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DraftKings Fantasy Football Sleepers: NFL DFS Pivot Picks for Week 12

Garion Thorne goes position-by-position to find overlooked players on Week 12’s main DraftKings slate, which locks at 1:00 p.m. ET on Nov. 29.

It’s hard to know what a sleeper even is anymore when it comes to Fantasy Football, but, for the purposes of this article, we’ll use the term to mean an asset that’s likely to be undervalued heading into a given week. A player that’s going to be overlooked when it comes to ownership, yet one that has a reasonable path to make people regret that decision. Someone who might set your lineup apart from the pack in a GPP, if you will.

With that in mind, let’s go position-by-position for an early look at Week 12’s slate on DraftKings.

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


Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $5,900

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Ryan’s prospective value in Week 12. At first glance, I think we can all agree that the former MVP’s salary seems low, which makes sense when you consider that this is the only time so far in 2020 that Ryan’s been priced below $6K. It’s an interesting choice by DraftKings, especially after you realize that the Raiders have allowed opposing QBs to reach the 300-yard passing bonus in four of their last six games and are top 10 in DKFP surrendered to the position for the season. However, on the other hand, Ryan’s coming off a poor performance against the Saints — the fourth start he’s had where he’s scored fewer than 12.5 DKFP. The common denominator in all four of those statistically underwhelming showings? The health of Julio Jones ($6,500), who could be a last minute decision this Sunday with a nagging hamstring issue. In fact, in the contests where Jones has failed to play at 75% of the team’s snaps, Ryan is averaging just 10.0 DKFP. That trend might be enough to keep ownership away from the Boston College product, despite the great matchup and Ryan’s implied volume. The pivot is currently third in the league in attempts (388) and fifth in air yards (3,207). I’ll take my chances with that type of defined role at a modest price.


Frank Gore, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins, $4,300

Though you can count the number of times Gore’s been a viable DFS play the last three seasons on one hand, I think there’s some legitimate reasons to consider the elder statesman as a salary-saving option this weekend. First and foremost, he no longer has to worry about the increasing workload of La’Mical Perine (ankle), as the rookie RB was placed on the injured reserve earlier this week. That leaves the Jets’ backfield with Gore, Josh Adams and Ty Johnson ($4,000) — who didn’t record a single carry in Week 11’s loss to the Chargers. That should equate to Gore, who currently sits 14th in the NFL in rushing attempts (123), to a floor of at least 15 touches against a Miami defense that can not stop the run. The Dolphins come into this Sunday’s matchup having surrendered an AFC-worst 155.3 opponent rushing yards across their past three games and rank 29th in the league in rush defense DVOA for the season as a whole. The return of former first-round pick Christian Wilkins could help in that area, yet that’s a lot to put on a lineman just activated from the COVID-19 list. Another thing to consider is how much better New York’s offense has functioned with Dowell Loggains calling the plays instead of Adam Gase. It was obviously a low bar to clear, but with 55 total points in their past two contests, the Jets are actually having some success moving the football.


Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints, $5,100

This is a play that could definitely blow-up in your face. When projecting the Broncos’ offensive attack in Week 12, we not only have to worry about Drew Lock’s ($5,100) ability to throw three interceptions at any time, but we also have to fear a New Orleans pass rush that absolutely boxed in the aforementioned Ryan last Sunday. The Saints come into this contest with the league’s No. 1 adjusted sack rate (9.7%) and it can wreck havoc seemingly at will. Still, even with all that said, I truly believe Jeudy’s one of the highest ceiling receivers on the entire slate. Going back to the beginning of Week 8, the rookie sits fourth in the league in targets (40) and first in air yards (622). In fact, in that last category, it’s not even a close race, as Jeudy has 80 more air yards than the second place Chase Claypool and 170 more air yards than the third place Tyreek Hill ($7,800). That’s an insane amount of volume for any asset hovering around the $5K mark and it’s not like that role can’t expand in this particular matchup. Opponents of New Orleans have thrown the ball on an eye-popping 74.3% of their plays across the last three weeks and I’m not sure why that script will be any different for Denver. Jeudy and his elite route running have the potential to turn some heads.


Evan Engram, New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals, $4,500

Considering how disappointing Engram has been in 2020, I have a hard time envisioning him carrying much ownership in Week 12; especially with Travis Kelce ($7,000) and Darren Waller ($6,000) both back on the main slate this Sunday. It’s hard to blame people for that way of thinking, too. Engram’s managed to exceed 15.0 DKFP on only one occasion this season, the direct result of the TE averaging a microscopic 34.7 receiving yards per game. To put it simply, we just haven’t seen the explosive version of Engram that we know exists. Even in brief flashes. However, his lack of overall production has masked his recent uptick in volume. In fact, since the beginning of Week 7, Engram’s 24.0% target share is the second-highest mark among all tight ends. That trend has yet to really have much of a fantasy impact, but I’ll wager that this is the matchup where Engram starts to see some results. The Bengals have conceded the second-most opponent targets to the TE position (82) and the second-most DKFP on a weekly basis. Basically, if the former first-round pick doesn’t get something going against Cincinnati, it’ll be time to start looking elsewhere.

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