The Secret Stars weekly article isn't suggesting the lineup you should use this week, rather its purpose is to identify players who represent extreme value at their current salaries for the week. Selecting these players will give you an opportunity to use such players as Tom Brady and Antonio Brown in your lineups. Here are our Secret Stars for Week 12:
QB Marcus Mariota $6,300 @ IND – Mariota should slide under the radar after tossing four picks in a loss to Pittsburgh last Thursday, but he still produced with 306 passing yards and a rushing TD. He's getting much healthier, adding a playmaking dynamic to his arsenal and obviously draws a plus matchup against a Colts team that's given up the most pass plays (47) of 20-plus yards this season.
RB Joe Mixon $4,400 vs. CLE – He’s becoming more and more involved as the Bengals look toward the future and Mixon couldn’t ask for a much better situation this week. While the Browns have been stiff against inside rushes, they face the fifth-most rush attempts per game (25.9) mostly due to negative game flow. With 22 touches last week in a close win at Denver, Mixon clearly established his role as the feature back for a Bengals (-7.5) team that’s fully expected to control this game at home.
RB Rex Burkhead $4,300 vs. MIA – Even after he committed the cardinal sin for a RB by fumbling (it was recovered by a teammate) and something that can be considered a death sentence for a Patriots back, Burkhead continued to see tons of work in the passing game. He’s essentially functioning as a slot back with 16 targets over his last three appearances and that gives him a very solid floor on DraftKings. The Dolphins struggle to cover out of the slot, as they rank 27th in DVOA pass defense on attempts over the middle of the field and allow 5.1 receptions per game to opposing backs.
WR Emmanuel Sanders $5,200 @ OAK – Along with his teammate Demaryius Thomas, Sanders definitely has a shot at a big game against the Raiders' doormat of a secondary. Thomas has been targeted more often in the red zone, but Sanders is more of a mismatch for the Raiders hulking, slower cornerbacks. The Broncos move on from fired OC Mike McCoy and will likely shake things up in terms of how they scheme their receivers open, and there’s no better starting point for former QBs coach Bill Musgrave than a matchup against the 32nd-ranked Raiders pass defense.
WR Dede Westbrook $3,600 @ ARI – The preseason darling made his long-awaited season debut last Sunday and caught 3-of-6 targets for 37 yards in an easy win over the Browns. Game flow might force the Jags to pass a little more often in a road tilt at Arizona, while the continued absence of Allen Hurns (ankle) would force Westbrook into a larger role as an outside receiver. Cardinals superstar CB Patrick Peterson has been shadowing the oppositions best WR, so if he shuts down Marqise Lee, Westbrook might make a splash play or two against whipping boy Justin Bethel on the other side of the field.
TE Jared Cook $4,600 vs. DEN – The Broncos remain simply awful against opposing TEs, as Tyler Kroft was another oversized target to come through with a TD against Denver last week. Cook has been coming on strong, but obviously suffered with the Raiders passing offense crapping the bed in Mexico City against a far more prepared Patriots team. Back home and comfortable at sea level, expect the Raiders to get on track against a backsliding Broncos unit that’s ranked 24th in DVOA pass defense against opposing TEs and gives up the most receiving YPG (78.2) to that position this year.
FLEX Rishard Matthews $5,100 @ IND – The Titans have plenty of receiving options, but Marcus Mariota remains locked on to the slot man that he has plenty of experience with. He’s targeted Matthews at least 6 times in four consecutive games and the duo hooked up for 113 yards and a TD against Pittsburgh’s elite pass defense last week. Now they’ll work against a depleted Colts secondary that cut top CB Vontae Davis and has no answers for talented WRs at any level.
D/ST ATL $2,900 vs. TB – After facing a magician of a QB in Russell Wilson, the Falcons return home to take on a much more manageable foe in the statuesque Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tampa’s fill-in QB played much better against a doormat Dolphins team last week, but now he’ll take on a Falcons unit that allows the seventh-fewest passing YPG (200.8) this season. Atlanta’s also been much better against the run of late and Doug Martin isn’t managing much behind the Bucs mediocre offensive line.
Here's our lineup this week:
· QB Marcus Mariota $6,300 @ IND
· RB Joe Mixon $4,400 vs. CLE
· RB Alvin Kamara $7,900 @ LAR
· WR Rishard Matthews $5,100 @ IND
· WR Emmanuel Sanders $5,200 @ OAK
· WR T.Y. Hilton $6,700 vs. TEN
· TE Jared Cook $4,600 vs. DEN
· FLEX Christian McCaffrey $6,900 @ NYJ
· DST Falcons $2,900 vs. TB