San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Start: Nick Mullens, Jameis Winston
Mullens came back to earth during his second start, but coming off a bye he’ll get a Bucs secondary that’s yielded the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Both teams run fast-paced offenses, and he’ll likely have low ownership in DFS in a game with this weekend’s highest over/under (54 points). Mullens is actually trying to become the first QB in NFL history to throw for 250 yards and a TD in each of his first three career games. Marquise Goodwin is a sneaky play as well.
Winston is auditioning for his future and the Bucs are likely to give him a longer leash over the rest of the season. He’s been a turnover machine, but that’s come with an impressive 8.4 YPA mark. He’s running more than ever too. If you combined Ryan Fitzpatrick and Winston, they’d be the No. 2 QB in fantasy behind only Patrick Mahomes. Winston gets a 49ers defense Sunday that’s allowed a 21:2 TD:INT ratio. I have him as a top-five QB in Week 12.
Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens
Start: Jalen Richard, Gus Edwards
The Raiders’ passing-down back figures to be busy Sunday with Oakland double-digit dogs and Doug Martin banged up with an ankle injury. Richard saw a career-high 11 carries after Martin departed last week and has averaged 5.9 targets per game this season.
Edwards came out of nowhere last week to run for 115 yards (6.8 YPC) and a score. He looks like a good complementary power fit in Lamar Jackson’s run-heavy system. It’s no guarantee he leads Baltimore’s backfield again Sunday, but Alex Collins has fallen out of favor and missed practice with a foot injury. Ty Montgomery and Buck Allen totaled just one touch last week. John Harbaugh recently praised Edwards, who gets a plus matchup against an Oakland defense allowing the most yards-per-play in the NFL. Willie Snead is a sleeper this week as well.
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Start: Odell Beckham Jr. and Alshon Jeffery in DFS
After seeing just four targets last week Beckham should be much busier against a Philadelphia secondary ravaged by injuries. They’ve allowed the most fantasy points to outside receivers this season.
Jeffery hasn’t reached 50 receiving yards or scored in more than a month, as Golden Tate’s addition has hurt his value. The Eagles offense should bounce back in a good spot though, after last week’s disaster. Janoris Jenkins and company have been gashed for the most fantasy points to Jeffery’s primary side over the last eight weeks.
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Start: Nick Chubb in DFS
Sit: Andy Dalton
Chubb is already a star, ranking top-five in Juke Rate, yards created per carry and yards per touch. He even caught a TD last week. No team has struggled more against running backs than the Bengals over the last five games.
A.J. Green’s return appears unlikely, and it’s safe to expect Cincinnati to attack the Browns funnel run defense (No. 2 ranked pass defense DVOA) on the ground. Dalton is a shaky start this week.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Start: Sony Michel, Chris Herndon
Michel should be in better health after New England’s bye, and the Pats have a distinct advantage in the trenches against the Jets. Sunday’s game script should be favorable for Michel. Julian Edelman also gets a boost with the Jets so vulnerable to the slot.
Herndon has three touchdowns over his last five games, and the Jets’ receiving corps is dealing with a bunch of injuries. The Patriots have struggled covering tight ends lately, making Herndon (and Jermaine Kearse) an option in deeper leagues.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers
Start: David Moore, D.J. Moore
This game features a pair of secondaries beatable on the outside. With Doug Baldwin missing practice this week, David Moore should be looking at increased targets. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the perimeter and the least fantasy points to the slot over the last month. Devin Funchess is listed as doubtful, so fire up D.J. Moore.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills
Start: Jacksonville and Buffalo defenses
Blake Bortles has thrown more picks than touchdowns on the road this season, and the Bills bring in the No. 1 ranked pass defense DVOA while holding QBs to the fewest fantasy points this season. Meanwhile, Josh Allen is set to return after missing a month with an elbow injury, and he’s coming off a three-game stretch in which he got 4.6 YPA with a 0:3 TD:INT ratio. There’s good reason this game sports this week’s lowest total (37 points), as all fantasy players not named Leonard Fournette should be benched.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Start: Melvin Gordon in DFS
Sit: Larry Fitzgerald
Gordon didn’t reach the end zone last week for the first time since Week 1, but continues to see a heavy workload. He gets an Arizona defense that’s ceded the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season. In a home matchup with the Chargers as 12-point favorites, make Gordon your DFS foundational piece this week.
Fitzgerald looks healthy again and scored twice last week, but that came on just four targets (for 23 yards). Josh Rosen completed only nine passes at home against arguably the league’s worst defense. Meanwhile, the Chargers have ceded the fewest fantasy points to the slot over the last eight weeks.
Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Start: Marlon Mack in DFS
Sit: All Dolphins
Mack has four touchdowns over his last four games and will continue to benefit from Indy’s improved offensive line and high carry rate against light fronts. The Colts are big home favorites Sunday against a Miami front-seven that’s ceded the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
It’s still unclear who starts under center for the Dolphins, who also have a wide target tree and two backs they like to use. Moreover, Miami faces a quality Indy defense that ranks sixth in run defense DVOA and has quietly shutdown perimeter receivers over the last month.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos
Start: Emmanuel Sanders in DFS
Sit: JuJu Smith-Schuster in DFS
The Steelers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to the slot this season and the fewest fantasy points to the perimeter over the last eight weeks. This game sets up far better for Sanders than Courtland Sutton.
On the other side, JJSS has a tough matchup with Chris Harris in the slot, so I’d rather pay up for Antonio Brown (or James Conner) when using Steelers in DFS this week.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Start: Dalvin Cook in DFS
Sit: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Cook is coming off a clunker and has averaged just 2.4 YPC this season outside of one long run. He appears healthy now though (he clocked the highest game speed in Week 9 during that long run) and is locked in a workhorse role. The Packers rank 24th in run defense DVOA, so expect Minnesota to feature Cook heavily Sunday night.
I remain bullish on MVS moving forward despite last week’s no-show (he had a tough matchup moving to the slot against Seattle with Randall Cobb out again), but he gets another unfavorable setup Sunday. No secondary has shutdown receivers more lately than Minnesota’s.
Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
Start: Corey Davis, Keke Coutee
Owners will have to hope Marcus Mariota starts (and finishes), as Davis was a ghost with Blaine Gabbert last week, but he gets a Houston secondary that’s allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to his primary side over the last month.
Demaryius Thomas has the best matchup on paper against Malcom Butler, but he’s been invisible since the opening quarter after joining Houston. Coutee, meanwhile, looks poised to breakout and may do so come Monday night.