NFL Draftkings Picks: Week 12
NFL DFS Picks
Between the triple-header on Thanksgiving and two teams on a bye, we have just 10 games on the main slate this week. The Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals are off so we will be without the services of some of our favorite and most reliable weekly plays. The COVID outbreaks seem to have subsided somewhat except for in the New York Jets locker room. There are also some injury situations to monitor as per usual and as always, be sure to check the inactive lists and follow the breaking injury news. It can often result in a “free square” for your lineup. Each week Fantasy Data will bring you 20 players that we like for the Draftkings Sunday main slate. Let us get right to it.
Other DFS Reads
- DraftKings Cash Game Core: Week 12
- 5 Best Value QB/WR Stacks for DFS in Week 12
- Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 12
Studs to Splurge For
Here we will highlight two players at each position that are in the top-five of their respective position and are deemed worthy of “paying up” for in your lineup. Please note these players will likely be highly owned so if you are looking to differentiate, you will want to pull more players from the next two sections.
Tom Brady | $7600 | TB @ IND
The Indianapolis Colts surprisingly allow the fifth-most points to the quarterback position. Up next for them is Tom Brady, the leading point per game player at the position. Brady has put up 30 or more points in half of the games he has played in 2021, including one game over 40. The Colts gave up 28.7 points to Josh Johnson and 18.8 to Jacoby Brissett to give you an idea of how much they have struggled. This game has the highest total on the slate at 52.5. What better way to get a piece of the action than by rostering the highest-scoring player in the game.
Matthew Stafford | $7100 | LAR @ GB
The bye week came at just the right time for the Los Angeles Rams. Losing Robert Woods was a huge loss. Fortunately, they were able to sign Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams looked lost against the division-rival 49ers heading into the week off. Expect head coach Sean McVay to have righted the ship during their time off and come up with an offense that will best utilize the shiny new toys. It is no secret that Matthew Stafford had been struggling, scoring less than 20 points. The Green Bay Packers are middle-of-the-road versus quarterbacks but as we mentioned, McVay has had two full weeks to prepare for them. Look for a bounce-back game from Stafford and the entire Rams offense here.
Jonathan Taylor | $9100 | TB @ IND
How do we not play Jonathan Taylor at this point? Regardless of the matchup. Or the price. We mentioned here last week that JT could be a tournament winner and he went out and dropped 56.4 DK points against the “best” run defense in the league. The Buccaneers have had one of the best rushing defenses all season, but have given up three of their season's worst fantasy games over the past five contests. Khalil Herbert of the Chicago Bears put up 18.3 DK points against them so Taylor should have no trouble in this one. The Colts offensive line is far superior to that of the Bears. Do not let the perceived bad matchup scare you off this week.
Christian McCaffrey | $9000 | CAR @ MIA
This is the first time in memory that a healthy Christian McCaffrey was not the highest-priced running back on the slate. McCaffrey has come back from injury and “quietly” put up two consecutive 20+ point performances. The Miami Dolphins are up next and have been better against the run of late. However, that stretch of games included matchups against the Jets, Ravens, Texans, and Bills, teams that do not exactly have a running back on the level of CMC. Look for the 20-point streak to continue in this one fairly easily and the versatile back from Stanford could even break 30 here. Play him with confidence and gain an ownership percentage advantage over those that roster Taylor.
Davante Adams | $8600 | LAR @ GB
We are going back to the well here with Davante Adams this week. We predicted that he and Rodgers would get back on track against the Minnesota Vikings and their poor pass defense. The matchup here is a little tougher, but Adams is the only receiver of note in the Packers offense and will continue to absorb additional targets while Aaron Jones misses time. Jones was averaging almost five targets per game before going down with the knee injury. Jalen Ramsey and the Rams will look to take Adams out of the game but were not able to do so in the divisional playoff game last season. Adams put up 21.6 points in that one, hauling in nine of 10 targets for 66 yards and a score.
Justin Jefferson | $8300 |MIN @ SF
Justin Jefferson is the top-scoring receiver over the past three weeks and outside of Elijah Moore, it is not even close. The second-year wideout has racked up 77.1 DK points in his past three. Elijah Moore is at 70.4 and then it drops down to Stefon Diggs with 63.0 points. The San Francisco 49ers have had one of the better past defenses in the league this season, allowing just 33.2 points per game to the position. However, they have given up big games to big-time receivers in 2021. Davante Adams put up 31.2 against them and Cooper Kupp had a down game in Week 10 but still managed to post 23.2 points. Jefferson should continue to be a favorite of quarterback Kirk Cousins and has out-targeted Adam Thielen 26 to 24 in those games.
George Kittle | $6400 | MIN @ SF
Another player that has performed well since returning from injury is George Kittle. The bruising tight end is averaging 17.83 points per game in the three contests he has played in since returning from a knee injury. The Minnesota Vikings come to town and are one of the best teams in the league against the position statistically speaking. We must keep in mind that in ten games, they have faced Mark Andrews and T.J. Hockenson that are worthy of mentioning. Maxx Williams of the Arizona Cardinals was able to put up 16.4 points against them so fear not the matchup. Play Kittle with confidence and you may catch him at low ownership because of the red 3rd next to his name under OPRK.
Mike Gesicki | $5300 | CAR @ MIA
Mike Gesicki was listed as a Fantasy Data Favorite last week and somewhat came through with 10.0 points. The Carolina Panthers come to town and bring with them a defense that allows 10.6 points per game to tight ends. As is the case with the 49ers, the Panthers have not had a quality tight end to challenge them outside of Kyle Pitts. They were able to shut the rookie down, but this was also in the first game without Calvin Ridley on the field due to personal matters. Expect Gisecki to get his usual six to 10 targets in this one in a game that will likely be an old-school grinder. Outside of Jaylen Waddle, Tua just does not have anyone else to throw to.
Sleepers to Separate From the Pack
Up next we give you some players to help differentiate your lineup from the masses and give you the edge you need to compete in some of the bigger tournaments. Just like the section above, we highlight two players at each position except now instead of studs, you get players that are expected to be less than 10% owned on the main slate.
Cam Newton | $5600 | CAR @ MIA
Cam Newton quietly put up 26.16 DK points in his first start for the Carolina Panthers. On tap are the Miami Dolphins that historically struggle against rushing quarterbacks. Miami was able to shut down Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10, but that may have been the exception. Cam put up 35.7 against the Dolphins back in 2017 and again posted 25.7 against them last year as a member of the New England Patriots. The price only went up $500 despite the solid performance against a good Washington Football Team defense in Week 11. Newton should easily reach value again here and has a solid shot to hit 4x his salary.
Jimmy Garoppolo | $5700 | MIN @ SF
Jimmy Garoppolo has had four straight games of 15.38 or more DK points and two of them have been over 23.34. The Minnesota Vikings come to town in Week 12. The same Vikings team that just got torched by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Minnesota ranks 31st against the position and is allowing 19.7 points per game to the position. Garoppolo has his full arsenal of weapons available now with George Kittle fully healthy. The trio of Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle has been a formidable tandem of late, giving the 49ers new life for 2021. We simply cannot overlook Jimmy G much longer.
Melvin Gordon III | $5300 | LAC @ DEN
Revenge game anyone? Melvin Gordon gets to face his old team for the third time. Gordon has not fared well in the prior two matchups but has been solid this season, scoring in double figures in five straight games. The Broncos are going to want to kill the clock and run in this one to keep Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers offense on the sideline. The Chargers defense has been getting shredded on the ground and give up 26.5 DK points per game to the position. They were able to keep Najee Harris in check but he was still able to put up 16.9 points against them. Gordon should be a focal point of the offense despite the presence of rookie Javonte Williams. Look for head coach Vic Fangio to give the edge to the veteran in this one against his former team.
Miles Sanders | $5100 | PHI @ NYG
Miles Sanders is priced surprisingly low this week. The New York Giants have been atrocious against the run in 2021, allowing the fourth-most DK points to the position per game at 27.9. Sanders returned from injury in Week 11 and found himself in a rejuvenated offense. While all of the rushing touchdowns went to Jalen Hurts, Sanders wound up just shy of 100 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. The Penn State grad has not had much success against the Giants in his short career but this is a different Giants defense. The Eagles are now a run-first team under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. This will benefit Sanders in Week 12 and he should easily reach value in this one at such a low cost.
Brandon Aiyuk |$5300 | MIN @ SF
We mentioned the struggles for the Minnesota Vikings against the pass while discussing Jimmy Garoppolo. The return of George Kittle from injury has brought about a resurgence for Brandon Aiyuk. In the three games since Kittle returned, the Arizona State alum has put up over 19.7 DK points in two of three and is averaging 15.6 DK points over that span. You can leverage the field with a Jimmy G/Aiyuk/Kittle stack and it will not break the bank. You can roster the trio for just $17,400, leaving you $32,600 to build the rest of your lineup. This would certainly go down as a contrarian stack.
Laviska Shenault Jr. | $4400 | ATL @ JAX
If not now, when? Jamal Agnew has landed on IR with D.J. Chark. This should be the chance to shine that Laviska Shenault has been looking for in 2021. Shenault was a preseason darling amongst many but has disappointed, to say the least. The Colorado grad did see five targets last week and another eight in Week 10. The Atlanta Falcons are reeling and cannot seem to stop anyone of late. Look for the third-year wideout to absorb some of the targets vacated by Agnew and he will likely even see some rushing attempts. At $4,400 we can afford to take a chance on him paying off finally and if he does not, then it becomes “never Viska” for us.
Ryan Griffin | $2600 | IND @ BUF
The tight end plays here are honestly just dart throws. With just a ten-game slate and all the big-name tight ends playing in primetime or already being covered in this article, we need to find some upside plays. Ryan Griffin fits that mold. Tyler Kroft is on IR and Corey Davis pulled up with an injury in practice this week. Griffin was targeted four times in Week 11 by Joe Flacco and will get rookie Zach Wilson back under center this week. The rookie will lean heavily on his tight ends and the Houston Texans rank 30th against the position. This is a recipe for Griffin to see four to six targets and potentially a touchdown. At $2,600, we only need about four catches for forty yards for him to return value.
Evan Engram | $3800 | PHI @ NYG
We know, we know. Evan Engram has not lived up to the hype. Like, ever. Hear us out. Engram has 10.4 or more DK points in three of four games and is averaging 9.3 over that span. The Philadelphia Eagles come to town and rank dead last against the position. Adam Trautman of the New Orleans Saints posted a healthy 16.8 DK points against this defense in Week 11. Kadarius Toney is also likely to miss Week 12, leaving more of a target share out there for Engram. Again, these are dart throws at the position, if you are not comfortable with them, pay up for one of the studs or roster the likely to be high-owned Rob Gronkowski discussed later.
Fantasy Data Favorites
In this section, we will give you one play from each position for the week that we like the most. This will be a player that likely will give you a high upside at a lower cost than their counterparts and also come with a low ownership projection. Here you go!
Tyrod Taylor | $5300 | NYJ @ HOU
In Week 11 we saw the Tyrod Taylor we expected to see when he returned from injury in Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins. Taylor struggled in his first game back against a surging Miami defense. Against the Tennessee Titans in Week 10, the veteran seemed to get his legs back, literally. Taylor rushed for two scores en route to posting 19.08 DK points, good for almost 4x his $5,000 salary. We will take that type of ROI any chance we get. Up next are the woeful New York Jets who allow 18.8 points per game to the quarterback position on the season and the third-most points (21.4) over the last four games. We love Taylor as a low-owned, high upside option for this slate.
James Robinson | $6200 | ATL @ JAX
Speaking of low-owned options, James Robinson may be a forgotten man in the mid-salary range this weekend. Unlike McCaffrey and Kittle mentioned above, Robinson has struggled a bit to get to pre-injury form. A matchup versus the Atalanta Falcons could be just what the doctor ordered. The Falcons just got embarrassed on Thursday Night Football against the New England Patriots and the duo of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris ran all over them. The Jags have been playing good football of late and could pick up their third win of the season this Sunday. If they do, Robinson will have been a big part of that. Atlanta has not been able to stop the run and allow 27.7 points per game to running backs, the sixth-most in the league.
Brandin Cooks | $5800 | NYJ @ HOU
Last week we touched on rostering players coming off a bad game. Here we have Brandin Cooks, who in theory should have had a good game against a bad Titans secondary. Week 12 presents another opportunity against a poor New York Jets defense. The Jets have allowed the third-most points per game (44.5) over the past five contests and have been lit up by the likes of Tyler Boyd, Mack Hollins, and Gabriel Davis. Cooks should have no trouble getting back to double-digits in this one and makes an inexpensive stacking option with quarterback Tyrod Taylor. You can have the duo for the low, low price of just $10,800, leaving you tons of coin to spend up for JT or CMC this week.
Rob Gronkowski | $4400 | TB @ IND
Another cheap option, and one that will likely be highly owned, is Rob Gronkowski. The value is just too good to ignore here. Gronk averages the most points at the position on the slate yet he is the seventh most expensive tight end. The former Patriot looked good in his return on Monday Night Football against the New York Giants, putting up six catches for 71 yards on eight targets. The Bucs travel to Indy for Week 12 and face a defense that ranks 29th against the position. They gave up a monster game to Mark Andrews (37.7) in Week 5 and have given up solid performances to Mike Gesicki, Dawson Knox, Ryan Griffin, and even Geoff Swaim (12.3). Look for the duo of Brady and Gronkowski to set the record for quarterback-tight end touchdown connections, surpassing Philip Rivers and Antonio Gate who sit at 89.
Summing It All Up
As we all know, football is unpredictable, we make these picks using the data available to us at fantasydata.com and try to help our readers make educated, thoughtful decisions when creating their DK lineup. If you find this helpful or have any comments, be sure to notate them below. Thank you for reading.
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Jeff Smith has been playing fantasy sports (football and baseball) for nearly 20 years. Jeff is a member of the FSWA and a Senior Writer at DLF. Despite growing up in Buffalo Bills country, he is an avid Chicago Bears fan. It was Walter Payton that did it. When not writing or researching fantasy sports or playing DFS, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and their Bichon Poo, Daisy. He also likes video games, craft beer, and recently became the owner of his own business.