Onto the next battle. Since we're still early in the season, here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in 'Value Plays' article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back their cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up
Before I jump into the Week 11 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 10 Report Card ...
- A 'Bingo!' doesn't get any better than finding the number-1 overall QB from Week 10, Kirk Cousins. Blake Bortles was a rock-solid recommendation, but Matt Cassel slipped badly.
- It was not the week to go cheap in the backfield. Antonio Andrews mysteriously lost all work and both Charles Simms and Isaiah Crowell were disasters.
- Wide Receiver wasn't much better than Running Back. Brandon LaFell, Mike Wallace, and Cecil Shorts, were all less-than-exciting performers.
- Richard Rodgers and Zach Ertz were big helpers who outperformed their price tag, but Eric Ebron turned in another forgettable effort.
- Chicago burst through with a highly efficient effort, while both Oakland and Cleveland were so-so selections, providing positive points despite their bottom-of-the-barrel costs.
Overall Week 8 Grade - B-
Russell Wilson ($5,900) vs. SF - For season-long gamers, Wilson has come up well-short of expectations. But, the warning signs were all there. The Seahawks don't throw the ball. Wilson isn't an accomplished thrower even when they pass. And, most importantly, his overall value is totally derived from unsustainable rushing numbers. Just look at the results ... Wilson has ZERO rushing TDs last season after posting a half-dozen in 2014 and he's averaging about 2 fewer yards per rush attempt. OK, OK. You know why I don't like him in season-long set-up's, but why does he get the nod for DFS Week 11? First, he's cheap. For the first time this season, Wilson is under 6K. Think about this ... he cost $7,800 in Week 1. He's gone south on that front EVERY SINGLE WEEK. He's up against a San Francisco unit that can be pushed around on the road. They have not allowed even 21 points over the course of four home games. On the road, they haven't held a team under 27. Blaine Gabbert should also be overmatched by the swarming Seattle defense and I expect some short fields to develop for the Seahawk offense. There's a good chance that they post 30 in this game. Getting a QB under $6,000 with that opportunity, is when you strike.
If you save here, spend here - Lamar Miller ($6,200) vs. DAL
Matthew Stafford ($5,400) vs. OAK - Stafford paid off for those who took a random shot on his game in Green Bay last weekend. If he manages the same thing (240-2-1) against Oakland, he'll have posted another winning week. Frankly, that shouldn't be much of a challenge for Stafford. The Raiders are just brutal when it comes to stopping the pass. They've been ransacked for nearly 37-hundred yards in nine games this year and that is the 3rd-worst total in the NFL. Now, they face an offense featuring a still-dangerous, Calvin Johnson. If you look at all the comparable WRs that the Raiders have faced this year (a list including the likes of A.J. Green, Kamar Aiken, and Antonio Brown), you'll see massive numbers. Every single 'good' wideout has had his way with Oakland's secondary. Stafford knows that. The Lions know that. And, we'll all remember it by mid-afternoon, Sunday. Stafford should drop back 40 times, connect with Megatron for 8-10 catches, and be over 300 yards.
If you save here, spend here - Mike Evans ($7,300) @ PHI
Mark Sanchez ($5,000) vs. TB - Sanchez is not a savior for the Eagles. But, he is very comparable to the man he's replacing, Sam Bradford. But, whereas Bradford usually ran in the low-$6,000s, Sanchez comes in more than a thousand dollars lower this week. So, in essence, it's the same QB, in the same offense, with the same play-calling ... all against a defense that (even after shutting out the Dallas offense last weekend) permitted the 2nd-most passing TDs in '15 (19). You can expect Sanchez to make some bone-headed throws and to hurt you with a turnover or two, but overall, the cost is just too low to ignore. I don't sense near the upside of the two that I've mentioned above, but Sanchez is a safe bet for 16 fantasy points ... Bradford hasn't topped that barrier since Week 5.
If you save here, spend here - Rob Gronkowski ($7,700) vs. BUF
Top of the Chart - Tom Brady ($8,500) vs. BUF - 7.8
Charcandrick West ($4,500) @ SD - This tag is a smidge above what we usually consider 'value,' but I just couldn't ignore the play. But, fair warning ... few in DFS will be able to ignore it, either! West should hit close to a 30% ownership level for Week 11. He has a fantastic match-up (the Chargers have been serving up more than 31 points per week to opposing RBs!), he comes in with loads of work (66 rushing attempts, plus three catches per game, in the past three weeks), and he's turning all that work into numbers (four TDs and over 400 total yards in the three weeks). Furthermore, you don't have to worry about the Chiefs somehow 'surprising' us and letting Alex Smith suddenly drop back for 35+ throws. It ain't gonna happen! West at 20 points? Definitely could happen.
If you save here, spend here - DeMarco Murray ($6,000) vs. TB
Jonathan Stewart ($4,400) vs. WAS - DraftKings is notorious for nicking guys who don't get into the end zone a whole lot. Despite a scoring run last week, Stewart is still stuck with just four TDs for the entire season. That number is quite low, considering that he has had more than 175 total touches this year. These numbers usually even out over the course of the season. In fact, with this much work on a per week basis, Stewart still has an outside shot at totaling 10 scores by the end of December. He just needs to get to work staring now. And, now begins this week against Washington. Everyone is stampeding the 'Skins, a team that has held the oppositions' rushing attack under 155 yards since Week 4! I could see going with a rushing tandem of J-Stew/C.West for Week 11 and snagging a powerhouse Gronk/high-end WRs back-load to make for a very solid lineup core.
If you save here, spend here - Calvin Johnson ($7,200) vs. OAK
Joique Bell ($3,300) vs. OAK - I do not know what Detroit plans to do each week with their stable of running backs. I do know that, of late, the Lions have returned to the idea of Bell being their top mail carrier. Of course, he's done very, very little with the work. After succumbing to injury earlier in the season, Bell has worked back into the flow for 21 rushing attempts in the past couple of weeks. That slight push coincides with the arrival of Joe Bob Cooter as the team's offensive coordinator. The upside is fairly small with Bell, but if you get 10-50-1 (not crazy versus Oakland), you'll have a hit on your hands since the ownership will be in the low double-digits for a guy who, quite literally, costs nothing this week.
If you save here, spend here - Devonta Freeman ($8,500) vs. IND
Top of the Chart - Devonta Freeman ($8,400) vs. IND - 7.5
Danny Amendola ($4,000) vs. BUF - If this reading marks the first time this week that you've come across this name in a DFS-centric column, then ... well, ... this is likely the first DFS-centric column you've read this week! Thank you for the honor. Now, let me intro you to your dirt-cheap PPR-asset for Week 11. Amendola is set to slide right into the old spot left open by the departed Julian Edelman (broken foot) and he should be good for 10 or more targets this week against Buffalo. Believing that Amendola is keyed up for at least six catches involves no imagination (getting him through four quarter totally unscathed, is a stretch, though). But, the total upside might be a tad limited considering that even when this guy is involved, he doesn't get in the end zone. For his career, he has just a dozen spikes on a total of 312 receptions. In fact, he's never gone north of three scores in any of his first six NFL campaigns.
If you save here, spend here - Adrian Peterson ($6,800) vs. GB
Stevie Johnson ($3,900) vs. KC - Keenan Allen is out for the year and Malcom Floyd (shoulder) is questionable for this week. Even with that pair out, I'm fairly confident saying that the Bolts will call for nearly 40 pass plays with Philip Rivers still in charge. Heck, he hasn't attempted fewer than 35 passes in any of the past six games. In addition to Johnson, the Chargers do have many weapons at Rivers' disposal, but neither of the better options (Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead) work outside the numbers or further down the field. The Chiefs have shown more backbone against the pass in recent weeks (facing the struggling Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford, plus, Landry Jones, will have that effect), but I'm not buying another repeat on the road in San Diego. This push is more about the opponent, the offense, and the injuries, around Johnson than it is about anything he specifically brings to the table.
If you save here, spend here - Todd Gurley ($7,600) @ BAL
Wes Welker ($3,000) @ BAL - We saw a couple of surprises from Welker in Week 10. First, he was playing again. Secondly, he was immediately involved in the sleep-walking Rams' offense. Welker jumped right into the St. Louis 3rd-down offense and saw six (mostly off) targets from Nick Foles. He did pull in half of those and figures to see even more of a role coming into this weekend's game with the Ravens. You're obviously not paying for yardage or scores here (the Rams' passing game just isn't interested in either of those two items!), but 5+ catches is very doable for the vet. We're talking about a guy who can absolutely net you double-digit fantasy points ... and, he's at the lowest-possible price of any WR in the game. Most of the other guys at 3K won't even get pads on this Sunday.
If you save here, spend here - Tom Brady ($8,500) vs. BUF
Top of the Chart - Julio Jones ($9,300) vs. IND - 8.4
Jacob Tamme ($3,600) vs. IND - Once again (just to keep things consistent from week-to-week) there just aren't any value finds at this tight end position. There are some decent shots to take, though, and Tamme is one of them. You can almost make the argument that he is the 2nd-pass catching option in Atlanta, only behind Julio Jones. After all, that's the designation you get when so many of the other possibilities fail (Roddy White) or can't stay on the field (Leonard Hankerson). Meanwhile, Tamme has racked a massive 42 targets in the past five games (22 in the last two) and is becoming a reliable option for QB, Matt Ryan. Against a decent Colts' outfit, the ceiling is probably a half-dozen catches, 60 yards, and a score. If he hits two of those marks, he's an impact buy.
If you save here, spend here - Seattle DEF ($4,000) vs. SF
Coby Fleener ($3,200) @ ATL - Let's go to the guy on the other side of the Atlanta-Indy meeting. Matt Hasselbeck is at the controls for the Colts and he could just pick up where he left off when he started a pair of games earlier in the season. Meaning, of course, maybe he'll get back to going in Fleener's direction. In the pair of games with Jacksonville and Houston, Fleener netted 11 receptions for over 90 yards, while also adding a score. The problem here is that Dwayne Allen is still hanging around and promises to disrupt any chance of Fleener seeing a preponderance of action. It's a true risk, but if you get a 'hit' you get a 'hit' that very few - if any - are also enjoying.
If you save here, spend here - David Carr ($6,300) @ DET
Zach Ertz ($3,100) vs. TB - We'll make this relatively quick. Ertz is racking up nice marks week-after-week, but his price tag continues to be low-rent because he's not hitting pay dirt (ZERO TDs, despite the fact that he's nearing 40 catches on the season). There is a fear of Mark Sanchez at the helm. Last season, when Sanchez emerged in a similar spot, Ertz's usage was hit-and-miss from Sunday-to-Sunday. But, in the here and now, Ertz is actually turning in solid numbers with 14 completed targets in just the past three weeks. I like guys who continue to get involved, even when they aren't scoring touchdowns. Eventually, Lady Luck will give him her nod.
If you save here, spend here - Dez Bryant ($7,700) @ MIA
Top of the Chart - Rob Gronkowski ($7,700) vs. BUF - 8.7
San Diego ($2,300) vs. KC - The Chiefs took over in Denver last week, but so much of their offensive success was because of the litany of turnovers and short fields provided by Peyton Manning. In other words, don't get confused as to what the Chiefs really are on the offensive side of the field. They are mostly Charcandrick West (discussed above) and little else. I think that West can cause some issues for the Bolts, but I also think that San Diego could surprise by holding KC under 20 in their second of two back-to-back, inter-division road games. I'm playing the letdown effort for the Chiefs.
If you save here, spend here - Jason Witten ($5,100) @ MIA
Tampa Bay ($2,300) @ PHI - Again, this is Mark Sanchez that we're talking about. He's had some moments, but, overall, he's a turnover machine. His judgement is junk. His arm is average, at best. And, his in-game numbers are proof of both facts ... 81 career picks in 70 starts! Oh, and he has just 82 total TD passes. The Bucs are below-average and there is still a part of me that says they could easily get stung for 30. But, even if that were to occur, I think they could find their way to a few sacks and a couple of forced turnovers.
If you save here, spend here - Marshawn Lynch ($6,700) vs. SF
Chicago ($2,000) vs. DEN - The story line emanating out of Denver is that Brock Osweiler will be fine. After all, the reasoning goes, he's been in the system for over three years in Denver. Sure, you're correct, but reading X's and O's and turning it into Sunday production are vastly different things. In effect, the history of the NFL is very unkind to quarterbacks making their first start on the road. The stats that he has posted in trash time are just as you would expect ... minimal and useless. Osweiler has a beat-up Emmanual Sanders, an overworked and outmuscled O-line, and a running game in name only behind him. You can tell from the price that Chicago is not very good, but if there's a week to give them a play, it would be at home, against a struggling offense, that is employing a youngster in his first-ever NFL start.
If you save here, spend here - Julio Jones ($9,300) vs. IND
Top of the Chart - Seattle ($4,000) vs. SF - 9.4
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.