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Week 12 DFS Deep Dive: Wide Receivers



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AJ Brown $9000 vs Bills


The Chiefs excellent pass defense was always going to be a tough matchup for AJ Brown, regardless of what form he was in, with the Chiefs ranking third in pass defense DVOA, meanwhile the Bills rate 16th and have been taking on water in recent weeks. Since Week 8 the Bills have given up big games to Chris Godwin (17.8pts), Tee Higgins (19.0) and Courtland Sutton (17.3). Between weeks 3-9 Brown averaged 128 receiving yards per game and he should get back into form here.


Usage Suggestions: All formats and stacked with as many Bills/Eagles players as makes sense.


Devonta Smith $7100 vs Bills


While Smith hasn’t been quite as hot as AJ Brown this year, he’s been a top-18 wide receiver for three weeks running and faces a Bills secondary that is 32nd in DVOA vs WR2s.


Usage Suggestions: All formats and stacked with as many Bills/Eagles players as makes sense.


Stefon Diggs $8800 vs Eagles


As much as AJ Brown needs a get-right game, so to does Stefon Diggs, who has had back-to-back games as the WR53, with seven total catches in those games. The Eagles allow a league-high 45.8 points per game to WRs, with no other team over 41.6 and they also allow a league-leading 1.5 WR touchdowns per game. With Allen in fine form, this can be the kind of shootout that’s hard to ignore.


Usage Suggestions: All formats and stacked with as many Bills/Eagles players as makes sense.


Puka Nacua $7600 vs Cardinals


The Rams continue to move both Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp in and out of the slot, and while Nacua is managing to stay fantasy relevant the cards keep continuing to turn against Kupp. Nacua now has six games over 18 PPR points this year, all resulting in a top-12 finish. The Cardinals defense is atrocious against the pass, ranking 29th in DVOA, allowing a league-high 72% catch rate to WRs and giving up the ninth-most passing yards per game. 


Usage Suggestions: given the matchup, I’m fine playing Nacua in all formats. It could be prudent to choose to use one of either Nacua or Williams in tournament lineups, playing to the theory one has a big day, but in Week 1 they were both top ten options, in week 2, both were top-2 performers, and in week 4 both were top-4 players… weird.


Adam Thielen $7300 vs Titans


With Frank Reich back at the helm Adam Thielen’s slump was over and he once again became a top-20 WR, seeing 11 targets. Since Week 9 the Titans have allowed three different wide receivers to score over 22PPR points, Diontae Johnson (22.0), Mike Evans (26.3) and Calvin Ridley (31.1) all went off. The Titans are a pass-funnel, ranking 4th in DVOA vs the run, but 28th vs the pass along with allowing the sixth most fpts to WRs and the fifth-most slot fpts. Thielen averaged 70% of his snaps from the slot and will likely see strong volume once again.


Usage Suggestions: Volume-hog wide receivers in positive matchups are a recipe for cash games. In tournaments, we could consider correlating Thielen with Derrick Henry who has a nice matchup.


Michael Pittman $6800 vs Buccaneers


Another pass-funnel defense is the Buccaneers who rank third against the run but 20th against the pass. The Bucs have given up the fifth-most fpts to WRs, allowing a league-high 198 receiving yards per game. Pittman has averaged a 37.9% target share over the last three games, seeing 33 targets and finishing inside the top 16 wide receivers each week. Josh Downs ($4800) Is also very appealing as the Bucs lead the league in WR slot fpts allowed.


Usage Suggestions: Either player works fine in cash games, and Downs will likely be a popular pick. In tournaments, I’d be happy playing both with Rachaad White on the other side.


Drake London $5000 vs Saints


On paper the Saints are a tough matchup for opposing WR1s, ranking 4th best in DVOA, but DVOA isn’t aware that Marshon Lattimore is on injured reserve leaving the Saints secondary far worse off. Betting on the Falcons hasn’t been a particularly fun experience this year, but London has consistently seen over 20% of the teams targets and has had his better days this year when Desmond Ridder was playing rather than Taylor Heinicke.


Usage Suggestions: Tournaments only. Possibly correlated with Rashid Shaheed.


Rashid Shaheed $4300 vs Falcons


With Michael Thomas headed to I.R. Shaheed should see an increase in his playing time, and he deserves it after flashing on several occasions this year with three games over 18 points on his stat column. 


Usage Suggestions: Tournaments only.


Bargain Basement


Juju Smith-Schuster ($3000), Justin Watson ($3000), Greg Dortch ($3300) and Demario Douglas ($4400), all look like reasonable values and will help you get to the top-priced players.


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