Week 12: USA TODAY SPORTS’ FantasyScore November 20, 2014  |  Ian Goldsmith


Welcome Fake Footballers to a new DFS site, USA TODAY SPORTS’ FantasyScore. I enjoy playing at new sites and trying to beat the learning curve and in turn, the rest of my competition! Remember that every site has their own unique pricing and relying on your research for one site isn’t the best way to tackle a different site, so we’re here to help you out!

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Elite ($8,000+)

Andrew Luck: $9,100 – Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This is a no brainer. The Jaguars have nobody on defense to match up with Andrew Luck’s skillset. When they played earlier this season, Luck lit them up: 31/39 for 370 yards and 4 TDs. Insane. Expect no less than 300 and 3 TDs from the former Cardinal this week at home after a tough loss to the Patriots.

Mid-Tier ($6,000 – $7,900)

Jay Cutler: $6,500 – Chicago Bears Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Well, I tried to go bold in some leagues last week and play RGIII against the woeful Tampa Bay secondary. It turns out, that if you want to beat even a mediocre secondary, you need a better than mediocre QB….Ugh. Fortunately, Cutler is MUCH better than a mediocre QB. With two legitimate #1 WRs and the most consistent RB in fantasy at his disposal, Cutler will – wait for it – cut the Buccaneers to pieces (you have permission to boo me). 300 yards and 3 TDs is well within reach. 275 and 2 is a lock.

Value ($5,900 and below)            

Josh McCown: $4,700 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears

Cutler’s opponent is no slouch himself. Since reclaiming the starting QB job, McCown has thrown for roughly 300 yards in each game along with 2 TDs per game, to boot. Chicago gives up the second most points to opposing QBs. Add in the fact that Tampa may have to be involved in a shootout to win, and you have yourself a very solid play at a paltry $4700.




Elite ($7,000+)

Matt Forte: $7,900 – Chicago Bears Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Forte’s lowest score at home this season is 22.10 FP on FantasyScore. That is, frankly, insane. The man is as consistent a RB as there is in the NFL. Tampa’s already weak secondary will have to cope with the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, leaving Forte facing six or seven in the box. That is simply not fair. Forte has had only ONE game with fewer than five receptions. He is averaging 6.7 receptions per game, which puts him on pace to set the single season NFL reception mark for RBs.

Mid-Tier ($5,000- $6,900)

Denard Robinson: $6,500 – Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Since taking the starting job in Jacksonville, he’s run for at least 94 yards in three of four games and has totaled 4 TDs in that same time frame. He gets matched up against a Colts’ defense that was just gashed by Jonas Gray. Blake Bortles is no Tom Brady, so the Colts will not have to fear the pass as much and will be able to stuff the box more often. Even so, Denard has been electric and is one of the only consistent weapons that Jacksonville has on offense. If Jacksonville has any chance of victory, then they will need to use the former Wolverine QB to control the clock.

Value ($4,900 and below)

Steven Jackson: $4,900 – Atlanta Falcons Vs. Cleveland Browns

Jackson is getting up there in years and it has been fairly evident for most of the season. That being said, he has had more carries the past three weeks than in any of the first seven games. Atlanta will need to lean on him down the stretch if they want to take advantage of their 1st place position in the NFC South (at 4-6, mind you). Matt Ryan has the receivers to stretch Cleveland’s defense apart, which should leave the former Beaver with holes in which to run. Cleveland has been absolutely dreadful against the run for a large majority of the season and that won’t stop this week. Jackson makes a decent cash game play.




Elite ($7,000+)

Dez Bryant: $7,500 – Dallas Cowboys at NY Giants

In their first meeting of the season, Dez shredded the Giants for 9/151. He’s had at least 7 targets in every game since week 5 and has 10 or more targets in four of his past six games. Romo will look to him repeatedly in this contest once again. The Giants, frankly, have nobody that can match his size and skillset. He’s not as safe a pick this week as, say, Alshon Jeffery, but I like his upside better.

Mid-Tier ($5,000 – $6,900)

Josh Gordon: $6,900 – Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons

It’s time to celebrate, everyone! Week 12 has arrived and our favorite stash has finally been cleared to play! All hail the mighty Gordon! OK….now that that is out, Gordon is definitely a risky play. How can he not be? He’s been out of commission all year (Thanks, Goodell). That being said, his upside is higher than any other WR in the league. In his first game back from suspension, NFL’s 2013 receiving leader gets to face an Atlanta team that is ranked in the bottom 10 against WRs this season. Gordon has been working out and is excited to get on the field and get the Browns into the playoffs (the words “Browns” and “playoffs” seems an odd combination, does it not?). I’m not betting against him. Neither should you.

Value ($4,900 and below)

Allen Hurns: $3,100 – Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

With Blake Bortles’ favorite WR Allen Robinson out for the remainder of the season, Hurns has been given the opportunity to run with the starters once again. He has been inconsistent, but he has also had some absolutely monster games. The Jaguars will be playing from behind all game long. Hurns will get plenty of targets and should have no trouble meeting value at his price. For $3100, you are rolling with a player that has scores of 27 and 30 FP in games this season. Tournament play only.




Elite ($7,000+)

Rob Gronkowski: $7,800 – New England Patriots Vs. Detroit Lions

The Lions are solid through and through on defense. The one position they struggle to contain the most, however, is tight end. Belichick and Brady will know this and will look to exploit this weakness repeatedly throughout the game. Simply put, Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare and is a fine anchor for your daily football teams in cash and in tournaments. Don’t be afraid to use him in this game that has an O/U of 48.

Mid-Tier ($5,000 – $6,900)

Coby Fleener: $5,600 – Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

We saw Fleener’s upside last week after Dwayne Allen was injured early in the game. With Allen potentially out again this week, it will once again be Fleener’s time to shine. The two of them combined for 8/92 and 2TDs in their first matchup against the Jaguars. Don’t be shocked if Fleener gets close to that on his own if Allen does indeed sit. He makes a great cash play at this price.

Value ($4,900 and below)

Marcedes Lewis: $3,000 – Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Welcome back, Marcedes! After starting the season on a positive note, Lewis was injured and has been out since week 2. He has already been activated and should play this week against an Indianapolis defense that gives up the third most points to TEs this season. He is a bit of a risk in his first week back, but this 6’6”, 272# pass catching behemoth should act as Blake Bortles’ safety blanket and help give the Jaguars a chance (i.e. They have no chance.).



Cash Play

Indianapolis Colts: $2,900 – Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This is fairly simple, really. You start the defense that plays the Jaguars every week. The Jaguars have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes DSTs look like fantasy Gods.

Tournament Play

Philadelphia Eagles: $2,500 – Vs. Tennessee Titans

The Eagles have been one of the most surprising defenses of the year. They are the clear #1 DST of the 2014 season, largely due to their opportunistic playing style. They take risks. Sometimes this doesn’t work out, but often it does. This has resulted in a large number of turnovers and TDs on the season. Roll with them against the rookie Zach Mettenberger.



Predicting kickers is a fool’s game. If you have the cash left over to spend on Stephen Gostkowski, go right ahead. He’s about as consistent a kicker as you will ever see. If you, like me, want to get the most out of the rest of your lineup, however, then here is what I do. Eliminate the most expensive 16 kickers. This drops your pool in half. From here, look for games that will be relatively high scoring. After narrowing that down to two or three kickers, eliminate any remaining kickers who are playing in high-wind conditions. After that, just pick which one fits best into your lineup. Of course, this is just a kicker. Just choose one already!

Here are two consistent kickers who play for high scoring teams.

Mason Crosby: $2,700 – Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Adam Vinatieri: $2,800 – Indianapolis Colts Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars



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