Week 11 is off with a bang as Antonio Brown went off for 3 TDs and a ark full of catches. It’s a shame he wasn’t on the main slate as that is a game winning play and I’m sure a bunch of people already have a big leg up on the Thurs-Mon slates. This weekend’s slate is full of intrigue as it was a really tough slate to parse out. There is not a lot of great matchups on the offensive side of the ball and a lot of rookie/backup QBs facing off. We do our very best to give you the plays that will pay. Let’s go!
|55.0||Raiders (+7) *In Mexico*|
Things to Note:
Patriots/ Raiders is taking place in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. 2,301 miles from the Oakland Coliseum and 2,844 miles from Gillette. Essentially a neutral site game. An interesting thing about this is that Estadio Azteca’s elevation is 7,280 ft above sea level. The Pats just dominated at 5,280 ft above sea level (Sports Authority Field in Denver) and are staying in Colorado Springs at 6,000 ft above sea level. This will allow them to stay acclimated to the altitude and easily make the transition to Mexico City. There also might be a few weather games this weekend, particularly in Cleveland with reports of snow and cold temps. Remember, we really only care about wind but any conditions makes it a little harder.
Tom Brady (7400|8600) Coming off a resounding win in Denver, he gets arguably the worst pass defense in the league. The Raiders do not have an interception this year. They are allowing just over 20 pts/gm to opposing QBs, not great but not the worst but over the past 4 games, they are giving up a 73.5 completion % with 8 tds and 0 picks good for 24pts a game. On the season, they are the only team to allow > than 70% completion %. We know Brady loves to meticulously take apart a defense so this should be no different. On a slate with mediocre QB plays, sometimes you have to pay up for position scarcity.
Alex Smith (6700|7900) It’s been a strange year for Alex Smith as he’s shed his game manager label and started pushing the ball downfield. This week, he gets the Giants awful awful D who are atrocious against the pass. We’ll dive in more below but the last 4 weeks, the Giants are a bottom 5 pass defense and Alex Smith has a multitude of weapons coming off a bye.
Nate Peterman (4700|6000) He won’t be talked about but he is Tony Romo-esque. The Bills are ironically looking for stability at the position and as a pocket passer running a pro style offense in college, he should be able to deliver the ball to the new, big receivers better than Tyrod. I think this is a great salary saver for those with the gumption to roster him. I think it’s a GPP play for sure. He has more upside than the guy below. Chargers are really good against the pass however, giving up less than 18 points per game on the season and even stingier the last 4 weeks.
Blaine Gabbert (4900|6000) The last few weeks have not been kind to the Texans D as they are giving up oodles of yards and scores to opposing QBs. Goff and Wilson both went off as top 5 QBs and Brissett put up reasonable numbers (and a huge game to TY Hilton). He had 13.5 points or more in 4 of 5 starts last season in SF and adds a little rushing upside as well. At min price, we only need 12+ points from him so anything else is gravy. Texans pass D is the worst in the league giving up an avg of 25 pts to opposing QBs and over 28 pts over the last 4 games.
Kareem Hunt (8000|8600) He’s been down the last few weeks but gets the Giants who were gashed by the 49ers last week. Hunt had his lowest snap count last week in the loss and I expect Big Red to get him the ball early and often. He’s priced down a bit but with a bad slate, he’s a safe option, especially if game flow goes his way late in the game.
Melvin Gordon (7600|7800) The Bills are the worst team against the run on the slate this week. If Rivers isn’t clear of the concussion protocol (rivers is clear. Full participant thursday in pads) then we will see Kellen Clemens start at QB. He is not a good QB option, and Gordon might have to carry this team if they want to be in the matchup at all. Bills have given up 7 TDs the last 4 games (granted 5 came last week). Bills are 2nd worst against the run on the year, granted 5 of their rushing TDs came last week against the Saints but the other metrics are solid. They are giving up over 28 pts a game to opposing RB corps and over 4.5 yards per carry.
LeSean McCoy (7800|8000) In the same game as Gordon, the Chargers are 2nd worst team against the run this year. With a rookie QB starting, this might be a huge McCoy game. They don’t give up rushing TDs but are the only team on the slate to allow over 1000 rushing yards on the season in 9 games and 4.7 yards per carry. Only the Pats and Jags are giving up more yards per rush but Chargers have 226 rushes against compared to 179 for the Pats and 201 for the Jags.
Mark Ingram (8100|8200) He seems to be a good option every week. Ingram had 34.1 DK points last week and somehow found the endzone 3 times. 21 rushing attempts for 131 yards shows that when he is getting that great volume he can do great things. Unfortunately, his targets through the air are going down (1 in week 9, 0 in week 10), but I’m looking for that number to stay around 3-5 targets each week, giving him great upside and this past week really shows what he can do.
Chris Thompson (5400|6800) With Kelley out, he has been consistent this year catches balls out of the backfield. In the 3 games he was out (Week 2, Week 3, and Week 6), Thompson finished as (RB5, RB3 and RB13). He might see a few more carries but with Perine not doing much, their run game will run through screens and open space plays. The Saints are tough against the run, especially over the last 5 giving up under 7 yards a catch and 4 yards a carry.
Todd Gurley (8400|8700) In week 10 we did not see much from Todd Gurley in a dominating win over the Texans. It was his lowest rush attempt number (11) this season and he was still good for 19.6 DK points. His 6 catches on 7 targets helped this out. This week I’m imagining a closer game where the Rams will need to get a little help from Todd. The tricky thing about this pick is that the Vikings have the strongest defense against the RB this season, having given up on 3 total touchdowns to running backs (2 rush, 1 receiving). I am a little torn about him.
Doug Martin (4500|6100) Taking on the Dolphins who on the year are 11th worst against the RB, giving up 25 pts per game to the position. In a week where we are paying up at QB and TE you need to find someone cheap to fill out your roster and he can be that guy. Having Evans back should open up the run game some for Doug. He has had over 22 opportunities twice this season and in cash all he needs to get you is 13.5 to be worth it in cash makes him a playable guy.
Sterling Shepard (6300|6500) Going back to the well with this one. He certainly delivered last week with 11 receptions on 13 targets for 142 yards and a WR4 finish. This week the Giants have a tougher matchup and will be throwing again taking on the 6-3 Chiefs. Good news for us, the Chiefs are the worst team in the league when it comes to the WR position. They give up and average of 43.3 pts on DK a week and 35.1 on FD. We saw last week that Shepard is by far the number 1 WR there, out targeting the other two guys combined.
Tyreek Hill (7100|7600) Giants are giving up chunk plays and Tyreek Hill is a chunk player. He is ripe for a huge TD catch in this one. Giants are 3rd worst against the WR the last 4 games as their corners have essentially quit playing football. They are bottom 7 in yards, YPC, and receptions allowed but the Cheetah only needs one play to make an impact. We love stacking him with Smith this week.
Larry Fitzgerald (6900|6900) People will be off of him since Gabbert is starting but if we look closer, Gabbert likes to distribute between the numbers. Larry Fitz is one of the premier slot receivers in the game so it makes sense to team these two up. I think a GPP stack of Fitz and Gabbert could be a lot of fun.
Demaryius Thomas (5800|6700) His usage rate and output with Brockweiler is something to take note of. They also get the Bengals who are mediocre in all aspects. With the Brocketship, he averages over 17 PPR points a game (12 games) and without, he averages 14 PPR points a game. However, the Bengals have been stingy against the pass this season and usually involved in low scoring games.
Michael Crabtree (5900|7500) Rested up and ready to go. Coming off of the bye week the Raiders are going to have to do some work to take on the Patriots in Mexico. The biggest over under paired with the Patriots still questionable defense could mean good things for Crabtree. The last 4 games, the Pats have been in the top half of the league in points allowed to RB/TE/WR and opposing QBs so they are truly trending in the right direction. If there is a weakness it is to the WR but its minimal. It’ll be interesting to see if Crabtree gets Gilmore or Butler in this game.
Deandre Hopkins (6100|7700) Bruce Ellington (3000|4600) There is no Will Fuller when the Cards come to town, and with Tom Savage, Hopkins has still been serviceable when it comes to fantasy production. Hopkins is seeing a ton of targets (16 in week 9 and 14 in week 10) but catching less than half of them. Only concern here is Patrick Peterson opposing him. Generally speaking, the Cards can be attacked at the WR2/3 levels. All that being said, I am looking more at Bruce Ellington. With Fuller out, Ellington steps in at min price meaning we only need 12 points for him to be a superb value (4x). His targets and volume go up without Fuller so he should be a lock to create space and fill value. 16 targets the last 2 weeks with Average Savage under center and this week, we should see him get up to 10.
Mike Evans (7900|7800) Coming off his suspension I am looking for Evans to be the spark that can make something happen in the passing game. Save for his brutal 1 catch for 13 yards performance against the Saints where he decided to cheapshot people, Evans is averaging 10 targets/game and has a TD in half of his appearances. Taking on a Miami team who is right around the middle of the pack I think Evans is going to get it right this week.
Keelan Cole( 3800|4500), Allen Hurns (4600|5600), Marquise Lee (5500|6500) This is certainly a GPP only play here and to be honest, Keelan Cole is viable if one or both plays anyway. Hurns is doubtful with a brutal ankle injury (he seriously had the play of the year last week after getting rolled up on as he crawled off the field to avoid a timeout/clock run off). Lee has been questionable all year with rib and knee injuries but he has been a stud on Sunday’s. If both are out, Cole becomes the de facto #1.
Travis Kelce (7300|7500) As we do every week, we focus on a few teams against the TE and one in particular. The Giants made everyone’s week last week giving up a long TD catch to back up Garrett Celek. Even if the streak is broken this week, I don’t see a way that Kelce is shut out.
Rob Gronkowski (7200|8200) We have the rare spot where gronk is not the most expensive TE on the main slate and a week where we are spending up at tight end gronk is a guy that you want to find space for. The raiders are 11th worst against the position and Rob has 5 TD on the season. Averaging 8 targets per week
Evan Engram (6000|7400) On a team devoid of athletes and targets, Engram is acting like a WR with Shepard. The Chiefs are almost as bad against WRs as the Giants and I am anticipating a shootout here.
Tyler Kroft (2900|5300) Broncos have given up oodles of yards and TDs the last 5 against the TE. Evan Engram (5/82/1), Hunter Henry (4/72), Travis Kelce (7/133/1), Eagles TEs (5/80/1), Patriots TEs (8/123/1). The Pats clearly game planned for this and I would expect the Bengals to do the same.
A lot of viable options this week as a lot of the matchups have places we can target, all thanks to injuries or all around poor product of the NFL. I’m looking at 3, maybe 4 teams though as my core defenses.
Ravens @ Packers (+2)
The amount of injuries ravishing the QB position this season seems to be the most in many years. With Rodgers out, Brett Hundley has tried to hold down the fort but not very well. They squeaked by the Bears and the defense has never been their calling card. The Ravens have always relied on a stout defense and are once again this year save for a couple poor outings. The Jags get all the credit for turnovers but the Ravens have the most INTs on the year with 13. That is well over 1 a game.
Ravens: 2.5 star D | Packers: 1 star D
Lions @ Bears (+3)
I’m going to use the transitive property here and it will backfire spectacularly. The Lions dominated the Packers who then beat the Bears so the Lions will absolutely destroy the home team. Lions D isn’t great but they are no doubt solid despite giving up a few too many points to the Browns last week. The Bears D is mediocre but lack playmakers and overall talent.
Lions: 1.5 star D | Bears: 1 star D
Chiefs @ Giants (+11)
The Giants offense is putrid as they got stifled for the most part by arguably the worst statistical defense in 2017. However, the Chiefs D is also trending in the wrong direction getting blasted by the Cowboys last time out and nothing much else to show before that game. The Giants D is off the map as they let up chunk play after chunk play. There is a reason the line is double digits.
Chiefs: 1 star D | Giants: 0 star D
Redskins @ Saints (-7.5)
We keep saying it every week but the Saints are no longer an offensive juggernaut in their prior form. They are thriving off the run game and defense, allowing 3 points to the starters of the Bills. The Redskins are interesting as they don’t really have any viable threats on offense but have been putting up points vs stingy defenses (Vikings, @ Seahawks) despite turning the ball over. Redskins have fumbled 17 times this season. Although the offense has been scooting along, the defense is causing many more problems. They gave up huge games to Case Keenum and Russell Wilson the last 2 and before that Dak.
Redskins: .5 star D | Saints: 2 star D
Rams @ Vikings (-2)
The Rams have one of the best offenses in football. Jared Goff is leading the league in YPA at over 8.51 yards. Todd Gurley is back in form and the o-line is dominating. They now get to test this high powered offense on the Vikings, who have had one of the best defenses the last few years under Mike Zimmer. That being said, the Vikings gave up over 25 points last week to the Redskins. Conversely, the Vikings have found their own high powered offense as both these teams are the worst matchups for opposing defenses fantasy wise.
Rams: 2 star D | Vikings: 1 star D
Buccaneers @ Dolphins
This game was originally scheduled for week 1 when both teams had much higher hopes. Since then, both teams have proceeded to lose their starting QB and have defenses that are porous at best. I’m not sure which gives here as the Bucs D stood up pretty well last week and the offense mustered 15 points. The Dolphins have put up 20+ points the last few weeks but not convincingly.
Bucs: 1 star D | Dolphins: 1 star D
Cardinals @ Texans
Another game where both teams are without their starting QB and in the Cardinals case, they are on QB3. That being said, it’s another instance where both defenses also suck as the Texans were thoroughly trounced last week and the Cardinals have been just as bad save for Patrick Peterson.
Cardinals: 1 star D | Texans: .5 star D
Jaguars @ Browns (+7.5)
You might have circled this one before the year as prime candidate for mid season TNF game but this one actually has some implications this year. The Jaguars D has been historically good and the Browns are a dumpster fire on offense.
Jaguars: 4 star D | Browns: 1 star D
Bills @ Chargers
The Bills are starting a rookie QB which automatically gives the Chargers a boost. The Chargers are conversely starting Kellen Clemens if Phil Rivers can’t clear concussion protocol. That being said, both defenses aren’t great to begin with as the Bills let up 47 points to the Saints ground game.
Bills: .5 star D | Chargers: 1 star D
Patriots @ Raiders (+7) *In Mexico*
The Pats dominated at 7,000 ft against one of the best defenses in the NFL and are staying at mile high to acclimate. Their defense has also acclimated nicely the last few weeks, surrending zero 300 yard passers after giving up over 300 in every game to start the season. The Raiders o-line is also much better running the ball than passing as they literally broke their QBs back a few weeks ago. On the other side, the Raiders have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL so I like Brady and the Pats to carve it up.
Patriots: 1.5 star D | Raiders: 0 star D
Bengals @ Broncos (-2.5)
The Broncos once vaunted D was exposed the last two weeks – granted it was arguably the two best offenses and teams in the league. Cincy is neither so I expect a bounce back game from them. On the Bengals front, they fought hard against the TItans but will now be without Vontaze Burfict who got ejected again.
Bengals: 1.5 star D | Broncos: 1.5 star D
Eagles @ Cowboys (+3.5)
This game had a lot of pop prior to the Zeke suspension and now it feels like a blowout for the Eagles. This obviously benefits the Eagles defense but the bigger absence if it holds true is Sean Lee. The Cowboys are a much better defense with Lee in the middle and got torn up by the Falcons run game when he left.
Eagles: 2 star D | Cowboys: .5 star D
Greg Zuerlein (5300) He’s the best kicker in the league and should be in a high scoring game in a dome. If you have the room, lock and load.
Kai Forbath (4800) The opposite kicker in that high schoring affair in Minneapolis is $500 cheaper than Zeurlein and just as much potential
Phil Dawson (4600) Old and cheap and accurate. In what I view as a higher scoring affair, I like Dawson to kick a few right down the middle.