I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with family and friends. And for those that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a great Thursday. It was an ugly three-game slate on Thanksgiving, with the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions kicking things off with a low-scoring game. The Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders gave us a high-scoring contest in overtime, only for the referees to grab the limelight with 28 penalties accepted for 276 yards. To finish the night off, the Buffalo Bills trounced the shorthanded New Orleans Saints.
The good news is that after eating endless amounts of food, we have a main slate to digest on Sunday. We have 10 games to choose from due to bye weeks and the three games that took place on Thanksgiving. Even with the somewhat limited selection, there are plenty of different directions you could go. If you’re someone that is behind on your research for the upcoming week, heat up some leftovers and check out my favorite stacks and bring-back options for Week 12’s main slate over at DraftKings.
TB: Tom Brady ($7,600), Mike Evans ($7,200), Chris Godwin ($7,000), Rob Gronkowski ($4,400)
The offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appeared to be back in sync in Week 11 versus the New York Giants. Following two consecutive losses, the Buccaneers had no troubles airing it out versus the Giants, especially with the return of Rob Gronkowski. With the Indianapolis Colts possessing a strong run defense (2nd in rush DVOA) and weak pass defense (20th in pass DVOA), this sets up for a perfect week for Tampa Bay’s pass-heavy approach. There isn’t a team in the NFL that throws more than the Buccaneers, who are averaging 43.2 pass plays per game. Also, we get Tom Brady — who has thrown a league-high 29 touchdowns — squaring off with a Colts defense that has given up a league-worst 25 passing touchdowns thus far. We will need to monitor Mike Evans as he’s dealing with back tightness and is questionable for Sunday. Chris Godwin and Gronkowski are strong options with Antonio Brown still sidelined, and either Scotty Miller or Tyler Johnson could become tournament plays if Evans is ruled out.
Bring-back options: Jonathan Taylor ($9,100), Michael Pittman Jr. ($5,600), T.Y. Hilton ($4,000), Jack Doyle ($3,100)
Jonathan Taylor was seemingly in a bad matchup last week against the Buffalo Bills. However, the second-year back put together a memorable outing with 56.4 points on DraftKings. This week, Taylor will face another stingy run defense in the Buccaneers that is expected to get Vita Vea back in the interior of their defensive front. Taylor could still find a way to be viable with his high touchdown upside, but just beware that he could hamper your lineups at $9,100. With Tampa Bay enticing teams to throw the ball, this may very well be a Michael Pittman Jr. week. Pittman leads the Colts with a 23.96% target share and he also leads the team with a massive 28.57% target share in the red zone. T.Y. Hilton is the No. 2 wide receiver for Indianapolis, and if the Colts find themselves in a shootout, then Hilton could see more looks than he’s gotten in previous weeks. While I’m not a fan of playing Jack Doyle, he's gotten 5+ targets in back-to-back weeks and you could do a lot worse if you’re saving salary at the tight end position.
LAC: Justin Herbert ($6,600), Austin Ekeler ($8,400), Keenan Allen ($7,400), Mike Williams ($5,700), Jared Cook ($3,000)
Justin Herbert is on the path to becoming one of the top-tier quarterbacks in the NFL. But somehow, after putting up 38.3 points against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11, DraftKings has priced him down from $6,700 to $6,600 this week. Herbert is entirely too cheap for the talent he possesses, especially if he begins running more like he did in Week 11. Austin Ekeler is a fine stacking option with Herbert as he’s seen 5+ targets in all but two games this season while being second on the team with six receiving touchdowns. Keenan Allen doesn’t have the touchdown equity that Mike Williams has, but on a full-point PPR site like DraftKings, he’s always going to be one of the safest options. Williams showed signs of life in Week 11 with him scoring 20+ points for the first time since Week 5 and he’s priced in a decent range at $5,700. Even though the Los Angeles Chargers deploy multiple tight ends, Jared Cook remains the top option of the bunch. I’d be careful playing any of the tight ends from the Chargers, though, as the Denver Broncos have surrendered the third-fewest points to the position on DraftKings.
Bring-back options: Jerry Jeudy ($5,500), Courtland Sutton ($5,400), Melvin Gordon ($5,300), Tim Patrick ($4,800), Noah Fant ($4,600)
What makes me like stacking the Chargers even more in Week 12 is that the main contributors on the Broncos are extremely affordable this week. Jerry Jeudy is the most expensive skill player for Denver at only $5,500. Jeudy has a team-high 21 targets in the past three weeks and has yet to find the end zone this season. While Jeudy has taken his role as the No. 1 guy, Courtland Sutton is still a threat to return value on one play at $5,400. Melvin Gordon is in a smash spot against a Chargers defense that allows a league-worst 119.4 rushing yards per game to running backs. I’m not opposed to using Javonte Williams in lineups either, especially if Gordon becomes a high-owned player by Sunday. Tim Patrick leads the Broncos wide receivers in touchdowns with four, and he is third on the team in red-zone targets. Noah Fant owns a team-best 22.81% target share in the red zone and remains a favorite of Teddy Bridgewater’s this season with 6.6 targets per game.
CAR: Cam Newton ($5,600), Christian McCaffrey ($9,000), D.J. Moore ($6,200), Robby Anderson ($4,700)
Cam Newton was a popular choice at quarterback in Week 11 and I expect that to somewhat be the same in Week 12. DraftKings refused to raise his price much as he’s only $500 more expensive than last week. Newton is entirely too cheap and he might possess the highest rushing touchdown upside of any quarterback, maybe besides Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen. For comparison, Newton is $8,000 on FanDuel, making him the third-most expensive quarterback on the blue site compared to him being the 12th most expensive on DraftKings. Christian McCaffrey is always going to be a viable play as long as he’s healthy. McCaffrey has 38 targets in the five games he wasn’t sidelined for or left early due to injury. D.J. Moore may be back to being a fringe WR1 with Newton under center after scoring the most points he’s had since Week 4 in Week 11. Robby Anderson may finally have some value as he’s garnered 12 targets and a touchdown in the two weeks since Newton’s been involved at quarterback. The good news for Moore and Anderson is that the Miami Dolphins give up the second-most points per game to wide receivers on DraftKings this season.
Bring-back options: Jaylen Waddle ($5,900), Myles Gaskin ($5,600), Mike Gesicki ($5,300)
It’s extremely easy to determine who we should use from the Dolphins as bring-back or stack options right now. With Will Fuller and DeVante Parker still out for Miami, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, and Myles Gaskin are the logical plays. To show how much those three guys are relied upon, they have combined for a whopping 53.08% of the team’s targets this season. I’d prioritize Waddle and Gesicki over Gaskin due to the Panthers allowing the second-fewest points per game to running backs this season. And if you’re fully immersed in the theory that Gaskin is only performing well on odd-numbered weeks, then this is not the week to use him.
MIN: Kirk Cousins ($6,300), Justin Jefferson ($8,300), Dalvin Cook ($8,100), Adam Thielen ($6,700), Tyler Conklin ($3,700)
My best lineups in Week 11 — with the Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs game being a letdown — included players from the NFC North bout between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. I’m going right back to the well this week as Kirk Cousins and the Vikings are one of my favorite stacks this week. Cousins has thrown multiple touchdowns in three straight weeks and gets a pass-funneling defense in the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco boasts the No. 3 ranked defense in run DVOA, but they have the No. 23 ranked defense in pass DVOA. Minnesota has also found themselves in plenty of shootouts this season, giving us a chance to see fruitful results by stacking the Vikings. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are the easy options to use with Cousins as those two alone have commanded 53.85% of the targets so far. Tyler Conklin has been a solid value tight end in recent weeks, but the 49ers have limited tight ends to the fourth-fewest points per game on DraftKings. Dalvin Cook is okay to stack with Cousins, but you might need him to get 5+ targets this week for him to pay off his salary, which is something he’s achieved just three times all season.
Bring-back options: Deebo Samuel ($7,900), George Kittle ($6,400), Elijah Mitchell ($5,400) Brandon Aiyuk ($5,300)
On the outside looking in, this looks like a perfect week for the 49ers to deploy their run-heavy offense. The Vikings are going to be without Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Tomlinson, Michael Pierce, and Everson Griffen on their defensive line. Seeing that Minnesota’s defense already gives up the 11th most rushing yards per game to running backs, it could be a massive week for Elijah Mitchell, who could return to the 49ers this week. Jeff Wilson would replace Mitchell if the rookie rusher is unable to suit up again. Deebo Samuel has been getting more touches out of the backfield in recent weeks and continues to get a nice target share, making him a matchup-proof wide receiver this season. It just so happens that the Vikings give up the third-most points to wide receivers, which aids Brandon Aiyuk as well. George Kittle has returned to being a reliable option at tight end with 4+ receptions and a touchdown in each of his last three games.
PHI: Jalen Hurts ($7,300), DeVonta Smith ($6,400), Miles Sanders ($5,100), Dallas Goedert ($4,800)
Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles are rolling right now with an offense that wants to lean on their ground game. Hurts averages 23.6 points on DraftKings this season, putting him behind only Brady and Herbert on the main slate. If there is going to be any week that Miles Sanders finally pays off, this should be the week as Jordan Howard is out for the Eagles and the Giants allow the fifth-most points per game to running backs on DraftKings. When Philadelphia does elect to throw the ball, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert are the two primary targets. I’m not against using Hurts and Sanders single stacks as the Eagles could elect to pound the football and play stifling defense versus their NFC East foes on Sunday.
Bring-back options: Saquon Barkley ($6,300), Kenny Golladay ($5,100), Darius Slayton ($4,900), Evan Engram ($3,800)
Saquon Barkley is back in the fold for the Giants, as he caught six passes for 31 yards in Week 11 versus the Buccaneers. He should have a better day running the ball in Week 12 against an Eagles defense that is permitting the eighth-most rushing yards per game to running backs in 2021. As of this moment, it seems unlikely that Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney will play this Sunday due to groin ailments. Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton will be the top two wide receivers on the field at affordable prices. And similar to Sanders on the Eagles, if Evan Engram can’t perform well with the lack of wideouts this week, then when will it be time for him to smash at his current price of $3,800?