The 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!
Hello again my friends. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and hopefully smashed some cash along the way. This week has obviously been busy with the Thanksgiving and Black Friday, so I’m just going to drop some brief thoughts on the main slate here, kind of like I did for Thanksgiving.
I’m going to keep my QB pool fairly small this week, and it starts with Andrew Luck. He’s in a money spot against Miami’s merry band of cucks at home with a 29.3-point implied team total. Patrick Mahomes is the only QB with more TD passes than Luck’s 29, and he should have a ton of room to throw here, since the Dolphins have the league’s 4th-lowest adjusted sack rate (4.8%) and the Colts have been the 3rd-best team in terms of protecting their QB (4.2% adjusted sack rate).
Like the fish I am, I also continue to love QB-BUCS, played this week by Jameis Winston. QB-BUCS has scored more fantasy points than every QB not named Patrick Mahomes this season, and the Tamps Bay has an implied team total of 28.5 points, the third-highest of the main slate. He’s an elite GPP play and I have zero issue playing him in cash as well, particularly on FanDuel where he’s just $7500.
Lamar Jackson should be popular after he crushed souls on the ground last week, and I’ll have moderate exposure to him across the industry as well, owing to a great matchup against a hopeless Raiders defense that has the fewest sacks in the NFL (9) while allowing the most yards per play (6.6). Jackson ran the rock 26 times last week, and I’m expecting another 20+ in a spot where Baltimore rates to control the game.
Let’s address the elephant in the room right off the bat: Melvin Gordon was all set up to be the chalk this week against Arizona, but late word on Friday has him reported as a true game-time decision for Sunday. That puts us in a weird spot since he’s in the late set of games, so I think there’s really two sharp ways to attack this. The first is to just play Saquon Barkley as your RB1. The second is to play MG3 and have a pivot ready, something like MG3+Mack+Manny Sanders+Chargers DST ($23,000 on DK) and if Gordon is ruled out, pivot to Ekeler+Conner+AB+Colts DST ($23,100 on DK), or something to that effect. The bottom line is that you should have a plan set up in advance so that you’re ready for any eventuality, because if MG3 is out and you don’t have Ekeler, you’re missing out on the best cash game value on the slate and you shall surely suffer a crippling monetary pestilence because of it.
There’s a ton of value in the middle tier at this position, starting with James Conner. While Conner isn’t necessarily a cash-must, he’s a very strong play despite downers in his past two outings. The truth is that you would never pass on Le’Veon Bell for $7800 (DK) or $7900 (FD) in this spot, and Conner has been every bit the fantasy force that Bell was.
There are several potential GPP difference-makers in the high-middle pricing tier, my favorite among them being Joe Mixon. His workloads of late haven’t been real hefty, but positive gamescript could change all that and the Browns have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns, the second-highest total in the league. I also find Leonard Fournette intriguing – he has 29 and 30 touches in his past two games since returning from injury, and he could be set up for a monster game if Jacksonville can get ahead early. Lastly, David Johnson has averaged 145.6 total yards per game since Byron Leftwich has taken over OC duties, and the Chargers linebacking core has been decimated like late-night pumpkin pie. DJ is the least gamescript-dependent of these backs, so he’s the “safest” in that regard.
Marlon Mack headlines the value backs I’ll be looking at. The Colts are a 7.5-point home favorite, meaning that Mack could get a lot of work here; we’ve seen him rack up strong touch totals in games that Indianapolis dominated: 21 touches in a 37-5 win against Buffalo, 27 touches in a 42-28 win against Oakland, and 17 touches in a 38-10 win last week against Tennessee. With the Colts likely to roll against Miami this week, Mack makes for a strong value play in cash and also offers leverage against the popular Luck-to-Hilton stacks in GPPs.
Philip Lindsay doesn’t have a great matchup against Pittsburgh, but the guys jumps off the screen with his quickness and is an open-field terror, and he still had 15 touches and 2 TDs last week even with Royce Freeman back in the fold. He should get work through the air even if the Broncos are behind, and Pittsburgh does not have a fast defense – I could see him being a real matchup problem for them. Finally, Gus Edwards is a thin cash play since his workload is far from assured and he doesn’t rate to see much work through the air, but he has grips of TD equity as a massive home favorite (-10) against the Raiders and is insanely cheap on FanDuel, where his lack of receptions won’t hurt as bad.
There’s so much value in the mid-tier here that you don’t need to pay up to the top in cash. However, Odell Beckham is in a smash spot against an Eagles defense that is missing its top five cornerbacks, and wasn’t that good against the pass to begin with – Philly has allowed the second-most yards to opposing WRs per game (200.5). I also feel like Antonio Brown will go overlooked in GPPs – he’s only leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns, no big deal. I also love the Mike Evans stack with Jameis in tournaments – that SF/TB game has the highest O/U of the slate and if you like things like yards and touchdowns, you shouldn’t overlook this man. He also provides great leverage off of teammate Cameron Brate, who is likely to be the chalk at tight end with O.J. Howard dusted.
For cash, the middle tier is where I’ll be focusing. T.Y. Hilton smashes at home (78.0 rec ypg career) and is a fine play, although I prefer his boom-or-bust profile in GPPs. Tyler Boyd already feels like a forgotten man, but he got 11 targets last week and has a saucy individual matchup against Briean Boddy-Calhoun, which the Rotogrinders Matchup Chart has rated as the second-best of the entire slate. Emmanuel Sanders for $5500 on Draftkings is a bonkers price and I’ll have a ton of exposure to him in both cash and GPPs – besides Jarvis Landry, I expect him to see the most targets of anyone in his pricing tier. Speaking of Landry, everyone is sick of his BS and I’m going to try to take advantage of that in GPPs, since he’s still seeing legit volume and is playing a crap-tastic Bengals defense that has allowed scores on an NFL worst 49.1% of opponents’ drives. And of course, D.J. Moore will be a lineup staple with Devin Funchess out; he’ll serve as Carolina’s de facto #1 WR after flexing last week.
Cameron Brate is an obvious play with O.J. Howard out, and will be the chalk in cash games since he’s still quite cheap on both major sites. I think the big question is, what are we doing in GPPs? I love going back to Zach Ertz – he really disappointed last week but still leads all NFL tight ends in targets, receptions, and weighted opportunity rating. I also love George Kittle as the bring-back in my Tampa Bay stacks – not only is Kittle a usage beast, but the Bucs are missing every linebacker and safety they had above practice-squad quality – he’s absolutely going to run wild here. Finally, Jack Doyle has been excommunicated by fantasy owners since Eric Ebron, Marlon Mack, and T.Y. Hilton have taken turns poaching his fantasy value – if you want an uncommon way to get exposure to the Colts this week, Doyle’s officially entered the contrarian-play zone.
This isn’t hard – look for the big favorites and spend the rest of your energy elsewhere. The Chargers are my top target, with Joey Bosa back and a rookie QB lining up on the other side. The Cardinals have also allowed an 8.1% adjusted sack rate, the 12th-highest total in the league and Josh Rosen has thrown a completion to the other team on 4.4% of his pass attempts, the fourth-highest total in the league. The Ravens are right there at the top as well; the Raiders might be the top team in the pathetic rankings (which is basically the power rankings, only in reverse). In GPPs, I really like the Patriots as 10-point favorites against the Jets, who’s 22 turnovers are the 2nd-highest total in the NFL. And I’ll also endorse Evan Silva’s take on the Bills hosting the Jaguars, who have this QB named Blake Bortles who may or may not be the position’s greatest dingleberry. Enjoy the fruits of that tree, my friends.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 12.
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 – or wine if you’re a classy MF like me – 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.
On this Thanksgiving, be thankful for your family – even if they’re a bunch of politically extreme kooks. Be thankful for your significant other – even if they’re a real pain in the ass sometimes. And be thankful for the money you have – even if you’re about to donk it all off on Zach Zenner.
This week’s write-up will be a little different than usual – I’m writing it very early in the week, so I’m just gonna do a little stream-of-consciousness on both the Thanksgiving slate and the weekend’s main slate. Have a great holiday my friends, may your stomachs and DFS accounts be full.
(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week.)
When you’re attacking a 3-game slate from a GPP perspective, there are 3 main things you want to figure out:
1. Who are my ride-or-die players?
2. Who am I fading?
3. Who are my favorite value plays?
Alvin Kamara is my top ride-or-die of this slate. The Falcons have proven to be more inept against running backs than the human race is at protecting the environment: Only once in 10 games have they kept their opponent’s lead back under 20 DK points, and they’ve allowed more than 30 DK points an absurd five times. And of course, for approximately the 30th season in a row, they’ve allowed the most receptions (93) and receiving yards (815) to villain RBs. So yeah, give me all the Kamara. The fact that he’s not the most optimal play (since he’s been ceding work to Mark Ingram, who will cut into AK’s ownership) only makes him more appealing to me here, since he’s won’t be overwhelming chalk. The really interesting play here is to use both Saints backs in the same lineup and bank on New Orleans crushing that Falcon tail, and I’ll have a couple lineups build around this premise. Ezekiel Elliott is my other R.O.D. for obvious reasons. He projects for the highest workload by far of any back on this slate and is a strong home favorite (-7.5). I realize both of these players are obvious, but the point is that I’m prioritizing the high-priced RBs over the elite WRs and choosing to court my variance at the WR position.
My big fade of this slate will be Michael Thomas. His historical outlier efficiency (90.1% catch rate) is a big underdog to sustain, and his low aDOT (7.6 yards) doesn’t make him ideal to make the splash plays that win short-slate GPPs. I’ll also be underweight on Julio Jones, mostly because I’m focusing on spending at RB more than receiver, but New Orleans also did a nice job against him in their first meeting with Marcus Lattimore covering him (and later moving over to Calvin Ridley while they doubled Julio on the other side). That doesn’t make it a sure thing they play him as well this time, but I’m assuming Julio will be extremely highly owned after his recent hot streak (five straight games with 100+ yards and three straight with a TD) and I’m willing to fade the public at a highly volatile like WR. Other fades for me will be the gamescript-dependent Adrian Peterson – Dallas’s run defense has been really strong this season and hasn’t missed a beat with Leighton Vander Esch filling in for Sean Lee, plus Washington is a huge road dog and is missing their starting QB, so I have little faith their offense can do anything of use. I’m also likely to have no exposure to Allen Robinson, whose usage (21% target share, 12.7 aDOT in his healthy games) isn’t much different than Taylor Gabriel in those games (18% target share, 13.4 aDOT), but both his price and ownership will be higher.
My favorite value on this slate starts with Bruce Ellington. Elly saw nine targets and a 24% target share in his first significant action for the Lions last week, and at $3200 on DK allows a lot of flexibility in your builds. I wrote earlier about how similar Taylor Gabriel has been used to Allen Robinson – he’s just $3700 on DraftKings and $5100 on FanDuel. He’s getting enough usage for his price and has enough big play ability to break the slate open – I’ll have a ton of him. Last week, Amari Cooper was a bag of baking powder instead of the good Columbian chalk we were expecting, but I’m willing to go back to the well on Thanksgiving. He’s definitely the #1 receiving option for Dallas and most importantly, he has six of the team’s seven endzone targets since he joined the squad (h/t Michael Florio) – I see them making him a focal point this week yet again. I also like Cole Beasley for his price; he leads all Cowboys receivers in Red Zone targets (8) and targets inside the 10-yard line (3) and just feels like the kind of dude who cracks the Thanksgiving slate.
I haven’t talked much about QBs or TEs here, mostly because I’ll be mixing and matching them. But at QB I’ll be focusing on Brees, Ryan, and Trubisky (UPDATE: Mitchell Trubisky is doubtful to play Thursday. Chase Daniel would start in his place.) and at TE, I really like Austin Hooper (8+ targets in four of his last six games and ATL should have to throw plenty) and Jordan Reed, who was a main focus of new ‘Skins QB Colt McCoy in his first action – I could see McCoy using the big TE as his safety blanket here. My big off-the-board play at TE will be Vernon Davis – VD hasn’t caught a ball in either of the past two games, but he’s one of Washington’s only real downfield threats and he’s played 47% of the team’s snaps over the past three weeks. With tight ends on a slate like this, it only takes one TD to win the slate and nobody’s going to own VD, who is some savage leverage against his TE teammate.