I’m starting to become sad that we are on the back end of the regular season. The reality of the off season peers its ugly head over the horizon, but there is no time to focus on that. We must focus on now! And by “now” I mean week 11!
Last week we had some hits in Corey Davis, Mark Ingram, and Eric Ebron that surely won some people some money. Of course they all ended up in different lineups for me therefore minimal success in week ten, but let’s see what this week has to offer.
Drew Brees – $6500 / Alvin Kamara – $8200 / Michael Thomas – $8800
The way the Saints are playing it’s really hard to go wrong with this trio especially in a game with the highest implied total on the main slate. Now considering how terribly my Eagles have been on defense and the injuries they have sustained in the secondary, there is no reason to fade the Saints with home field advantage. The Eagles have given up the 4th most points to QBs and 7th most points to receivers on a per game basis over the last month. We can expect the variance to trend in favor of the Saints this week.
Game Stack: Carson Wentz – $6300 / Zach Ertz – $6600 /Golden Tate – $5500
On the flip side of this matchup, Wentz (3rd in REvA-FP) and the Eagles are desparate to gain ground on the Redskins after a devestating loss at home to the rival Cowboys. What gives them a chance to win in spite of the injuries they have sustained on defense is the fact that the Saints defense is vulnerable especially to receivers (2nd most points yielded over the last month). That is why Ertz and Tate will dominate as they take advantage of mismatches in the middle of the field. People will naturally fade Golden Tate, but he will likely matchup against P.J. Williams in the slot and he has been suspect all season. Ertz is always a mismatch and he will look to build on his two TD outing from last week.
Dak Prescott – $5200 / Ezekiel Elliott – $8500 / Amari Cooper – $5400
Some may look at recent data on the performance of the Atlanta defense and be convinced that the Falcons are improving, but we must look at the competition they have faced. Most recently they have faced the Browns, Redskins, and Giants. Two of those offenses have had their struggles and the Browns are just now shaping into a competitive team. The Browns were able to remind us how vulnerable the Falcons are on the ground and through the air. Scott Linehan knows he’s on the hot seat and must take advantage of bad matchups down the stretch to keep his job. Zeke is a no-brainer play given Atlanta’s reputation against pass catching running backs and the fact that he is averaging 23 touches per game in his last three including 6 targets per contest. Considering what Nick Chubb did on the same amount of touches we should feel confident in this play. The pairing of Dak and Amari is a little risky because we haven’t seen the chemistry develop between them yet, but once it’s seen it’s often too late to get the stack at as inexpensive as it is this week. It makes sense to take advantage here.
Deshaun Watson – $5700 / DeAndre Hopkins – $7900 @ Redskins
Washington hasn’t had the most impressive defense over the last few games although they have held 4 of their last 5 opponents to 17 or less. This could have people fading the Texans too heavily. Consider that they Redskins have allowed the 9th most passing yards on the season, and the last two potent offenses the Redskins faced scored 38+ points in each contest. Watson’s mobility and Hopkins’ hands should provide us a nice ceiling as they have proven they can score points in bunches much like Falcons and Saints were able to do against the Redskins. Washington has given the 4th most points to receivers over the past month and they provide us the 3rd best REvA-FP matchup on the weekend.
David Johnson – $7500 / Cardinals DST – $3100 vs Raiders
This could be one of the last opportunities to get DJ under $8k. Leftwich has shown that he learned a ton while under Arians, and now Johnson is working back to must start status. With 183 total yards, 7 receptions, and two TDs last week, we should be looking at him as a free-square this week. Considering the matchup, the Raiders are just terrible. They really look like they have given up this year, playing for a high draft pick. This is great because the Cardinals should be able to keep the Raiders down on defense and afford more opportunities to the Cardinals offense. Over the last 3 games Oakland has given up 197 yards and a score to running backs. Tasty matchup!
Corey Davis – $5200 @ Colts
Corey Davis has received 10 targets in each of his last two games. Among all receivers on the slate with a similar target volume on the season, he has the best cost per opportunity. This simply means to me he has the best value and must be played. In this higher scoring game where the Titans should be chasing points, why not play him? It’s surprising that he is receiving so much buzz according to FanShare data, but his ownership may be way lower once people focus on the Colts recent performance against receivers. We must remember though the Colts last 4 games included the Jets, Buffalo, Raiders, and Jaguars; hardly scary offenses.
Phillip Lindsay – $5200 @ Chargers
Getting guys in your lineup just off of the bye is great because if they aren’t a premier player many forget about them. Phillip Lindsay is in this very scenario, but there is a little bit of a bonus: Royce Freeman is practicing this week. Why is this a good thing? Because Freeman’s return introduces uncertainty for Lindsay when it shouldn’t because Lindsay has been productive regardless with whom he shares the backfield. The Chargers look like a middling matchup for Lindsay as the Chargers are 15th overall in points to running backs, but over the last month they have given up the most receiving yards and 4th most receptions to the position which is Lindsay’s wheelhouse. Denver is projected as a 7.5-point dog in this game which pushes the assumed game script more in Lindsay’s favor.
Devin Funchess – $5100 @ Lions
It’s not often that one can get WR1s at this price, but when I can I do it. This becomes especially true when this receiver has the most team red zone targets by a significant margin and his opponent has allowed 8 wide receiver touchdowns in their last 4 games. Carolina will surely like to erase last week’s travesty out with a solid performance in a win this week. He will be an under-the-radar play considering Greg Olsen’s presence and his dip in production in his last three games, but this simply screams opportunity for us.
Demaryius Thomas – $4900 @ Redskins
DT used to be a thing, I mean he has had more than 900 receiving yards in each of his last 6 seasons. He is a good receiver and now goes to play with a better passer in Deshaun Watson. They just lost fuller for the season, and while we shouldn’t expect that DT affects the game in the same way, we know that he is still skilled at utilizing his body wisely to make contested receptions. Hopkins is obviously still the “1” and Keke Coutee has the speed to work the other side of the field, so we can guess that Thomas will be in the slot/possession receiver role. His body size, experience, and savvy should warrant him plenty of red zone looks if nothing else over the duration of the season.
Dion Lewis – $4800 @ Colts
Much like Lindsay, Lewis may be too heavily faded this week due to his subpar output last week of 68 total yards and two receptions. His production over the last 3 games shows his average to be 115 total yards and 4 receptions. The Colts have allowed the most receptions and the 2nd most receiving yards to backs in their last 4 games which is a yummy matchup for Lewis. This is further bolstered by the Colts’ 28th DVOA ranking in the air against pass-catching RBs. Great inexpensive play providing a great possible ceiling.
Bargain Bin Shots
Ricky Seals-Jones – $2900 vs Raiders
Seals-Jones has had a quiet season thus far, but with the offensive adjustments that Byron Leftwich has been putting in we can begin to expect more. Oakland is 4th worst in DVOA against the tight end and they have yielded the second most points to the position in their last 3 games. The average tight end performance over this period has been 6 receptions for 100 yards and 1.3 TDs. Let Ricky get that and you will get around 7X value. His price is almost a punt on the position, but the potential is undeniable.
Tre’Quan Smith – $4000 vs Eagles
This game has the second highest total on the weekend and the highest on the main slate. The state of the Eagles secondary is terrible with people going down to torn ACLs or other lower body injuries. Jim Schwartz is going to need to be creative to stop the onslaught that is the Saints offense. This isn’t like last week where the Saints will be able to run at will; they will have to pass. Tre’Quan Smith hasn’t done much since that blowup game against the Redskins a few weeks back, but he provides cheap access to the possibility of a fantasy explosion of production.
Royce Freeman – $3800 @ Chargers
Freeman was a full participant in practice this week which means we should see his return to the offense. Remember he was co-existing with Lindsay quite well before the injury. The Chargers have given up the 8th most points on a per game average over the past month to running backs. This isn’t necessarily the best situation, but it is conceivable that he could return 3x value with 60 yards and a score. If you have to punt a spot to make room for studs on your rosters, this could be a good play.
The Bucs at the Giants seems like a great matchup for Eli and company to do some damage. OBJ should crush this secondary along with Evan Engram and Barkley. Sterling Shepard could even get in on the mix considering that the Bucs have given up the most TDs and 5th most yards through the air per game. On the other side we could expect Fitzpatrick to find O.J. Howard as this is their best matchup overall. However it is scary that last week Tampa Bay showed to be inept on offense which could cause New York to take their foot off the pedal at some point ultimately capping the fantasy output that we receive from this game.
Also there is the consideration of what happens if Fitzpatrick totally craps the bed. Does Tampa Bay go to Winston? There are contract stipulations that make that move ill advised for the franchise, but perhaps Koetter doesn’t care because he is on the edge of losing his job anyway. There are a lot of factors to consider before utilizing assets in this game. Just be thoughtful.
Week 12 Note…
Unfortunately for the readers I will be heavily involved in family events all next week, therefore there will not be a week 12 DFS post. However, I will be posting takes on Twitter about my favorite stacks and bargains as I find little snippets of time so follow me @FFB_Vern. Good luck this weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!