As usual, the goal here is simple. We’re looking to highlight the games and teams circling the best Vegas totals, point spreads and play calling outlook. These aren’t the only plays of the week, but some of the best plays surrounding those circumstances. For a full player by player outlook on the week, make sure to check out my thoughts in the Week 12 Worksheet.
|New England||-7.5||27.3||NY Jets||7.5||19.8|
|Los Angeles||7||19.0||New Orleans||-7||26.0|
Week 12 is an interesting week as there is only one game with an over/under over 50 total points. Arizona visiting Atlanta is the highest total of the week, but it’s not a game that sparks a ton of confidence in loading up on individual options from the game.Atlanta is one of the best offenses in the league, averaging 416.6 yards per game (the third most in the league) while Arizona is allowing the fewest yards per game in the league (287.4) as a defense.
That makes things sketchy for Matt Ryan ($8,700) as the second highest priced quarterback on the main slate. Ryan has faced four defenses in the top half of passing points allowed per attempt and his weekly finishes those weeks have been QB11, QB17, QB18 and QB20. That’s relevant as Arizona allows the fewest passing points per attempt in the league (.282) and the Cardinals allow 17.7 passing yards per drive, the fewest in the league.
Julio Jones ($8,700) has a date with Patrick Peterson all afternoon, so he’s best left as a tournament option over a cash play. Jones is good enough to get over on any defender and caught eight passes for 171 yards and a score when these two last met in 2014, but Atlanta has shown that they won’t overly force targets to Jones this season when they don’t have to and Arizona has allowed just one 100-yard wide receiver on the season. You can dig deeper for Mohamed Sanu ($5,900) as a player that may benefit from Jones being limited as two of Sanu’s best games have come when Jones had down weeks, but this passing game isn’t something to overly invest into in cash formats despite the team total.
On the Arizona side, David Johnson ($9,500) is always a strong option and this week he runs into a stellar matchup. Johnson has over 100-yards from scrimmage in every game this season and is averaging 61.3 yards receiving per game over the past four weeks. That receiving ability is a huge problem for the Falcons. Atlanta is allowing 146.8 total yards per game to opposing backfields (the 6th most) while allowing the most receptions (8.1) and receiving yards (63.4) per game to backfields in the league.
Outside of Atlanta, the Patriots bring the highest team total to the table on the road versus the Jets. The Patriots have skewed extremely pass-heavy recently against the Jets, who still boast one of the league’s best run defenses. The Patriots have thrown the ball 70.5 percent of their offensive plays facing the Jets over the past two seasons, so we want to load up on the passing game when chasing points from this game.
Tom Brady ($9,100) is always on the board, but he’ll cost you as usual. Brady averages 2.4 fantasy points per possession, the most in the league while the Jets are 21st in the league in allowing passing points on the season.
Julian Edelman ($6,400) is still a cheap source of immense opportunity as he has at least eight targets in each game over the past four weeks with 17 targets last week when the Patriots were missing Rob Gronkowski, who is expected to absent again this week.
If Gronk is out, that leaves the door open for Martellus Bennett ($5,500) to make our lineups once again this week. Although he was a massive letdown a week ago, Bennett was still on the field all game and running a ton of routes. Bennett played 96 percent of the team snaps and ran 34 pass routes, so if he’s a full-go this weekend, there’s plenty of upside to benefit from a short-term memory of using him a week ago. The Pats game plans against the Jets have typically involved the tight end as Gronkowski averaged 11.8 targets per game facing the Jets over the past three years.
Seattle is another team to look at this week with a solid team total that is a heavy favorite. Russell Wilson ($7,500) feels like a supreme steal this week as the 10th quarterback in terms of pricing. Wilson has been a top-5 quarterback in each of the past three weeks. Wilson is fourth in points per dropback (.65) over that span after ranking 28th through seven games played. Tampa Bay is a great matchup as well, allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempt, the second highest in the league and they’ve allowed a plethora of splash plays in the passing game. 19.4 percent of the completions against the Buccaneers have gone for 20 or more yards, the highest rate in the league.
That means feel free to fire up Doug Baldwin ($6,800) and Jimmy Graham ($6,900). Baldwin has gotten hot with Wilson, scoring 11.9, 26.9 and 17 points over the past three weeks and Tampa Bay has allowed huge receiving games to the two top-tier tight ends they’ve faced this season, surrendering 181 yards to Greg Olsen and 108 last week to Travis Kelce. Even Thomas Rawls ($7,000) is in play as Tampa Bay is allowing the fourth most yards from scrimmage to oppposing backfields on the season and Rawls has the backfield touches nearly all for himself for the rest of the season.
Combining the team total chart and the play splits chart paint a nice picture for nibbling on Carson Palmer ($7,100) in deeper fields this week as they should run a ton of plays that should swerve into them passing a ton. Although he’s been far from a bankable commodity, Palmer is also in a favorable spot as a tournament option. The Falcons face the most pass attempts per game (41.8) and opposing passers have completed 68.2 percent of their passes, the third highest rate in the league while allowing 1.88 passing points per drive, the most in the league.
Larry Fitzgerald ($7,200) is typically our go to play when the Arizona passing game looks attractive, but the only times that Fitz has doubled his current salary over the past eight weeks have both come against San Francisco and Desmond Trufant has traveled into the slot to cover the opposing team’s best receiver at times this season. Given Atlanta’s inability to defend backs out of the backfield, I believe stacking Palmer with Johnson is your best option if looking to attack the game in that fashion.
Only Dallas rushes at a higher rate of offensive plays than the Buffalo Bills and they host a Jaguars team that allows the third highest run rate in the league. With Buffalo as big home favorites, LeSean McCoy ($8,100) is set up for a big workload on the surface, but is dealing with a thumb injury that required surgery earlier in the week, which may limit him in some capacity, but Buffalo has not expressed any concern at all with McCoy missing any time. That will likely ding his ownership in a great spot and backup Mike Gillislee is dealing with a hamstring himself. Buffalo averages 193.5 rushing yards per game at home, the most in the league and 45.9 percent of the Bills' offensive yardage has come from rushing, the only team in the league over 40 percent. McCoy is definitely someone on my tournament radar.
The Dolphins run the fewest plays per game in the league, but those should naturally rise this week against a San Francisco team allowing the most per game, with most those snaps resulting in rushing attempts, something Miami wants to do as an offense in the first place. Jay Ajayi ($8,400) is a premier cash option as just about every back against the 49ers is. San Francisco faces 34.7 rushing attempts per game, the most in the league while averages 30.8 rushing attempts per game since Week 6, the third most in the league. Ajayi leads the league in percentage of runs that have gone for 10 or more yards (19.6 percent) while San Francisco has allowed the most 10 or more yard runs on the season (45). Even with the Dolphins entering this week banged up along the offensive line, I still believe the overall spot is too strong to severely dampen the outlook for Ajayi.
The Giants are also in a tremendous spot to run more plays than they typically run while stacking rushing volume along the way. Rashad Jennings ($6,600) should benefit immensely and has pushed ahead as the lead back in the Giants backfield. Jennings played 70 percent of the team snaps last week, his highest total since Week 11 of 2014 and now has gone over 100-yards from scrimmage in back to back games. Opposing teams have rushed 53.9 percent of the time in the second half against the Browns (the second highest) and 63.8 percent of the their 4th quarter plays, the highest rate in the league.