At this point, you probably know whether or not you’re bound for the playoffs in your season-long fantasy league.
If it’s looking like a no-go, there’s no better time to take a crack at DFS. And if you’re a beginner at daily fantasy football, let us help you try and construct the perfect roster for this weekend’s games.
Here’s our Week 12 “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns ($5,900)
Yes, Mayfield largely has been a disappointment this season after turning heads as a rookie. That said, the sophomore signal-caller is starting to come around, having thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of the Browns’ last two games. Not to mention, he hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 8. Cleveland effectively has to win out if it has any hope of reaching the playoffs, but it shouldn’t have any trouble Sunday against the lowly Miami Dolphins. Week 12 very well could mark Mayfield’s best game of the season.
Running Backs: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans ($6,900); Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins ($4,700)
Henry has been a frequent visitor of the end zone this season, scoring touchdowns in seven of the Titans’ 10 games thus far. The power back is the straw that stirs Tennessee’s offense, and he should see plenty of touches in Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs on the campaign.
We admit we’re going solely on upside and potential with Guice this week. The second-year back flashed his playmaking ability last week, registering a 45-yard touchdown catch against the New York Jets. If Washington maintains Guice’s reps, he could be in store for a big afternoon against the Lions, who’ve allowed the most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. In fact, Detroit has allowed 110 rushing yards or more in seven of 10 games this season.
Wide Receivers: Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears ($6,500); Jamison Crowder, New York Jets ($6,200); Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders ($5,900)
Robinson has been the only consistent bright spot for the Bears’ woeful offense this season. The veteran wideout has been a catch machine, as he’s only been held under four receptions in one of 10 games on the campaign. Robinson should have no issue keeping pace against the New York Giants, who’ve allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to WRs this season.
Crowder has been one of the league’s best pass-catchers of late, hauling in a combined 18 catches for 240 yards with three touchdowns over the Jets’ last three games. Young quarterbacks tend to latch onto their favorite targets, and there’s no doubt Darnold has developed more chemistry with Crowder than any other New York wideout this season. Furthermore, the Oakland Raiders have been below-average at defending the pass this season.
Williams’ hot streak was bound to die down at some point. The veteran WR hasn’t scored a touchdown since late October after finding the end zone in each of the Raiders’ first five games. With this in mind, Williams seems primed to bounce back Sunday against the Jets, who feature one of the league’s weaker pass defenses. Oakland is very much in the playoff hunt, and Derek Carr is playing some of the best football of his career. With New York likely to lock down on Josh Jacobs, Carr could look Williams’ way early and often.
Tight End: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,000)
We shouldn’t have to sell you much on Ertz considering he’s one of the few consistent high-end fantasy options among tight ends. But if we must, the two-time Pro Bowl selection should see a boatload of targets as the Eagles deal with a slew of injuries to their pass-catching corps. Ertz effectively is Carson Wentz’s only trusted option at this point, and the duo will need to rise to the occasion if Philadelphia wants to keep its postseason hopes alive.
Flex: Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins ($4,400)
It’s probably never wise to jump at starting any Dolphin in fantasy, but Ballage has become a sneaky solid option for running back and flex slots. The second-year pro has become Miami’s clear-cut feature back in wake of Kenyan Drake’s trade and Mark Walton’s release, and the Browns defense is far from a world-beating unit. There’s obvious risk here, but it wouldn’t be completely shocking to see Ballage offer quality production this week.
Defense: Buffalo Bills ($3,400)
Buffalo has been one of the league’s most consistent defenses this season, allowing over 20 points in only one of 10 games. Up next for the Bills is the lowly Denver Broncos, who will go into upstate New York with a quarterback set to make his third career start. This one seems like a safe bet.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports Images