Yahoo DFS Football: Week 12 Picks

Yahoo DFS Football: Week 12 Picks

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Football series.

Sunday's NFL main slate begins at 1 p.m. EST and consists of 10 games. The fantasy-friendly Chiefs and Cardinals offenses have byes, a Thanksgiving triple-header consisting of Bears-Lions, Raiders-Cowboys and Bills-Saints has come and gone, while Browns-Ravens (Sunday night) and Seahawks-Washington (Monday night) fall outside the main slate. Despite all the talent that's unavailable, there's still no shortage of enticing options remaining to pick from, including a star quarterback on the cheap, a fill-in starter at running back and a couple rookie first-round picks.

TOURNAMENTS (GPP – GUARANTEED PRIZE POOL)

QB: Cam Newton, CAR at MIA ($30): Newton has looked like the same old Cam since returning to Carolina, as he threw for a touchdown and ran in another in spot duty during his first game back, then delivered a familiar stat line with two touchdowns through the air and another on the ground in his first start of the season last week. This offense remains tailored to a quarterback with Newton's strengths and weaknesses — playmakers Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore are both adept at turning short passes into big gains with their elusiveness after the catch, so Newton isn't asked to accurately push the ball downfield, and the lack of enticing options after those two allows Newton to make the most of his rushing ability if the first read isn't there. Miami's defense has played better lately, but it's likely to get worn down, as the Dolphins' offense is expected to struggle to sustain drives against the ferocious Panthers defense.

RB: Jonathan Taylor, IND vs. TB ($37): Conventional wisdom says not to challenge Tampa Bay's league-best run defense, but conventional wisdom said the same of the formidable Bills defense last week, and those who went with Taylor anyway were rewarded with a five-touchdown masterpiece, which stretched his touchdown streak to eight consecutive games. There's no running back you would rather have in a neutral matchup, and the way Taylor's playing, the above might even be true for tough matchups like this one.

WR: DeVonta Smith, PHI at NYG ($17): The Giants lack a lot of things, but a No. 1 cornerback isn't one of them, as James Bradberry was the team's lone representative on the league's top 100 players list heading into the season, checking in at No. 67. Despite Bradberry's presence, Smith's an appealing option in the ascending Eagles offense. The rookie first-round pick has topped 60 receiving yards in each of the last three games, totaling 243 yards and three touchdowns. He saw exactly six targets in each of those games, but Smith's able to overcome modest volume with exceptional downfield playmaking ability.

Other Against-the-Grainers

QB: Zach Wilson (NYJ, $20), Joe Burrow (CIN, $29), Carson Wentz (IND, $26)

RB: Darrell Henderson (LAR, $22), Jeff Wilson (SF, $17), David Johnson (HOU, $13)

WR: Davante Adams (GB, $31), Kendrick Bourne (NE, $20), Kenny Golladay (NYG, $14)

TE: Evan Engram (NYG, $17), Dan Arnold (JAX, $16)

DST: New York Jets (at HOU, $12), Green Bay Packers (vs. LAR, $16)

CASH GAMES (H2H, 50/50s and DOUBLE UPS)

QUARTERBACK

Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. LAR ($27): Rodgers' barking toe didn't stop him from carving up the Minnesota defense like a Thanksgiving turkey en route to 385 yards and four touchdowns last week, though the Vikings ultimately got the ball last and engineered a game-winning drive. This visit from the Rams should be another high-scoring affair, at least for the home side, as Los Angeles was outscored 59-26 over its last two games before a Week 11 bye. Priced just ninth among quarterbacks at $27, Rodgers is a low-risk, high-reward choice under center.

RUNNING BACK

Dalvin Cook, MIN at SF ($29): Cook carries a sub-$30 valuation for just the second time this season, and those who locked him in for $27 last week certainly got good bang for the buck as he produced 21.0 fantasy points in a win over the Packers. As one of the league's most explosive runners, Cook has top-5 upside any given week, and his three-down role gives him an excellent touch floor regardless of game script. Meanwhile, the 49ers have had some shoddy performances against the run at home this this season, and their nine rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs are tied for fourth most in the NFL.

Ty Johnson, NYJ at HOU ($14): With Michael Carter (ankle) sidelined, Johnson and Tevin Coleman are expected to split the Jets' backfield workload against a Houston defense that's allowed 1,174 rushing yards to running backs — second-most after the Chargers (1,179). Johnson is the more explosive of the two on the ground, and he's far more polished as a pass-catcher, having caught at least five passes in three of his last five games. With Carter sitting for the first time this season, don't be surprised if Johnson eclipses his previous season high of 12 touches.

WIDE RECEIVER

Chris Godwin, TB at IND ($28): With Antonio Brown (ankle) still sidelined and Mike Evans dealing with a tight back, Godwin's suddenly the healthiest member of Tampa Bay's Big 3 wide receivers. He's enjoyed a consistent diet of targets the last four games, catching 29 of 37 for 373 yards and three touchdowns. A Colts defense that's given up 17 touchdowns to wide receivers — at least three more than any team — is unlikely to keep Godwin from building on his season total of five touchdowns, especially since he's a consistent scoring threat who found the end zone at least seven times in each of the previous three seasons.

Brandon Aiyuk, SF vs. MIN ($17): If Deebo Samuel's out of your price range at $36, Aiyuk's a nice fallback option at less than half that. Overshadowed by Samuel's consistent excellence and George Kittle's return from a calf injury, Aiyuk has quietly found his game as well. He's officially out of Kyle Shanahan's doghouse, having been targeted seven-plus times in three of the last four games and coming away with at least 85 yards and a touchdown twice in the last three. Aiyuk should build on his recent momentum at home against a Vikings team that allows 195.0 receiving yards per game to wide receivers — second-most in the league — and has given up 13 touchdowns to the position in 10 games.

Jerry Jeudy, DEN vs. LAC ($14): Jeudy's a terrific value at $14 regardless of opponent. The 2020 first-round pick has 28 targets in four games played this season, and he's caught six passes in all but one game. The Chargers have been more vulnerable on the ground than through the air, but their 26.5 points allowed per game aren't pretty any way you slice it, and the top option in Denver's passing game is locked into a high floor thanks to his steady volume. A healthy Jeudy still has time to post some of the breakout performances we expected to see before his sophomore season was derailed by a Week 1 ankle injury.

TIGHT END

Kyle Pitts, ATL at JAX ($20): Pitts has gone quiet again over the last month after a dominant two-game stretch in which the rookie third-overall pick played up to his lofty draft position with 16 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps playing close to his alma mater will help the tight end out of Florida rediscover that dominant form, and facing the vulnerable Jacksonville defense certainly doesn't hurt. The Jaguars are giving up 26.2 points per game, and Pitts should be among the primary reads whenever quarterback Matt Ryan drops back to pass given the dearth of enticing alternatives in Atlanta's passing game with Calvin Ridley showing no signs of an impending return from the NFI list.

DEFENSE

New England Patriots, NE vs. TEN ($19): The ascending New England defense is the hottest in the league. This unit has mustered five consecutive performances with double-digit fantasy points, averaging 16.8 in that span — that's right in line with the average production of $31 Steelers running back Najee Harris this season. The Titans would have been considered a tough matchup before last week, even without Derrick Henry (foot), but Ryan Tannehill's four-interception performance in a home loss to the Texans knocked a lot of the luster off Tennessee's offense, which is feeling the loss of Henry both on the ground and through the air, where the play-action passes Tannehill has excelled on suddenly aren't nearly as open. Top Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (chest) won't be available, either.

Honorable Mentions

QB: Tom Brady (TB, $41), Jalen Hurts (PHI, $35), Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, $25)

RB: Christian McCaffrey (CAR, $40), Joe Mixon (CIN, $27), Melvin Gordon (DEN, $19)

WR: Justin Jefferson (MIN, $29), Corey Davis (NYJ, $16), Russell Gage (ATL, $13)

TE: Rob Gronkowski (TB, $22), Noah Fant (DEN, $18)

DST: Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG, $15), Miami Dolphins (vs. CAR, $16)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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