The NFL as bloodsport was on full display in week 11. Fantasy gamers watched in horror as Justin Forsett, a 197-pound running back, was lifted into the air and slammed to the turf by the NFL’s latest model of armored, muscled and fearless robo-defenders. Both bones in Forsett’s right arm snapped — another skill player sent to injured reserve.
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The following players are noteworthy value plays who could either serve as the cornerstones of an optimal cash lineup and/or add upside variance to a GPP/tournament roster in week 12.
Jameis Winston, $5,500
At 19-years old Jameis Winston won a Heisman trophy while leading Florida State to a National Championship. In an alternate reality, the best young quarterback prodigy to enter the NFL since Andrew would have been showered with accolades during the redraft process and labeled a no-doubter by NFL Draft analysts while also saddled with the burden of unrealistic expectations. In reality, none of this occurred. Blame Jameis Winston’s actions. Blame sports media bias.
Lowered expectations nonetheless created a blind spot. In hindsight, a quarterback with Jameis Winston’s resume throwing for five touchdowns in Vincent Jackson’s first game back from a moderate knee sprain in week 11 should not have been shocking, because Winston has always possessed prolific NFL arm talent. As his rookie season grinds forward, he is becoming a better all-around football player. Winston is making sound decisions with both his arm (15 passing touchdowns) and his feet (four rushing touchdowns) and is now on a trajectory to finish the season as a fantasy QB1.
With Austin Seferian-Jenkins due back in week 12, Jameis Winston will have his full compliment of passing game weapons for the first time since week 1. Flanked by playmakers facing a leaky Colts secondary, Winston’s $5,500 DraftKings salary is evidence that the sports world is still attaching modest production expectations to a immodest ascending NFL superstar.
Doug Martin, $5,800
Pro tip: stack Buccaneers in week 12. And by process of elimination, Doug Martin is the chalkiest of the chalk picks.
Adrian Peterson is a trap. Atlanta is in the top-5 most friendly opposing defenses for fantasy running backs, but their kindness is heavily skewed to the passing down specialists as the Falcons have allowed a staggering 80-plus receptions, 600-plus receiving yards, and three touchdowns through the air to opposing running backs.
Todd Gurley is going on the road to face a rugged Bengals defense.
Devonta Freeman is questionable with a moderate to severe concussion.
DeAngelo Williams travels to Seattle, where fantasy running backs go to hibernate for a one-week period.
LeSean McCoy will be traveling to Kansas City, the NFL’s most smothering defense in the month of November.
On the other hand, Doug Martin is second in the NFL in rushing yards and first in evaded tackles per game on PlayerProfiler.com. Furthermore, Martin’s 5.0 yards per carry in 2015 is 0.4 YPC higher than his breakout rookie season. He is the rare running back who remains efficient while shouldering tremendous volume.
In week 12, Martin faces Indianapolis — one of less than ten NFL teams allowing 110-plus rushing yards and 8-plus rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Every DraftKings lineup in every contest needs a Doug Martin.
Javorius Allen, $4,500
Nicknamed “Buck” because it sounds cool, Javorius Allen is the best smooth-it-out roster-making value play for week 12. Allen completely dominated the running touches after Justin Forsett went down with a broken arm in week 11. Against a stout St. Louis defense, Allen managed 16-plus fantasy points primarily via 5 receptions for 48-yards.
On draft day, Ozzie Newsome passed on higher graded running backs David Cobb and Jay Ajayi and selected the 6-0, 221-pound Javorius Allen. At USC, Allen produced in all phases, but Newsome was particularly impressed with Allen’s pass catching evidenced 41-receptions and 458-receiving yards in his junior year. Allen then excelled in athletic tests posting an above-average 40-time, Agility Score, and Burst Score. Though Baltimore’s offense has been reduced to rubble, Javorius Allen projects to be a fantasy RB1 for the remainder of the season.
When incumbent bell cow running backs like Arian Foster go down, often their roles are divided across specialist back-up. As the sole heir to the Ravens running game, however, Javorius Allen is the exception. At 220-pounds with a 105.0 Speed Score and elite receiving skills, Javorius Allen possesses a well-defined workhorse NFL running back profile. Allen has the necessary all-purpose skill set to dominate the Ravens’ RB touches, and volume trumps situation. Facing a Browns rush defense that allows 22-plus points per game to opposing running backs, Allen will be a cornerstone value play across all DraftKings contests this week.
The Cheaper Twin
Vincent Jackson, $4,700
Keep stacking those Buccaneers. Mike Evans’ best comparable player on PlayerProfiler.com is Vincent Jackson, and Vincent Jackson’s best comparable player on PlayerProfiler.com is Mike Evans. Vincent Jackson is Mike Evans ten years from now. The primary difference between these football twins on the field is that Vincent Jackson plays flanker while Mike Evans plays the split end position. While the split end runs more vertical routes, the flanker receives the higher percentage throws closer to the line scrimmage. Jackson is more efficient, Evans is more dynamic, and both caught four passes and one touchdown versus Philadelphia in week 11.
Tampa Bay faces Indianapolis in week 12. The Colts just allowed 12-plus fantasy points to the Falcons’ top-two wide receivers (split end Julio Jones and flanker Leonard Hankerson). Yet, Vincent Jackson’s DraftKings salary this week is $4,700 while Evans’ salary is $7,400. Vincent Jackson is the better bet this week — a perfect high volatility GPP play.
May the game flow be ever in your favor.