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Week 11 Game-by-Game DFS Breakdown

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Welcome to the game-by-game DFS breakdown for NFL Week 11. In this write-up, I’ll walk you through the players, stacks, one-offs, etc., that I’ll be targeting weekly in DFS. My aim here is that you can apply this encyclopedia of stats and my word vomit to a variety of sites and contests with everything from cash to your GPP entries.

With plenty of words ahead to peruse, let’s dive into this week’s action. 

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills

BUF -7, O/U 50

Pace and playcalling

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This is a game of push and pull. The Bills fast paced (fifth in neutral-script pace) pass heavy (first in neutral passing rate, 67.8%) attack will push the Colts along. Indy will attempt to pull down the play volume ranking 27th in neutral situation pace with their run-balanced approach (15th in neutral passing rate, 58.0%). 

Injuries

Indianapolis

  • Darius Leonard (LB) – (Ankle/Hand – DNP / LP / ) – Status: Questionable 
  • Xavier Rhodes (CB) – (Calf – LP / LP / FP) – Status: No Injury Designation

Buffalo

  • Spencer Brown (OL) – COVID-19 List
  • Star Lotulelei (DL) – COVID-19 List
  • Cole Beasley (WR) – (Ribs – DNP / LP / LP) – Status: No Injury Designation
  • Tremaine Edmunds (LB) – (Hamstring – DNP / DNP / LP) – Status: Questionable

Colts

The Colts DFS options are slim pickings against a defense of this caliber. The Bills are first in total defensive DVOA while ranking first against the pass and third against the run. They are at the top of the heap against quarterbacks (10.6) and wide receivers (14.2), allowing the lowest fantasy points per game marks in the NFL to both positions. They gave up only three receiving touchdowns to wide receivers all season. Patrick Mahomes is the only quarterback to surpass 260 passing yards (272 yards), and he needed 54 attempts (5.0 yards per attempt) to do so. A.J. Brown (91 receiving yards) and Corey Davis (93 receiving yards) are the only top wideouts to surpass 90 yards receiving against this secondary all season, and neither got into the end zone. Even if Michael Pittman hits this threshold, he’s likely not getting you there at his price tag (WR16 $6,100 DraftKings, WR15 $6,900 FanDuel, SuperDraft 1.4x) unless he scores, and that’s a tough bet to make this week. 

The Bills look the part on paper as a scary run defense to target in DFS, but there needs to be some context like I’ve mentioned in previous weeks. They have played only two teams with decent run-blocking offensive lines. Only Kansas City (12th) and Jacksonville (fifth) rank higher than 22nd in adjusted line yards. The rushers in those games are nothing to write home about either. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (MCL sprain) left due to injury, and Carlos Hyde got the start that week trudging along to 3.1 yards per carry. So yes, the Bills have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards (754) and are sixth in red-zone rushing defense, but look at who they have played. The Colts offensive line lives in another stratosphere, ranking eighth, second and first in adjusted line yards, second-level and open field yards. Derrick Henry and his explosiveness exposed the Bills’ run defense flaws with 143 rushing yards and three scores. Jonathan Taylor can do the same this week. Since Week 4, Taylor has been averaging 20 touches and 142.7 total yards per game. He has three or more receptions and 100 rushing yards or more in five of his last seven games. Taylor is second in breakaway runs and first in evaded tackles. He can break the slate with his big-play ability, so he’s a player I want to still mix in mini-correlations with Sanders around other main stacks. 

Bills

Josh Allen can have himself a day against one of the NFL’s most pass-funnel defenses. The Colts have allowed 7.6 yards per attempt (10th-highest) and the most passing touchdowns in the NFL (23). Allen’s skill set and the offensive design by Brain Daboll sets up nicely to dismantle this secondary. The Colts have shown weaknesses against play-action passing and the deep ball this season, which are two things that are right in Allen’s wheelhouse. Indy has given up 8.8 yards per attempt and a 69.8% completion rate to play-action passes. Both are the 12th highest in the NFL. Allen is ninth in play-action passer rating (114.5) with the second-most play-action passing touchdowns (eight) per FTN Data. The only quarterback with more play-action passing scores is Patrick Mahomes. Last week Daboll ramped up play-action to get Allen going, utilizing it on 58.1% (full season 32.6%) of their passing volume. The Colts have allowed the fifth-highest deep completion rate (48.6%) and deep passer rating (105.9), a deadly sin against Allen. He has the fourth-highest deep completion rate and deep passing attempts this season. Allen has been the QB4 in fantasy scoring in five weeks so far this season. Welcome to the sixth. 

The Bills backfield is an easy fade this week. The Colts are second in rush defense DVOA and eighth best in the red zone against the run. They have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing rushers and the lowest rushing touchdown mark (four). Big runs are non-existent against this team as they have surrendered the 10th-lowest gash rate per FTN Data. 

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Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders are the two primary pass catchers to consider stacking with Allen that will be utilized on play-action passing and downfield throws. Per FTN Data, Diggs leads the team with 296 play-action receiving yards, followed by Sanders with 232 yards. Sanders leads the way in aDOT (18.1 yards), but Diggs is immediately behind him with 18.0. Sanders also leads the team with three play-action receiving touchdowns. Diggs leads the team with a 25% target share and 27% of the red-zone targets. Sanders has been the team’s deep threat sitting in second in air yard share (31%) and deep targets (16) behind only Diggs (17 deep targets). Sanders has seen a 15% target share this season.

**Update: Xavier Rhodes is in this week. Matchups below are updated to reflect.**

Xavier Rhodes will play the entire game as the RCB with either T.J. Carrie or Rock Ya-Sin playing LCB. The Colts play exclusive sides with their corners. Diggs (78% out wide) and Sanders (79% outside) will run most of their routes from the perimeter. These alignments have the largest bearing on Sanders, who will run nearly half of his routes as the LWR while Diggs moves all over the formation. Sanders will see Rhodes for half the game. Rhodes is allowing a 70.3% catch rate and 111.0 passer rating. Ya-Sin has given up a 62.1% catch rate and 102.9 passer rating. If Carrie draws the start, he has also been a plus matchup for receivers permitting a 64.3% catch rate and 106.5 passer rating. 

**Update: Cole Beasley is in, so that makes Beasley and Davis nothing more than MME targets.**

We need to monitor Cole Beasley’s practice reports after he played a season-low 16% of snaps. Beasley has been dealing with a rib issue. I’ll revisit his situation after we have more info on his injury designation. Gabriel Davis played a season-high in snaps last week (52%), finishing third among the wide receivers in routes with 12 (38.7% of Allen’s dropbacks). Davis ran 535 of his routes on the outside. Davis only drew three targets, but two of them were downfield. Davis is third on the team in deep targets (five). He is only an MME or large-field onslaught lineup play with his low route rate and high-volatility usage. 

Dawson Knox was back to his usual playing time (84% of snaps, route on 74.1% of dropbacks). Despite only seeing one target his usage was exactly what we had come to expect previously. Before injury (Weeks 1-5) he saw a 14.8% target share and seven red-zone targets. The Colts are a fantasy friendly matchup for the tight end position ranking 27th in DVOA (per Football Outsiders). Indy has allowed 60 receptions (second-most), 611 receiving yards (sixth most), and six receiving touchdowns (third most) to tight ends. Stacking Allen with Knox over Sanders is viable, but if rostering Knox this week it’s more likely in a Bills onslaught or in a mini correlation stack with Jonathan Taylor. If Beasley misses this game for any reason Knox would get the biggest bump out of the Bills’ pass catchers. 

DFS Plays

Core plays: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Jonathan Taylor
GPP only: Emmanuel Sanders, Dawson Knox

Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears

BAL -5, O/U 45

Pace and playcalling

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The Ravens won’t surprise anyone by ranking 30th and 25th (52.9%) in neutral pace and passing percentage. What is surprising is what Chicago has done since Week 8. Since that time, the Bears have been 17th in neutral pace. Yes, I know this doesn’t sound monumental, but for a team that had been bottom five in pace with Justin Fields under center, it’s a massive shift. What has also climbed in a small sample is the passing rate. Since Week 8, you wouldn’t raise an eyebrow as the Bears are 28th (48.4%) in neutral passing rate, but against the Steelers, Matt Nagy called passing plays on 60.8% of their snaps when the score was close. In Week 11, that was the 11th highest clip, and if you zoom out to the entire season, that would rank ninth. Yes, again, this sample size is incredibly small, but if the Bears are changing up the diagram, I want to be ahead of the curve. I don’t want to look back on Week 11 and say, “it’s a one-game sample, so of course I didn’t buy into it,” with extreme regret. 

Injuries

Baltimore

  • Marquise Brown (WR) – (Thigh – DNP / DNP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Latavius Murray (RB) – (Ankle – LP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Jimmy Smith (CB) – (Hip – DNP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Brandon William (DT) – (Shoulder – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Tavon Young (CB) – (Foot – DNP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Anthony Averett (CB) – (Thigh – / – / DNP) – Status: Questionable

Chicago

  • Akiem Hicks (DL) – (Ankle – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Eddie Jackson (DB) – (Hamstring – DNP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Danny Trevathan (LB) – IR
  • Khalil Mack (LB) – IR
  • Allen Robinson (WR) – (Hamstring – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: Doubtful

Ravens

The Bears’ fraudulent secondary has plummeted from the heavens and now ranks 19th in pass defense DVOA. Over the last four games, yes, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have ripped them apart with efficient outings, but crusty Ben Roethlisberger and Jimmy Garoppolo also turned in solid games. These four quarterbacks completed 70.0% of their passes with 8.7 yards per attempt and a combined 121.7 passer rating. This season, Chicago has allowed 7.9 yards per attempt (seventh highest) and 16 passing touchdowns (10th most). Their biggest struggle has been against the deep ball, ranking 29th in DVOA (per Football Outsiders) with the fourth-highest deep-ball passer rating (112.0) against. Now enter Lamar Jackson, third in deep attempts (46), with the ninth-most deep passing yards (529). The rushing upside is a known commodity with 50 or more rushing yards in seven of nine games with three weeks over the century mark. Jackson is due some passing touchdown regression with only two games with multiple passing scores and a 4.5% passing touchdown rate. Now, keep in mind in those two games, he threw for three and four touchdowns. That type of nuclear upside could happen this week.

We’ll have to monitor Latavius Murray’s health this week. With the Ravens releasing Le’Veon Bell and their disdain for Ty’Son Williams, Devonta Freeman could be the lone back this week. The matchup is above average with the Bears allowing 1,105 rushing yards (14th) and nine scores (13th). They also rank 27th or lower in adjusted line yards, second-level yards and open-field yards allowed. The problem for Freeman is the big play ability is gone and the volume isn’t large enough to compensate. Among 60 running backs with 40 or more rushing attempts, Freeman is 49th in yards after contact per attempt (2.42) immediately behind Kenneth Gainwell and Carlos Hyde. Over this last two games he’s averaged 58% snaps played, but he’s only seen 14 touches with 70.5 total yards per game. Over his last four games he’s only seen six red-zone touches. 

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**Update: Monitor Marquise Brown’s status for Sunday. If he is a surprise inactive I’ll bump up my exposure to Bateman and Sammy Watkins who will be the starters in two wide sets. One of them could be the sacrificial lamb to Jaylon Johnson, but the other will eat against these terrible corners.**

Since Rashod Bateman’s debut (Week 6), Marquise Brown has remained the leader of this passing attack with a 28.5% target share and 34.5% of the team’s air yards. Brown is the single stack must-have with Jackson this week, and he’s a viable one-off. He leads the NFL in deep targets (22), facing one of the league’s worst teams at defending downfield passing. Brown will run about 52% of his routes against Kindle Vildor, who has been a corner to circle on your DFS bingo card. Vildor is allowing a 68.6% catch rate and 145.9 passer rating. 

Bateman is not on the exposure list this week. Since ascending to the starter’s role, he’s had a 19.2% target share with two red-zone targets. In Sammy Watkins’ first game back with Bateman active, Bateman was still second among the Ravens’ wideouts in routes run (64% of dropbacks). He’ll have a tough corner matchup running about 63% of his routes against Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is the only player to worry about in this secondary, allowing a 53.1% catch rate and 82.8 passer rating. 

Mark Andrews is also in a tough spot this week. The Bears are eighth in DVOA against the tight end position allowing only 31 receptions and 269 receiving yards, which are both bottom-two in the NFL. Andrews has seen a 20.7% target share with Bateman active and a 27% red zone target share on the season. With two of Jackson’s three main weapons facing uphill battles, he could lean on Brown even more this week. 

If you’re running multiple Jackson teams in MME, a player to sprinkle on one of those lineups is Devin Duvernay. Last week Duvernay ran the third-most routes among wide receivers, with about 84% coming via the slot. Duvernay has not seen more than five targets in any game this season. The matchup is impeccable against Duke Shelley, who gives up a 78.0% catch rate and 106.2 passer rating. 

Bears

Justin Fields is in the discussion for large-field GPP targets. He has shown flashes of immense upside in his last two games as the QB10 and QB5 in fantasy scoring, completing 65.9% of his passes. Fields will have to contend with the Ravens’ pass rush this week. Baltimore has the highest pressure rate (28.8%) and the third-highest blitz rate (33.2%). Fields has seen pressure at the 10th-highest rate (25%) this year. When he’s been blitzed, he’s actually performed better comparatively. He has the 13th highest completion rate difference between non-blitz and blitz situations, with his completion percentage climbing by 4.5%. That said, he is still 24th in blitz completion rate (64.5%) and 27th in blitz passer rating. If (and I know it’s a big if) Fields can stay clean or use his mobility to buy time, there is a path to a huge ceiling. 

The Ravens are fifth in passing yards and fourth in yards per attempt allowed, ranking 24th in pass defense DVOA. They are allowing 18.9 fantasy points per game (10th highest) to opposing quarterbacks. They have especially been beatable on deep passing allowing the seventh-most deep passing yards and the third-highest deep passer rating. Fields has aggressively thrown deep at the third-highest rate (16.0%) among quarterbacks with 50 or passing attempts. He has the sixth-lowest deep completion rate (30%) on the season, but as he’s found his groove, the deep accuracy is showing up more and more. Since Week 7 among 35 quarterbacks with five or more deep attempts (Fields 15, sixth most), he is 13th in deep adjusted completion rate (46.7%) per PFF. Add on top the Ravens are 30th in explosive run rate allowed and now face a quarterback with eight rushing attempts and 57.3 rushing yards per game since Week 6. 

If there were any questions around David Montgomery reassuming his workhorse role, they should be silenced now. He saw all the red zone and passing-game work while playing 85% of the snaps in his first game back from injury. 

Week 9

Player Rushing attempts Red-zone opportunities Targets Routes
David Montgomery 13 3 2 25
Khalil Herbert 4 0 0 2

Montgomery is only game-stack viable this week. Montgomery will see 15-20 touches against a run defense that has given up big plays on the ground and can be had by backs in the passing game. Baltimore is third in adjusted line yards and second in stuff rate allowed, but that’s only half the story. The Ravens are also 31st in open-field yards and allow the fourth-highest gash rate (14.1%). The biggest question is whether the Bears’ offensive line can spring him, and whether Montgomery has enough juice to break a few long runs. Chicago is 17th and 13th in second-level and open-field yards. Montgomery is only 22nd in breakaway run rate and 56th in yards created per touch. The Ravens are 31st in DVOA (per Football Outsiders) against pass-catching running backs allowing the seventh-most receiving yards (493). The problem for Montgomery is that while he’s running the routes, the targets haven’t followed with only two games this year with at least four targets. 

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**Update: Robinson’s doubtfulness obviously bumps up Mooney, but the consensus will likely not give the same bump to Kmet. Kmet is the player I will add more exposure to over Mooney, especially if Mooney becomes chalky.**

The only passing-game options to discuss here are Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. Since Week 6, Mooney and Kmet have taken a slight lead in the pass game hierarchy with 25.5% and 22.2% target shares (Robinson, 19.2%). Over that span, Kmet leads the trio with five red-zone targets, followed by Mooney with two (Robinson, one). Robinson is still the leading deep threat with nine deep targets (Mooney six, Kmet three) over their last four games. Robinson was banged up in their last game, so we must watch his status coming out of the bye. 

If the Ravens revert to earlier season corner alignments, Mooney could see Marlon Humphrey for most of the game. Mooney spends about 37% of snaps as the RWR while also rolling into the slot on about 34% of his snaps. Humphrey has played about 43% of his snaps at LCB, with a large majority of his work in the slot as well. Humphrey is allowing a 52.8% catch rate and 100.0 passer rating. Robinson will work the opposite side of the field if he plays (36% LWR) while spending about 36% of his snaps in the slot. That will place Robinson against Anthony Averett and Tavon Young in the slot. Averett is giving up a 56.9% catch rate and 80.4 passer rating. Young has been pliable inside, permitting a 71.9% catch rate and 86.7 passer rating. Picking between these two might be easy if Robinson is banged up or out, but I lean on Mooney regardless. The target share has slowly moved in his favor, and he has passed the eye test rapport with Fields. 

Kmet makes for a cheap single-stack option. You can also play him in a game stack or in a double stack with Fields. The threshold for a DFS viable tight end weekly is a low bar. With his strong target share, red zone usage, and 77.7% route run per dropback, Kmet is a solid play. Baltimore has allowed 652 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns to tight ends, which are both sixth highest. Kmet is also a cheap runback option for any Jackson stack. 

DFS Plays

Core plays: Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, Cole Kmet
GPP only: Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney

Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns

CLE -11, O/U 44

Pace and playcalling

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The Lions are third in negative-script play volume, so to see them trail early wouldn’t be shocking. When they are behind, they are fifth in pace and passing rate (76.5%). The Browns will play slow as usual (29th, neutral pace) and lean on their run game (fourth in neutral rushing rate, 47.6%) in neutral and positive game scripts (12th in positive-script rushing percentage, 57.0%). 

Injuries

Detroit

  • Taylor Decker (OL) – (Elbow – / DNP / LP) – Status: Questionable 
  • Trey Flowers (LB) – (Knee – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Jared Goff (QB) – (Oblique – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: Doubtful
  • Jamaal Williams (RB) – (Thigh – LP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable

Cleveland

  • A.J. Green (CB) – (Concussion – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Troy Hill (CB) – (Neck – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR) – (Groin – LP / DNP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Anthony Schwartz (WR) – (Concussion – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT

Lions

Jared Goff is dealing with an oblique strain and is not a sure thing to suit up this week. Even a fully healthy Goff isn’t a good DFS option. If Tim Boyle makes the start, this offense begins circling the drain as a full fade. 

**Update: With Tim Boyle looking likely to start, I’m close to full fading the Lions. Swift’s workload will also decline a tad with Jamaal Williams back, so the usage we saw last week likely doesn’t repeat in Week 11.**

D’Andre Swift is in play despite the tough matchup with the type of role he saw in Week 10. Swift played 93% of the snaps for Detroit with 36 touches (33 carries) and 135 total yards. He ran a route on 86.2% of Goff’s dropbacks. Cleveland is a stout run defense, but there are paths to him paying off on his price tag (RB9 $7,000 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel). The Browns are ninth in stuff rate and have the sixth-lowest gash rate allowed. If Swift is getting this type of volume on the ground, it matters little, and he can get there behind a Lions’ offensive line that’s 12th in yards before contact per attempt. Cleveland is softer inside the 20, ranking 20th in red zone rush defense, allowing the eighth-most scores on the ground (ten). Swift is a game script-independent volume monster that also faces a defense 23rd in DVOA against pass-catching backs. 

T.J. Hockenson has been a volatile DFS option weekly despite his 19.6% target share. Last week with one target and goose eggs across the board in the box score, he reminded people of that wide range of outcomes. This year, he has four games with 66 or more receiving yards while also finishing with less than 25 receiving yards three times. To tight ends, the Browns have allowed 40 receptions and 405 receiving yards (22nd in both categories). 

Browns

Baker Mayfield isn’t in play this week despite the wondrous match up with Detroit’s secondary. The Lions are 28th in pass-defense DVOA, allowing the most yards per attempt (8.5) in the league and 16 passing touchdowns (10th). Mayfield is banged up and the Browns are determined to protect him by running the ball as much as possible. He hasn’t surpassed 240 yards passing since Week 5 while averaging only 25.3 passing attempts in that span. We can look to this Browns offense for one-offs or mini correlation partners with Swift. 

Nick Chubb’s in the GPP pool against this run defense. In Weeks 8-9, with Chubb operating as the lead back without Kareem Hunt, he averaged 16.5 touches and 116 total yards per game. He ran a route on only 37.2% of Mayfield’s dropbacks and split work in the red zone with D’Ernest Johnson. The Browns refuse to give as prominent a role as Johnson has received when he’s been out. Yes, the entire depth chart was decimated by COVID-19 in Week 10, even in Week 7 when he was the lead he ran a route on 44.4% of Case Keenum’s dropbacks and he saw all the work in the red zone. 

The Lions are a smash matchup for Chubb. Detroit has allowed 1,210 (third-most) rushing yards and the fifth-highest yards after contact per attempt. The path to an easy ceiling is here as they are also 27th in red zone rushing defense and 30th in DVOA against pass-catching backs. 

Weeks 8-9

Player Rushing attempts Red-zone opportunities Targets Routes
Nick Chubb 30 4 3 22
D’Ernest Johnson 12 5 3 16
Demetric Felton 1 0 2 10
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Despite his 21% target share without Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry isn’t rosterable in DFS. With only five targets per game without Beckham, he isn’t receiving the type of volume to do anything with his 4.0 aDOT. Landry has not logged at least 80 receiving yards in any game this season. Donovan Peoples-Jones makes the MME list again this week. Without Beckham, he has been the only other full-time receiver besides Landry. Over the last two weeks, he has a 19.5-yard aDOT and leads the team with three deep targets. The Lions are 32nd in DVOA against deep passing. Peoples-Jones will run about 78% of his routes on the perimeter against Jerry Jacobs and Amani Oruwariye. Jacobs is conceding a 64% catch rate and 106.9 passer rating. Oruwariye has a 70.3% catch rate and 84.1 passer rating. 

Looking at the Browns’ tight end usage weekly gives me a migraine. Austin Hooper and David Njoku as splitting routes and red zone looks in a low volume passing attack. I have not rostered a Browns’ tight end in DFS this year so far, and I don’t plan on starting to do so this week. The Lions have allowed only 38 receptions (25th) and 462 receiving yards (16th) to the position. 

Weeks 7-10

Player Targets Routes Red zone targets
Austin Hooper 15 70 4
David Njoku 11 71 4
Harrison Bryant 8 43 1

DFS Plays

Core plays: Nick Chubb
GPP only: D’Andre Swift, Donovan Peoples-Jones

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

TEN -10, O/U 44.5

Pace and playcalling

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This game will be average to below average in pace. Houston is 19th in neutral pace, and the Titans are still attempting to operate the offense as if Derrick Henry is still in the backfield, ranking 25th since Week 9. Houston has passed the ball on 58.6% and 73.3% of their plays when the game has been close with Tyrod Taylor under center. If they get down early, the passing volume could be quite nice for the Texans. In Week 9 when trailing, they passed on 78.7% of their plays (fourth highest). Tennessee had a brief epiphany in Week 9 and looked more to the passing game without Henry, but that was short-lived as they are 23rd in passing rate in neutral scripts (52.3%) after two games without the Big Dawg.

Injuries

Houston

  • No notable injury designations

Tennessee

  • Nate Davis (OL) – (Concussion – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Bud Dupree (LB) – (Abdomen – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Chris Jackson (CB) – (Foot – DNP / DNP / ) – Status: 
  • Jeremy McNichols (RB) – (Concussion – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Rashaan Evans (LB) – (Ankle – LP / LP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Jackrabbit Jenkins (CB) – (Chest – / DNP / DNP) – Status: Questionable

Texans

The only Texan still worth discussing is Brandin Cooks, and even he is only a large-field GPP play. Tyrod Taylor will throw passes against a defense ranked ninth in DVOA, allowing the ninth-lowest adjusted completion rate (72.3%). Tennessee has also allowed only 7.1 yards per attempt (20th). They have struggled to allow passing touchdowns (18, fifth most) and against deep passing. The Titans have given up the second-most deep passing yards, and they are third in deep passing touchdowns allowed. 

Among quarterbacks with 25 or more attempts, Taylor is 21st in deep passing rate with the eighth-lowest deep completion rate (30%). The efficiency likely won’t be there, but Cooks can make up this with raw volume. Cooks is fourth among receivers in target share (30.4%) and 10th in targets (83) at the position. He’s averaging 9.3 targets, 6.3 receptions and 71.2 receiving yards per game. Rostering Cooks is absorbing 53% (16 deep targets) of the team’s deep passing volume. Kristian Fulton is the corner Cooks should have to worry about, allowing only a 37.9% catch rate and 69.8 passer rating. The promising wrinkle for Cooks is Fulton exclusively plays one side (RCB) on about 68% of his snaps. Cooks moves all over the formation playing LWR on average about 38% of his snaps, so he’ll see more Elijah Molden and Jackrabbit Jenkins this week than Fulton. Molden is allowing a 68.4% catch rate and 112.7 passer rating. Jenkins has been similarly beatable with a 69.5% catch rate, and 114.6 passer rating surrendered. 

Titans

My GPP flame has been extinguished for Ryan Tannehill after a brief glimmer of hope that the team was increasing its passing rates to compensate for the loss of Derrick Henry. Tannehill has not shown the ceiling this year with no 25-point fantasy games and only two weeks above 20. This is a good matchup to go back to A.J. Brown though. The Texans are allowing a 76.6% adjusted completion rate (10th highest) and 8.1 yards per attempt (third). Ryan Tannehill is eighth in play-action dropbacks and now faces a team allowing the sixth-highest play-action passing touchdown rate (8.0%) and a 114.9 passer rating (10th highest) on play-action throws. 

Weeks 9-10

Player Rushing attempts Red-zone opportunities Targets Routes
Adrian Peterson 18 5 2 15
D’Onta Foreman 16 4 2 7
Jeremy McNichols 11 4 6 19

The Titans backfield is a messy three-way committee. Each back has played between 21-45% of the snaps weekly splitting up the red zone and early down work. If McNichols were to miss (concussion) then it would help narrow the possibilities, but it’’ still be a coinflip that likely lands more favorably for Peterson as sad as that is to say. The Texans are a dream matchup on the ground allowing the second-most rushing yards (1,232) and rushing touchdowns (15). This putrid run defense is also fifth in gash rate (13.4%) and giving up the sixth-most fantasy points per game (21.4) to running backs. 

Last week’s stinker game against New Orleans needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In the three games A.J. Brown has played without Julio Jones, he’s seen a 26% target share and 40.3% of the team’s air yards. Brown will be integral in the Titan’s attack as he leads the team in play-action targets (28) and play-action receiving yards (274) per FTN Data. Brown will run about 61% of his routes on the perimeter against Desmond King and Terrance Mitchell. King is allowing a 79.5% catch rate and 109.9 passer rating. Mitchell has been burnable with a 59.1% catch rate surrendered with a 101.2 passer rating. 

Marcus Johnson has played between 63-75% of the snaps in the three games that Jones has missed this season. He has seen a 20.6% target share in those games which sounds more glamorous that it is in a run-first offense because it amounts to 5.3 targets per game. Johnson is nothing more than an MME play, but even there it feels like point chasing after this 100-yard outing last week. Johnson will operate on the outside on about 82% of his snaps against King and Mitchell. Johnson only has a 4% red-zone target share this year. 

DFS Plays

Core plays: N/A
GPP only: Brandin Cooks, A.J. Brown

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

GB -2, O/U 47.5

Pace and playcalling

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Green Bay is a lead weight with pace, sitting as the league’s slowest team in neutral scripts, which hurts the Vikings, who are fourth. Both teams are average to above-average, ranking 11th (59.5%, MIN) and 14th (58.0%, GB) in passing rates. The pace will hurt the play volume for both teams. 

Injuries

Green Bay

  • David Bakhtiari (OL) – (Knee – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Aaron Jones (RB) – (Knee – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Rashan Gary (LB) – (Elbow – LP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Allen Lazard (WR) – (Shoulder – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: Doubtful

Minnesota

  • Bashaud Breeland (CB) – (Groin – LP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Wyatt Davis (G) – (Ankle – / LP / DNP) – Status: OUT

Packers

Aaron Rodgers is a quarterback I’ve rarely played in DFS this season. This week looks like another checkmark in the avoid column. The Vikings started the year as a pass defense to target but have since improved and are sixth in pass defense DVOA. They allow the sixth-lowest adjusted completion rate (71.1%) and the eighth-fewest passing touchdowns (13). Rodgers remains pricey (QB6 $7,000 DraftKings, QB7 $7,700 FanDuel) despite only throwing for 300-plus yards once this season. He has multiple touchdown passes in seven of his last eight games, but that has only helped band-aid his low passing volume and yardage. Rodgers has had productive weeks but no smash weeks this year. 

AJ Dillon will be chalky this week, but for very good reason. With Aaron Jones out and only Patrick Taylor behind him, he’s set to slide into a bell-cow workload. I wasn’t high on him as a prospect coming out, but he’s playing extremely well this season when he’s been given opportunities. Among rushers with 50 or more attempts, he’s eighth in yards after contact per attempt. He’s also 13th in yards created per touch among running backs. The Vikings have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (1,175) and third-most yards per attempt (4.7). Gaining positive yardage on each carry should be no issue for Dillon against a run defense ranked 30th in stuff rate. He’s in line for 20-25 touches this week with possibly all the pass game work for a team that’s 13th in target share to the running back position. 

Davante Adams is in play on any slate, so I know I’m not breaking news by saying that. I like his matchups this week more than last. Adams remains third in target share (30%) and receiving yardage share (35%). He is also eighth in red-zone targets (13) among wide receivers. He’ll run about 68% of his routes on the perimeter against Cameron Dantzler and Bashaud Breeland. Dantzler has been slipping some since Week 6, allowing a 66.7% catch rate and 100.7 passer rating. Over the same span, Breeland has improved, only giving up a 60% catch rate and 71.3 passer rating. Breeland has been putrid overall this year, though (69.1% catch rate, 115.3 passer rating), so some regression was bound to hit. Both corners aren’t a concern for a talent like Adams. 

Again, the rule is to play Marquez Valdes-Scantling against teams that struggle with deep passing. Minnesota is not one of those teams, ranking 10th in DVOA against downfield passing and 26th in deep completion rate (33.3%) allowed. 

Vikings

Kirk Cousins is set for a long day against a surprisingly stout Green Bay secondary. The Packers have yielded the eighth-lowest adjusted completion rate (72.9%), second-lowest yards per attempt (6.3) and 15 passing touchdowns (15th). Cousins will have more ceiling games this season, but this doesn’t look like a spot for one. 

Dalvin Cook is in as a GPP play this week. Green Bay’s run defense has improved this season especially against big plays (second in open-field yards allowed). They have shown cracks in the pavement though to believe that Cook can still perform quite well here. The Packers are seventh in yards per attempt allowed (4.5) and have the fifth lowest stuff rate (41.5%). While they have limited big plays, they are still 30th and 17th in adjusted line yards and second-level yards allowed. Cook has been his usual slippery self, ranking sixth in missed tackles forced and first in breakaway run rate. Cook can also do damage through the air against a team that’s allowed 54 receptions (11th-most) and three receiving touchdowns (sixth-most) to running backs. He looks back to full health averaging 81% snaps, 23.5 touches and 120 total yards over the last two games. 

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Despite the 49-point game total, this game feels gross and like one that could disappoint with the Packer’s slow pace and defensive prowess as the culprit. While Adam Thielen is still involved heavily around the goal line, Justin Jefferson has a slight nudge in target share, air yard share, and first-read share over Thielen. He gets the nod over Thielen for GPPs. He’ll run about 68% of his routes on the perimeter against Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes. Both have been tough, which is why I would only play Jefferson in a mini correlation. Douglas has allowed a 53.6% catch rate and 62.6 passer rating. Stokes has been playing lights out for a rookie, only giving up a 51.9% catch rate and 78.2 passer rating. 

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Tyler Conklin is fine as an MME play with a 15% and a healthy 29% end zone target share and 19% red zone target share. The match-up is good, but I’m concerned with the game environment and can’t talk myself into bumping him up higher. The Packers are 23rd in DVOA against the position, allowing 546 receiving yards (11th) and four receiving scores (ninth most). 

DFS Plays

Core plays: AJ Dillon
GPP only: Dalvin Cook, Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Tyler Conklin (MME)

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets

MIA -3, O/U 44.5

Pace and playcalling

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Our offensive efficiency tool has this game as the fastest in pace for Week 11. The Dolphins are first in neutral pace followed by the Jets at 11th. Both teams will look to their passing games to move the ball. Miami is third in neutral passing rate (65.3%) while New York is 10th (59.7%). 

Injuries

Miami

  • No notable injuries

New York 

  • Zach Wilson (QB) – (Knee – LP / LP / LP) – Status: Doubtful
  • Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL) – (Toe – LP / LP / LP) – Status: Questionable

Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa has smashed good quarterback matchups this season, averaging 26.4 DraftKings points (25.4, FanDuel) against Jacksonville and Atlanta. Tagovailoa gets another cakewalk matchup this week against the Jets. New York’s secondary is allowing a 77.5% adjusted completion rate (sixth highest) and 8.4 yards per attempt which is second to only Detroit. The Jets also stink at defending the deep ball with the 10th-highest deep completion rate and fifth-most deep passing yards allowed. Tagovailoa might have the seventh-lowest deep ball rate (among quarterbacks with 100 or more attempts), but he’s been surgical when he has gone long completing 50% (fourth highest) of his passes. Tagovailoa is criminally undervalued across all DFS sites (QB16 $5,500 DraftKings, QB18 $7,000 FanDuel, 1.55x SuperDraft) for the upside he possesses. 

Over the last four weeks, Myles Gaskin has gotten the volume, averaging 19.5 touches per game (58-72% snaps), but he’s been woefully inefficient with only 58.5 total yards per game. His offensive line has played poorly, ranking 31st in adjusted line yards and second-level yards, but Gaskin has done little to help himself. He’s outside the top 40 in evaded tackles, yards created per touch, and juke rate. The Jets offer a solid get-right spot, though. New York has been a running back wonderland permitting 1,206 rushing yards (fourth most), a 14.5% gash rate (second highest), and the most fantasy points per game (31.6). With the Jets’ woes through the air, his production shortcomings, and his high roster percentage, I’ll be underweight in GPPs, but with 15- to 20-touch volume and his popularity, he’s still fine for cash. Gaskin is currently the third-most popular running back play on DraftKings and FanDuel in our projections

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In Tagovailoa’s four full games, the stacking options have been clear, as Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki stand out from the pile. Waddle has seen a 25.5% target share and 28.5% of the team’s air yards running 64% of his routes from the slot. Waddle can eat Michael Carter alive inside, who, over his last five games, is giving up a 77.3% catch rate and 112.3 passer rating. 

Gescki has seen a 14.2% target share while sitting second in first read share (17%), sitting behind only Waddle (25%). The same can be said for red-zone target share as he is nipping at Waddle’s heels (18% vs. 14%). Gesicki is a wide receiver, not a tight end lining up in the slot on about 66% of his snaps and outside at a 28.3% clip. When Gesicki isn’t in the slot against Carter, he’ll match up with Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols on the perimeter. Over their last five games, Hall has allowed a 70.4% catch rate, and 134.3 passer rating, and Echols has permitted a 64.3% catch rate and 107.0 passer rating. 

Jets

Joe Flacco gets the nod for New York under center, and while you can’t pay me to play him in DFS, this offense does offer some runback and mini correlation options. 

Michael Carter is a runback or mini correlation play only. Carter is still in line for 15-20 touches, but with Flacco under center there are plausible concerns. The massive target share with Mike White could drop some which would hurt considering Ty Johnson is cutting into his routes. Carter displayed last week in Tevin Coleman’s first game action since Week 5 that he’s still the primary guy on early downs and in the red zone. The Dolphins are a middle of the road matchup with its share of pros and cons. On the bright side they have the 13th-highest yards per contact per attempt and rushing touchdowns (nine) allowed. The downside is they are also the NFL’s third-best red zone rushing defense and own the eighth-highest stuff rate. 

Week 10

Player Rushing attempts Red-zone opportunities Targets Routes
Michael Carter 16 3 6 18
Ty Johnson 2 0 8 17
Tevin Coleman 4 0 3 9

Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder are still the only full-time receivers for the Jets. Elijah Moore only ran a route on 51% of dropbacks last week with a 10.6% target share. Until those figures come up, he’s not rosterable. Davis has seen an 18.8% target share with 30.8% of the team’s air yards when on the field. He second on the team in deep targets (eight) while leading the way in end-zone target share (36%). He’ll run about 77% of his routes on the perimeter against Xavien Howard and Byron Jones. Howard has played better over his last four games allowing a 51.9% catch rate and 74.0 passer rating. Jones has still been beatable giving up a 73.3% catch rate and 102.8 passer rating since Week 6. Davis is the type of receiver that both of these corners play up against. Howard and Jones have both had their struggles with speed receivers and prefer a receiver that they can press or get physical with. 

Crowder has seen a 16.8% target share when active while leading the team with a 24% red-zone target share. Crowder’s rapport with Flacco is notable here as they played four games together last season. In those four starts Crowder averaged 7.2 targets, 4.5 receptions, and 51.5 receiving yards per game with a 21.9% target share. Crowder has run 83% of his routes from the slot. Our old friend Justin Coleman is now the starting slot corner for the Dolphins and by looking at his stats this year the public would be led to think he is s shutdown corner allowing a 64.9 passer rating. Anyone that has read any previous writeups from me regarding receiver and cornerback matchups knows I love to pick on Coleman in DFS. In 2019-2020 Coleman allowed a 69.4% catch rate (157 targets) and 12 receiving touchdowns with passer ratings of 134.0 and 107.3. Crowder might be a nauseating play to press the button on, but the stars are aligning for a lightly rostered GPP smash week. 

DFS Plays

Core plays: Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Myles Gaskin (cash only)
GPP only: Jamison Crowder, Michael Carter

New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles

PHI -2, O/U 43

Pace and playcalling

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These two teams are moving in opposite directions — Philadelphia is slowing down and leaning on their ground game, while New Orleans is speeding up and taking to the air. Since Week 8, the Eagles are 22nd in neutral pace and first in neutral rushing rate (62.5%). With Trevor Siemian under center, they are eight in neutral pace and 14th in passing rate (58.3%). This week the Eagles’ run-heavy approach will be tested against one of the league’s best run-stopping defensive lines. 

Injuries

New Orleans

  • Ty Montgomery (WR) – (Hand – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Taysom Hill (QB) – (Foot – DNP / DNP / LP) – Status: Questionable
  • Terron Armstead (OL) – (Knee/Shoulder – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Ryan Ramczyk (OL) – (Knee – DNP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT
  • Alvin Kamara (RB) – (Knee – LP / DNP / DNP) – Status: OUT

Philadelphia

  • Dallas Goedert (TE) – (Concussion – DNP / LP / FP) – Status: No injury designation

Saints

Trevor Siemian isn’t a player we’ll ever look to for ceiling performances. Against a pass defense allowing the highest adjusted completion rate (81.9%) and 10th-most passing touchdowns (16), this offense should be able to move the ball well enough to support a few DFS options. 

Mark Ingram is back in the driver seat for the New Orleans rushing attack.  Last week Ingram played 85% of the snaps with 18 touches and 108 total yards. He saw a 20.5% (seven targets) target share running a route on 60% of dropbacks. This week’s matchup is tougher than it first appears on paper. The Eagles have allowed healthy production to running backs with 1,173 rushing yards (sixth most) and 11 rushing touchdowns (fifth most). They have also given up 68 receptions (third most) and 461 receiving yards (10th highest). The problem is they have gotten significantly better as the season has progressed. 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 can still get there on volume and pass game usage, but it’s not as sexy a play as it was in Week 10. Ingram stands out as more of a value on DraftKings (RB22, $5,500) and SuperDraft (1.45x) than FanDuel (RB16, $6,800).