FANDUEL NFL VALUE PLAYS - WEEK 12
Blake Bortles (7300) vs. San Diego
With a Vegas implied point total over 25, Jacksonville is projected as the second highest scoring team on the main slate in Week 12. For the Jaguars, this means points in the passing game, as 95% of their offensive touchdowns have come via the pass. Prior to Week 11, Blake Bortles had thrown multiple touchdowns in five consecutive weeks.
Though San Diego settles near the middle of the pack in raw fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, Football Outsiders pass DVOA ranks the Chargers 28th against the pass. This is a Chargers team that is in a full on free fall, and now has to travel from the West Coast to the East Coast for an early game after a demoralizing beat down. Look for Bortles to get back to his multi-touchdown ways.
Brian Hoyer ($7100) vs. New Orleans
26, 38, 33, 29. Those are not the winning lottery numbers, but they do represent the FanDuel points that the Saints have surrendered to opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks. (Speaking of the lottery, how is randomly picking numbers to try win money legal? I digress.) Until they prove otherwise, the New Orleans defense, who rank last in pass DVOA, is going to be an every week target for fantasy quarterbacks. The Saints have allowed the highest touchdown rate in the league (8 percent of pass attempts), and only five teams have allowed a higher completion percentage (66.7 percent).
Houston is one of five teams on the main slate projected to score at least 25 points, and relative to their season point per game average, no team has a higher expectation (+4.5). Brian Hoyer is more than capable of taking advantage of New Orleans’ pass defense deficiencies, as only six quarterbacks have scored more frequently than the Texans quarterback, who has thrown a touchdown on 5.5 percent of his attempts. Leading up to Week 10, Hoyer had thrown multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games. Like Bortles, that trend should continue this week.
Thomas Rawls vs. Pittsburgh, Javorius Allen @ Cleveland, Giovani Bernard vs. St Louis ($6300)
This is a remarkably unique situation, where not only the top values at a position, but arguably the top values across the board are all priced at the exact price point, but in three very unique situations.
Given Thomas Rawls production as a starter, he has to be a roster consideration, despite facing a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed the second fewest FanDuel points to opposing running backs and ranks 6th in rush DVOA. In three games that Marshawn Lynch has been inactive, Rawls has averaged over 23 carries, posting a monstrous 6.1 yards per carry. Being favored by 4 at home should somewhat offset the tough opponent.
Javorius “Uncle Buck” Allen, gets thrust into starter snaps with Justin Forsett out, and the Ravens game plan should focus on the running game. Any skill player in a Matt Schaub offense gets an automatic downgrade, but a Marc Trestman offense facing the Browns should alleviate those concerns to some degree.
Baltimore running backs have accounted for 59.8 percent of all team touches, the 7th highest rate in the league, and Cleveland ranks 29th in rush DVOA while allowing 5.7 yards per touch to opposing backs, the 3rd worst in the league. Given these factors and the fact that Schaub is under center, Baltimore’s running back touch share figures to increase, which would obviously benefit Allen.
While some might surmise that Gio Bernard’s lack of volume, relative to other value backs, relegates him to GPP status, as 8.5 point favorites, both Bengals running backs are in a great spot and Bernard has clearly been more effective than Jeremy Hill. Though their touches per game have been nearly identical, Bernard has averaged 6.4 yards per touch compared to just 3.4 yards per touch for Hill. Gio has also seen just two less touches inside the 10 than Hill, the supposed goal line back.
Larry Fitzgerald ($7400) @ San Francisco
With so many values at quarterback and running back this week, you should get the pick of the litter at wide receiver, but Larry Fitzgerald offers as much safety as any wide receiver this week at a huge discount, relative to the top priced options.
The Cardinals have the highest implied point total of the week at 27.5 against a 49ers team that has been dreadful against the pass. San Francisco ranks 31st in pass DVOA, and has allowed the 6th most FanDuel points to opposing wide receivers. Arizona will take advantage of this defense through the air, particularly with their receiving corps.
Cardinals wide receivers have accounted for 72 percent of team receptions, the second highest total in the league. 75 percent of their offensive touchdown have came via the pass, mostly to Fitzgerald, who accounts for 22 percent of the team’s red zone target market share. Fitz has converted 55% of those targets into scores, the best red zone conversion rate of any wide receiver with at least 10 red zone targets.
Travis Benjamin ($5900) vs. Baltimore
Targeting Baltimore’s secondary is always a high value decision, and Benjamin is an affordable option to do so. Benjamin is one of just two wide receivers priced under $6000 to average over eight targets per game and is facing a Ravens team that ranks 27th in pass DVOA. The return of Josh McCown as the Browns starter raises Benjamin’s floor, as he has averaged nearly two targets and a full reception more per game with McCown under center compared to Manziel.
Stevie Johnson ($5500) @ Jacksonville
Lost in the Chargers annihilation last week was the fact that Stevie Johnson turned in a decent performance, catching seven of his eight targets as Philip Rivers main target. Johnson’s seven receptions represented 37 percent of the team's receptions, by far the highest total on the team. That trend should sustain in Keenan Allen’s absence, as Johnson has averaged three more targets and receptions in games without Allen this season.
Jordan Reed ($5800) vs. New York Giants
Despite ranking second in targets per game and third in red zone targets at his position, Jordan Reed is still priced outside the top five tight ends. Reed gets the luxury of facing a Giants defense that ranks last in adjusted yards allowed to tight ends, according to Football Outsiders, in a game that is tied for the second highest over/under of the week. A shootout would greatly benefit Reed, as tight ends have accounted for 47 percent of Washington’s passing touchdowns, the second highest rate in the league.
Heath Miller ($5300) @ Seattle
With Ben Roethlisberger under center this season, Heath Miller has averaged five catches on seven targets and has been a force inside the 20, with 11 red zone targets in the six games he’s had Big Ben throwing to him. Miller gets the advantage of facing the Seahawks in Week 12, who, despite being stingy against the pass, have been quite generous to tight ends. Seattle has allowed the fifth most adjusted yards to tight ends, and only six teams have allowed more touchdowns to the position.