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DFS Tournament Three and Out Week 12
DFS Tournament Three And Out Week 12
By Bob Harris
It doesn't matter what format of fantasy football you're talking about, matchups are important. But they're far more important in the daily game, where you get to pick and choose your entire roster with each new week. And while we all like to dig deep and find those tournament outliers to put us over the top, having a high-end chalk pick on your roster for these contests can be beneficial -- especially when stacking them with cheaper associated pieces. This week, there are three front-line players with matchups they should be able to leverage for you. That's even more important on the narrower Sunday slate that comes with the four-game Thanksgiving Weekend slate diminishing it.
Feel free build around these chalk plays as you see fit. And yes, I have one high-end player here with a matchup that reflects his current state of affairs in general: Miserable. It's the DFS Tournament Three and Out. Happy holidays! Let's dig in!
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills ($8,100 on DraftKings; $9,200 on FanDuel)
In case you haven't been following along, Allen has 206 total touchdowns since being drafted. It's an NFL record for the most in a player's first six seasons. Buffalo's QB also has the second most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history with 45. This season, Allen leads the NFL with 29 scores. This week's opponents, the Eagles, are allowing an average of 21.2 points per game (16th in the NFL) and 324.6 total yards per game (14th). When you dig a bit deeper, the defense hasn't been the best against the pass. They're allowing an average of 248 passing yards per game (28th), a passer rating of 96.4 (25th) and have surrendered 21 passing touchdowns (30th). On top of that they're allowing teams to score touchdowns 62.5 percent of the time they're in the red zone (tied for 25th). With Allen at the helm, Buffalo's offense is averaging 26.73 points per game (7th) and 372.2 total yards per game (6th). When you look at how they're passing the football and finding the end zone, they're numbers are among some of the best in the league. They're averaging 254.5 passing yards per game (7th), are scoring touchdowns on 65.9 percent of their red zone trips (3rd) and Allen ranks first in the NFL with 22 passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Garcia notes that Allen saw three designed quarterback draws in the team's first game without Ken Dorsey calling offensive plays, which is important because Dorsey had been lauding Allen all season for his growth in diagnosing pressure and checking the ball down, which had served to limit his rushing upside and downfield, "yolo-type" throws we had grown accustomed to seeing from Allen. "Remove the handcuffs on the gunslinger and we could start to see a higher hit rate of elite fantasy returns," Garcia added, "beyond the consistent production we have already seen this season."
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans ($6,400 on DraftKings; $7,800 on FanDuel)
I know. ... This has not been Henry's best season. The veteran workhorse has definitely had his ups and downs. As NFL Network's Michael F. Florio points out, Henry has been held to fewer than six fantasy points in two straight games, but had more than 16 in the three games before. Florio added: "It's hard to keep kings down for long" and Henry has the ultimate get-right spot this week. The Panthers have proven to be the cure for whatever ails a running back -- just ask Tony Pollard, who last Sunday scored his first touchdown since Week 1, against this defense. In fact, Carolina has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards, the most rushing touchdowns, the sixth-most receiving touchdowns and second-most fantasy PPG to running backs. NBC Sports' Matthew Berry notes that running backs who have seen 15-plus carries versus the Panthers this season are averaging 22.3 PPG. Worried about Henry getting game-scripted out? Don't be. The Panthers are 1-9 people and Henry's priced to deliver.
Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts ($6,800 on DraftKings; $7,600 on FanDuel)
What do Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen and Adam Thielen have in common? As Florio notes, those four receivers are the only players in the NFL with six-plus games with double-digit targets. Oh wait. ... There's five of those. Pittman has also enjoyed that level of attention from his quarterback. This week, he's likely to get similar treatment. As NBC Sports' Mark Garcia notes, the Buccaneers and Colts face off as the two teams in the league utilizing the highest rates of Cover-3. Garcia explained: "Cover-3 defensive alignments typically allow an opposing offense to target their first reads relentlessly, paving the way for Pittman (and Tampa's Mike Evans for that matter) to push for a season-high in targets. Beyond that favorable scheme, ESPN's Mike Clay notes that injuries and performance have been a problem for the Tampa Bay secondary. As a result, the Buccaneers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs this season, including the 11th most to the perimeter and second most to the slot. ESPN.com's Tristan Cockroft points out a league-leading six different wide receivers scored 15-plus fantasy points against the Buccaneers' defense in just the past four weeks, including a pair of 27-plus-pointers by the Houston Texans' Noah Brown and Tank Dell in Week 9. Pittman, whose 30 percent target share is eighth-best in the league, should feast on this matchup. By the way, Garcia made an excellent point when he advised readers Pittman's success could also theoretically contribute to a higher success rate for Evans ($7,400 on DraftKings; $8,000 on FanDuel), leaving this pairing as a high-upside mini-correlation on the Week 12 main slate.
Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns ($5,900 on DraftKings; $7,000 on FanDuel)
Unlike the three players above, who all have multiple issues working in their favor beyond the matchup, Cooper has things working against him beyond his matchup. But the matchup is horrible. As Clay pointed out, Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II is one of the best in the business and the Denver pass defense has been better after a disastrous start, having allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs over the past four weeks (10th fewest on the season). Clay expects Surtain to cover Cooper the 75 percent of the time he's on the perimeter this week. Also, Cooper has scored in single digits in both of Dorian Thompson-Robinson's starts this season. That includes last week, when he was held to just four catches and 7.4 points. As Cockroft pointed out, the Browns' more conservative game plan -- Cooper saw only one pass that traveled as far as 10 yards downfield in Week 11, and Thompson-Robinson totaled three such attempts all game -- is a real concern for Cooper's fantasy production moving forward.