DFS Dreamers & Fantasy Streamers: Brandon LaFell and Rex Burkhead are Contrarian GPP and Deep Sleeper Plays for Week 12

by Eric McClung ·

I trust you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and hopefully the free DFS lineup I posted for the three-game slate. With 165.96 points on DraftKings, we easily cashed across the board in cash games and tournaments. The lineup was easily transferable to FanDuel and performed well in both formats over there. Well, the kids are in bed and the dishes are finally all done. The wife is already out shopping, hunting for deals and Christmas gifts. Time to get back to football and fire away at what remains of Week 12. As always, we’ll start with a quick review of last week’s streamers.

Colin Kaepernick was a top-10 quarterback in Week 11 against the New England Patriots. He’s still only 22 percent owned on ESPN and 23 percent owned on Yahoo. Despite knocking on the door of low-end QB1 production, Kaepernick’s ownership somehow lags behind lesser fantasy quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, and Alex Smith.

At wide receiver, Pierre Garcon was a massive hit as the WR2 for Week 11 thanks to six receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill was a mild success. He caught four of five targets for 53 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He likely would have scored a long touchdown if not for an under-thrown ball from Alex Smith. Unfortunately, Hill only saw a marginal bump in his Snap Share after a strong showing in Week 10 and remains stuck as KC’s No. 3 wide receiver behind Chris Conley and Albert Wilson.

Despite Colin Kaepernick‘s successful fantasy day against the Patriots, he somehow failed to connect with Jeremy Kerley on all six of his targets. This comes a week after Kerley caught all seven targets for 71 yards and a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. As outlined in last week’s article, New England has been smashed by slot receivers all season. We loved Kerley as both a streamer and a cheap DFS tournament option, unfortunately Kaepernick’s scattershot arm couldn’t capitalize on this terrific matchup. Eli Rogers was also a dud with just four catches for 20 yards. Finally, Robert Woods was looking good (3 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards) prior to suffering a knee injury.

Rounding out the streamers were Chris Thompson and C.J. Fiedorowicz. Surprisingly, Washington was up 22-10 at the start of the fourth quarter which caused game flow to work completely against Thompson. To conclude, Fiedorowicz was very solid in catching half a dozen balls for 82 yards. He’s finally over 40 percent owned on ESPN, but 32 percent on Yahoo.


First off, keep riding Kaepernick if you’ve been using him. Otherwise, add and start Kaepernick. If he’s not available the next best streaming options are Ryan Tannehill and Carson Wentz.

Full disclosure, Ryan Tannehill is not someone I’m ever comfortable using. Over his last seven games he’s averaging 17.7 completions on 26.6 attempts for just 200 yards and a touchdown. However, the San Francisco defense has been bludgeoned by every position all year long. Over their last seven games they’ve allowed multiple touchdowns passes to everyone but Carson Palmer, who dropped a season-high 376 yards on the Niners.

Carson Wentz Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Carson Wentz Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Carson Wentz has cooled off considerably since an impressive start to his rookie season. Over his last six games, Wentz failed to throw a touchdown three times and didn’t have any multi-touchdown games until last week on the road in Seattle. He needed 45 throws to do it and only managed 218 yards in the process. The opposing Green Bay pass defense continues to erode and is now 23rd in Football Outsiders DVOA. Five different quarterbacks have thrown three or more touchdowns against the Packers thus far.

Based on the lower price tag, Derek Carr will surely come in with higher ownership than Cam Newton on the other side of the Carolina at Oakland matchup. Newton has only thrown three touchdowns over his last four games while Carr has recently thrown four against Tampa Bay and three last week against Houston. This is a game to stack a few different ways, including more contradiction versions with Newton atop the lineup.

Wide Receiver

Brandon LaFell Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Brandon LaFell Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Adam Thielen and Pierre Garcon were good streaming plays on Thanksgiving, but can’t help us now if we still need to fill in a spot this Sunday. Despite a possible season-ending hamstring injury to A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell is available in more than 80 percent of leagues on the two big sites. If you weren’t able to snag Tyler Boyd, LaFell is a perfectly fine fallback option. The opposing Baltimore Ravens are 10th in DVOA against the pass, but bleed out fantasy points to wide receivers. Furthermore, Jimmy Smith (back) is their top corner and in danger of missing his second straight game. Having scored last week and being cheaper on DFS sites, Boyd will surely be the higher owned of the two. LaFell makes for a logical contrarian pivot option if Boyd becomes a chalk play.

Jarvis Landry has been vastly overpriced on DraftKings for weeks, not if months. Now, after finally catching his second touchdown of the season, he’s down to $5,900. Rishard Matthews will get a lot more attention at $100 less. While Landry lacks tournament upside, the price reduction may not be enough for all of the previously disappointed owners to trust him in cash games despite a great matchup against the hapless Niners.

Running Back

Every week we see tweets and reports that Kenneth Dixon will see increased opportunities in the Baltimore backfield. While there has been slight upward movement in his snap count, Dixon has barely been able to exceed double-digit touches in a game. Last week against Dallas he recorded a 20-yard run, his longest of the season. Prior to that, Dixon’s seven targets against Cleveland exceeded all the looks he saw in the pass game over the four previous contests. The flashes are there, hopefully this is finally the week Dixon can begin to edge his way past Terrance West.

Rex Burkhead Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rex Burkhead Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Giovani Bernard (knee) is done for the year which trusts the bald and beautiful Rex Burkhead into pass catching duties for Cincinnati. Burkhead has been with the Bengals since 2013 so he knows the system and the playbook. Thanks to a sneaky good Burst Score (89th percentile) and Agility Scores (92nd percentile), Burkhead is equipped to fill some of the void left behind by Gio’s injury.

This one requires more homework as the week goes on, but someone out of the $5,600 to $5,800 price range is going to be way under-owned on DraftKings. Everyone is going to play David Johnson or Melvin Gordon and should be smart enough to avoid the overpriced Jay Ajayi trap. That means someone from the Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley, Thomas Rawls, and Rashard Jennings pack will be forgotten about. The nice thing about this block of similarly priced running backs is that you can play the same core of players at the other positions and simply cycle through the different running backs when entering multiple tournament lineups.

Tight End

As was the case with Kaepernick, just keep playing C.J. Fiedorowicz if you already have him. If he’s gone look at Will Tye. The Giants have made Larry Donnell inactive in recent weeks allowing Tye to average 6.6 targets over the last three games since New York returned from their bye week. Tye hasn’t found much production yet, but scored his first touchdown of the season last week.

[Will Tye]-Tight End-New York Giants

Will Tye Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Cleveland is 30th in DVOA against tight ends and have given up touchdowns to guys you may have never heard of like Anthony Fasano, Gavin Escobar, and Darren WallerWill Tye‘s thin game logs will deter ownership in DFS. That will be especially true if people make the mistake of overlooking shutdown corner Joe Haden at force Odell Beckham Jr. into their lineups.