NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 12: The Grind Down - Vikings vs. Patriots
Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is a FAST and EFFICIENT preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.
Every game will be broken down with a DFS AND DFS Prop Site mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS and Prop cheat sheet of props to bet, stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.
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Projected Ownership: Expected draft percentage for each player.
All Best Bets for Underdog: For every player, game, and team.
Expert Rankings: Consensus best plays.
Top Stacks: based on our simulations.
Sports Betting Lines and Overview
Minnesota Vikings DFS Breakdown
New England Patriots Projections Breakdown
NFL DFS and Prop Site Analysis
— I’m sure this has happened a time or two in the history of the NFL, but it’s alarming that the Vikings are 8-2 in the standings with a negative point differential. For reference, their point differential is significantly worse than that of the Jaguars (+11), who sit at 3-7 overall. The Vikings will look to bounce back after an incredibly disappointing performance against the Cowboys. The Patriots are coming off of a huge win against the Jets in a game where it felt like neither team wanted to win. New England had the rare walk-off punt return for a touchdown to improve to 6-4 in the standings. The Thanksgiving finale features a 2.5-point spread and a 42.5-point total.
— Sound the alarm — Kirk Cousins is playing in primetime. I’ve seen a few different records out there, but they all agree that Cousins does not fare well under the bright lights. According to an article on CBS, he’s 2-10 lifetime in primetime games and 2-10 against the spread in primetime games. Those are alarming and while I would ordinarily call that noise, there seems to be something to the narrative. Regardless, he’ll look to bounce back from a tough performance against the Cowboys. The matchup doesn’t get any easier though, as the Patriots are ranked first in pass defense DVOA and second in adjusted sack rate. I personally see Cousins as more of a showdown target and will be prioritizing Josh Allen and Dak Prescott on the three-game slate.
— Even though Cousins doesn’t seem like a great play compared to his peers, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have interest in his wideouts. Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in football and is coming off of one of the worst outings of his career. The Vikings would do well to move him all over the field and force-feed him the ball this week against the Patriots. If Jefferson is too expensive for your builds, Adam Thielen is a decent mid-range option. He doesn’t command the same type of target share that he used to, but Cousins still likes to look his way in the red zone. In his first three games with the Vikings, T.J. Hockenson has racked up 28 targets. He has yet to find the end zone, but those type of numbers shouldn’t be ignored. He could easily be the highest scoring tight end on Thanksgiving.
— Alexander Mattison had a sizable role earlier in the season, but that hasn’t been the case since the bye. Over the last four games, Dalvin Cook has played on 77% of the snaps and has handled most of the running back touches in this backfield. His success rate is lower than many of the running backs priced around him on a weekly basis, but very few possess the ability to break off big plays like Cook does. He has a clear path to 20+ touches as a home favorite and is viable in all formats.
— Mac Jones has made seven starts this season and has topped 14 fantasy points a grand total of one time. The Patriots ask him to manage games and rarely let him air it out. The one positive is that he gets to play indoors against a team that is 19th in DVOA against the pass. While Jones is cheap, he has the worst projection of any of the six quarterbacks on the slate. For him to find his way into the optimal lineup, he would need to score 20 fantasy points and for the other quarterbacks to have subpar outings. I’ll take my chances with a full fade.
— While I worry about the ceiling for Jones, I do have interest in a couple of his wideouts. Jakobi Meyers has commanded 24% of the targets and 30% of the team’s air yards this season. That may not equate to as many targets as it would in most offenses, but he’s playing indoors against a team that has allowed the third most fantasy points to wide receivers. Meyers offers a high floor at a cheap price point and could easily find his way into the end zone. DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, and Kendrick Bourne are deep tournament fliers at best. The Patriots continue to use two tight ends in the passing game, which makes predicting fantasy production difficult. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are both touchdown or bust type of tournament punts.
— Damien Harris looked explosive on a couple of runs last week, but the Patriots continue to feature Rhamondre Stevenson. I honestly can’t remember a time where the Patriots had one running back that we could rely on each week. Stevenson has played on 78% of the snaps over the last six games and has had a number of monster fantasy outings during that stretch. Harris will continue to be involved, but Stevenson should see two-thirds of the running back opportunities with the potential for more if they fall behind early. We saw what the Cowboys running backs were able to do against the Vikings last week. On a per-dollar basis, Stevenson is one of the top plays on the slate.
Strong GPP Differentiators: Adam Thielen
Roster Construction Punts/Values: N/A
Favorite Prop Site Bet: Rhamondre Stevenson over 26.5 receiving yards (PrizePicks)