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DraftKings core players for Week 12

There are a host of great plays this week for daily fantasy. We take you through some of the safest to help build your team’s core, including

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry rushes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

When researching DraftKings, I usually end up with a set of core players that end up running through all of my lineups. Typically, they are consistent fantasy producers in good matchups or have value due to an injury. You will likely see them across the fantasy football blogosphere because, well, they’re core plays for a lot of people. We could probably call them chalk plays too, so there is a good reason to lean toward cash games with these types of players, but even in GPPs, I want consistent and high-upside plays, and sometimes my core players might not be fully in the chalk column. Let’s get to it.


Russell Wilson (6,800), Matt Ryan ($6,700), Jameis Winston ($6,200), Baker Mayfield (5,900), Jeff Driskel ($5,500),

Core QB

Jeff Driskel: Driskel is my favorite value quarterback this week, and since I feel the need to pay up for running backs, he’s likely needed to make my lineup. Driskel’s back-to-back strong rushing performances give me the confidence to start him this week. His matchup against Washington, of course, help, but those rushing stats are gold when dealing with a quarterback of Driskel’s ability. Last week Sam Darnold tossed four touchdowns against Washington, and Driskel has two top wide receivers in Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. The Lions also aren’t flush with running talent, so even if they get a lead, they’ll likely need to throw the ball to keep moving down the field.

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey (10,500), Alvin Kamara (8,200), Derrick Henry (6,200), Kareem Hunt (5,600), David Montgomery (5,500), James White (5,300), Phillip Lindsay (5,200), Derrius Guice (4,700), Bo Scarbrough (4,200)

Core RBs

Derrick Henry: Henry’s price and the shortage of good running back matchups this week make him a core play against a defense that just gave up two 100 yard rushing games to the ColtsMarlon Mack and Jonathan Williams. Henry is always a near-lock for a touchdown in a home game where the Titans are favored.

Phillip Lindsay: Lindsay got a nice boost in snaps after the bye, and now he gets a good matchup against the Bills. Buffalo gave up 96 or more rushing yards to Jordan Howard, Nick Chubb, and Adrian Peterson of late, and Denver’s defense is set up well to defend the Bills offense. This will likely be a low scoring game with plenty of rushing, and now that Lindsay has taken the bulk of the work, he’s set up for good numbers at a low price.

Alvin Kamara: Yes, I would like to have McCaffrey here, but the value plays are eluding me this week. They’re out there, but none feel like they fit in as core players. Kamara isn’t cheap, of course, but he’s $2,300 less than McCaffrey and is in a great matchup against a Panthers team that has been beaten by running backs consistently not named Brian Hill. On the year, they’ve given up the third-most fantasy points to running backs. Kamara also has 18 receptions in his last two games and his overdue for a touchdown.

Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas (9,300), Julio Jones (8,000), Mike Evans (7,300), Odell Beckham Jr. (7,000), Julian Edelman (6,900), Calvin Ridley (6,500), DJ Moore (6,400), Jarvis Landry (6,300), Jamison Crowder (6,200), Devante Parker (5,200), Tyler Boyd (5,000), Alshon Jeffery (4,900), Hunter Renfrow (4,500), Josh Gordon (4,200), N’Keal Harry (3,300)

Core WRs

Julio Jones: This is a blowup spot for Jones and Calvin Ridley, but I like Jones’ odds to get out of his touchdown slump. After catching four touchdowns in the first three games, Jones hasn’t found the end zone in his last seven. Against the team that allows the most touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, he should be able to get off the schneid.

Devante Parker: Parker has been consistent, he’s topped 11 DraftKings points in every game since Week 4. His upside hasn’t been high, which has kept his price down, but he’s coming off a big 23.5 DKP game against a tough Bills pass defense. He’s not the value he once was, but he’s still underpriced compared to his consistency.

Jarvis Landry: Landry continues to be a safe play each week, but this week looks great for him against his old team. The Dolphins allow the most fantasy points per reception, and Landry has averaged six receptions over his last four games to go along with three straight games with a touchdown. Odell Beckham Jr. might go off this week, but Landry is still the safer play due to his connection with Mayfield.

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz (6,000), Darren Waller (5,700), Jacob Hollister (4,300), Ryan Griffin (4,200), Noah Fant ($3,900), Dallas Goedert (3,700), Vance McDonald (3,500), Ben Watson (3,100)

Core TE

Vance McDonald: I don’t mind the cheap options at tight end this week, and McDonald is my favorite. McDonald has seen seven targets in each of his last three games but hasn’t done too much with them. But with those targets and JuJu Smith-Schuster out, I like his chances to give us PPR value against the Bengals. Cincinnati ranks 31st in DVOA against tight ends. They’ve also allowed the most yards per reception, the fifth-most fantasy points per reception, and the tenth-most fantasy points to the position.


Steelers (4,000), Bears (3,700), Falcons (3,500), Bills (3,400), Saints (3,300), Broncos (2,400), Bengals (2,100)

Core D/ST

Saints: Kyle Allen was sacked five times and threw four interceptions. Now he travels to New Orleans to take on a strong defensive line. The offensive pieces around him give him help, but he looked awful last week, and the Saints won’t give him a good chance to turn things around.