Daily Fantasy Football Week 12: Top stacks and value plays to target

·6 min read

By TJ Hernandez, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general GPP strategies that you can implement in contests of any size. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and targeting players that won’t be on many rosters.

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While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players that you would use in cash games.

Stacks to Target

QB Matt Ryan, Falcons ($30)

WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons ($29)

WR Nelson Agholor, Raiders ($17)

Atlanta hosts Las Vegas in a game with a 53.5-point over/under and a spread of just 3 in favor of the Raiders, which will make Las Vegas the popular offense to roster in tournaments. This sets up an excellent leverage opportunity to stack the Falcons’ side of the ball. No team has completed more deep passes (15+ air yards) this season than Atlanta and Las Vegas allows the fifth-most completions on those plays. If Julio Jones is out or limited, Calvin Ridley will be among the most popular wide receivers on the slate but Matt Ryan should be in fewer than 10% of lineups, which will help offset Ridley’s high rostered rate.

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Nelson Agholor tied his season-high with nine targets last week and he’s been the Raiders’ primary deep threat. Since their Week 6 bye, Agholor has accounted for 35% of Las Vegas’ air yards on just 22% of their targets — his 15.1-yard average target depth is the eighth-highest in the league over that span. No defense allows more deep completions than Atlanta. Hello, shootout.

QB Kirk Cousins, Vikings ($27)

WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($25)

WR Robby Anderson, Panthers ($21)

Dalvin Cook has been on a tear lately, which means he may be the most popular player on the slate despite his high salary. That means playing Minnesota’s passing game can get tournament teams well ahead of the field if it hits. The perceived tough matchup along with the Vikings’ high run rate will keep DFSers from pairing Cousins with either of his popular receivers even though Minnesota is one of six teams with an implied total over 27.

Savvy fantasy managers know that it’s actually efficiency that we’re looking for in a passing game, and no one has been as efficient as Cousins lately — his 8.8% touchdown rate is the highest in the league since Week 6. Those that need some hope for volume can rest easy knowing that the Panthers have a top-12 passing rate in neutral game script over the last six weeks.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8)
Kirk Cousins has been better than many have given him credit for. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen make up one of the most concentrated passing attacks in the league and with salaries within three dollars of each other, anyone rolling out a Minnesota stack should rotate the two through lineups. Jefferson’s average target depth is four yards higher than Thielen’s since their bye but the main takeaway here is that although their passing game is efficient enough to help take down a tournament, the volume concerns are what keep this from being a double-stack situation.

Robby Anderson is a run-it back option that is a play on volume. Over the last month, his 27.1% target share ranks 12 in the league but he will likely be the third-most popular pass-catcher on his own team this week.

[Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Note: There is tremendous upside with the chalk quarterbacks this week. Cash game players should always be part of a tournament player pool, but it’s worth making it a point this week to pay extra attention to the correlation in the cash pool listed below.

Contrarian Plays to Target

RB David Montgomery, Bears ($17)

There aren’t many running backs who see the type of volume that Montgomery does but he hasn’t been able to capitalize on that heavy workload. In the four weeks before his concussion, Montgomery was averaging just under 20 touches per game and he had a four-game stretch where he got 100% of the backfield work. This chance is about as good as it gets for the Bears running back against a Packers defense ranked 30th in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to the position.

WR Michael Thomas, Saints ($28)

Michael Thomas started looking like his 2019 self in Week 10 with 30% of the Saints targets but that number skyrocketed to 52% with Taysom Hill under center. Hill won’t throw half of his passes to Thomas every week but it seems as though he won’t skip a beat without Drew Brees. When active this season, the Saints’ No. 1 receiver has accounted for 44% of his team’s air yards, the second-highest rate in the league. His upside is no secret but his rostered rate will be relatively low for at least one more week, making it the time to get exposure.

TE Austin Hooper, Browns ($17)

The entire Cleveland passing game is intriguing in tournaments this week since both of their running backs should be relatively popular in a game where they are favored by almost a touchdown. Hooper is especially noteworthy as a salary pivot off of tight ends with almost identical salaries that could be in two to three times as many lineups. His 28% target share last week was his highest of the season. He has as good of a chance at a blowup game as any Brown against a Jaguars defense ranked in the bottom 10 in schedule-adjusted points allowed to every position.

Cash Game Strategy

The backbone of my cash game approach is 4for4’s proprietary value metric, which goes beyond simple point per dollar projections. That value calculation extends to a player’s odds of hitting cash game value based on their implied volatility according to their floor, median, and ceiling projections.

There are a few backfield injury situations that could make salaries bust wide open this week, most notably Giovani Bernard, Salvon Ahmed (who has been ruled out already), and Todd Gurley. Cincinnati’s running back situation will be unclear if Gio is out but Matt Breida and Brian Hill could end up being free squares this week, assuming Myles Gaskin doesn’t return for Miami.

Cash Game Plays

QB: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones

RB: Dalvin Cook, Josh Jacobs, Kalen Ballage, Giovani Bernard

WR: Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, Cooper Kupp, Rashard Higgins, Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, DeVante Parker, Sterling Shepard, Nelson Agholor, Justin Jefferson

TE: Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Hayden Hurst, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith

DEF: Packers, Browns, Rams

This story was originally published on 4for4.com

Follow TJ on Twitter @TJHernandez

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TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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