NFL Week 12 Fantasy WR Breakdown: Stack Buccaneers Playmakers vs. 49ers
Photo credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Evans
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand out in the FantasyLabs NFL DFS Models as great plays for Week 12.
- In this piece, I'll highlight a few key situations to target this week, but check out the full piece on FantasyLabs for more.
The 2018 NFL season is still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 24.2 points per game per team. The action continues with a 10-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at five wide receivers at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news feed.
For updates on Vegas spreads and over/unders, check out The Action Network Live Odds page.
>> Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to get the smartest NFL conversation delivered into your inbox each morning.
Model Wide Receivers
Amazingly, this week three of the wide receivers at the top of the FantasyLabs Pro Models are all on the same team.
- Mike Evans: $7,700 DraftKings; $7,900 FanDuel
- Chris Godwin: $4,100 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel
- Adam Humphries: $4,000 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel
Mike Evans, Chris Godwin & Adam Humphries: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers, 54 Over/Under
UPDATE (11/25): Right tackle Demar Dotson (knee, shoulder) is in. Center Ryan Jensen (knee, shoulder) is questionable after a limited practice on Friday. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (thumb) is questionable but expected to play after a full Friday practice. Running back Ronald Jones (hamstring) is officially questionable but likely to play after practicing in full all week. 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster (arrested, domestic violence) was taken into custody on Saturday night and seems unlikely to play on Sunday.
The Bucs-49ers game has a high pass funnel rating as well as the slate’s highest over/under, which is partially why three Bucs wide receivers stand out in our Models. On top of that, the matchup is pristine. Although the 49ers have cornerback Richard Sherman, who is cementing his Hall-of-Fame case with an age-30 shutdown season after rupturing his Achilles last year, the team is last in the league with a PFF coverage grade of 42.0.
Sherman has held receivers to 153 scoreless yards and a catch rate of just 45.8% on 24 targets and 316 coverage snaps. Playing almost exclusively at left corner, Sherman is locking down his side of the field. As a result, targets have been heavily funneled outside of his coverage, and his teammates have been exposed.
- Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and K’Waun Williams have allowed a 64.2% completion rate.
- Safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert, Antone Exum, D.J. Reed and Tyvis Powell have allowed a 72% completion rate.
- Linebackers Reuben Foster, Fred Warner and Elijah Lee have allowed a 69.3% completion rate.
Against such a defense, Evans, Godwin and Humphries have immense upside. Thanks to their magnificent combination of high-scoring offense (26.7 points per game) and stone-worst defense (32.9 points per game allowed), the Bucs have an 8-2 over/under record this year, which is the best mark in the league for over bettors. I’m betting this game makes it nine.
Along with DeSean Jackson, the trio of Evans, Godwin and Humphries is perhaps the league’s best collection of pass-catching talent, which has translated into a productive offense that relies heavily on the passing game. As a team, the Bucs are first with 4,585 scrimmage yards, 3,610 net passing yards and 264 first downs, second with 411 pass attempts, third with 25 receiving touchdowns and fourth with 6.7 yards per play.
Of course, the team has also been hamstrung by its issues with turnovers and the constant turnover at the quarterback position. The Bucs are dead last in the league with 23 interceptions, 29 turnovers and a 24.4% turnover rate on a per-drive basis, and this week Jameis Winston will start at quarterback in place of backup-turned-starter-turned-backup-turned-starter-turned-backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.
It’s possible that Winston’s insertion into the starting lineup could be good for the offense, but he’s been a significant contributor to the team’s turnover woes with 11 interceptions and five fumbles in just five games, only three of which were starts. Since Winston entered the league in 2015, he’s tied with Blake Bortles for a league-high 55 interceptions — but he’s played in eight fewer games.
Historically, Winston hasn’t been as good for Evans as Fitzpatrick has been. Since last season, Evans has exhibited notable quarterback-based splits. While these splits are apparent even in the games with quarterback changes, I’ve removed such games from the sample so the trend may be better seen.
- Evans with Fitzpatrick (seven complete games): 13.6 FanDuel points, 9.7 targets, 5.4 receptions, 86.3 yards, 0.43 touchdowns
- Evans with Winston (13 complete games): 11.4 FanDuel points, 8.9 targets, 5.2 receptions, 68.3 yards, 0.31 touchdowns
Even on a per-attempt basis, Fitz has funneled more production to Evans.
- AY/A with Fitzpatrick (89 targets): 8.8
- AY/A with Winston (138 targets): 7.1
Since last year, Evans has 10 receiving touchdowns — five each from Fitz and Winston, but Winston has attempted 197 more passes.
But Evans still has upside even without Fitz. He’s just 43 yards away from becoming only the third player in NFL history (along with Randy Moss and A.J. Green) to open his career with five straight 1,000-yard receiving campaigns. He’s top-five in the league with 95.7 receiving yards per game and second overall with 1,333 air yards.
Additionally, Evans is on the positive side of his division/non-division splits, which are pretty much the only situational splits he’s had throughout his career.
- Division (26 games): 12.6 FanDuel points, -0.88 Plus/Minus, 46.2% Consistency Rating
- Non-Division (45 games): 14.7 FanDuel points, +2.15 Plus/Minus, 53.3% Consistency Rating
As for Godwin, he’s still splitting time with D-Jax and yet to play 75% of the offensive snaps in any game, but Sacred Victorious is undoubtedly a key contributor to a wide receiver unit that leads the league with 271.7 yards and 55.1 points per game in point-per-reception scoring. A second-year breakout-in-process, Godwin has hit double-digit targets in only one game, but he’s top-five in the league with nine targets inside the 10-yard line.
In what could be a high-scoring game, Godwin is highly stackable with Evans. Collectively they have been targeted in the end zone 16 times, but Godwin and Evans have been rostered together in a low percentage of Millionaire Maker lineups. Here’s their shared ownership rates for the past month.
- Week 8 (at Bengals): Evans (7.28%) + Godwin (9.42%) –> Together in 1,210 lineups (0.63%)
- Week 9 (at Panthers): Evans (6.51%) + Godwin (3.01%) –> Together in 445 lineups (0.23%)
- Week 10 (vs. Redskins): Evans (12.26%) + Godwin (2.75%) –> Together in 621 lineups (0.32%)
- Week 11 (at Giants): Evans (5.00%) + Godwin (1.70%) –> Together in 206 lineups (0.12%)
Even though both Evans and Godwin are big-play talents popping in our Models, their shared ownership this week could still be less than 1%.
Regarding Humphries: The change to Winston might benefit him. Historically, he’s been more productive with Winston than Fitz.
- Humphries with Winston (13 complete games): 9.4 DraftKings points, 5.6 targets, four receptions, 47.6 yards, 0.08 touchdowns
- Humphries with Fitzpatrick (eight complete games): 8.1 DraftKings points, 4.6 targets, 3.1 receptions, 33.3 yards, 0.25 touchdowns
First on the team with 279 yards after the catch and second with 373 routes, Humphries has run 82.8% of his routes from the slot, where he’ll match up primarily with Williams, who has allowed a 73.6% catch rate since joining the 49ers last year.
Of all the wide receivers Winston has ever targeted at least 20 times in his career, Humphries has been the most efficient at turning attempts into receptions, based on his catch rate.
- Adam Humphries (213 targets): 68.5%
- Chris Godwin (62 targets): 64.5%
- Mike Evans (460 targets): 54.3%
- Russell Shepard (49 targets): 53.1%
- Vincent Jackson (94 targets): 51.1%
- DeSean Jackson (86 targets): 48.8%
- Cecil Shorts (27 targets): 40.7%
- Donteea Dye (30 targets): 36.7%
If Winston wants to avoid interceptions and opts for caution in order not to be replaced by Fitz in the middle of the game, he could funnel targets to Humphries in the middle of the field.
Evans is the No. 1 FanDuel wide receiver in the Freedman Model. Godwin is the top DraftKings receiving option in the Bales, CSURAM88, SportsGeek and Freedman Models. Humphries is the No. 1 wide receiver on DraftKings in the Levitan and Koerner Models.
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 12 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.