NFL Week 11: Weekend Specials Bets

Nov 19, 2021
NFL Week 11: Weekend Specials Bets

Week 10 Recap: Betting these specials each week can be both very fun (when winning) and tilting when losing on good process plays. Last week looked very encouraging when Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb were balling out in the first half of the Falcons game with 219 passing yards for Prescott and 94 receiving yards for Lamb. Unfortunately, the game got so out of hand (35-3 at half) that CeeDee Lamb finished playing 42% of snaps and the Cowboys turned to a run-heavy approach before eventually bringing in Cooper Rush for cleanup duty at quarterback.

This should be a reminder that hitting these specials is not easy. In fact, most weeks we won’t hit on one of them—and a lot has to go right for them to hit.

The process is the most important part and it was very encouraging to see what both Prescott and Lamb were able to do against the Falcons.

Players Who Have a History of Hitting Ceiling Games

Adding onto the research we looked at last week, I wanted to see which players had the most games hitting the “ceiling” or the range of outcomes we are looking for in our sample.

This will help us quickly identify the true ceiling players and they can make our focus easier each week when evaluating the market. It will also allow us to closer quantify our edge and use these implied probabilities and compare it to the implied probability of the line itself to find an edge.

For your information, I’m dating this back to the start of 2016 and will be including Week 10 of this season.

Quarterbacks

  • Minimum threshold: 388
  • Median threshold: 416
Target Players at QB Based on Ceiling
Player Games Started Games Over Min. Games over Median % Over Min. % Over Median Ceiling Games Since Last Hit
Dak Prescott 77 10 7 0.1298701 0.090909091 502 2
Patrick Mahomes 56 8 5 0.1428571 0.089285714 478 0
Tom Brady 85 7 2 0.0823529 0.023529412 447 4
Kirk Cousins 88 5 4 0.0568182 0.045454545 458 9
Aaron Rodgers 80 5 5 0.0625 0.0625 442 34
Matt Ryan 88 5 3 0.0568182 0.034090909 503 24
Ryan Fitzpatrick 42 5 2 0.1190476 0.047619048 419 9
Joe Burrow 19 2 1 0.1052632 0.052631579 416 2

The cream of this is Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott as they hit this number on over 12.5% of their games! Fair odds each week based on that should be +700. If we see anything lower than those odds we should start getting intrigued.

Kirk Cousins is an underrated candidate here as he does have some ceiling games. If the market is low on him, he starts getting interesting at +2000.

Funny enough, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a great play whenever he starts as he has a crazy ceiling in his games.

Joe Burrow is getting interesting as a play who can reach the heights of Mahomes and Prescott. Having Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins tied to his hip for the next few years should make him a potential target every week.

Running Backs

  • Minimum threshold: 142
  • Median threshold: 158
Target Players at RB Based on Ceiling
Player Games Started Games Over Min. Games Over Median % Over Min. % Over Median Ceiling Games Since Last Hit
Derrick Henry 55 14 10 0.2545455 0.181818182 250 2
Ezekiel Elliott 80 7 1 0.0875 0.0125 159 5
Dalvin Cook 49 5 3 0.1020408 0.06122449 206 14
Christian McCaffrey 50 4 2 0.08 0.04 184 16
Nick Chubb 44 4 3 0.0909091 0.068181818 176 2
Jonathan Taylor 23 4 2 0.173913 0.086956522 253 1
Aaron Jones 52 4 1 0.0769231 0.019230769 168 12

Derrick Henry is the king of this weekly special, but it looks like a new contender is emerging in Jonathan Taylor. With Derrick Henry out, Jonathan Taylor should be on a weekly watch to hit this number.

There’s a glut of five other decent contenders we have to watch out for every week.

Ezekiel Elliott is not much of a contender anymore as he has only hit this threshold once in the past four years and he scraped by the threshold by one yard.

Good matchups can help us determine which of these players are good values.

Wide Receivers

  • Minimum threshold: 158
  • Median threshold: 175
Target Players at WR Based on Ceiling
Player Games Started Games Over Min. Games Over Median % Over Min. % Over median Ceiling Games since last hit
Tyreek Hill 67 6 5 0.08955224 0.074626866 269 6
Julio Jones 76 6 2 0.07894737 0.026315789 300 16
Davante Adams 79 5 3 0.06329114 0.037974684 206 4
T.Y. Hilton 73 5 3 0.06849315 0.04109589 199 31
Mike Evans 85 5 5 0.05882353 0.058823529 198 10
Amari Cooper 81 5 4 0.0617284 0.049382716 226 35
Brandin Cooks 81 5 1 0.0617284 0.012345679 186 9
Antonio Brown 50 4 3 0.08 0.06 213 14
Stefon Diggs 78 4 1 0.05128205 0.012820513 182 0
A.J. Green 55 4 2 0.07272727 0.036363636 189 45
DeAndre Hopkins 86 4 1 0.04651163 0.011627907 224 10
Deebo Samuel 25 2 1 0.08 0.04 189 2
Justin Jefferson 23 2 1 0.08695652 0.043478261 175 20
Ja'Marr Chase 9 2 1 0.22222222 0.111111111 201 2
George Kittle 51 2 2 0.03921569 0.039215686 210 12

I added those four guys with two “ceiling” games due to them being in the league after 2016 and will perform better on a per-game basis.

We know Tyreek Hill has a high ceiling, but it was really interesting to see receivers like Mike Evans and Amari Cooper pop in here. We should likely be targeting them in good matchups as it's possible the market undervalues them due to not having blow-up games recently.

Julio Jones is going to likely be a fun value to hammer when he gets healthy as there's a lot of recency bias behind him, but his efficiency is still elite.

Ja'Marr Chase will be a fun one to monitor as he has a chance to really "break" these weekly specials and have some crazy ceiling games.

Week 11 Overview

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