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Fantasy Football Picks, Fades: DraftKings NFL DFS Salary Risers and Fallers Ahead of Week 12

Steve Buchanan goes over three DraftKings NFL player salaries and how they either went up or down ahead of Week 12.

Judging by the amount of anger and disdain on Twitter, many of you did not enjoy Week 11 (me neither). The great news is, we can bury that memory like we have with any plans we had for 2020 and focus on this Sunday. Let’s check to see who saw some big bumps or decreases in their DraftKings salary for Week 12.

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Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $2.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st]

Taysom Hill ($6,200), New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
Week 11 Salary: $4,800 ($1,400 increase)

We all knew this was coming, as Saints coach Sean Payton continues to give his boy Hill all the opportunities in this offense. To be fair, Hill did come through, scoring 25.42 DKFP against the Falcons. He completed 18/23 pass attempts for 233 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Hill did, however, rush for two touchdowns and 51 yards, boosting that fantasy total.

One element Hill brings that we haven’t really seen with Drew Brees is going downfield more. Hill is averaging 11.4 yards per pass attempt while Brees was at 7.4. In that game against the Falcons, he averaged 10.1 YPA, which is great from a fantasy perspective. Granted, it’s only a one game sample but if we had a big knock against Brees it’s that he simply wasn’t going for the deep shots at all. In fact, Brees made only 13 attempts of 20 yards or more on the season. For reference, Tua Tagovailoa is right behind him at 12 and he’s played in four less games.

Week 12 will bring a tougher matchup for Hill and the Saints’ offense against a Broncos secondary that is healthy again and showed that in Week 11 against the Dolphins (and Dolphins -4 backers). Mobile quarterbacks can run against them, as we’ve seen Cam Newton ($6,400) and Sam Darnold ($5,100) (is he considered mobile?) both go for over 70 yards against them. However, throwing against them has been a chore. They’ve allowed just an average of just 238 passing yards and 6.6 YPA, one of the lowest in the league. The rushing upside is here with Hill but the appeal is tough with his inflated salary.

Russell Gage ($4,800), Atlanta Falcons vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Week 11 Salary: $3,900 ($900 increase)

With Julio Jones ($6,500) hampered by a hamstring injury and missing the majority of the second half, Gage played on 79% of the Falcons’ offensive snaps, his highest total since Week 2 against the Cowboys. This led to him being targeted 12 times, making seven receptions for 58 yards and 12.8 DKFP. Jones is considered a game-time decision for Sunday against the Raiders, so this could be a week for Gage to step up in a WR2 role, right?

Looking at the numbers, Olamide Zaccheaus ($3,800) has seemingly seen the biggest increase when Jones has been out. In weeks three and five, Zaccheaus played on 79.4% and 96.9% of the offensive snaps compared to just 17.6% and 61.5% for Gage. The target share was a bit closer with Zaccheaus at 15.8% and 11.4%, compared to Gage at 7.9% and 14.3%. It’s a bit muddier than you’d expect and while Gage is not a terribly high risk at his salary, those numbers aren’t exactly what you want to see.

Of course, this all really hinges on how Jones does with a week’s worth of practice so it’s worth monitoring but it’s something to keep an eye on. If there is one stat we can point to for Gage that’s a big positive, his 20.8% red zone target share is tied with Jones for the second-best on the team behind Calvin Ridley ($7,100) at 25%.

Kareem Hunt ($5,600), Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 11 Salary: $6,700 (-$1,100 decrease)

This one is puzzling.

We know that Nick Chubb ($7,100) is back and healthy, evidenced by his 114 yards last week against the Eagles, but this shouldn’t lead to a massive drop in salary for Hunt. Hunt has played on the majority of snaps since Chubb returned at 58.5% and 53.7% while Chubb played 43.1% and 44.8% When it comes to the overall touches, Hunt has averaged 34.2% and Chubb at 31.7%. It’s still quite close and it’s worth considering Chubb was eased back in during Week 10.

The part that gets me is that their touches have been close all season long. Overall, from the entire season perspective, Chubb is averaging 20.3% and Hunt at 34.6%. The eye-popping number for me in Week 11 was Hunt handling all but one of the red zone carries while Chubb didn’t take one. Hunt continues to be the red zone back and averages 49.4% of the Browns’ red zone opportunities while Chubb is at just 15.3%. So for this much of a difference in salary makes me want to play Hunt so much more.

The matchup is a really good one as well, as the Jaguars continue to be one of the worst run defenses in the league. On the season, they allow an average of 27.4 DKFP, 97.3 rushing yards and 44.1 receiving yards to running backs. Both backs should be very involved in this game but from a salary perspective and his role in the red zone, Hunt is going to be the one I focus on this week.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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