Week 12 had some big performances as teams continue to try and prove they belong in the playoff hunt. There were also some interesting results from the other end of the standings where the Redskins actually got a win while the Bengals and Giants kept things close until losing late. Washington wasn’t the only surprising success story on Sunday, though. Several players who had been so-so or invisible to this point in the season came up with big performances on Sunday.
Which of those unexpected standouts can you slot into your lineup in future weeks? Let’s take a look at what could be ahead for Sunday’s breakout stars in today’s Week 12 edition of “Ride or Fade.”.
WR Jarvis Landry, CLE vs. MIA, $6,300 — 39.8 DKFPThe Browns continued a surge that could end up with them on the fringes of playoff contention with a big 41-24 win over the Dolphins. Landry was ready to face his former team and rose to the occasion with his best game of the season. He hauled in 10-of-13 targets for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Sunday’s performance was his best fantasy total of the season but it wasn’t his season-high for yardage given he had 167 yards against the Ravens in late September. He has now caught a touchdown in four straight games and has averaged six catches per game over the past four contests. Landry’s surge has come over a span while Odell Beckham Jr. has averaged five catches a game but only managed one touchdown and has been held under 90 yards every week. Landry, Beckham and the Browns have a very favorable schedule ahead with the Steelers, Bengals and Cardinals coming up in the next three weeks. Landry definitely had some extra motivation against Miami, but should remain involved enough to be a solid option in the middle tier of WRs in the coming weeks.
QB Sam Darnold, NYJ vs. OAK, $5,800 — 31.2 DKFPThe Jets thoroughly out-classed the Raiders and Darnold looked much better than Derek Carr ($6,100), who only had 5.18 DKFP compared to Darnold’s 31.2. Darnold had the highest total of any QB in the early window, racking up 315 passing yards and two touchdowns by completing 20-of-29 pass attempts. He added a third touchdown on the ground while totaling 16 yards on four carries.
Darnold and the Jets have turned things around the past three weeks since losing an ugly game to Miami. New York has scored exactly 34 points in each of those wins and Darnold has produced 21.7 DKFP, 26.42 DKFP and today’s 31.2 DKFP. Those performances have come in favorable matchups, but there are more good spots in the weeks ahead since the Jets face the Bengals, Dolphins and Steelers in three of their next four contests. Earlier this season, I said to fade Darnold, but given his improved form and great schedule I’m on board now.
WR A.J. Brown, TEN vs. JAX, $4,700 — 26.5 DKFPThe Titans returned from their bye week and got a big win over the Jaguars, improving to 6-5 and staying right in the mix in a crowded AFC South. Brown bounced back from a bad week against the Chiefs and hauled in 4-of-5 targets for 135 yards and a long touchdown. Brown caught a 65-yard strike from Ryan Tannehill ($5,300), who continues to be a great value play each week. Since Tannehill has taken over Brown has been a solid contributor with over 12 DKFP in three of his past five games.
Brown is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball and has averaged 5.4 targets over his past five games. With Corey Davis ($4,300) continuing to be a bust, Brown has emerged as a high-upside play. Tennessee is on the road the next two weeks against the Colts and Raiders in a pair of favorable matchups for Brown. He’ll stay boom-or-bust, but his solid connection with Tannehill and his emergence as the team’s top option make him a play worth considering in a fairly anonymous Titans’ offense
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. PIT, $5,000 — 23.1 DKFPBoyd has been the Bengals’ top WR all season with A.J. Green (ankle) on the sideline, but he hasn’t been a consistent producer. He came up large for the 0-11 Bengals against the Steelers, catching 5-of-9 targets for 101 yards and Cincinnati’s only touchdown of the day.
Despite being the No. 1 WR, Boyd has only scored two touchdowns all season and only reached 100 yards three times. Last week, he only had one catch for zero yards. Cincinnati will try to avoid a winless season as they take on the Jets, Patriots, Dolphins and Browns twice over their remaining schedule. While Boyd will have upside against Miami and New York, he remains a boom-or-bust option and the Bengals’ offensive struggles make him too hard to trust on a weekly basis.
RB Rashaad Penny, SEA at PHI, $4,300 — 21.9 DKFPThe Seahawks went on the road to Philadelphia and got an important — albeit ugly — 17-9 win over the Eagles. The big blow came from Penny, who finished with 129 yards on 14 carries, highlighted by his 58-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. While most of his fantasy production came on that run, he still had 71 yards on 13 carries even if you don’t count that big play.
Penny led the team in carries while Chris Carson ($6,700) had just 9.7 DKFP on eight carries for 26 yards and four catches for 31 yards. As he has all season, Carson continued to struggle with fumbles as well, including fumbling on back-to-back plays at one point, although he recovered one himself. Penny and Carson will likely continue to share work, which will keep them both risky plays, but Penny could emerge as a fantasy option if he can get more work than Carson moving forward. Seattle plays the Vikings, Rams and Panthers the next three weeks, and in those tough matchups I’d wait to make sure Penny is actually the primary option before going all in. If he gets enough time, I love his upside, but he’s not a ride quite yet until he proves he has the top job.
RB Ronald Jones II, TB at ATL, $4,800 — 15.7 DKFPJones continues to be the starter in the Bucs’ backfield, and he got into the end zone on Sunday while totaling 12 carries for 51 yards and tacking on three catches for 16 yards. Jones continues to share time with Peyton Barber ($3,800), who had 11 carries for only 32 yards.
As a second-round pick from the 2018 draft, Jones is seen as more of a long-term solution than Barber, who is already in his fourth season as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn. Jones has emerged as a slight leader in the timeshare, but the workload will continue to be volatile from week-to-week. The Bucs improved to 4-7 with their win over Atlanta and go on the road to Jacksonville next week. The Jags were torn up by Derrick Henry ($6,900) on Sunday and have looked very beatable on the ground lately. Jones isn’t going to be an elite option while stuck in a timeshare, but has at least 15 DKFP in three of his past four games and should keep getting enough work in coach Bruce Arians’ offense to be usable in good matchups the rest of the season.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.