Last week I took the approach of paying up at the top of the lineup going with the highest salary QB and RB. Those two players, Lamar Jackson, and Christian McCaffrey, came thru per usual with a combined 66.58 combined points.
Josh Jacobs predictably went over 100 yards rushing, he also predictably did little in the passing game with three catches for 12 yards but the lack of TD’s is what really killed us (17.40 points). Speaking of lack of TD’s…D.J. Moore had his normal involvement (eight catches for 95 yards) but Kyle Allen didn’t seem very interested in getting into scoring range. The same could be said for the Washington offense until garbage time but even their 14 point, 4th quarter “outburst” wasn’t enough to save Terry McLaurin (three catches for 69 yards).
The rest of the lineup was forgettable. Russell Gage, Eric Ebron, and Brian Hill combined to score 16.70 fantasy points.
Well, almost forgettable…the Cardinals defense scored 5 points but at 1,500 I’m totally taking that as a win. The lineup as a whole ended up with 133.08 points…not what I was hoping for, but we learn and move on…to Week 12.
QB Baker Mayfield vs. Miami
There may be no better spot for Mayfield and the Browns to show some of the air raid magic we expected coming into the season. The Dolphins allow the 3rd most points per game to QBs and just lost both of their starting safeties to season-ending injuries, a development that probably won’t help them improve on the 12.6 yards they’re giving up per completion. Mayfield’s struggles playing under pressure also shouldn’t be an issue versus Miami as they rank dead last in adjusted sack rate per Football Outsiders.
For those that kept reading after they saw Mayfield’s name, this may make you feel a little uneasy but trying to win a larger-field tournament means taking some calculated risks. Mayfield has struggled this season, but you couldn’t go into a lab and create a better set of circumstances than these.
DraftKings salary: 5,900
RB Leonard Fournette @ Tennessee
Last week, Fournette had a season-low 23 yards and only has one touchdown this season. This may look like the time to jump ship, but I see an opportunity for a lower-ownership play. Despite his season-low carry total last week, he had seven catches on seven targets. Then on Tuesday, Doug Marrone voiced displeasure with the lack of carries for Fournette. The Titans have a pretty solid run defense, but this is a volume game. I try to only avoid the true outlier situations and this doesn’t qualify. Follow the volume.
DraftKings salary: 7,300
RB Derrick Henry vs. Jacksonville
And for my RB2 I’m going no further than the same game. While the Titans have a respectable run defense, the Jaguars are very much the opposite, getting gashed for a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry. On the back of his 188-rush yard performance before the Titans’ Week 11 bye and his 238 rushing yard four TD performance last December he’ll be a popular play, but the thought here is that most people won’t play him with a RB from the same game. Oh…and that he balls out.
DraftKings salary: 6,900
WR Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Miami
Baker Mayfield putting together a tournament-viable performance will be highly influenced by OBJ. He’s seen 22 targets come his way over the last two games and has had opportunities for those signature big plays of his while facing two top-ten pass defenses by many metrics (Buffalo and Pittsburgh). Now he gets the Dolphins, which we’ve discussed the accolades of their pass defense above. To those who drafted Beckham Jr., this is your redemption week.
DraftKings salary: 7,000
WR Calvin Ridley vs. Tampa Bay
Ridley went off for 143 yards and a TD last week and has a good opportunity to stay hot this week. Before we jump into the matchup this week, let’s look back into the usage from last week. Ridley spent 30 percent of his snaps in the slot, by far a season and career-high. With Mo Sanu in New England and Austin Hooper and Devonta Freeman on the shelf, the Falcons made a concerted effort to get one of their best players a chance at higher percentage touches. If that continues, he should have no trouble approaching his 25% target share from last week.
Then there’s the matchup this week. No team gives up more fantasy points to wide receivers weekly than the Bucs. In fact, they give up a full four more points per game than the 31st-ranked Giants. That’s the widest margin you’ll see across any position. Tampa Bay’s great run defense (3.4 yards per carry allowed) will likely funnel a few more pass attempts in the direction of Matt Ryan, making double-digit targets a strong possibility for Ridley. That’s enough to slice up an underwhelming Bucs secondary.
DraftKings salary: 6,500
WR Devante Parker @ Cleveland
Devante Parker has gone from all promise to a seemingly bankable fantasy asset. In a fade-worthy matchup last week versus Tre’Davious White and the strong Bills pass defense, Parker went for 135 yards on seven catches. He’s had target shares of 30% and 22% percent the last two weeks and that doesn’t look to be changing with mostly ancillary pieces around him in the Dolphins passing game.
I doubled down on Baker with OBJ so now I’m tripling down with the Parker in what is a very intriguing game from a fantasy perspective.
DraftKings salary: 5,200
TE Mike Gesicki @ Cleveland
Quadrupling down. The box scores haven’t been in Gesicki’s favor the last couple weeks, but his involvement has. He’s gotten six targets in each of the last three games and last week he played 86% percent of the snaps, his most decisive snap share of the season. This game has sneaky shootout potential…or at least the likelihood that the Browns jumping out to a lead and the Dolphins throw a ton to play catch up. If the ball isn’t going into the vicinity of Devante Parker…chances are it’s heading in Gesicki’s direction.
DraftKings salary: 3,400
Flex Phillip Lindsay @ Buffalo
We heard rumors that Lindsay was going to take a more decisive touch share in the Broncos backfield and that held up as he out-touched Royce Freeman 18 to nine. His 16 carries for 67 yards was solid considering he was facing the perennially strong run defense of the Vikings, but this week offers a far more exploitable matchup. The Bills have a strong pass defense but by design don’t attribute extra resources to the run which is probably #smart but it’s also helpful for us in this matchup (4.58 yards per carry allowed). In the lowest team total game of the week, I expect a low-scoring, defensive battle giving Lindsay plenty of chances to tap into his rookie year magic.
DraftKings salary: 5,200
Defense Broncos @ Buffalo
Going with another correlation play here while keeping to my thrifty spending principles. Denver matches up well across the board with the Bills. The Broncos defense is 4th in points per game allowed to QBs, including the 2nd least rushing yards allowed to the position. They’re holding running backs to 3.7 yards per carry and after a rough start has worked themselves up to 12th in adjusted sack rate. John Brown is the only truly dangerous weapon in the Bills passing game and he’ll no doubt get Chris Harris shadow treatment.
Josh Allen was good last week but we know reckless Josh Allen can poke his head out at any time. I’ll take my chances at this price.
DraftKings salary: 2,400