarian play if you want to wager that Dallas will trail here; he’s the clear passing down back and has actually out-snapped Morris over the past two weeks.
The guy I’m legit pumped about here is Alfred Morris. He has 28 rushes for 144 yards in two games since taking over for Zeke, and the Cowboys lost those games by an average of 24 points. In a game that rates to be far closer, Morris could push for 20+ carries against a weak rush defense – LAC ranks 27th in DVOA against the rush and 29th in fantasy PPG allowed to villain RBs – with his stud left tackle back paving the way, all for just $4800 on DraftKings.
The main WRs to target here are obviously Keenan Allen and Dez Bryant. Allen figures to be chalkier than Nate Nohling’s complexion after he dropped a nuke on the Bills last week, but he hadn’t cracked six receptions or 70 yards in any of his previous five games. I think he probably underperformed during that stretch, but he’s generally not a big touchdown scorer – he’s averaged 6.3 TDs per 16 games in his career – and thus a worthwhile fade considering his high price and ownership. Dez is getting targeted a ton, ranking third in the NFL in team target share (30%) behind only Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. He hasn’t done much with it, however; he’s caught just 51.5% of his targets and has cracked 65 yards just twice. Slated to be covered predominantly by Casey Hayward, Dez is the slate’s equivalent of stuffing – decent, but decidedly non-elite.
Pretty much every other pass-catching option in this game is dogmeat. Mike Williams saw eight targets last week but hasn’t seen more than two in any other game. Hunter Henry rates to be in a #GoodSpot with Sean Lee out, but his snap counts have dropped to the 60% range in recent weeks and Antonio Gates got two endzone targets last week. Terrance Williams has an aDOT of 7.2 yards, which is .1 higher than Jarvis Landry and .1 lower than Danny Amendola. Jason Witten has exactly one reception in four of his past eight games. Woof. It’s possible one of these scrubs goes HAM but I’ll be damned if I know who.
Giants @ Redskins (-7)
Kirk Cousins is the most expensive QB on the slate, and for good reason: The ‘Skins have the highest implied team total (26 points) and are facing the shoddiest defense – the Giants are bottom-three in fantasy points allowed to QBs and are tied for the second-lowest adjusted sack rate. Cousins has cleared 300 yards in four of his past six games and should have a good shot at the bonus here as well. Eli Manning is the cranberry sauce of this slate and should be avoided at all costs.
Samaje Perine is in contention for the top RB play of this slate, price considered. He’s a seven-point home favorite against a bad defense and rates to see see 20+ touches with Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley on IR. I’ll be serving myself a heaping helping of this chalk. Orleans Darkwa is dealing with a hamstring injury and is likely to find himself in a negative gamescript; he’s an uber-contrarian hail mary if you think the Giants can hang (I don’t).
The tight ends in this game are liquid hot magma and I’m going to do a lot of playing them both in DK lineups. Jordan Reed did not practice Tuesday, meaning that Vernon Davis is likely to start again for Washington. Davis is third behind Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski among NFL tight ends with nine receptions of 20+ yards, despite playing first fiddle in just five games. The Giants had famously given up a touchdown to a tight end in every game this season before “limiting” Kelce to a 8-109-0 line last week.
Evan Engram’s 21% team target share and 24% market share of air yards are both top-5 marks among NFL tight ends and #1 among Thanksgiving TEs. He should eat in this game considering Sterling Shepard looks unlikely to play, Mason Foster is out, and both ‘Skins safeties – DJ Swearinger and DeAngelo Hall – are softer than goose down and will be physically overmatched.
Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder have both been busy men of late, receiving 14 and 19 targets over the past two weeks respectively. We don’t really think of the diminutive Crowder as a red-zone threat, but he’s tied with Doctson for the team lead in RZ targets (8) and targets inside the 10-yard line (4). He also has the better individual matchup against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who’s allowing .37 fantasy points per route run, the highest mark in the Giants secondary. If you’re looking for a dart throw on the G-Men side, Roger Lewis has a whopping four targets in back-to-back games and could see a little extra action after his sick game-winning catch last week.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money while we ignore our families on Thanksgiving.
Week 12 – Main Slate
On a typical NFL week I put together multiple cash game lineups across multiple sites which will have significant player overlap. I diversify to hedge on the players I don’t feel as strongly about to reduce variance in a game where it’s inherent. The players I feel strongest about will be in the majority of my lineups – these are my “high exposure” picks. The “moderate exposure” players will be in roughly half of my lineups, and the “GPP” picks are higher-risk, high-reward plays that I believe will be under-owned by the masses. The GPP options listed aren’t the only guys I’ll be using in tournaments, but more so the gems I see as having the best ownership-to-upside ratio on the board.
(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the main slate.)
QUARTERBACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
Russell Wilson @ SF ($7000 DK, $8600 FD, $13,500 FDRAFT) – I don’t usually pay up for QBs in cash, but Russell Wilson is just a different kind of beast right now. He’s accounted for an unfathomable 82.8% of his team’s offense, essentially making him the Kobe Bryant of football. The 49ers play at the fastest pace overall in the NFL, and that has led to opposing teams running the most overall plays against them (an average of 69.7 per game). The sheer volume projection gives Wilson the highest floor of any QB, and the efficiency SF allows (40.7% of drives against them end in a score, the 2nd-highest mark in the league) gives him a sky-high ceiling as well.
QUARTERBACK – GPP PLAYS
Marcus Mariota @ IND ($6300 DK, $7800 FD, $11,300 FDRAFT) – You won’t come away impressed if you look at Mariota’s gamelogs, especially when you see he’s cracked 20 DK points exactly once. However, he’s shown all the makings of a big game in scattered pieces: He has two games of 300+ passing yards, three games with at least one rushing touchdown, and six games with 20+ rushing yards. The Colts are the perfect team to put it all together against; they’ve allowed the second-most yards per play (6.0) and most net yards per pass attempt (7.5) in the NFL while allowing 14 more points than any other team in the league. All of his receiving options are lower-priced as well, allowing you to jam in high-priced studs around a Titans stack.
RUNNING BACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
Tevin Coleman vs TB ($6500 DK, $6200 FD, $10,900 FDRAFT) – With Devonta Freeman unlikely to play with scrambled brains, Coleman should again step in as the Falcons’ lead dog, this time as a 9.5-point home favorite against the Bucs. Last week in Seattle, TC operated as the a bellcow, handling 75.9% of the team’s backfield opportunities and both of the team’s carries inside the 5-yard line. That kind of volume is completely unfadeable on FanDuel and FantasyDraft at their respective price points, and even though DK is the only site to price him even somewhat sharply, I won’t be fading there, either.
RUNNING BACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Todd Gurley vs NO ($8800 DK, $8500 FD, $15,300 FDRAFT) – Gurley has actually been held under 20 touches in each of the past three straight games while Sean McVay has shrewdly saved his flavor for later in season. I believe that all stops here; this game’s importance to the Rams can’t be overstated, as a win puts them in the driver’s seat for a first-round bye in the playoffs and perhaps even home field advantage throughout. On the other hand, if the Rams lose, they are likely to fall out of the lead in their own division with the Seahawks playing the cupcake 49ers. It’s also reasonable to think Gurley is leaned on with top receiving weapon Robert Woods out, and the weakness of the Saints is their rush defense (26th in DVOA), not the pass (4th in DVOA). I’m betting that Gurley tops 25 touches here as the Rams go all out to win this critical game.
J.D. McKissic @ SF ($3700 DK, $5500 FD, $7700 FDRAFT) – The Seattle running backs are dropping like guests eating Davis Mattek’s Thanksgiving turkey, and they’re basically down to JDM and likely Thomas Rawls. Rawls could be a GPP play, but in DK cash I don’t mind punting with McKissic, who has nine receptions on 11 targets over the past two games and rates to garner 5-10 rushes as well.
RUNNING BACKS – GPP PLAYS
Kareem Hunt vs BUF ($8000 DK, $7700 FD, $15,500 FDRAFT) – When’s the best time to play a guy in GPPs? The week after he busts as the chalk and is now in a great matchup. The Bills have now given up 194, 298, and 146 rushing yards in their past three games against the Jets, Saints, and Chargers. The Chiefs opened as 10-point home favorites in a get-right spot, and Hunt’s positive touchdown regression could come to roost in a big way this week.
Dion Lewis vs MIA ($4800 DK, $6200 FD, $9500 FDRAFT) – My days of playing Pats RBs in cash are over (and should have been long ago but I’m a fish), but I’m cool with some GPP action against a Dolphins defense that’s weaker than Clay Travis’s entire persona. Lewis saw a season-high in targets and catches (4) last week after Rex Burkhead got chained to the doghouse and has seen double-digit carries in five straight games while scoring touchdowns in each of the past two since Mike Gillislee has been inactivated.
WIDE RECEIVER – HIGH EXPOSURE
Brandin Cooks vs MIA ($7100 DK, $7600 FD, $13,000 FDRAFT) –
Now everybody who’s a sub at RG
Put your MFing hands up and follow me
Now everybody who’s a sub at RG
Put your MFing hands up!
Look, look …
Now while he stands tough
Notice Xavien Howard does not have his hands up
My speed gonna leave you passed up
Now who’s afraid of the big bad Cooks?
One, two, three, and to the four
One TD, two TDs, three TDs, four
Four TDs, three TDs, two TDs, one
The chance you have to stop Cooks … None.
This guy ain’t no MFing CB
I know everything he’s got to say against me
I am short, I am not very strong
I do sometimes get ignored by my QB Tom
I do got a smart coach who spreads the ball to win
I’m still standing here screaming F*** THE DOLPHINS
Don’t ever try to cover me dude
You don’t know what the f*** I’ll put you through
But I know something about you
You went to Baylor – that’s a Big 12 school
What’s the matter dawg? You embarrassed?
This guy’s a corner? I’mma leave this dude bare-assed
And Xavien’s got PFF’s second-worst rating
And Xavien’s rating means lots of TD celebrating
This guy don’t wanna cover me, he’s shook
‘Cause ain’t no such thing as HALFWAY COOKS
He’s scared to death, he scared to look at his f***ing Facebook
F*** that schnook
F*** a beat, I’ll go a capella
F*** a Dolphins, f*** an Xavien, f*** a Baylor
F*** everybody! F*** y’all if you doubt me
I’m a pint-sized deep-threat receiver, I’ll say it proudly
And f*** this battle, I don’t wanna win, I’m outtie
Here, tell these people something they don’t know about me
Julio Jones vs TB ($7700 DK, $7800 FD, $14,900 FDRAFT) – The Bucs might be the single best matchup for wide receivers this season; they’ve allowed the most receptions (144), the most yards (1,925), and the fifth-most touchdowns (12) to the position while trotting out three starting cornerbacks who have allowed .30+ fantasy points per route run. Julio is viewed as a severe disappointment this season, but the reality is that he’s still tied for 4th among WRs in receiving yardage, 10th in receptions, 4th in air yards, and 6th in air yard market share. The big knock on his fantasy resume is his pathetic total of one touchdown this season, but he leads the Falcons in Red Zone targets (11) and targets inside the 10-yard line (7), which ranks him 5th in the NFL in expected touchdowns. There is regression coming here, and you’ll want to have shares when it does.
WIDE RECEIVER – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Sammy Watkins vs NO ($4900 DK, $5900 FD, $9500 FDRAFT) – It would be a stretch to think that Watkins will immediately step into Woods’ 7.0 targets per game, but he should certainly see an uptick in looks with Woods out. Making his situation better is the dubious status of starting CBs Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley, leaving this as a plus matchup for SamWat should they be unable to suit up. Cooper Kupp (slot) and Michael D Thomas (Woods’ likely replacement) are both semi-intriguing plays as well, but we’ve seen Watkins flash as a #1 receiver in the past and his team needs him to step up here.
Jarvis Landry @ NE ($6800 DK, $7100 FD, $11,800 FDRAFT) – The kryptonite of the Pats defense is slot receivers – they’ve allowed the most yards to slot men, more than 400 more than the average team – and Landry runs 62% of his routes out of the slot. He’s also 3rd in the NFL in both targets and receptions, and should see heavy usage here in a game Miami rates to trail.
WIDE RECEIVER – GPP PLAYS
T.Y. Hilton vs TEN ($6700 DK, $7500 FD, $12,600 FDRAFT) –
Hilton, home (career): 80 rec, 1,298 yards per 16 games
Hilton, home (2017): 70 rec, 1,373 yards per 16 games
Titans vs WR (2017): T-1st in touchdowns allowed (15), 6th in rec allowed (127), 5th in fantasy points per game allowed (24.5), 26th in DVOA against the pass overall
Demaryius Thomas @ OAK ($5700 DK, $6800 FD, $10,500 FDRAFT) – There’s reason to worry about DT this week, and that worry is the talentless vessel that carries Paxton Lynch’s soul in the corporeal world. However, DT is severely underpriced across the industry for a guy seeing 9.7 targets per game over his past six outings, particularly when that guy is facing a Raiders pass defense full of Walmart greeters who wave and say hi as receivers stroll by them while catching a league-high 72% of targets.
TIGHT END – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Jack Doyle vs TEN ($4500 DK, $5700 FD, $9400 FDRAFT) – Doyle is 1st among TEs in team target share (25%) and 2nd in receptions (52), so I’m not sure why he’s just $4500 on Draftkings. But he is, so he’s the best value at the position.
TIGHT END – GPP PLAYS
Delanie Walker @ IND ($5000 DK, $5900 FD, $9300 FDRAFT) – The thing about Walker is that he has zero touchdowns, yet leads the team in Red Zone targets (7) and is second in targets inside the 10-yard line (3). If he doesn’t drop a touchdown last week, he crosses the 100-yard bonus and has a monster game, but instead he’s just another guy this week. Like Julio, there’s positive regression coming here, and I want to be ahead of it.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Patriots vs MIA ($3400 DK, $4700 FD, $6900 FDRAFT) – The Pats are the biggest favorites of the week at with a gargantuan 16-point spread. They’ve held opponents to 17 points or fewer in six straight games, and the Dolphins have been saddled with a minuscule 16-point implied team total, which makes sense since the only team that’s scored fewer points this season is the Cleveland Browns. I prefer the Jags or Bengals if you have the available scratch, and the Steelers on FanDuel for just $200 more. But as far as mid-priced DSTs go on DraftKings, the Pats fit the bill as a solid high-floor play.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 12.
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