Week 12 of the NFL has provided us with some concerns for once mighty contenders.
The Raiders, Colts, and Cowboys all got blown out this week, which doesn't bode well for their confidence moving forward as they are in the midst of battling for playoff positions. A couple games were decided by last second field goals.
The Patriots stole one from the Cardinals on a 50 yard field goal off the foot of Nick Folk. It was setup by a 15 yard penalty by Arizona linebacker, Isaiah Simmons, for a hit on Cam Newton as he was going out of bounds.
The Vikings managed to sneak away with a victory due to a missed field goal from Joey Slye of Carolina. Slye missed a 54 yard attempt as the game came to a close and Minnesota came out with the W, 28-27.
The Bills, Packers, and Saints all won to keep their division leads. The 49ers and Patriots managed to keep their playoff hopes alive with Week 12 wins.
Also congratulations to the New York Giants on moving into first place in the NFC East with their win over the Bengals they are now 4-7.
AFC East Fantasy Performer of the Week
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB Miami Dolphins - 257 passing yards and 2 TDs
The @MiamiDolphins came together and won as a team today. Ryan Fitzpatrick was proud of his squad’s performance aga… https://t.co/BGOiRuaREJ— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS)1606687424.0
AFC East Week 12 Winner
Buffalo Bills - With their 27-17 win over the Chargers, Buffalo kept pace ahead of Miami for the division lead. The combination of Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback have been good enough to keep stacking wins and the Bills cannot afford to let their foot off the pedal the rest of the way.
AFC East Week 12 Loser
New York Jets - Last I checked the news feed Adam Gase is still their head coach. Thus, the Jets are inherently the loser of the week in the AFC East until that statement is no longer true.
AFC West Fantasy Performer of the Week
Tyreek Hill WR Kansas City Chiefs - 13 receptions, 269 yards receiving, 3 TDs
I see you @cheetah. Let’em know they need help to guard you. https://t.co/XoQIxcUKON— shannon sharpe (@shannon sharpe)1606699041.0
There's really not much to say about Hill's performance on Sunday. All that matters is that the Chiefs' offense looks better than it did last year when they won the Super Bowl.
AFC West Week 12 Winner
Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs not only won behind the stellar performances of Patrick Mahomes (462 yards and 3 TDs) and Hill against one of the better teams in the league in the Buccaneers, but every other team in the division lost Week 12. Barring a historical collapse, KC should already be printing their division champion t-shirts.
AFC West Week 12 Loser
The rest of the division - The Raiders are a team that we've seen fluctuate between a contender and an imposter all season. Now that it's getting down to the wire, Las Vegas can't afford anymore games like the blowout they endured against Atlanta this week. The Broncos played without a QB this week, and the Chargers are already looking forward to 2021.
AFC South Fantasy Performer of the Week
Derrick Henry RB Tennessee Titans - 178 rushing yards, 3 TDs, 6.6 YPC
Most rushing yards in Wk 12: 🔹 Derrick Henry - 178 🔹 Nick Chubb - 144 🔹 James Robinson - 128 🔹 Derrick Henry AFTER… https://t.co/IDJDGuEO7J— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF Fantasy Football)1606745230.0
AFC South Week 12 Winner
Deshaun Watson - The Houston QB has kept his head up during a tough season. Even though he himself has struggled most weeks in 2020, the perennial pro-bowler got a chance to show the world that he's still elite even his team needs some upgrading. On a national stage on Thanksgiving, Watson threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions in a route, 41-25.
AFC South Week 12 Loser
Indianapolis Colts - While the Texans may not be dead yet, the Colts had the chance this week to establish themselves as the new kings of the South. Instead they got rolled over by Tennessee and Derrick Henry ate their defense alive to the tune of 178 yards. Even though it's still a two man race for the division between the Colts and Titans, Indianapolis knows they need to keep pace with Tennessee or they'll be on the outside looking in come January.
AFC North Fantasy Performer of the Week
Nick Chubb RB Cleveland Browns - 144 rushing yards and 1 TD
#Browns Nick Chubb averages 14.3 yards per carry in the 4th quarter this season. That is not a typo. https://t.co/Q3oF7ab6lR— Browns Rally Possum (@Browns Rally Possum)1606664026.0
AFC North Week 12 Winner
Cleveland Browns fans - Since their return in 1999, Cleveland has been subjected to some bad football. With only one playoff appearance over the past two decades there hasn't been much to cheer about. Cleveland now sits at 8-3 and Browns' fans are in a precarious position as they'll be rooting for the Steelers on Tuesday night. A Pittsburgh win over the Ravens would give the Browns some more breathing room as they sit alone in second place behind the undefeated Steelers squad.
AFC North Week 12 Loser
Lamar Jackson - Jackson was placed on the Covid-19 reserve list ahead of the Ravens' Week 12 game with Pittsburgh. Additional diagnoses caused the game to be rescheduled. But Jackson will miss this important division matchup and the Ravens, as we just talked about, are at risk of giving up more ground to the Browns if they lose this week.
NFC East Fantasy Performer of the Week
Antonio Gibson RB Washington Football Team - 115 rushing yards and 3 TDs
Antonio Gibson WENT OFF as Washington takes down Dallas on Thanksgiving 👏 🔥 20 Carries 🔥 115 Yds 🔥 3 TDs https://t.co/bnI7RNsTGm— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1606438463.0
NFC East Week 12 Winner
Jerry Jones - I know that Washington had an impressive Thanksgiving day blowout win and the Giants moved into first place in the division this week. But the real winner is Jerry Jones and the Cowboys front office because with their loss they're now positioned inside the top five in the upcoming NFL draft. This will allow them to go get a replacement for Dak Prescott and allow them to avoid signing him to the massive contract he's expected to get.
NFC East Week 12 Loser
Ezekiel Elliott - There is no doubt that Elliott can continue to be a productive, if not elite, running back in the NFL. We're just beginning to question whether that's going to be in Dallas next season. Zeke is one of the highest paid running backs in the league and the Cowboys may be resetting the roster if they're unable to come to terms with Dak Prescott in the offseason. Elliott's contract would be one that the team would be very motivated to move on from if that's the case.
NFC West Fantasy Performer of the Week
Kenyan Drake RB Arizona Cardinals - 78 rushing yards and 2 TDs
Kenyan Drake delivered the goods today. 🍽️ https://t.co/4pGTsjVC81— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld Football)1606686167.0
NFC West Week 12 Winner
Seattle Seahawks - Even though the Seahawks haven't played their Week 12 game yet (they play on MNF against the Eagles tonight) they are already the winners in the division from Week 12. The Niners knocked off the Rams who are Seattle's closest competition for the division, and the Cardinals lost a heartbreaker to the Patriots. Considering the Hawks have been on a bit of a slide, Russell Wilson and the gang must feel good about the rest of the divisions' misfortune this week.
NFC West Week 12 Loser
Kyler Murray - As we just mentioned the Cardinals took a hurtful loss this week. In such a tight race for the division and playoff spots this season, Murray needs to will his team to some wins. This was an opportunity to do just that, and he played poorly. Murray only managed 201 total yards passing and rushing combined, threw an interception, and had no touchdowns on the day.
NFC South Fantasy Performer of the Week
Latavius Murray RB New Orleans Saints - 124 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 6.5 YPC
Alvin Kamara managers watching these Latavius Murray TDs https://t.co/QBiSBJETdG— Fantasy Football Today (@Fantasy Football Today)1606692728.0
NFC South Week 12 Winner
New Orleans Saints - The Saints have won two straight with Taysom Hill filling in for Drew Brees while he's out due to multiple rib fractures. They are riding an eight game win streak overall, and as the Bucs continue to struggle to perform with any level of consistency, New Orleans is beginning to run away with the division.
NFC South Week 12 Loser
Atlanta Falcons - Yes the Falcons just beat the Raiders 43-6, but that's why they're here on this list. It's largely been believed that the Falcons are far better than their record shows, and their Week 12 performance proved that to be true. One can only wonder how their season could've been different if Dan Quinn was replaced by Raheem Morris before the start of the season.
NFC North Fantasy Performer of the Week
Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers - 211 passing yards and 4 TDs
Aaron Rodgers. Effortless. 4 TD passes 🔥 (via @NFL) https://t.co/rabpeV2Dcq— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1606706826.0
NFC North Week 12 Winner
Minnesota Vikings - With the help of the Packers, Minnesota has moved into second place in the division after a 1-5 start to the season. The Vikings will be in contention for a wild card spot the rest of the way out, and Kirk Cousins has started to give them more consistent performances. The Bears and Lions shouldn't be a threat, so the Vikings just need to keep winning to give themselves a chance.
NFC North Week 12 Loser
Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn - The Lions parted ways with coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn following the team's Thanksgiving day loss to the Texans. Detroit is 4-7 this season, but things haven't been trending in the right direction. Although it's a tough beat for Patricia and Quinn, they had plenty of chances to build around Matt Stafford and they failed.
HEY DETROIT THERE'S THIS GUY NAMED ERIC BIENIEMY IN KANSAS CITY THAT IS AVAILABLE.
Eric Bieniemy to the Lions? https://t.co/V2XqvmCXmB— Revived Sports Graphics (@Revived Sports Graphics)1606616730.0
It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.