Cost Efficiency Breakdown: DraftKings Week 12

A look into the smart DraftKings Week 12 plays in terms of cost efficiency. Who provides the most bang for your buck?

Week 11 was an exceptionally mixed bag among my cash lineups:





DK Pts



Philip Rivers






C. West






Darren McFadden






Danny Amendola






Mike Evans






Larry Fitzgerald






Todd Gurley






Jacob Tamme















West’s injury was a big deal, but considering his near-universal ownership, it could have been weathered. (I actually did in a few contests; 107.4 actually cashed in about a third of the games in which I used it.) Rivers achieved that elusive 1x value mark, and Gurley and the Jets underperformed mightily. It was a wacky and unproductive week, but I was able to break nearly even thanks to a few Cam Newton lineups.

Here’s a look through my top Week 12 cash lineup:


The Cash Play

For whatever reason, DraftKings’ algorithms are unmoved by Brian Hoyer’s ($5,000) absolutely delicious matchup. The Saints’ defensive exploits are well-known: more touchdown passes allowed than anyone, including 12 in the red zone over the last four weeks, and 300+ yards given up in every game since Week 5. It’s enough to wonder if Hoyer’s league-winning projection (25.38 points) is skewed by wild Saints outliers or a fair expectation. For the QB minimum, Hoyer is absolutely worth the roll.

…and cash considerations

Also at the minimum and worthy of our attention is Josh McCown ($5,000) in his return to the lineup. Needing just 15 points against a feeble and decimated Ravens defense, he’s all but guaranteed cash value. In these cherry matchups, we can’t forget McCown’s studly volume and 24-, 26-, and 38-point outputs from earlier… Jameis Winston’s ($5,500) red zone play has come around, and with Vincent Jackson back in the lineup, his touchdown arrow is finally pointing up. His heavy goal line usage on the ground has been more than enough to float him of late, and the stage looks set to string it all together against a leaky Colts defense.

GPP Plays

Many DFSers will be scared off by Ben Roethlisberger’s ($6,700) matchup with Seattle, and by his relative lack of recent touchdown production. But there’s plenty of upside, considering his volume and the likelihood of a neutral or negative Steelers script… It’s been hard to trust Marcus Mariota ($5,500), but like Hoyer, his floor elevates noticeably due to matchup: only three teams have allowed more passing yardage than slumping Oakland. The cherry on top is Mariota’s boosted rushing totals under Mike Mularkey (10 rushes over two games).


The cash plays

Thomas Rawls ($4,500) has been undeniably impressive; his projections flounder a bit due to his lack of goal line and passing usage compared to that of Marshawn Lynch, but he’s a prime yardage target. The Steelers have actually defended the run well for most of the year, but this price point is unavoidable. He doesn’t have Lynch’s floor, but shares a similar ceiling at this point… The projection model doesn’t pick up on T.J. Yeldon’s ($4,800) value, but it’s appreciable. Our Phil Alexander did a great job of running down the recent history of RBs eviscerating the Chargers, as well as Yeldon’s solid usage rate that makes him a fine cash play… Adrian Peterson ($7,300) has a strong shot to lead all RBs in scoring this week. The Falcons have improved defensively, but are still a great RB matchup, and Peterson has finally begun turning his short yardage volume into touchdowns.

…and cash considerations

With the Patriots hemorrhaging offensive weapons, it’s likely that LeGarrette Blount ($5,100) finds himself with a high-volume, if not high-impact, role on Monday night. The matchup is daunting, but with such a good chance at a 20-touch game script and a great red zone outlook, his floor is manageable considering the ceiling at play. And as your flex, he carries added appeal in a Monday night matchup, where DFSers can leverage his value with that of similarly priced teammates Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola based on injury reports… Todd Gurley’s ($7,500) value has dipped for sure, and it’s not especially sexy with a quarterback dumpster fire on display. But he’s always a chalky stab at true RB1 volume – especially considering his increased receiving production – and a touchdown, with weekly upside for much more... Chris Ivory ($5,800) seems back on track, snapping a mini-slump with 5.2 yards per rush over the last two weeks. Game flow is the only real factor against him, but the Jets seem likely to at least play neutral against a dysfunctional Dolphins team.

GPP Plays

Chris Johnson ($4,600) hasn’t knocked any socks off lately, but he’s the clear lead back with a fantastic game script on his plate in San Francisco. He projects near 100 yards, with a roughly 50/50 shot at the touchdown he’d need to reach value… The Raiders have allowed 5.6 yards per rush over their last four games, so while Antonio Andrews ($3,700) lacks tantalizing upside, he seems likely to reach his RB2 floor. That assumes the Titans can stay in the game, of course, but the Raiders are no great shakes… Shaun Draughn ($3,800) has a pretty poor rushing outlook, but if he can remain this hefty stake in the passing game (16 targets through two games), he’s a lock to at least approach tournament value.


The Cash Plays

Just buy Julio Jones ($9,400). If you’re unconvinced of Jones, who dominates both targets and cornerbacks, you’re overthinking. He’s met or topped a 9-catch, 92-yard line in five straight games and eight of 10 overall… Stacking isn’t particularly common in cash contests, but pairing Brian Hoyer with DeAndre Hopkins ($9,100) looks shrewd against the Saints’ barely-there secondary. Hopkins remains a target monster and looks like the safest bet to find the end zone (he’s done it six times over his last five games, from both in and out of the red zone). It’s a near-toss-up between him and Julio Jones, but that $300 of salary relief can really boost your defensive options… He’s not exciting, but Doug Baldwin ($3,800) is the week’s best bet under the $4,000 mark. Baldwin’s not strictly a punt play – he’s drawn 22 targets and averaged 76.3 yards over his last three. Just a 5-catch, 68-yard line would hold value; if his inclusion in your lineup can squeeze aboard Jones and Hopkins, it’s a low-risk, high-upside combination.

…and cash considerations

With or without Danny Amendola (questionable) in the lineup, Brandon LaFell ($4,300) looks like the strongest value play of the week. He’s actually led the Patriots in target share over the last four weeks, and that would only increase if Amendola is out or limited. Either way, LaFell looks like a near-lock to reach his 12.9-point marker… For those wanting to stab at top-two WR finishes without crossing the $9,000 barrier, Odell Beckham Jr Jr. ($8,700) looms just below Hopkins’ and Jones’ price tags. His dynamism has allowed him to top 100 yards in three straight games of varying volume, and the Washington defense looks as toothless as usual… Like their run defense, the Chargers’ secondary play has been brutal lately, allowing 9.1 yards per attempt over their last four games. They’ve been roasted by wideouts in three of their last four games, so the stage is set for Allen Robinson ($7,300), who’s sporting great efficiency and enough volume to reach 3x value in this matchup. He’s topped 19 points in five of his last six games, with and without strong quarterbacking.

GPP Plays

Few will chase Antonio Brown ($8,700) as he faces likely shadow coverage from Richard Sherman. But his sheer volume (33 catches on 48 targets over the last three games) is staggering, and honestly, isn’t Brown likely as dominant a receiver as Sherman is a cornerback? Sherman has been his typically great self, but he’s not immune to allowing high-volume games. With or without monstrous yardage or a touchdown, another 10-catch masterpiece from Brown could help you take down a GPP… His teammate, Martavis Bryant ($5,600), is also in play. He’s not much of a bargain anymore, but his weekly upside his enormous, especially against the lower end of the Seahawks’ cornerbacks. He could benefit more from a semi-shootout than anyone… Stevie Johnson’s ($4,500) role and salary have steadily increased without Keenan Allen, but his production really hasn’t. Rarely involved deep or in the red zone, Johnson has settled in as a low-impact PPR asset. Still, his efficiency and the volume in his passing game make him an intriguing play at a low-end salary.


The cash play

There’s better upside elsewhere, but the situational value in Jacob Tamme ($3,300) can really open up your RB and WR prospect pool. Tamme has been marginalized with Leonard Hankerson in the lineup, but productive without him (24 catches across three games). He’d only need to catch four or five to hit value, and he’ll likely co-dominate the passing game with Julio Jones.

…and cash considerations

As the de facto No. 1 wideout in an often voluminous pass game, Delanie Walker ($5,400) is already on the weekly TE1 radar. His date with the Raiders boosts him near the top. Oakland has tightened its stats against some low-impact TEs of late, but they’re still a good bet to bend against a talent like Walker... It’s been a few weeks since Gary Barnidge ($4,800) has set off fantasy fireworks, but he’s been consistently productive all year and will reunite with Josh McCown for a very nice stacking opportunity. Barnidge is an upper-shelf touchdown threat and should see solid volume in a semi-shootout between two fledgling teams… His cash game appeal has been shaky, but Rob Gronkowski ($7,900) remains a heady play any time he’s in pads. This week, his salary stays a tick below $8,000 despite the Patriots’ banged-up skill positions. This looks like as safe a week as any to plug him into a lineup that you’ve scrimped on elsewhere – he needs 23.7 points to cash, and all hand-wringing aside, he’s reached that mark in three of the last five weeks.

GPP Plays

There’s no way to project good things for the Ravens offense without Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, or Justin Forsett in the lineup. But their meager yardage will have to go somewhere, so Crockett Gillmore ($3,700) is a perfectly fair GPP stab. He’s caught the ball well and produced in the red zone thus far… Coby Fleener ($3,000) is always a risky play, but less so with Matt Hasselbeck under center. Fleener has seen 57% of his targets in three games with Hasselbeck.


The cash play

Kansas City ($2,800) is simply on fire, averaging 16.3 points over their last four. They’ve forced multiple turnovers in six straight and can rack up sacks in bunches. Buffalo’s offense isn’t mistake-prone, but it trends toward the low-impact.

…and cash considerations

The Bengals ($3,000) allowed just 30 points over their three games prior to last week’s meltdown. A date with the Rams’ awful quarterback situation points toward a return… The Browns ($2,000) will be a chalky play as they face Matt Schaub and the Ravens’ JV squad. They’ve allowed 30+ points in each of their last three, but that’s of little concern this week.

GPP Plays

The Jaguars ($2,600) have notched 10 points in each of their last two matchups with anemic offenses. The Chargers aren’t that, but they’re mixed up at the moment, with just 22 points over their last two games and the passing game tailspinning.