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The Turf DFS Study: Week 12 Lineups

Marquez Valdes-Scantling saved us, y’all.

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The Turf DFS Study: Week 12 Lineups


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

This article is part of the Turf’s very technical, very smart, and very scientific randomized-control trial pitting us humans against the robots in Daily Fantasy Football. To read the original study protocol, click here.

Week 11 Results

The Turf Team (study lineup, 4-6): Alex Smith, Alvin Kamara, Damien Harris, Keenan Allen, Justin Jefferson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Richard Rodgers, Nyheim Hines, Washington DST – 128.94 points

The Computer (control lineup, 6-4): Joe Burrow, Alvin Kamara, Giovanni Bernard, Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, Hunter Henry, Chris Conley, Bengals DST – 127.82 points

Analysis: THE HUMANS ARE BACK IN THE WIN COLUMN. And by the slimmest of margins, as the Turf Team squeaked out a 1.12-point victory over the computer’s lineup. Low-ownership, high-yield outings from Rodgers and the Washington DST helped keep our lineup afloat just enough for MVS to seal the victory with a 40-yard catch in the final minute of regulation in the Packers game against the Colts. To be fair, he then proceeded to fumble on his first touch in OT, which might have sent the Turf team into a momentary panic. It should be worth mentioning that the loss of Burrow to injury on Sunday was likely the difference maker here, as he was on pace for 400 yards passing before suffering a torn ACL and MCL on a play in the second quarter.

In any case, the humans are full of turkey, stuffing, and DFS pride as we head into Week 12 looking to make it rare consecutive victories over our computer overlords.


Results to Date

Study Lineups (4-6)Control Lineups (6-4)
Total Points1,231.441,384.96
Average Points/Contest123.14138.50
Best Single Lineup141.84151.80
Worst Single Lineup93.94123.96
Range47.9027.84

Week 12 Lineups

Study Lineup and Rationale

No rationale this week. We don’t even know anymore. We thought we did, but we don’t. Simply put, we can’t beat a computer, we can’t get our lineups anywhere close to the payout line. The humans are shook. So with that, we fling this lineup out into the world and brace for impact. Please, for the love of God, we need a win. Week 12, please be kind.

QB – Justin Herbert ($7,200) – In the span of a few months, Herbert has gone from possible QB-project to fantasy stud, averaging nearly 27 DFS points per contest. We like him this week against a surprisingly soft Bills defense.

RB – Damien Harris ($5,800) – Rolling with Harris on back-to-back weeks, and he should garner low ownership numbers given a tough matchup with Arizona.

RB – Dalvin Cook ($9,500) – Dalvin Cook is a DFS freight-train. That is all.

WR – Tee Higgins ($4,700) – Higgins won’t have Joe Burrow throwing him the ball on Sunday, but we still like him as a sneaky mid-tier WR play in terms of cost.

WR – Christian Kirk ($5,800) – Kirk’s speed makes him a threat to have a big game against a Patriots secondary that has a tendency to get toasted on big plays this season. The Pats’ defense is leading the NFL in net yards gained per pass attempt.

WR – Golden Tate ($3,500) – Tate is our sleeper this week, and is DUE for a solid game after managing a measly 24 catches total on the season. This is nothing more than a gut feeling.

TE – Jonnu Smith ($4,100) – Smith is poised to be a reliable outlet for Ryan Tannehill as the Titans face a stiff matchup with the Colts defense. We like him despite the opposition.

FLEX – Kareem Hunt ($5,600) – Hunt faces the Jags defense on Sunday, and that’s all we needed to know.

DST – New Orleans Saints DST ($3,800) – The Saints DST should probably cost as much as Dalvin Cook this week, considering the Broncos will go into this game with ZERO active QBs due to COVID exposure. There’s talk of Royce Freeman running the wildcat, or a practice-squad WR stepping up, or maybe John Elway dons the pads for old time’s sake. Either way, this is a hard pick not to make.


Control Lineup

A reminder. Our control lineup is created by an online optimizer picked at random. However, due to DraftKings Terms of Service, we have to manually select two players to build around. So, in order to maintain the internal validity of our study, we use the two most expensive players from our lineup to even things out and ensure the ONLY difference between our lineups are players the computer picked on its own.

This week, the computer optimized its lineup around Cook and Herbert.

QB – Justin Herbert ($7,200)Same as us.

RB – Dalvin Cook ($9,500) – Same as us.

RB – Nyheim Hines ($4,600) – When we pick Hines, he does nothing. Which means he’s a lock for 10 catches and 2 TDs for the computer.

WR – Julio Jones ($6,500) – Boom or bust as always, Jones is hard to trust even at a $6,500 price tag.

WR – Keelan Cole ($3,600) – Going with another top-heavy lineup, we get it. What we don’t get is drafting TWO low-cost WRs on Jacksonville to make up the difference. This could be the downfall of this lineup if the big guns don’t produce for the computer.

WR – Laviska Shenault ($3,300) – See above.

TE – Travis Kelce ($7,000) – No arguments from us here.

FLEX – James White ($4,500) – This is an excellent pick. White will carry the majority of the receiving load out of the backfield with Rex Burkhead going down with an injury, and the Pats will likely be playing from behind against the Cardinals. Check-down city.

DST – New Orleans Saints DST ($3,800) – Even the computer can’t deny how obvious of a choice this was.


Can the humans make it back-to-back victories?

Week 12, let’s do it.


Do you know someone who thinks they’re Bill Belichick when it comes to Fantasy Football, but in reality, they’re Lane Kiffin? Let them know! Send them a TurfBurn!

Turf Burns are a way to buy real estate in your league owners’ heads the old fashioned way: The United States Postal Service.

Want to embarrass someone on a weekday? Send them a Turf Burn to their office.

Want their spouse and family to know how badly you annihilated their roster last week? Send them one at home!

Want to send one every week, as your calling card? Guess what?! Turf Burns can do that.

Turf Burns. It’s a touchdown celebration sent through the mail!

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