Data Viz Preview: Week 12 - DFS Karma
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Data Viz Preview: Week 12

Week 12 Preview

Welcome back to the Data Viz DFS NFL Preview utilizing data science & data visualizations. Today we will be previewing the QB, RB, WR & TE position by utilizing value based drafting. One important note is that all the charts below only contain players who are playing in week 12 – so no players who are currently on a bye (ARI, KC, LAC, MIN).

Value based drafting (VBD) is a concept introduced by Joe Bryant in 1995 where he utilizes a real world economic valuation model with an emphasis on positional value. Here is the definition from “The value of a player is determined not by the number of points he scores, but by how much he outscores his peers at his particular position.”

The easiest way to think about it is how many more points does a player score than the ‘baseline’ or ‘average’ player at his position.

Our first visual is a dot plot that shows all the players at each position that have > 0 VBD. These are all the players that are above average at their position when compared to the baseline player. The circle of the color is based on VBD (Blue to orange) & the size of the circle is based on total TDs.


The larger the VBD – the better the player. I left the names off this list on purpose, but I think we can fill in some of the blanks.

The largest blue circle in the QB row with 100 VBD is Lamar Jackson. He is having by far the best season at the QB position. As you can see from the chart he scores approx 30 more points than the next best player (Russell Wilson) – this is a huge margin.

Speaking of huge margins let’s talk about Christian McCaffrey. With a VBD of 153 – he is by far and away the most valuable player in fantasy football this season. The next best RB (Aaron Jones) is having an solid season as well but significalty behind McCaffrey (67 points).

The TE position does not have anyone that stands out amongst the pack. There is not a single TE > 50 VBD – we will dig deeper into this later in the post.

The WR position has 2 players leading the pack – with 3 players right on their heels. Mike Evans & Michael Thomas both have a VBD of 68 but Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, & DJ Chark are > 50 and could gain momentum on Mike & Mich this week. More on this to come.

Our next visual takes only the QBs with a positive VBD and utilizes passing yards per game (bar length), opponent TDs against (bar width), pass attempts per game (bar color), & total TDs scored (grey circle). This way we can easily identify the QBs who are above average, has high passing yards, high passing attempts per game, are playing against a poor defense, & score a high amount of TDs.


Lamar Jackson is a Freak. He leads all QBs with a 100 VBD – 29 pts higher than the 2nd best. This week Jackson is playing on the road in LA against the Rams. The Rams have a tough defense but Jackson is that special. I am going to trust Jackson to continue doing his thing – making him well worth the price this week.

4 QBs stand out in this chart & then there is everyone else. Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, & Deshaun Watson are the clear cut studs among this group. These are the 4 QBs who are head and shoulders above the rest this season. So out of these 4 QB – which is most likely to succeed this week. Unfortunately Watson already played this week so we have to back him out. Wilson has the best match up facing the Eagles (averaging 19 pts against vs QBs) & Prescott has the worst vs NE (averaging 8 pts against vs QBs). So for this week I will rank them: Jackson, Wilson, & Dak.

I did not expect to see Josh Allen on this list, but is he worth it this week? Coming in at the 5th spot is Josh Allen. Obviously Mahomes & Cousins being on a bye helps but facts are facts – heading into week 12 Josh Allen is the 5th best QB according to VBD. So lets take a closer look at how he stacks up against the other QBs and his specific match up this week. Allen has 20 total TDs which makes him the 5th best QB & is facing the Denver Broncos at home. As you can see from the chart Allen does not have nearly as many passing yards per game as the other QBs but his legs make him a dual threat QB that helps make up for the lack of passing yards. Unfortunately for Allen the Broncos have been great against opposing QBs this season – averaging 12.56 pts against. So for this week – pass on Allen.

Jameis Winston & Matt Ryan are similar players & are also playing each other this week. Winston and Ryan both have 19 total TDs, both average right around 300 pass yds per game & both average 40 passing attempts per game. The Bucs defense is the 2nd worst vs opposing QBs & the Falcons D is 7th worst against opposing QBs. I expect both QBs to have a solid week this week with Ryan slightly favored over Winston.

Aaron Rodgers is facing the SF 49ers this week. Rodgers has a tough match up against his hometown team the 49ers. They are the 2nd best team against opposing QBs. I will be passing on Rodgers this week in favor of QBs with better match ups.

Our next visual takes only the RBs with a positive VBD and utilizes total yards per game (bar length), opponent TDs against (bar width), touches per game (bar color), & total TDs scored (grey circle). This way we can easily identify the RBs who are above average, have high total yards per game, high total touches per game, are playing against a poor defense, & are most likely to score a TD.


Christian McCaffrey is the best RB & it’s not even close – pay the money for him in week 12 and every week for that matter.

Aaron Jones is TD reliant but he is really good at scoring TDs. Week in and week out I sit here and write how I don’t think Jones is the real deal due to his reliance on TDs & week in and week out he proves me wrong. So I am now a Jones believer – he has officially convinced me.

Derrick Henry is a stud & should be treated as one week in and week out. Coming off a bye – henry’s legs are well rested. Jacksonville is poor against the run (8 rushing TDs, 27.2 DK pts per game vs RBs) – count on Henry to put up big numbers.

Zeke has been trending down the past few weeks & has a tough match up against the Patriots – sit Zeke.

Nick Chubb is still the # 1 RB in CLE & has a tasty match up this week. Chubb had 27 carries to Hunt’s 6 last week. Treat Chubb as the go to back until proven wrong especially this week against the Dolphins. Chubb is a great play this week.

Mark Ingram is the biggest beneficiary of Lamar Jackson’s unbelievable season. Ingram has been a stud this season & I see that trend to continue as long as Jackson continues putting up freak numbers. He has a rough match up this wek but I’m riding with the Ravens backfield regardless of match up.

I cannot believe Leonard Fournette STILL only has 1 TD. I don’t get it but man it’s starting to become trouble some. Regardless, he is still one of the best RBs in the league. He is facing the Titans who has only allowed 5 rushing TDs – so I don’t see him breaking the TD seal this week but should have enough yards and targets to make up for it.

Alvin Kamara has been underwhelming but will that trend continue this week? Kamara has battled injury and has had underwhelming performances so far this season. There are two good notes though for this week. The first is that he has been trending in the positive direction the past 3 weeks (6.6, 7.4, & 12.2 the past 3 weeks). Second and most important he is facing the worst defense against opposing RBs (CAR). For these reasons I am locking in Kamara as an RB1 and a break out candidate for this week. If he can’t make it happen this week I think it’s safe to say he may not have it this season.

Is Joe Mixon startable this week? Mixon has been very good the past 3 weeks (13.7, 15.1, & 16.3 the past 3 weeks), but is facing a very tough Steelers defense. The Steelers held Mixon to 63 yards in their first game & have allowed the 6th fewest pts to opposing RBs. I say for this week pass on Mixon.

Our next visual takes only the WRs with a positive VBD and utilizes total yards per game (bar length), opponent TDs against (bar width), targets per game (bar color), & total TDs scored (grey circle). This way we can easily identify the WRs who are above average, have high total yards per game, high targets per game, are playing against a poor defense, & are most likely to score a TD.



Mike Evans & Michael Thomas are must starts every week. These guys are the cream of the crop when it comes to the WR position. They both have good match ups against below average defenses. Expect these two WRs to continue doing their thing in week 12.

Chris Godwin is the 3rd best WR with this guy throwing to him. No denying Godwin is a stud and having a great season but let’s not forget he has this guy throwing him the ball – unbelievable.

Amari Cooper is having a hell of a season but is unstartable this week vs the Patriots. Patriots are too good on defense this year – pass on Amari for a cheaper option this week.

DJ Chark is the most surprising WR this season. His production came out of no where especially considering he has had 2 different QBs throwing to him. He is facing the Titans this week – who have only allowed 9 receiving TDs. I think there are better options than Chark for this specific week but that doesn’t take away from how great he has been so far.

Kenny Golladay is unstartable until Matt Stafford comes back – nothing really to add.

Cooper Kupp started out hot but has cooled down the past few weeks. The last 2 weeks he has put up 0 & 5.3 points. Goff’s struggles are definitely catching up to Kupp – making him unstartable vs the Ravens.

Tyler Lockett is the #1 target for one of the most prolific passers in the game. Let’s not overthink this – start Lockett against an average Philly defense.

Marvin Jones will not cannot stop scoring TDs. He is the Aaron Jones of WRs – a player I continue to question but keeps scoring TDs. I guess it doesn’t matter how bad the QB is Jones will catch TDs. I will not be starting him but wouldn’t blame you if you did – he will probably keep proving me wrong.

Julian Edelman has the full trust of Tom Brady. Edelman is the clear cut #1 option for Tom Brady not only in the middle of the field but in the red zone as well. Edelman is a threat week in and week out. This week he is facing a Dallas defense that just allowed Jeff Driskel to put up 209 yards, 2 TDs, & 0 Ints. Tom Brady > Jeff Driskell so I say start Edelman with full confidence this week.

Michael Gallup could be better than Amari Cooper next year. Michael gallop missed a few weeks this season but has picked up right where he left off when he came back. Gallup is getting better and better every week & I think he is the better value play between him and Amari. Gallup & Dak have developed a good rapport on the long ball – making him a real threat. Start Gallup this week even against a tough NE Defense.

Poor Allen Robinson. I say it every week but I feel bad for Allen Robinson.

The tight end position is underwhelming due to a number of reasons: Gronk retiring, Jimmy Graham becoming washed up, & the most important factor is injuries. For these reason’s I will not be doing a full write up.

I will leave this chart and one note. I don’t normally start an expensive TE. This is normally the position I try and find real value and get cute with the choice. If you are so inclined to spend money on a tight end – I would suggest Mark Andrews.

Ask me any questions about Data, Visuals, DFS, etc. on Twitter (@StephenDataViz) or Instagram (@StephenDataViz)

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