Week 11 Player Pool
Another Saturday night, another player pool is up! This week poses some difficult decisions, but also plenty of opportunity. With no clear cut Quarterback, we have a myriad of options when it comes to game stacks and unique builds. Weeks like this are perfect for straying from consensus because most of the popular plays this week have multiple paths to downside. I'm not a 150 lineup guy, but if I was, then this would be the week to do it. With that said, let's look at where I stand on the eve of Week 11.
QB - Starting off my player pool is Lamar Jackson. This might be the first time all year I will play him, and for good reason. He has been awful and overpriced. However, he still seems to have a consistently high floor, and now draws a good matchup against the Titans. Outside of Taysom Hill, I think Lamar is the next highest owned quarterback of the week. That's at least what I expect in higher stakes tournaments and likely translates across the board. The absence of Ronnie Stanley is going to hurt Lamar, but with limited options against a defense missing Clowney and Jackson, he has the potential to finally be the top QB on the main slate. Let's drop down to Justin Herbert where he is reasonably priced at 6.8k. He offers rushing equity, is playing at home, and will face the Jets. The Jets allow the 4th most yards per game and adjusted net yards per attempt while allowing the 5th most yards per attempt overall. They are middle of the pack in passing touchdowns allowed and TD% allowed so it's possible they are somehow due to give up more TDs in the air than they have at this point. I never like trusting the chargers, but Herbert is in a phenomenal spot this week. Next is Cam at 6.2k. With only 3 passing TDs on the season and only 1 since week 3, you are paying for a running back. Rob and I discussed on the podcast how poor the Texans' defense is and I even gave a deep dive last week on how statistically awful they are across the board. This game is in a dome and the Texans are still the worst team in the league against the run so I think you can play Cam confidently this week. You can actually play him by himself due to his rushing propensity, but Jakobi Meyers is a perfectly fine stacking partner this week. Meyers will come at high ownership so maybe stacking him with Cam, or even playing Cam by himself, creates a little leverage.
Moving on to the 5k range, I really like Carson Wentz this week. He was a massive letdown last week and the Eagles are a division-leading laughing stock. This creates a perfect buying opportunity as the Eagles always seem to do something when they aren't supposed to and vice versa. Wentz is a pivot off of Burrow, which we will get to next, but also a matchup play against the Browns pass funnel defense. They have allowed the 18th most passing TDs on the year, and that includes 2 games with weather so fierce that Josh Allen might not have even pushed the ball downfield. That might be an exaggeration, but you get the point, the Browns can be thrown on. (Weather is potentially bad in Cleveland again so double-check Sunday morning) The Browns also just placed Myles Garret on the Covid/IR list which should help Wentz stay upright with his league-leading sack rate (9%). With no Garrett, and desperate for a win, I think the Eagles have a shot to win this game. If they win, then I think it's off the back of Wentz or the defense. At 5.7k, 20+ fantasy points is not an outrageous ask from Wentz and that might be enough to create leverage off of Burrow. Speaking of Burrow, what's up with this price of 5.5k on a week with limited options? You know something I don't, Draftkings? Regardless, Burrow is probably going to keep chucking the ball with a seasonal pass rate of 64% and climbing. Washington wants to play fast and so does Cincinnati so this game could be a fun matchup of bad teams. As of Saturday night, my final QB is Taysom Hill. He's cheap, 4.8k, runs the ball and looks like he will get every opportunity to run the show Sunday. While Sean Peyton plays coy, it sounds like Hill is 99.9% likely to start. You are basically paying for a much cheaper Cam Newton and Atlanta poses as the best matchup for quarterbacks all season. You don't need stats for that, I mean, you do have eyes, right?
Note: Matt Ryan (6.3k) is currently in consideration to replace Cam and/or Wentz in my player pool. Dome game, high total, can't run the ball, and Julio/Ridley appears to be healthy. I Will update as necessary.
RB - First off is Dalvin at 9k. Like Taysom Hill, you don't need analysis on why he is a play this week. If you do, please don't bet any of your hard-earned money, unless you're sending me a head to head. It's simply a discussion of price with Cook. If you expect him to blow up like he was prior to the Bears game, then play him because 9k isn't a high enough price. If you think he scores like a normal person, then it's ok to fade him. I am unsure where I stand regarding Cook because I like some cheaper plays Rob and I discussed on the pod. I'm also never going to discourage playing Kamara, he's pricey, but could be phenomenal leverage once again. I just can't play everyone, so for now, it's Cook over Kamara for me. I love Derrick Henry as a potential leverage play this week. Rob discussed the absence of Calais Campbell, and I like his thought process there. I don't like paying 8k for a non-pass catching back, but with the Ravens defensive line banged up, you are paying for 100 yards rushing and 2 TDs. I will be curious to see if the Henry play gains momentum across the industry, but in the end, I don't think he garners too much ownership. Still, when it comes to the 3 high priced RBs, I can't shake the thought of Kamara being the least owned of these 3.
This week, I'll be skipping the 7k range and going straight to Mike Davis at 6.8k. After being the ultimate chalk bomb, I'm not hearing a ton about him this week. The industry is rightfully down on him after being burned and watching Curtis Samuel's roll grow. Speaking of Samuel, he has siphoned off redzone touches in recent weeks and Davis has really disappointed as a result. However, some of those matchups were actually quite difficult and I think this could be a nice bounce back spot for Davis. While I don't expect the CMC like usage he received earlier in the year, the Lions are awful against the run. They've allowed the most TDs, 3rd most YPG, and 7th most YPA. Last week I loved Gibson for the same reason I do Davis. He's pricier than Gibson was, of course, but that should drive down his ownership. This is really a bet on matchup more than it is Davis, so I am optimistic he overcomes recent struggles with a bounce back game here. I currently have Zeke in my player pool, but I don't know if I have it in me to play him. He's cheap, coming off a bye, and in a dome. I'm essentially approaching this game as a letdown spot for the Vikings and one last getup spot for the Cowboys. I don't know if that's warranted after watching Dallas get annhialated all year, but just feels like this is it for Dallas. If you don't like the play, you're not crazy because Dallas sucks and the Vikings are more vulnerable through the air. They have allowed the 3rd fewest touchdowns and the 10th fewest YPA (4.1) while Zeke is having his worst year. Zeke is a game theory play more than a data-driven play, so keep that mind.
Next up is Gibson at 5.8k. He beat value at this price last week and now receives a similarly plus matchup against Cincinatti. Cincy allows the second most YPA (5) and 6th most YPG, but have somehow allowed the 6th fewest TDs per game. I am not sure why that is, but maybe their egregious pass defense has something to do with it. Speaking of that, McKissic is also playable at 5.2k. He's basically a WR at this point and has received double digit targets in back to back games. It doesn't look like Washington will just go all in on Gibson, even if they should, making McKissic viable. Like almost everyone else, I like Kallen Ballage this week. Anthony Lynn said that he's the guy moving forward, and that's good enough for me. I don't think I need to convince you to play people against the Jets, but if you need assurance then just know he's getting plenty of receiving targets as well. It's a small sample size, but it does sound like he will continue receiving volume this week. My final play is Kerryon Johnson at 4k. I am bummed I don't get to play Swift against the Panthers, but such is life in 2020. Anyways, Kerryon is strictly a tournament pivot off of AP. I don't know if I even play him, but I can promise you that I refuse to play the old guy. I will die on the anti-Adrian Peterson hill (The 35 year old version) if I have too, so when he goes for 17 carries, 31 yards and 3 TDs, you know where to find me.
WR - I am going to let Kenan Allen start off my Wide Receiver group this week. Still feels like he's slightly underpriced and I spoke about my Herbert love already. The Jets allow the highest completion percentage and the have given up the 6th most completions this year. This bodes well for Allen (7.4k) and his 24% target share. He always seems to be about 15% owned, so this isn't a sneaky play, but I do expect a bounce back after a difficult matchup at Miami last week. We talked on the podcast how much we loved Michael Thomas and AJ Brown, but after a deeper dive, I currently have them outside of my player pool. I will update you tomorrow morning, in this very article, if they sneak into my linueps as Leverage plays. For now, it's on to Calvin Ridley. I love Ridley and he's always lower owned than Julio. Now that he's once again cheaper, give me some Calvin in the Superdome. He's a touchdown machine and the Saints have allowed the 3rd most passing TDs on the season so if Atlanta stays competitive or even wins this game, it's through the air.
The 6k range gets rolling with the one they call Scary Terry. The Bengals have allowed the 2nd most passing touchdowns, 10th most adjusted yards per attempt and the 7th most YPG thus far this season. Smith continues to feed McLaurin and this should continue in a game where two top 10 teams in pace will matchup. Thielen is a stud in a great matchup. His volume has been limited due to Justin Jefferson, but the TDs have been there all year. While I expect regression to hit him, I do think his reception volume could increase here. On the flipside, Justin Jefferson is due a TD. He leads the league in yards per route run and looks poised to keep it rolling against the Cowboys. Due to play volume, it's unlikely I play both of these guys. While the matchup is great, there simply isn't enough goodness to go around so you've got to take a stand on one of these two. As for Claypool and Johnson, the volume might be there for both to hit value just like last week. Both of these cats are receiving a ton of looks with Claypool getting the big play opportunity and Johnson averaging 10 targets per game. The Steelers pass rate continues to climb and the Jags are without CJ Henderson once again. They allow the 3rd most YPG, 4th most TDs, the most Y/A and AY/A. Those metrics tell me that Claypool is the better play. He's going to receive the most targets 15+ yards down the field which lines up well with one of the Jaguars many weaknesses. We just watched MVS burn them last week as well.
Tee Higgins continues to see his opportunity within the Cincy offense grow. His target share sits at 20.7% and rising. I think he remains underpriced this week. There is also the fact that these two teams both want to play fast. I spoke extensively on the podcast about these two teams being top 10 in pace and top 5 in pace against.
Plus, when @dwainmcfarland tweets about it, you know it's on like donkey kong. He does great work, just an FYI.
While Washington allows the fewest Y/G, second fewest completions and attempts per game, there is some Data suggesting Higgins can blow up here. For Starters, the Bengals aren't going to run the ball without Mixon. Burrows pass rate is surpassing 65% so there is volume. Washington allows the 13th most yards per catch and a 65.2 completion percentage. This suggests two things, Higgins' average air yards per target (12.7) aligns with Washington's primary weakness in Y/C (11.3) and they may have simply faced weak passing offenses this season. Yes, they are a good defense, but games against the Giants, Eagles, Dak-less Cowboys and Jared Goff imply they have faced a weak passing schedule. Altogether, I think Higgins rising target share (20.7%) and Air Yards share (25.7%) set him up nicely this week. Now that I've made a foolproof argument for why you should play Higgins, I can't wait to watch AJ Green blow up tomorrow.
Hollywood Brown is up next in my player pool and as I write this, it already feels like a trap. The Titans give up the 3rd most TDs and 5th most Y/G so the opportunity is there. Adoree Jackson is out, but that Lamar to Hollywood connection has been off all year. This play is a bet that they finally get it going against a terrible Titans defense. I hit on why Cooks is a great play Thursday so I'll keep it brief. Volume, price, Dome. I've got Cooper and Lamb in my player pool this week. Refer to Zeke for optimism towards the pass game this week. Minnesota allows the 6th most Y/G, 9th most Y/A and AY/A along with the 4th most receiving touchdowns on the season. While the Cowboys currently have one of the worst and most depleted offensive lines in the league, the Vikings are bottom half in the league in pressure rate, blitz rate, hurry percentage and sack rate. I think this will allow Dalton just enough time to feed Lamb and Cooper. Cooper leads in catches and yards with Dalton, while Lamb leads in redzone targets. The primary selling point here is cost. These guys can create unique leverage in your Dalvin Cook lineups as you maintain correlation.
Into the 3-4k range we go. Jakobi Meyers is too cheap, getting massive volume and has a great matchup in a dome. That's it, that's the analysis. Curtis Samuel is a pivot off of my Mike Davis play. The panthers want to get Samuel involved with carries and high opportunity touches in the redzone so if you don't like Davis, then you should consider Samuel at 4.7k. I'm going back to the well with Reagor here. His price didn't move and the big play opportunity is there against a pass funnel. My guy Rob talked up Mims this week and I am on board with the salary saving deep threat. He was on the field for 100% of pass plays last game and received 8 targets. While the best way to attach the Chargers is through the slot or on the ground, I think Mims can break one here as he left a lot of air yards on the field. However, all of that Mims talk led me down a Jalen Guyton rabbit hole. It's not safe in the land of Guyton, but the Jets allow the 4th most Y/A and AY/A in the league. I discussed the Jets potentially regressing TD rate allowed in the Herbert section so that combined with Guyton's deep play ability create a nice buying opportunity. It's also important to note that Guyton has seemed to catchu Mike Williams in the pecking order, although we need a larger sample than just one or two games. Either way, If you want to pay up for Cook or even him and Kamara in the same line, then you are going to need some cheap, big play guys, and I might have just handed them over to you.
TE - As Always, I will look to pay down at these high variance positions where possible. Hooper and Goedert are both playable. We discussed on the podcast how each defense is built to funnel targets towards the tight end so naturally we want to target these two players. Both are cheap and should receive 5-6 targets with an opportunity for a big play or two. I prefer Goedert, but I get it if you prefer Hooper because Goedert has been disappointing since his return. I love Logan Thomas this week as well. The Bengals are Bottom 3 against TEs and he continues to receive about 5 targets per game. With Alex Smith looking his way 11 times the last two games, I think Thomas is a great play at 3.3k this week. Realistically, all 3 of these are pretty obvious plays and you should have been hearing about them across the industry, but if you prefer to pay up at TE then I suggest Andrews or Hurst. Andrews will be the highest owned TE, but he's only 4.9k in a solid matchup. Hurst's involvement continues to grow, albeit with the absence of Ridley. Nonetheless, he's worth a look if you don't like my top 3 plays.
DEF - Miami is the only defense I would pay up for this week. It's a low total, Denver ends nearly 20% of their drives in a turnover, possesses a 6.3% sack rate allowed while Miami Blitzes 41% of the time. On the flip side, I love pivoting off of the Miami Defense and onto Denver at a much cheaper price of 2.4k. Denver is 5th in pressure rate and 4th in QB Hurry rate so maybe they can force Tua into a couple of tough spots. In 3 consecutive road games, the Dolphins have scored 30+ points with zero turnovers. An outrageous stat that makes me realize why Rob loved them so much on the podcast. However, this play is all about the price. I only need one fluky play to happen in a low totaled game at Mile High Stadium. You can also look at the Bengals vs Alex Smith, and Carolina or Detroit depending on their QB situations tomorrow, but if you're desperate for cap space, the Jets are sitting there at 2k. You just need them to not give you negative points against the Chargers. Not a tall order, even for the Jets.
There are so many QB plays this week that you can build your lineup and plug QB in last.
Dalvin will be the highest owned RB and maybe player
Davis could end up being a top leverage play
Correlate your WR's where possible
I likely allow my WR plays to determine my QB
Love the big play guys this week: Ridley, Claypool, Higgins, Reagor, Guyton
Don't be afraid to get different, the goal in DFS is, when you're right, to be really really right and maximize profit.
Stay tuned for Updates in this article.
Statistical references: Sports Info Solutions, Pro-Football Reference, RotoViz Pace Tool, NextGen Stats