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Week 12 NFL DFS QB Breakdown: Don’t forget about Rams vs. Packers

In this piece, I highlight quarterbacks who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.

As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, player ratings in our Player Models will change. For updates, visit the models directly.

And don’t forget to check out our Lineup Builder if you like to hand build your lineups or our Lineup Optimizer for those of you that like to enter multiple lineups into tournaments.

Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models

There are four quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, and Ryan Hodge have constructed, as well as our proprietary Cash Game and Tournament Models

Here’s where they place within our Week 12 Fantasy Rankings (as of Wednesday):

  • Jalen Hurts (3rd)
  • Tom Brady (4th)
  • Justin Herbert (6th)
  • Tyrod Taylor (13th)

We’ll discuss why these four are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other backs who could help you take down a tournament.

FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns

  • Wide Receivers on Thursday/Friday
  • Tight Ends on Thursday/Friday
  • Running Backs on Friday/Saturday

For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.

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Top Model Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts ($7,300 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel): Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at New York Giants (46 total)

Hurts had the first sub-20 DraftKings score of his career in Week 8 against the Lions — then followed it up with two more. He answered back in a big way last week after racking up 30.78 points. The production was mostly thanks to his legs; he ran for 69 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints.

This week could be more of the same against a Giants team that ranks 30th in DVOA against the rush. The rushing production is far more relevant for Hurts, who hasn’t attempted more than 24 passes in a game since Week 7. In that span, he’s averaging over 12 rush attempts per game.

The return of Miles Sanders clearly didn’t limit Hurts’ rushing volume either. His 18 attempts (with Sanders back in the lineup) last week was a season (and career) high. Still, it’s hard to project that kind of volume this week. The Eagles are favored against New York, which likely means more designed (running back) rushes.

However, with Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes (among others) absent from the Week 12 main slate, Hurts is one of the standout quarterbacks at the top. Builds with cheaper quarterbacks are sure to be popular this week, so paying up for Hurts could be a contrarian move for tournaments. Be sure to check out our Ownership Projections to see if that prediction holds true.

Two of our FanDuel Pro Models feature Hurts at the top option this week. However, he’s an equally solid play on DraftKings as he’s third in Median Projection among quarterbacks on both sites.

Tom Brady ($7,600 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel): Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at Indianapolis Colts (52.5)

As is the case most weeks, Brady’s 27.8 implied Vegas total leads the Week 12 main slate. Rostering the quarterback who attempts the most passes in the league and has the highest implied total will never be a bad decision, putting Brady firmly in play here.

The Colts defense — strong as it may be on the ground — struggles against the pass this year. They rank at 20th or below in both DVOA against the pass and yards-per-pass attempt allowed. Not that Brady and the Bucs need any more encouragement to air it out. As mentioned above, they attempt more passes than any other team on the season.

With old friend Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup, Brady’s weaponry is close to full strength again. While he’ll still likely be without Antonio Brown, the trio of Gronk, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans should be more than enough firepower for Brady to get it done.

Brady only has two games under 40 pass attempts on the season, a blowout win against Chicago and a loss against Washington where they only ran 48 offensive plays (34 of them being Brady passes). While we prefer quarterbacks who provide something with their legs, Brady can make up for it with his immense volume.

Brady has the highest Median and Ceiling Projections in our models this week. He’s also the leader in our Tournament Model on DraftKings at the moment. With paying up for quarterbacks likely to be an unpopular strategy, Brady could offer a ton of leverage for tournaments this week.

Justin Herbert ($6,600 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Denver Broncos (48 total)

Herbert is the leader in four of our FanDuel models, including the Cash Game Model. Pricing on FanDuel is a bit more condensed, with the viable cheap options offering less of a discount compared to Herbert than on DraftKings.

Herbert has been a boom-or-bust option this year. He’s scored at least 30 FanDuel points in four contests while being held under 17 points in five others. He seems to be very matchup dependent — all of the 30-point performances came against teams ranked in the bottom half of the league in DVOA. (Though he also had a 14.38-point dud against 30th ranked Washington.) This week’s opponent, the Broncos, are sitting at 17th, technically fitting the criteria for a big Herbert game.

The Chargers are also content with leaving the ball in Herbert’s hands, passing at the fifth-highest rate in the league. Their “run game” frequently consists of short passes to Austin Ekeler, which helps accumulate yards and touchdowns for Herbert regardless of game script (Ekeler has six receiving touchdowns on the season).

Herbert trails only Brady in Median Projections on both sites. He’s also the leader in Pts/Sal on FanDuel, making him a great choice for cash games.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,300 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel): Houston Texans (-2.5) vs. New York Jets (44.5 total)

We saw vintage TyGod on Sunday, as he rushed for two touchdowns, including this beauty against the Titans:

 

 

He did throw for only 107 yards, but that was largely due to a positive game script with the Texans leading most of the way.

This week, the Texans have the ideal quarterback matchup with the Jets. They rank dead last in both overall and passing DVOA. They’ve also allowed five of the last six quarterbacks they’ve faced to score at least 21 DraftKings points. Huge games are rare against the Jets — with most teams running out the clock for much of the second half. However, 20+ points at Taylor’s salary would be more than sufficient.

It’s admittedly a bit scary to trust Taylor, especially in cash games. While the run shown above looks great, he’s not quite the rusher he was in his prime. His arm leaves something to be desired as always — his 6.2 adjusted yards per attempt would rank 28th in the league were he to have thrown enough passes to qualify.

Regardless, the combination of matchup and salary makes Tyrod hard to avoid in DraftKings cash games. Pricing is exceedingly tough this week, so saving money at quarterback could be crucial. Tyrod leads four of our DraftKings Pro Models — including the Cash Game Model — and one on FanDuel this week.

Other Quarterbacks with Week-Winning Upside

Matthew Stafford ($7,100 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (+0.5) at Green Bay Packers (47.5 total)

This game has a surprisingly low total given the quarterbacks involved. It makes sense to an extent. Both teams are comfortable controlling games on the ground as long as the game script allows. However, no game features two offenses as explosive as these. If one team or the other jumps off to an early lead, this game could pick up steam in a hurry.

Stafford struggled in his first game without Robert Woods, throwing for only 243 yards and one touchdown (with two interceptions) en route to his worst fantasy performance of the year. (His second-worst performance was the week prior, which Woods played only part of.) However, they’ve had a bye week since then to integrate new addition Odell Beckham Jr. into the offense, and I expect the Rams to have plenty of creative passes ready to go.

Stafford trails only Brady in Ceiling Projection on DraftKings.

Aaron Rodgers ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel): Green Bay Packers (-.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams

The thesis on Rodgers is similar to Stafford’s. Rodgers is the cheaper player on DraftKings, with Stafford having the FanDuel edge. Rodgers and the Packers throw the ball slightly less than the Rams but are equally capable of opening up the offense if the situation calls for it. We only need to look back to last week for an example. Rodgers threw four passing touchdowns in a shootout with the Vikings. Assuming his “Covid Toe” doesn’t bother him too much, he’s a solid choice this week. The home favorite (Rodgers) has the better Median Projection here, with Stafford having the better ceiling.

Joe Burrow ($6,200 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel): Cincinnati Bengals (-5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (45 total)

Joe Burrow will likely be overlooked here against a Steelers team that just got torched by Herbert for more than 38 DraftKings points. The Bengals have a top-five total on the slate and have morphed into more of a passing team lately. Since the start of October, Burrow averages 34 pass attempts per game, compared to just under 27 in the season’s first month. That makes Burrow’s per-game stats look worse than they’ve been lately. It’s an above-average matchup, too, with Pittsburgh’s defense ranking 26th against the pass.

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Other Value Quarterbacks 

Lots of lineups this week — particularly in cash games, will need the savings offered by a cheap quarterback. If you’re justifiably hesitant about Tyrod, we have some other reasonable options.

Cam Newton ($5,600 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel): Carolina Panthers (-2) at Miami Dolphins (42 total)

Newton is inexplicably the third-most-expensive quarterback on FanDuel, but still a bargain on DraftKings. He scored 26.16 DraftKings points in his first start of 2021 against Washington. Miami’s defense is slightly better, but not enough to make a big difference. Newton profiles similar to Taylor, but with more throwing upside. DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey can score a lot of points for Newton after the catch.

Mac Jones ($5,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel): New England Patriots (-6.5) vs. Tennessee Titans (44 total)

Jones has been limited by positive game scripts lately, attempting no more than 26 passes in any of his last three games. He’s been incredibly accurate, though, ranking behind only Kyler Murray in completion percentage on the year. Jones offers little with his legs, so he’d need a lot to break right for him to post a big game. Still, he’s unlikely to completely disappoint against the Titans this week.

In this piece, I highlight quarterbacks who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.

As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, player ratings in our Player Models will change. For updates, visit the models directly.

And don’t forget to check out our Lineup Builder if you like to hand build your lineups or our Lineup Optimizer for those of you that like to enter multiple lineups into tournaments.

Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models

There are four quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, and Ryan Hodge have constructed, as well as our proprietary Cash Game and Tournament Models

Here’s where they place within our Week 12 Fantasy Rankings (as of Wednesday):

  • Jalen Hurts (3rd)
  • Tom Brady (4th)
  • Justin Herbert (6th)
  • Tyrod Taylor (13th)

We’ll discuss why these four are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other backs who could help you take down a tournament.

FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns

  • Wide Receivers on Thursday/Friday
  • Tight Ends on Thursday/Friday
  • Running Backs on Friday/Saturday

For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.

Get 85% OFF FantasyLabs PRO

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

Top Model Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts ($7,300 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel): Philadelphia Eagles (-4) at New York Giants (46 total)

Hurts had the first sub-20 DraftKings score of his career in Week 8 against the Lions — then followed it up with two more. He answered back in a big way last week after racking up 30.78 points. The production was mostly thanks to his legs; he ran for 69 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints.

This week could be more of the same against a Giants team that ranks 30th in DVOA against the rush. The rushing production is far more relevant for Hurts, who hasn’t attempted more than 24 passes in a game since Week 7. In that span, he’s averaging over 12 rush attempts per game.

The return of Miles Sanders clearly didn’t limit Hurts’ rushing volume either. His 18 attempts (with Sanders back in the lineup) last week was a season (and career) high. Still, it’s hard to project that kind of volume this week. The Eagles are favored against New York, which likely means more designed (running back) rushes.

However, with Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes (among others) absent from the Week 12 main slate, Hurts is one of the standout quarterbacks at the top. Builds with cheaper quarterbacks are sure to be popular this week, so paying up for Hurts could be a contrarian move for tournaments. Be sure to check out our Ownership Projections to see if that prediction holds true.

Two of our FanDuel Pro Models feature Hurts at the top option this week. However, he’s an equally solid play on DraftKings as he’s third in Median Projection among quarterbacks on both sites.

Tom Brady ($7,600 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel): Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) at Indianapolis Colts (52.5)

As is the case most weeks, Brady’s 27.8 implied Vegas total leads the Week 12 main slate. Rostering the quarterback who attempts the most passes in the league and has the highest implied total will never be a bad decision, putting Brady firmly in play here.

The Colts defense — strong as it may be on the ground — struggles against the pass this year. They rank at 20th or below in both DVOA against the pass and yards-per-pass attempt allowed. Not that Brady and the Bucs need any more encouragement to air it out. As mentioned above, they attempt more passes than any other team on the season.

With old friend Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup, Brady’s weaponry is close to full strength again. While he’ll still likely be without Antonio Brown, the trio of Gronk, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans should be more than enough firepower for Brady to get it done.

Brady only has two games under 40 pass attempts on the season, a blowout win against Chicago and a loss against Washington where they only ran 48 offensive plays (34 of them being Brady passes). While we prefer quarterbacks who provide something with their legs, Brady can make up for it with his immense volume.

Brady has the highest Median and Ceiling Projections in our models this week. He’s also the leader in our Tournament Model on DraftKings at the moment. With paying up for quarterbacks likely to be an unpopular strategy, Brady could offer a ton of leverage for tournaments this week.

Justin Herbert ($6,600 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Denver Broncos (48 total)

Herbert is the leader in four of our FanDuel models, including the Cash Game Model. Pricing on FanDuel is a bit more condensed, with the viable cheap options offering less of a discount compared to Herbert than on DraftKings.

Herbert has been a boom-or-bust option this year. He’s scored at least 30 FanDuel points in four contests while being held under 17 points in five others. He seems to be very matchup dependent — all of the 30-point performances came against teams ranked in the bottom half of the league in DVOA. (Though he also had a 14.38-point dud against 30th ranked Washington.) This week’s opponent, the Broncos, are sitting at 17th, technically fitting the criteria for a big Herbert game.

The Chargers are also content with leaving the ball in Herbert’s hands, passing at the fifth-highest rate in the league. Their “run game” frequently consists of short passes to Austin Ekeler, which helps accumulate yards and touchdowns for Herbert regardless of game script (Ekeler has six receiving touchdowns on the season).

Herbert trails only Brady in Median Projections on both sites. He’s also the leader in Pts/Sal on FanDuel, making him a great choice for cash games.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,300 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel): Houston Texans (-2.5) vs. New York Jets (44.5 total)

We saw vintage TyGod on Sunday, as he rushed for two touchdowns, including this beauty against the Titans:

 

 

He did throw for only 107 yards, but that was largely due to a positive game script with the Texans leading most of the way.

This week, the Texans have the ideal quarterback matchup with the Jets. They rank dead last in both overall and passing DVOA. They’ve also allowed five of the last six quarterbacks they’ve faced to score at least 21 DraftKings points. Huge games are rare against the Jets — with most teams running out the clock for much of the second half. However, 20+ points at Taylor’s salary would be more than sufficient.

It’s admittedly a bit scary to trust Taylor, especially in cash games. While the run shown above looks great, he’s not quite the rusher he was in his prime. His arm leaves something to be desired as always — his 6.2 adjusted yards per attempt would rank 28th in the league were he to have thrown enough passes to qualify.

Regardless, the combination of matchup and salary makes Tyrod hard to avoid in DraftKings cash games. Pricing is exceedingly tough this week, so saving money at quarterback could be crucial. Tyrod leads four of our DraftKings Pro Models — including the Cash Game Model — and one on FanDuel this week.

Other Quarterbacks with Week-Winning Upside

Matthew Stafford ($7,100 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (+0.5) at Green Bay Packers (47.5 total)

This game has a surprisingly low total given the quarterbacks involved. It makes sense to an extent. Both teams are comfortable controlling games on the ground as long as the game script allows. However, no game features two offenses as explosive as these. If one team or the other jumps off to an early lead, this game could pick up steam in a hurry.

Stafford struggled in his first game without Robert Woods, throwing for only 243 yards and one touchdown (with two interceptions) en route to his worst fantasy performance of the year. (His second-worst performance was the week prior, which Woods played only part of.) However, they’ve had a bye week since then to integrate new addition Odell Beckham Jr. into the offense, and I expect the Rams to have plenty of creative passes ready to go.

Stafford trails only Brady in Ceiling Projection on DraftKings.

Aaron Rodgers ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel): Green Bay Packers (-.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams

The thesis on Rodgers is similar to Stafford’s. Rodgers is the cheaper player on DraftKings, with Stafford having the FanDuel edge. Rodgers and the Packers throw the ball slightly less than the Rams but are equally capable of opening up the offense if the situation calls for it. We only need to look back to last week for an example. Rodgers threw four passing touchdowns in a shootout with the Vikings. Assuming his “Covid Toe” doesn’t bother him too much, he’s a solid choice this week. The home favorite (Rodgers) has the better Median Projection here, with Stafford having the better ceiling.

Joe Burrow ($6,200 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel): Cincinnati Bengals (-5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (45 total)

Joe Burrow will likely be overlooked here against a Steelers team that just got torched by Herbert for more than 38 DraftKings points. The Bengals have a top-five total on the slate and have morphed into more of a passing team lately. Since the start of October, Burrow averages 34 pass attempts per game, compared to just under 27 in the season’s first month. That makes Burrow’s per-game stats look worse than they’ve been lately. It’s an above-average matchup, too, with Pittsburgh’s defense ranking 26th against the pass.

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Other Value Quarterbacks 

Lots of lineups this week — particularly in cash games, will need the savings offered by a cheap quarterback. If you’re justifiably hesitant about Tyrod, we have some other reasonable options.

Cam Newton ($5,600 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel): Carolina Panthers (-2) at Miami Dolphins (42 total)

Newton is inexplicably the third-most-expensive quarterback on FanDuel, but still a bargain on DraftKings. He scored 26.16 DraftKings points in his first start of 2021 against Washington. Miami’s defense is slightly better, but not enough to make a big difference. Newton profiles similar to Taylor, but with more throwing upside. DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey can score a lot of points for Newton after the catch.

Mac Jones ($5,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel): New England Patriots (-6.5) vs. Tennessee Titans (44 total)

Jones has been limited by positive game scripts lately, attempting no more than 26 passes in any of his last three games. He’s been incredibly accurate, though, ranking behind only Kyler Murray in completion percentage on the year. Jones offers little with his legs, so he’d need a lot to break right for him to post a big game. Still, he’s unlikely to completely disappoint against the Titans this week.