RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 12

Fri Nov 26 10:20am ET
Contributing Writer

Related photo caption below

Moore is quickly gaining value

Two teams will be on a bye in Week 12 and there were three games on Thursday, so we’ll have fewer options to choose from for the main Sunday-Monday DFS slate. With that in mind, here are some players to consider for your entries, as well as a few to potentially avoid.


Tom Brady, TB at IND ($7,600): The Buccaneers routed the Giants on Monday Night Football and Brady threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns along the way. It marked his six straight multi-touchdown game, and while he also threw an interception, it wasn’t entirely his fault since the ball bounced off of the hands of wide receiver Mike Evans. Brady’s touchdown prowess could be big for this matchup given that the Colts have allowed a league-high 25 touchdowns through the air.

Cam Newton, CAR at MIA ($5,800): Newton’s first start since returning to the Panthers brought a valuable stat line last week against Washington. While he threw for a modest 189 yards, he did have two touchdown passes. He also turned 10 carries into 46 yards and a touchdown. His salary is climbing, but with his rushing upside, he could still end up being a bargain.

Player to Avoid

Ryan Tannehill, TEN at NE ($6,200): Tannehill was bad in an embarrassing loss to the Texans in Week 11. Yes, he threw for 323 yards and a touchdown. However, he was also picked off four times. The Titans offense isn’t nearly as potent with Derrick Henry (foot) and Julio Jones (hamstring) on IR, so they could have trouble producing points against a Patriots team that has allowed just 16.1 points per game. They also have also hauled in a league-high 18 interceptions.

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey, CAR at MIA ($8,700): McCaffrey didn’t receive a ton of carries last week, but he did turn his 10 into 59 yards. He was also his potent self in the passing game, catching seven of eight targets for 60 yards and a touchdown. He’s posted at least 100 total yards in all three games since being activated off IR, leaving him with one of the highest floors of any running back included in this slate.

Rex Burkhead, HOU vs. NYJ ($4,000): If you’re looking to take a chance on a running back with a really cheap salary in tournament play, Burkhead is someone to consider. He had a season-high 18 carries last week, although he only turned them into 40 yards. Still, the workload was significant. He could remain busy with the team waiving Phillip Lindsay this week. This matchup also works in his favor given that the Jets have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game in the league.

Player to Avoid

Saquon Barkley, NYG vs. PHI ($6,800): Coming out of the Giants bye week, Barkley was able to make his return against the Buccaneers. He disappointed, though, with just 56 total yards. The Giants offense has been terrible this season and is in a state of flux after firing offensive coordinator Jason Garrett on Tuesday. Better days could be coming if they open up the playbook, but it might be best to take a wait-and-see approach for at least the first week of the post-Garrett era.

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans, TB at IND ($7,200): Evans hauled in yet another touchdown pass in Week 11, giving him one score in each of the last four games. He already has 10 touchdown receptions for the season, following the 13 that he had in 2020. With how often the Colts have been allowing passing touchdowns, a Brady/Evans stack could prove to be fruitful, despite their hefty salaries.

Elijah Moore, NYJ at HOU ($5,700): Moore toasted the Dolphins last week, catching eight of 11 targets for 141 yards and a touchdown. He did that with Joe Flacco starting at quarterback, but he’ll be without Flacco in Week 12 since he’s been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Fellow quarterback Mike White tested positive for COVID-19, which means Zach Wilson (knee) will like start. As bad as he’s been, Moore’s featured roll within the Jets offense should leave him with enough volume to potentially provide value.

Player to Avoid

Courtland Sutton, DEN vs. LAC ($5,800): Sutton was quiet heading into the Broncos’ Week 11 bye, totaling just five receptions for 78 yards over his previous three games. He didn’t get more than four targets in any of those games. His decline in production has coincided with the return of Jerry Jeudy, who has 16 receptions for 156 yards during that same span. The Chargers have only allowed five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, so when you combine that with Sutton’s limited workload recently, his upside could be very limited.

Tight Ends

Kyle Pitts, ATL at JAX ($5,900): The Patriots’ defense normally does a good job of eliminating the opposing offenses top skill player. In Week 11, that meant holding Pitts to three receptions for 29 yards. This should be a much easier matchup against the Jaguars, who have allowed the eighth-most points per game (26.2) in the league. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (personal) remains out, which means Pitts should remain one of Matt Ryan’s top pass catchers.

Evan Engram, NYG vs. PHI ($3,700): Engram hauled in touchdown passes in back-to-back games for the Giants heading into their bye, providing a glimmer of hope to an otherwise underwhelming season. He couldn’t build on it, though, catching two of five targets for 12 yards in Week 11. If there was ever a week to take a chance on him in tournament play, though, this might be it. The Eagles have been torched by opposing tight ends, allowing the most receptions (81), receiving yards (811) and touchdowns (nine) to the position in the league.

Player to Avoid

Tyler Higbee, LAR at GB ($4,200): The Rams certainly need their Week 11 bye to regroup. Losing wide receiver Robert Woods (knee) for the season just before their Week 10 matchup with the 49ers dealt a major blow to their offense. They did recently add Odell Beckham Jr. and the bye likely helped integrate him into their offense. Higbee has been fairly quiet at the tight end position, posting fewer than 50 receiving yards in all but two games this season. If you’re looking to throw a dart at tight end, you might be better off rolling with Engram or Austin Hooper ($3,500) at significantly cheaper salaries. Hooper has a favorable matchup against the Ravens, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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Player Notes
Tee Higgins Jan 20 5:40pm ET
Tee Higgins

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins has gotten somewhat lost in the storm of Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase putting up record-setting numbers. However, Higgins is a solid option, and it was fairly recently that the fantasy community was in a frenzy regarding taking Higgins over Chase in 2022. Things have changed, obviously, but Higgins is still a fantastic option for DFS and will be a draft target in 2022. A tall, possession wide receiver, paired with one of the best in the game in Chase and a gunslinger in Burrow, Higgins has the potential to go off in any given week while also holding a decent floor due to the offense's electricity and the lanky receiver's talent. With the LSU reunion in Cincinnati, the former Clemson Tiger is being overlooked to a fault.

From RotoBaller

Byron Pringle Jan 20 5:40pm ET
Byron Pringle

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle is nothing special, but if DFS players are scouring for a cheap wide receiver or Flex, Pringle is a good fit. In his last four games, Pringle has played 64 percent of snaps and been on pace for 81 receptions, 863 yards, and 17 touchdowns. Obviously, this is not sustainable, but behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Pringle has emerged as the Chiefs' next best option through the air. Although he has little value in Dynasty and probably won't even be drafted in 2022, fantasy managers can ride the 28-year-old's hot streak in what projects to be a shootout against the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Jerick McKinnon Jan 20 5:20pm ET
Jerick McKinnon

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon had a surprising performance last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers with 12 carries for 61 yards and six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. However, this apparent breakout should be analyzed skeptically. The 29-year-old accompanied a variation of lead backs in his days with the Minnesota Vikings but managed to sign a substantial deal with the San Francisco 49ers, where he would fade to irrelevance. But the Chiefs took a flier on this speedster, and after a full season with the team, he finally played a role in this offense for one game. Throughout the season, the Chiefs have been searching for an answer at running back and cycling from one guy to another. Perhaps McKinnon is what they've been looking for all along, but based on his career's history and the abruptness of his surge, it's most likely that they'll continue rotating to the next guy and McKinnon will fade once again.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Jan 20 5:10pm ET
Devin Singletary

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary had a stellar end to the season and has continued his dominance into the playoffs. Last week, against the New England Patriots, Singletary had 16 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns as well three catches for 13 yards. Through the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 15 to 17), the 24-year-old was the RB2, averaging 18.5 fantasy points per game. Singletary's divisional round performance against the Kansas City Chiefs may be extremely indicative of his future outlook. Against a good defense and in what's projected to be a contested game, the Bills may choose to lean on their lead-runner: a great sign for Singletary's future value. However, the Bills may also find themselves falling behind and revert to their pass-heavy ways, neglecting Singletary, which presents some downside for Dynasty managers and potential 2022 drafters. The Bills have recently reinvented themselves around this talented rusher, but only time will tell if they choose to sustain this strategy.

From RotoBaller

Cam Akers Jan 20 5:10pm ET
Cam Akers

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers has officially returned after recovering from his torn Achilles in record time, and he has returned with a bang. The sophomore amassed 18 touches for 95 total yards against the Arizona Cardinals on Wild Card Weekend. After such a great performance, it seems as though Akers has returned as the Rams' feature-back; however, this notion is not reflected in his DFS cost. A mere price of $5,700 places him in the neighborhood of questionable backups Giovanni Bernard and Jerick McKinnon. Even if Akers isn't ready to assume the full workload, this price is overcompensating for an injury that has been a minimal factor since his return. Akers should be a cornerstone of all DFS lineups this week and will be a staple of the early rounds in 2022 drafts.

From RotoBaller

Breshad Perriman Jan 20 3:40pm ET
Breshad Perriman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman (abdomen, hip) looked to be limited in practice on Thursday and is still a question mark to play on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. Perriman sat out of Wednesday's walkthrough practice, but the good news is that he was able to get back on the field on Thursday. The 28-year-old caught only one of three targets for five yards in the wild-card win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week with Cyril Grayson (hamstring) inactive. If he's able to play against the Rams, he'll be a boom/bust DFS option for fantasy gamers. If both Perriman and Grayson are unable to play, Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller would have expanded roles alongside Mike Evans in three-wide sets.

From RotoBaller

Derrick Henry Jan 20 3:30pm ET
Derrick Henry

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (foot) is progressing well, but the team won't make a decision on his status for the Divisional Round against the Cincinnati Bengals until Friday, according to head coach Mike Vrabel. Henry has been taking contact in practice this week, but the Titans must first activate him from Injured Reserve if Henry is healthy enough to play on Saturday for the first time since Week 8. All signs are pointing to the 28-year-old being active against Cincinnati, and if he is, he should be the team's workhorse running back. Henry could be a bit risky in his first game back, especially as the most expensive RB at DraftKings, but he's also been the most dominant RB in the league when he's been healthy the last couple of seasons.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Jan 20 3:30pm ET
Leonard Fournette

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is practicing again on Thursday. Fournette remains on Injured Reserve and hasn't played since Week 15, but he could be trending towards a return for the Divisional Round game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. If Fournette is healthy enough to play, the Bucs will have to activate him no later than Saturday. With Fournette and Ronald Jones II (ankle) out in the wild-card round, Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard were in a timeshare in Tampa's backfield. Fournette should operate as the team's lead back if he's activated, although he might not be used as the workhorse in the running and passing game like he was before his injury, especially if Jones is able to return as well.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Jan 20 3:30pm ET
Ronald Jones II

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II (ankle) was back at practice on Thursday and wasn't in his walking boot as he worked with a trainer. Jones appears to be making progress after sitting out of the wild-card win over the Philadelphia Eagles, but he's fighting an uphill battle to be ready on Sunday to face the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is making progress and could come off Injured Reserve to play this weekend, while Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard wait for their opportunity after splitting the backfield touches last weekend. Even if Jones somehow was able to play on Sunday and Fournette missed another game, Vaughn and Bernard would likely still be involved, which would make Jones tough to recommend in DFS contests.

From RotoBaller

Jay Gruden Jan 20 11:43am ET
Jay Gruden

Former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is interviewing with the Carolina Panthers for their vacant offensive coordinator spot again Thursday, Jan. 20.

From TheHuddle

Ronald Jones II Jan 20 11:33am ET
Ronald Jones II

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones (ankle) was working with a trainer at practice Thursday, Jan. 20, without a boot.

Fantasy Spin: RoJo could be a flex candidate even though Leonard Fournette is trending upwards.

From TheHuddle

Emmanuel Sanders Jan 20 11:30am ET
Emmanuel Sanders

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee) made his return from injury for the Bills' playoff game against New England and caught two passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. He come out of that game healthy and was able to practice in full all week, meaning he will remain active against a Chiefs team who he had great success against in October when he caught three passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Now, since that time, Gabriel Davis has emerged as a key members of the wide receiver corps; however, Sanders has not been phased out. In fact, Sanders played the third-most snaps among Bills wide receivers during the Wild Card win over New England, so if the Bills need to push the pace against the Chiefs, Sanders could be an intriguing DFS dart throw in GPP lineups.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jan 20 11:20am ET
Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce draws a difficult matchup on Sunday against the Bills. In particular, Bills linebacker Matt Milano, who the team usually uses to cover opposing tight ends, has given up the fewest yards per target in the NFL (min. 150 targets) since 2017. Milano also leads the NFL in coverage success rate and catch rate allowed over expected. When the Bills played the Chiefs in October, Kelce had 6 catches for 57 yards, but he did find the end zone, and his clear red zone role on a good offense will always make him a fantasy option. However, with the Bills missing star cornerback Tre'Davious White, it's fair to wonder if this is a game where the Kansas City wide receivers may be more consistently impactful.

From RotoBaller

Michael Gallup Jan 20 9:30am ET
Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (knee) has yet to undergo surgery on his torn ACL, per head coach Mike McCarthy. He suffered a clean ACL tear in the Week 17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The 25-year-old reportedly will undergo surgery later once the swelling subsides. Gallup will become an unrestricted free agent and may not be ready by Week 1 of the 2022 campaign since he tore his ACL towards the end of the 2021 season. He caught 35 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns over nine games in 2021. Gallup will look to recover fully, and barring any setbacks, should draw plenty of interest from teams during the offseason. Stay tuned.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Jan 20 9:00am ET
Leonard Fournette

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said the team is taking a "wait and see" approach for running back Leonard Fournette's (hamstring) status for the Divisional Round matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. He's been sidelined since Week 16 due to a hamstring injury. The 27-year-old did practice on Wednesday and is trending in the right direction towards suiting up this Sunday. Giovani Bernard and Ke'Shawn Vaughn will lead Tampa Bay's backfield if Fournette is ruled out. The Buccaneers will have until Saturday to activate Fournette from injured reserve, and if active, the Buccaneers running back is a solid value at $7,000 price tag on FanDuel.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Jan 20 8:50am ET
Darrel Williams

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (toe) didn't practice on Wednesday. He played through the toe injury in Sunday's AFC Wild Card win over the Pittsburgh Steelers but only logged one carry. The 26-year-old rushed for four yards on his only attempt and lost a fumble which was returned for a touchdown. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a full participant in Wednesday's practice and is trending in the right direction towards suiting up for the Divisional Round game against the Buffalo Bills. If active, it's unclear what Williams' role will be with Edwards-Helaire most likely returning and Jerick McKinnon in the mix, who led the Chiefs backfield with 18 touches for 142 yards and a touchdown in last Sunday's win over the Steelers. Williams is a risky play at his $5,500 price tag on FanDuel.

From RotoBaller

Elijah Mitchell Jan 20 8:30am ET
Elijah Mitchell

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) participated fully in Wednesday's practice. He was limited in the team's first practice on Tuesday. The 23-year-old is fully recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him three weeks earlier in the season and has averaged 23 carries over in his previous three games. He's rushed for 300 yards on 69 attempts and one touchdown while catching three passes for no gain and a score. Mitchell should see a heavy workload against a Green Bay Packers defense that allows 109.1 rushing yards per game. The 49ers running back is excellent value at his FanDuel price tag of $7,300.

From RotoBaller

Shilique Calhoun Jan 20 2:03am ET
Shilique Calhoun

Kansas City Chiefs TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart, CB Josh Jackson, LB Shilique Calhoun and LB Elijah Sullivan were released on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

From TheHuddle

Rashard Robinson Jan 20 1:03am ET
Rashard Robinson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed DB Rashard Robinson to the practice squad on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

From TheHuddle

Andrew Billings Jan 20 12:53am ET
Andrew Billings

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free agent DT Andrew Billings (Browns) and OL Roderick Johnson (Dolphins) to the practice squad on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

From TheHuddle