NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 11

In this DFS preview, I'll focus on the Sunday main slate and group players into two categories based on their DraftKings salaries: players to build around and value plays.

Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive players on the slate.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Players to Build Around

QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($7,000) vs. IND

The Indianapolis Colts have a solid defense and are holding quarterbacks 2.9 fantasy points below their season average, but Aaron Rodgers might be matchup-proof. The Green Bay Packers' defense is one of the reasons for Rodgers' great fantasy season, as his passing ability has been needed deep into most games -- such as last week's close-call against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That could be true again against the Colts and, with the total set to 51 points, this matchup has strong shootout potential.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers ($6,700) vs. JAC

There's some risk this game won't be close enough for Ben Roethlisberger to put up a strong fantasy performance, but the Jacksonville Jaguars have been surprisingly competitive since their bye week and nearly upset the Green Bay Packers last week. The Pittsburgh Steelers carry the highest implied total on this slate (28.75 points), so Roethlisberger stands out as an obvious quarterback to target.

RB Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($9,000) vs. DAL

Dalvin Cook carries the second-highest salary on the slate among active players, but he's still worth drafting based on this matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. When the Minnesota Vikings hold a lead, they run the ball on 59 percent of their plays and Cook sees a 48 percent usage rate. As seven-point favorites against Dallas, it's safe to project Cook for one of his strongest workloads of the season.

RB Mike Davis, Panthers ($6,800) vs. DET

Christian McCaffrey is out for at least another week, putting Mike Davis in a great spot. In McCaffrey's absence, Davis has dominated the workload when the Carolina Panthers hold a lead with a 40.4 percent usage rate. The Panthers are riding a five-game losing streak, but they'll be home favorites on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. In Carolina's three victories, Davis has averaged 17.7 fantasy points.

WR Julio Jones, Falcons ($7,500) vs. NO

Julio Jones is likely to draw consistent coverage from Marshon Lattimore, who is having a rough year for the New Orleans Saints. Lattimore is allowing a 59.2 percent completion rate in coverage and giving up 8.3 yards per target. He's particularly struggled on throws 10 or more yards downfield, where he's allowing a 47 percent completion rate and has zero passes defended, according to Sports Info Solutions. This appears to be a matchup Jones can dominate, and he may see an elevated workload with the Atlanta Falcons likely playing from behind as 4.5-point underdogs.

WR Michael Thomas, Saints ($7,300) vs. ATL

Due to both injuries and ineffectiveness, Michael Thomas has been a fantasy bust this year -- but that could work in our favor as it has caused his salary to drop $1,700 since its Week 1 peak. The Falcons are a prime candidate to help break Thomas out of his funk, as they've allowed seven receivers to reach at least 20 fantasy points. Additionally, Atlanta is allowing 9.8 yards per target to receivers lined up in the slot, the second-worst rate in the league according to Sports Info Solutions.

Value Plays

QB Jameis Winston, Saints ($5,900) vs. ATL

[Editor's note: The New Orleans Saints named Taysom Hill their starting quarterback for the week.]

The only downside to rostering Jameis Winston this week is he could be the most commonly drafted quarterback on the slate. There are11 starting quarterbacks carry a higher salary than Winston, who will make his first start as a member of the Saints in Drew Brees' absence. At this stage of their careers, Winston is a far more dangerous downfield passer than Brees, which should open up the Saints' offense and give Winston a higher ceiling than a typical week from Brees. That's especially true against this Atlanta Falcons' defense, who are giving up 9.6 fantasy points to quarterbacks above their average, the worst rate in the league.

QB Philip Rivers, Colts ($5,600) vs. GB

According to Sports Info Solutions, 80.5 percent of the Colts' pass attempts have occurred in 11 personnel. That's bad news for the Packers' defense which has generated a pressure rate of just 29 percent against 11 personnel, the fourth-worst rate in the league. This likely means Philip Rivers will be a little more comfortable in the pocket than usual against Green Bay, which potentially elevates his fantasy ceiling. This game also carries the highest total of the week at 51 points, so it could turn into a shootout between Rodgers and Rivers.

RB Kalen Ballage, Chargers ($5,600) vs. NYJ

Anthony Lynn has stated a desire to see more from Kalen Ballage and he'll likely get an opportunity against the lowly New York Jets. Ballage has never looked particularly impressive, but he saw 23 touches last week against the Miami Dolphins, so as long as Lynn is committed to giving him that type of workload, he'll remain a fantasy-relevant running back. New York is giving up 26.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and Ballage saw 74 percent of the touches by Los Angeles Chargers' running backs last week.

RB La'Mical Perine, Jets ($4,400) vs. LAC

It's tough to trust the Jets, but rookie La'Mical Perine is expected to take on a larger role down the stretch and may have a matchup he can exploit against the Chargers. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Jets use 11 personnel for 63 percent of their rushing attempts, the third-highest rate in the league. Meanwhile, the Chargers' defense is allowing a league-worst 6.4 yards per attempt when facing 11 personnel. If Perine gets on the field more, he should also take on a valuable role as a receiver -- he's seen at least two targets in four straight games.

WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($5,000) vs. MIN

With Andy Dalton at quarterback --- he's expected to return from COVID-19 and the concussion protocol this week -- CeeDee Lamb leads the Cowboys with a 23.5 percent target share. As Dallas' primary slot receiver, he could be in for a big day against the Vikings, who are allowing 9.4 yards per target to receivers lined up the slot, the fourth-worst rate in the NFL according to Sports Info Solutions.

WR Jalen Guyton, Chargers ($3,500) vs. NYJ

Jalen Guyton has been a downfield weapon in the Chargers offense with 48 percent of his targets coming at least 15 yards downfield, per Sports Info Solutions. That usage has made him a boom-or-bust fantasy target, but he draws a favorable matchup against the Jets' secondary who holds the second-worst Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play this season.

TE Jared Cook, Saints ($4,100) vs. ATL

There's some uncertainty surrounding Jared Cook's value because he did not see a single target from Winston during the second half of last week's game against the San Francisco 49ers. However, tight ends are scoring 18.2 fantasy points per game against the Falcons' defense. Keanu Neal has been the Falcons' primary man in coverage against tight ends, and he's allowing 10.9 yards per target, according to Sports Info Solutions.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.