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Welcome to Week 12 of the football season. I’ll be providing you with some DFS content, covering Running Backs and Defenses. We’ll take a look at some potential cash-game plays as well as some pivots that could be used in tournaments. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out in the comments section below.
Cash Game Options:
Christian McCaffrey, CAR ($19,200) at NO
Last week, I had no idea how people would treat Christian McCaffrey and his monster price tag, so I placed him as a tournament option, thinking people would pivot down to save money. Well, in the cash game I played last week he was still 44.35% owned, so I suppose I’ll move him back up to the cash game section. The Falcons halted CMC’s seven-game touchdown streak, but that didn’t stop him from putting up monster numbers as he caught 11 balls and accumulated 191 total yards. As I did last week, I’ll provide a little mockup at the end of how to fit in CMC without punting every position.
Alvin Kamara, NO ($15,900) vs. CAR
I think the biggest decision this week will be whether you’re starting your lineup with CMC or saving $3,300-$3,900 and locking in Alvin Kamara or Nick Chubb, in arguably better situations. Kamara gets a matchup against the Panthers, who have been gashed for the third-most fantasy points against running backs this year. The only thing that makes me hesitate slightly, is that the Saints are currently 10-point favorites. Kamara has ranked up so many points through the passing game and I worry if they get up big, they might look to Latavius Murray to grind the clock.
Nick Chubb, CLE ($15,300) vs. MIA
I think Nick Chubb is going to be the first player I lock into my cash lineups. I can fully admit he’s not CBC, but saving $3,900 is just so tempting. Even with Kareem Hunt back, Chubb has seen 81% and 72% of the Browns snaps and has gotten over 20 carries in each game. The Dolphins have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs on the year, which makes Chubb one of the safest plays this week.
Derrick Henry, TEN ($12,900) vs. JAX
Almost one year ago, on a week just like this, did we see Derrick Henry put up one of the greatest running back performances of our lifetime. December 6, 2018, was the date in which Henry ran for 238 yards and four touchdowns against this exact same Jaguars team. And this Jaguars team allowed Carlos Hyde to run for 160 yards in Week 9 before allowing Marlon Mack and Jonathan Williams to each run for over 100 yards in Week 11. It’s like they’ve been practicing – nay – preparing for Henry to put on an encore performance.
Phillip Lindsay, DEN ($10,800) at BUF
With the changing of the guard from Joe Flacco to Brandon Allen, we’ve also seen a change in the running back workload. Heading into their Week 10 bye, Royce Freeman led the RBBC with Phillip Lindsay, 319 snaps to 282. On the Sunday morning of their Week 11 game, the NFL Network’s Tom Pellisaro said the Broncos planned to feature Lindsay more prominently moving forward and that they did, as Lindsay out-snapped Freeman 52 to 24. Even more encouraging to me for Lindsay moving forward, was seeing him handle double the touches that Freeman got. Getting a featured back that isn’t an injury replacement at this price is very valuable in DFS and despite a middle of the road matchup with the Bills, I think Lindsay is a decent value for cash games this week.
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL ($13,900) at NE
We’re going to ignore the season-long numbers for Ezekiel Elliott‘s matchup with the Patriots, because for the year, they’ve allowed the least fantasy points per game to running backs. However, in Weeks 8 and 9, we saw the Patriots get gashed by the Ravens and the Browns for 210 and 159 yards, respectively. The Patriots run defense was decent in Week 11 against the Eagles, but that was an Eagles team without their lead runner, as Jordan Howard was nursing a shoulder injury. So, yes, I’m not impressed by them shutting down Boston Scott. If the Patriots defense looks the way they did in Weeks 8 and 9, Elliott could be in a big game and you should be able to get Elliott at sub-5% ownership due to the matchup.
Leonard Fournette, JAX ($13,100) at TEN
Anyone who rostered Leaonard Fournette last week is still feeling the sting of being burnt by Fournette’s lowest fantasy output of the season. Which is exactly why we’re coming back to him in tournaments. Despite his poor performance in a game that got completely out of hand, Fournette still saw seven targets, catching all seven for 34 yards. The Titans have been middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs and I think we see the Jaguars get back to running the football in a game that should be a close-grind.
Bo Scarbrough, DET ($8,900) at WAS
To be fair, I could’ve included Bo Scarbrough in the Cash Options above – that’s how much I like him this week. Scarbrough was cut in August and wasn’t even on a practice squad when the Lions signed him on November 6th. Just 11 days later, he was the Lions starting running back, putting up 55 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. Moving forward, I expect Scarbrough to get a lot of work when the Lions are in a positive game-script, while J.D. McKissic and Ty Johnson will eat up most of the passing down work. This week the Lions get the dumpster fire Redskins and being that we’re expecting a positive game-script, I’m locking Scarbrough into my lineups this week. If the Lions get up by double digits, I could see Scarbrough getting around 25 carries closing the game out.
Cash Game Option:
Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,300) vs. CIN
The Steelers will look to put Week 11 as far in the rear view mirror as they can and here to help that process is the Bengals. The Bengals have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to defenses this year and have been particularly bad with rookie quarterback, Ryan Finley at the helm. Finley has taken seven sacks in his two starts and guess what team ranks fourth in the league in sacks this year -the Steelers. I expect Finley to be under pressure all game which should lead to plenty of sacks and turnovers.
Atlanta Falcons ($6,600) vs. TB
I know there’s been a decent amount of chatter about HC Dan Quinn handing off the defensive play-calling duties and how much better the Falcons have looked because of it, but if people just look at season-long numbers, it tells a totally different story. It’s for this reason, that i think we’ll get the Falcons at a reasonable ownership against everyone’s favorite turnover machine, Jameis Winston. Over the Buccaneers’ last five games, Winston has been sacked 18 times and turned the ball over 17 times. The Falcons should be able to rack up the points, even if this game goes into shootout mode.
As promised, here’s a mock build that allows for CMC. Locking in Matt Ryan, CMC, Scarbrough, Russell Gage, Henry, and the Steelers defense gives you $10,700 left per position for one WR, one TE, and one Flex. You could certainly do worse. Good luck this week!
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)