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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

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
Greg Olsen Dec 5 1:10pm ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (concussion) is out of practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. All signs are pointing towards Olsen sitting Week 14 out against the Falcons after suffering a serious head injury in Week 13. If you've been relying on Olsen in your tight end spot, it's time to make other plans for the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Ian Thomas should become the primary pass-catching tight end in Carolina if Olsen sits, and he'd have streaming TE2 appeal if that's the case.

From RotoBaller

Damien Williams Dec 5 1:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (ribs) remained out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Unless Williams gets in at least a limited practice on Friday, he's headed for his second straight missed game after getting injured in Week 11. With Darrel Williams (hamstring) on Injured Reserve, we could be looking at a committee approach with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware in Week 14 against the Patriots. Even if Williams is able to play, he'd be an RB3/flex to fade in the fantasy playoffs. Thompson might have the most fantasy upside this weekend with the Chiefs limiting McCoy's touches down the stretch.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Dec 5 1:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is not practicing for the second straight day this week on Thursday. As of now, it's looking like Thielen can't be trusted to return in Week 14 against the Lions in a good matchup. Keep him locked to your bench unless something changes with his status on Friday. Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Olabisi Johnson should remain the top three passing targets if Thielen misses another contest. Diggs went for seven catches and 143 yards in the last matchup with Detroit, so he'll be a high-end WR2 regardless of whether Thielen plays. Rudolph has become a touchdown hog with Thielen out of the lineup.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Dec 5 1:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will face an extremely tough test in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. Here's where the 49ers Defense ranks in several key categories: 45 sacks, second in the league, 134.2 pass yards allowed per game, first in the league and 29.4 pass attempts allowed, second in the league. Brees will potentially have to take on this fearsome pass rush without his starting offensive tackles, Andrus Peat (forearm) and Terron Armstead (ankle). Even in the offensive-friendly Superdome, Brees isn't dropping back to pass 40 times against this defense. Expect a more run-oriented gameplan from New Orleans, making Brees more of a QB2 this week.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Dec 5 1:00pm ET

Updating a previous report, New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) is practicing in full on Thursday. Tate looks ready to return in Week 14 against the Eagles on Monday night after sitting out last week. With tight end Evan Engram (foot) also on track to make his return, Tate will be more of a PPR WR3 for fantasy owners with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton also being involved. Quarterback Eli Manning is also expected to get the start under center with rookie Daniel Jones (ankle) not expected to play.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Everett missed the game last week and is in danger of sitting again in Week 14 against the Seahawks on Sunday night. If that is the case, Tyler Higbee, who caught seven of eight targets for 107 yards and a touchdown in Week 13, would be a low-end TE1 option again for fantasy owners struggling at the position in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Everett will need to at least get in a limited practice on Thursday or Friday to have a shot at returning to the field this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee) is on the injury report for Week 14 against the Buccaneers after his knee flared up in warmups this past Sunday. Vinatieri missed all three of his attempts from 55, 52 and 46 yards on Sunday, with two of them getting blocked. With Indy claiming kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers on Wednesday, Vinatieri's status is very much up in the air for this Sunday. Vinatieri was limited in practice on Wednesday and isn't a good fantasy option, even if he's active this weekend. McLaughlin could become a worthy streaming consideration if he fills in at all for Vinatieri in the last four games.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (knee) is going on season-ending Injured Reserve on Thursday, according to a source. It's a big blow to Jacksonville's already weak run defense, especially with Chargers running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler coming to town in Week 14. The 24-year-old Jack totaled 66 tackles, half a sack and one interception in his 11 games this year for Jacksonville. Fantasy owners shouldn't be using the Jaguars Defense in the first round of the fantasy playoffs despite facing a slumping Chargers offense.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Dec 5 12:40pm ET

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle) is not practicing on Thursday and is doing leg work in a boot with a trainer on the side. Dealing with a mild high ankle sprain, Jones is a long shot to suit up on Monday night against the Eagles and could also miss Week 15. It means that veteran Eli Manning will get another start in Week 14 against an old foe in the Eagles. Philly's secondary has plenty of concerns and was just roasted by the Dolphins. The G-Men could be getting both Evan Engram and Golden Tate back as well, but Manning remains a low-upside QB2 if he gets the start, as expected, on Monday.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Dec 5 12:40pm ET

New York Giants tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) and wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) are all practicing on Thursday. All three players have a chance of returning on Monday night against the Eagles, but they'll be tough calls in fantasy if they carry questionable designations and are game-time calls. Engram has disappointed this year because of injury, but he'll immediately return to being a TE1 if he's active. Tate's return would be good news for quarterback Eli Manning, who will likely start for Daniel Jones (ankle), but it will hurt Sterling Shepard's upside as a WR2 in a great matchup. Ellison would only be fantasy relevant if he starts and Engram sits. Philly's defense won't be as great of a streamer if New York gets all their offensive weapons back.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Dec 5 12:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) is still not cleared for contact on Thursday. It's looking like Howard is in line to miss his fourth straight game unless he can get in a full practice on Friday or Saturday. Rookie Miles Sanders had a season-high 22 touches in the Week 13 loss to the Dolphins and continues to be the primary ball-handler in the backfield with Howard sidelined. Although the Giants defensive front has been stingy to running backs of late, Sanders would have RB2 upside yet again this week if Howard misses another game. Making things even tougher for Howard owners is the fact that the game this week is on Monday night.

From RotoBaller

Tony Pollard Dec 5 12:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard (ankle) missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday and is questionable for Thursday night against the Bears. Pollard has just 58 carries for 264 yards and one touchdown on the season on the ground as the backup to Ezekiel Elliott, so he doesn't really have any standalone value to begin with. He has added 12 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown this year. Consider him a game-time decision against Chicago, but he should be nowhere near fantasy lineups to begin with.

From RotoBaller

Antwaun Woods Dec 5 12:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) missed practice all week and has been ruled out for Thursday night against the Bears. Also out are safety Jeff Heath (shoulder) and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (knee). Vander Esch is dealing with a pretty serious injury that could send him to Injured Reserve any day now. It's bad news for the interior of Dallas' defense, but Sean Lee is more than capable of picking up the slack if he can stay healthy himself. Vander Esch's absence is good news for the Bears ground game and running backs David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen on Thursday night.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Dec 5 12:20pm ET

The Kansas City Chiefs placed running back Darrel Williams (hamstring) on season-ending Injured Reserve on Thursday. In corresponding moves, defensive back Alex Brown was added to the 53-man roster and wide receiver Gehrig Dieter was signed to the practice squad. With Williams done for the year and Damien Williams (ribs) questionable to play in Week 14 against the Patriots, the Chiefs backfield might be down to LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware this Sunday. The Chiefs have been limiting Shady's repetitions to keep him fresh for the stretch run, so Thompson could have a sizeable role this weekend if Williams doesn't play. Consider McCoy on the RB2/3 borderline, while Thompson could be a fantasy wild card in both DFS and season-long leagues.

From RotoBaller

JuJu Smith-Schuster Dec 5 12:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is unlikely to return in Week 14 against the Cardinals. Fantasy owners that own Smith-Schuster shouldn't be counting on him for their lineups in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. He might not even be a lock to make it back in time for Week 15. The bottom line is that Smith-Schuster has been one of the biggest WR busts in fantasy this year due to injury and the fact that Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) was hurt early in the season. James Washington continues to be the top wideout in Smith-Schuster's absence, but he'll be a volatile WR3 with Devlin Hodges at quarterback.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Dec 5 11:20am ET

The New York Jets Defense has a good matchup on paper in Week 14. However, fantasy owners may want to think twice before starting this unit in the playoffs. The Dolphins have been a punch line most of this season but have actually won three of their last five games, scoring 20-plus points in four of those games. The Miami offense has looked good led by former Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who said he's feeling confident after hanging 37 points on the Eagles last week. The Jets defense was picked apart by Bengals QB Andy Dalton last week and now will likely be without stud safety Jamal Adams (ankle). The Jets could be used as a low-end starter, but other streaming defenses are likely to outperform Gang Green this week.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Dec 5 11:10am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was limited in Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury. This is nothing new for the veteran wide receiver who has been limited in most practices this season, but hasn't missed any game action since September. Thomas will be active and play for the Jets this Sunday, but fantasy owners don't need to follow suit. Thomas has just one game in his last six with more than five targets and hasn't done much with the limited work he's getting. Starting QB Sam Darnold has been throwing more to Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder in recent weeks with Thomas fading to fantasy obscurity, even in a good matchup with Miami.

From RotoBaller

Atlanta Falcons Dec 5 11:00am ET

The Falcons Defense showed some glimpses of hope in Week 10 and Week 11, completely shutting down the Saints and Panthers. However, the past two weeks, they've struggled mightily and have allowed a total of 61 points. This week, the Falcons have their second meeting against the Panthers. While Kyle Allen could turn the ball over a few times and provide ample sack opportunities, the Panthers should still put a good amount of points on the board. The Falcons defense could be worth considering if you're in a pinch, but you're probably best off going in a different direction this week.

From RotoBaller

Younghoe Koo Dec 5 11:00am ET

Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has earned at least three field goal attempts in each of his four games with the Falcons. He's hit 12-of-14 attempts on the year. This week, the Falcons face the Panthers in a game that should feature a good amount of scoring. Expect Koo to have the opportunity to hit two or three field goals in the game with some extra-points as well, making him a strong starting kicker option this week.

From RotoBaller

Brian Hill Dec 5 10:50am ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill saw his workload heavily diminished upon the return of Devonta Freeman in Week 13. This week should be a similar story as the team faces the Panthers. Hill should see only around six or seven touches at best in the game, giving him little hope of a solid fantasy day. He can be left on waivers in all leagues at this point.

From RotoBaller