This article is a data-driven deep dive on strategic decision-making and roster construction for DFS cash games and tournaments. It relies heavily upon FantasyLabs’ extensive suite of analytical DFS tools, as well as advanced metrics and film study. First, I walk through narrowing down the player pool at each position. Then, I lay out how to choose the highest-floor lineup combinations for cash games. Finally, I go game-by-game to present the biggest edges (stacks, pivots, leverage opportunities, etc.) in each.

Week 12 shmoney time!

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Quarterback (Cash)

  • Justin Herbert, Chargers ($7,200 DK, $8,400 FD) vs. LAC
  • Josh Allen, Bills ($7,600 DK, $8,600 FD) vs. LAC

Josh Allen leads all QBs in our NFL Player Models in floor, median and Projected Plus/Minus. Fresh off the bye, he will face a Chargers defense that has allowed multiple passing TDs in five straight games, a stretch in which they faced Gardner Minshew, Drew Lock, Derek Carr, Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Flacco.

Justin Herbert has surpassed salary-based expectations in every game this season and will have to put up big numbers again to try to keep pace with Allen and the Bills. Buffalo has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs this season.

Running Back (Cash)

  • Brian Hill, Falcons ($4,000 DK, $5,100 FD) vs. LV
  • James Robinson, Jaguars ($6,300 DK, $7,400 FD) vs. CLE
  • Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($9,500 DK, $11,000 FD) vs. CAR

With Todd Gurley (knee) ruled out, Brian Hill becomes a free square against a Raiders defense ranked dead last in Football Outsiders’ rushing DVOA. Falcons RBs are averaging the seventh-most carries (24.5) and fifth-most rushing TDs (1.0) per game this season.

That James Robinson still projects as a top-two value despite all of the cheap options at RB is a testament to how consistent he has been. Robinson has been held under 90 scrimmage yards in only two out of 10 games.

Dalvin Cook is projected to outscore every other FLEX-eligible player by over five points against a Panthers defense that ranks 22nd in rushing DVOA.

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Wide Receiver (Cash)

  • Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars ($3,300 DK, $5,000 FD) vs. CLE
  • Sterling Shepard, Giants ($5,100 DK, $5,400 FD) at CIN
  • Cole Beasley, Bills ($5,100 DK, $5,400 FD) at CIN
  • Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($6,300 DK, $7,000 FD) vs. CAR

Laviska Shenault Jr. is off the injury report and should benefit from being schemed the ball given that the Jags are starting Mike Glennon and will be without top downfield threats DJ Chark (ribs) and Chris Conley (hip). Shenault projects as a top-five value this week.

Sterling Shepard has caught six or more passes in each of his five healthy games this season and should be able to keep it going versus a Bengals defense that clocks in at No. 28th in passing DVOA.

Cole Beasley is quietly averaging 5.5 catches for 64.2 yards per game this season and should see an uptick with John Brown (ankle) being placed on IR this week.

Justin Jefferson is averaging 4.0 catches for 77.8 yards and 0.40 TDs per game since taking over as a starter in Week 3, and he should see an uptick in usage with Adam Thielen on the COVID-19 list.

Tight End (Cash)

  • Darren Waller, Raiders ($6,000 DK, $7,100 FD) at ATL

Darren Waller has at least five catches in eight of 10 games and is in a smash spot against a Falcons defense that ranks dead last in DVOA against tight ends.

Defense/Special Teams (Cash)

  • Denver Broncos ($2,200 DK, $3,800 FD) vs. NO

The Broncos will take on Taysom Hill in his second start, and the Saints will be without the entire starting left side of their offensive line as Terron Armstead (COVID-19/reserve) and Andrus Peat (concussion) have already been ruled out.

Roster Build (Cash)

On DraftKings, you can fit Herbert, Cook, Robinson, Jefferson, Shepard and Waller if you punt WR3 with Shenault Jr., the FLEX spot with Hill, and DST with Denver.

On FanDuel, you can fit Allen, Cook, Robinson, Jefferson, Shepard, Beasley and Waller if you punt the FLEX spot with Hill and DST with Denver.



Tournament Strategy

Leverage Plus/Minus: Rank in projected ceiling minus rank in projected ownership. The goal in tournaments is to roster the highest scorers at each position rather than simply optimize for value, and Leverage Plus/Minus identifies the players with a higher probability of posting a high score than of being in other entrants’ lineups.

Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots (GPP)

QB Cam Newton, NE: Projected for 2-4% ownership despite facing a Cardinals defense that has allowed the third-most rushing yards to opposing QBs (245).

QB Kyler Murray, ARI: Top-two QB scorer who could end up with the fourth or fifth-highest ownership.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins: Fully capable of winning his matchup against Stephon Gilmore but is likely to be owned less than both Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella.

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings (GPP)

QB Kirk Cousins, MIN: Provides leverage on Dalvin Cook and will be owned much less than Justin Jefferson and Kyle Rudolph.

WRs D.J. Moore & Robby Anderson, CAR: Projected for single-digit ownership despite facing a Vikings defense that is allowing the third-most fantasy points to WRs.

Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars (GPP)

RB Nick Chubb, CLE: Fourth-highest ceiling and facing a tanking defense but will see his ownership kept in check by the multitude of options at his position.

Browns DST: The Saints becoming chalk should lower the ownership of all the other top DSTs to usable levels.

WRs Laviska Shenault Jr. & Keelan Cole, JAX: Top two in Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel, No. 5 and No. 6 on FanDuel.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (GPP)

QB Patrick Mahomes, KC: No one wants to try and run on the Bucs, who face the seventh-most pass attempts per game (36.9).

WRs Tyreek Hill & Sammy Watkins, KC: The Bucs will be without slot cornerback Jamel Dean, which could lead to some advantageous matchups for both Hill and Watkins. Both of them are each spending roughly half of their snaps in the slot.

TE Travis Kelce, KC: The Bucs are ranked 23rd in DVOA vs. tight ends.

RB Ronald Jones, TB: Could see 15-20 carries against Kansas City’s 30th-ranked run defense if the game script plays out differently than expected.

Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons (GPP)

WR Henry Ruggs III, LV: The matchup sets up well for Ruggs, as the Falcons have allowed an NFL-high 47 explosive (20-plus yard) pass plays, according to Sharp Football Stats. Ruggs’ sub-5% projected ownership also gives him massive leverage for users that rostered Waller and Josh Jacobs.

QB Matt Ryan, ATL: He is projected for a fraction of the ownership of Hill, giving Ryan and the entire Falcons passing game huge leverage.

WR Julio Jones, ATL: Could be under 5% owned if he plays.

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills (GPP)

RB Zack Moss, BUF: Provides leverage on Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Beasley at likely non-existent ownership.

WR Gabriel Davis, BUF: Becomes an every-down player with Brown out. Viable as long as he’s not projected to be the highest owned cheap WR (which looks to be Isabella).

TE Hunter Henry, LAC: Buffalo has struggled against tight ends since losing linebacker Matt Milano (pectoral, IR). The Bills rank 20th in DVOA against the position, allowing the fourth-most schedule-adjusted yards per game (61.9).

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (GPP)

WR DeVante Parker, MIA: The Jets are also dead last in DVOA vs. No. 1 wide receivers.

Dolphins DST: The Saints becoming chalk should lower the ownership of all the other top DSTs to usable levels.

RB Frank Gore, NYJ: Miami is 29th in run-defense DVOA, and Gore is back in as the lead back after LaMical Perine (ankle) was placed on IR this week.

WR Jamison Crowder, NYJ: Crowder has a better matchup in the slot vs. Nik Needham than Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims do on the outside going against Xavien Howard and Byron Jones.

New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos (GPP)

RB Alvin Kamara, NO: Single-digit ownership is more than enough to fade his down week in the one-game Hill sample, especially with Denver unlikely to control the time of possession after all three quarterbacks were ruled out.

RB Latavius Murray, NO: As I just alluded to, New Orleans is likely to have a lot of time of possession and little need to throw. We have Murray projected for 0-1% ownership.

RB Royce Freeman, DEN: Was rumored to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback at one point and could still see significant snaps there if Kendall Hinton struggles.

Broncos DST: The Saints becoming chalk should lower the ownership of all the other top DSTs to usable levels.

New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals (GPP)

QB Daniel Jones, NYG: Projected for 2-4% ownership, he can run and faces a bad defense. Pretty much all you can ask for a QB in his price range.

RB Wayne Gallman, NYG: Bengals ranked 23rd in run-defense DVOA, Gallman projected for single-digit ownership.

TE Evan Engram, NYG: Bengals allowing third-most schedule-adjusted receiving yards per game to tight ends (63.5).

Giants DST: The Saints becoming chalk should lower the ownership of all the other top DSTs to usable levels.

RB Giovani Bernard, CIN: Giants allowing most schedule-adjusted receiving yards per game to running backs (56.7).

WR Tyler Boyd, CIN: James Bradberry will likely take away Tee Higgins or A.J. Green outside, leaving Boyd as the most likely Bengals wide receiver to post a high-volume day despite Brandon Allen starting at QB. Boyd clocks in with the top Leverage Plus/Minus among WRs.

Bengals DST: Jones has gone two straight games without committing a turnover. He has never gone three straight.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (GPP)

WR Deebo Samuel, SF: Seven touches, 72 scrimmage yards, two TDs in first matchup.

49ers DST: San Francisco is 3-0 in its last three against the Rams, and LA is without starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth, so this could devolve into a Jared Goff meltdown spot if the 49ers can keep it close on offense.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (GPP)

RB Derrick Henry, TEN: Popped off for 19/103/0 in the first matchup two weeks ago and the Colts’ talented front-seven is suddenly gutted with the absences of defensive lineman DeForest Buckner (reserve/COVID-19) and Denico Autry (reserve/COVID-19), as well as linebacker Bobby Okereke (ankle).

RB Nyheim Hines & Jordan Wilkins, IND: With Jonathan Taylor (reserve/COVID-19) out, both could have value. Hines is the better bet game-stacked with Titans, as Wilkins would likely see more work if the Colts are playing with a lead.

WR Michael Pittman, Jr., IND: Has emerged as the Colts No. 1 receiver and is projected for 2-4% ownership.

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Chris Raybon is a Senior Editor at the Action Network who hosts the weekly NFL Betting edition of The Action Network Podcast and is featured each week on The Fantasy Flex edition of the pod, as well. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2010 — even the kneel downs. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRaybon and read about how he quit his accounting job and got paid to watch sports.

Pictured above: Justin Herbert
Credit: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images