Week 12 FanDuel Top Shelf & Bargain Bin Plays

We have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. Most importantly is the opportunity to visit with family members that we may only see a couple of times a year while enjoying a bountiful feast as a family. It’s always an added bonus if your family allows football to be part of the festivities, which isn’t always guaranteed. I still remember the days before my family had cable and I would spent a lot of time adjusting the antenna so that I could get the clearest picture possible, or one that was at the very least somewhat visible. Even if it was fuzzy, I was glued to the screen. It was then at a very young age that I promised myself that I would invest in cable or NFL Sunday ticket (which didn’t exist at the time) or whatever it took to ensure that I could watch all the games. It’s pretty simple, I suffer from the same addiction as millions of hardcore NFL fans and fantasy football addicts. There are definitely worse addictions in the crazy world we live in. Personally I love meeting and interacting with fans that are as passionate as I am about fantasy football. I’m very thankful to know that I accomplished my goal as a DirecTV customer and NFL Sunday ticket subscriber. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day weekend while also getting to enjoy the great game of football. Without further ado, here are my Week 12 FanDuel Top Shelf and Bargain Bin Plays.

Top Shelf Picks

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Aaron Rodgers– Green Bay Packers $9200

vs Chicago Bears (TNF)

Paying up for Aaron Rodgers lately hasn’t worked out more often than not. Rodgers hasn’t been producing at the same elite level this year but that’s not entirely his fault. The Packers offense has been stuck in neutral with the exception of earlier games this season versus the Chiefs and Panthers. This week Rodgers has a couple of factors working in his favor. The Packers are home at Lambeau Field where Rodgers is his best and secondly are facing his favorite opponent on Thanksgiving Day, the Chicago Bears. Rodgers has picked on the Bears recently and in his last three meetings has thrown for 806 yards, 13 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Fire up Rodgers and expect him to eat like a king on turkey day at the Bears’ expense.

Carson Palmer– Arizona Cardinals $8100

at San Francisco 49ers

Carson Palmer is heading to the Bay this week and still riding high after a big win versus the Bengals on Sunday Night Football. Carson absolutely lit up the Bengals secondary in the second half after tossing two early picks in the first quarter. Palmer threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns and did so without Michael Floyd. The Cardinals may have the most depth in the NFL at the wide receiver position and J.J. Nelson is just the latest wide out to break out in the Arizona desert. Palmer faces a 49ers defense that Russell Wilson just shredded for 260 yards and three touchdowns. The 49ers have given up the sixth-most passing yards and an average of 278 passing yards a game to opposing quarterbacks. If you’re paying up at quarterback, Palmer makes a ton of sense especially in your cash games at $8100.

Bargain Bin Plays

Jameis Winston– Tampa Bay Buccaneers $7300

at Indianapolis Colts

Jameis Winston finally busted out last week after a couple of sub-par performances against the Giants and Cowboys. The Bucs prized rookie is now sporting a 15:9 TD-to-INT ratio after tossing an NFL rookie record five touchdowns in Week 11 versus the Eagles. Believe it or not, it was his fourth game this season with multiple touchdown passes. Most shocking to me is that he has another four touchdowns on the ground this season. Winston is a born leader and is coming into his own after some early growing pains. He’s getting his full arsenal back after Vincent Jackson returned last week and with Austin Seferian-Jenkins possibly set to return as soon as this week. Winston is one of my favorite GPP/tournament plays this week and allows you plenty of stacking options with Evans and Jackson.

Brock Osweiler– Denver Broncos $6700

vs New England Patriots (SNF)

“Brock and roll” came to Soldier Field and it didn’t take long for him to make an impression. Making his first start as a pro, Osweiler connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 48-yard touchdown on the Broncos opening drive. He looked very comfortable running Gary Kubiak’s offense and was very efficient completing 20-25 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos were rejuvenated with Brock under center and I expect him to build on this performance versus the Bears. This week the undefeated Patriots roll into Mile High City to play the Broncos in a Primetime Sunday Night football matchup. While past history favors the Pats, I’m expecting the Broncos to have no problem moving the football down the field against a secondary that allows an average of 253 yards passing a game. Osweiler is the perfect tournament/GPP contrarian play considering that most people will shy away from this matchup.

Top Shelf Picks

Running Back

Adrian Peterson– Minnesota Vikings $9000

at Atlanta Falcons

This is a week that I’m fine with fading the higher-priced running backs and pivoting to the cheaper options at running back that I’ll cover later. Having said that, AP is a slam-dunk, top-tier cash play at his position. The Packers managed to bottle up AP last week allowing only 45 yards rushing but I see Week 11 as the outlier. Consider that game-flow didn’t allow the Vikings to ride AP hard since they fell behind early, thus limiting him to only 13 carries. It’s worth noting that this was his lowest touch total since Week 1 versus the 49ers. AP will bounce back big in Week 12 versus a Falcons defense that hemorrhages rushing scores (11) and are especially bad versus pass-catching backs.

Doug Martin– Tampa Bay Buccaneers $7500

at Indianapolis Colts

Doug Martin is the definition of chalk play this week. In my cash games I’m perfectly fine with rolling with the chalkiest of chalk plays in Martin. Muscle Hamster exploded in Week 11 versus the Eagles for 235 rushing yards. It was his best performance as a pro, albeit one that didn’t include a touchdown plunge. Martin will be heavily owned at his current FanDuel salary of $7500 but the caveat is that he can provide elite production at mid-level pricing. With a maturing Winston under center and the Bucs finally getting healthy, expect plenty of points in this contest.

Bargain Bin Plays

T.J. Yeldon– Jacksonville Jaguars $6500

vs San Diego Chargers

T.J. Yeldon has been pretty quiet since his 115-yard rushing performance in Week 7 versus the Buffalo Bills. Actually he hasn’t topped 64 yards rushing since the game in London but this is the week he gets back on track. Yeldon draws his best match up of the season versus a reeling San Diego Chargers team. The Chargers have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards (1,259) and only the Lions have allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Chargers with 12 on the season. The Jags will look to feed Yeldon early to get him going and help establish some rhythm. The Jags will also count on Yeldon to milk the clock later in the game while preserving a lead. My gut says this is the week the Jags coaching staff entrust Yeldon to do the heavy lifting in the red-zone instead of using Toby Gerhart or Denard Robinson as their goal-line back, which has been an epic fail.

Javorius “Buck” Allen- Baltimore Ravens $6300

at Cleveland Browns (MNF)

Buck Allen was thrust into the lead back role for the Ravens after the season-ending injury to Justin Forsett. Allen will finally get his chance to shine and has the perfect skill set for Marc Trestman’s offense. He doesn’t possess breakaway speed but does have decent burst and enough speed to turn the corner and take it the distance. He should be a high-volume running back with a plus matchup versus the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. The Browns defense has been gashed on the ground allowing an NFL-worst 1388 rushing yards and 138 yards a game to opposing backs.

Thomas Rawls– Seattle Seahawks $6300

Thomas  Rawls

vs Pittsburgh Steelers

This is a prime week to fade the top-tier backs and instead pivot to the lower priced guys with new starting roles. Thomas Rawls tops the list this week that includes Buck Allen, Tevin Coleman, and Spencer Ware. Rawls destroyed the 49ers last week rushing for 209 yards and displaying his versatility in the passing game catching three balls for 46 yards. It was a franchise rookie record and the second-most yards in team history. Rawls has looked impressive rushing for 100 yards in three of the four games he has started. This is very promising considering he’s the Seahawks new workhorse running back after Marshawn Lynch went under the knife.

Rawls has been one of the most interesting stories in the NFL after signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. Arian Foster comes to mind when I watch him run and he’s got some Beast Mode to his game. The numbers tell the story and put into perspective how good he’s been. Rawls currently ranks 14th in the NFL with 604 yards rushing despite having fewer carries than anyone in the top 25. He’s also averaging six yards per carry, which leads the NFL. Rawls will be another chalk play this week but is easily the best value back on FanDuel at $6300.

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Top Shelf Picks

Wide Receiver

DeAndre Hopkins– Houston Texans $9400

at New Orleans

Nuk is the cream of the crop at the receiver position. Last week was a prime example of why it’s never a good idea to fade DeAndre Hopkins. Even a date with Revis Island wound up as another day at the office for Nuk as he balled out with five receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Hopkins nuked Revis Island and burned him a few times. This week Hopkins draws a dream matchup with the New Orleans Saints. We all witnessed what Odell Beckham Jr. did versus this putrid secondary back in Week 8, so expect a similar performance from Nuk.

Mike Evans– Tampa Bay Buccaneers $8100

at Indianapolis Colts

Mike Evans is heating up and more importantly has developed chemistry with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. It certainly helps that Vincent Jackson is back lining up opposite Evans. This should give Mike Evans production a boost moving forward while taking some defensive attention off the young stud. Evans is just scratching the surface and with only two touchdowns on the season, so he’s due for a big game. Vontae Davis is no Revis Island and could possibly matchup with Vincent Jackson, so that’s not a concern of mine.

Bargain Bin Plays

Martavis Bryant– Pittsburgh Steelers $6700

at Seattle Seahawks

The Steelers are coming off a bye and traveling cross-country to face the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th man. The Legion of Boom will be patrolling the secondary while mainly focused on shutting down teammate Antonio Brown. Big Ben connected with Bryant in Week 10 six times for 178 yards and a touchdown. Bryant has one of the highest ceilings out there and is capable of putting up a monster performance even in a tough matchup. Don’t let the Seahawks reputation as a shutdown defensive unit deter you from playing Bryant in your cash and GPP games. He’s a steal at his current FanDuel salary of $6700 and can trusted as long as Big Ben is tossing him the pigskin.

Devin Funchess– Carolina Panthers $5900

at Dallas Cowboys (Thursday @ 4:30pm)

Devin Funchess has been coming on in recent weeks and has been seeing the field more and more. Over the past four games, Funchess has seen his snap count grow from 13% in Week 8 to 79% in Week 11. Funchess took full advantage of the increased playing time in Week 11, turning his new-found opportunity into 64 receiving yards and a touchdown. With Cam Newton playing the best football of his life and showing the rookie plenty of attention with eight targets in Week 11, look for his role to continue to expand on Thanksgiving Day. A matchup against the Dallas Cowboys isn’t the most ideal situation — the Cowboys are 15th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. However Funchess has a lot working is his favor considering the opportunity, combined with increased playing time and a rock bottom salary at $5900. These are all more than enough reasons to play Funchess.

Top Shelf Pick

Tight End

Gary Barnidge– Cleveland Browns $6500

vs Baltimore Ravens (MNF)

Gary Barnidge has been the most surprising breakout tight end this year outside of Travis Eifert. It must be something in the water in Ohio but whatever it is he’s for real. Barnidge really seemed to take off with Josh McCown under center earlier in the season compared to Johnny Manziel. With breaking news that Josh McCown is taking back over the reins of the Browns offense that has to be music to Barnidge’s ears.  I like to let the numbers speak for themselves so here is some data from Pro-Football-Reference.com to backup this claim.

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Let’s not forget the juicy Primetime matchup on deck for Barnidge in Week 12 when he faces the Baltimore Ravens defense. The Ravens have allowed 19 scores through the air and will have all kinds of problems defending Barnidge on Monday Night Football. I’m rolling Barnidge out in my cash and GPP lineups with zero reservations and you should do the same.

Bargain Bin Play

Delanie Walker– Tennessee Titans $6100

vs Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders travel to the Music City which means big things are in store for Delanie Walker. It’s no secret that the Raiders have struggled to defend opposing tight ends. They’ve given up some monster performances to guys like Crockett Gillmore, Tyler Eifert, Gary Barnidge, and Martellus Bennett. Marcus Mariota trusts Walker and the Titans are void of any decent secondary pass-catching options with Kendall Wright on the shelf. I’m expecting Mariota to pepper Walker with targets after looking his way 10 times this past week versus the Jaguars. Walker made the most of his targets catching 8 balls for 109 yards. Expect another big game with Walker soaking up as many targets as he can handle. This makes Walker a steal at his $6100 salary and a must-play in cash and GPP games.

Defenses To Target

Cincinnati Bengals $4800

vs St. Louis Rams

The Bengals are riding a two-game losing streak and will look to get back on track Week 12 in the jungle. They’ll host a Rams team that is one-dimensional with a rushing attack that features explosive rookie Todd Gurley. Gurley has cooled off a bit of late and opposing defenses are stacking the box, making it tougher on Gurley to do his thing. The Rams have absolutely zero threats in the passing game and don’t possess a quarterback capable of making big plays in the passing game. It will be another week of the Case Keenum experiment which didn’t go well last week. Keenum only completed 12 of his 26 pass attempts for 136 yards and a touchdown. That performance came versus a Ravens secondary that has more holes than swiss cheese, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in Keenum this week in the Queen City.  The Rams will be lucky to muster up more than 10 points against a solid Bengals defense.

Kansas City Chiefs $4500

vs Buffalo Bills

The Kansas City Chiefs defense has quietly been getting it done the past month. Their defensive unit has allowed an impressive 9.8 points per game during their current four-game winning streak. In addition, since Week 5 the Chiefs have allowed just seven touchdowns on their opponents past 66 possessions (10.6 percent), the lowest percentage in the league. They also lead the NFL in interceptions over the past five weeks and haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 18 points since Week 5.

The arrow is pointing up for the team that calls Arrowhead Stadium its home. Speaking of Arrowhead Stadium, its one of the toughest places to play on the road and the Bills will find that out Sunday. Tyrod Taylor is banged up with an AC joint sprain which will limit his effectiveness on deep throws, thus decreasing the chances of Sammy Watkins making a long catch. Taylor is going to struggle to make accurate throws which could lead to a couple picks in this contest. If Marcus Peters gets his paws on the ball I like his chances of bringing it back for a pick-six. The Chiefs will be in the majority of my cash and GPP lineups since they’re hands down the best value defense on FanDuel at $4500.

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