NFL DFS Main Slate – Above/Below – Key Plays for Week 12

The main NFL DFS slate features too many viable combinations to count in a lifetime, even when we eliminate several of the lower-end stacks we are left with possibilities galore at several positions. With NFL DFS picks, tips, tricks, touts, shoutouts, tweets, spreadsheets, slams, and sims coming from every direction all week, the purpose of this article is to feature a few plays for which our projections land above or below what appears to be the industry standard for the week, which will identify plays that are potentially over or undervalued by the public.

*note – despite the title of this article and what would probably be a more logical configuration, the “below” category comes first in the following content.

NFL DFS Sunday Main Slate Above/Below – Week 12


Desmond Ridder – Quarterback – Atlanta Falcons – $4,800/$6,600 – QB19 points/QB18 value DraftKings; QB20/QB20 FanDuel

Despite having several premium weapons at his disposal, Falcons’ quarterback Desmond Ridder has posted a measly 193 yards per game on 7.1 yards per pass attempt with six touchdowns and six interceptions in his nine games this season. Ridder has been largely inept in the passing game, which has a limiting downstream impact on the talented skill players on the team. The quarterback has managed a 65% completion rate on just 27 passes per game this season with eight intended air yards per attempt but a 4.5-yard completed air yard mark. While he has added four rushing touchdowns, the appeal in that aspect of the game is generally limited, given his 3.6 attempts per game, in spite of a 4.7-yard-per-attempt average. Ridder has not thrown a touchdown in his three most recent games, and he had a DNP in Week 9 before returning for six pass attempts in Week 10. The quarterback has a pair of 300-yard games on the season, posting two touchdowns but three interceptions in one and just one touchdown in the other. The two-touchdown game is a season-high, he has four games with zero touchdowns and threw 1 in each of the others. Ridder is a low-end quarterback play whose scoring potential is supported by the talent around him and he is facing a defense that has allowed just 5.9 yards per pass attempt while pressuring the quarterback at a 19.4% clip on a 23.3% blitz rate with 18 sacks and 12 interceptions on the season. In a direct matchup, we prefer the New Orleans defense to Ridder shares and we land more than two points below an already low industry average on what looks like a poor play at the position.

Jaylen Warren – Running Back – Pittsburgh Steelers – $5,400/$6,900 – RB18 points / RB18 value DraftKings; RB17/RB20 FanDuel

Jaylen Warren has had several strong games this season and he has consistently outperformed teammate Najee Harris despite being out-snapped and out-touched. In the team’s most recent game, Warren carried the ball just nine times but put up 129 yards and a touchdown, while adding three catches for 16 more yards. Harris carried the ball 12 times but gained just 35 yards. He was at 82 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries the week before and had another 69 yards and a touchdown on 16 opportunities in Week 9, but overall he has been outplayed by Warren at every turn. Warren has seen 15 targets over the team’s last four games, hauling in 12 catches but not making it into the end zone in the passing game. Warren has big play ability, but he has been somewhat dependent on it, the limited volume is a weekly concern and he could come crashing back to Earth on the wrong day. With a rising price tag, there is less appeal in this play than in weeks past, Warren could still succeed, the Cincinnati defense has allowed 5.0 yards per rush attempt and 138 yards per game with 1.1 touchdowns per game on the season, but the split backfield and the potential loss of touchdown opportunities to Harris is a concern. Over the past five games, Harris has nine red zone carries to Warren’s five and he has punched the ball in for three touchdowns. We land about a point and a half below the industry average on the talented running back and hope that he proves us wrong because we need his scoring in a season-long league.

note: in some pre-game coach-speak, the Steelers are planning to put the ball in Warren’s hands more frequently starting today, which would alleviate some but not all of our volume concerns with this play.

Russell Wilson – Quarterback – Denver Broncos – $5,400/$7,000 – QB14/QB16 DraftKings; QB14/QB17 FanDuel

Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown 19 touchdown passes and just four interceptions this season while posting seven yards per pass attempt and throwing the ball just 29.7 times per game. Wilson is not as dead as the rumors had him after last season’s misery, he has established a strong connection with receiver Courtland Sutton, who has hauled in eight of the touchdowns himself, but Jerry Jeudy has fallen off over the course of the season and the state of the team’s overall offense is not exactly stellar. Wilson has posted just 206.5 yards per game and he will be facing a stout Cleveland defense that has been good in stopping both the run and the pass this season. Cleveland has yielded just 5.4 yards per pass attempt and 143.7 yards per game through the air, with nine touchdowns allowed in their 10 games. The Browns have 33 sacks on the season and they have posted nine interceptions, the team blitzes at a 29.5% rate and gains pressure at an impressive 27.6% clip, Wilson will have to use his scrambling ability and may be a bit too on the run to allow time for routes to develop, he seems unlikely to fulfill the expectations of an industry that is out ahead of our projections on the quarterback by a bit more than a point this week.

Lingering Lows

  • Baker Mayfield
  • Jake Browning
  • David Njoku (we really like Njoku overall but land behind the industry average)
  • Chuba Hubbard
  • Jaleel McLaughlin
  • Tommy DeVito, Jalin Hyatt
  • Tutu Atwell
  • Mike Evans

Don’t miss our full breakdown in the Groups/Stacks article, complete with notes & stack rankings for every team


Josh Allen – Quarterback – Buffalo Bills – $8,100/$9,200 – QB1 points/QB4 value DraftKings; QB1/QB2 FanDuel

Bills quarterback Josh Allen is not going to sneak up on anyone this week, he is not a player who will inspire “how the #$*% did he get to that guy” responses from competitors when you win a tournament with him at the helm, he simply looks like a fantastic option, even at his high price tag, against an Eagles defense that has allowed a ton of scoring in the passing game this season. Allen ranks as the top quarterback for points on both sites while remaining in the top few spots for points-per-dollar value, his counterpart Jalen Hurts is QB2/QB4 on FanDuel and QB2/QB9 on DraftKings in the week’s most highly-totaled game. Both quarterbacks have explosive scoring potential with excellent skill players on their side, high-end receiving targets, and a ton of ability to run the ball for added fantasy scoring and individual touchdown upside. In a week with oddball value plays lurking everywhere, getting to both quarterbacks as “naked” plays is even a viable approach, but the upside is in a high-scoring and heavily correlated game with Allen + 2, Allen + 2, and a bring-back, and any Allen and an individual stack configurations all in play. The high-risk high-reward Bills quarterback has thrown 22 touchdowns but also 12 interceptions on the season with 7.5 yards per pass attempt and 261.36 yards per game on 34.73 attempts per game. Allen has completed 70% of his pass attempts, despite any rumors to the contrary he is a terrific option in both real life and fantasy football, and we are yet to even mention the seven touchdowns he has posted running the ball into the end zone himself. Allen has major scoring potential and he lands atop the board in sims with frequency, pairing him with weapons including Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and Dalton Kincaid is highly recommended.

Gabe Davis – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills – $5,300/$6,000 – WR22/WR22 DraftKings; WR18/WR12 FanDuel

Gabe Davis is a solid tie-in option with Josh Allen stacks. The receiver has been boom or bust throughout the season, he has an average of around nine FanDuel points per game, but his roller coaster game log includes multiple games of between 0 and 1.6 FanDuel points, as well as several games of 18 or 19 FanDuel points. While the variance can be frustrating for some, it makes for an ideal NFL DFS option in large-field tournament play in a highly popular heavily targeted stack. Davis operates as the team’s number two wide receiver, he has a strong 13.5-yard average depth of target this season. Davis is targeted six times per game, he is not a limited volume dart thrown but he is a big play downfield weapon in the passing game, the receiver has a solid opportunity against an Eagles’ pass defense that has quietly allowed 2.1 touchdowns per game and 248.1 yards per game, with 6.1 yards per pass attempt yielded on the season. Stefon Diggs is the bright shiny object (and a fantastic play) in the Bills passing game and Dalton Kincaid is a strong positional option, but Gabe Davis is a home run play with tournament-winning upside, we will be ahead of the field and land more than two full points ahead of the industry average projection (but just a half-point above Davis’ seasonal average) this week.

Trevor Lawrence – Quarterback – Jacksonville Jaguars – $6,400/$7,800 – QB3/QB1 DraftKings; QB4/QB1 FanDuel

With strong value pricing across the industry, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is looking like an excellent go-to option in Week 12. Lawrence had a very good Week 11, completing 24 of 32 pass attempts for 262 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to standout wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who needed the boost. While that was a good performance from Lawrence, we know there is more available and we are greedy to see it for DFS purposes. Lawrence has just one 300-yard game on the season and he has not thrown more than two touchdown passes in any of the team’s games, there is a 350-yard four-touchdown game lurking before the season ends. Lawrence has fantastic weapons at his disposal, in addition to Ridley, premium running back Travis Etienne Jr. is a heavy target in the passing game, drawing 3-6 targets per game and generating around or above 20 touches per game in a productive season. Etienne had a three-game stretch from Weeks 5-7 in which he scored two touchdowns in each contest, though all of those came in the rushing game, he is in play in stacks but can also cut the touchdown upside from under his quarterback. Christian Kirk is a solid performer in the passing game, as is tight end Evan Engram, though the latter is yet to score a touchdown this season. Lawrence is facing a Texans pass defense that has allowed 7.0 yards per pass attempt and 241 yards per game this season, while generating 24 sacks and seven interceptions, they are better against the run than the pass, which can potentially lend upside to a Jaguars pass-game stack. Lawrence has completed 68% of his passes, throwing the ball 33 times per game for 7.2 yards per pass attempt, he has 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on the season but we like the potential for those totals to increase in a high-priority game that has good weapons on both sides. Both the Texans and Jaguars are in play for leading stacks, CJ Stroud is an excellent quarterback in his own right and options like Tank Dell, Nico Collins, Dalton Schultz, and Robert Woods make solid bring-back plays against a stack of Lawrence + 1 or Lawrence+2 from the Jaguars side.

Pat Freiermuth – Tight End – Pittsburgh Steelers – $2,900/$4,900 – TE7/TE1 DraftKings; TE8/TE5 FanDuel

In his return to action after a five-game (six weeks with the bye) absence last week, Pat Freiermuth ran just 12 routes on 31 snaps, drawing a mere single target which he caught for seven yards. The Steelers were overmatched against a strong Cleveland pass defense in that game, the Browns rate very well against both the pass and the run and they have a 29.5% blitz rate and 27.6% pressure rate with 33 sacks on the season, the limited routes were likely a combination of protecting a player just getting back into game shape after an extended injury absence, and protecting the team’s rookie quarterback from a frenetic pass rush by keeping the tight end in formation to block. Freiermuth has far more opportunity this week against a Denver defense that has managed just a 17.3% pressure rate and 19 sacks on the season, though the Broncos are somewhat underrated overall on that end of the game with lingering impacts of the Miami meltdown felt weeks later in their rankings. Freiermuth had a pair of three-catch games prior to getting injured and missing five games, but he scored two touchdowns in the early part of the season and is coming off of a season in which he caught 63 passes for 732 yards and two touchdowns. That 2022 season followed up a rookie campaign that featured seven touchdown receptions and 497 yards on 60 catches, he is a very talented tight end who comes far too cheap on both sites, though his excellent value pricing has him as a top ROI option on DraftKings while he ranks slightly lower on FanDuel. We land about 1.6 points ahead of the field on the Freiermuth projection this week and plan to have more shares than the average.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Rhamondre Stevenson (high priority running back)
  • Ja’Marr Chase
  • Alec Pierce
  • Kareem Hunt
  • Calvin Ridley
  • Kenny Pickett (Steelers are an interesting value stack on DraftKings, less so on FanDuel)
  • Adam Thielen
  • Cooper Kupp
  • CJ Stroud, Tank Dell
  • Davante Adams
  • Gardner Minshew
  • Travis Etienne Jr.
  • Rashid Shaheed

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