FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 11
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Lamar Jackson ($8,400 on FanDuel): We're rather light on elite fantasy quarterbacks this week, with Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen all off the main slate. Paying up has typically been the way to go this season, but this looks to be the rare slate where that won't necessarily be the case. That being said, Lamar Jackson projects as the top scorer in numberFire's projections and still possesses tantalizing rushing upside despite his somewhat underwhelming 2020 campaign. Only Murray has rushed for more yards than Jackson, and it's encouraging that Jackson has compiled double-digit carries in three straight games. We haven't seen as many spike weeks from him this year, but Baltimore has one of the top implied team totals (27.25) against a below-average Tennessee defense this weekend.
Deshaun Watson ($7,700): The top point-per-dollar quarterback in our projections is Deshaun Watson, who finally broke a four-game streak of 24-plus FanDuel points last week, but much of that can be blamed on unfavorable weather conditions in Cleveland. Houston may only have two wins, but Watson shouldn't shoulder the blame, as he's been an excellent passer in numberFire's metrics, ranking 10th in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back. He's also showcased his rushing ability more lately, averaging 8.3 carries for 41.3 yards over his last three. Watson should get back on track against a middle-of-the-road Patriots defense.
Cam Newton ($7,600): Mobile quarterbacks seem to be the theme here, but isn't that usually the case? Cam Newton's certainly had his ups and downs this year, and no quarterback has relied more on his legs for fantasy points than Newton, who only has three passing touchdowns, yet also has the third-most rushing attempts at the position and the second-most rushing scores (nine). The Patriots have embraced their identity as a methodical, run-first team, limiting Newton's upside in most contests, but as New England's primary red zone rushing threat, we've also seen him punch in multiple rushing touchdowns three times, including just a couple weeks ago against the Jets (24.56 FanDuel points). The Texans have the 31st-ranked overall schedule-adjusted defense in numberFire's metrics, so Newton should get his share of scoring opportunities.
Dalvin Cook ($10,500): Dalvin Cook predictably came down to earth in a tough matchup against Chicago, but things should shift back in his favor against Dallas, which sits at just 22nd in adjusted run defense. Since returning from injury, Cook is averaging 27.3 carries and 3.0 targets per game over his last three -- all victories -- and a positive game script should benefit him once again, with the Vikings favored by 7.0 points. Cook is head and shoulders above everyone else in this week's running back projections.
Alvin Kamara ($9,700): Only the aforementioned Cook has more yards from scrimmage than Alvin Kamara this season, who continues to see ridiculous volume through the air (8.9 targets per game) while maintaining a decent chunk of ground work (11.6). The Falcons actually have the fifth-best adjusted run defense in our metrics, but that shouldn't be a problem for Kamara's unique pass-heavy skillset, as Atlanta ranks just 19th in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs. Kamara did miss practice on Thursday, but it sounds like he'll be fine. If he does sit out, though, Latavius Murray ($5,000) would become a fantastic value play.
Mike Davis ($7,400): I was looking forward to listing D'Andre Swift ($6,900) here, but the out-of-the-blue news of a concussion makes it sound unlikely that he'll play. Welp. But Mike Davis is also intriguing at around the same salary range, particularly after failing at a high roster percentage last week. Davis only notched 7 carries and 5 targets on a 52.1% snap rate, but he missed some time with a thumb injury, and the workload may have also been related to a tough matchup against Tampa Bay's impregnable run defense. But he gets the polar opposite of that matchup this week against the Lions, who rank 32nd in adjusted run defense and have allowed the most FanDuel points per game to opposing backfields. Could we see the old Davis re-emerge? Other red flags include the increased usage of Curtis Samuel out of the backfield and Teddy Bridgewater possibly being out, leaving Davis as more of a tournament play, but the stage could be set for a bounce-back performance.
Kalen Ballage ($5,800): Yeah, it doesn't feel great to list Kalen Ballage here, but our model likes him as the best value running back on the board. Last week, Ballage saw season-highs in snap rate (73.0%), carries (18), and targets (6), and it's hard to argue with that kind of volume at a sub-$6,000 salary. With the Chargers checking in as 9.5-point favorites over the Jets, Ballage should be relied upon plenty in what should be a positive game script.
Davante Adams ($9,500): Davante Adams missed Thursday's practice, so keep an eye on his status, but he's projected for the most FanDuel points among wideouts by a sizable margin. If we exclude his injury-shortened Week 2, Adams has averaged a ridiculous 13.0 targets on a 38% target share and 46% air yards share across six games. The matchup isn't great against Indianapolis -- numberFire's eighth-best adjusted pass defense -- but that's not enough to deter us from rostering Adams. This Packers-Colts game is also tied for the slate's highest total (51.0), giving it some shootout potential in a week lacking many high totals.
Keenan Allen ($8,000) and Mike Williams ($5,900): While there's always blowout risk against the Jets, Justin Herbert ($8,500) and this Chargers pass attack is still awfully appealing against the league's second-worst adjusted pass defense. New York's offense also showed some life against the Patriots in Week 9, so there's hope that they can keep things interesting -- and let's face it, the Chargers seem to inevitably find themselves in close matchups every week. Only Adams is averaging more targets per game than Keenan Allen (10.3), who's soaked up 29% of the team's targets this season. Mike Williams is far more volatile from week to week, but he's garnered a team-high 33% air yards share in his seven healthy games, making him a suitable value target in tournaments.
Terry McLaurin ($7,300): In a battle of two pass-heavy teams who typically play at an average to above-average pace, there could be some sneaky appeal to this Cincinnati-Washington game despite its unspectacular 46.5 total. Terry McLaurin as been as steady as they come as Washington's top pass-catcher with a 28% target share and 47% air yards share. He hasn't missed a beat with Alex Smith under center for the majority of snaps the past two weeks, seeing a combined 17 targets for 210 yards and a score. He's the best point-per-dollar wideout value in numberFire's projections this week.
Jakobi Meyers ($6,000): If you're putting together a Patriots-Texans game stack, Jakobi Meyers is arguably the lone New England pass-catcher to consider. Meyers has garnered 31 targets over the last three games, and the next closest is Damiere Byrd at just 13. If the Texans are able to score points and force Cam to air it out more than usual, we know where he'll be looking.
Mark Andrews ($6,500): Given that our next entry will easily be the most popular tight end this week, Mark Andrews figures to see a far lower roster percentage than he normally would despite being the only other tight end projected for double-digit FanDuel points. However, he's only averaging 5.9 targets per game, so paying up for him doesn't necessarily afford you much more safety than others at the position. Still, he's the Ravens' top red-zone receiving threat and has a pair of multi-touchdown games on the ledger this season. That's certainly in his range of outcomes against a Titans defense that ranks 22nd in Target Success Rate allowed to tight ends.
Taysom Hill ($4,500): In a shocking development, Taysom Hill will be the starting quarterback for the Saints on Sunday, and he's just $500 above the minimum at tight end. Considering what a wasteland the position is -- and especially this week -- Hill is a no-brainer free square, and it really wouldn't be outlandish to just lock him into all your lineups. His skillset probably puts a dent in the appeal of Michael Thomas ($8,200), though, who would've benefited more from a Jameis Winston start.
Los Angeles Chargers D/ST ($4,500): The Pittsburgh D/ST ($5,000) is an easy choice against Jacksonville, and it's no surprise that they're the top projected unit in numberFire's model. But they're also the most expensive, so if you're looking for an easier fit for your lineups, the Chargers will do the trick. That's because they're going up against one of our favorite offenses to attack: the New York Jets. Even with that respectable showing against New England in their last game, this is still easily the worst adjusted offense in our metrics. The Chargers are the second-biggest favorites on the slate behind the Steelers.
Washington D/ST ($4,100): Washington is a middle-of-the-pack defense, but the game environment should be ideal for accumulating fantasy points. The Bengals rank second in pass attempts per game, which has contributed to Joe Burrow getting sacked the second-most times in the league (32), and he's also tied for the second-most fumbles (eight). Washington is one of the better defense values in numberFire's model.