Guest of the League
NFC West
FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 15

RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 11

Fri Nov 15 10:41am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

Jackson should continue to roll


We are back to only four teams being on a bye for Week 11, leaving us with a few more options to choose from in DFS. While we generally have plenty of viable targets at most positions, tight end will be a little tricky to navigate with the dearth of quality candidates. Let’s dive into the slate and discuss some players to consider across the price scale, as well as a few to avoid.

QUARTERBACKS

Top-tier option: Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. HOU ($7,100): This should be a fun game between two of the better quarterbacks in the league. Jackson is coming off of a steamrolling of the Bengals in which he threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns. He also chipped in 65 yards and a score on the ground. His ability to contribute in both areas leaves him with a high floor. To further strengthen his case, the Texans have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game in the league.

Cheap target: Derek Carr, OAK vs. CIN ($5,800): The Raiders pulled off a big win over the Chargers last week, but Carr had a quiet showing with 218 passing yards and one touchdown. Before that, he had thrown for at least two scores in three straight games. He’s historically been more productive at home and has a great matchup against the Bengals, making him worth a look if you want to take a cheaper route at the quarterback spot.

Player to avoid: Carson Wentz, PHI vs. NE ($6,000): Wentz has seen his production nosedive this season, averaging only 228.9 passing yards per game. On top of that, he’s thrown exactly one touchdown pass in four of his last five games. He does have limited options at wide receiver, which will be the case again in Week 11 with DeSean Jackson (abdomen) out. Alshon Jeffery is also battling an ankle injury, which would really put Wentz behind the eight ball if he can’t play. Add in this matchup against the Patriots’ stout defense and it’s difficult to justify adding him to your entry.

RUNNING BACKS

Top-tier option: Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. ATL ($8,600): I’m not sure how you can fade McCaffrey at this point. He once again dominated last week, posting 141 total yards and a touchdown against the Packers. He’s recorded at least one touchdown in all but one game this season and has posted three touchdowns in a game twice. That’s the type of production worth paying up for.

Cheap target: Brian Hill, ATL at CAR ($3,000): Expect Hill to be the cheap chalk play of the week. He’s likely going to be busy out of the backfield with Devonta Freeman (foot) expected to be sidelined. Not only that, Ito Smith (neck) is already on IR. Hill played well last week against the Saints, turning 20 carries into 61 yards and catching a 10-yard touchdown pass. With the Panthers allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game, he could provide tremendous value.

Player to avoid: David Johnson, ARI at SF ($6,500): What a disaster last week was for Johnson. He couldn’t get anything going against the Bucs, rushing for two yards on five carries and catching his only target for eight yards. Even more disturbing is that he was only on the field for 42.9 percent of the Cardinals’ offensive snaps. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake was on the field for 64.3 percent of them. With the 49ers having one of the best defenses in the league, it’s difficult to envision Johnson being successful in what will likely be another limited role.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Top-tier option: Michael Thomas, NO at TB ($8,300): This has the makings of a perfect-storm matchup. Thomas is already one of the most productive receivers in the league, posting 86 receptions for 1,027 yards and four touchdowns through nine games. Meanwhile, the Bucs have allowed the most passing yards per game. I rest my case.

Cheap target: D.J. Moore, CAR vs. ATL ($6,000): McCaffrey isn’t the only player on the Panthers worth targeting this week. Moore is coming off back-to-back 100 yard games and has now received at least 10 targets in a game five times. He has clearly developed a good relationship with Kyle Allen, who it set to start at quarterback for the rest of the season with Cam Newton (foot) on IR. The Falcons have allowed the eighth-most passing yards per game, so don’t sleep on Moore at this reasonable price.

Player to avoid: Larry Fitzgerald, ARI at SF ($6,100): Fitzgerald took advantage of a cushy matchup against the Bucs last week by catching all eight of his targets for 71 yards. He failed to record a touchdown, though, and hasn’t found his way into the end zone since Week 3. When these two teams met in Week 9, the 49ers held him to four catches for 38 yards. Moore has significantly more upside and is $100 cheaper, so rolling with Fitzgerald is probably not a wise choice.

TIGHT ENDS

Top-tier option: Travis Kelce, KC at LAC ($6,300): George Kittle (knee) and Austin Hooper (knee) are expected to be sidelined this week and Evan Engram is on a bye, so we are missing several of the top tight end options. If you want to play it safe at the position, Kelce is probably the way to go. He caught all seven of his targets last week for 75 yards and a touchdown in what was the return of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Even with Mahomes having to miss some time, Kelce has recorded at least 58 receiving yards in all but one game this season and has caught at least seven passes five times.

Cheap target: Jared Cook, NO at TB ($4,500): The Saints offense struggled Week 10, scoring just nine points against the Falcons. Outside of another strong performance from Thomas, Cook also provided value by catching six of 10 targets for 74 yards. Having Drew Brees back under center is key since he’s attempted at least 43 passes in all three of the full games that he has played. Teddy Bridgewater averaged only 33 pass attempts across his five starts. With how poorly the Bucs have defended the pass, Cooks has the potential for a big afternoon.

Player to avoid: T.J. Hockenson, DET vs. DAL ($4,400): The big question mark surrounding the Lions is the status of Matthew Stafford (back), who was sat out last week and didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday. If he’s unable to return, Jeff Driskel will once again start at quarterback. Hockenson has only surpassed 50 receiving yards in a game two times this season, leaving him with very little upside, especially if he has to catch passes from Driskel.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

Player Notes
Andy Isabella Dec 11 5:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receivers Christian Kirk (ankle) and Andy Isabella (shoulder) were both limited in practice on Wednesday. Both players should be on track to play in Week 15 against the Browns, but we'll keep an eye on their status the rest of the week. Kirk had eight catches on nine targets for 85 yards in the loss to the Steelers last week. He'll be an upside WR2 if he's able to play this weekend against Cleveland alongside Larry Fitzgerald. Other than his 88-yard touchdown catch on Halloween against the 49ers, Isabella has done very little (8-185-1) in his rookie season. He's purely a dynasty stash for his long-term upside.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Dec 11 5:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was officially listed as questionable with a quadriceps injury for Week 15 but confidently confirmed Tuesday that he would start against the Jets on Thursday night. The Ravens face a Jets Defense that conceded 245 passing yards and 65 rushing yards from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 14, but did not allow the Dolphins to find the end zone. The Jets defense has allowed 21 total touchdowns and an average of 19 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2019. At this point in the season, it's not looking like any team will be able to stop the Lamar Jackson train. Jackson could produce high-ceiling numbers in the best matchup he's had in weeks. It would be wise to throw him in your starting lineups in a game where he will likely break Michael Vick's single-season rushing record for a quarterback.

From RotoBaller

James White Dec 11 5:40pm ET

New England Patriots running back James White will take on a Bengals Defense in Week 15 that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing backs this season. The Patriots offense is in quite a slump right now but White has emerged as the lead back over the past few games. Teammate Sony Michel simply is not a threat in the passing game and White brings more versatility to the position. The Bengals have allowed 16 different running backs this season to post 10 or more fantasy points against them and look for quarterback Tom Brady to target White plenty in this contest. White will be a RB2/3 option in Week 15 with a solid chance at 100 total yards from scrimmage against the Bengals.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Dec 11 5:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) remained out of practice on Wednesday after sitting out on Monday night against the Giants. Agholor has a chance to be fantasy relevant as the team's No. 1 receiver with Alshon Jeffery (foot) now done for the year in the final three games, but there's no guarantee that Agholor will play this Sunday against the Redskins. He had just two catches for 11 yards in the season opener against Washington. If Agholor is out for his second straight game, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert would be the top three pass-catchers for Carson Wentz.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Dec 11 5:30pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and running back James Conner (shoulder) were both full participants in practice on Wednesday. The Steelers are expecting to get both players back for Week 15 against the Bills on Sunday night. Smith-Schuster and Conner have both been out since Nov. 14 and will return to a difficult matchup against a strong Bills Defense. Their pending returns are bad news for Benny Snell Jr. and James Washington mostly. It's likely that Bills shutdown cornerback Tre'Davious White will shadow Smith-Schuster in his return on Sunday evening. This whole offense will receive a boost with both players on track to return, but it's still somewhat limited with Devlin Hodges leading the charge under center.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Dec 11 5:30pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (ankle) was listed as limited at practice on Wednesday. Sanu returned to the field last week but caught only one pass and it is clear that the ankle injury is hampering his ability to play at full speed. The Patriots will take on a Bengals Defense that is allowing the 10th fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season and have allowed only two touchdowns to receivers since Week 10. Sanu should be considered on course to suit up in Week 15 but the injury, combined with the state of the Patriots offense, makes him unusable in most fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Dec 11 5:30pm ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will take on a Bengals Defense in Week 15 that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing backs this season. But Michel has completely fallen off the fantasy map as of late, totaling only 15 carries for 53 yards over his last two games. Matters got so bad for Michel last week that James White, Brandon Bolden and Rex Burkhead all saw more carries in the game than him. The second-year running back has been a major disappointment this season and pinning your fantasy hopes on him as a starter in Week 15 would be a mistake.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Dec 11 4:40pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have an excellent chance to get his offense back on track this week against an awful Bengals team in Week 15. Brady and the Patriots offense has severely struggled the past few weeks and Brady has passed for only nine touchdowns over his last eight games. New England is trying to incorporate young receivers into the offense on the fly and Brady will go up against a Bengals Defense that is allowing the ninth most fantasy points to passers this season. The Bengals haven't allowed a substantial amount of touchdowns but certainly are lenient in passing yards allowed. This is a perfect opportunity to have a positive offensive day against an inferior opponent and Brady has a shot at top-10 numbers among QB's for Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Dec 11 4:30pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee, shoulder) did not take part in practice on Wednesday. Edelman has been on the injury report pretty much all year with nagging injuries, but he manages to play every week and remains quarterback Tom Brady's favorite aerial target. Edelman had eight catches on 12 targets for 95 yards and a touchdown in the Week 15 loss to the Chiefs. He's found paydirt in back-to-back weeks and has seen double-digit targets in every game since Oct. 6 against the Redskins. Expect him to return to practice later this week and play against Cincinnati, where he'll be a must-start in the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Eli Manning Dec 11 4:20pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is likely to make his second straight start in Week 15 against the Dolphins despite rookie Daniel Jones (ankle) returning to a limited practice on Wednesday, according to a team official. It could be the 38-year-old Manning's final home start for the G-Men. The decision will ultimately be head coach Pat Shurmur's, but the Giants will be cautious with Jones. Jones insisted he's improving and is pushing to play, but he's just hoping he can play in one of the final three games of the season. Manning was 15-for-30 for 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the overtime loss to the Eagles on Monday night. Even in a juicy matchup with Miami, Manning would be a low-end QB2 for fantasy if he starts again.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Dec 11 4:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (knee) was held out of practice on Wednesday. The Falcons are likely just giving Freeman some rest early in the week after he went for 84 yards and his first rushing touchdown of the season on 17 carries in Week 14 against the Panthers. It was a breath of fresh air for his fantasy owners, but he could go right back to being a disappointment in Week 15 against a tough Niners defensive front. Consider Freeman more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 for this Sunday at San Francisco. He's one to fade in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Dec 11 4:10pm ET

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll thinks that wide receiver Tyler Lockett (illness, shin) is "really back" and ready to go for Week 15 against the Panthers. Since his 152-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Buccaneers on Nov. 3, Lockett has been missing in action for his fantasy owners. He hasn't gone over four catches or 43 yards in four games since, including a donut in Week 13 against the Vikings. Lockett had four catches for 43 yards in the Sunday night win over the Rams. There's always top-shelf upside here, but he's become more of a boom/bust WR3 in Seattle's run-first offense of late.

From RotoBaller

Chicago Bears Dec 11 4:10pm ET

The Chicago Bears Defense will take on the Packers in Week 15 and Green Bay is allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Bears defense is loaded with talent but have been extremely disappointing from a fantasy perspective this season. They currently rank outside of the top-15 in fantasy points scored among defenses and have 10 or more fantasy points only once over their last nine games. The biggest issue for the team has been a steep decline in turnovers and sacks from the previous season. The Packers offense hasn't lit up the league this season but the Bears defense lacks enough fantasy appeal to keep them on the bench in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Dec 11 4:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross (foot) was limited in practice on Wednesday. In his return from Injured Reserve in Week 14 against the Browns, Ross was pretty much invisible, catching two of three targets for just 28 yards. The speedster is now dealing with a foot injury, but he should be able to play this Sunday against the Patriots at home. Ross can always break away for a touchdown as a deep-threat specialist, but he just can't be trusted in the fantasy playoffs in a tough matchup with New England. He'll be more of a boom-or-bust WR4/5, but his targets could go up with Auden Tate (knee) on Injured Reserve and A.J. Green (ankle) still nowhere close to returning.

From RotoBaller

Tarik Cohen Dec 11 4:00pm ET

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen will take on a Packers Defense in Week 15 that is allowing the fifth most fantasy points to opposing backs this season. Green Bay has allowed 13 different running backs to post 11 or more fantasy points against them and 13 rushing touchdowns. The matchup is appealing but Cohen lacks value as a fantasy starter for Week 15. He has a role in an improving offense but his touches have decreased as the season has gone along. Cohen has taken on more of a change-of-pace role in the offense and his touches have been capped in the 8-to-12 range. Cohen has game-breaking talent but his fantasy floor should be keep him on the bench in most leagues in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Dec 11 4:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will face the Packers for the second time this season in Week 15. The veteran posted seven receptions for 102 yards in Week 1 and is having a Pro Bowl-type season with 76 receptions for 898 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bears will face a Packers Defense that is allowing the ninth fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and possess some of the more talented cornerbacks in the league. But this shouldn't scare fantasy owners from starting Robinson, who continues to deliver solid performances weekly. Robinson is a solid WR2 with WR1 upside in Week 15 as the Bears season is on the line.

From RotoBaller

Ben Braunecker Dec 11 4:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and tight end Ben Braunecker (concussion) are still in the league's concussion protocol and didn't practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Javon Wims (knee) also missed practice. Gabriel and Braunecker are questionable, at best, and obviously shouldn't be counted on in fantasy lineups for Week 15 against the Packers. Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are the only Chicago pass-catchers worthy of being in fantasy lineups this Sunday. Rookie Jesper Horsted is the best bet at tight end if Braunecker misses another game, but he's off the fantasy radar.

From RotoBaller

Anthony Miller Dec 11 4:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller will try and keep his resurgent second half of his season going against a tough Packers secondary in Week 15. Miller has emerged as a streaming option over the last month, posting 24 receptions for 313 yards and one touchdown over his last four games. He will have a tough test in Week 15 against a Packers Defense that is allowing the ninth fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Secondary receivers have enjoyed modest success, at times, against Green Bay but the Bears offense will need to stay hot if they intend on keeping their playoff hopes alive. Miller's fantasy stock is rising but will be a dicey start during the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Dec 11 3:50pm ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky will try and stay red-hot against a tough Packers Defense in Week 15. The Bears season is on the line and Trubisky has delivered in recent weeks, averaging 286 passing yards and racking up nine total touchdowns (two rushing, seven passing) over his last three games. Trubisky now will go up against a Packers defense that is allowing the seventh fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, surrendering only 10 touchdown passes over their last nine games played. Only one quarterback (the Cowboys Dak Prescott) has posted more than 20 fantasy points against the Packers but they haven't faced a passer with the ability to run like Trubisky. The third-year quarterback's arrow is pointing up but fantasy owners should hesitate throwing him into starting lineups during the fantasy playoffs. Trubisky has an decent chance at top-12 numbers among quarterbacks for Week 15.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Dec 11 3:50pm ET

The New York Jets Defense had a nice run of solid matchups, making them an attractive streaming option in fantasy. That portion of the schedule is over and so is the Jets defense's usability in fantasy. The Jets will take on MVP candidate Lamar Jackson and the high-flying Ravens on Thursday night in Baltimore in what is arguably the worst matchup for fantasy a defense could possibly face. The Jets defense may also be without star safety Jamal Adams (ankle), who will be a true game-time-decision Thursday night. Regardless of Adams' status, the Jets defense belongs back on waivers.

From RotoBaller