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The A List at DFS Academy | NFL DFS Week 12

NFL DFS Week 12

Need a distraction from your family after Thanksgiving? Sitting around with nothing to do recovering from the Thanksgiving meal? Or maybe you want to challenge your family members to a DFS contest and take their money. Either way, I’m here for your Week 12 DFS Cash picks for DraftKings and FanDuel contests.

But first, we have to talk about last week. 

Week 11 was brutal for fantasy managers, particularly those that were heavily vested in the 1:00 slate. Many of our fantasy stars fell back to earth, and six teams scored zero offensive touchdowns. With that, you were doing well to cross 100 fantasy points and, in many cases, would have cashed with that lineup. 

And frankly, Week 12 doesn’t look much more promising. There are no games on the main slate with a total line over 50, and many of the star quarterbacks and receivers played on Thanksgiving Day. Because of that, I’m more willing to pay up big for the top players, such as Travis Kelce, and get creative elsewhere.

Now, I’m going to dive back into the leftovers and gear up for rivalry weekend in College Football. As always, my DMs are open for feedback and questions, both on Twitter and Instagram at @Austin_FFL. Best of luck as you enjoy your families and aim to win some cash on Sunday.

Cash is in session.

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NFL DFS Week 12

NFL DFS Week 12

NFL DFS Week 12

Teacher’s Pet

Kenneth Walker (DraftKings: $6,900 / FanDuel: $8,400)

You give a guy one week off after a somewhat down week, and then all of a sudden, people forget how valuable they are. Why is Kenneth Walker only $6,900 on DraftKings? (Nice)

Walker has been one of the few bright spots at the running back position this season, ranking RB9 in PPR scoring since taking over the Seahawks backfield. Now he goes up against the Raiders, who are giving up the most points to running backs since Week 8. And when I say they’ve been giving up points, I mean it.

Since Week 8, they’ve allowed 34 points per game to opposing running backs. In that span, they gave up three touchdowns to Alvin Kamara, two to Travis Etienne, and 150 yards and a touchdown to Jonathan Taylor. At $6,900 on DraftKings, Walker is a free square. Even on FanDuel, where he is appropriately priced, he likely returns value, as a multi-touchdown game is easily in the cards.

Honor Roll

Lamar Jackson (DraftKings: $8,000 / FanDuel: $8,200)

Look, I know it’s been rough. Lamar Jackson’s fantasy season is being propped up by his weeks one through three fantasy performances. But this feels like an excellent opportunity for a get-right game. Jacksonville has given up the fifth most points to quarterbacks since Week 8. And it’s not like their opponents have all been elite players. 

In their three games since Week 8, the Jaguars faced Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, and Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes scored four touchdowns in that matchup, so that is slightly inflating those numbers, but still. This is Lamar Jackson. Mark Andrews is getting healthier. And the quarterback slate is challenging outside of Jackson. Raven’s country, let’s fly.

Austin Ekeler (DraftKings: $8,500 / FanDuel: $8,800)

If you look at this matchup on your DFS apps, you may initially be drawn to avoid Austin Ekeler, as the Arizona Cardinals have been solidly mid-tier against running backs throughout the season. Despite giving up the 12th most points to running backs on the season, Arizona has performed worse in recent weeks, giving up the 6th most points to running backs since Week 8. Over that span, they’ve averaged nearly 30 points per game allowed to opposing running backs. Given Ekeler’s significant pass-game usage, I feel confident using him to anchor my lineup in a favorable matchup.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (DraftKings: $5,700 / FanDuel: $6,200)

The wide receiver position on this week’s slate is fairly challenging. With so many positive running back matchups and Travis Kelce on the slate, we need to get creative at receiver to build a balanced lineup. JuJu Smith-Schuster provides a cheaper option with plenty of upside, given his target share when healthy. However, the Los Angeles Rams have given up the seventh most points to receivers since Week 8, and Kansas City has the second-highest implied point total on the slate. If Smith-Schuster ends up not playing, Josh Palmer is a solid pivot at $5,400 on DraftKings and $6,800 on FanDuel.

Curtis Samuel (DraftKings: $5,000 / FanDuel: $6,500)

The Atlanta Falcons have started to improve against opposing receivers, giving up just over 34 points per game to opposing receiving cores since Week 8. But they have played the Carolina Panthers twice, the Chicago Bears, and the Los Angeles Chargers without Keenan Allen or Mike Williams over that span. Needless to say, I’m not convinced the Falcons have sorted out their secondary woes, and I expect this to be a competitive game with playoff implications. Yes, believe it or not, this game impacts the NFC Wild Card race. So with that, I am taking the over on this matchup and expect the Commanders’ passing offense to feast on Sunday.

NFL DFS Week 12

Check the Chalkboard

Travis Kelce (DraftKings: $7,700 / FanDuel: $8,200)

It feels like it’s been ages since Travis Kelce has been on the main slate. For weeks, Kansas City has either been playing in prime time or on a bye week. But finally, we get the easy decision at tight end. And after weeks of scraping the barrel trying to find a tight end, I’m ready to pay up for the most expensive tight end on the slate. Yes, this will make our roster tight elsewhere, but Kelce has been the most sure-thing in fantasy football this season. And while most other DFS players may target him as well, I want the certainty of 20 to 30 points and am willing to make sacrifices elsewhere to make it happen. 

NFL DFS Week 12

Participation Grade

Treylon Burks (DraftKings: $4,200 / FanDuel: $5,900)

The Tennessee Titans’ pass game has been absolutely brutal for most of the season. But last Thursday, they threw for over 300 yards against the Green Bay Packers, who have a solid secondary, giving up the sixth-fewest pass yards per game on the season. The addition of Treylon Burks appears to have helped the offense as well, as he caught seven catches for 111 yards. Despite that, his price has remained relatively low, particularly on DraftKings. Now, the Titans face the Cincinnati Bengals, so they will need to pass the ball to stay competitive, and Burks will be a key aspect of their success. 

Back of the Classroom Studs NFL DFS Week 12

Taylor Heinicke (DraftKings: $5,300 / FanDuel: $6,500)

Similar to the receivers, the quarterback options are few and far between. Outside of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, the remaining quarterbacks either have negative matchups or have been fairly inconsistent throughout the season. With that in mind, I’m considering punting at quarterback down to Taylor Heinicke. Heinicke has a consistent floor, albeit a low ceiling. That said, the Falcons are giving up the ninth most points to quarterbacks. And while the total line is modest, Heinicke can put up only 200 yards and two touchdowns and payoff at this price. Plus, with the saved money, you can easily fit in the likes of Travis Kelce.

Chris Godwin (DraftKings: $6,000 / FanDuel: $7,000)

Chris Godwin has been casually putting up significant target numbers for weeks, bringing in double-digit targets in four of the last five weeks. And while Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled this season, they’ve started to pull it together in recent weeks. And even as they’ve struggled, they have consistently put up yards. In fact, Tom Brady is fourth in the league in passing yards. Of course, the problem has been that they haven’t scored touchdowns. But as they are getting rolling on offense, I could easily see them go on a tear to finish off the regular season and look for Chris Godwin to be a significant beneficiary. 

Rachaad White (DraftKings: $5,100 / FanDuel: $6,400)

Finding cheap running backs has gotten continuously harder in recent weeks. However, Rachaad White has begun seeing an increased workload as Leonard Fournette has been nursing a hip injury. Now, he matches up against the Cleveland Browns, who have given up the third most yards to running backs since Week 8. However, even if White and Fournetter share an even split of the touches, White is priced cheaply enough that he can return at value, particularly if he gets in the endzone. 

Michael Carter (DraftKings: $5,400 / FanDuel: $6,200)

I made this selection before the benching of Zach Wilson, but now, it is all the more enticing. Mike White has been known to target the running backs. When he started in Week 7 of 2021, Michael Carter set his career high nine catches on 14 targets (Pro Football Reference). With DFS, we are thrilled to see four to six catches. Further, the Bears have traded away several key defensive players, opening up opportunities for opposing running backs. Carter should be as safe as they come in Week 12.

Trey McBride (DraftKings: $3,100 / FanDuel: $4,800)

We always love a punt play at tight end. So if you’re not riding with Travis Kelce, look instead to Trey McBride. With Zach Ertz still out of the lineup, McBride is poised to lead the Cardinals at tight end, and the matchup could not be more enticing. The Cardinals play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, who have given up the second most points to opposing tight ends since Week 8. And sure, some of that is because they played Travis Kelce last week. But also, they still give up the seventh most points over the season overall. So with little value at tight end this weekend, McBride is coming in to make us some money.

Kansas City Chiefs (DraftKings: $2,800 / FanDuel: $4,900)

While the Kansas City offense have been the stars of the NFL, their defense has been playing sneakily well, mainly thanks to Chris Jones, who is tied for fifth in sacks this season. Now, they match up against the Los Angeles Rams, who have continued to struggle on offense, particularly on the offensive line. With the Rams also riding with a backup quarterback, I’m looking for Kansas City to feast on Sunday. 

Carolina Panthers (DraftKings: $3,000 / FanDuel: $3,900)

It’s no secret that the Denver Broncos have struggled to put up points this season. They are last in the league in scoring, averaging just over 14 points per game. Between that and the prospects of Brian Burns getting after Russell Wilson, I’ll happily punt a defense with the Panthers this week. 

Report Card

Scoring System

  • A: Scored over three times their price
  • B: Scored over two times their price
  • C: Matched their price
  • F: Scored lower than their price


Player Price Points Grade
CeeDee Lamb $7,500 9.5 C
Dameon Pierce $6,500 3.7 F
David Montgomery $6,100 21.1 A
Tyler Boyd $6,500 6.2 F
Justin Jefferson $9,100 6.3 F
Justin Fields $7,600 23.62 A
Jack Stoll $2,500 1.7 F
Joe Burrow $6,800 31.7 A
Brian Robinson $5,300 5.7 C
Devin Singletary $5,800 17.7 A
Darius Slayton $5,000 13.6 B
Isaiah Likely $3,600 1.1 F
Las Vegas Raiders $2,500 7 B
Philadelphia Eagles $3,900 6 C
Overall $78,700 154.92 C
Season Long $845,600 2171.96 B


Player Price Points Grade
CeeDee Lamb $8,100 7 F
Dameon Pierce $7,600 2.7 F
David Montgomery $6,200 19.6 A
Tyler Boyd $6,800 5.2 F
Justin Jefferson $9,100 4.8 F
Justin Fields $8,700 23.62 B
Jack Stoll $4,400 1.2 F
Joe Burrow $8,300 28.7 A
Brian Robinson $6,600 5.7 F
Devin Singletary $6,400 16.7 B
Darius Slayton $6,300 11.1 C
Isaiah Likely $5,400 0.6 F
Las Vegas Raiders $3,200 7 B
Philadelphia Eagles $4,800 6 C
Overall $91,900 139.92 C
Season Long $1,012,200 1899.96 C

Looking for more Week 12 NFL DFS plays with the best possible matchups? Our Weekly Matchup Report gives you that info every Wednesday.