Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this new weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Cooper Kupp ($36) @ Green Bay Packers
Kupp has 13 targets in three of the past four contests and double-digit looks in all but one game this season. His volume will continue to be sky-high with Robert Woods now lost for the year, and Sunday’s matchup with the Packers should be high scoring. Kupp is a strong DFS building block as the current NFL leader in targets, receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and fantasy points per game; in fact, Kupp is on pace to record the most fantasy points by a WR in NFL history.
With Jonathan Taylor facing the league’s best run defense, Kansas City on bye and the Bills/Cowboys playing on the Thanksgiving slate, Kupp has a strong argument to pay up for in DFS this week.
Davante Adams ($31) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Adams is coming off a big game but his salary remains $5 less than both Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel — and 22.5% less than Christian McCaffrey’s. Adams leads the NFL WOPR by a wide margin this season, as no receiver is being given more opportunities. This week Green Bay gets a solid Rams defense, but LA entered its bye reeling having been outscored 59-26 over back-to-back losses. In a slate with mostly low totals, this matchup’s over/under (48.5 points) is one of the highest. Aaron Rodgers has a 10:1 TD:INT ratio at home over just four games this season, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s breakout last week could really help Adams moving forward.
Carson Wentz ($26) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Wentz is coming off a couple of quiet games, including last week’s that called for just 20 pass attempts when the Colts dominated on the ground. Jonathan Taylor had little trouble with a Buffalo defense entering playing well, but they get another stiff run D this week facing Tampa Bay (albeit possibly missing Vita Vea); the Bucs are allowing 3.8 YPC with just six rushing scores all season and are the NFL’s premier pass-funnel defense. Bucs/Colts has the week’s highest total (51.5 points), so Wentz should be looking at unusually high volume Sunday. Michael Pittman ($23) and T.Y. Hilton ($11) are viable stacking options.
Brandon Aiyuk ($17) vs. Minnesota Vikings
Aiyuk has seen at least seven targets in three of the past four games while officially reemerging as a weekly fantasy starter. His DFS salary remains plenty affordable in a matchup against a Minnesota secondary allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers. Elijah Mitchell is a big question mark with his broken finger (the team struggled running without him last week), while Jimmy Garoppolo has been by far the most efficient QB in football over the last month. Aiyuk saw five more targets than teammate Deebo Samuel last week, yet the latter’s DFS salary is more than double.
Stars to fade
Justin Herbert ($32) @ Denver Broncos
Herbert was fantasy’s QB1 last week, but it’s best to pass in DFS after playing the Steelers late Sunday night and traveling to face a Denver team coming off a bye. Herbert has gotten a modest 7.2 YPA on the road this season and gets a Broncos defense allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Denver’s offense also maintains one of the league’s slowest paces. Herbert is obviously the real deal, but no need to pay for last week’s stats in DFS.
Miles Sanders ($17) @ New York Giants
Sanders isn’t suddenly a true workhorse, but he saw a season-high 16 carries during his first return to action last week (when he got 5.9 YPC against New Orleans' No. 1 ranked run defense in DVOA), and Jordan Howard is now out with a sprained knee. More targets would be nice for Sanders, and it’s worth noting he lost a fumble — Sanders had the highest fumble% during his final season at Penn State and committed four fumbles over 12 games last season. But Philadelphia has become the NFL’s most extreme run-heavy team, including 82 rushes compared to just 32 passes in the second half over the last four games. With a healthier Eagles offensive line, Sanders has a lot of fantasy upside if he’s going to be given 15-20 touches moving forward. He’s a bargain this week against a bottom-barrel DVOA Giants run defense.
AJ Dillon ($21) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Dillon didn’t put up a huge fantasy game last week but acted as Green Bay’s clear lead back with Aaron Jones out and secured all six targets. Assuming Jones remains sidelined, Dillon is a bargain with a salary outside the top-10 running backs in Week 12. Plenty of points should be scored in this matchup that features a Rams offense utilizing the NFL’s fastest pace in neutral situations, and Dillon is a beast.
Jerry Jeudy ($14) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Jeudy immediately took over as Denver’s clear WR1 after returning from a high-ankle sprain and should be healthier now coming off Denver’s bye. Jeudy looks like the type of receiver capable of being a second-round fantasy pick in the right situation. He’s admittedly up against a run-funnel Chargers defense allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to receivers this week, but Ben Roethlisberger just threw three TDs against LAC’s secondary without practicing for two weeks. Jeudy’s DFS salary is outside the top-30 WRs this week, something you won’t likely see many times again in his career.
Brandin Cooks ($13) vs. New York Jets
Cooks failed us last week, but he still ranks second in the NFL in air yards share this season and should benefit from Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Cooks is averaging 87.5 receiving yards at home this year despite some seriously shaky QB play, and this week he gets a Jets pass defense that ranks last in DVOA allowing an NFL-high 8.4 YPA. Cooks’ DFS salary is outside the top-35 WRs, so he looks like a bargain given his projected volume in a favorable matchup.
Tyrod Taylor ($20) vs. New York Jets
An unusual (and highly unexpected as big underdogs) positive game script last week led to a Houston win without Taylor having to do much, yet he still finished as a top-12 fantasy QB thanks to a couple of rushing scores. This will be just the second home game for Taylor all season, and he gets a generous New York secondary allowing league-highs in YPA (8.4) and Passer Rating (108.2). Taylor looks quite enticing at the stone minimum.