The 2020-21 NFL season is in full swing and there are huge Week 12 DFS contests being offered on DraftKings with big prize money up for grabs.

In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.

Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats that require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risk in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.

For those interested in the DFS Single-Game Slate contests, here’s a quick recap:

In the “Showdown” mode on DraftKings, there are five utility spots and a “Captain” slot, who receives 1.5x multiplier for all DK points accrued. Pricing differs for players when selected in the Captain spot versus the FLEX spots, with all players required to fit under a $50k salary cap. All options are in play from QBs, RBs and WRs, to kickers and D/ST from each team.

Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.

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Top NFL DFS DraftKings Plays for Week 12

Quarterback

Best Play: Patrick Mahomes ($8.0k)

The Bucs defense is strong up the middle with Ndamokung Suh backed up by stud LBs Lavonte David and Devin White. The Chiefs probably won’t mess around with interior run plays in this matchup, thus ensuring more volume for the most dangerous QB in NFL history. Mahomes has been sharper on the road with a 70% completion rate and a typically impressive 111.4 passer rating this year. Tampa is posting the third-highest pass-play rate (65%) in home games and that bodes well for Mahomes’ volume.

Value Play: Derek Carr ($5.7k)

The Falcons are a great matchup for opposing QBs because they can stop the run and tend to throw a ton on offense. Atlanta coughs up the third-most passing YPG (308.6) in home games this season. The Falcons have allowed the most pass plays (47) of 20-plus yards, the second-most YPA (8.4), and second-most passing TDs (22) this season. The Raiders might not be able to lean on their running game as much against Atlanta’s 10th-ranked DVOA rush defense, so Carr could attempt 30-plus passes in a game with a 55.5-point implied total.

GPP Play: Taysom Hill ($6.2k)

The Saints set Hill up for success and he delivered with an efficient passing performance (18-for-23, 233 yards). Of course his upside came from his rushing ability as he tallied 51 yards and 2 scores on the ground against the Falcons. He’ll face a softer matchup this Sunday against a Broncos team that’s allowing 121.5 rushing YPG this season. Denver is allowing 5.1 YPC to QBs when they run and has given up 3 rushing TDs to the position through 10 games. Hill is an explosive athlete with the potential to tally multiple TDs every time he starts. 

Fade: Josh Allen ($7.6k)

The Chargers defense has been awful in the red zone lately, but mostly against the run. While we like Zack Moss ($4.8k) as a value play in this matchup, Allen and the Bills passing attack could disappoint. John Brown (ankle) has been banged up all year and Casey Heyward is capable of containing Stefon Diggs, who is commanding a 28.5% target share. Allen has a wide range of outcomes and is best avoided in Cash formats. 

Running Back

Best Play: Dalvin Cook ($9.5k)

Cook disappointed last Sunday against Dallas considering he was stuffed at the goal line multiple times. Yet he still produced 29 DK points while playing on 86.4% of offensive snaps. Cook has handled 22 red zone carries over his last 4 outings and faces a Panthers team that coughed up the most rushing TDs in the NFL last season and has allowed 14 rushing scores through 11 games this season. If Adam Thielen (COVID/Reserve List) is out or becomes less involved after missing practice time, the Vikings offense will flow through Cook even more.

Value Play: Zack Moss ($4.8k)

Moss remains quite affordable despite his valuable and secure role in a good offense. In games where he’s been healthy and the Bills were in control, the rookie has handled red zone carry counts of 8, 6, and 2. Moss is running 11.1 pass routes per game and the Chargers have yielded 60 receptions to RBs this season. The Bolts run defense has plummeted lately and now ranks 27th in DVOA after coughing up 2 rushing TDs to the lowly Jets last week.

GPP Play: Nyheim Hines ($4.6k)

Hines took a back seat to Jonathan Taylor last week as the Colts looked to exploit the interior of the Packers defense. Yet Hines would be garnering a lot more attention if his 6-yard receiving TD wasn’t nullified by a holding call. He’s drawn the fifth-most targets (45) and has the fifth-most receptions (36) among RBs with Philip Rivers looking towards his backs as always. Hines was used as Indy’s primary rusher with 115 scrimmage yards and 2 TDs in a 34-17 win over Tennessee two weeks ago, so he has upside regardless of game script, but could be a PPR dynamo if the Colts fall behind.

Fade: Josh Jacobs ($7.2k)

Jacobs has been banged up for weeks and Devontae Booker is threatening to eat into his workload. He’s only drawn 7 targets over his last 4 outings and the Falcons are more vulnerable against backs that are capable receivers. Atlanta has allowed the second-fewest rushing TDs (4) and the second-most receiving TDs (4) to RBs this season. The Raiders bruising line gives Jacobs a solid floor, but he lacks upside relative to this price tag. 

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Wide Receiver

Best Play: Tyreek Hill ($7.8k)

Tampa’s secondary is big and physical, with CBs Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, and Sean Murphy-Bunting all standing over 6 feet and around 200 pounds. Hill is 5-10, 185-pounds, and runs a 4.29 40-yard dash, making him a nearly impossible cover for those guys. He uses that speed to gain an average of 1.87 yards of separation and has drawn the second-most Air Yards (1,129) this season, with an additional 619 unrealized Air Yards. Beyond his upside as a deep threat, Hill is the Chiefs counter to aggressive run defenses and he’s piled up 6 total TDs over the last 4 weeks.

Value Play: Damiere Byrd ($4.1k)

Cam Newton knows Byrd well from their shared days in Carolina and they’ve established a rapport in the Patriots run-first offense. Jakobi Meyers and Byrd have accounted for 55.3% of Cam Newton’s targets over his past 2 outings. Those receivers become even more crucial to the Patriots passing attack with Rex Burkhead (knee) out. Arizona has allowed a 105.1 passer rating over their last 3 games and should force the Pats to open their playbook with Kyler Murray likely to put up points.

GPP Play: Cooper Kupp ($6.4k)

Kupp is a fantastic Cash play and also worth consideration in tournaments at a modest price tag. He’s snared 22-of-41 targets over his last 3 outings and is now third among WRs in YAC (392). Kupp does his damage in the short areas, so it might be good for his prospects that the Niners allow a modest 10.8 yards per catch. Kupp has an 80% catch rate over 4 home games this season and we expect him to see more volume with the Niners (+7) likely to cover the spread.

Fade: DeAndre Hopkins ($8.1k)

Bill Belichick has done a great job of limiting Hopkins throughout his career and should has the personnel necessary to do it again with Stephon Gillmore and J.C. Jackson both playing great ball. Hopkins averages 4.8 catches and 67.3 YPG over 5 career meetings with Belichick’s Pats. He’s seeing a modest aDOT (8.7) with the Cardinals and depends on YAC, and the Pats allow a modest 98.4 yards of YAC per game. 

Tight End

Best Play: Darren Waller ($6.0k)

Atlanta has allowed a league-high 8 TD receptions to TEs this season and Waller is the Raiders top red zone weapon. The 6-foot-6 TE commands a ridiculous 37% red zone target share and has caught 14-of-17 targets in the red area. Waller has the second-most unrealized Air Yards (303) and second-most YAC (280) among TEs this season. He’s averaging 131 receiving YPG over his last 7 games in indoor stadiums.

Value Play: Evan Engram ($4.5k)

Engram produced a dud (2 catches, 15 yards) while the Giants WRs shredded the Eagles in Week 10. The TE should be more involved this week with William Jackson and the Bengals CBs capable of containing those wideouts. Cincy allows the third-most receiving YPG (58.9) to TEs this season and Engram has drawn the third-most targets (67) at his position. That makes him a reliable Cash play in PPR formats.

GPP Play: Jordan Reed ($3.6k)

Reed established separation from Ross Dwelley as the Niners preferred receiving TE prior to their bye week. He’s running 13.6 routes per game and actually leads all TEs in “Hog Rate” by commanding 26.4% of targets when he does run a route. Nick Mullens is going to favor his shifty TE even more with Brandon Aiyuk (COVID) likely out and Deebo Samuel (hamstring) questionable to face the Rams elite secondary. Reed is a huge injury risk, but is otherwise an appealing value.

Fade: Travis Kelce ($7.0k)

With a Mahomes-Hill stack standing out on paper this week, it will be tough to fit Kelce into lineups. Andy Reid will creatively get his TE involved in different ways, but Kelce doesn’t have a great matchup on traditional routes against the Bucs athletic LB corps and talented safeties. Tampa allows a modest 4.8 receptions per game to TEs and ranks second in overall DVOA pass defense. 

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