Week 11 daily fantasy advice: Previewing the week in DFS
Week 10 brought with it the best weekend of football we’ve had so far this season, and we’re hoping for more of the same in Week 11. After looking through the upcoming weekend’s slate of games, we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up for a total repeat. But while we might not have quite as many last-minute thrills in Week 11, that doesn’t mean it won’t be an interesting week — particularly in DFS.
As usual, this column will provide some early-week thoughts on players, salaries, matchups or anything else I find noteworthy in my initial pass through the players on DraftKings and FanDuel.
The Thursday night game is a must-watch and, arguably, one of the most interesting games of the weekend. When the Panthers and Saints played in Week 6, we were treated to a 41-38 shootout in the Superdome. Fire up those Thursday-Monday DFS lineups this week and get some exposure to this game. The action will continue through Monday, when the red-hot Raiders take on the up-and-down Texans.
The Falcons, Broncos, Jets and Chargers are all on bye this week, so a handful of relevant names won’t be available, including arguably the top quarterback (Matt Ryan), wideout (Julio Jones), running back (Melvin Gordon) and D/ST (Broncos).
It’s now time for a closer look at Week 11. Remember, this is not meant as a comprehensive, refined list of players I love, like, or hate each week. These are early-week musings.
(Note: I’m providing only DraftKings and FanDuel salaries as I live in Florida, where Yahoo does not operate.)
Two of the best and most expensive quarterback options play on Thursday this week, but there are some other big names worth using on Sunday as well. There are also a few players near the bottom of the price range that need to be seriously considered; I’ll go over one of my favorites below.
I expect Marcus Mariota ($6,700) to be very popular on DraftKings this week, but I’m actually slightly more intrigued by the quarterback he’ll be facing: Andrew Luck ($7,200). Luck is averaging 25.6 DraftKings PPG at home, compared to 20.1 on the road.
On FanDuel, Tom Brady at $9,300 might seem a bit pricey, especially if Rob Gronkowski misses the game due to his injury. (Insert “Madden Curse!” joke here then delete because holy crap Gronk played most of the game on Sunday night with what was maybe a punctured lung? I would have retired on the spot.) However, I think I’d still be interested in rolling with him in tournaments. Prior to a bad Week 10 in which he scored just 12.34 FanDuel points against the Seattle Seahawks, Brady had topped 25 FanDuel points in three of his first four games. Also, LeGarrette Blount is not rushing for three touchdowns every game. The subpar Week 10 — coupled with his high price tag and Gronkowski’s injury — should suppress Brady’s ownership, despite the dreamy matchup against the lifeless 49ers.
Derek Carr ($6,400 on DraftKings and $7,800 on FanDuel) has been fantastic all season long, but I’ll likely fade him this week due to his matchup and what I expect to be higher-than-it-should be ownership rates. Carr’s price on both sites is lower than you’d expect, based on how much we’ve talked about him this year. I think will attract people. But the matchup against the Houston Texans is not nearly as good as you’d think. The Texans rank second in pass defense, and, oddly enough, Carr has been worse at home (17.6 DraftKings PPG) than on the road (22.8 PPG).
I love Jameis Winston this week. He’s only $5,900 on DraftKings and $7,500 on FanDuel. The Chiefs have been exposed by vertical passing attacks all season long, and Cam Newton had his way with them in Week 10 early on, before the Panthers fell off the rails. Winston is averaging 20.1 DraftKings PPG, and he has thrown 10 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions over the past four weeks. People aren’t talking about him enough.
The mid- to high-priced tiers appear to be where the best value resides at the running back position this week. It’s usually a bit easier for me to spot some obvious cheap value plays at running back, but that was harder to do this week — at least at this point.
I selfishly wish Le’Veon Bell didn’t find the end zone last week, because it would have kept a few more people off him in Week 11 in his primo matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Bell is $9,100 on FanDuel and $8,800 on DraftKings — the most expensive player at the position this week on both sites — but, just as David Johnson was in Week 10 and Ezekiel Elliott was in Week 9, Bell is worth the high tag this week.
Okay, so, remember how a few paragraphs ago I said LeGarrette Blount isn’t going to score three touchdowns every game? Well, uh, while that’s true, he actually might again in Week 11. Blount takes on the porous 49ers defense, which has been giving away fantasy points to running backs like it’s their job. (News flash 49ers players: That’s literally the opposite of your job.) I like Blount and Brady this week. The matchup is too hard to ignore. Blount is $6,400 on DraftKings as the seventh-most-expensive running back of the week, and he’s $7,300 on FanDuel, as the eighth-priciest option.
If you’re playing the Thursday night game, you should consider Jonathan Stewart at $5,900 on DraftKings and $7,000 on FanDuel. The Saints have given up the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season, and teams are averaging over 4.5 YPC against them. Stewart has at least 13 carries in four straight games. He’s touchdown-dependent, but he does have multi-touchdown upside, which makes taking the risk worth it. Stewart also represents a pivot play off of Newton, who will assuredly be popular this weekend.
If I’m looking for cheaper running backs on DraftKings this week, Duke Johnson ($3,800) sticks out as an early favorite. He draws the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have struggled against running backs all season long, and just gave up a huge day both on the ground and through the air to Ezekiel Elliott. Johnson isn’t anywhere close to Elliott in terms of skill, but he’s also not anywhere close to Elliott in terms of salary either. What you see is what you get with Johnson: He has consistently played between 40-to-50 percent of Cleveland’s snaps all year long, while running roughly 20 pass routes per game. He ranks first among all running backs with 1.82 receiving yards gained per pass route run this year.
This is a top-heavy week at wide receiver, although there are still a variety of options to choose from in the lower ranges. The top few names are going to be some of the most popular plays this week, regardless of position.
Three of the top four most expensive wideouts in DFS this week have incredible matchups, including Antonio Brown (@ Cleveland), Odell Beckham Jr. (vs. Chicago) and Mike Evans (@ Kansas City). I like them all, but here’s my case for Beckham: Over the past six weeks, Eli Manning has an NFL passer rating of 131.3 when throwing to OBJ, the fourth-best QB-WR rating on the league. In that span, Beckham leads the league in touchdowns (6), he’s second in fantasy points, and he’s in the top 10 in both fantasy points per snap and fantasy points per opportunity.
This is another week to jump on Dez Bryant ($7,200 on DraftKings and $7,400 on FanDuel), who continues to fly under the radar. With all of the attention being diverted to the top wideouts this week, Bryant will undoubtedly be underowned again. Bryant has a touchdown in three of his previous four games, and he has topped 100 yards in three of his previous five games. The notion that Dak Prescott has killed Bryant’s fantasy value needs to go.
I’m fading Jarvis Landry this week, even on DraftKings, where he’s an attractive $6,600. Over his two previous games, Landry has secured nine receptions on 12 targets for 86 yards. That’s Landry’s usual stat line from just one game. Given that he already has an extremely low touchdown probability (just one score so far this year), Landry’s newfound floor turns me off.
Rishard Matthews is too far down the list of players on FanDuel, at $6,000. He has been hot over the past six weeks, during which he has recorded six touchdowns (tied with Beckham for the league lead in that span). He has scored at least once in all but one game. The game he didn’t score was against Indianapolis — his Week 11 opponent — but Matthews also only played 66.2 percent of Tennessee’s snaps in that game, compared to at least 83 percent of the snaps in every game since then. He’s in play against the burnable Colts this week.
The top tight ends have established themselves this year, and while it’s always nice to fit one of those big names into your lineup, that might be hard to do this week given all the attractive high-priced wideouts and running backs as well. I’ll spell out a few of the cheaper options to consider this week, as well as one of the pricier players I like.
Tyler Eifert is the sixth-most-expensive tight end on Fanduel ($6,300) and the sixth-most-expensive option on DraftKings ($5,400). He should be more expensive than that on both sites, and for that reason, I’m considering him a bargain. Since returning from injury, Eifert has been a force. He has 12 receptions for 198 yards and a touchdown in his two previous games combined. Yes please.
I think I like C.J. Fiedorowicz against the Oakland Raiders this week, one of the 10 most generous teams in terms of fantasy points ceded to tight ends this year. He’s only $5,100 on FanDuel and a super-low $3,300 on DraftKings. He has seen at least five targets in six straight outings. Fiedorowicz has also had a bit of a touchdown trend going lately by scoring every other game. He didn’t score in his last game, which means he’s obviously going to score in Week 11. That’s just science, people.
Oddly, Martellus Bennett is only $100 more than Fiedorowicz on FanDuel ($5,200). Bennett has been excellent this season, even with Gronkowski on the field. But if Gronkowski misses Week 11, Bennett will shoot up in value against the 49ers. Bennett played nearly 100 percent of the snaps when Gronkowski was hurt to start the season. He seems way too cheap.