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Let’s dive into Week 11…
Kareem Hunt: The Giants defense is ranked 27th in run defense DVOA by Football Outsiders. They have been torched for 62 fantasy points to running backs the last two weeks, and could be without all-world run stuffer Damon Harrison. Hunt is going to be the most popular play in this tier, but it’s deserved.
Todd Gurley: The matchup against the Vikings on the road isn’t ideal, but Gurley’s elite usage in both the run and pass game always keeps him in play regardless of the matchup or game script. If we can get Gurley at half the ownership of Kareem Hunt in this tier, I think it’s a great play in tournaments.
Travis Kelce: This tier should be interesting when it comes to ownership. All 4 players are going to be popular in the salary contests, but I wonder if Travis Kelce might get overlooked as he’s a tight end and is the cheapest one by salary. I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the day Kelce was the highest scoring pass catcher on the slate, so if he’s going to be the lowest owned, I’m in. The Giants are giving up the most fantasy point to tight ends this season and rank 26th in DVOA against the position, per Football Outsiders. This is the one of the best possible matchups and I can’t wait to see what touchdown celebrations Kelce has in store for Sunday…I hope he has multiple ready.
Mike Evans: Coming off the suspension, look for Mike Evans to get force fed the ball. The Dolphins are 31st in pass defense by DVOA and just got crushed by Panthers receivers for 46.4 fantasy points. A nice way to differentiate from other Evans teams is to stack him with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who no one will go back to after failing as the most popular QB last year.
Sterling Shepard: I was all in on Shepard last week, and it looks like I will be again in salary contests because he’s just not getting priced at his current value. In this tier, however, I still believe he’s the best overall play. The Chiefs are 29th in explosive pass play rate, per Sharp Football Stats. Shepard is a lock to see 10 targets, and we can see the infamous 80 yard slant Giants touchdown. I think he should be lower owned than Tyreek Hill, as well. I think if game stacking, playing Hunt, Kelce, Shepard, and Engram with the two quarterbacks is the way to go.
Alex Smith: Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce
Kirk Cousins: Chris Thompson, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara
Drew Brees: Chris Thompson, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara
Blake Bortles: Marqise Lee
Eli Manning: Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Mike Evans, DeVante Parker
DeVante Parker: He’s seen 8+ targets in each of his healthy games this season, and has accounted for 44% of the Dolphins’ team air yards in those games (AirYards.com). The Buccaneers defense ranks 28th in pass defense DVOA, while also allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to the wide receiver position this season. Parker and Julio Jones are the only receivers in the NFL with at least 33% of their respective teams’ air yards to not have multiple touchdowns on the season (out of 19 qualified receivers). We should expect some touchdown regression to the mean for Parker, and this matchup could get him there.
Chris Thompson: With Rob Kelley out and being a 7.5-point road underdog against the Saints, this is a Chris Thompson game. Samaje Perine will still be in the mix, but the Redskins are going to be throwing early and often to keep up with the Saints in this one. I think we can project close to 10 carries and 7-9 targets for Thompson, giving him a nice floor and ceiling on Draftkings with full PPR scoring. The Saints secondary has been so dominant, that it has forced opponents to check down frequently; the Saints are allowing the 3rd most receptions to opposing RBs in the NFL with 58 (over 6 per game).
Jordan Howard: I know he burned us all last week, but now he’s going to come in at no ownership; this is a game theory play. The Bears are 3-point underdogs at home to a division opponent. Last year in 2 games against the Lions, Howard ran 36 times for 197 yards. This included a home win for the Bears, and it’s not inconceivable for them to be playing with positive game script this year, also. The Lions pass defense is ranked 10th by DVOA, so expect the Bears to limit Mitch Trubisky‘s pass attempts and feed Jordan Howard as much as they can. This could very well be a very sloppy 17-14 football game, but that just means two touchdowns for JoHo.
Jeremy Maclin: Joe Flacco is a terrible football player, but he’s coming off a 52 attempt game. The Ravens were the most pass happy team in the NFL last season, so if this is back I want to be on it before everyone else. In games played this season, Maclin leads the team with 18% of targets and 25% of air yards (AirYards.com). If we’re in for another 50 attempt game from Flacco traveling to Green Bay, I want some Maclin.
Kenyan Drake: I really don’t like Drake in general, but this tier is very weak and he’s going up against the 28th ranked defense by DVOA at home. The Dolphins have not been in positive game script since Jay Ajayi‘s departure, so it’ll be interesting to see how the running back touches work out IF (and that’s a big if) the Dolphins are able to control the game.
Good luck this week, and feel free to reach out with questions/feedback on twitter @EvanRosenberg0. I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss further.