Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone! As the season roars on toward the playoffs and injuries and COVID cases continue to surge, daily fantasy football remains one of the most popular ways to actually enjoy your NFL Sundays. DFS sites like DraftKings and FanDuel allow you to construct brand new (and healthy) lineups each week using a salary cap system. As always, we are here to provide you with a nice medley of cost-efficient, under-the-radar DFS value plays for Week 12.
Pinpointing the right sleepers and biggest values each week gives you the spending power to grab higher-priced studs at other positions. If you read this column last week, you would have benefited from our advice to plug in QB Kirk Cousins, RB Damien Harris, WR Amari Cooper, TE T.J. Hockenson, and the Cleveland Browns defense. Selecting any of these under-the-radar plays could have afforded you elite names like Dalvin Cook and Keenan Allen.
You can read Week 12 previews and fantasy prediction articles 24/7 on BetQL, find out which side the pros are betting on their NFL expert picks dashboard, follow all the NFL public betting data, and build DraftKings lineups on RotoQL.
Let’s break down our top Week 12 DFS value plays, and you can get an idea of why 100,000 DFS players trust RotoQL to build lineups. We constantly monitor pricing and provide the most up-to-date insight and analysis to maximize your lineup success. Optimize, find value plays, and increase your chances of cashing today!
NFL DFS Picks Week 12: QB sleepers, values
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons (DK: $5,900 | FD: $7,100)
We’re starting to think Carr forgot to bring a dish to the annual DFS Thanksgiving Pot Luck last year. Carr all but lifted the Raiders to the season sweep of the defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs last week — spreading the ball all over the field against a pretty good defense — and yet he’s still somehow listed at $5,900 on DK. Making things even more appealing, like whipped cream on pumpkin pie, he gets the Falcons this week. Atlanta played two weeks of inspired defense after head coach Dan Quinn got fired, but it has apparently decided to stink again. Start the Carr and ride the Gravy Train that is the Falcons secondary.
Matt Ryan*, Atlanta Falcons vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK: $5,900 | FD: $7,600)
Let’s put an asterisk next to Matty Ice’s name here and say that *if* wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) plays, you should consider playing Ryan. Check out the statistical contrast of Ryan with and without his future Hall-of-Fame receiver.
- Matt Ryan’s stats in the six games Jones exceeded 35 percent of ATL’s offensive snaps: 70.9-percent average completion rate, 110.7 average QB rating, 14 total TDs, three interceptions.
- Matt Ryan’s stats in the four games Jones has either missed entirely, or played 35 percent or less of ATL’s offensive snaps: 57.4-percent average completion rate, 68.05 average QB rating, one total TD, four interceptions.
That’s unfathomable. Jones is no longer just Ryan’s comfort blanket — he’s the secret weapon that keeps Ryan in the conversation of relevant professional QBs. Las Vegas ranks 26th in fantasy points allowed to QBs, so if Jones suits up, roll the dice on Matty Ice at a friendly price. If Jones is sidelined, reject the notion like cranberries in stuffing.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK: $5,300 | FD: $6,900)
If you have a chance to invite a Baker to the party, you usually find a way to fit him in. Mayfield has hit a patch of down weeks statistically, but don’t forget that Cleveland has also experienced a rough stretch of Autumn weather. To cure what ails him, the third-year Oklahoma product heads back down south to Jacksonville, where the Jaguars’ pass defense always plays like they’ve ingested too much tryptophan. Only two teams allow more fantasy points to QBs, so Baker should be able to cook up his first touchdown pass since before Halloween.
Week 12 DraftKings, FanDuel Picks: RB sleepers, values
Kalen Ballage, Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills (DK: $5,800 | FD: $5,500)
Chargers running backs have been dropping like flies this season, and Austin Ekeler (hamstring) and Justin Jackson (knee) remain on the IR. Thankfully for LA, GM Tom Telesco plucked Ballage off the waiver wire in early October after the Jets dropped him. In the three games since replacing Jackson, the third-year back has 257 all-purpose yards and a score. Most important, he has averaged 70 percent of the Chargers’ offensive snaps. As long as Ekeler and Jackson are out, and the third-year back gets listed in the $5,500 range, Ballage is a special treat to add to your holiday menu.
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK: $5,600 | FD: $6,600)
In most cases, when your friend Chubb returns to the table, you eat less, but since Browns RB Nick Chubb brought his appetite back to Cleveland’s RB room, Hunt has carved out even more for himself. If this terrible metaphor isn’t doing it for you, just look at Hunt’s stats with and without his running mate.
- Hunt in the six games with Chubb starting: 65 rushing yards per game, 4.7 average yards per carry, 8.0 average yards per reception, six total touchdowns (15.5 fantasy points per game).
- Hunt in the four games without Chubb playing: 63.5 rushing yards per game, 3.9 average yards per carry, 7.1 average yards per reception, two total touchdowns (13.6 fantasy points per game).
That’s an elaborate way of saying you can still trust Hunt in this offense, especially against a Jaguars D that ranks 27th in fantasy points allowed to RBs. The fourth-year Toledo product last faced Jacksonville as a member of the Chiefs in 2018 and he gashed them for 94 yards and a score in a 30-14 rout. Don’t be surprised to see him getting big portions again this weekend.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots (DK: $5,300 | FD: $5,800)
DFS sites clearly recognize Arizona’s carry load tilting back in Kenyan Drake’s favor, with the former Dolphin rushing 27 times for 129 yards and a TD since returning from his ankle injury two Sundays ago (Edmonds has 10 carries for 69 yards in that span). But delve deeper and you will see that Edmonds not only averages 2.2 yards per carry more in those two games, he has also been much more productive in the passing game. Edmonds has caught all seven of his targets for 57 yards in the Cards’ past two games—including a huge fourth-quarter TD grab last week. He saw 54 percent of offensive snaps to Drake’s 49 percent at Seattle, with Drake averaging just 2.54 yards per carry. In tight games against strong opponents, Kliff Kingsbury clearly trusts Edmonds on the field more than Drake. The Pats are even tougher against the run than Seattle, but they have been susceptible to pass-catching backs, giving up 27 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns to primary pass-catching RBs this season.
Turkey Leg Bonus: Wayne Gallman, New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals (DK: $5,000 | FD: $5,700)
Gallman has thrived, especially since Devonta Freeman (ankle) hit the IR, scoring five TDs in New York’s past four games. He faces a mediocre Bengals run defense, and Cincinnati will most likely be mourning the loss of franchise rookie QB Joe Burrow. Gallman will be more than likely be doing the turkey trot into the end zone once again this weekend.
FanDuel, DraftKings Picks Week 12: WR sleepers, values
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (DK: $5,900 | FD: $6,500)
Not surprisingly, Parker has emerged as the top receiving option for rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, drawing a target on exactly half of Tua’s 46 total passes over the course of the past three weeks. That has resulted in 14 catches for 156 yards and a score for Parker, who has seen the field for nearly 93 percent of Miami’s offensive snaps in that span. The Jets have been one of the five most generous pass defenses in fantasy, so we expect a get-right game for Tua after a fourth-quarter benching last weekend. RotoQL projects Parker to score 14 PPR points with a 37.9 fantasy ceiling. That kind of performance at $5,900 could lead to enough green for a Cyber Monday shopping spree!
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans (DK: $5,000 | FD: $5,700)
Pittman has enjoyed a full breakout the past two weeks, scoring 34 total PPR points and running circles around defenders in the process. The rookie got off to a slow start, but he has benefited enormously from veteran QB Philip Rivers increasing his passing attempts recently. The pair connected on seven-of-eight targets for 101 yards when Indy met Tennessee two weeks ago, and Pittman added 21 yards rushing. Tennessee serves up a healthy portion to wide receivers each week, ranking as the fourth-most generous fantasy defense to the position.
Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons (DK: $4,900 | FD: $5,200)
One of the best stories of the year for the Raiders, if not the NFL as a whole, has been that of Agholor. The wideout was cast away from Philadelphia in the offseason for struggling with drops and never really finding an effective role in the Eagles’ offense. But he has blossomed as a Raider thanks to the fantastic rapport he and Las Vegas QB Derek Carr have developed. Agholor has scored 13 or more PPR points in five of his past seven games, and his 6-88-1 stat line nearly helped Vegas sweep the defending-champion Chiefs on Sunday. Now he and the Raiders get an unlimited Dirty Bird Buffet in Atlanta, the land of fantasy’s second-most generous pass defense. Expect Agholor to continue to feast as Philly fans to continue to weep.
Best of the Leftovers: Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals (DK: $4,100 | FD: $5,400)
We couldn’t have a Thanksgiving DFS feast without bringing along a Byrd, now could we? This may seem like a high-risk/high-reward move, like frying a turkey in the garage, but sometimes the payoff is worth the gamble. Pats QB Cam Newton attempted 40 passes over the weekend, throwing for 365 yards and a TD. Byrd had six catches for 132 yards and caught Newton’s lone end-zone strike. There should be plenty of volume against the Cardinals, who feature a high-octane offense but the seventh-worst pass defense.
Week 12 NFL DFS Picks: TE sleepers, values
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (DK: $4,400 | FD: $6,200)
Prior to last week’s dud against the elite defense of the Rams, Gronk had scored touchdowns in four of his previous five games. He’s still a favorite of ally Tom Brady, who has thrown 14.7 percent of his passes the tight end’s way since Week 6. Tampa Bay’s plethora of other weapons only seems to help Gronkowski, as the extra defensive attention out wide opens space in the middle of the field. Kansas City ranks 28th in fantasy against tight ends and just got roasted to the tune of 21.8 points by Raiders star Darren Waller last week. Fire up the Gronk Bus for a Thanksgiving weekend fiesta!
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills (DK: $4,800 | FD: $5,900)
Henry must be one of the more thankful tight ends in the NFL this holiday season, as he’s fortunate enough to be in his prime alongside the best rookie QB in football. Justin Herbert clearly trusts the sure-handed Arkansas alum, as he’s targeted him 20 times in LA’s past three games. Henry has four catches in each of the Chargers’ past four games and a touchdown in their last two. Buffalo surrenders the second-most fantasy points to tight ends, so plug him in before his price tag goes up as Christmas approaches.
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Week 12 NFL DFS values: D/ST sleepers
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK: $3,100 | FD: $4,900)
The Browns have quietly been one of the most dominant fantasy defenses as of late, allowing just 23 combined points to the Raiders and Texans and then destroying the Eagles for 22 fantasy points last weekend. Even without Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett (COVID) on the defensive line on Sunday, Cleveland racked up five sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 11 QB hits. They forced two fumbles (recovering one), and pressured Philly QB Carson Wentz into throwing two interceptions, one of which LB Sione Takitaki took 50 yards to the house. Jacksonville has struggled a bit lately with QB Jake Luton, who hasn’t reached 170 passing yards since his Week 9 debut and put up a 15.5 QB rating against Pittsburgh on Sunday. RotoQL projects eight fantasy points for Cleveland against the Jags with a 16-point ceiling. That’s a happy, healthy way to finish off a Thanksgiving weekend lineup!
I want to give thanks to every last one of you for reading this column throughout the season. I hope you all have a joyous and safe Thanksgiving with your loved ones, and that your DFS lineups win you some big-time holiday cash. See you all next week!