FantasyDraft Week 12: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
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Cash Game Options:
Russel Wilson, SEA ($13,400) at PHI
Russel Wilson is coming off a well-earned bye week, having established himself as an MVP candidate in the first half of the season. Wilson travels to Philadelphia to play an Eagles defense that features a good pass rush but a very beatable secondary. The Eagles pass rush might force Wilson to run more, which has been the case when Wilson faced the Saints and 49ers who have strong pass rushes in their own right, which should help keep his floor high. Wilson’s best games have come in competitive games against offenses that can force Seattle to stay aggressive, and while the Eagles have struggled this season they are currently two-point favorites over the Seahawks. When Wilson can buy time with his legs his receivers should be open downfield, as no one in the Eagles secondary can match up with DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett. Lockett appears to be trending towards playing but even if he misses this game it’s still a nice spot for Wilson, although Wilson’s ceiling would take a hit without his number one receiver. Wilson is the most expensive quarterback on the slate, but he’s shown this year that he has an excellent floor for cash games coupled with tournament winning upside.
Matt Ryan, ATL ($12,300) vs TB
Matt Ryan has played in nine games this season and has recorded at least 300 passing yards in seven of them to go with multiple touchdowns in six of them. Ryan and the Falcons host a Tampa Bay defense that is ranked 31st in the NFL in both passing yards allowed per game and passing touchdowns. This game currently has the highest total on the slate at 51 points, 3 points more than the next closest game, and projects to be a shootout between two defenses that have struggled to stop the pass this year. Ryan will be without Austin Hooper but between Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, he should have more than enough help to take advantage of a weak secondary. Ryan might have the highest ceiling of any quarterback this week thanks to such a great matchup, but at the very least his floor should be secure because it’s hard to envision this game playing out in a way where he doesn’t at least return value on his salary. He’ll be popular, but he’s worth rostering in a spot where he seems underpriced even as the fourth-most expensive quarterback this week.
Jameis Winston, TB ($11,200) at ATL
Jameis Winston is a scary player to watch if he’s in your lineups, but even when he’s turning the ball over he’s been a valuable fantasy asset. In his last eight games, he has 15 interceptions, but he’s also hit the 300-yard passing mark seven times and had multiple touchdowns six times. Atlanta’s defense has been improved since their bye week, allowing a combined 12 points to the Saints and Panthers the past two weeks, but this is still a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL for the first half of the season. If this game shoots out Winston will need to throw, and he’s not afraid to take risks chasing big plays forcing the ball to Mike Evans or Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers offense should be talented enough to put up points in this game, and if Winston does struggle with turnovers then he’ll probably be playing from behind and forced to throw more which should more than makeup for the small hit his fantasy score takes from those turnovers. His tendency to make mistakes combined with the struggles of his offensive line is enough to turn me away from him in cash games, but for tournaments, it’s hard to ignore his high ceiling at this price point.
Mitch Trubisky, CHI ($10,000) vs NYG
It’s difficult to find a player that’s harder to get excited about rostering than Mitch Trubisky but at the minimum price for quarterbacks, he’s worth taking a shot with this week. Trubisky was awful in a prime-time game last week, and though it would have made sense for him to benched for his poor performance the Bears have maintained that he was only pulled due to an injury. He practiced in full on Wednesday and appears to be on track to play, and he’s a good bounce-back candidate coming into a matchup against the Giants. The Giants have allowed 27 points in every game except for one against Washington, so this is a defense that can be beaten. Trubisky is an athletic quarterback with plenty of weapons, and we’ve seen him have huge games in the past. He’s certainly a very risky play, but since he’s so cheap he’s worth the risk this week.
Cash Game Options:
Julio Jones, ATL ($15,000) vs TB
Julio Jones is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL so it’s a little surprising to see him over $2,000 cheaper than the most expensive receiver this week, especially given that Jones is in the game with the highest total and facing a defense that should have no hope of covering him. He’s capable of dominating any matchup, but no one in Tampa Bay secondary can match up with him. He hasn’t scored since week two, but that should change this week with Austin Hooper set to miss the game and more targets funneling to both Jones and Calvin Ridley. Ridley himself is an interesting play at $12,900, but especially for cash games, I would prefer paying up to secure Julio’s ceiling and floor.
DeVante Parker, MIA ($10,900) at CLE
In the two games since Preston Williams went down with an injury, DeVante Parker has seen ten targets in both games. That type of volume for this price is too good to pass up, especially given the Dolphins tendency to be trailing in games. The matchup is decent, as the Browns secondary has been improving as they’ve gotten healthier but are still far from a shut-down unit and they haven’t faced a good passing offense in the past few weeks. That’s not to say that the Dolphins are a good passing offense, but they’re at least going to feature Parker and should be throwing a lot. The upside here is limited because the Dolphins don’t project to score much, but Parker’s floor is high enough to warrant use in cash game lineups.
DK Metcalf, SEA ($11,500) at SEA
Regardless of if Tyler Lockett plays this week DK Metcalf makes for a strong tournament play. Metcalf is bigger and faster than everyone in the Eagles secondary, has seen 19 targets over the past two games, and is a go-to target for the Seahawks in the red zone. He has multiple touchdowns upside and is playing in the game with the second-highest total on the slate. He’s had some games where he’s been held in check this season, and there is some concern that the Philadelphia pass rush limits the deep shots that the Seahawks can take, but he’s set up well to have a huge game at a very affordable price point.
Robby Anderson, NYJ ($11,300) vs OAK
Robby Anderson has had a disappointing year, and in the past three weeks, he hasn’t done much to change that by averaging just over three targets a game. But Anderson has shown he has the speed to break big plays on limited targets, and as Sam Darnold gets more comfortable as the season goes on Anderson is simply too talented to not become more of a factor in this offense. He’s not as cheap as would be expected given his recent production, but Anderson is the type of player where when he goes off it does not matter what his salary was, as he has the big play potential to break a slate with one or two plays. The matchup here is a good one, as the Raiders should score enough to keep the Jets throwing aggressively and the Oakland secondary is average at best. Don’t go near Anderson in cash, but in tournaments, if you wait until after the breakout game to roster him it will already be too late.
Cash Game Option:
Darren Waller, OAK ($11,500) at NYJ
Amazingly, Darren Waller is still this cheap, but since he is he makes for the top cash game tight end on the slate. Waller leads the Raiders in targets, receptions, and yards and is the rare tight end that is a focal point of his offense. He has lost some touchdowns to backup Foster Moreau, but Waller is a huge target with great speed so it seems likely he’s due for some positive touchdown regression. The Jets have a good run defense, which should force the Raiders into a gameplan that is focused more on getting the ball to Waller and Tyrell Williams, but even without taking into account a favorable matchup Waller is simply too cheap for his role compared to the other tight ends around him.
Noah Fant, DEN ($7,000) at BUF
Noah Fant isn’t in a particularly good matchup, but he got 11 targets and 2 carries last week which is just too much volume to ignore. He seems to be the number two passing option on the team behind Courtland Sutton, and while Fant has not been particularly productive with his touches that many opportunities give him plenty of chance to break one big play, which is all he needs at this salary. Sutton will probably be Tre’Davious White and the Bills should be able to shut down the Broncos run game, which would make Fant the next man up to be a focus of the Denver gameplan. If he approaches double-digit touches he should easily exceed the value on his salary.
Mike Gesicki, MIA ($6,200) at CLE
It is not a great feeling to recommend two Dolphins and Mitch Trubisky in the same week, but Mike Gesicki also deserves tournament consideration this week. He’s playing more snaps and running more routes than he ever has, and aside from DeVante Parker, he’s the best option a depleted Dolphins offense has. Gesicki has seen six targets per game the past three weeks, and he’s cheap enough where that is enough volume to justify playing him. There is not a lot of touchdown upside here, but Gesicki is capable of breaking a big play after the catch or getting open downfield, and he can get by at this salary by just posting a nice amount of total yards. Do not play him and Parker together, unless you expect the Dolphins to pull off the upset by beating up on one of the better defenses in the league, but do consider Gesicki as a cheap tight end option that has a solid role in his offense and allows you the savings to spend up at other positions.