Deeper, Cheaper, and More Contrarian: Week 12

Deeper, Cheaper, and More Contrarian: Week 12

Welcome to week 12. Fantasy Aces did not run a Thu-Mon slate this week with the holiday, so we can’t use our normal format of finding super contrarian loves because we simply don’t have the data to know for sure. So instead, I’m putting together some notes on each of Sunday’s games with who I like and who I think or hope might be avoided.

SD @ Hou

This game doesn’t leave much to be too excited about for DFS. Melvin Gordon is properly priced as the RB3 but still may be under-owned due to the community’s relative inability to differentiate between a strong pass defense and a good run defense when it pertains to Houston (and Denver). Melvin is a strong play for both cash and tournaments. Lamar Miller is priced as the RB5 and will probably be scarcely owned because of this, so he is a nice potential contrarian option due to workload risk. After not clearing 19 touches the previous three weeks, he got 26 last week and cleared 100 total yards for the first time in that four-game span. Houston is at peak efficiency when the game plan goes through him, as evidenced by them having a road win at Oakland stolen from them when the game plan featured a steady dose of Lamar. For cash games, C.J. Fiedorowicz is a must use as he’s insanely priced as the TE20 (just $3900), compared to the TE10 on Draft Kings. He’ll likely be the top-owned TE in tournaments, but the year long trends show us that the position usually caps out at 20%. He’s just too cheap to avoid. None of the quarterbacks or wide receivers in this game are particularly attractive.

Ten @ Chi

This game offers very very little in terms of DFS viability. Matt Barkley is starting for Chicago, who are also sans Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller. There will be stacked boxes all day for Jordan Howard and an extreme anemia of talent in the passing game to offset this. The Tennessee defensive unit is an elite option, so don’t hesitate to fire them up. As well as the Titans offense is playing, game flow will likely be a statistic killer here, so I wouldn’t look at any option in the passing game unless you want to be super contrarian and roll Marcus Mariota stacks in hopes that Chicago can be competitive in a mid-to-high scoring game, which seems extremely unlikely. DeMarco Murray is the only skill position player I’m looking at, but I am likely going elsewhere as he’s priced as the RB2.

Jax @ Buf

This could be another ugly one, however there are a few options worth looking at. For Buffalo, the injuries to both LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee are concerning for a potential workload. If they were to both sit out, Jonathan Williams would become a very attractive punt play in both tournaments and cash. The WR position is equally as banged up, and Marquise Goodwin could be an unattractive punt play but the situation is probably best avoided. Jacksonville will be without Julius Thomas and will start Neal Sterling at TE. This could create bigger than normal target shares for Allen Robinson and Marquise Lee, and both are in play in all formats. Blake Bortles is just a middling option in what I expect to be a low scoring game. Chris Ivory is quite intriguing and will see quite a workload in a decent matchup should T.J. Yeldon end up sitting, and he would be both tournament and cash viable. He turned in easily his strongest receiving line of the season last week after Yeldon went down.

Cin @ Bal

This game sports the second-lowest betting total of the week and for good reason, as points could be scarce. That said, there are still a handful of attractive options for DFS. With A.J. Green out, the somehow-still-underrated Tyler Eifert should get to show off that he’s a do-it-all player and not just an elite red zone threat. With Giovani Bernard out, middling talent Jeremy Hill should see more snaps, touches, and passing work. Hill also becomes very attractive as both a cash and tournament play. On the Baltimore side, Steve Smith carries the only bankable target load and is still priced for even the most frugal shopper at just $4350 in a very nice matchup. The Baltimore defense is also very much a top option as A.J. Green could prove to be the glue that held Andy Dalton together.

Ari @ Atl

This should be one of the more targeted games from a DFS perspective, and it carries the highest total of the week. That, however, is not my strategy. While I believe David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are both absolute top notch options at their positions, I’m not sure I like a single other option in this game. Taylor Gabriel is a nice punt play WR, but outside of that, fire up DJ and Fitz in all formats and move on.

SF @ Mia

This is another ugly game in a slate that has many. Miami has been muddying up games and trying to pound the ball in the running game, but the success of that has been dependent upon the health of their offensive linemen, which appears will be a problem again on Sunday. Even still, I think Jay Ajayi is an elite tournament option but maybe risky in cash. He’s going to get the workload in a dream matchup, so be sure to get him in some tournament lineups. He and the defense are the only viable options on the Mia side. On the SF side, Carlos Hyde is a tournament option but not a top tier one. Throw him in a handful and avoid the rest of SF.


It’s actually a shame that Jared Goff is starting, because this one would have had more potential to be a barn burner with Case Keenum trying to keep with Drew Brees. Brees is always a tournament option at home and can be stacked with no more than any two of his wide receivers, but Rams’ Coach Jeff Fisher will try to shorten this game as much as humanly possible. (Shocking, I know.) Todd Gurley should get all he can eat again and may finally have the matchup to exploit, however that seems more hopeful than probable at this point. I’d make a Brees stack with Gurley in the same lineup, but don’t go crazy on this game. The NO defense is worth a quick punt look too.


The Browns are the Browns and seem to be regressing from being already bad at stopping running backs. This should make Rashad Jennings the most-owned option of the week. It could be argued that Paul Perkins is the cheaper, arbitrage version for tournaments. I’ll be avoiding Jennings in tournies due to what I’m guessing to be his uber-chalk status. I may sprinkle in Perkins. Odell Beckham will see Joe Haden, which isn’t an overly restrictive matchup, but combined with likely low passing volume and his salary, I’m avoiding. On the Browns side, I think only one player is worth a look. Gary Barnidge is only $3900 and is Josh McCown’s favorite target dating back to 2015. The Giants are a bottom five unit against the TE. Barnidge also got his first TD of the year last week in McCown’s relief appearance. I’d be remiss to not mention that the NYG DST is in the elite category.

Sea @ TB

If I had to bet an over this week, this is it. There’s so much veiled DFS possibility in this game, and that’s very exciting. Guess what? I’m all over Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin again!! It’s them, as their GOATiness is just blinding, but it’s the matchup too. In games against Cutler, Alex Smith, and Kaepernick, Tampa Bay is allowing just over 14 points per game. In games against all other quarterbacks (none of whom is named Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Mariota, or Wilson), they’re allowing over 30 points per game!!! This is going to be a blood bath!! Get your Russ stacks and Thomas Rawls lineups in by the truckload, as Rawls will likely be the RB1 if TB can’t keep it close. He also has the ceiling if they can. Also if TB can keep pace, Russ is your likely QB1, and Must-Start-Doug Baldwin likely posts another gem. Graham and Kearse are in play too. I’m just very in love with the big three. Speaking of Doug’s, Martin could see his biggest passing workload of the year, giving him huge viability as a game stack. Brate is another attractive one in that respect. Obviously Mike Evans’ matchup sucks, so Doug Martin and Brate are where I’m game stacking.

Car @ Oak

This game is another shootout-potential game, and it seems to be a dream matchup for each offense in a strength versus weakness sense. Carolina is woeful at stopping outside WRs, and Crabtree and Cooper are one of the toughest duos they could imagine seeing. Carr stacked with either or both of these two would make a strong option as Oakland should be able to move the ball passing at will. On the other side, Olsen gets a monstrous bounce back spot, and Cam gets a defense that has allowed 20+ points in eight of ten games, including 31+ in two of five home games. Olsen is my favorite game stack in Carr stacks, but no matter whom you use, the passing games are where to attack this game, and don’t be shy about it.

KC @ Den

This game sports the lowest total of the week, yet I don’t see either DST as viable. I think Spencer Ware and Demaryius Thomas dominate the offensive production of their respective teams and are in play in all formats. No one else is in play.


This is a difficult game to figure out. Tom Brady is clearly battling an injury and not 100%, yet the Jets are a sieve to passing games and a brick wall against the run. Even with an expected lopsided outcome, I can’t see viability in LeGarrette Blount, and I expect Dion Lewis to syphon more early game work from him. It sounds blasphemous to say, but I don’t think a single Patriot is a strong play in any format. With the confirmed return of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall is a tournament play, but that is the extent of the list. Avoid this game.


Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!!

TJ Calkins

TJ Calkins owns a small business in steel manufacturing that you've never heard of and is sarcastic to a fault. Whether it's dynasty, DFS, best ball or redraft, he's always finding a way to get his fantasy football fix. You can find him on Twitter @tjcalkins

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