Safe Bets: Week 12

Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.

Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, for week 12:

Russell Wilson, Seahawks, $11,300 – Matchups are everything in fantasy football and there are plenty reasons to like Russell Wilson’s this week: a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The only team that has been tougher against the run this season than the Steelers is Wilson’s Seahawks. Reports surfaced this week that Marshawn Lynch was undergoing surgery for a sports hernia and will miss “about 4-5 weeks.” In other words, the Seahawks’ running game will be led by backup Thomas Rawls coming off of a 255 yard, two touchdown (TD) game. Unfortunately for Rawls, the Steelers are much tougher than the 49ers and he’s unlikely to enjoy anywhere near as productive of a day. Therefore, it will be up to Wilson to step up and lead the offense if they’re going to have a chance to win the game. This season, Wilson has been much more effective at home (7:1 TD to INT ratio) than on the road (6:4 TD to INT ratio) in the same amount of games (five). Considering Vegas lists the Seahawks as the sixth-highest total of the week, they have faith the team will move the ball. If they’re able to move the ball (and I believe that they will), Wilson should easily meet value at his depreciated price.

Mark Ingram, Saints, $12,000 – With only one game below 12.80 fantasy points this season, Mark Ingram is consistently one of the safest starts in fantasy football. Furthermore, Houston has allowed eight rushing TD (tied for 20th in the league aka 11th worst) and allows 113.2 yards rushing per game (also 20th). Ingram hasn’t found the end zone in three weeks due to the Saints relying heavily on the pass…and for good reason. Their defense has been absolutely terrible and hasn’t stopped anyone recently (as will be reiterated in this article) but I think they get back to basics this week and Ingram finds the end zone. Last week Ingram only saw five carries but it turns out he was dealing with a shoulder issue. Assuming he suits up, he has probably the safest floor of any running back (RB) in the weekend slate.

T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars, $9,500 – How can a guy who hasn’t registered 70 yards rushing in the past three weeks be considered safe? Actually, there are a few reasons. First, he has started to contribute more consistently in the passing game as he’s caught at least three passes in all three of those games. Secondly, he is still the team’s workhorse back and they will continue to attempt to establish him. Lastly, and probably most importantly, his opponent (the San Diego Chargers) allow the most fantasy points to the RB position of any team. Over the past three weeks, the Jaguars have faced three stout rushing defenses: the Jets, Ravens and Titans. All three of those teams rank in the bottom seven of fantasy points allowed to the RB position this season so the Chargers are basically the polar opposite. In a good matchup with a full workload including passing down work, there should be little fear of a dud.

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans, $17,300 – The New Orleans Saints are absolutely horrific against the pass. They are more horrific against the pass than William Hung is at singing. They are more horrific against the pass than we all are at keeping our diets during Thanksgiving Dinner. Seriously, the Saints are historically bad against the pass and are probably worse at defending it than any metaphor you could possible think of. DeAndre Hopkins happens to be the most dominant wide receiver (WR) in football and he’s coming off a week where he burned one of the best corners in football (Darrelle Revis) for 118 yards and two TDs. Now just imagine how that will translate when he faces the bottom of the barrel. He’s likely going to be the highest owned player of the week but it doesn’t matter. He’s the best player at his position versus the worst defense against his position. It’s an absolute no-brainer so insert him into your cash lineup and move on.

Stevie Johnson, Chargers, $8,800 – The Chargers’ possession WR is just plain too cheap against a middle of the road passing defense. Philip Rivers was awfully quiet last week and yet Stevie Johnson still caught seven of his eight targets for 54 yards. At his price, that’s just about value and he actually saw less targets last week than the previous week (10). Projected at a disturbingly low total as a whole, the Chargers offense isn’t too appealing and Johnson is really the only player I am targeting because he should easily meet even if he doesn’t find the end zone.

Delanie Walker, Titans, $10,100 – The Raiders are not as bad against the tight end (TE) as they appeared to be after the first four weeks. According to Football Outsiders, they actually rank as a middle of the road defense against the position in terms of DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). This really doesn’t dissuade me from considering Delanie Walker who clearly is emerging as one of the game’s best TEs. Marcus Mariota does not have a true number one WR so Walker actually acts as his top target. Week in and week out Walker will factor into the game plan because he’s their best playmaker. The price has risen to probably the highest it will ever be with Walker (who caught eight passes for 109 yards last week) but you’re paying for the safe floor of a heavily targeted stud. It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t surpass 10 fantasy points in this matchup and his upside could be as high as 30 fantasy points against a team that hasn’t exactly shut the position down.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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