By Kyra Wiaterowski
Hello everyone! It’s Sunday morning and there’s no decaf Metcalf in my cup, so we are going full throttle into Week 11 of the NFL season! Time is just burning down with each week that passes us by so let us not take for granted the nice slice of happiness we get every Sunday and get ourselves involved in some DFS while we still can! Last week gave us the epic “Hail Murray” and some more weather-related issues that came to derail fantasy days like the Texans versus the Browns. We will see some more weather games this week, such as the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Cleveland Browns, which is worth noting. Maybe a dark cloud is following Cleveland, but this game has been forecasted to see a lot of rain and with that, will probably come a lot of running the rock, so adjust your lineups accordingly. That’s really all that’s needed to be known headed into this wonderful Sunday slate of games and we have no time to waste blabbing because it’s almost game time! Let’s go kash out!
Looking for more help building DFS lineups? We’ve put together our DFS Matchup Report for Week 11, showing who has the best (and worst) matchups.
Matt Ryan (DraftKings: $6,300 / FanDuel: $7,800)
The thing that jumps out to me here in this matchup is one of two things. The first is that Matt Ryan should have both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley back healthy on the field, which ultimately helps Ryan reach his full potential as the top fantasy quarterback we are used to seeing him as. The second is Matt Ryan’s reputation of playing notoriously well versus their divisional rival in the New Orleans Saints. Over his past four outings versus the Saints, Ryan is averaging 27.8 fantasy points per game. As long as Taysum Hill or Jameis Winston or whatever plan Sean Peyton has at quarterback can hold up their end of the bargain and continue to put points on the board, we should see Ryan have top-5 potential this week. Aside from how well Ryan has played against the Saints, he has been averaging 22.2 fantasy points per game in his past five games now coming off the bye week, and that’s with and without Jones or Ridley. The Saints’ secondary has been playing a bit better as of late, but it’s their run defense that is the bread and butter, so Matt Ryan should have plenty of opportunity to air it out this week.
Alex Smith (DraftKings: $5,300 / FanDuel: $6,600)
Man, we know it: he’s the comeback story of the year, and it’s just simply incredible that he’s even playing football after his gruesome, almost life-ending, injury to his leg. But hey! Alex Smith has been throwing the hell out of the football. The Washington Football quarterback has only played in two games thus far this season and has thrown for 715 passing yards on 87 attempts. The downside is his lack of touchdowns, seeing as he’s only thrown for one and a meh three interceptions. But this week, it is all about the matchup. The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed 21 touchdown passes while allowing the 8th most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. So, for a guy like Alex Smith, who is pretty unappealing to throw in your lineup, just note that they’ve allowed other unappealing guys like Baker Mayfield, Philip Rivers, and Gardner Minshew to put up over 20+ fantasy points on them. Not a bad value at all for a quarterback this cheap, and I like the idea of stacking him with Logan Thomas (another value option) with the Bengals allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. That leaves you a lot of room to upgrade at other positions at their discounted prices.
Honorable Mention: Joe Flacco (DraftKings: $5,000 / FanDuel: $6,100)
Deep Sea Dive: Taysum Hill (DraftKings: $4,800 / FanDuel: $ N/A)
Ezekiel Elliott (DraftKings: $6,500 / FanDuel: $8,000)
It’s so weird to be able to write this man’s name here, but this is definitely the lowest we are going to see Ezekiel Elliott in DFS. Yes, I know he has put up single-digit games the last three weeks and that is absolutely disgusting coming from a player of his caliber. The Dallas Cowboys are really going through it with injuries, not to mention the quarterback carousel. He also admitted to his hamstring still not feeling the best last week against the Steelers. I am not worried about Zeke, and getting Andy Dalton back under center should help improve Zeke’s chances to go back to being in a position to get touchdowns. The Cowboys have had the bye week to prepare, while Minnesota is coming off a short week after playing on Monday night. The Vikings have a decent run defense, but seven running backs with 12-plus carries against them have averaged 16.5 PPR points per game this year. Amongst those players were David Johnson, Todd Gurley, and Jonathan Taylor. I might be out of the norm here in suggesting Zeke this week, but he should get the type of usage that warrants rostering at this value.
Kalen Ballage (DraftKings: $5,600 / FanDuel: $5,800)
REVENGE GAME! Just kidding. Of course, we always have to create that narrative when playing against a former team (which he hardly played on). I mean, let’s face it: Kalen Ballage has been ballin’ out for the Los Angeles Chargers after being an absolute nobody last season. (And the season before and the season before.) With just two games on the Chargers, he finds himself averaging 14.5 PPR points per game. He’s a freakin’ top 12 running back through the last two weeks. Now, mind you, the Jets aren’t good on paper by any means but their run defense is a little underrated having only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season (Melvin Gordon), but it’s possible that the Jets will be without one of their star defensive linemen — Achoo! “Bless you!” “Thank you.” — Quinnen Williams. Anthony Lynn stated this week that Kalen Ballage has earned himself more looks with his recent production, so he’s worth rolling out at the discounted price tag on a team like the Chargers whose running backs have scored AT LEAST 12 PPR points in seven of their nine games this season.
Honorable Mention: J.D. McKissic (DraftKings: $5,200 / FanDuel: $5,600)
Deep Sea Dive: Adrian Peterson (DraftKings: $4,000 / FanDuel: $5,100)
Justin Jefferson (DraftKings: $6,000 / FanDuel: $6,700)
This rookie wide receiver has been one of the most efficient wide receivers in the league so far this season. Not just rookie wide receivers, but of ALL the wide receivers, in general. However, he comes with high-risk and high-reward. A lot of his production is based on how much Dalvin Cook is balling out and how much Jefferson is actually needed. But the matchup is juicy and could easily find himself in a game where we see Jefferson put up one of his 100+ yard performances and notch himself a touchdown or two. It doesn’t take much for the kid to break off one big play, seeing as he’s had four different games with a reception that goes for 30+ yards this season. His opponent this week, the Dallas Cowboys, are allowing over two passing touchdowns per game on the season, ranking them 31st in the league. I think he is worth taking a chance on at his value for how high his upside can be with the solid matchup.
Brandin Cooks (DraftKings: $5,200 / FanDuel: $6,100)
AHH, REVENGE GAME AGAIN! Whatever. Here’s the real multitude of reasons I love Cooks this week at such a value price… the New England Patriots love to take away an opposing team’s top receiver. Who is the top receiver for the Houston Texans? Will Fuller. He will get the Stephon Gilmore shadow treatment, leaving open a more than capable Brandin Cooks to have himself a day. Since Week 5, here are Brandin Cooks’ targets per game — 12, 9, 9, 9, 8. Watson is looking for Cooks a ton in this offense and the Patriots defense has been susceptible to opposing wide receivers. They are not the same defense you may remember last year, who literally were capable of winning you your fantasy league. Remember Breshad Perriman last week putting up 101 yards and two touchdowns? Yeah, I think Brandin Cooks is a more than capable field stretcher with the ability to put up a similar stat line. Look for Deshaun Watson to air this ball the hell out in what I think could be a sneaky good day for the both of these two against New England.
Honorable Mention: Jakobi Meyers (DraftKings: $4,900 / FanDuel: $6,000)
Deep Sea Dive: Michael Gallup (DraftKings: $3,700 / FanDuel: $5,400)
Hayden Hurst (DraftKings: $4,400 / FanDuel: $5,500)
Well, Lord knows I love me a tight end going up against the New Orleans Saints. I am well aware they’ve gotten better at defending the position and haven’t been letting people score on them like crazy, but they also haven’t faced much competition at the position in some time. Last week, it was the 49ers decimated at the position; the week before was the Buccaneers, who couldn’t get anything going offensively; the week prior the Chicago Bears, who have essentially no offense at all; and then lastly it was tight end superstar Ian Thomas of the Carolina Panthers. Hurst has garnered himself at least 50 yards in each of the last four weeks, along with three touchdowns on the season. With how decimated the tight end position has been this season, and no Kelce on the Sunday daytime slate, Hurst is a good value play to consider.
Eric Ebron (DraftKings: $4,000 / FanDuel: $5,400)
We meet here again, Mr. Ebron, after putting up a dud of a finish last weekend. Only tallying two receptions for 38 yards? Yuck! But we have to learn to forgive and forget here because honestly, just about every tight end outside of two or three scored below double digits. (Editor’s note: only eight tight ends topped 10 fantasy points last week.) It’s just been ugly if you’re not Travis Kelce, but I digress. Ebron presents himself a matchup to redeem himself against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are giving up the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. The Steelers should have their way with Jacksonville, and in a game where they have a 28.8-point team-implied total, I think he warrants taking a chance on at this price.
Honorable Mention: Logan Thomas (DraftKings: $3,300 / FanDuel: $5,200)
Deep Sea Dive: Taysum Hill (DraftKings: $ N/A / FanDuel: $4,500)
Miami Dolphins vs Denver Broncos (DraftKings: $3,400 / FanDuel: $4,800)
Cleveland Browns vs Philadelphia Eagles (DraftKings: $3,000 / FanDuel: $4,600)
Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Eagles vs Cleveland Browns (DraftKings: $2,800 / FanDuel: $4,000)
Deep Sea Dive: Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints (DraftKings: $2,300 / FanDuel: $3,200)