Daily Fantasy Football Bargains and Best Buys: Week 11
Last weekend in daily fantasy football, there were some quite obvious values on certain sites across the industry, leading to crazy ownership percentages and huge scores. DraftKings in particular seemed to have one of it's wildest weeks in quite a while, with the target score for cashing in contests seeming to be higher than ever.
Yet, everyone was burned by the same players just as much as they were lifted by the big days of others. Anyone who rostered LeSean McCoy was let down, while Kelvin Benjamin owners were delighted by his garbage time output. And no matter if you were on the good or bad side of the cash line last week, you have another opportunity in Week 11 to set your best lineup and make up for the mistakes made in a crazy Week 10.
To help you do just that, here are eight players I'm targeting this week divided into two groups. The first category - Bargains - is pretty obvious. These are undervalued players who will allow you to spend more elsewhere. The other category is Best Buys, which includes players who are more than worth a large chunk of your budget.
Keep in mind that these players may or may not be used in our weekly optimal lineups. To see who the algorithms are selecting on the week, check out our optimal lineup section, and don't forget to use our custom optimal lineup tool.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh McCown returned to the Tampa Bay lineup triumphantly last weekend, throwing for 300 yards and 2 scores while adding in 39 rushing yards against the Atlanta Falcons. There was plenty of debate as to whether or not McCown was the better quarterback for the Bucs, but his fantasy output cannot be denied when compared to the less-mobile and less aggressive Mike Glennon.
This week, the Buccaneers take on Washington, who rank 28th in pass defense according to our opponent-adjusted Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) rankings. They've allowed the third-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, with every enemy signal-caller outside of Chad Henne passing the 13-point mark against them in a full game's work. Look for McCown to have another solid day with his arm and feet for a very fair price on nearly every site.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers - The Chargers started off the season with a very difficult two-game stretch for running backs, facing the Cardinals and Seahawks in the two contests before Ryan Mathews was sidelined due to injury. Mathews never really had a chance to get things going before being forced to sit out, and he has a chance to make up for lost time this weekend against the Raiders.
Oakland allows the third-most points per game to opposing backs, including giving up 22 points to C.J. Anderson last week. Mathews will feature in the San Diego offense along with Branden Oliver, but trust the veteran to get important carries as the team works him back into the mix for the playoff hunt.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers - On sites which priced players before Monday Night Football finished, Kelvin Benjamin is still among the cheap plays at wide receiver despite his two-score performance against the Eagles. This weekend he has an even better matchup against the Falcons, who have the second-worst pass defense in the league. If you play on the sites that still have Kelvin as a below-average receiver in price, you'd be foolish to pass on him in your lineups this weekend.
The Falcons allowed fellow rookie Mike Evans to have a career day last week, posting 125 yards and a touchdown, and have given up a similar stat line to Golden Tate before their Week 9 bye. Benjamin has seven or more targets in all but one game this season (he had six in that other contest), and has been a constant touchdown threat for the Panthers. No matter how bad you think the Carolina offense is (and it's really, really bad), Benjamin can make a special play happen and find the end zone.
Kyle Rudolph or Chase Ford, Minnesota Vikings - It appears as though Kyle Rudolph will return to the lineup for Minnesota this weekend, ending his extended absence due to injury. He's one of the best red zone threats in the NFL when he's active, and has a dream matchup this weekend against the Bears.
But even if Rudolph doesn't play, you can still get a piece of this game by rolling with Chase Ford. Ford has been targeted 13 times in his last two games, and has gone over 60 yards in both contests. This week brings a game against Chicago, who have the fourth-worst pass defense according to our NEP data, and who allow the most points per game to opposing quarterbacks and tight ends. You can even stack the Vikings' starting tight end with Teddy Bridgewater in tournament lineups to maximize your exposure to this great matchup.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers - The fine folks in Las Vegas think that the game between the Packers and Eagles will be among the highest scoring this weekend, and for good reasons. Two on-fire offenses will face less-than-great defenses in a critical NFC playoff battle, and that should lead to plenty of scoring.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense will have a big day against the Philly defense this weekend, as the Eagles have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in every game this season outside of their shutout win over Eli Manning and the Giants. Rodgers trails only Peyton Manning in per-opportunity efficiency according to our NEP data, and posts plenty of fantasy points in this game, even if it turns into yet another blowout for the Packers.
Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers - Le'Veon Bell has been one of the more consistent backs in fantasy football this season, as he's been involved in the run and pass games for the Steelers every week. He ranks 11th among backs with 100 or more carries in Rushing NEP despite not getting the sort of goal-line volume that makes sense for a player with his ability.
This week Bell and the Steelers face the Titans, who are among the five-worst run defenses in our metrics. They're also in the top-five in points per game allowed to opposing backs, and given up 494 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground to the position over their last four games.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints - Mark Ingram is the healthiest back in New Orleans, and he's getting all the carries he can handle in the Saints offense as a result. His efficiency has been great despite the high volume, however, as he's the top back in our Rushing NEP data among those with 100 or more attempts. An efficient back playing at home in a great matchup is nearly a must-play in DFS football, and that's Ingram this weekend.
The Bengals are on the schedule for the Saints, and Cincy has been absolutely awful against the run this season. They allow the fourth-most points to running backs in fantasy scoring and have the worst run defense according to our numbers. They've allowed 386 rushing yards and 6 scores to enemy backs over their past three games, and that trend will almost certainly continue this week against the Saints.
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers - Jordy Nelson is becoming too good to sit in daily fantasy lineups, as he and Aaron Rodgers continue to show good chemistry and the ability to break big plays. This week's game against the Eagles represents another chance to stack Rodgers and Nelson in a great matchup.
Since Week 8, the Eagles have allowed 562 yards and 5 scores to wide receivers, while Nelson has posted four 100-plus yard games this season, scoring in six of his nine starts. Nelson is by far the best receiver on the Packers, which is saying a lot considering the talent they have at the position, and Rodgers will look his way in this high-scoring showdown.