FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 12

A Deeper Look at Who to Target for FanDuel GPPs this Week

For those of you who are new to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), GPPs are "Guaranteed Prize Pool" Tournaments with larger, sometimes very large prize amounts. FanDuel is one of the biggest sites in DFS and offers some of the biggest prizes in the industry. The goal of this article is to guide you towards some players that could help you take home that big prize. Footballguys offers a ton of resources to help you build that winning lineup, and this is just one of the many - but I hope that you will find it a valuable resource and check this article out on a regular basis.

Before we talk about the players for this week, we cannot completely ignore cash game plays. Typically a "GPP player" for the week is one that can score big or score terribly - the classic "boom or bust" player. A wide receiver that can catch two deep balls for two scores can get you 30+ points - or he might wind up with nada. Chasing 1-3 big plays can win you a tournament, but filling out a roster completely with these types of options will likely leave you well short of first place. That is why you cannot ignore the cash game plays each week as well, as combining the two groups is what usually leads to those big victories in GPP contests. So, expect some mention of players who are cash game plays each week, as well as some players that could be considered for both GPP and cash games.

Note - this article is not intended to provide a fully exhaustive list of every possible player. That would be an immensely long group of players. These are just some of the best options I see for GPPs this week when considering value, price, upside, and matchups.

Second note - Keep in mind the multiplier target(s) you want to hit for both cash and GPP / tournaments on FanDuel. In general, you are looking for 2x in cash (twice the cost of the player in $1,000 increments) and 3x in GPP. That means a player that costs $6,000 should produce 12 or more points in cash and 18 or more in GPPs.

Now, on with this week's top options:

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 12

To help you out each week, I will give you some general thoughts as we progress through the season (you can also find more on the weekly Power Grid show (link to be updated Friday - available on the DFS home page) - be sure to watch and subscribe!). For this week, there are lots of options again, but many of the decisions will hinge upon scratches that will happen this weekend, so expect some updates across Footballguys.

Week 12 is essentially a "split week" with three games on Thanksgiving and the rest of the NFL's teams in action on Sunday or Monday.  Bye weeks are over, but the fact that four games are not on Sunday makes this the final week where we will have 12 games or less in the Main Slate.  That is an important fact, especially if you are a fan of slates with fewer games to break down each week.  The other important thing to note this week is that there are a ton of games with blowout potential.  According to Las Vegas, seven out of the 12 games on Sunday have point spreads of a touchdown or more, and a third (four) have spreads in double digits.  That makes it very important to look at how games are likely to play out this week, because a blowout can really leave fantasy points on the table.  The good news is that I think that the Las Vegas charts are lying to us this week and that will give us a decided advantage.  I have at least two games in mind for Week 12 that I will be targeting heavily for tournaments.

The other unique part of Week 12 is due to the holiday - a lot of the normal reference points are not available yet due to many taking time off with their families and to watch games on Thursday (myself included).  As such, the format this week may be a little different.  I'm going to start with some comments on games where I have a strong opinion and then continue with positional breakdowns, but we will have to wait for ownership projections to get a full sense of chalk and GPP ownerhip.  Here we go:

Week 12 matchup comments

Note - more details on each matchup (this week and every week) are shared in my For The Win column.

  

PHILADELPHIA vs. CHICAGO - I still do not trust the Eagles' running game, but this is a perfect spot for Alshon Jeffery.  The revenge narrative is usually overplayed, but in the first matchup since he left and at less than one year since he was a Bear, well, this looks like the right time to use Jeffery and expect a big game including a touchdown.

ATLANTA vs. TAMPA BAY  - I like both sides here, but mostly the Falcons.  If Devonta Freeman is out once again, Tevin Coleman is a great value play to round out rosters and will be used in all formats (cash and GPP) - which means he will be highly owned.  The same can be said about Julio Jones, but Coleman is the better overall play and will have much higher ownership than Jones, who still has some recency bias against him with just one touchdown on the year.

CINCINNATI vs. CLEVELAND - The way to beat Cleveland is through the air, especially with tight ends.  A.J. Green is certainly an option, but Tyler Kroft is going to be a great contrarian tight end pick with many looking towards higher priced options this week.  With two pass catchers in favorable spots, Andy Dalton must be considered, even though he is Andy Dalton.

TENNESSEE at INDIANAPOLIS - This is my FAVORITE GAME of the week, hands down.  I see this as a complete shootout between these two.  The defenses are not good against the pass at all (DVOA rankings of 26th for Tennessee and 27th for the Colts) so look for fireworks in this one.  I am calling it as a 34-31 type game, which makes both quarterbacks and all the starting wide receivers and tight ends favorite plays for stacks on Sunday.

KANSAS CITY vs. BUFFALO - Everyone is going to be hating on Kareem Hunt after another lackluster performance, but have you seen how bad the Bills have been against running backs of late?  Seven rushing touchdowns in the past three games?  Sign me up for Hunt, and throw in some Travis Kelce if you can afford him - but it may be better for game theory to fade the most popular tight end option for Week 12 and hope Hunt dominates touches and touchdowns. 

NEW ENGLAND vs. MIAMI - You just know that Rex Burkhead is going to score two touchdowns in this spot, right?  Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are always in play here, and Miami is pitiful against tight ends (28th overall in the last five games and for the season).  The flip side is more interesting with Matt Moore at quarterback and Kenny Stills getting a ton of targets from Moore.  Moore is a solid and capable backup, so all of the Miami passing game is still in play, but New England's defense has yet to give up more than 17 points in the past six weeks.  Moore is still in tournament consideration, but expecting three touchdowns may be a bit too high of an ask.

CAROLINA at NEW YORK JETS - Most of this game is forgettable, but tight end Greg Olsen is due back, which impacts all of the receivers (in a bad way) for Carolina.  Olsen is an option for GPPs as his ownership will be lower than it should be and the Jets are in the bottom 25% of the NFL against tight ends. 

SEATTLE at SAN FRANCISCO - Sneaky matchup between two teams that often play each other tight.  Seattle is banged up in the secondary, but the 49ers may not have the talent to take advantage.  I still like Russell Wilson the most and Jimmy Graham slightly more than Doug Baldwin.  San Francisco was the best defense against tight ends in September, but have since fallen apart against the position, and Graham is getting a lot of targets in the red zone.  For the 49ers, the one play to consider is Carlos Hyde, who has had 100+ yards rushing against Seattle the last two times he has faced them.

DENVER at OAKLAND - Paxton Lynch is cheap, and it isn't like this is his first NFL action or start.  Now "two" is not a big total for starts, but it is better than nothing and throwing a rookie in the mix - but Paxton is in his second campaign and knows how to play the game at this point.  The Broncos just fired their offensive coordinator and are looking to turn over a new leaf, and as pointed out by Ryan Hester in Trendspotting, Oakland's pass defense is terrible.  Am I saying Lynch is a must play and a cash option?  Of course not, but for a GPP stack with Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas?  Certainly.  The odds of Lynch and one of his wide receivers racking up 3x value is way higher than their expected ownership rates.  For Oakland I will fade the wide receivers, but Jared Cook is in play since Denver is also bad at covering tight ends and seems to go out of their way to prove it every week.

NEW ORLEANS at LOS ANGELES RAMS - This game is your chalk of the week as the Over/Under is massive (53.5) and it would not surprise me at all for both teams to get over the 27-point mark.  The questions are how they will score and who will get to the end zone?  New Orleans has been riding their run game all year long aside from the fourth quarter last week for Drew Brees, so I like both Mark Ingram II and Alvin Kamara over Brees and Michael Thomas (more of a cash game play).  The Rams will also look to run it with Todd Gurley, who is the top option with Robert Woods out.  Both Sammie Watkins and Cooper Kupp are GPP darts, and their value goes up if Marshon Lattimore is out for New Orleans.

JACKSONVILLE at ARIZONA - Only one play for me in this game, and it is Dede WestbrookMarqise Lee will draw Patrick Peterson in coverage, so many of the targets will head to Westbrook.  Is this where the rest of those 200 yards comes from?

PITTSBURGH vs. GREEN BAY - The Sunday slate closes out with what could be one more blowout.  The usual suspects are in play for Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown) but with this game only really available on FanDuel and the popularity of these players, ownership will be a bit high on Bell and Brown.  

Whew!  I think that about covers it.  No real weather considerations loom this Sunday (it may rain in San Francisco), so I'll break the rest down positionally.

Here are a few general references I will be using as the season progresses:

Footballguys' DFS Week 12 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Normalized Stength of Schedule (NSOS)

Please note that if a player isn't mentioned in the write-ups but is in the table, it does not mean that I like the player more in the write-ups. The discussion sections are to add more detail, support, and clarity for those players mentioned, but all of the picks in the tables are viable options if they are ranked.

Now, without further ado, here are the players I like the most this week.

QUARTERBACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Tom Brady 9100 2 6 Med-High New England should roll on Miami, but it is a divisional game. Upside for Brady may be capped in a blowout
Carson Wentz 8900 5 1 Low Strong matchup against the Bears and Alshon Jeffery will want to have a big game
Russell Wilson 8600 1 7 High All the offense runs through Wilson
Marcus Mariota 7800 4 2 Med-High Indianapolis is 27th against the pass, and Mariota can scramble too
Drew Brees 7800 n/a 10 Med-High Saints like to run more than pass now, but upside always there, especially in a high total game
Matt Ryan 7600 3 5 High Tampa Bay defense is ripe for the picking and Julio Jones needs more touchdowns
Jared Goff 7600 6 9 Med-Low Lost Robert Woods, but could have a big game in a potential shootout with the Saints
Andy Dalton 7200 n/a 3 Med-Low A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft are in good spots. What could go wrong?
Jacoby Brissett 6900 n/a 4 Medium Tennessee is 26th against the pass - I expect a shootout with the Titans
Paxton Lynch 6200 n/a 8 Low Sophomore quarterback starting again with new offensive coordinator in a good matchup
Matt Moore 6000 n/a 11 Low Probable starter against New England, and cheap - but 3x value may be a stretch

CHALK TALK: Russell Wilson will probably be the top option this week, as he offers the right combinations to dominate fantasy production for his team. Seattle lacks a ground game yet they are favored on the road to beat San Francisco.  Many will look at Wilson as their quarterback.  Matt Ryan and Tom Brady will push for second and third place here as both signal callers will lead offenses in games where their respective teams are expected to score plenty of points and win by more than a touchdown.

GPP: There are a lot of options (see table above) this week, but the one that jumps out at me is Carson Wentz.  His ownership is expected to be below 5% yet the Eagles are expected to win 29-15 over Chicago at home.  Philadelphia loves to run the ball (2nd in the NFL with 144 yards per game), but Wentz still leads the NFL with 25 touchdown passes.  The Eagles do not have a lead back yet, but Alshon Jeffery is pushing for the top wide receiver spot and he is looking to put up a big game against his former team this week.  

As I mentioned earlier, I love the Tennessee-Indianapolis matchup across the board.  It will get repetitive in this article (you have been warned) but the quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends all deserve mentions this week.  Marcus Mariota and Jacoby Brissett are in prime spots to put up big numbers.

While I like all the names above, Paxton Lynch is the most intriguing.  Oakland is one of the worst passing defenses, and Lynch is cheap, has two good receivers and will have low ownership.  His chances of outperforming (hitting 3x+) are much higher than his projected ownership (under 5%).

RUNNING BACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Todd Gurley 8500 3 4 High Feature back that will suffer from negative bias after a disappointing Week 11
Mark Ingram II 8200 4 3 High Lead back for the Saints that they love to utilize when ahead on the scoreboard
Alvin Kamara 8100 5 6 High Kamara is the two minute drill guy for the Saints. If they trail, his value goes way up
Kareem Hunt 7700 2 2 Very High Another top option who disappointed last week, but in a perfect spot
Carlos Hyde 6600 n/a 7 Medium 100+ yards rushing in last two matchups with Seattle
Tevin Coleman 6200 1 1 Very High Likely starter in a favorable matchup for a cheap price - almost a must start across the board
Rex Burkhead 5900 n/a 5 Low Bill Belichick hates fantasy owners. What would be more perfect than 2 TDs for Rex this week?
Christian McCaffrey 6100 6 6 Medium Most targeted RB in the NFL, and that may increase with no Benjamin
Derrick Henry 5200 n/a 9 Very Low Fewer touches than Murray, but explosive

CHALK TALK: The list of running backs for me is rather short, and in general I would not look to pivot too far off of the chalk this week.  There are better places to build in uniqueness (Tight end, quarterback and wide receiver) so just eat the chalk here.

With Devonta Freeman likely out again, Tevin Coleman is the top of the list in all formats.  He is rather inexpensive ($6,200) and is in a great spot at home as a favorite against Tampa Bay.  He should be penciled in for most lineups at RB2.  

The question now becomes what to do at RB1, or if you want to try and put two RB1 candidates in your lineup and save money elsewhere.  That's a viable strategy this week, and the top names for me are Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt.  Both are going to have negative bias after disappointing weeks, but both look to be highly utilized in Week 12.  Hunt is a big home favorite agianst a Bills team that cannot stop the run, while Gurley will have to step up against the Saints to help fill the loss of Robert Woods  Both offer good shots at 3x this week.

GPP: Picking which running back to use for the Saints has been tricky, but it comes down to which game script do you expect for New Orleans against the Rams.  Odds are that they will try and run early, which means more Mark Ingram II, but if they start to fall behind or have to use their two minute drill then all snaps lean towards Alvin Kamara.  Both backs are viable every week now, but I lean towards Ingram as that will be the desired script for the Saints - but again, neither back is a bad choice.

My last back to mention is Rex Burkhead.  Simply put, no one wants to use him this week.  He did start last week but was benched after a fumble, and many fantasy owners soured on Burkhead after that bad performance in a week where many expected much more.  If I know anything about Bill Belichick, he will do the unexpected.  I would not be shocked at all to see Burkhead have a big game this week and cause many fantasy team owners to be left shaking their heads once again.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
A.J. Green 8300 3 4 High The way to beat Cleveland is through the air
Doug Baldwin 7900 8 12 Medium Top target for Russell Wilson, and Seattle has no run game
Julio Jones 7800 1 2 High Will the second touchdown be this week?
Michael Thomas 7600 4 6 Medium All that is missing are touchdowns, but his price and ownership are great
T.Y. Hilton 7500 5 3 Med-High Colts in a dome against a bad pass defense = big Hilton game
Alshon Jeffery 7100 9 1 Medium Revenge narrative against the Bears, and playing with real attitude. Love him in this spot
Demaryius Thomas 6800 n/a 8 Medium Oakland is not good against the pass, and he is the top target for Denver
Emmanuel Sanders 6300 n/a 10 Medium Second option in Denver passing game, but could produce against the Raiders
Rishard Matthews 6300 6 5 Med-High Top receiver for the Titans in what should be a shootout game with Indy
Sammy Watkins 5900 n/a 14 Med-High Watkins should start now (WR1B) with Robert Woods out
Mohamed Sanu 5800 7 15 Medium Possession receiver but benefitting from Julio Jones getting more defensive attention
Kenny Stills 5600 n/a 9 Low Matt Moore loves Kenny Stills in this offense
Corey Davis 5400 n/a 11 Medium 17 targets the past two weeks
Cooper Kupp 5400 2 7 High Elevates to WR1A with Robert Woods out
Dede Westbrook 4900 n/a 13 Very Low Patrick Peterson will blanket Marquise Lee, leaving Dede open

CHALK TALK: Is this finally the week for Julio Jones?  Everyone has been waiting for him to have that breakout performance this year, but a dropped touchdown against Carolina in Week 9 really turned many fantasy owners' stomachs.  Now he gets yet another great matchup against Tampa Bay, and his ownership is projected to be rather high.  I tend to think going underweight on his ownership is the right call in GPPs.

A.J. Green is the other chalky option this week at the high end, as Cleveland is far too good against the run but very weak against the pass.  Green looks primed for a 100-yard game with a touchdown.  T.Y. HIlton comes in next with a lower salary but similar expectations at home against the Titans.  I like both receivers to have strong performances come Sunday.  Michael Thomas is also far too cheap this week due to his inability to convert his 65 catches to more scores (just two this year).  He is far more in play in cash games.

Two cheaper options round out the chalk this week with Cooper Kupp looking to step up for the Rams.  Los Angeles will be without Robert Woods for a few weeks, so Jared Goff will need Kupp to pull in a few extra catches.  Corey Davis returned to action for Tennessee and immediately became a productive starter, seeing 17 targets the past two weeks but only reeling in seven of those for 75 yards and one score.  The opportunity is there for him to have a strong performance this week against the Colts.

GPP:  Alshon Jeffery is almost a must play this week against his former team.  Wentz-Jeffery stacks are going to be very low owned, but I see so much upside here with the top touchdown quarterback looking at Jeffery to get him big numbers.  That is one of my favorite stacks of the week.

I mentioned Paxton Lynch earlier, and both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are viable receivers to pair with Lynch - or even both.  Yes, Oakland has been that bad against the pass.

Two lower owned receivers I like as one-off plays are Dede Westbrook (Jacksonville) and Kenny Stills (Miami).  Matt Moore has been locked in on Stills in all three of Moore's starts this year (Weeks 7, 8 and 11).  In those three contests, Stills has INCREDIBLE numbers - 27 targets, 18 catches, 330 yards and 3 touchdowns.  That is an AVERAGE of 6-110-1 for those three weeks (20 points in FanDuel scoring).  I may have Stills ranked too low!

TIGHT ENDS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Rob Gronkowski 7700 2 5 High Miami is a Bottom 5 team against tight ends
Travis Kelce 7500 1 4 Very High Target monster every week
Jimmy Graham 7000 4 6 High Top target for Russell Wilson in the red zone
Greg Olsen 6400 n/a 7 Med-Low Too soon for a cash game play, but will get overlooked with hi returning after two months off
Delanie Walker 5900 5 1 Med-Low Dropped a touchdown last Thursday - should squeeze one Sunday
Tyler Kroft 5700 6 3 Low Cleveland is not good against tight ends, so look for a TD here
Jack Doyle 5700 3 2 High Ideal matchup at home against the Titans
Jared Cook 5500 n/a 8 High Denver is also not good against tight ends

CHALK TALK:  Over the past three weeks, Travis Kelce has 22 catches, over 300 yards and two touchdowns.  He will be the highest owned tight end in all formats this week, and for good reason.  Only Rob Gronkowski can push him for ownership this week, as New England is a big home favorite against the Dolphins, who are a Bottom 5 team verus tight ends.

GPP: When it comes to looking for tight ends who are not that chalky this week, start with teams that are terrible against the position on defense.  Cleveland is bad, so Tyler Kroft is in play.  Kroft scored again last week against Denver, and Andy Dalton loves to target Kroft in the red zone.  Speaking of Denver, they are also not good against tight ends, so Jared Cook is a viable choice this week. 

Two stud tight ends are going to go overlooked this week.  Jimmy Graham is priced close enough to Kelce and Gronkowski that many will just try and get to the other two over Graham, but Graham also has a great matchup against the 49ers this week.  I would not be surprised to see Graham hit 3x on Sunday.  Carolina gets a big boost with Greg Olsen returning to action after two months off, and many are going to miss that he is due back.  That will keep his ownership low in a favorable matchup (Jets are Bottom 25% against tight ends).

Last but not least is my favorite game again.  Both Delanie Walker and Jack Doyle are strong plays this week, with Walker more of a GPP play due to lower ownership.  Walker already feels bad about dropping a certain score last Thursday against Pittsburgh, but I expect him to fix that issue on Sunday and rack up a touchdown.  Doyle is a PPR machine, but he catches so many passes that he is valuable in all formats. 

KICKERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Stephen Gostkowski 5200 2 1 High When is Gostkowski not an option?
Greg Zuerlein 5200 6 4 Medium I can see a path where the Rams struggle in the red zone
Jake Elliott 5000 7 2 Low Going overlooked this week, but ideal spot and very low ownership
Harrison Butker 5000 5 5 Med-High Home favorite and they let him try from long distance
Matt Bryant 4900 1 3 High Dome kicker, home favorite
Ryan Succop 4800 4 8 Low Strong pivot from Bryant, very reliable kicker
Chris Boswell 4800 3 7 High Good piece of the final game of the slate
Giorgio Tavecchio 4500 8 6 Medium Cheap option this week

CHALK and GPP: These general kicker comments will likely be repeated week after week, but they are important so take note. Yes, FanDuel is the only DFS site left that uses a kicker, but you have to deal with it if you are playing on FanDuel. Sorry, that's how it goes. But there's some good news - you can actually make smart, informed decisions that can go a long way towards increasing your bankroll. First, there are four general criteria in picking a kicker:

  1. Pick a kicker who is playing at home
  2. Pick a kicker who is in a game where his team is favored
  3. Pick a kicker whose team is expected to score at least 24 points.
  4. Pick a kicker who will not be in bad weather.

Just following that above recipe will help you quite a bit. Remember - a 50+ yard field goal is five points or almost as much as a touchdown. That's significant.

Week 12 only offers one really cheap kicker that I deem viable, and that is Giorgio Tavecchio of the Raiders. That feels iffy to me though (I would actually like him more in Denver for longer kicks), so I am likely to pay up a little more for this week.

Matt Bryant leads my list and checks all the boxes.  A home favorite in a dome where the Falcons are expected to score plenty of points.  That's a perfect script for one of the best kickers in league history.  With no Devonta Freeman, Atlanta may stall in the red zone a few times, or they could be up big late and just ice it with a few field goals.  Either way, it all points to good production for Bryant.

For GPPs, Stephen Gostkowski is in a similar script to Bryant but is expensive, so his ownership should be a little less.  The kicker I see getting overlooked is Jake Elliott of the Eagles.  He was knocked out (no pun intended) with a concussion early against Dallas last Sunday, but he appears to be fine and has a great recipe for success (home favorite against the Bears).  HIs ownership projects to be low, making a big day for Elliott worth even more.

TEAM DEFENSES

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Jacksonville 5500 4 5 High "Sacksonville" living up to the nickname, week after week
Philadelphia 4900 5 1 Med-Low Home favorite against a bad Bears team
Cincinnati 4900 2 4 High Any team against Cleveland is an option
Pittsburgh 4800 1 2 High Seahawks will be motivated at home after a poor showing last week
New England 4700 3 3 Med-High Patriots huge favorites at home
Atlanta 4600 n/a 7 Low Tampa Bay keeps struggling
New Orleans 4500 n/a 6 Very Low No one will be on the Saints - but should you be?

CHALK and GPP:  Lots of chalky home favorites dominate this list with the Steelers, Eagles and Patriots at the top of the chart.  Even Cincinnati (home against Cleveland) looks good with the Bengals favored by nearly 10 points over the Browns. 

Tournament options are harder to come by, but i like Jacksonville (at Arizona) as a road favorite and at a steep enough price to drive ownership down.  The most intriguing play is to look at the Saints at Los Angeles.  Now, the game is supposed to be high scoring, but the Rams will be without Robert Woods and the Rams were just held to only seven points by the Vikings last week.  The Saints are opportunistic on defense (13 turnovers, three touchodwns) and they are cheap enough to warrant strong tournament consideration as one of the best inexpensive options to use with big upside.

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com


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