Week 12 blowup spots for DFS

DEANDRE HOPKINS ($8,100)

The top-priced wide receiver set for under 10% ownership is always noteworthy when they are popping up on the blowup model. Hopkins is coming off a relatively quiet Thursday night performance, where most DFS players thought he would explode against our 28th-ranked Seahawks defense. This was only the second game where Hopkins saw a target on under 20% of his routes, with the pace not conducive to a shootout as most expected.


The most recent performances of Hopkins and those priced around him should cause ownership to gravitate elsewhere. He is also not playing in what most project to be a shootout despite bookmakers believing this game stays close throughout.

The Patriots have the 24th-ranked defense, according to our opponent-adjusted grades, but rank 11th in coverage. Stephon Gilmore is set to shadow Hopkins, who has had moderate success against the star cornerback in the past. It doesn’t look like a situation to avoid, so if the expectation is that Hopkins is going to be low-owned, he makes for one of the best DFS plays on the main slate.


JUSTIN JEFFERSON ($6,300)

Jefferson is coming off a relatively quiet performance by his standards, but he still saw over 100 air yards and scored a touchdown last week. He is one of only 15 receivers above a 20% team target share and 30% air-yard share. He will see a significant jump in opportunity if Thielen is unable to play Sunday. If this scenario plays out, Jefferson should be the top-owned receiver on the main slate.

Outside of ownership, there will be no obvious reason to fade him, as the Panthers rank 30th in our opponent-adjusted coverage grades. Our matchup chart gives Jefferson a 27% advantage over Rasul Douglas, who has a 66.5 coverage grade despite surrendering only one touchdown this season. The Vikings have the fifth-highest team total on the main slate, which makes it an under-the-radar game stack opportunity.


D.J. MOORE ($6,200)

Moore saw his second-highest team target share since Week 2 and went over 50% of the team air-yard share for the fifth game this season. Everything is trending in the right direction for Moore’s usage after he saw a target on 28% of routes, which was his second-highest percentage this season.

The question, which has been the same all season, is whether there are enough targets for both Moore and Robby Anderson to have productive fantasy days. They continue to flip-flop on fantasy performances and appearances on this blowup list. Anderson has the much better matchup against the Vikings’ worst cornerback, and with Teddy Bridgewater back in the mix, both could go back to their prior usage. If that plays out, Anderson could be the correct play over Moore this week.


JAKOBI MEYERS ($5,300)

Meyers took a backseat to Damiere Byrd last week, as he saw 7.5% of the target share and 14 total air yards. He ran a route on 98% of dropbacks but wasn’t looked at when running a route downfield.

He has the best advantage among Patriots wide receivers, as he should see a healthy percentage of cornerback Byron Murphy after running 49% of his routes in the slot. Our predictive model leans toward the over in this matchup, which may allow for increased scoring opportunities for both teams.

Meyers is tough to trust after last week’s performance, but his ownership should be at least 20 percentage points less than last week. The post-hype sleeper is a thing in DFS, with all of the usage still apparent for what made Meyers a worthwhile play in Week 11.


JERRY JEUDY ($5,100)

The box-score stats were disappointing for Jeudy last week, but his opportunities were right in line with his past three outings. He leads all NFL wide receivers in total air yards the past four weeks, with the next closest wide receiver being 76 yards below him. He has seen 41% of the Broncos' air yards and 23% of the targets during that stretch.

He is playing in the lowest-total game on the main slate, which is concerning, but it will also drive ownership away. He should see 3% ownership in a difficult matchup, with a -24% advantage over Janoris Jenkins on PFF's matchup chart. I gravitate toward usage over matchup, which makes me think Jeudy has unmatched upside relative to ownership in Week 12.


MIKE WILLIAMS ($5,000)

Williams saw over 100 air yards for the fifth time this season, and his 17.4-yard average depth of target is the highest among wide receivers with at least 50 targets. His usage has held steady every week since Justin Herbert took over at quarterback, which makes Williams one of the more intriguing wide receiver options this week.

He is playing in the third-highest game total on the main slate but projects for just 6% ownership. Our predictive model leans heavily toward the under, as the three-point line movement appears to be an overcorrection. The Bills are league-average in both our opponent-adjusted defensive and coverage rankings, but Williams has a negative matchup advantage. For Williams to truly blow up, he needs a shootout atmosphere or significant usage at the expense of Keenan Allen.


DENZEL MIMS ($3,500)

Mims is everyone’s favorite discount wide receiver option in Week 12 after he saw 326 air yards in the past two games. Even more impressive has been his 22% target share on his routes after running a route on over 90% of dropbacks the past four games. The low total and difficult matchup against Xavien Howard should keep his ownership down, but no low-priced wide receiver comes close to Mims' upside.


TRAVIS KELCE ($7,000)

Kelce projects to be the second-most owned player on the main slate, and for good reason. He offers unmatched upside at the tight end position and is one of the only players who can completely destroy lineups if you don’t roster him. He has seen 125 more air yards than the next closest tight end, which makes him tough to fade in the highest-total game on the slate.

Our predictive models actually lean slightly toward the under, so his upside could be less than what the market currently expects. He still has by far the easiest matchup among Chiefs pass-catchers, with PFF's matchup chart giving him an unheard-of 73% advantage over the disappointing Devin White. Fade him if you must, but this definitely won’t be a comfortable feeling or option for the faint of heart.


DARREN WALLER ($6,000)

The only other real option at the tight end position is Darren Waller, with our ownership projections having him and Kelce in 44% of lineups. Waller is the only tight end to come close to Kelce’s usage; the Raiders tight end has a higher team target share and targets per route run mark.

Waller is participating in the second-highest total on the main slate, but his matchup isn’t anywhere close to Kelce's. Waller should see linebacker Deion Jones on a majority of routes, who has graded out at 68.1 in coverage this year. Waller is a pivot play off Kelce, but the correct play might be to go completely off the tight end radar.


COOPER KUPP ($6,700)

Kupp is coming off his second-best game grade of the 2020 season, but he failed to find the endzone on his 13 targets. He somehow saw only 60 air yards on 13 targets, a result of his seventh-lowest average depth of target among wide receivers with at least 30 targets. In a PPR format, there is little concern, but Kupp needs to find the endzone to really have a chance at a blowup performance.


HAYDEN HURST ($5,500)

Hurst sets up as an interesting DFS play, as he lives in the middle range between the top- and low-priced options at the tight end position. His 4.4% ownership projection is also appealing, as Hurst is playing in a game with the second-highest total of the main slate. His matchup against Nick Kwiatkoski is difficult, with PFF's chart giving him a -4% disadvantage. If Hurst is the beneficiary of other pass-catcher injuries, he could see his opportunities increase in a fast-paced matchup.

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