Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high-salaried players will take up the majority of your budget, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.
After the Thanksgiving slate, we've still got a fun Sunday main slate for Week 12.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Projected Points: 23.3
We've seen Patrick Mahomes take over as the favorite to win NFL MVP in recent weeks. He's been fantastic, and the Kansas City Chiefs have won four games in a row. This week, they have a matchup against a floundering team that he can dominate.
Mahomes has thrown for at least 292 yards in six consecutive games, and he's thrown for 17 touchdowns during that streak. He's easily the QB1 in fantasy over this stretch, averaging 29.13 points per game, and he's now taken over as the overall QB1 after a few down performances from Josh Allen. Mahomes is now on pace for over 5,500 yards, which would better his record-setting 2018 season.
He's also averaging 23.8 rushing yards per game and has topped out at 63 this season, and it's great to have that element in his fantasy game, as well.
The Chiefs are at home against the defending Super Bowl champions, but these Los Angeles Rams are clearly not the same team. They've lost four games in a row, and while much of the focus is on how bad their offense has played, the defense has also underperformed. They rank 24th in schedule-adjusted pass defense, according to numberFire's metrics.
Andy Dalton lit up the Rams last week, averaging 10.4 yards per attempt and throwing three touchdowns. Mahomes should be able to easily pick apart this defense.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers
FanDuel Salary: $9,200
Projected Points: 18.6
Christian McCaffrey was involved in the rare, in-season blockbuster trade. It was always going to be interesting to see how he would be utilized in Kyle Shanahan's offense, and his usage has been fairly good so far.
We aren't seeing the same McCaffrey who would get upwards of 90% of the snaps for the Carolina Panthers. But he doesn't have to now due to the offensive efficiency upgrade he received after the trade.
CMC has played four games with the San Francisco 49ers, with one being only a few days after the trade. In the three full games, he's seen a total of 22 targets and scored four touchdowns. Much was made about Elijah Mitchell coming back from injury and stealing McCaffrey's work in Week 10, but McCaffrey did still have four carries inside the five-yard line to go with six targets, and those are the kind of opportunities that really make a fantasy running back special.
The Niners will face the New Orleans Saints at home this week. The Saints have not been good on defense this season, ranking 22nd in numberFire's defensive metrics. If they keep getting McCaffrey high-valued touches, he will be able to exploit this defense.
The 49ers' implied team total ranks third on this slate, and it could mean that we will see CMC in the end zone multiple times in this game.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins
FanDuel Salary: $9,200
Projected Points: 18.1
We talked about Mahomes thriving this season, and his former teammate Tyreek Hill is doing the same, as well. It's crazy to see how well these two are playing without each other after we saw them connect so many times for big plays in Kansas City. Hill has been doing well with his new partnership, and that should continue this week.
Hill had one of his weaker performances last time out against the Chicago Bears. That still saw him have 12.9 FanDuel points, thanks to him getting into the end zone. Hill is the WR3 in half-PPR scoring, and his underlying numbers are even better.
He's seen over 30% of the team's targets and 41% of the air yards. He also has a yards per route run of 3.57 yards, which is the best in the league. The only thing holding him back from being the WR1 is touchdowns, but he has now scored in back-to-back games.
The Miami Dolphins are firmly in the playoff hunt, and they'll face the Houston Texans this week. The Texans struggle in most aspects of football, and defending wide receivers is one of them. They rank 28th in adjusted fantasy points allowed per target against receivers.
The Dolphins actually have the highest team total on this slate and should be able to dictate exactly how they want to play against the Texans. Tyreek has massive upside and is firmly in play in tournaments this week.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
FanDuel Salary: $7,300
Projected Points: 13.2
If you aren't going to play Travis Kelce this week, you can use a little less salary and play Mark Andrews. Andrews returned to the lineup last week and had a solid game with six catches for 63 yards. With another week to recover, he could be back to his best on Sunday.
Andrews actually ranks higher than Kelce in a lot of metrics. He leads all tight ends in team target share and team air yards share. Kelce gets more red zone targets, but Andrews is second among tight ends, and 15 red zone targets isn't too bad. He'll continue to be the number one option on an offense that should be set up nicely this week.
The Baltimore Ravens are taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. There was optimism for the Jags' defense early in the season, but that has quickly evaporated. They are 25th in overall defense and 27th against the pass by our numbers. Against tight ends specifically, they are 20th in adjusted fantasy points allowed per target.
Kelce will likely be the more popular play after his huge performance last week, making Andrews an interesting tournament pivot.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.