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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
Melvin Gordon Dec 7 2:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon has been on a roll recently, and that train shouldn't slow down on Sunday against Jacksonville. Gordon has posted 90 or more yards from scrimmage in four straight games, and he's about to face one of the worst rushing defenses in the entire league. The Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards and second-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL, and Gordon has returned to his full form. Expect Gordon to be a linchpin in the Chargers offense this week, and he could be one of the highest-performing players across the league.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Dec 7 2:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has once again proven that he can still be a productive fantasy weapon even when Melvin Gordon is fully healthy and performing, and he should continue some of that production this week against a Jacksonville defense that is extremely susceptible to running backs. Ekeler has touched the ball 34 times in the last three games, and he's racked up 247 yards on those touches, averaging 7.27 yards per touch. He's also scored a pair of touchdowns, and fantasy owners should look for him to be attacking the end zone once again this week. Since Ekeler is officially a backup, there's always the possibility of a dud if the coaching staff decides to push the ball elsewhere, but his recent production more than warrants continued use.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Chark Dec 7 1:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark has seen his role in the Jaguars offense fade some lately, but with rookie Gardner Minshew back at quarterback, Chark's in a good spot to get back to the level he was at early in the season. Chark averages more yards per reception with Minshew at quarterback and caught five touchdowns from the first-year passer. This week's meeting with the Chargers isn't a great one for Jacksonville's passing game, but if you're going to trust one of these receivers, it should be Chark.

From RotoBaller

Chris Conley Dec 7 1:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley has been incredibly consistent over the past three games, so if you need a fantasy wide receiver who'll catch four passes for 50 yards, Conley's the guy for you. He doesn't have tremendous upside and has just two touchdown receptions on the year, but his current role with the Jaguars does give him a solid floor. Sometimes, that's what you need.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Dec 7 1:40pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings Defense is one of the top plays at the position in Week 14. They will square off with undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough and the Detroit Lions at home in an important divisional battle. Blough played well in a narrow loss to the Bears in his debut in Week 13, but he did throw an interception and took two sacks in the game. The Vikings average 2.8 sacks per game and have a chance to get after the rookie with the Lions offensive line struggling. The Vikings secondary has been atrocious lately and the Lions have some deep-threat weapons, but it's safe to count on Mike Zimmer's defense to rebound at home after last week's brutal effort against the Seattle Seahawks. Start them with confidence in Week 14 as they have a great chance at picking up sacks and turnovers for your fantasy squad.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Dec 7 1:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is a WR2 with a wide range of outcomes in Week 14. It's been up-and-down for Diggs since Adam Thielen (hamstring) has been out as he has registered three monster fantasy outputs while also mixing in three very modest efforts. Detroit has struggled to defend the pass this year as they rank 26th in pass DVOA and are in the bottom-five in fantasy points allowed to the position. Though Diggs will likely see a lot of Darius Slay in coverage, the Vikings will find ways to scheme him open as their top receiving option. It should be noted that the passing game volume could take a slight hit with the Vikings favored by 13 points at home. Keep Diggs locked in as a solid WR2 with elite upside and a lower floor than most receivers in his range.

From RotoBaller

Dede Westbrook Dec 7 1:20pm ET

Don't let his touchdown reception last week fool you; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook has had limited upside all season and while he's unlikely to bottom out like he did in Gardner Minshew's first game as quarterback for the Jags, he's not a great option in Minshew's return to the starting role. Westbrook's targets and yardage have been smaller than most expected coming into this season, which makes it difficult to trust him, especially in shallower leagues.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Dec 7 1:00pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette should be in line for a solid performance in Sunday's meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers allow the ninth-most PPR points to opposing running backs, and while in years past that PPR part of the equation wouldn't mean much to Fournette, he's been targeted 23 times in the passing game over the last two weeks. He's going to get a lot of touches on Sunday, and the Chargers are a team that he can exploit. Feel confident using Fournette as an RB1.

From RotoBaller

Olabisi Johnson Dec 7 12:50pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Olabisi Johnson remains in the mix as the Vikings No. 2 receiver with Adam Thielen (hamstring) out. Johnson had been playing at least 70% of snaps every week Thielen has missed, but he put up a 56% snap count in Week 13 as Laquon Treadwell carved out an increased role. Johnson finished with one catch for one yard in a loss to the Seahawks. "Bisi" has a much better chance to produce this week as the Lions Defense has gotten torched all season and shutdown corner Darius Slay will likely stick with Stefon Diggs all game long. As a reminder, Johnson is one game removed from catching six of nine targets for 35 yards in a comeback win over the Broncos in Week 11. There could be some volume concerns this week with the Vikings favored by 13 points, but Johnson is the Vikings backup receiver to take a chance on if you're in desperate need.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Dec 7 12:50pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers had his best game in a month last week when he completed 69% of his passes, but the Chargers still found a way to lose at the last second. This week, he'll face a porous Jacksonville defense that has been sliding recently. Though mediocre for the season, the Jaguars have fallen apart recently, allowing 26 or more points in four straight games. They've been ripped by opposing quarterbacks, allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in the last month. With LA desperately looking to nail down a win after so many close losses, expect Rivers to have the opportunity for a big game.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Dec 7 12:30pm ET

The New York Giants ruled out both tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) for Monday night. That means Kaden Smith will get another start. He could be put into DFS Showdown slates, but he's not a recommended option in season-long playoffs given the Giants' full complement of healthy wide receivers.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Dec 7 12:30pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will miss Monday night's game with an ankle injury. As has been expected all week, Eli Manning will get the start and becomes a low-end QB2 option in season-long leagues. This improves Saquon Barkley's value a little since Manning dumps off to running backs more than he runs, but it doesn't do much to the value of the Giants' wide receivers. Perhaps a slight bump down for Golden Tate since the two have never played together.

From RotoBaller

Laquon Treadwell Dec 7 12:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell will likely see extended playing time again this week in the absence of top wideout Adam Thielen (hamstring). Treadwell caught one of his two targets for a wide-open 58-yard score last week, but he should not be considered as a starting option in Week 14. The fourth-year wideout has seen one or zero targets in five of his seven games played - that fact alone should have you looking elsewhere for desperation streaming options. He'll compete with Olabisi Johnson, Kyle Rudolph, and Dalvin Cook for (likely) limited targets behind Stefon Diggs this week. If you must have a backup receiver from this game, look to Johnson with his higher snap count and target-share.

From RotoBaller

Gardner Minshew II Dec 7 12:20pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew is the starter again, but his first start since reclaiming that role comes in a bad situation. The Jags play the Chargers, who've allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing passers this season. The safest bet for you in a season-long fantasy league is to do what you can to avoid playing Minshew this week, though he's not the worst option in a two-quarterback league. He threw for 147 yards and a touchdown in one half of play against Tampa.

From RotoBaller

Kirk Cousins Dec 7 12:20pm ET

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is in line for a big game in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions. Cousins has become a model of consistency, tossing multiple touchdowns in seven of his last eight games played and completing 69.3% of his passes to this point in the season (at 8.5 yards per attempt). The Detroit Lions Defense has been getting demolished by opposing fantasy quarterbacks all season, including in Week 7 when Cousins exploded for 338 yards and four touchdowns. The only possible concern for his outlook this week is volume as the Vikings are favored by 13 points and may look to lean on the run. He'll need David Blough and the Lions offense to put up some points in order to approach his ceiling this week, which shouldn't be counted on. Still, start Cousins as a low-end QB1 in this extremely favorable matchup at home.

From RotoBaller

Will Fuller Dec 7 12:10pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) isn't even a guarantee to suit up against Denver in Week 14, but if he does, he faces a Broncos Defense that's allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Fuller played 75 percent of Houston's snaps last week, but had just one catch for eight yards. His other target was an end zone one that was initially ruled a touchdown, but two targets for the speedster isn't great. I'd expect we see a little more usage if he plays this week, but if he's not at 100 percent, it'll be tough to trust him in your lineups in shallower leagues.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Stills Dec 7 12:10pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills caught his first touchdown since Week 1 in last week's meeting with New England, but his inconsistent role means you're unlikely to get much out of him in Week 14 against Denver. If Will Fuller (hamstring) misses the game, Stills has value, but it's worth noting that Stills has 50 or more receiving yards in just four games this year and has major fantasy downside.

From RotoBaller

Darren Fells Dec 7 12:10pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells caught another touchdown last week. He also finished with two catches for 23 yards, his fourth game in a row with two or fewer catches. It's clear that Fells has a very defined role in this offense: quarterback Deshaun Watson will look for him near the goal line or in short yardage situations, and that's about it. Of his 28 catches, nine were in the red zone, and seven of those went for touchdowns. If you need a prayer, Fells is as likely as any non-elite tight end to score, but he won't put up huge yardage totals, so you're assuming a lot of risk.

From RotoBaller

Duke Johnson Dec 7 12:00pm ET

Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson saw his most targets and tied for his most carries of the season against the Patriots in Week 13 while playing a season-high 67 percent of offensive snaps, a sign that the pass-catching back might be moving towards a larger role in this offense. That gives him some intriguing upside in Week 14 against a Denver team that's done better against running backs on the ground than through the air. This could be a game that favors Johnson over teammate Carlos Hyde, though Johnson's still no more than a PPR RB3 because of the downside he presents, like the fact that in Weeks 11 and 12 he combined for just 12 receiving yards.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Dec 7 12:00pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins faces a tough one on Sunday, as Houston faces a Broncos team that allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Add in that Hopkins has been targeted eight times in each of the last two games after a five-game stretch with double-digit targets and you get some reason for concern. Not enough concern to even think about benching Hopkins, as his upside is just too big. Maybe you don't play him in your DFS lineup this week because of the matchup, but you have to play him in season-long leagues and hope his talent and his usage help him to a strong day.

From RotoBaller