The Week 12 daily fantasy (DFS) football picks bring us smaller slates due to the Thanksgiving games. I have mixed feelings about smaller slates. And I’m not wild about Thursday night games, but I love the three-game Thanksgiving slate!
And maybe it's because I usually do well, and did so again this year. Perhaps when I recommended Josh Reynolds in this space last week you decided to play him again for Thanksgiving? And I will definitely take the victory lap on Tony Pollard and his 100-yard TD return. But it will be a short lap as my Week 11 picks were both hit and miss.
But with some nice Thanksgiving winnings, I am ready to dive head-first into this week’s slate. Just remember that in order to take down GPPs this week you are even more likely going to need that high-leverage pick.
And that brings us to the weekly reminder about my "safe" pick and one "high-risk/high-reward" pick for each position. The first is essentially a cash-game play and the second is a GPP play. I also will make sure that said player is priced proportionately about the same across DraftKings, FanDuel, and the other major sites. For those of you unfamiliar with DFS, do yourself a favor and look up cash games vs. GPPs. Or hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) and I will explain it to you personally.
Hopefully, you’re over the tryptophan coma and ready to join me in making my Week 12 DFS picks.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Kansas City
Safe Quarterback Week 12 Pick
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts (DK $7600, FD $8200)
The Colts are giving up the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this year. Brady leads the league through Week 11 in both TD passes and passing yards. Lock him in.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 12 Pick
Mac Jones, New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans (DK $5400, FD $6800)
Meanwhile, the exodus of Brady from New England left quite a void. The Patriots failed miserably by trying to go with Cam Newton. I do like Newton however a lot back in Carolina. But FanDuel has him as the third-most-expensive option at QB, and that’s too rich for my blood on FD. So that brought us to the current Pats QB.
Jones is quite a bit away from Brady, as he is not even in the top 15 for touchdown passes this year. And he has only two weeks this year finishing in the top dozen fantasy scorers. But I’m guessing you’ve seen this meme:
And while it is far from original, it is pretty accurate. Jones is doing just enough to win and not doing anything stupid to cost his team a game. He’s been very efficient, completing better than 70 percent of his passes.
What I like about Jones this week is the matchup. The Titans are giving up the third-most passing yards in the league. He’s probably more of a cash-game play than a GPP play, but the Patriots could be a sneaky stack. I also think most DFS players will go with some of the higher options on the board, meaning Jones could be a higher leverage play than expected.
Safe Running Back Week 12 Pick
Miles Sanders, Philadephia Eagles at New York Giants (DK $5100, FD $6100)
Jordan Howard has been ruled out for Week 12. Sanders is coming off his best game, rushing 16 times for 94 yards last week. The Giants are giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs this season. In their last three games, Philadelphia has run the ball nearly 65 percent of the time, which is an unheard-of amount in the modern NFL.
Okay, so it’s been heard of (Baltimore certainly comes to mind), sue me. But you don’t need an attorney to argue further why Sanders should be in any cash game lineup this weekend.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 12 Pick
James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons (DK $6200, FD $7600)
Robinson has yet to get 20 carries in a game this season. But he’s been very efficient with his opportunities, averaging more than five yards per carry. He also has seven TDs this season, a figure bested by only six other RBs in the league.
Meanwhile, Atlanta is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs per game this season. I don’t think many are down on Robinson this week, but he’ll likely be ignored in favor of at least half a dozen other backs. And people will regret it when Robinson not only scores again this week, but notches more than a combined 150 yards for the first time this season. You heard me.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 12 Pick
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings (DK $7600, FD $8000)
To be honest, I’m getting a little nervous. My “safe” picks all feel like such no-brainers this week, they feel a little too safe. But other than an injury, I’m struggling to see how Samuel doesn’t end Sunday with a solid day.
He has yet to finish with less than double-digit PPR fantasy points in a single one of his games this year. Samuel has eight TDs this season and is taking on a Vikings defense that just got embarrassed by Davante Adams. Adams is no scrub, but the Vikings play Adams twice a year. They have far less familiarity with Deebo, who oh by the way, has more receiving yards than Adams does this year.
The Vikings are giving up the third-most fantasy points to WRs this season. As I said, I can’t see how Deebo doesn’t have another solid game.
High Risk/High Reward Wide Receiver Week 12 Pick
Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings (DK $5300, FD $6300)
This might be the answer, however. I guess it is possible that Aiyuk has a huge game, taking some of the points away from Deebo. I think Deebo will get his either way. But Aiyuk is a very attractive pivot.
I already talked about the attractiveness of this matchup for the SF receivers. And Aiyuk should be back on fantasy radars after having his best game of the season last week. He caught all seven of his targets for 85 receiving yards and a score. Lest we forget, Aiyuk had nearly 750 yards and 60 catches in 12 games last year. He’s well behind that pace through 10 games, but I got a feeling he closes in on that pace starting this week.
Safe Tight End Week 12 Pick
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts (DK $4400, FD $6500)
You were expecting George Kittle here, weren’t you? I like Kittle this week. But the Vikings are actually pretty good at containing opposing TEs, so Kittle feels a little pricey this week. But this definitely feels like a smash spot for Gronkowski. Pun intended.
Gronkowski has been fighting injuries (again) this season, so he doesn’t have the cumulative stats his owners would like. But when healthy (and note, he’s not on the injury report this week!), he’s produced. I am extremely confident that he has a solid game this week. And speaking of both Gronk and insurance, that brings us to my favorite Tweet of the Week.
High Risk/High Reward Tight End Week 12 Pick
Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers (DK $3300, FD $4900)
“A-OK” as I call him might be even priced a little too high on FD, but that makes him an even higher leverage play potentially. All he did last game was lead the Broncos in receiving yards, setting a career high in the process.
He’s a sneaky pivot against a Chargers defense that is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to TEs this season.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 12 Pick
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (DK $3100, FD $4700)
Carolina has quietly allowed the sixth-fewest points per game and has the second-most sacks this year.
Against a Miami team scoring 18.3 points per game, which ranks 26th in the league, that works just fine.
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 12 Pick
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $2500, FD $3800)
I confess, I’m not dipping this low this week. I’ll be sticking to the top-10 most expensive DST options, but they all felt too chalky to suggest here. But if you’re looking for a cheap option, the Falcons are a scary but viable option.
The Jaguars are averaging 1.7 giveaways a game. They are also the second-best fantasy matchup for opposing DSTs. I’m too scared to take the Falcons, but I won’t be surprised when someone takes down a GPP with the Falcons as their DST.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.