DraftKings GPP Domination: Week 12

Looking for edges in DraftKings tournaments.

WEEK 12 TOURNAMENT VALUE CHART

The chart below is a value guide for this week’s DraftKings tournaments. In an effort to help the widest range of players, only tournaments ranging from $1-to-$100 buy-ins are listed. The color scaling favors lesser entry fees, lower entry limits, and flatter payout structures since these tournaments generally represent the best return on investment for average DFS players. But remember it’s important to consider your specific strengths and goals when choosing which tournaments to enter.

Do you excel at GPP roster construction and game theory? Then don’t avoid GPPs like the Millionaire Maker due to high entry limits and a top-heavy payout structure -- you can still profit in these types of tournaments while giving yourself a shot at a life-changing payday. Therefore, cells in red do not indicate tournaments to avoid. The color scaling serves primarily to highlight the differences between tournaments, which will make it easier for you to identify the best ones to enter based on your individual skills and goals.

ROSTER CONSTRUCTION

Before constructing your own GPP lineups, it’s important to consider how most of your opponents will be making theirs. Due to the salary cap, figuring out the most common roster construction each week isn’t necessarily as simple as looking at a list of projected ownership percentages for individual players.

This week, there are a few near-certainties when it comes to how most people will build their rosters:

  • The slate features five home teams favored by eight or more points (Bengals, Eagles, Patriots, Chiefs, Falcons) and one game with a 50+ point over/under (Saints at Rams). We can expect huge ownership to settle on players from these teams.
  • Russell Wilson and Tom Brady are both in excellent passing matchups and are likely to command the most ownership at quarterback. Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Carson Wentz all have team totals of at least 25.5 points, giving entrants plenty of top-shelf quarterback options to choose from. It’s a safe bet the majority of lineups won’t be punting quarterback.
  • The surplus of big home favorites will lead to most entrants spending up at running back. The only running backs priced over $8K who won’t see massive ownership are LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette (more on them later). Tight pricing makes it difficult to pay up at both running back spots, so expect to see high ownership numbers on mid-priced options such as Carlos Hyde and Tevin Coleman
  • With heavy spending at running back and quarterback, the top tier of wide receivers should go somewhat under-owned and ownership at the position will be flat in general. 
  • At tight end, most people will see two options -- pay up for Travis Kelce and sacrifice elsewhere (most likely wide receiver) or chase the cheap target volume with Jack Doyle.
  • The big home favorites will dominate team defense ownership, with entrants also trying to squeeze in Jacksonville vs. Blaine Gabbert anywhere they can. Sub-$3K punt plays are in short supply.

With these points in mind, there are two easy paths to unique roster construction. The first is to spend at the positions everyone else is while leveraging projected ownership. For example, if Todd Gurley is going to be 30% owned and LeSean McCoy 8% or less, is Gurley really over 20% more likely than McCoy to produce the 25 fantasy points you need from him?

The other way to a unique roster is to spend where your opponents won’t. Start your build with a quarterback who costs $6K or less and you’re already on your way. If you use the savings at quarterback to spend big at wide receiver, then mine the middle tiers for under-owned value plays at running back, you’ll give yourself a good chance to separate from the field if you choose your players wisely.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHALK?

Assuming you plan on making multiple GPP lineups each week, your decision on highly-owned players usually isn’t whether to fade them completely, but rather how much exposure you want to them in comparison to their projected ownership.

Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s chalk plays (ownership percentages based on our Steve Buzzard’s projections). Be sure to check back on Saturdays for updated ownership projections.

QB: Russell Wilson (@ SF, $7,400, 15% owned) - After his third 30+ fantasy point performance of the season in Week 11, Wilson stands alone as the cumulative QB1 on DraftKings. Since Week 3, he’s outscored the next highest scoring quarterback (Kirk Cousins) by a 17% margin. Given the context of this week’s slate, we can expect Wilson to get piled on by the crowd. He’s $700 less than Tom Brady and matched up against the 49ers 30th ranked pass defense (DVOA). With an extra week for San Francisco to prepare after their bye and the Seahawks defense in a state of disrepair, it’s possible Wilson will be forced to keep his foot on the gas for four quarters. Besides, it’s not like Seattle has a running game they can turn to if they need to salt away a big lead. Wilson’s 337 rushing yards lead the Seahawks by 129 yards over Chris Carson, who hasn’t appeared in a game since Week 4. Ownership is no reason to fade Wilson in the midst of his current heater. Make him one of your heaviest quarterback exposures.

RB: Mark Ingram II (@ LAR, $8,300, 20% owned) - Ingram and Alvin Kamara are the top two running back scorers on DraftKings since Week 6, a fact that will not slip past the crowd as the Saints face off with the Rams in the projected highest scoring game on the slate (53.5-point over/under). Ownership of Ingram and Kamara should be split pretty evenly, with a lean towards Ingram due to his increased touchdown potential. When New Orleans has moved the ball inside their opponent’s 10-yard line, Ingram has handled 36% of the team’s total opportunities (rushes + targets) compared to 23% for Kamara. The question at this point is whether playing the Saints running back duo together on the same roster is viable now that their salaries have risen. In each of the last two weeks, the answer has been an unequivocal yes and this week’s matchup against the Rams 20th ranked rush defense (DVOA) isn’t very imposing. You should be even with the field on both Ingram and Kamara.

RB: Kareem Hunt (vs. BUF, $8,000, 21% owned) - Fueled by a five-week stretch in which they’ve allowed over 77% more fantasy points to running backs than the league average, the Bills can safely be classified as the worst run defense in the league. Hunt has disappointed his owners in every game since Week 3 and DraftKings refuses to budge on his elevated salary, but he’ll still be popular with the Chiefs at home, favored by double-digits, and implied to score over 27 points. Hunt’s dwindling production hasn’t been a result of decreased usage. His 84.6% share of the Chiefs total backfield touches is the second-highest team market share in the league behind Le'Veon Bell (90.6%). If the game goes according to script, Hunt will have more than enough opportunity to flash his early season ceiling. Buzzard's final update show Hunt's ownership percentage trending downward, likely due to recency bias. It creates an opportunity to go heavier on him than the crowd.

WR: Julio Jones (vs. TB, $7,700, 26% owned) - The ceiling we’ve grown accustomed to hasn’t been there for Jones, who has only topped 20 fantasy points in a game twice this season. While his disappointing box scores may otherwise make entrants leery of paying his overall WR2 salary, a home matchup with Tampa Bay will make Jones the preferred option among wide receivers priced above $7K. The Buccaneers field the 28th ranked pass defense (DVOA) and have allowed the most normalized fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. While we may be crossing into narrative territory, Jones has hung some of the best games of his career on Tampa Bay. Since 2014, he’s averaged 25 fantasy points per game in six matchups with the Buccaneers compared to 19 fantasy points per game in all other games. And if you were only to look at his last three home games vs. Tampa Bay, Jones’ fantasy points per game average increases to 29 points. This is the best spot Jones has been in all season and he’s a relative bargain, priced $1,600 below his season-high salary.

TE: Travis Kelce (vs. BUF, $7,300, 11% owned) - Kelce leads the league in cumulative tight end fantasy scoring by a 30% margin over Rob Gronkowski. He’s been on fire lately (20+ fantasy points in each of his last three games) and gets his fourth consecutive exploitable matchup. The Bills rank 29th in pass success rate and 25th in yards per pass attempt allowed to opposing tight ends. When looking for a tight end with high touchdown equity, it’s best to target home favorites with high implied team totals and Kansas City fits the bill this week. They opened as 10-point favorites at Arrowhead Stadium with an implied total over 27 points, which favors the Chiefs scoring three touchdowns. Considering Kelce has accounted for 28% of the team’s touchdowns through the air, he’s a strong bet to tack a score on top of his usual 75-100 receiving yards. It’s tough to fit a top-shelf tight end this week, but try to get more exposure to Kelce than the field.

D/ST: Jacksonville Jaguars (@ ARI, $4,100, 15% owned) - The Jaguars price combined with the abundance of huge home favorites on this slate could keep their ownership somewhat in check, but don’t count on it. A week after scoring 25 points as the chalk, Jacksonville finds themselves in the Blaine Gabbert Bowl. The consensus following Gabbert’s season debut seems to be he’s no longer one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, but let’s not jump to conclusions after a one-game sample. The Texans defense Gabbert played last week is the polar opposite of Jacksonville’s when it comes to limiting opposing quarterbacks, even though star cornerback Jalen Ramsey will miss this game. Gabbert was sacked twice, picked off twice, fumbled once, and failed to lead the Cardinals to a win against Tom Savage and the worst pass defense in the league. This is still the same quarterback with a career 56% completion rate, 6.0 yards per pass attempt average, and near 1:1 TD:INT ratio. Gabbert is in big trouble against the Jaguars premier pass rush. Make room for Jacksonville in at least 15% of your lineups.

MORE CHALK PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Tom Brady QB MIA $7,700 11% 16.5 point home favorite, 32 point implied total.
Todd Gurley RB NO $8,800 30% Best non-QB bet to score a TD on the slate.
Alvin Kamara RB @LAR $7,900 15% 15-17 touch cap will hurt him eventually, but OK to ride the heater.
Tevin Coleman RB TB $6,500 27% Price point/matchup work, but not involved in passing game. Fade.
Carlos Hyde RB SEA $5,500 17% Always seems to save his best for Seattle. Too cheap for workload.
Doug Baldwin WR @SF $7,000 17% Too obvious Wilson stacking partner. Play less than the field.
T.Y. Hilton WR TEN $6,700 16% As high variance as they come, but the matchup is pristine.
Corey Davis WR @IND $4,900 18% Ownership skyrockets with Rishard Matthews unlikely to play.
Jack Doyle  TE TEN  $5,800 16% Target volume is undeniable, potential shootout looming.
Philadelphia Eagles  D/ST CHI  $3,600 15% Fierce pass rush vs. rookie Trubisky = turnovers 

CORE PLAYS

These players fall in the middle to upper-middle ownership tiers. Each has a path to top-5 numbers at their respective positions or a strong chance to exceed their salary-implied point expectation. You want more of them than your opponents.

QB: Jared Goff (vs. NO, $6,700, 6% owned) - Goff is a home favorite quarterback on the second-highest scoring team in the league. Brand names like Wilson, Brady, and Drew Brees will shade his ownership despite the Rams 28-point implied team total. The Saints pass defense is much improved this year, but they’ve been helped by the schedule. Erratic or terrible quarterbacks Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Brett Hundley, Mitchell Trubisky, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Tyrod Taylor have struggled against New Orleans, but the combination of Sam Bradford, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins averaged 357 passing yards and three touchdowns in their starts against the Saints. Goff more closely resembles the latter group of quarterbacks than the former, and his stacking partners -- Sammy Watkins (see below) and Cooper Kupp -- come cheap.

RB: Joe Mixon (vs. CLE, $4,400, 12% owned) - Here we go again. For the second straight week, Mixon finds himself in a less than ideal rushing matchup, albeit with the perfect game script for running back fantasy production. In terms of dollars per projected rush, it could be argued Mixon is the best running back value on the main slate. Cincinnati is at home, favored by more than a touchdown, implied to score a respectable 23 points, and the opposing quarterback -- DeShone Kizer -- is notorious for setting opponents up with short fields. Speaking of which, if Mixon hadn’t failed to convert at the goal line following a Brock Osweiler turnover last week, we’d be looking at his 22-touch performance against the Broncos second-ranked rush defense (DVOA) in a different light. Cleveland is no pushover against the run either, but they’re due for regression when it comes to keeping opposing running backs out of the end zone. Over the last five weeks, the Browns have allowed the fourth-most normalized rushing attempts per game, but the fifth-fewest normalized rushing touchdowns. Despite Mixon’s string of mediocre box scores, it’s not often we find a clear goal-line back slated for 20+ touches available at just $4,400.

WR: Kenny Stills (@ NE, $4,800, 13% owned) - Assuming Matt Moore fills in for a concussed Jay Cutler, Stills is the Dolphins wide receiver to target for garbage time production against New England. In seven games played with Moore dating back to 2015, Stills is averaging 7.4 targets, 4.6 receptions, 79 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown per game. His 18.5 PPR fantasy points per game in the seven-game sample with Moore nearly triples his output in the rest of his games as a member of the Dolphins. As 16.5-point underdogs in Foxborough, we can safely assume there will be plenty of targets to go around for Miami’s receivers while they try to keep pace with or (more likely) catch up to the Patriots. New England’s pass defense has improved substantially since the beginning of the season, but they’ve still allowed the fifth-most normalized fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers over the last five weeks. Stills won’t fly under the radar after his 7-180-1 performance last week, but as long as Moore is behind center for Miami, his value is too strong to pass up.

WR: Sammy Watkins (vs. NO, $4,900, 11% owned) - With Robert Woods already ruled out and starting cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley out for the Saints, Watkins was shaping up as the most obvious low-cost, high-upside wide receiver on the slate. However, with Rishard Matthews, unlikely to play, Corey Davis (also $4,900) will steal a large chunk of Watkins's ownership. The only thing Watkins has lacked this season is opportunity, which should be less of a problem now that Woods’ team-leading seven targets per game are up for grabs. While Watkins has rarely been usable for fantasy purposes, his 17 yards per reception is right in line with his previous career average and he’s actually about 7% above his previous career catch rate. Only two wide receivers have scored a touchdown on a higher percentage of their targets than Watkins’ 10.5% -- a rate which may not be sustainable but proves he remains a top playmaker. The Rams would be wise to involve him more in the red zone against the Saints, who rank 20th in opponent red zone touchdown percentage (56%). Watkins is tied for the team-lead with three red zone touchdowns on only four targets, while teammate Cooper Kupp’s three red zone touchdowns have come on 16 chances. Watkins’ upside as the featured receiver on the league’s second-highest scoring offense is unknown, but you’ll want him in your lineups when we find out.

TE: Delanie Walker (@ IND, $5,000, 9% owned) - Walker has scored between 12 and 15 fantasy points in every game since Week 7 despite playing through forearm and ankle injuries. While a high floor is nice, it’s a ceiling we’re chasing in tournaments and Walker’s Week 12 matchup puts up a blow-up game in play. Titans at Colts (over/under 45.5) has the feel of a sneaky shootout and the back end of Indianapolis’ defense bleeds fantasy points to every position, tight end included. The Colts rank 20th in pass success rate and 24th in yards per pass attempt allowed to opposing tight ends. While touchdowns have eluded Walker this season, he’s a prime regression candidate. His 23% target market share trails only Travis Kelce's 25% among tight ends, and Walker's 28% red zone target market share leads all Tennessee pass catchers.

D/ST: New England Patriots (vs. MIA, $3,400, 8% owned) - The last team defense to face Matt Moore as a starter scored 29 fantasy points. The Patriots defense doesn't compare to the Ravens, but they’ve improved recently, scoring between 9 and 13 fantasy points in each of their last three games. The game script sets up for a New England blowout, which should allow their defense to pin its ears back and go for the kill. It’s tough to project anything but a disastrous performance from the Dolphins, who rank 29th in giveaways per game.

MORE CORE PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Carson Wentz QB CHI $7,200 7% Should go overlooked due to matchups for Wilson, Brady, etc.
Marcus Mariota QB @IND $6,300 8% Get right spot vs. atrocious IND secondary.
DeMarco Murray RB @IND $5,200 6% Cheap, low-owned, multi-TD upside.
Leonard Fournette RB @ARI $8,100 9% Overlooked high priced/high volume running back.
Michael Thomas WR @LAR $7,200 16% The touchdowns have to come sooner or later. Right? 
Larry Fitzgerald WR JAX $5,600 10% $1.3K discount after back-to-back 24 point games is excessive.
Alshon Jeffery WR CHI $6,300 13% Revenge games are real when the former team didn't pay up.
Emmanuel Sanders WR @OAK $5,200 6% Lynch has big arm, Sanders best downfield threat vs. awful pass D. 
Corey Coleman WR @CIN $4,300 7% Best $/Target value on the slate. 
Jared Cook TE DEN $4,600 8% DEN still a sieve vs. TEs. Ownership shaded by Doyle. 
Rob Gronkowski TE  MIA  $6,900  9% Opponents target TE vs. MIA at 2nd-highest rate in league. 
Cincinnati Bengals D/ST CLE $3,900 12% Step 1 - play D vs. DeShone Kizer. Step 2 - profit. 

CONTRARIAN PLAYS

These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. They're high variance plays, but the greater your exposure, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.

QB: Derek Carr (vs. DEN, $5,600, 1% owned) - Carr is having an awful year, but an $800 price drop makes him interesting in a home matchup against the Broncos. Denver still has a reputation as a top defense, but they’ve allowed an average of 35.3 points per game over their previous four games, due in large part to their horrendous quarterback play setting up opponents with short fields. The quarterback change from Brock Osweiler to Paxton Lynch combined with the firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, doesn’t inspire much confidence things will turn out differently for the Broncos this week. While his 2017 performance has left much to be desired, Carr flashed a 30+ point ceiling as recently as Week 7 and Denver has allowed 10 passing touchdowns in their last three games. If Carr is projected to hover around 1% ownership, it only takes one lineup out of 30 to triple the field's exposure and reap the benefits if the Broncos continue to implode.

RB: J.D. McKissic (@ SF, $3,700, 4% owned) - McKissic is in play against the 49ers, who have allowed the most normalized fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. The only question is whether or not he has the upside to be a difference maker in tournaments. Playing time will decide the answer and at least the outlook is encouraging on that front. McKissic won’t have the backfield to himself like he did last week after Mike Davis left due to injury, but the Seahawks willingness to make Thomas Rawls inactive, start Davis over Eddie Lacy, and use McKissic almost exclusively over Lacy after Davis went down in Week 11 speaks volumes. At some point, Seattle will be forced to acknowledge how much better McKissic has performed than his backfield mates under the same circumstances. If we take third-down carries out of the equation, McKissic’s 3.43 yards per attempt (while not great) is significantly better than Lacy’s pathetic 1.97 and Rawls’ almost-as-bad 2.09. Assuming Rawls is active this week, we should still see McKissic on the field for over 50% of the team’s offensive snaps for the second straight week. 13 total touches -- including 4-6 catches --  is a fair projection, which gives McKissic a shot at producing a 3x salary multiple without scoring a touchdown.

WR: Dede Westbrook (@ ARI, $3,600, 5% owned) - We’re crossing into super-thin play territory with Westbrook, but the results from his Week 11 NFL debut were mostly encouraging. Westbrook soaked up most of the snaps vacated by the injured Allen Hurns, who will also miss this week’s game against the Cardinals. While his 6-3-35-0 stat line was modest, Westbrook flashed big-play ability with a 28-yard catch down the sideline and had another long reception negated by a questionable out of bounds call. Marqise Lee, who struggled in Jason McCourty’s shadow coverage last week, gets an even tougher draw against Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. Bruce Ellington finished with seven targets while Peterson shadowed DeAndre Hopkins last week. Given similar volume to Ellington, Westbrook is more than capable of hanging a splash play or two on a Cardinals defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

TE: Seth DeValve (@ CIN, $2,500, 1% owned) - We’ve now made it all the way into super-thin play territory with DeValve, who didn't even appear on Buzzard’s initial ownership projections. This is strictly a low exposure matchup play, but one that no one else should see coming. DeValve finished with over 60% of the Browns offensive snaps for the first time since Week 3 last week. On the season, he’s run 222 pass routes compared to 171 for fellow Cleveland tight end David Njoku. Despite seeing two fewer targets than Njoku this year, DeValve has 58 more receiving yards than the rookie. Does DeValve have the ceiling to single-handedly win you a GPP? Absolutely not. But can he reach 10 fantasy points (and a 4x salary multiple) like he did two weeks ago against the Lions? Maybe. Cincinnati ranks 31st in pass success rate and 26th in yards per pass attempt allowed to opposing tight ends. Football Outsiders ranks the Bengals 28th in pass defense DVOA against the position. Don’t use DeValve in more than 5% of your lineups, but keep his name filed away if you otherwise love your roster, but can only fit a min-priced tight end.

D/ST: Oakland Raiders (vs. DEN, $3,000, 1% owned) - It sounds strange, but it’s entirely possible for Paxton Lynch to pay off his $4,400 salary, support a decent day from either Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas, and still make the Raiders a great tournament defense. No one wants to roster a defense that has yet to intercept a pass through 10 games this season, but Oakland is due to force some turnovers and they’re facing the right opponent. In two appearances last season, Lynch was sacked a combined eight times and completed only 59% of his passes. Sacks and errant throws are two precursors to giveaways and the game script is in Oakland’s favor. You can do much worse when hunting for a contrarian defense than targeting the one playing at home against a second-year quarterback making his third NFL start on the road as a five-point underdog.

MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Tyrod Taylor QB @KC $5,800 2% High floor, high ceiling. Long leash after Peterman disaster.
Jordan Howard RB @PHI $6,000 3% At least 3x this salary in 4/10 games. 40% >>> 3%.
Rex Burkhead RB MIA $4,300 7% Recency bias special. Could kill the clock in blowout. 
LeSean McCoy RB @KC $8,500 8% KC ranks dead last in rush defense DVOA. 
Donte Moncrief WR @TEN $3,000 1% Min price leverage on Hilton/Doyle. TEN 30th DVOA vs. WR2
Tyler Lockett WR @SF $4,600 5% 23 targets in last 4 games. Uniques your Wilson stack.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE CAR $4,300 3% $500 price drop puts him back in play in decent matchup. 
Zach Ertz TE CHI $6,600 5% One bad game and everyone hops off the bandwagon.
Seattle Seahawks D/ST  @SF  $3,800 4% Pay up to be contrarian. Banged up but facing Beathard. 


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