Daily Fantasy Football is the ultimate week-to-week test of acumen. There is worry about bye weeks or injured players like in season-long formats. FanDuel offers a variety of cash and tournament contests consisting of a single week of matchups. Projecting player ownership to build lineups is an integral strategy to long-term success. Here are the key players for Week 12 of the 2016 season:
THE CHALK PLAYS
Russell Wilson (at TB), $7,500: Wilson is far healthier than even a few weeks ago. With his mobility returning, Wilson has hit 3x value the last three games. Tampa Bay is a top-5 matchup over the last five weeks, allowing the second-most passing touchdowns and the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks. Seattle's offense is rounding into form and Wilson still possesses one of the lower salaries he has had this season. Expect Wilson to be a top-3 ownership quarterback, if not No.1 for Week 12.
Drew Brees (vs LA), $8,600: The Rams are a relatively stingy matchup, but Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford - two of the most notable quarterbacks on their schedule - have thrown at least three touchdowns each this season against Los Angeles. Brees has one of the most pronounced home-road splits among quarterbacks. At home, Brees is a start and on the road, a fade. Even against Denver in New Orleans two weeks ago, Brees put up 303 yards and three touchdowns at more than 10 yards per attempt. Expect 10% or higher ownership for Brees as a top-3 quarterback option.
Jay Ajayi (vs SF), $8,400: The 49ers, like the Browns, allow top shelf rushing volume. San Francisco has faced 34.7 rushing attempts per game this season and 13 rushing scores, second-most in the NFL. Also, they are allowing 5.2 yards per attempt, by far the highest in the league. Ajayi has gone two games without a score and primed for high volume like his strongest games of the year against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and the Jets. Expect 20% ownership or higher for Ajayi.
Rashad Jennings (at CLE), $6,600: The Giants are strong favorites against Cleveland, a toothless run defense with the No.31 Expected Points allowed by ProFootballReference.com. Dating back to Week 2, only the Ravens had failed to produce a running back touchdown against Cleveland and high volume is expected with consistent positive game scripts for Browns opponents. Jennings is healed from a thump injury and his snap count was solid in Week 11. Jennings has hit 2.2x or better value his last two games. Jennings is a top-5 running back ownership play at 15% or more.
Larry Fitzgerald (at ATL), $7,200: Fitzgerald has been the one consistent element of Arizona's pass game (beyond David Johnson) this season. Fitzgerald's low-water mark in 2016 is seven targets and he is a strong touchdown regression candidate with five games without a score, spanning 43 catches. Atlanta is a target matchup for receivers with the highest Vegas total of the week, allowing the second-most passing touchdowns on the season (23), 68% completion rate, and struggle to produce pressure. Fitzgerald is a strong bet for higher than 10% ownership.
Michael Crabtree (vs CAR), $6,700: Crabtree is coming off two straight dud games, totaling less than six FanDuel points combined, including multiple drops on Monday Night of Week 11. Carolina is allowing the third-highest completion rate in the NFL (67%) and offers a bounce back opportunity after stingy matchups against Houston and Denver during Crabtree's cold snap. Expect 8-12% ownership for Crabtree.
Jimmy Graham (at TB), $6,900: Tampa Bay has been torched by the best tight ends on their schedule, including 7-108-0 by Travis Kelce and 9-181-0 by Greg Olsen. Graham has a high floor (at least 1x value in all but two games this season) and coming off two lackluster games. Graham is projected in the 10-15% ownership range.
Stephen Gostkowski (at NYJ), $4,800: The Patriots have the top Vegas team total of the Sunday-Monday slate. Saving a few hundred at kicker is a no brainer from a top offense.
Bills (vs JAX), $4,800: Stacking with Dan Carpenter on the special teams side, Buffalo's defense is a strong play this week. Jacksonville has an unreal 13 turnovers over their last five games and have allowed multiple sacks in all but two games this season. The Bills are a pressure-based defense, leading the NFL with 31 sacks on the year. The Bills will be the No.1 or No.2 defense player of the week, approaching 15% or more.
THE SNEAKY PLAYS
Carson Palmer (at ATL), $7,100: Palmer has struggled in 2016 overall and now sits with his lowest salary of the season. Palmer has hit 2x value in each of the last three games. The matchup in Atlanta offers the highest Vegas total of the Sunday and Monday games and the Falcons defense is a target matchup. Over the last five weeks, Atlanta is the No.6 quarterback matchup, including a balmy 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio allowed. Their 68% completion rate allowed on the season in second-highest in the NFL and, at best, they are an average pass-rushing team. Expect less than 3% ownership for Palmer.
Thomas Rawls (at TB), $7,000: With C.J. Prosise out, Rawls is ramping up to high volume in a hurry. The hard-charging back logged positive reviews in Week 11. His 17 touches are his floor going forward with only Alex Collins of note healthy on the Seattle depth chart. Tampa Bay is a positive matchup by ProFootballReference and uncharacteristically has not allowed a running back rushing score since Week 7, despite strong games from Jordan Howard and Devonta Freeman since. A value ratio of 1.5x is about Rawls' floor this week with upside of 3x or beyond. Expect 5-10% ownership for Rawls.
Jeremy Hill (at BAL), $5,900: The Ravens are a tough matchup, but Hill is a dirt-cheap volume play. With Giovani Bernard out, Rex Burkhead will take on the change-of-pace role, but Hill's volume projects to rise. In three games without Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill is averaging more than 120 yards in those contests on 20 carries. With goal line opportunities and now healthy volume, Hill is a viable RB2 in FanDuel lineups independent of matchup. Like Rawls, expect 5-10% ownership for Hill.
Rishard Matthews (at CHI), $6,200: Matthews has hit at least 2.2x value each of the last four games, evolving into Tennessee's most consistent pass target as he has led Tennessee receivers in targets each of the last five games. Chicago is struggling on the back-end of their defense, producing the second-highest receiver points-per-game against over the last five weeks. Expect 5-10% ownership for Matthews.
Jordan Matthews (vs GB), $5,600: Matthews is the lone consistent wide receiver projection for the Eagles pass game. The Packers are depleted on defense and have allowed an NFL-high eight touchdowns to receivers over the past five games and 160 yards per game to the position. Matthews has his lowest salary of the season this week and is on a three-game touchdown-less streak, spanning 17 receptions. Matthews is projected with less than 3% ownership this week.
Kenny Britt (at NO), $7,100: The Saints offer shootout potential in every game, especially at home. Jared Goff now has a game under his belt and New Orleans struggles to produce pressure and allow 280 passing yards per game on average, second-highest in the NFL. Britt is the clear lead target for the Rams and has seen at least six targets in each of the last six games. Britt is a touchdown regression candidate over the rest of the season as his 6% touchdown rate this season is far below his career rate. Britt projects as less than 5% owned this week.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (vs SD), $5,200: Since ramping up to full-time action in early October, Fiedorowicz has seen five targets in every game and hit at least 2x value in 4-of-7 contests. Will Fuller V is slowly getting back up to speed from injury and DeAndre Hopkins has struggled most of the season. Fiedorowicz has quietly become a consistent chain-mover for Houston. San Diego has faced an easy slate of tight ends thus far, only Delanie Walker and Travis Kelce stand out (and each logged quality games). Expect 5% ownership for the Houston tight end.
Dan Carpenter (vs JAX), $4,500: Buffalo is a strong favorite and Jacksonville is the top kicker matchup in the NFL over the past five games - 8% higher than any other team. At minimum salary, Carpenter is a strong option in Week 12.
Giants (at CLE), $4,800: The Browns have allowed an NFL-high 19 sacks over the last five weeks, including at least four in each of their last three outings. After a slow start to the season, the Giants defense is rising with multiple sacks in each of their last five games (14 total) and interceptions in the last four contests. Expect 5-10% ownership.
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