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.

Player Notes
Travis Kelce Jan 24 3:43am ET
Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes finished 33-for-44 for 378 yards and three touchdowns versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Round. Mahomes also ran for a team-high 69 yards and another score. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 60 yards on seven carries and caught one of two targets for another nine yards. RB Jerick McKinnon ran 10 times for 24 yards and hauled in five of seven targets for 54 yards. WR Tyreek Hill caught 11 of 13 targets for 150 yards and a touchdown. WR Byron Pringle hauled in five of seven targets for 29 yards. WR Mecole Hardman ran for 31 yards on two carries and hauled in his only target for 26 yards. TE Travis Kelce caught eight of his nine targets for 96 yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

From TheHuddle

Jason Pierre-Paul Jan 24 1:23am ET
Jason Pierre-Paul

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) told reporters he will undergo surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, and will decide whether he wants to continue his career 'after [his] surgery.'

From TheHuddle

Josh Allen Jan 24 12:53am ET
Josh Allen

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen completed 27 of 37 passes for 329 yards and 4 TDs against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round matchup on Sunday, Jan. 23. He also ran 11 times for 68 yards. RB Devin Singletary carried the ball 10 times for 26 yards and a touchdown; in addition, he caught four passes for 25 yards. WR Gabriel Davis led the team with eight receptions, 201 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Stefon Diggs managed just three catches for seven yards, though he did catch a two-point conversion. WR Cole Beasley caught six of eight targeted passes for 60 yards, finishing second on the club in both categories. WR Emmanuel Sanders had one reception for 16 yards. On defense, LB Matt Milano posted a team-high 11 tackles, including six solo.

From TheHuddle

Tyrann Mathieu Jan 24 12:53am ET
Tyrann Mathieu

Updating an earlier report, Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (head) sustained a concussion during the team's win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Jan. 23.

From TheHuddle

Stefon Diggs Jan 23 11:10pm ET
Stefon Diggs

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was held completely under wraps during Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, finishing with just three receptions for a season-low seven yards. Diggs' prior season-low mark was 23 yards back in Week 11, an outing that he salvaged from a fantasy perspective by scoring two touchdowns. Gabriel Davis was Josh Allen's favored target in the Divisional Round, hauling in eight catches for 201 yards, including a record-setting four touchdowns. Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards just one year ago, was back among the league's elite this season, earning his second straight Pro Bowl nod after setting a career high with 10 receiving touchdowns. He figures to reprise that top-tier role heading into 2022, but his ice cold finish to the year could give some fantasy managers pause.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jan 23 10:50pm ET
Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce hauled in the game-winning grab during Sunday's victory over Buffalo, capping a wild, topsy-turvy contest. Kelce finished with eight grabs for 96 yards, including the score, which marks five consecutive outings with him finding pay dirt dating back to the regular season. His production came on just nine targets, giving him his highest catch percentage of the year when it mattered most. Coming short of the 100-yard plateau, Kelce saw his four-game streak of exceeding the century mark in the postseason snapped. Next up, he faces off with a Bengals defense that he accrued 25 yards against on five catches in Week 17, albeit with one crossing the goal line. He and Tyreek Hill stand to continue seeing massive passing game interest from Patrick Mahomes during what stands to be another shootout in the AFC Championship Game.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Jan 23 10:40pm ET
Devin Singletary

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary enjoyed a touchdown deluge to conclude the 2021 year, including adding one final rushing score during Sunday's loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. Singletary was utilized for just 10 carries and 26 yards on the ground, but he did add four receptions for 25 yards through the air. Dating back to Week 15 of the regular season, Singletary scored nine touchdowns (eight rushing, one receiving), emerging not only as the lead back for the Bills, but as a potentially game-changing back heading into the '22 season. The 24-year-old had a six-game stretch during the regular season where he did not so much as log double-digit carries once, collecting just one touchdown in that span; now, he stands to be a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 ahead of his fourth professional year.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Jan 23 10:30pm ET
Josh Allen

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen saw his year come to a close during Sunday's loss to Kansas City, but it certainly wasn't due to his lack of production. Allen followed up his five-touchdown performance from the Wild Card Round with a four-touchdown showing in an epic duel against Patrick Mahomes. Allen finished 27-for-37 through the air, adding 329 passing yards to his team-high 68 yards accrued on the ground. The 25-year-old combined for nine touchdowns and just 14 incompletions in his two playoff outings, finishing with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions over his last three games dating back to the regular season. Allen will be in the conversation for top quarterback honors in 2022 drafts, although offensive coordinator Brian Daboll stands to be a highly coveted head-coaching target over the coming months.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Jan 23 10:30pm ET
Tyreek Hill

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was once again a game changer during Sunday's win over Buffalo, which sent the team to the AFC Championship Game. Hill hauled in 11 of his 13 targets for a reception, none bigger than the 64-yard touchdown that he peeled off late in the fourth quarter, seemingly sealing the contest. Ultimately, Hill would compile 150 receiving yards, the third time this season he reached that mark. Next up is a meeting with the Bengals' defense, which held him largely under wraps back in Week 17, limiting his six catches to just 40 yards and no touchdowns. Still, the Patrick Mahomes-Hill connection remains as potent as they come, with the wideout having ripped off a 100-yard performance in four of his last six postseason appearances.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Jan 23 10:20pm ET
Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led his squad back to the AFC Championship Game with a victory over the Bills on Sunday that saw the signal caller sling three passing touchdowns, in addition to adding a rushing score. Arguably Mahomes' most impressive moment came with just 13 seconds remaining in regulation, when he got his team into field-goal range, thereby forcing overtime. Mahomes finished 33-for-44 through the air, slicing the elite Bills defense for 378 passing yards. If being the game's preeminent pass maestro wasn't difficult enough to gameplan, Mahomes also led Kansas City's ground attack with a season-high 69 rushing yards. He next squares off with a Bengals defense that he dropped 259 passing yards and two touchdowns on back in Week 17. He remains the premier DFS threat on any slate due to his propensity for finding the end zone.

From RotoBaller

Gabriel Davis Jan 23 10:10pm ET
Gabriel Davis

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis became the first player in NFL history to haul in four receiving touchdowns during a game in Sunday's defeat to the Chiefs. Davis' scintillating stat line also included eight receptions for 201 yards, easily pacing his team in both categories. During the regular season, Davis did not exceed five receptions in any single outing, with his domination of the Chiefs' defense coming as Stefon Diggs was largely held under wraps (three catches, seven yards). Looking ahead, Davis figures to remain a focal point of the potent Buffalo offense for years to come, having combined for 13 regular-season receiving touchdowns over his first two professional seasons.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 23 8:30pm ET
Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Edwards (ankle) suffered a right ankle injury during the win over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. Fortunately, X-rays were negative, showing no fractures, which increases his chance of being available for the NFC Championship versus the Los Angeles Rams. However, the All-Pro still has a way to go before getting the green light to suit up, and if he doesn't, things may become more challenging for Jimmy Garoppolo, who has struggled during the postseason thus far.

From RotoBaller

AJ Dillon Jan 23 8:10pm ET
AJ Dillon

Green Bay Packers running back A.J. Dillon (ribs) sustained a fracture during the narrow Divisional round loss to the 49ers on Saturday night. Although Aaron Jones was the lead man out of the backfield, Dillon still finished the regular season with just over 800 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns. The 23-year-old has proven to be one of the best backups in the league, and with the Packers hinting at a rebuild, there is a chance Dillon could see an enhanced role during the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Jan 23 8:00pm ET
Josh Allen

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) will not return to Sunday's game versus the visiting Bills. The defensive specialist suffered the injury during the first quarter, and after going to the locker room for an evaluation, he now finds himself in concussion protocol. The 29-year-old led the team in interceptions while ranking fourth in total tackles this season, so this certainly isn't the update the Chiefs' coaching staff was hoping for. Nonetheless, without Mathieu on the field, Josh Allen will have one less thing to worry about as he attempts to lead Buffalo to the AFC Championship versus the Bengals.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Jan 23 7:40pm ET
Mike Evans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans caught 9-of-16 targets for 119 yards and one touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams. In this raging comeback attempt with absurd passing volume, Evans sometimes looked like the only aspect of the Buccaneers offense that was working. In 2022, with Antonio Brown gone, Chris Godwin starting the season injured and possibly being on another team, and Rob Gronkowski aging, Evans may find himself in an unfamiliar position in 2022 with fairly minimal competition. Regardless of what this offense looks like, as long as he has Tom Brady as his quarterback, Evans should be drafted in the first three rounds. Albeit in different ways, whether or not he has competition, Evans will succeed in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Cam Akers Jan 23 7:20pm ET
Cam Akers

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers had 24 carries for 48 yards and two extremely costly fumbles against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The sophomore runner still looked impressive at times, and considering the Buccaneers have one of the best run defenses and were expecting the Rams to run, this wasn't that discouraging. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor that his fumbling doesn't become a recurring issue, but other than that, this performance was not as bad as it seems. Plus, even after his initial fumble, the Rams remained confident in their young runner, illustrating that they trust him and prioritize his talent over the risk that he brings in terms of ball security, even in the playoffs. In 2022, Akers should be drafted in the early second round as a workhorse back with some lingering questions but elite talent and opportunity.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jan 23 7:10pm ET
Cooper Kupp

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp collected 183 on nine catches and one touchdown, including a spectacular grab that led to the game-winning field goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's not completely logical, but the chemistry that Kupp and Matthew Stafford share has been truly unparalleled andat timesunstoppable this season. Kupp isn't necessarily the fastest nor most agile, but his football IQ is unmatched and he seemingly always finds a way to produce. Historically, this illogical confidence can lead to disappointment, however. Kupp should be drafted as a top three wide receiver in 2022, but fantasy managers shouldn't expect him to replicate what he did this year.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Stafford Jan 23 7:10pm ET
Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford had a phenomenal statistical output going 28-for-38 for 363 yards, two touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, he made a number of almost costly mistakes. Fantasy managers must realize that this wasn't a fluke, and it's just part of the Stafford-experience; that isn't necessarily a bad thing though. For fantasy a quarterback that plays recklessly is typically not penalized that much, and this style of play can lend itself to fantasy stardom by means of comeback attempts. Sometimes, a reckless quarterback such as this can fail in the comeback attempt or even be benched, but Stafford is so talented that neither of these general concerns are major issues. In 2022, with the collection of Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., and Robert Woods along with Cam Akers and a stellar offensive line, Stafford must be considered a top quarterback in all leagues.

From RotoBaller