NFL Week 12 DFS Breakdown: The Ambush

Dive into the Week 12 NFL DFS slate with the full in-depth analysis you need to build winnings lineups this week.
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Welcome to Week 12 - The NFL Ambush, a full guide into this weekends NFL DFS Main Slate of action to help you become a better player and find some success. 

We are now post-Thanksgiving and into the final six week stretch of the season. A time when historically, I have had some of my largest results simply by trusting a combination of gut instincts in games as I see them early in the week along with the  no-brainer plays based upon pricing. The key there is based upon pricing because on paper this week we can look at Dalvin Cook at home vs Carolina with no Adam Thielen and say, "man he's in a smash no-brainer spot how do we not trust Cook?" 

Well, his pricing for instance on FanDuel as 1/2 point per reception site is just crazy considering he'd need to get three touchdowns and 150 yards to really be a must own with so many other good RB on this slate.

But the real reason why this time of year is so profitable is because there's a lack of focus on finding the correct plays. I tend to really ignore bad teams or guys who just happen to fall into being highly owned due to injuries (i.e. Brian Hill). There's a lot to trust when it comes to motivation for teams as well as trusting offenses who are playing well recently and building upon something. So, keep that focus as you set your lineups and do not be afraid to not play someone when you have multiple players you trust.

The first thing we must do each week is understand the landscape of the slate and any injury or weather or miscellaneous information that we need to monitor from the time this article comes out (Saturdays) until lock on Sunday at 1PM EST. 

Injuries to monitor

  • Julio Jones - If Julio sits due to a hamstring injury it doesn't impact my trust in Ridley and Matt Ryan (both noted below), although Ryan would slightly decrease.
  • Jerry Jeudy - If Jeudy is out the Saints Defense boosts even more.

No other injuries are worth monitoring

Weather Notes

There are no weather concerns this week

Projected Ownership

After last week when we had a ton of value drive the chalkiest and highest scoring slate of the year, we have a nice balance of player ownership projections in Week 12. Here's the quick summary of what the projected chalk is as of Saturday morning.

Screenshot from 2020-11-28 10-16-59

We have some consistency on the ownership this week between the primary DFS sites. As you can see there is a lot of ownership going to the Panthers/Vikings game and while I like the game overall I think the ownership is on the wrong players in that game.

AmbushBanner-AlvinKamara

CANT GUARD MIKE

Image result for michael thomas

A lot of times you will hear analysis talking about how you should buy low, or you should find some hidden gem at low ownership to win all the money. In reality, it's almost never a low-owned cheap value guy that winds up being a fantastic pivot play by themselves because if you don't get the ceiling game from your higher $ players then you're going to be in a mind. 

Well, we have a guy who is extremely low-owned this weekend that is pricey but has proven he can carry a lineup and an offense before. I am of course talking about the consensus No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy coming into this season, Michael Thomas. Thomas has had a well documented rough 2020 campaign going from a high ankle sprain to a hamstring injury with a fight against Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in between to now having to work with Taysom Hill as his full time quarterback. The Taysom connection though is part of the reason why we have a perfect storm brewing for a dominant Michael Thomas game this weekend.

Thomas returned a few weeks ago against Tampa Bay and saw about 50% of his usual snaps in a blowout. Then he jumped to around 75% against San Francisco in a really weird game in which the Saints hardly had the ball and Brees got hurt. Last week he was at 100% against Atlanta and it showed in his first full game w/ Taysom Hill as Thomas dominated the target share, catching 9 of his 12 targets for 104 yards -- including a rare easy miss as a Taysom rocket went right through his hands. I can assure you Thomas (who *ahem* has zero touchdowns this season *ahem*) and Taysom were on point at practice all week this week and he will not drop anything against a Broncos secondary we've had some success getting physical with lately. Mike Williams torched them, DeVante Parker scored in the red zone and Julio Jones even scored on the Broncos struggling secondary in recent weeks. Thomas is going to have all the 1 on 1 match-ups he can get as Denver tries to stack the box against the Saints and Taysom loves him some #13. This is a game the Saints likely will have to stay in short yardage situations and that should mean a TON of catches for Thomas as I am projecting him to have a massive receiving game near 15 receptions, going well over 100 yards and scoring his first 2020 touchdown.

Don't be caught playing chasing the Thomas breakout game next week when they play the Falcons -- play him this week when he is 2% owned.

Ambush Play #1 - Pre-season consensus #1 WR Michael Thomas finally shows up for fantasy owners.

Expectations: 30+ DraftKings points for CGM

JOSH JACOBS

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

One can make the case right now that the Raiders are playing better than anyone else on offense. Despite losing 35-31 to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs last week, the Raiders have won four of their last six and outside of a horrible weather game in Cleveland they've put up 40, 20, 31, 37 and 31 points during that stretch. A huge reason why has been their offensive line playing well no matter who is in, and Josh Jacobs posting six rushing touchdowns in that stretch with two 100+ yardage games.

The Falcons defense mostly has been destroyed through the air because of a lack of a pass rush, but to me that just helps Jacobs secure his bag this week when the Raiders move the ball down the field via the air into the red zone and he gets a couple easy rushing touchdowns to go along with the natural attrition on the ground on his way to yet another 100 yard rushing game. The Raiders have a simple game plan this week off the tough loss last week. Feed the beast.

Ambush Play #2 - Josh Jacobs powers the Raiders through the Falcons

Expectations: Jacobs gets over 100 yards, has two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving) and matches Dalvin Cook.

TRAVIS KELCE EN FUEGO

Image result for Travis Kelce

The book is out on the Chiefs and guess what, it's still not good enough to shut them down. The way to slow down Kansas City is to get pressure up front and simply drop back into a quick zone coverage underneath. When teams do this, as the Bucs should likely do this weekend, Travis Kelce absolutely feasts underneath against the zone. Teams have been doing this more and more lately and unfortunately for anyone who isn't a Chiefs fan, Patrick Mahomes is learning with three straight games of targeting Kelce 10+ times.

The likely return of Sammy Watkins does add another veteran WR who can do well against zone coverage but the Kelce streak to me feels like one of those spots we do not bet against. Expect him to score twice.

Ambush Play #3 - Kelce is on a roll right now and the Chiefs offense runs through him once again.

Expectations: Travis Kelce despite being expensive pays off once again for 100+ yards and two touchdowns.

MAMA, I'M COMING HOME

TeddyTwoGloves

Early in this season the higher priced quarterbacks were paying off but as of late we have been finding a ton of value at the QB position like normal seasons. This week, we're going back to where it all started for Teddy Two Gloves as he returns to Minnesota for the first time as a starting QB (he technically got a snap there while w/ the Saints and lined up as a WR). He comes into town off missing last week but is a full go and should have CMC as well as his three amigo WRs in Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. I would be shocked if we see Joe Brady put the clamps on Teddy this week and fully expect Carolina to score on every single first half possession they have on their way to kicking the Vikings out of the 2020 season.

Teddy will connect on passes to Anderson, he'll connect on touchdowns to D.J. Moore and he'll rush one in for good measure finishing with a fantastic statistical day. The narrative and the match-up are real good here and I don't care about the other quarterbacks this week, cuz mama, mama I'm wearing Two Gloves.

Ambush Play #4 - Teddy two gloves has a 300+ yard passing game.

Expectations: Bridgewater and some other value QB's match the higher $ big names.

AMBUSH FADES

Ambush Fades of the Week -- The Week 12 Fades

  • Brian Hill, RB - Falcons
  • Arizona at New England
  • Chargers

Low owned teams to IGNORE. These are teams that aren't considered FADES because they aren't going to be popular, but you shouldn't still go to them just because they're unowned

  • Miami / NY Jets - Parker and Crowder are nice one off WR, but nothing more then that.
  • NY Giants / Cincinnati
  • Denver
  • San Francisco / LA Rams

RECAP OF AMBUSH PLAYS

  1. Michael Thomas finishes as the best WR for Week 12.
  2. Josh Jacobs powers the Raiders to another 30 point outing in Atlanta.
  3. The marquee game of the week is won by the defending champs, because Travis Kelce is in the ZONE.
  4. The return of Teddy Two Gloves to Minnesota leads the Panthers in a shootout

QB RANKINGS

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy will connect on passes to Anderson, he'll connect on touchdowns to DJ Moore and he'll rush one in for good measure finishing with a fantastic statistical day. The narrative and the match-up are real good here and I don't care about the other Quarterbacks this week, cuz mama, mama I'm wearing Two Gloves.

Matt Ryan

As mentioned above the Raiders offense is really producing and should be in line for another 30 point game this weekend. But, unlike last week for Matt Ryan, he will actually have time to throw in the pocket and has a far better match-up than vs a Saints defense that has owned him the last 3 years. Even if Julio Jones is limited with his hamstring injury I like Ryan to get all the Falcons yards this week and he should top out over 300 yards and won't get shutout of throwing a TD pass again. Those things combined with an extremely affordable DK price make him someone to consider. This concludes all the nice things I have to say about Matt Ryan.

Taysom Hill

You are getting Josh Allen for $1,400 cheaper and Michael Thomas' big day will be enough to give him a good passing game floor to go along with the likely 50+ yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground too.

Just missed my top 3: Derek Carr

Not touching: Josh Allen, Cam Newton, Kyler Murray

RB RANKINGS

Josh Jacobs

The Falcons defense mostly has been destroyed through the air because of a lack of a pass rush, but to me that just helps Jacobs secure his bag this week when the Raiders move the ball down the field via the air into the red zone and he gets a couple easy rushing touchdowns to go along with the natural attrition on the ground on his way to yet another 100 yard rushing game. The Raiders have a simple game plan this week off the tough loss last week. Feed the beast.

Nick Chubb

There are some fantasy leagues out there who let you play just 'Team QB' and if we could play 'Team RB' we would pay whatever they want for the Browns backfield. This is about 75% of their offense right now and going up against a very bad Jaguars rushing defense is going to yield plenty of points for both Chubb and Kareem Hunt. I have no problem with either, but will always lean on the lead back and that remains Nick Chubb. Don't be shocked if both end up getting over 14 fantasy points.

VALUE RUNNING BACK

Devin Singletary

Another situation where the 'Team RB' is set to have a great game but it's a split situation. I have nothing that comfortably tells me which way to lean between Zach Moss and Devin Singletary but Singletary has been slightly more efficient on less rushing attempts while having more usage in the passing game. So he gets that coupled with his $600 cheaper price tag to make him the preferred value play for me in this spot. There's going to be a lot of chalk on Brian Hill and I personally see it was weak chalk because Atlanta is going to use Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison as well. Yes, the Raiders give up lots of yards through the air to RB, but do you really want a 50% owned Brian Hill? Don't think so. Take Singletary instead.

RB Who just missed the cut: Dalvin Cook (DK only), Kareem Hunt, Damien Harris

Not touching: Giovani Bernard

WR RANKINGS

I try to adjust the structure of how I break down Wide Receivers based upon what we have each week, so this week's theme is to give you my three favorite plays based upon pricing tiers. So here are the three top guys based upon DraftKings pricing for Top Tier, Mid Tier (Below $6,300) and Value Tier (Sub $4,100). Each of these can be used on any DFS site this weekend as well, but I just used DraftKings since they have the widest range of pricing.

Michael Thomas

Thomas returned a few weeks ago against Tampa Bay and saw about 50% of his usual snaps in a blowout. Then he jumped to around 75% against San Francisco in a really weird game in which the Saints hardly had the ball and Brees got hurt. Last week he was at 100% against Atlanta and it showed in his first full game w/ Taysom Hill as Thomas dominated the target share, catching nine of his 12 targets for 104 yards -- including a rare easy miss as a Taysom rocket went right through his hands. I can assure you Thomas (who *ahem* has zero touchdowns this season *ahem*) and Taysom were on point at practice all week this week and he will not drop anything against a Broncos secondary we've had some success getting physical with lately.

Antonio Brown

We kind of have forgotten the fact that Antonio Brown literally walked into the mid point of the season and just started running routes after having not played in well over a year. The offense in Tampa Bay has been hampered by an up and down Tom Brady who when he is playing at night this season is terrible but when he plays in the day time he seems to do just fine. The reality is, it's all based upon how much pressure he is under from the opposing pass rush and certainly Steve Spagnolo has had some prior history working with a four man front to get after Tom. But I don't expect the Chiefs to shutout the Bucs by any stretch and it really seems like AB is finally at 100% and Tom is gonna say enough of this Mike Evans and Chris Godwin stuff, let's ride or die with 15+ targets to AB. Brown hasn't had a blow up game yet and hasn't scored yet either as a member of Tampa but has still posted back to back 13 point games. Everything is trending in the right direction for this week to be his 20+ point blow up game.

Laviska Shenault

Jacksonville is really beat up at WR without DJ Chark and Chris Conley which opens up the window for us to go back to a rookie darling from earlier this year who just never had that breakout everyone wanted him to have. Shenault was getting involved in the Jaguars offense a ton earlier this season before missing the past two games with hamstring injuries and also sliding back seat to guys like Conley and Chark. With Mike Glennon starting at QB I actually like the Jags to do enough in the passing game that can make a near min priced Shenault ($3,300) pay off this week.

OTHER FAVORITES

Calvin Ridley

If you are looking for this weeks version of Keenan Allen on DraftKings, it's not Keenan Allen. We literally should just create a Keenan award for who is going to get 30% target share, haul in double digit passes, go over 100 yards and get all the bonuses each week. This week I love Calvin Ridley to get that volume that is evaporated from no Todd Gurley and a gimpy and unlikely to play Julio Jones. Vegas doesn't have the ability to stop Ridley from having a floor game and for $7,100 he should definitely be in consideration.

Robby Anderson & D.J. Moore

We can even throw in Curtis Samuel because they use him in so many ways too but Anderson and Moore will remain the most consistent options to pair with Teddy two gloves. Anderson (DraftKings) will get the higher volume while Moore (FanDuel) has the big play ability vertically against a bad Vikings secondary.

Jamison Crowder

When Sam Darnold was under center Crowder consistently saw the most targets on the team and went for 100+ yards in each of the games he played with a touchdown in two of those games with Darnold.

MORE VALUE PLAYS

  • Sammy Watkins (KC) ... Watkins returns and should immediately have success against the Bucs. Prefer him more on the 4PM only slate though.
  • TY Hilton (IND) ... He will get in the box finally and next week he'll have the throw back of all throw back games.

As you can tell the theme of the week at wide receiver is big names getting their first touchdown of the season. Michael Thomas, Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton all score.

TE RANKINGS

Travis Kelce

The book is out on the Chiefs and guess what, it's still not good enough to shut them down. The way to slow down Kansas City is to get pressure up front and simply drop back into a quick zone coverage underneath. When teams do this, as the Bucs should likely do this weekend, Travis Kelce absolutely feasts underneath against the zone. Teams have been doing this more and more lately and unfortunately for anyone who isn't a Chiefs fan, Patrick Mahomes is learning with three straight games of targeting Kelce 10+ times.

Kyle Rudolph

I rarely do this but I'm gonna eat some bad value chalk at tight end due to the fact that the position is a complete dumpster fire outside of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. Since Jacobs is my preferred exposure on the Raiders and Kelce is gonna beat him out that makes the easy decision up top. After that we drop straight to the bottom of the TE position and look at Rudolph who's getting a little early Xmas narrative chalk since Adam Thielen is out and the Vikings draw a Panthers defense that has been favorable to the TE position all year.

DEFENSE RANKINGS

New Orleans

The Saints had two large adjustments occur around their BYE week over a month ago. First off they got Marcus Davenport back on the field and second they moved DeMario Davis to be the primary MLB and pushed Alex Anzalone to the bench in favor of Kwan Alexander a couple weeks ago. The cumulative results have paid off immensely making them the No. 1 fantasy defense over the past month with 18 sacks, 10 turnovers and only 12 points allowed per game over their last four. New Orleans has had a minimum of three sacks in 7 of their 10 games so far this season and now faces Drew Lock. Even if they have a mental lapse or two against Jeudy or Lindsay (speed guys who can give them fits) they'll still accumulate points via sacks and turnovers.

New York Giants

The Giants may not have the go off defensive potential that the Saints showed last week against Atlanta but they've been really good accumulating two sacks in every game this year and now get to face the Burrow-less Bengals who are without Burrow because their offensive line might be the worst thing we have seen in a long time.

Buffalo

Coming into the season the Bills were expected to be a great defense but they really struggled for a while giving up less than 20 points only twice this year and both times came against the Jets. There are signs lately though that they're turning the corner with 16 sacks and 9 turnovers in their last four games. Coming off a much needed BYE week following a bad loss at Arizona on a Hail Marry the Bills are primed to upset some Chargers stacks this week.

Questions and Answers

QUESTION: Who is getting overlooked this week and why is it once again Michael Thomas?

He was overlooked last week because Taysom was making a start and nobody trusted him to throw the ball and now Thomas is getting overlooked just because of other options on the slate. Don't overlook him.

QUESTION: Random off the wall prediction?

In addition to both running for 100+ yards this week, the two Cleveland running backs -- Nick Chubb & Kareem Hunt -- will both catch touchdown passes from Baker Mayfield as Cleveland scores four touchdowns, two to Chubb and two to Hunt total.

QUESTION: Favorite 1PM and 4PM only stacks and plays?

The Colts/Titans game might be the best pure football game of the weekend but isn't one that I would stack for explosive plays. It's something to get a nice core out of and then build off that with the other logical spots. Nothing really stands out on the short 4PM only slate but the Niners are going to have one "remember me" game down the stretch and could sneak up on the Rams this week.

QUESTION: What's the game you do not have a lot of players in which scares you to go off?

Chargers / Bills - I trust the Bills defense to get right.

QUESTION: Favorite Bets of the week?

Buffalo -4.5

Carolina +3.5

Las Vegas -3

Good luck!