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MagicSportsGuide Week 11 DFS breakdown

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Welcome to The Breakdown for Week 11, a deep game-by-game breakdown that covers game theory as well as player/game analysis for the full NFL weekend DFS slate. If you have been with me from a past life, welcome back! I know there are many game-by-game articles out there, so I truly appreciate the loyalty.

I encourage you to read the whole article, as there is a lot of roster construction and other strategy tips you will miss. I also have on-going jokes and other fun things I slip in to see who is reading and who is not. OK, enough with my BS, let’s get into Week 11.

#FTNDaily

All odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook as of the start of the week.

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans

HOU +10 @ TEN, O/U 44.5
Implied team totals: TEN 27.25, HOU 17.25

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

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  • It’s only two games, but every underlying stat is down significantly for TEN since Derrick Henry went on IR. Despite that trend, TEN has a 27.5 team total (T-3rd on the slate).
  • HOU is 29th in points per drive allowed and 32nd in points and yards gained per drive.
  • TEN DST is hot, averaging 12.75 FPPG over their last four. They sacked LAR and NO 9 times, two offensive lines that rank in the top-10 in adjusted sack rate allowed.
  • TEN is fifth in adjusted sack rate and 12th in pressure rate while not blitzing much. That has led to 4 INTs in their last three.
  • TEN is a pass funnel, seeing the second-highest pass rate against in neutral and overall.
  • Potential bad weather game. I will update Sunday if needed.

 Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

A.J. Brown’s weekly target share over the past five games is 33%, 36%, 42%, 34% and 14%. Clearly last week stands out as an outlier, with Marcus Johnson and Geoff Swaim leading the way at 18%. He is still sixth overall in target share at 31.2% and is in a classic get-well spot against HOU. He is a top-five WR on the slate.

GPP/MME

D’Onta Foreman is a sneaky large-field GPP play against this terrible HOU rush defense. He moved from 19% to 37% last week in team rush share and should get a bump with Jeremey McNichols OUT (concussion). Foreman ran 7 routes, compared to 3 for Adrian Peterson and 8 for McNichols. Assuming he moves into the third-down, two-minute, long down and distance work in addition to the rush share, Foreman could blow up at 1-2%. 

Both Brown and Ryan Tannehill are better values on FanDuel and Yahoo, so I will get more exposure on those sites. The rest of this Titans team is not great for DFS, even in a prime matchup, but I do think you can roll out Marcus Johnson with Tannehill or where you need a cheap WR (5-100-0 on 6 targets last week, 67% of snaps). Johnson ran 19 routes, second to Brown’s 20. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (13 routes) and Chester Rogers (12 routes) were the other WRs filling in with Julio Jones out, but it’s Johnson or Brown for me with Tannehill.

Brandin Cooks continues to thrive off volume and great script. He is averaging 9.3 targets per game and is the only HOU player I am considering on TEN stacks. The Titans have been much better on D, yet still fell to last in FPPG allowed to WRs after allowing 2 more TD passes last week (14 TD passes allowed, 31st) and will (likely) be without Janoris Jenkins, who would have been his primary matchup. 

Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills

IND +7.5 @ BUF, O/U 50.5
Implied team totals: BUF 29, IND 21.5

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • BUF is first in defensive yards, points per drive and points allowed.
  • BUF is third in pace and fifth in pass rate (neutral).
  • BUF is first in net yards per drive by a full 2 yards over Dallas (IND is 14th).
  • BUF is allowing 284 total yards and 13.8 per game at home (first).
  • IND CB Xavier Rhodes will play. Actually, both teams are very healthy for this late in the year, with LB Tremaine Edmunds the only questionable player.

Weather 

The weather in Buffalo Sunday is expected to be 50 degrees and cloudy with a chance of rain.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

 

IND has allowed the most WR TDs this season (15) and the fourth-most fantasy points. They are healthier, but none of these IND CBs can cover Stefon Diggs. He is in my top two with CeeDee Lamb, given he is less expensive and projected to have a lower roster percentage than Davante Adams. He posted 6-128-1 on 14.4 YPT in this postseason matchup last season. 

Josh Allen is expensive so won’t make it into the optimal/cash lineup but remains a top-three GPP play due to his (incredibly high) ceiling. IND has allowed strong rushing production to QBs this season, including 5-33-0 last week to Trevor Lawrence. In the playoff game last season Allen passed for 324 yards and two TDs while adding 11-54-1 on the ground, which seems like a reasonable projection again (player props are 285.5 and 34.5). IND has allowed nearly 8 YPA despite playing the Jets and Jaguars in their last two games. I will have Allen in three-max and some single-entries. 

GPP/MME

I ignored Cole Beasley’s injury designation last week (something he has had all season) and got burned. He played just 9 snaps, catching 2 balls for 15 yards. Sean McDermott said his snaps were limited last week due to the blowout, so I expect his snaps to increase to the 65% range again. We have attacked Kenny Moore in the slot all season, making this an important situation to handicap correctly. Beasley has two big games already following duds and has nearly doubled his production at home this season. At $4.8k on DK, he would be a lock without the injury concerns. 

Jonathan Taylor leads the league in red-zone touches with 52. He has over 100 rush yards in four of five games and is the RB2 on the season, behind only the King. I thought the JAX rush D could play well against him, and they did after getting beaten up on the opening drive. JT racked up nearly 50% of his total yards on that one drive, including a 34-yard carry. He then posted just 8 yards on 10 touches in the second half. 

The positive from the JAX game was his passing work and snap count, seeing a season-high 8 targets on 84% of snaps (also a season best). It appears they are ready to use him as a true RB1, which hurts the GPP value of Nyheim Hines while making JT gamescript-proof. The Bills have great stats against RBs, but the lack of attempts and competition play a factor, they did allow Derrick Henry 156 total yards and 3 scores. He is a strong GPP play at low projected ownership, but with the amount of RB value (and Christian McCaffrey), he is not making it into cash/optimal.

Emmanuel Sanders and Dawson Knox are GPP only plays on your Allen stacks. Michael Pittman saw a down game in usage with T.Y. Hilton back and IND featuring Taylor as a pass catcher. He performed well against this defense in the Wild Card game (5-90-1), but it took 10 targets to get there. He is not a priority this week against the league’s top pass defense. 

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

NO +2 @ PHI, O/U 43.5
Implied team totals: PHI 22.75, NO 20.75

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • PHI has moved to a BAL-style offense, which makes sense given their personnel. They passed 3 times in the entire second half last week and will need their opponent to score enough to take them out of it. Their resolve will be tested this week against a NO rush defense that is first (by a good margin) in adjusted and RB YPC.
  • This is a battle of strengths: PHI is first in expected points added per rush and NO is first in the same metric on the defensive side (per PFF).
  • NO has gone more pass heavy with Trevor Siemian under center and Alvin Kamara OUT. PHI has been better against the pass this season which has their opponents running at the seventh-highest rate.
  • NO has been without OL Terron Armstead and now Ryan Ramczyk will join him, which is significant. Both have been very good this season.
  • NO has extreme defensive splits, allowing a league-high 424 total yards at home and 294 on the road (third fewest).

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

Mark Ingram will get another start for Alvin Kamara. He was inefficient as a runner last week but made up for it in the receiving department, catching 4-of-7 targets for 64 yards. PHI got touched up a bit last week by the DEN RBs (5.4 YPC) but were good for the three games prior (3.8 YPC, last 3). Per our Derek Brown, “Since Week 5, they are bolstering the league’s third-best mark against explosive runs, and they are 11th in red zone rushing defense.

Ingram is priced out for me on FD, but remains a value on DK where you are hoping for another high target share (25% RB target share with Siemian, 29% RB target share on the season for NO is first). 

Adam Trautman has at least six targets in each of his past three games and is a viable low-dollar/low-rostership play this week. PHI is last in FPPG allowed and DVOA to TEs, so if there were ever a week for him to break out/score, this is it. 

GPP/MME

Jalen Hurts has had the air taken out a bit due to the slower pass and high rush rate. Sure, he can benefit with more rush attempts, but as I experienced last week, three pass attempts in the second half will not win a GPP. With NO being so tough against the run, there is a shot for the pass rate to go up this week, but I could also see a lot of third-and-long situations, which is not good for his skill set. I am always enticed by the rushing upside so will have GPP shares but can’t put him in the cash/single-entry section with the new scheme and so many elite QB options on the slate. 

DeVonta Smith is the alpha I predicted he would be, small size and all. Of course, the pass rate “hurts” him, but when they do throw they look in his direction, seeing 37% and 27% of team targets in his last two. If you are going to win a GPP with Hurts, Smith will likely come along for the ride. 

Miles Sanders is probable to return, making this a four-man committee with Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell. Really, it’s five if you count Hurts as a runner (9.7 carries per game). That said, if PHI does go back to Sanders as the primary ball carrier, he will have appeal. PHI has rushed 41 times per game in the last three, so even a 50% rush share for Sanders in this system would be double his current season average of 9 attempts per game. I don’t think that will happen this week, and we want no part of RBs against NO anyway, but it will be a situation to monitor for future slates. 

I have been fading the NO WRs all year and will again this week. If one of them hits at sub-5% rostership (or less) it won’t affect our days. 

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

MIA -3.5 @ NYJ, O/U 45
Implied team totals: MIA 24.25, NYJ 20.75

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • There’s rain in the forecast, which is worth monitoring. I don’t worry about weather with high-end QBs (unless it is high winds), but when it comes to bad teams and bad QBs I lower the bar a bit further.
  • MIA has averaged 2 takeaways per game in the last three (T-2nd). NYJ averaged 2.4 giveaways per game on the season and 3.3 over their last three (last), thanks to four Mike White interceptions last week.
  • MIA DST has allowed 100-plus more total yards and 5.6 more points per game on the road (27.2) this season. They posted 18 and 17 FP in their last two and now get the friendliest offense for defensive points (10.1 FP).
  • MIA is first in pace and 3rd in neutral pass rate. They passed at a 42% rate last week once up by 8-plus, which is a risk for the pass catchers against the Jets.
  • The Jets have run 383 plays when down by at least 8, 114 more than second-place JAX.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

Myles Gaskin has seen 80% and 66% of team rush attempts in their last two with 34 carries to just six for Salvon Ahmed. They can’t run block, 31st in adjusted and RB YPC gained. Jets are a matchup to attack anyway, last in FP allowed by over 8 per game than SEA (146 rush yards, last 3). 

Tua Tagovailoa will start after practicing in full Thursday. He has been predictable in his four starts, struggling against NE and BUF (16.5 FPPG), who are top five in DVOA against the pass, while averaging 26.95 FPPG versus ATL and JAX (30th and 31st). NYJ is 32nd in DVOA, 31st in completion rate against and 31st in YPA (9.1 YPA last 3). They have been this bad all along, but the low opponent pass rate kept the overall numbers down. As their offense has shown more life they have been exposed (325 passing yards, 2.5 TDs allowed per game in their last five). 

Mike Gesicki may feel uncomfortable to click on after posting a goose egg last week on 7 targets. Push through that, because he is a top TE on the slate. His two blow-up games came with Tua under center, going over 21 FP against both ATL and JAX. NYJ is 30th in DVOA against TEs and 28th versus the slot (70% of Gesicki’s targets come via the slot). 

Michael Carter should be in line for another big workload with Joe Flacco at QB. I think they are sick of the turnovers and sacks and want to run the ball for as long as the scoreboard allows. He is similar to Gaskin with a poor offensive line (28th), in a good matchup, and with usage locked in by either running it or catching passes (NYJ have a 30% RB target rate, last 3). 

Jaylen Waddle is the other MIA player to use in your stacks, leading the team with 8.6 targets per game (sixth overall). Albert Wilson and Isaiah Ford saw unusually high usage last week (25% combined), so I suppose there is more risk than in previous weeks (DeVante Parker is on IR).

GPP/MME

N/A

Washington Football Team @ Carolina Panthers

WAS +3 @ CAR, O/U 43
Implied team totals: CAR 23, WAS 20

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • WFT allowed 33.3 points per game in Weeks 2-6 but held first-ranked TB, seventh-ranked GB and DEN (18th) to 20.3 PPG.
  • CAR played at a league-average pace with Cam Newton (partly) in the first half last week and was back to a heavy rush attack (37% pass rate). Once they got the lead, they moved very slow and passed just 7 times in the second half (28% pass rate). They asked Cam to pass just 4 times for 8 yards, with Phillip Walker passing 29 times for 177 yards and an INT.
  • CAR wants to run, averaging 35.7 attempts for 157 yards per game over their last three (second).
  • WFT also slowed things up last week with a favorable script, playing at the third-slowest pace in week 10. This is going to be slow with a lot of rush attempts.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

Christian McCaffrey has come back to play 59% of snaps, missing another fourth-quarter due to a blowout. He just oozes fantasy points, averaging 6.6 FP per quarter on DK since returning despite running into some bad luck with TD variance, getting multiple overturned and/or called down. CMC even joked to the media about giving up the TDs, “You’ve got to score from farther out, man,” he said with a laugh. “Can’t get tackled at the 1 or 2. Got to find a way.” 

WFT has a strong rush defense but will be without Montez Sweat and Chase Young. CAR has targeted their backs 26 times in two games with CMC (42.6% overall, first), with Ameer Abdullah seeing 4.5 targets per game. I think Abdullah will lose some of that playing time this week, which makes CMC’s floor and ceiling the highest on the slate (WFT has allowed a league-high 7 receiving TDs to RBs). 

Cam Newton is back in our lives at $5.1k on DraftKings. He and CMC will likely be in the Sunday morning cash/optimal lineup. At $14k combined, we need 42 FP to hit 3x and we have them conservatively projected for (exactly 42 FP, giving 24 to CMC and 18 to Cam). In 2018 (the last time they played a full season together) CMC averaged 26.38 fantasy points per game, Cam 19.94. For (large-field) GPPs, there is a strong case to play them together, hoping to capture all of the TDs.

GPP/MME

CAR has been good against bad offensive teams, which WFT qualifies as (21st in points per drive), so I am OK if you just cross them out completely if you are in cash, single-entry or three-max. 

Antonio Gibson was over 70% in snap rate last week coming off the bye. He scored twice on a season-high in touches. He scored twice, which makes his game log look nice, but his efficiency was awful (3 yards per touch). This was the perfect setup, with Tom Brady turning it over and setting up scoring chances that led to Gibson’s perfect script (a WFT blowout). After such heavy usage I will be curious to see how they use this week with this team clearly not going anywhere this season since the shin injury is not going away until after the season. We have attacked this CAR run defense lately with the script last week being the only thing to stop the run, so this one is tough for me. I will monitor practice and beat writers leading up to the game — if he has a shot for 20-plus touches again we want a little exposure in our MME player pools. 

With Cam and CMC back, this could turn into a J.D. McKissic week, but like Gibson the script will dictate their usage and DFS value. With CAR rolling in AZ, McKissic only got six touches. He remains the long down and distance, third-down and two-minute drill back, which is why I am always so hesitant to invest into Gibson. 

Terry McLaurin came back after leaving with a collarbone injury to post 6-59-0 on 8 targets (9.3 targets per game this season, ninth). He is the clear alpha of the passing game, but the matchup isn’t great with Donte Jackson and Stephon Gilmore lining up outside for CAR (fourth-fewest fantasy points to receivers). The Panthers have had Jackson and Gilmore play some matchup-based defense with Kyle Pitts and Nelson Agholor recently, so I would not be surprised to see McLaurin receive similar treatment with so little else to worry about. F1 can get loose against man coverage and can move inside to try and get a better matchup, but with so many great options at WR and his price still up with the big boys I will have very little exposure. 

I don’t think Cam is a negative for DJ Moore, considering how bad the QB play has been, but his TD probability had to take a hit with CMC and Cam being so prolific inside the red zone. If WFT somehow gets a lead, he could be a thing, but there will be better spots for this passing offense. Again, WFT was terrible to start but did a solid job against the TB WRs and held Davante Adams to 6-76-1.

Robby Anderson also got 18% of targets and a TD catch, we also saw Tommy Tremble get his highest target share and route percentage. Terrace Marshall is also back in the mix, which makes all these guys tough to play with them sharing the leftovers after CMC eats. 

John Bates stepped in after Ricky Seals-Jones was hurt after posting 3-40-0 on 3 targets (45% of snaps). He played 64% and assumed the RSJ role, running 14 routes and catching all three of his targets for 25 yards. He is just a guy, not very athletic but has the job with no other healthy bodies at the position. At $2.5k he is OK in your MME pool at 5% or less. 

DeAndre Carter has seen a spike in usage, 16% and 18% in his last two, which puts him in the top three with McLaurin and JD McKissic. He is OK if you are looking for a low-rostered, sub-$3.5k WR.

Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns

DET +11.5 @ CLE, O/U 43.5
Implied team totals: CLE 27.5, CLE 16

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • CLE plays slow and loves to run it, which is not breaking news.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

Nick Chubb is back and DET has allowed 142 rush yards per game in their last three and 156.3 at home this season. There is some risk with D’Ernest Johnson playing so well and Jared Goff almost certainly OUT, but the matchup and talent are too good to pass up. He could go for over 100 on 15 carries, as he did prior to landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 List (14-137-2 against CIN). DET LB and defensive team captain Trey Flowers is OUT. Let’s hope Johnson scares people off as Chubb could break the slate at reasonably low ownership. 

GPP/MME

With Jared Goff likely OUT I expect DET to play very slow and lean on their backs. Last week they had the second-highest rush neutral rush rate, giving D’Andre Swift a career-high 33 rush attempts. Jamaal Williams is back, and I expect both he and Swift to be featured for as long as DET keeps it somewhat close. 

Tim Boyle was 22-of-39 this preseason (56%) for 6.1 YPA. He is a big guy, big arm but has yet to get a shot in the regular season. With how bad Goff has been I doubt this is much of a change for DET. It also doesn’t change anything for DFS, other than a hope he locks onto T.J. Hockenson, something Goff was unwilling to do. 

It’s a good matchup for Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Donovan Peoples-Jones, and I am OK just fading them and playing either Chubb or the CLE DST. CLE has allowed 18.6 PPG at home, compared to 29.6 on the road. 

San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

SF -6.5 @ JAX, O/U 45.5
Implied team totals: SF 26, JAX 19.5

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • SF sticks to their game plan, rushing at the third-highest neutral rate. Last week they passed at a 13% rate (2 attempts) in the fourth quarter. That is a risk again for Deebo Samuel and George Kittle if the Niners get a lead of 8 or more.
  • 49ers are 18th in neutral pace, JAX ninth. SF rushed at a 92% rate on first down last week and are fifth in first-down rush rate.
  • JAX is good against the run, seventh in rush DVOA versus 31st in pass DVOA. With SF so thin at RB we could (hopefully) see an uptick in neutral pass rate.
  • JAX is eighth in pressure rate, SF just 25th.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

Jeffery Wilson is the last man standing in the SF backfield with JaMycal Hasty out and Elijah Mitchell doubtful. Pinnacle pulled his props last night and posted Wilson with a rush-yard line of 82.5-. Trey Sermon is healthy, but SF seems to have no interest in using him. Again, the matchup is not good (JAX fifth in RB YPC allowed), but SF can get into a situation like last week where they ran 44 times and that kind of volume is not available at $5k on FanDuel. 

Deebo Samuel has seen a dip in usage with the return of George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk getting out of the doghouse. Last week they showed just how much they hate Sermon by asking their star WR to carry the ball 5 times for 36 yards and a rush TD. With so few healthy backs left, I expect we will see him in the backfield again this week. Shaquill Griffin has been shadowing lately, doing a decent job on Stefon Diggs (6-85-0) and Michael Pittman (5-71-0). Deebo is playing at such an elite level I will not let Griffin scare me off, he is a top-five WR on the slate. 

Dan Arnold has been a mainstay in the breakdown since he arrived in JAX. The public is all over him now and he will be the chalk again. However, this slate features Travis Kelce, Kittle and Darren Waller, so ownership will be more spread out. Arnold has averaged 7.4 targets per game over his last five and leads the team in target share (last 3). He just missed a TD last week, getting tripped up at the goal line, so don’t think we have seen his ceiling. 

George Kittle can only be stopped by his own coaching staff. Once they put him in run-blocking mode, he will disappear. The other side of that is a 36% target share last week and TDs in two straight. Jacksonville is 30th in yards per target, 27th in catch rate, and 11th in FPPG to the position despite facing a weak TE schedule. 

 GPP/MME

If by some miracle JAX can score a little and dare I say have a lead into the second half, Jimmy Garoppolo could be a thing for GPPs. He has games with 23 and 30 FP in his last three, only getting cut off from a third 20-fantasy-point game due to the script and SF shutting the passing attack down. That is the likely scenario again, but the 30% chance it is not leads me to wanting some Jimmy-Deebo-Kittle stacks (combined for a 52% target share last week). 

The guy who could screw that up and someone to consider in your MME player pool with Jimmy G is Brandon Aiyuk, who has seen 25%, 20% and 21% of team targets since being removed from Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. The other factor is JAX has shown a strong pass rush recently and now ranks eighth in QB pressure rate. 

JAX defense has looked legit in consecutive weeks against the Bills and Colts so can be used as a punt DST in hopes “Bad Jimmy G” makes an appearance. 

Jamal Agnew hit for us last week but let’s be honest, it was lucky. He failed to catch any of his 5 targets and saw his lowest target share in three weeks. Trevor Lawrence looks really bad at times, missing easy throws and averaging 4.5 YPA in his last three games which makes all these WRs a pass this week. 

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

GB -2.5 @ MIN, O/U 49.5
Implied team totals: GB 26, MIN 23.5

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • Green Bay moves very slow, dead last in neutral pace.
  • MIN can help, sitting at fourth in neutral pace, but GB has had a way of sucking the life out of games this season from a fantasy perspective.
  • Both teams are slightly above league average in pass rates. The best scenario here is MIN getting up big early. We need GB to be motivated to turn up the pace and get Aaron Rodgers out of the haze he has been in all season (QB12 in 2021 after finishing as QB4 in 2020).
  • GB is 2-8 to the UNDER this season; MIN is 0-4 to the UNDER at home.
  • The other side of that trend is that these teams combined for 63.5 PPG in their two meetings last season including a 43-34 fantasy bonanza in the dome. Of course, last year, GB led the league in scoring, and this year they are 19th at just 21.6 PPG.
  • GB also improved on defense, allowing the third-fewest points on 5.1 YPP (3rd).

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

AJ Dillon should be the chalk with Aaron Jones OUT. Dillon was already seeing a major uptick in playing time prior to the injury so should step in and be a RB1 out of the gate. GB doesn’t have much behind Dillon. Pass-catching back Kylin Hill is on IR, leaving Patrick Taylor and Ryquell Armstead. Dillon saw 23 touches last week for 128 total yards and 2 scores. 

MIN is a rush defense I have been attacking for two seasons, so this will be a tough fade for me, and I may just hit the lock button. There are so many “chalky” RBs on this slate (Dillon, Jeffery Wilson, Mark Ingram, James Conner, Myles Gaskin, the KC/DAL stack, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, David Montgomery) that they simply all can’t be “chalk” or at least not so highly rostered that you shouldn’t play them. Yes, some chalk will bust, but it’s a lot to ask for all 10 of those top backs to flop at one time, all while you go galaxy brain and nail 2-3 low-rostered plays on the same roster. 

Mix in low-used plays, but don’t go crazy thinking you need to outright fade AJD because someone on Twitter says he is chalk. 

MIN is 32nd in adjusted line yards and in the bottom five in most defensive rushing stats. They will get some players back this week from injury/COVID-19, but Michael Pierce and Danielle Hunter are on IR. He is my No. 1 RB on the slate behind CMC, due to the big price break. 

With CMC back and all those value RBs, Dalvin Cook is just 11th in our roster percentage model and could easily be the slate breaker. He got a season-high 27 touches last week and broke his TD cold streak. More importantly he saw a dramatic increase in routes run (27, season high), which is huge for his upside. The only reason I was off him for a few weeks was the lack of receiving work (4 catches in 3 games). 

GB is not the defensive turnstile against RBs as it once was, but it is the place to attack. They feature a top-eight pass D while 24th against the run (DVOA) and 28th in adjusted line yards allowed. 

Minnesota has been killed by WR1s, allowing over yard a game on 8-plus targets. Davante Adams has killed the Vikings in his career, so do the math and get 15-20% Adams exposure if you MME. Put him on 1-of-3 three-max rosters, fade him in SE and call it a day. 

GPP/MME

Justin Jefferson got the squeaky wheel treatment last week after nine targets in two games, seeing 14 targets (9-143-1) against LAC. JJ is so good he could be a cash game play on most weeks, but with GBs pace and ability to play in low scoring games, combined with so many great WR options have me (uncomfortably) underweight on JJ, Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins. I am playing 100 lineups on Yahoo so will have stacks, but they won’t make the three-max cutline. 

Aaron Rodgers is a fade with the way MIN can create pressure and it being the most effective tool against him. Like Cousins, I will have about 3-5%, max. 

Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears 

BAL -4.5 @ CHI, O/U 45
Implied team totals: BAL 24.75, CHI 20.25

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

Marquise Brown is OUT, putting both Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins on our radar. 

The issue now is Lamar Jackson was downgraded Saturday to questionable, which puts this game into the “wait for Sunday morning” category. This happens every year as injuries take a toll, so be sure to check in on the update. Like Kyler Murray, Lamar changes the game for all players on both sides. 

Bateman saw a downturn in playing time last week with Watkins back, but that is no longer an issue with Brown out. This is a good thing, as it will lower ownership on Michael Gallup. I am a big Bateman fan and he showed why last week, catching 6-of-8 targets for 80 yards on 55% of snaps, his lowest of the season. 

Mark Andrews should also get a bump with Hollywood OUT and is already seeing over 8 targets per game in his last three. CHI has been good against TEs, but the expected volume and a high red-zone market share keep him in the (overall) TE1 conversation. 

GPP/MME 

Darnell Mooney gets a bump with Allen Robinson likely OUT. BAL is a strange pass defense — they look elite at times (like the LAC game) while getting killed the next game (against CIN). They give up big plays — 30th in explosive pass rate, which is in line with Mooney’s skill set. 

I worry more about Justin Fields for Mooney than Mooney himself. Fields has looked much better but really struggled against TB, another heavy blitz team. It is his volatility that has Mooney in the GPP bin. That said, I like Fields for those that multi-enter. He has 8-plus rush attempts in three straight and is getting more confident as a passer every week, posting a career-best 291 passing yards in PIT. 

I also like Cole Kmet here if you play Fields or as a one-off. He came along with his QB, catching 6-of-8 targets for 87 yards in PIT. Disregard BAL shutting down Mike Gesicki last week, as he is a slot WR, not a TE. Despite that incorrect designation, BAL has still allowed 8.9 targets (first) and 72.7 yards (third) per game to TEs. The Jimmy Graham end-zone targets are infuriating, which is why I have him down here and not in cash/single-entry. 

David Montgomery is projected to be 15% rostered in our model, which seems high considering how many great backs in great spots there are. I get the usage — he is getting carries and red-zone and passing-down work, but in a potential negative script I don’t want to rely on targets with so many options at the position. We can’t play all these RBs in three-max so I will fade him outright in those contests. 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders

CIN -1 @ LV, O/U 50
Implied team totals: CIN 25.5, LV 24.5

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • The Bengals are seventh in neutral pace with the second-highest neutral passing rate (70.5%).
  • Las Vegas is 12th (pace) and sixth (65.5% pass rate) over their last three games without Chucky Gruden at the helm.
  • After coming out hot this season (30 PPG, first fir), LV has averaged just 21 PPG over the last three.
  • CIN is fourth in yards per play, and LV allows the third-most plays per game.
  • CIN has pushed their opponents to the pass (63%), which if combined with a CIN lead could get LV throwing and turn this into the shootout the oddsmakers think it is.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

The Joe Burrow/Tee Higgins/Ja’Marr Chase stack is one of my favorite on the slate. Burrow and company have had a week off to prepare for this game, while LV played Sunday night and has been surrounded by off-the-field turmoil all season. 

The only thing I worry about for that stack is the script. If CIN gets a big lead they will close it out with Joe Mixon, who has a great matchup as well (22nd in explosive rush rate, 27 FPPG allowed to RBs).  With so many RBs to play this week, Mixon will go (very) under-rostered and thus needs to be in your player pool for 10% or more (twice the field). LV has allowed 4 TD catches to backs and Mixon has two in his last four games with 5 targets in his last two. 

I will run it back with both Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow (9 targets in his last two games with 7 receptions and a TD in each) on CIN stacks and will have 2-3% of Carr/Waller/Renfrow stacks where I MME, but I am not big on this Raiders offense against a CIN team that is coming in rested and prepared. 

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks

ARI -2.5 @ SEA, O/U 48
Implied team totals: ARI 25.25, SEA 22.75

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • The passing rates for both teams are horrific, and I am pretty sure watching Pete Carroll coach games has cost me (at least) two years off my lifespan
  • With Kyler Murray a game-time decision (again), I am holding off on a full breakdown as a Murray vs. Russell Wilson matchup is significantly different than RW3 vs. (also questionable) Colt McCoyThese coaches love to run, so we need both QBs firing on all cylinders to get this to the shootout we saw last year (the “FantasyGuruDrew” game).
  • With both Dallas/KC and CIN/LV in the late slate, we can reserve some lineups with SEA/AZ stacks and then pivot if Kyler is OUT.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

James Conner is in a good spot with Chase Edmonds on IR and SEA allowing 30 rush attempts per game (third most). I would prefer Kyler to be playing but will have a good amount of exposure either way with him being a TD machine this season (12 TDs, first). SEA isn’t as bad as many think against the run — they did get smashed by King Henry for 180 yards in Week 2 but have not been that bad since. They are eighth in rush DVOA on 3.97 RB yards per carry. They held AJ Dillon to 3 YPC and Alvin Kamara 2.5 YPC in their past three games. 

DeAndre Hopkins is OUT, so if Kyler plays we want exposure to A.J. Green and especially Christian Kirk

My favorite player in this game (regardless of Kyler) is Tyler Lockett. Lockett sticks out on our air yards table after finishing second in Week 10. RW3 was clearly rusty last week, but they clearly want to connect deep and that is what we want in GPPs. 

DK Metcalf is also a GPP target after looking so bad last week, though like everyone else I would prefer Kyler to play so these QBs can get into a shootout.

Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs

DAL +2.5 @ KC, O/U 56
Implied team totals: KC 29.25, DAL 26.75

Pace, Playcalling, Stats & Trends

  • KC has been the worst team against the spread for nearly two seasons, going 4-14 at home since the beginning of 2020 (11-18 overall). That includes five straight losses ATS this season at home and nine straight in Arrowhead overall.
  • Dallas is the best ATS this season, 8-1 overall and 4-0 on the road.
  • This is the largest total on the slate by a full 6 points over CIN/LV.
  • DAL is first in yards per play, first in points per game and third in plays per game, passing at the eighth-highest rate overall (neutral).
  • With the offensive explosion last week in LV, KC jumped past DAL in both yards and points per drive. They are now first in yards per drive despite being 10th in overall scoring, signaling more positive regression is incoming.

Cash, Single-Entry, Three-Max Plays, High-Dollar GPP

(In order of personal exposure) 

This is one of those games where all the key offensive players are in play, both as one-offs and in stacks. One way to attack this game from a GPP perspective is going all in or out. Fade it altogether, turn off the TV, and head to church for afternoon mass to pray it busts. 

The other (smarter) way to get exposure is by running lineups with the optimizer with the rule “at least one or two players from this game.” That way you will get some exposure in combo with your early slate players in case this game ends up 34-30. 

Dak Prescott is cheaper and projected to be half the rostership of Patrick Mahomes. KC has allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position and is 27th in pass DVOA. 

After 12 fantasy points per game over his previous three, Mahomes exploded for 39 against the Raiders. DAL has given up production to QBs too (12th) but are top seven in pass DVOA. This is like deciding whether to drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini, both are very fast and fun to drive.

Darrel Williams is tied for second with 19 RB targets in his last three games. He has caught 24-of-27 targets over his last five games, and DAL has allowed a 78% catch rate to backs. With Dak being my preference, DWill is my preferred runback (if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out) with the thought of Dak going off and DWill being active as a receiver again. If CEH is active I will just fade them both.

Update: CEH was activated. If he makes it through warmups and appears good to go, it is safe to fade both RBs.

Ezekiel Elliott got home thanks to two TD rushes last week, but his efficiency remains down, amassing 56 total yards and 17 touches. I don’t like that his price increased by 10% from last week on DK so will be underweight compared to the field. 

As predicted, CeeDee Lamb saw a spike in slot usage last week with Michael Gallup back and went off, catching 4 balls for 48 yards and two scores on 4 slot targets. What is crazy about the Lamb breakout last week is he only played 42% of snaps due to the blowout, his previous low was 71%.

With Amari Cooper out and Cedrick Wilson healthy, Lamb will likely go back to playing mostly outside. This isn’t the end of the world — he is plenty talented to play outside — it’s just worth noting as he dominates from the slot. He is my No. 1 WR in this game and a top-five play overall with double-digit targets incoming. 

Gallup will be popular at his low price and with Cooper sidelined with COVID-19, but he is the clear choice as the “value WR” of the slate in terms of price/projection. I will likely be overweight on the field, it is one thing to fade chalky WRs in great spots at high prices, or even mid-tier prices where there are tons of replacement options, it is another to fade a $4.2k WR in a starting role, tied to Dak in a 56 total. He only needed 56% of snaps last week to see 5 targets (3-42-0) and that was with Cooper on the field. He should play in two-wide sets now, which should get his snap share into the 70%-80% range. 

Tyreek Hill has a seven-game streak of 9-plus targets, averaging 12.1 per game. My only issue with him in the past was inconsistent usage, so there is nothing not to love about Tyreek in this spot other than price and roster construction. Dallas has allowed solid production to WRs despite playing one of the softest WR schedules this season, with games against DEN, NE, PHI and depleted ATL and NYG teams (DAL 23rd in explosive play percentage). 

Travis Kelce is the clear-cut TE1 on the slate, and there is plenty of value to squeeze him in. This feels like a spot he goes for 25-plus, something he hasn’t done since Week 2. DAL is 24th in DVOA against TEs. 

Dalton Schultz should see his usage go back up this week with Amari Cooper out. It has been bad lately, seeing 12%-17%-12%-6% of team targets, but I would expect them to use him more from the slot (20% slot rate this season). I would not trust him in cash, but I will be using him in Dak stacks. KC shut Darren Waller down last week but remain in the top seven in FP allowed to TEs. 

Cash/SE Core

UPDATE (11:45 AM) – Lamar Jackson is OUT. I am moving off of Bateman outside of MME and moving on to CHI DST on DraftKings.

Core (FanDuel)

Core (DraftKings)

If you don’t want to stack in CASH you can move from Lamb and  Chase to Diggs or Deebo Samuel. You can also move from Prescott to Tua Tagovailoa or Cam Newton and squeeze in Davante Adams if you prefer

Stack Ranks 

  1. DAL/KC
  2. CIN
  3. BUF
  4. MIA
  5. TEN

My player exposures (not in the core)

Quarterback 

Running Back

Wide Receiver 

Tight End

DST 

  • CLE
  • CAR
  • WFT
  • TEN
  • SF (Yahoo)
  • MIA

Low(er) owned

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