The Week 12 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 1 p.m. ET.
In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically our FantasyLabs Models. While the Models are built for daily 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, where players rate in our Models will change. For updates, visit the Models directly.
New NFL DFS Trial Offer: Try our new football subscription for $4.95 and get access to our industry-leading tools and projections.
Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models
There are 10 wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), Ryan Hodge and I have constructed.
Here’s where they place within our Week 12 fantasy football rankings (as of Thursday evening).
- Stefon Diggs: No. 4 (PPR) | No. 3 (Half PPR) | No. 3 (STD)
- DeAndre Hopkins: No. 5 (PPR) | No. 5 (Half PPR) | No. 5 (STD)
- Cooper Kupp: No. 9 (PPR) | No. 10 (Half PPR) | No. 12 (STD)
- Robby Anderson: No. 14 (PPR) | No. 15 (Half PPR) | No. 17 (STD)
- Tyler Boyd: No. 29 (PPR) | No. 29 (Half PPR) | No. 30 (STD)
- Cole Beasley: No. 35 (PPR) | No. 36 (Half PPR) | No. 36 (STD)
- Sterling Shepard: No. 36 (PPR) | No. 38 (Half PPR) | No. 41 (STD)
- T.Y. Hilton: No. 53 (PPR) | No. 54 (Half PPR) | No. 57 (STD)
- Demarcus Robinson: No. 74 (PPR) | No. 75 (Half PPR) | No. 75 (STD)
- Chris Conley: No. 85 (PPR) | No. 87 (Half PPR) | No. 87 (STD)
Of these 10, the two who stand out most to me are Anderson and Beasley. The other guys I will highlight as needed in the section on players with week-winning upside.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
Check in throughout the week as I publish the rest of the positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.
Robby Anderson: Carolina Panthers (+3.5) at Minnesota Vikings (51.5 Over/Under)
Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) suffered an injury in Week 10 and missed Week 11, but he practiced fully on Wednesday and seems likely to return to action this week in a #RevengeGame against the Vikings.
Anderson has been in something of a slump for the past two weeks — really, for the past month — but with the return of Bridgewater and especially with this matchup, he might regain his early-season form.
Let’s start with the matchup: The Vikings are bad. Opposing receiver units rank No. 3 in the league against them with 29.1 fantasy points per game on 137-1768-17 receiving.
On top of that, the Vikings are horrendously thin at cornerback. Let’s ignore the fact that last year’s starters — Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander — all left this offseason via free agency. Let’s focus only on the team’s corners now.
Holton Hill (foot, IR) hasn’t played since Week 5, and Mike Hughes (neck, IR) hasn’t played since Week 6. There’s a real chance neither returns this year. So the Vikings are down two Week 1 starters at the position. And backup Mark Fields II (chest, IR) is also out.
In their absence, cornerbacks Cameron Dantzler and Kris Boyd have played most on the perimeter, and they are both beatable. In his five full games, Dantzler has allowed four touchdowns, while Boyd has allowed 10.3 yards per target this year.
A raw rookie, Dantzler has a 53.6 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus); Boyd, 52.1.
Wherever he lines up on the outside, Anderson will have an advantageous WR/CB matchup.
Despite his disappointing performance over the past month, Anderson is still pacing for close to a 1,200-yard season because he was so dynamic in Weeks 1-7 (per RotoViz Game Splits App).
There’s nothing sexy about a guy getting 42.3 yards per game and scoring no touchdowns over the past four weeks, but the underlying numbers still look good for Anderson: He has averaged nine targets per game since Week 8, and that kind of volume — when paired with his talent — can’t be ignored.
Over the past month, Anderson has unquestionably been outplayed by teammates D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.
- Robby Anderson (Weeks 8-11): 10.5 PPR, 4.2 STD | 25-169-0
- D.J. Moore (Weeks 8-11): 13.2 PPR, 9.4 STD | 15-296-1
- Curtis Samuel (Weeks 8-11): 18.3 PPR, 12.3 STD | 24-207-3 | 10-44-1 rushing
But even within this sample, Anderson has dominated on a per-game basis with his underlying metrics.
- Robby Anderson (Weeks 8-11): 27% target share | 0.61 WOPR
- D.J. Moore (Weeks 8-11): 20% target share | 0.57 WOPR
- Curtis Samuel (Weeks 8-11): 22% target share | 0.48 WOPR
Anderson is still the man.
So I woke up this morning, had two big cups of decaf, wrote a couple of fantasy blurbs, got to the Robby Anderson section of the WR breakdown, and then stood up from my desk, walked out of my office and into the master bathroom and looked myself in the mirror and said …
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 12, 2020
From a sports betting perspective, there are reasons to be bullish on the Panthers. They especially intrigue as road dogs off a loss, as such teams since last year are 75-50-5 against the spread (ATS), good for a 15.5% return on investment (ROI, per our Bet Labs database).
On top of that, Bridgewater is an outstanding 17-2 ATS (74.7% ROI) as a road underdog for his career. You can bet on this game at FanDuel.
The Panthers have the real potential to put up points, and if they do then Anderson could go off with his volume and playmaking ability.
Anderson is a borderline WR1/2 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 option in the CSURAM88 Model for FanDuel.
Cole Beasley: Buffalo Bills (-5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (53 O/U)
Beasley is a relatively boring player as an undrafted, aging, slot-bound receiver. But he’s also on pace for his best NFL season with 55-642-3 receiving, and he has career-high marks with 9.6 yards per target and an 82.1% catch rate.
For the No. 3 wide receiver on his team, he has a relatively high floor with three fantasy WR1/2 performances in 10 games (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
Beasley has two notable factors in his favor this weekend.
First, the Chargers are without three defenders they were counting on in the offseason to make the secondary one of the league’s best units.
- All-Pro safety Derwin James: Knee, IR — has been out the whole year
- All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr.: Foot, IR — has been out since Week 4
- All-Pro safety/cornerback Desmond King II: Traded — last played for Chargers in Week 7
And perimeter cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. (groin) missed practice on Wednesday with an injury he suffered last week. He might miss Week 12.
The absence of Harris and King is especially beneficial to Beasley, as both men typically play as slot defenders. Without them, the Chargers are starting undrafted second-year third-string cornerback Tevaughn Campbell in the slot.
That’s a matchup Beasley can exploit.
Second, No. 2 wide receiver John Brown (ankle) exited Week 10 with an injury and missed practice on Wednesday. He seems unlikely to play, and Beasley has generally done well in the five games in which Brown hasn’t been fully present (i.e., the games in which he hasn’t played at least 80% of the snaps).
- Week 3 (vs. LAR): 16.0 PPR, 10.0 STD | 6-100-0, seven targets
- Week 5 (at TEN): 11.3 PPR, 5.3 STD | 6-53-0, six targets
- Week 7 (at NYJ): 22.2 PPR, 11.2 STD | 11-112-0, 12 targets
- Week 9 (vs. SEA): 6.9 PPR, 3.9 STD | 3-39-0, three targets
- Week 10 (at ARI): 27.9 PPR, 16.9 STD | 11-109-1, 13 targets
In the two full games Brown has missed, Beasley has averaged 16.8 PPR and 8.3 STD points on 17-165-0 receiving with 18 targets.
Beasley is a high-floor WR3 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receiver in the Koerner Model for FanDuel, where he has a position-high 98% Bargain Rating.
Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside
In this section, I highlight some wide receivers I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (-5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (53 O/U): Of all receivers, Diggs is No. 3 with 16.3 expected fantasy points and 10.2 targets per game. No. 1 cornerback Casey Hayward (groin) is uncertain to play. Diggs leads all receivers in our Models with his median and ceiling projections.
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) at New England Patriots (49.5 O/U): In his first year with the Cardinals, Hopkins has a league-high 912 yards receiving. He’s slated for a tough matchup with 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, but the Patriots are No. 31 with a 29.5% pass-defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders).
Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (+5) at Buffalo Bills (53 O/U): A number of slot-centric receivers (Jamison Crowder, Isaiah Ford, Cooper Kupp, Hunter Renfrow, Jakobi Meyers) have had success against the Bills. In his eight healthy games with quarterback Justin Herbert, Allen has dominated.
- Week 2 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 9.6 STD | 7-96-0, 10 targets
- Week 3 (vs. CAR): 30.2 PPR, 17.2 STD | 13-132-1, 19 targets
- Week 4 (at TB): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, 11 targets
- Week 7 (vs. JAX): 22.5 PPR, 12.5 STD | 10-125-0, 13 targets
- Week 8 (at DEN): 21.7 PPR, 12.7 STD | 9-67-1, 11 targets
- Week 9 (vs. LV): 25.3 PPR, 16.3 STD | 9-103-1, 11 targets
- Week 10 (at MIA): 12.9 PPR, 9.9 STD | 3-39-1, seven targets
- Week 11 (vs. NYJ): 34.5 PPR, 18.5 STD | 16-145-1, 19 targets
In this eight-week sample, Allen is No. 1 with a 33% target share and No. 3 with a 0.72 WOPR.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (56 O/U): The Chiefs have a slate-high 29.25-point implied Vegas total. Since head coach Andy Reid joined the franchise in 2013, the Chiefs have been the league’s most profitable road team, going 39-20-1 ATS (30% ROI) as visitors. You can bet on this game at DraftKings.
Hill has averaged 88.9 scrimmage yards and 0.87 all-purpose touchdowns in his 38 full games with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (-6) at Denver Broncos (43.5 O/U): Since last year, Thomas has an NFL-high 32% market share, and last week in quarterback Taysom Hill’s first start he had an orgasmic 52% market share, which he leveraged into 9-104-0 receiving. Maybe the back-to-back All-Pro receiver can catch balls from guys other than Drew Brees.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (+3) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (54 O/U): In each of his seven full games, Ridley has averaged 22.1 PPR and 15.7 STD points per game on 45-705-6 receiving and 3-14-0 rushing. The Raiders are No. 26 with a 46.5 PFF coverage grade. Ridley (foot) has been limited in practice but is expected to play.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (+3) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (54 O/U): In his six full games this year, Jones has been his typically productive self.
- Week 1 (vs. SEA): 24.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 9-157-0, 12 targets
- Week 2 (at DAL): 4.4 PPR, 2.4 STD | 2-24-0, four targets
- Week 6 (at MIN): 33.7 PPR, 25.7 STD | 8-137-2, 10 targets
- Week 7 (vs. DET): 17.7 PPR, 9.7 STD | 8-97-0, nine targets
- Week 8 (at CAR): 20.7 PPR, 13.7 STD | 7-137-0, 10 targets
- Week 9 (vs. DEN): 16.4 PPR, 11.4 STD | 5-54-1, seven targets
Jones is No. 3 at the position with 2.62 yards per route. Jones (hamstring) exited Week 11 early with a soft-tissue injury, but he has practiced this week (albeit on a limited basis), which bodes well for his availability on Sunday.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (45 O/U): Starting slot corner K’Waun Williams (ankle) exited Week 9 early, missed Week 10 and is yet to practice coming out of the Week 11 bye. He will likely miss Week 12, which means Kupp is slated for an advantageous matchup against backup slot corner Jamar Taylor, who was signed off the street in Week 4 and has allowed 9.3 yards per target this year. Kupp is No. 7 at the position with 9.2 targets per game.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (51.5 O/U): Since moving from the slot to the perimeter in Week 3, Jefferson has an NFL-high 778 yards receiving. For the season, he is No. 1 with 3.16. yards per route. The Panthers are No. 31 with a 39.0 PFF coverage grade.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (+3.5) at Minnesota Vikings (51.5 O/U): In the first month of the season, Moore was a touchdown-less disappointment, but he is 28-575-4 receiving over the past seven weeks. Moore is still pacing for his second straight 1,200-yard season, and he has more fantasy WR1 performances this year than teammate Robby Anderson (3 PPR, 4 STD vs. 2 PPR, 1 STD).
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (45 O/U): The second-year receiver has suffered injuries in several games this year.
- Week 3: Concussion
- Week 5: Back
- Week 7: Leg/ankle
- Week 8: Hamstring
But in the seven games in which Johnson has played at least 70% of the snaps (Weeks 1-2, Weeks 7-11), he is 48-539-4 receiving with a team-high 79 targets, 27% target share, 0.61 WOPR and 126.4 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game.
AirYAC is a leading indicator of fantasy output. You can find it in the RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (45 O/U): The high-flying Claypool is top on the team with 2.16 yards per route for the season, and he has a Megatron-esque 10 touchdowns in 10 career games. Over the past month, Claypool is the No. 7 wide receiver with 10 targets per game.
Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (45 O/U): No. 1 cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) is tentatively expected to return this week, but Woods has 100 yards or a touchdown in all three games against the 49ers since last year. In the two games since the Week 9 bye, Woods leads the Rams with 21 targets and 17 receptions.
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (56 O/U): Almost two years ago to the day, I called the top of Brown’s career, which makes this tweet all the more painful.
So today I woke up, had a cup of decaf, pumped out Week 12 player projections, and then went into my master bathroom, looked into the mirror, smashed it, and said aloud while leaving the room:
“Antonio Brown is the WR1 in Tampa Bay, and Mike Evans and Chris Godwin aren’t.”
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 24, 2020
In his three games with the Buccaneers, Brown has a team-high 21% market share and 121.4 AirYAC per game.
D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) vs. Cleveland Browns (49.5 O/U): No. 1 cornerback Denzel Ward (calf) is out, and fellow Jags wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) hasn’t played since Week 9 and is uncertain to suit up. In their absence, Chark should have an easier matchup and more volume. In the post-Gardner Minshew era, Chark is 15-243-1 receiving on 25 targets in three games.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (+6) vs. New York Giants (44 O/U): No. 1 quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) is out, but Boyd had 1,046 yards receiving last year with Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley throwing to him and 1,028 yards the year before that with Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel. The Giants are No. 29 with a 23.1% pass-defense DVOA.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (44 O/U): Since returning from injury in Week 7, Shepard has a team-high 24% target share across four games. The Bengals are No. 28 with a 22.6% pass-defense DVOA. Shepard leads all FanDuel wide receivers with his +4.10 Projected Plus/Minus.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (+6) vs. New Orleans Saints (43.5 O/U): Since moving from the slot to the perimeter in Week 8, Jeudy leads the Broncos with 18-303-1 receiving on 40 targets. He has had under-appreciated opportunity and production as a rookie, ranking No. 7 in the league with 126.4 AirYAC per game.
AirYAC (air yards + yards after catch) per game entering Week 12:
1. Davante: 144.9 🔥
2. Ridley: 138
3. Metcalf: 135.7
4. Tyreek: 135.3 📈
5. McLaurin: 135
6. Diggs: 129.2
7. Jeudy: 126.4 🚀
8. Mims: 126 👀
9. Antonio: 121.3 🧐
10. Nuk: 120.9
10. Keenan: 120.9
12. DJM: 115.5 💪
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 24, 2020
Jeudy (ankle/Achilles) missed practice on Thursday, so his injury status needs to be monitored into the weekend. He is the No. 1 wide receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 12 Air Yards Buy-Low Model.
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (+3.5) at Minnesota Vikings (51.5 O/U): Three Panthers receivers? In this economy???
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (+5) at Buffalo Bills (53 O/U): When I feel especially iconoclastic, I make ridiculous statements, such as “Williams is better than Keenan Allen.” A boom-or-bust receiver, Williams is 22-403-4 receiving on 38 targets in six games since returning from injury in Week 5. He is perpetually undervalued.
All WRs with 10+ yards per target since 2018:
1. A.J. Brown: 10.8 💪
2. Tyler Lockett: 10.6 🍳
3. D.K. Metcalf: 10.4 🍳
4. Will Fuller: 10.3 💨
5. Mike Williams: 10.2 👀👀
6. Chris Godwin: 10.1 📉
7. Mike Evans: 10.0 📉
(Includes postseason, min. 150 targets)
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 23, 2020
Logically, I know he’s not better than Allen … but are we sure?
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts (-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (51.5 O/U): Over the past three weeks, Pittman has led the Colts with 18 targets, 14 receptions, 223 yards receiving and 305 AirYAC. The Titans are No. 25 with a 20.8% pass-defense DVOA.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (+3) at Indianapolis Colts (51.5 O/U): The difference between Davis and second-year superstar A.J. Brown has been minimal this season.
Player A: 8 games, 59 targets, 36 receptions, 540 yards, 7 TDs
Player B: 8 games, 55 targets, 39 receptions, 549 yards, 3 TDs
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 25, 2020
In quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s 20 regular-season starts with the Titans, the over is 16-3-1 (62.7% ROI). You can bet on this game at William Hill.
Davis has a career-high 10.0 yards per target this year.
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (+6) vs. New York Giants (44 O/U): Since his Week 3 breakout, Higgins is 40-594-4 receiving on 65 targets in eight games with a team-high 133.2 AirYAC per game.
So I woke up today, had a medium-sized cup of decaf coffee, did some jumping jacks and pushups, and then finally, while sitting down to write a fantasy article, looked at some stats and said:
“Tee Higgins is the WR1 in Cincinnati, and A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd aren’t.”
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 22, 2020
Only most of that is a lie.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (51.5 O/U): On the one hand, Hilton is not good. On the other, neither is the Titans pass defense. In four games against HC Mike Vrabel’s Titans defense since 2018, Hilton is 19-299-3 receiving on 26 targets.
Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (56 O/U): He plays with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and gets five-plus targets in about one-third of his games. That’s it. That’s the investment thesis.
Denzel Mims, New York Jets (-7) vs. Miami Dolphins (44 O/U): The sample is only four games, but Mims is No. 8 in the league with 126 AirYAC per game. Since making his season debut in Week 7, Mims leads the Jets with a 25% target share.
K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos (+6) vs. New Orleans Saints (43.5 O/U): An upside speedster, Hamler has 7.3 targets per game since the Broncos moved him to the slot in Week 8. He’s the Arbitrage Henry Ruggs — except with more opportunities.
Chris Conley, Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) vs. Cleveland Browns (49.5 O/U): Jags wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) hasn’t played since Week 9 and is uncertain to suit up. In his absence, Conley will play regularly in three-wide sets, and in his five games with at least a 40% snap rate Conley has averaged seven targets this year.
The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.
Pictured above: Robby Anderson
Photo credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images