DraftKings Plays - Week 11
The players in the cash games lineup are chosen primarily with strong salary value, significant projected touch volume, and favorable matchups that occur in games with a high Vegas over/under. While not every selection will meet each threshold, the quest for a high statistical floor will be a common theme.
Week 11 Cash Games Lineup
QB: Aaron Rodgers ($9,400) vs Philadelphia Eagles (55)
Of the four quarterbacks in the two largest projected shootouts, Rodgers may have the highest upside. The fact that he has the lowest salary makes him tough to pass up (believe me, I tried to go with Philip Rivers – who I’m very bullish on). Green Bay’s scoring efficiency (NFL-high 0.52 points per snap) will be unlocked by an Eagles team that allows the second-most snaps per game, the fourth-most points to passers, and should actually score enough to push the Packers to match them for a full game.
RB: Mark Ingram ($6,200) vs Cincinnati Bengals (50.5)
Ingram has at least 24 carries in each of the last three weeks and averages 26.6 points per game during that span. He’s run 17.3 pass routes per game since Week 8 and caught all three targets last week. He’s the second-best PPR running back since taking over the lead role, and is the ninth-most expensive back this week. Cincinnati is 30th in run defense (-31.8), surrenders the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs, and has allowed six rushing touchdowns in their last three games (11 total).
RB: Alfred Morris ($5,400) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (45.5)
The Bucs rank 31st against the run (-32.0) and just allowed Atlanta’s running backs to go over 100-yards and score. That was in Tampa Bay, and the Falcons can barely run it on their own scout team. Washington’s running backs averaged 5.4 yards per carry and ran for three touchdowns in the two full games that Robert Griffin played this year. Morris gains more than an extra yard per carry when RGIII plays, and the worry over his role being marginalized by bad game script is lessened with the Bucs a full-touchdown underdog.
WR: A.J. Green (6,000) at New Orleans Saints (50.5)
Green’s the PPR WR5 during the three weeks he has played over 75-percent of snaps while not being shadowed by Joe Haden as Andy Dalton melts down. While there’s no guarantee Dalton won’t again wet himself, at least Green won’t be dealing with a shutdown cornerback. Even if solid cover man Keenan Lewis’ knee finally gives birth, he’s no Haden or Darrelle Revis when healthy. Green’s rocky 2014 season is reflected by his ridiculously cheap price tag (18th-most expensive wideout).
WR: Keenan Allen ($4,500) vs Oakland Raiders (44.5)
He’s been the PPR WR20 during the last three weeks he’s played, averaging 10 targets, 6.3 catches, 59.3 yards, and 0.3 touchdowns. That doesn’t look like much, but it’s triple his salary – which is the 35th-most expensive among wideouts. The Raiders are a bottom-third pass coverage team (-21.3; 24th) and allowed 313 yards and three passing scores to the Chargers in Week 6. After bypassing Rivers for the higher-upside Rodgers, Allen is an affordable way to gain exposure to this cherry passing game matchup.
WR: Pierre Garcon ($4,000) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (45.5)
The 41st-most expensive wideout this week is averaging 8.5 targets in the two games that RGIII played, a year after seeing 10.9 per game. He doesn’t need to again catch more than seven passes per game to return value on his dirt-cheap price, but it’s not out of the question against a Bucs defense that ranks 30th in pass coverage (-37.9) and allows the most points to wideouts. In a game with sneaky shootout potential, this low-risk play also has a hint of upside.
TE: Jimmy Graham ($7,000) vs Cincinnati Bengals (50.5)
During the last three weeks, he’s averaged 22.6 points per game while working his way to full health – culminating in a 12-target, 10-catch, 76-yard, two-touchdown demolition of the 49ers last week. He also leads his team in targets during that time, with eight more looks than the next most-targeted Saint. Jimmy’s back. The Bengals allow the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends and have been shredded by every decent-to-good one that they’ve faced.
FLEX: Jeremy Hill ($4,500) at New Orleans Saints (50.5)
New Orleans is PFF’s 18th-graded run defense and has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns (tied for fifth-most). It’d be even worse if they faced more than the 25th-most rushing attempts. With Gio Bernard sidelined, Hill will see a heavy workload as long as the game stays within reach. For the 19th-most expensive running back and a value play that will be heavily owned in cash games, that’s a chance well-worth taking.
DEF: Denver Broncos ($3,000) at St. Louis Rams (51)
The Rams have the fourth-worst pass blocking (-37.0) and no quarterback faced more pressure over the last three weeks than Austin Davis (49% of dropbacks). Shaun Hill takes over as St. Louis’ passing piñata for the first time since his Week 1 benching, when he threw a pick and took a sack on seven pressured dropbacks. Denver ranks ninth in pass rush and second in run stopping. Once they get up big (Broncos are favored by 9.5), the ill-advised throws will rain fantasy points down upon your greedy head.
Total Salary: $50,000
Sunday Night Football shapes up as a “Vereen game” not only because it’ll be a shootout and Indy can’t cover running backs, but because the Colts are surprisingly solid against the run. They rank 12th-best (+0.5), but that mark is a +21.3 in their last three games – and run-stuffer Arthur Jones is finally getting healthy. Vereen has averaged 7.3 targets and nine carries over his last three games, and is the PPR RB9 during that time. And hold onto your ass if he finally hauls in another swing pass from Brady.
Theo Riddick is essentially priced at the minimum salary ($3,100) and, with the likelihood that Reggie Bush will sit out, he’s very much an option as a high-floor punt play. When Bush missed Detroit’s Week 6 and Week 8 games, Riddick was the PPR RB4 – behind only Arian Foster, Matt Forte, and DeMarco Murray. Against a tough Arizona run defense, expect the pass-catching back to play a sizable role.
I toyed with the idea of using Rivers as my cash lineup quarterback and spending the savings on Rob Gronkowski for the Flex spot. Ultimately that lineup had more of a GPP feel, and the double-tight end look will be in a few tourneys this week. The Colts can’t stop quality tight ends and rumor has it that Gronk is pretty good at football. In a game where 57.5 points are projected, a freak of nature who can score three times just falling out of bed probably has the week’s highest ceiling.
The now-healthy Kyle Rudolph will face a Bears defense that allows the most fantasy points to tight ends. That includes three games with a combined five catches and 86 yards against teams that don’t feature the position. In the other six games Chicago surrendered an average of 8.2 catches, 97-yards, and 1.5 touchdowns. The Vikings kept using their tight ends with Rudolph out, and Chase Ford averaged six targets, 5.5 catches, 63.5-yards and 0.5 touchdowns in his last two.
Some juicy matchups for wideouts include:
Demaryius Thomas vs Janoris Jenkins – DT will dog-walk Jenkins all over the field for as long as Peyton Manning wants on Sunday. PFF’s 102nd-“best” coverage cornerback since September, Jenkins is entirely at their mercy. Taking a ride down #NarrativeStreet, we know Manning keeps his guys fed – and Thomas hasn’t scored since Week 7. As the priciest wideout, his ownership percentage may just be depressed.
Antonio Brown vs Blidi Wreh-Wilson – There’s not much new to be said about fantasy’s top wideout (by 33.6 PPR points), but after a relatively slow week expect the Steelers to get him back on track in a peach of a matchup. The Bleeder has undeniably been improving as the season goes along, but he’s still the 93rd-graded coverage corner over the last month and gave up another long touchdown last week.
Davante Adams vs Cary Williams – More will be needed from Adams in a shootout where the other team actually shoots back. The Bears “contest” went off-script soon after Adams’ only reception of the night. The dip in snaps and output should mute his ownership level. Williams is coming off of his best game of the season, and he still gave up 70-yards and two scores on four targets in his coverage.
Last Week’s Lineup
Matt Ryan (15.66) – “This was good process… this was good process… this was good process… and gosh-darn it, people like me…”
Andre Ellington (15.20) – He’s an entirely volume-dependent back who’s rarely special when he gets a moderate workload (23 touches).
LeSean McCoy (8.70) – This will be the week he goes off, against Green Bay’s suspect run defense when I don’t tout him. It is known.
Julio Jones (22.90) – The Falcons caused more cold showers than shower-cries in Week 10. Not sure which is worse.
Percy Harvin (8.60) – Saw only two targets and a pair of carries in the second half, as the Jets sat on a two-touchdown lead. Sweet.
Kelvin Benjamin (22.00) – Two touchdowns deep into garbage time is the stuff fantasy dreams are made of, or at least something to take the edge off a nightmare.
Martellus Bennett* (6.50) – At least we had an honest picture of the Unicorn’s injury status to work with late last week, unlike a certain crushing backfield situation.
Ronnie Hillman* (4.20) – I don’t even want to talk about it.
Seattle Seahawks* (7.00) – Eli’s second-most attempts of the year and the Seahawks get just one pick and two sacks? Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Total Points Scored – 110.76*
*-Hopefully readers caught the Sunday morning tweet that suggested pivoting off of a “Questionable” Bennett to Julius Thomas, and using the extra salary cap to play Jamaal Charles over Hillman and the Denver defense for Seattle’s. That switch would’ve gained 34.4 points, and potentially resulted in some more wins (although 145.16 points still wasn’t a stellar Week 10 score). Be sure to check in on Sunday mornings for pivot plans, since a lot can change in the two days between publication and kickoff.
Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy and was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman