Exclamation Point! - Yahoo DFS Week 12

A dive into some of the top cash and tournament picks for Yahoo DFS.

Welcome to the Exclamation Point!, an analysis of stand-out cash and GPP options for consideration on Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports. Yahoo presents a variety of options to suit the fancy of any DFS player out there, and we are looking to arm you with the information needed to build winning lineups no matter what type of player you are. Pricing feels very tight this week, as there are not many “plug-and-play” value options to rely on. We have found a number of middle-tier guys to talk through here, giving you some solid options to find decent value as this week shapes up to see a more consistent salary per position in most rosters.

 

QUARTERBACK


drew brees - $38 (CASH / GPP)

With very tight pricing on Yahoo, it is understandable to be wary of paying up at quarterback. However, think about it this week with a few solid options near the top, one of which is Drew Brees. Ranking 2nd in fantasy points per game this season, Brees has been one of the safest options at quarterback this season, especially in the Superdome. He has thrown for multiple touchdowns in all but two games while averaging a league-high 366.4 passing yards per game at home. The matchup could be better with the Rams defense playing well against the pass this season, but they have allowed an average of nearly 70 more passing yards per game on the road than at home. The Saints at home, regardless of matchup, have been tough to stop—and that should be no exception this weekend as they sport one of the highest team totals of the slate. Drew Brees is a top option for cash games with plenty of tournament upside, even at his top tier price.

Russell Wilson - $34 (CASH / GPP)

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense have been much improved over the past few weeks of the season compared to their excruciatingly slow start. Wilson has been a top-5 quarterback in each of his past three games while the Seahawks have ranked third in points scored per play across that span. The Buccaneers bottom-half ranked defense allow a league high 8.1 yards per pass attempt, while allowing the 7th most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Russell Wilson comes in near the top of the H-Value scale on our Footballguys Interactive Value Chart. He is healthy and playing very well right now while still at an affordable price. Look to Wilson in all formats.

cam newton - $33 (cash / gpp)

Cam Newton’s price continues to be depressed as he has shown to be having a rough season thus far, ranked only 16th in total fantasy points scored compared to 2nd at this point last season. Newton has not been throwing nearly as well as in the past, however he still poses a significant threat on the ground, averaging nearly 8 carries per game over his last four weeks with four rushing touchdowns this season. Newton has had some poor offensive line play this season, however this week he faces a Raiders defense with one of the weakest lines in football, accounting for a league-low 15 sacks this season. The Raiders defense has given opposing quarterbacks more than enough time to put up points, the 10th most to be precise, while allowing the league’s 4th most passing yards per game. Newton has thrived earlier this season on teams with weak defensive lines, such as San Francisco, against whom he put up season-high numbers including five total touchdowns. He is the 9th most expensive quarterback in a game with the 2nd highest points total of the slate—a solid option and playable in all formats.

Carson wentz - $25 (GPP)

Carson Wentz draws a very favorable matchup against the reeling Packers defense on Monday Night Football this week. Green Bay has allowed 30 or more points and an average of 421 total yards in each of their last four games while ranking dead last in fantasy defense scoring across that span. Opposing quarterbacks have scored at least 31 points in each of the last two weeks—take off a passing touchdown from that score, and Carson Wentz still hits tournament value at this very low salary tag. Wentz threw for two touchdowns last week after putting up goose eggs in his previous two games, but this matchup is one that could allow him to quickly get back on track. His running back situation is murky, so if the Eagles want to keep up, Wentz should be much more involved in the passing attack to take advantage of the mismatches he will inevitably find.  His floor is pretty low, but the ceiling with this matchup is very high and will not take a ton of production to pay off GPP value.
 

RUNNING BACK

 

Jay ajayi - $39 (CASH / GPP)

Jay Ajayi may be pricey, but he has the best running back matchup of the slate facing the 49-ers defense. The Dolphins have yet to lose a game since Ajayi’s breakout performance in Week 6, in large part due to their reliance on Ajayi who has averaged 22.4 attempts per game and 6.1 yards per attempt across that five-game span. While Ajayi has been contained to less than 80 yards and no touchdown in each of his last two outings, his matchup in this game is one that is too good to pass up. The 49-ers by far and away allow the most fantasy points per game to running backs, with over 1500 rushing yards allowed on the season—good for an average of 159 rushing yards per game. Jay Ajayi has already went over 200 yards twice this season, and he will have a great shot at it yet again in this amazing matchup. Ajayi is a solid option to pay up for in all formats.

rashad jennings - $20 (CASH / GPP)

Rashad Jennings is coming off his best game of the season last week, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown while hauling in five receptions for 44 yards. The Giants have not been known for their ability and willingness to rush the ball this season, but they have definitely committed in the past couple of weeks with 100 or more rushing yards in each game. Rashad Jennings has slowly increased his snap count over the past four games, up to a season-high 47 snaps (70% of team snaps) last week. With Jennings seeing the field more often, he should be in the best position to take advantage of one of the worst rushing defense in the league in the Browns, ranked 30th against the run using DVOA and allowing the 2nd most fantasy points per game to running backs. With the Giants favored by a touchdown, game script heavily favors Jennings here. He sits near the top of our Footballguys Interactive Value Chart in H-Value, so look to get some exposure to Jennings as salary relief option in all formats, particularly cash games.

THOMAs rawls - $19 (CASH)

If a healthy start, Thomas Rawls should be a popular option at running back this week as his salary does not fully reflect the injury sustained by teammate C.J. Prosise last week. Rawls looks to be the workhorse back of this offense with only Alex Collins available to take a few carries from him. In his return against the Eagles last week, Rawls averaged 4.1 yards per attempt while hauling in three receptions for 31 yards. The Buccaneers have been better against running backs in recent weeks, but their defense as a whole has played poorly all season while they are ranked 20th against the rush using DVOA. There are only four teams in the NFC that have given up more points this season than the Buccaneers, and with the Seahawks offense clicking as it has been in recent weeks, Thomas Rawls has solid touchdown upside in this matchup. While injury is a concern that will require his pre-game status to be monitored, should Rawls be healthy, he will be a salary-saving option worth getting some exposure to in cash game rosters.

WENDELL SMALLWOOD - $12 (CASH / GPP)

Wendell Smallwood could become a very popular play should Darren Sproles (who has not practiced through mid-week due to a broken rib) be ruled out this week. With Ryan Mathews also nursing a sprained MCL and expected to miss this game, Smallwood could be the only viable running back in the Eagles’ offense in a matchup against a Packers defense that has 4.4 yards per carry over their last five games. Smallwood has averaged 4.4 yards per carry in his limited attempts this season, while showing some versatility in a tough matchup with the Seahawks last week by catching four passes for 31 yards. If Smallwood ends up being the only healthy Eagles running back at only $12, he should easily achieve value in cash game lineups and have a great shot at knocking value out of the park in tournaments.

 

WIDE RECEIVER


Odell Beckham Jr Jr. - $39 (GPP)

While this is a week that paying up for wide receiver may not be the best strategy given the number of solid plays in the mid salary range, the number of values at other positions could allow the salary relief required to squeeze a guy like Odell Beckham Jr Jr. in. The Giants have a very favorable matchup against a Browns team ranked 31st against the pass and 31st specifically against WR1’s using DVOA. The Browns have allowed the league’s most passing touchdowns this season and the league’s third most yards per pass attempts (8.0). Beckham has been one of the most explosive receivers we have seen this season with a couple of multi-touchdown games and a 200+ yard outing, but he also has had four games with single digit fantasy production. Three of those four stinkers came on the road, and now Beckham finds himself on the road in a windy FirstEnergy Cleveland stadium. It is hard to confidently say that Beckham’s fantasy floor is high enough to warrant his top-level salary here, as it would be much safer to pay this price for an elite quarterback and/or an elite running back instead of Beckham. But despite his lack of safety, Beckham is definitely an elite tournament option as his ceiling is one of the highest at his position. Look to get your Beckham fix in tournament formats only this week.

julian edelman - $23 (CASH / GPP)

Julian Edelman has had very consistent fantasy usage since the return of Tom Brady, averaging nearly nine targets per game until his massive outing last week with 17 targets. Edelman has double digit fantasy points in each of his last three games, and he rolls into this week facing a Jets defense ranked 30th against the pass using DVOA. The Jets and Patriots always play each other close, with their last six meetings decided by less than a touchdown while three of their last eight matchups have went to overtime. Over the last two seasons, the Patriots have passed on over 70% of plays against the Jets, furthering the point that this game has a good chance at being competitive until the end. Edelman thrives as the go-to option in this offense with Rob Gronkowski out, and while we may not see another 17-target game, Edelman should have a floor of double-digit targets this week as he looks to be one of the most solid wide receiver options of the week.

JORDAN MATTHews - $23 (Cash)

Jordan Matthews comes into a dream matchup against a Packers secondary that has been shredded in recent weeks. Ranked 23rd against the pass using DVOA, the Packers are allowing the league’s 10th most passing yards per game and the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Jordan Matthews has been the favorite target through the air for the Eagles all season long, averaging 8.5 targets per game with 10 targets in each of his last three outings. Matthews has struggled to find the end zone (only one TD in his past seven games), but he should be in a good spot in this matchup to find pay dirt. His price has stayed down even with the high usage rate, making Matthews an excellent target for cash game rosters.

kenny britt - $20 (GPP)

Kenny Britt draws a favorable matchup in the Superdome this week against the 25th ranked Saints pass defense. The Rams offense has been atrocious—there is no contesting that. Kenny Britt however has been a bright spot in certain situations as we have seen him go over 100 yards in two games this season. Britt is the top receiving target in this offense on a week-to-week basis as he is the best playmaker the Rams have at receiver. Jared Goff looked horrible in his debut, so that combined with the overall ineptitude of this offense should help keep ownership down on Britt this week. This is great for his tournament playability, as Britt is a guy who has the ability to make huge plays and will be set up to do so with this favorable matchup against the Saints. Limit your exposure to tournaments only.

Steve smith Sr. - $18 (CASH / GPP)

Steve Smith Sr. continues to be undervalued on Yahoo as he comes in priced under $20 despite scoring in back to back games while averaging over eight targets in games he has been healthy for this season. Smith is a vital cog in the Ravens offense, and he draws a Bengals pass defense ranked in the bottom of half of the league. In Smith’s last game against the Bengals in 2015, he absolutely demolished them by hauling in 13 of 17 targets for 186 yards and two touchdowns. This is the kind of rivalry game that Smith Sr. usually thrives in, and at this salary of only $18, Smith is an option you can feel content gaining significant exposure to in cash game lineups and tournaments alike.

 

TIGHT END


JIMMY GRAHAM - $21 (CASH / GPP)

The Seahawks offense has really come alive in recent weeks, scoring an average of over 29 points per game against pretty solid defenses over their past three games. Jimmy Graham has been a big part of this production, as he has been the top scoring fantasy tight end across that span across the past three weeks. The Buccaneers have shown significant vulnerability to tight ends this season, allowing 181 yards to Greg Olsen back in Week 5 while allowing Travis Kelce to haul in seven receptions for 108 yards last week. Graham is a top tier option at a relatively discounted price, making him a solid choice to pay up for at the tight end position.

zach ertz - $15 (CASH)

Zach Ertz has been getting a very consistent workload recently, tied for first among tight ends in targets (26) across and leading in receptions (20) over the last three weeks. The big drawback to Ertz this season has been his lack of red zone usage, however that also has increased as he now has one red zone look in each of his last three games while finally finding the end zone last week. Ertz squares off this week against the Packers secondary ranked in the bottom half against the pass while allowing the 8th most fantasy points per game to tight ends. The Packers gave up a solid game last week to Jordan Reed (5 / 79 / 0), and were decimated the week before by Delanie Walker (9 / 124 / 1). With the rampant injuries to the Eagles backfield, the game plan should look to favor Ertz as one could expect Carson Wentz to be passing more often than usual. Ertz comes priced at a discount from the top options due mostly to his lack of touchdown upside this season, but his workload alone creates a solid enough of a floor to justify cash game usage at this salary.
 

DEFENSE


new york giants - $19 (CASH / GPP)

Yahoo pricing on defenses has really tightened up this week with eight defenses (1/3 of the slate) all priced wither $19 or $20 at the top of the salary list. There are a number of good matchups, but one that stands out with particular upside is the New York Giants taking on one of the best teams in the league to pick on—the Cleveland Browns. Despite being on the road, the Giants should be one of the most popular plays on defense this week as they face a Cleveland team allowing an average of nearly 10 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses. The Browns are averaging only 16…7 points per game and have turned the ball over at least once in six of their eleven games this season, with only two turnover-free outings all year. The Browns have failed to exceed 10 points and 225 total yards of offense in any of their past three games, and they now lead the league in sacks allowed after getting hammered by the Steelers for a season-high eight sacks last week. The Giants defense has been solid as of late, scoring at least six fantasy points in each of their last four games with multiple sacks and at least one interception in each outing. Any team facing Cleveland should be popular, and the Giants are no exception—look to them in all formats.

Buffalo bills - $19 (CASH / GPP)

The Bills find themselves in a very appealing matchup this week at home against a Jaguars offense that has allowed opposing defenses to score at least 11 points in each of the last three weeks. Jacksonville has only one turnover-free outing this year as they are at the bottom of the league in both giveaways (22) and turnover differential (-15). The Bills defense leads the league in sacks (31) and have respectable turnover numbers as they are in the top half in both interceptions and fumbles. The home matchup with these turnover-happy Jaguars puts the Bills near the top of the list among this crowded tier of defenses, as they should have a very high floor and ceiling, making them an excellent choice in all formats, particularly GPP’s.

tennessee titans - $14 (GPP / CASH)

The Tennessee Titans are not exactly known as a defensive powerhouse this season, but they do have some bright spots and enter into a very favorable matchup against an injury plagued Bears offense. The Bears offense will be without Alshon Jeffrey, Zach Miller, and Jay Cutler (which could be a bad or good thing actually…) this week. These injuries in addition to a banged up offensive line could make it very tough on the Bears to move the ball against a Titans team that ranks T-3rd in the league with 30 sacks. While Cutler’s replacement has not yet been locked in, there is a good chance that it will be Matt Barkley, who has yet to throw a touchdown in the NFL after 3+ seasons and 55 pass attempts. Barkley has racked up six career interceptions though, two of which came while filling in for an injured Cutler during Week 7 against the Packers this year. Their only other option at quarterback is recently signed David Fales, who has never played an NFL snap… The matchup here alone should give the Titans a solid enough floor to hit value at only $14, making them a target-able low end defense for GPP’s and cash games alike.  


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