Before we jump into it this week, I just want to make it clear that I didn’t want to put out an article that focuses on the Philadelphia at New Orleans or Kansas City at Los Angeles Rams matchups. With 55- and 62-point respective game totals having significant exposure to these games is a given. There will be a few players from those two games in this week’s edition of daily “DFS Gems” but I’ve purposefully steered towards other players in an effort to provide some variance in our lineups. This week is going to really test our budgeting skills and as a result, I am absolutely punting at tight end but they all have a solid shot and are dirt cheap. You’ve been forewarned.
On to Week 11!
Kirk Cousins QB, Minnesota (DraftKings $5,600 FanDuel $7,800)
The matchup against Chicago isn’t exactly friendly on paper as Chicago is averaging the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Upon further examination, of the nine teams Chicago has played against, only half possess threatening passing attacks. When facing the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford this season, Chicago is allowing just shy of 19 points per game on average. That’s not including the inexplicable 26 points they gave up to Brock Osweiler in Week 6. The point being, this pass defense is not as scary as it may appear at first glance. Cousins left us with an abysmal sub-10-point effort before heading into the bye, which would be another factor to keep his ownership low, but the icing on the cake when it comes to reducing his ownership is this game’s modest over/under of 45.5. Chicago is averaging nearly 30 points per game and Minnesota is posting a respectable 24 points per game itself. This game has sneaky shootout written all over it.
Jared Goff QB, Los Angeles Rams (DraftKings $6,400 FanDuel $8,300)
He’s the third-most expensive quarterback on the board this week and for good reason. Goff is averaging 24 points per game and draws a prime matchup this week at home against red-hot Kansas City. This excellent Monday night tilt has a ridiculous, yet fitting, 62-point over/under and the Rams are slight home favorites despite the loss of Cooper Kupp. With a 32-point implied total against the 11th-friendliest matchup for quarterbacks, I’m having a hard time keeping Goff out of lineups especially knowing other players could choose to fade him with Kupp on the shelf.
Carson Wentz QB, Philadelphia (DraftKings $6,300 FanDuel $7,700)
The second biggest game of the week has to be this Philadelphia at New Orleans matchup. The game boasts an enticing 55-point expected total and New Orleans is favored a disrespectful eight points. As understandable as the spread is, eight points sure does seem like a lot in my opinion. Nevertheless, this line implies a positive game script for quarterback production so expect Wentz to be slinging the ball late into the game. New Orleans has allowed the most points to enemy quarterbacks on average and Philadelphia currently ranks ninth in that category. This game feels a lot like New Orleans’ Week 3 matchup against Atlanta as two very competent passing attacks face off while both face a Bottom 10 pass defense. Matt Ryan threw five touchdowns in that contest. Food for thought.
Deshaun Watson QB, Houston (DraftKings $5,700 FanDuel $7,800)
I have a little bit of apprehension with this pick as Washington is averaging a pedestrian 19.6 points per game on the season so its unlikely this game turns into a surprise shootout. The matchup isn’t spectacular on paper but it’s not bad, as Washington has allowed the 13th-most points on average to opposing passers but it hasn’t faced a rushing quarterback like Watson since Week 6 when Cam Newton scored 24 against them. Watson was heating up with more than 50 points total in his past two outings before heading into the bye and could be a slightly under-the-radar pick this week with this game projected for a very modest 42.5 points. He feels like a safe floor/high ceiling play this week and comes in at a modest price so I’ll be trotting Watson out a good bit since I’ll likely need every penny for running back and wide receiver this week.
Christian McCaffrey RB, Carolina (DraftKings $8,000 FanDuel $8,600)
Detroit ranks in the Bottom 10 in terms of average points allowed to opposing running backs and McCaffrey has been acting like a true bell cow over the past three contests, averaging nearly five catches and 15 carries per game over that span. He has back-to-back games with 30-plus points per game and Detroit hasn’t given up less than 20 points to any backfield this season. With McCaffrey’s complete dominance of running back snaps for Carolina, all signs point to this being a very safe spot to invest in McCaffrey despite the Top 7 price tag this week.
Ezekiel Elliott RB, Dallas (DraftKings $8,500 FanDuel $8,400)
After back-to-back subpar outings, Elliott bounced back with a monster game at Philadelphia in Week 10. He erupted for 39.7 DraftKings points in that outing and should build upon that success this week against Atlanta. Atlanta has allowed the second-most points per game to opposing running backs this season, including getting absolutely gashed by Nick Chubb last week. The Dallas offense has been a bit anemic at times this season but its rushing attack has rarely waned. As a result, Dallas currently ranks sixth in rushing yards and the offense as a whole seems to be waking up a bit as Prescott plays slightly better football and Amari Cooper commands attention. He’s expensive for sure but I think we can save elsewhere and slip Elliott into a few lineups this week.
Dion Lewis RB, Tennessee (DraftKings $4,800 FanDuel $5,900)
If we are going to fit all the Elliott’s and Christian McCaffrey’s into our lineup, we’ll need to be on the lookout for spots to save and Lewis looks like a solid bet in Week 11. Lewis is averaging a 74 percent snap share among running backs over the last three weeks and has out-touched Derrick Henry 64-33 over that span. It’s safe to say Lewis is the back to own in the Titans’ offense and he has a nice matchup this week against Indianapolis, who is averaging the 11th-most fantasy points allowed to opposing backs on the season. Over the past three games, Indianapolis has allowed an average of 30.8 points to opposing backs. With Indianapolis as slight favorites in this game, there is little risk of Henry getting any clock-killing duty in this contest so look for Lewis to dominate snaps once again in what could turn into a high-scoring affair.
Saquon Barkley RB, New York Giants (DraftKings $8,700 FanDuel $8,800)
Barkley is another guy we’ll need to spend up for if we want him, and this week against Tampa Bay, you’ll probably want him in a few lineups! Tampa Bay ranks in the Bottom 10 against running backs this season and has given up multiple touchdowns to the position in 4-of-9 contests this season. Barkley trails only James White in receptions among running backs this season and is Top 10 in rush attempts as well. His implied volume in such a juicy matchup is too good to pass up on despite the higher end price point in Week 11.
Doug Martin RB, Oakland (DraftKings $4,500 FanDuel $6,200)
This is easily my riskiest running back recommendation of the week but fortune favors the bold! This adage especially holds true in DFS where you need to have some bold picks pay off to get deep into the money in larger guaranteed prize pools (GPP’s.) Martin offers good budget balance this week as we try to squeeze as many elite options into our lineups as we can. He’s not a special name on this list but his usage is up with Marshawn Lynch out of the picture and his matchup against Arizona is certainly favorable. Arizona is averaging the fourth-most fantasy points allowed to running backs per game and have only kept enemy backs out of the end zone twice this season. There is definitely risk here but if he hits, Martin could be a GPP winner in Week 11.
James Conner RB, Pittsburgh (DraftKings $7,200 FanDuel $8,200)
Many have James Conner in must-start territory, myself included. So while his ownership will likely be high, some people may fade Conner this week as he faces the vaunted Jacksonville defense. Jacksonville is the fifth-stingiest opponent on average for running backs to face but isn’t unbeatable. Don’t forget, Conner faced the toughest defense in the league against opposing running backs in Week 9 when Pittsburgh visited Baltimore. Conner went off for 32.3 points in that contest so don’t worry so much about the matchup on paper. In this offense, with this kind of volume (averaging 24 touches per game over his last 3) Conner can overcome any opponent. Enjoy the discount this week.