FanDuel Week 11 Slate Breakdown with Cash and GPP Picks

FanDuel Week 11 Slate Breakdown with Cash and GPP Picks

By TJ Hernandez (Director of DFS), last update Nov 19, 2017

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TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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Below I give my overall FanDuel cash game and tournament strategy thoughts and discuss how players fit into these strategies. By offering a general approach to the week, along with a player pool to consider, you should walk away feeling well-equipped no matter your bankroll strategy or game selection process.


Main Slate Cash Game Strategy

The following games currently have winds of 15 mph or higher in their gameday forecast: JAX @ CLE, BAL @ GB, DET @ CHI, KC @ NYG. Weather should be taken into account when considering quarterbacks or pass-catchers in any of these games.

As has been the case for much of the season, high-priced running backs dominate the top of this week’s value report. With only one wide receiver priced above $8,600, the major decision point looks to be whether or not to pay up for a premium tight end. 

Quarterback

Alex Smith ($7,900) and Tom Brady ($8,600) pretty much lap the field this week in terms of value at the quarterback position. They are the only two quarterbacks with better than 50% odds of hitting cash game value and their value scores are markedly higher than any other signal-caller. Smith comes at a $700 discount to Brady as the Chiefs travel to New York to take on a Giants defense ranked 29th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks. Only three teams have allowed a higher touchdown rate through the air than the Giants and no defense has surrendered more fantasy points per pass attempt this season. Only one healthy quarterback has a higher touchdown rate than Smith this season and the Chiefs are projected to score nearly 28 points. Possible high winds in this game could make Smith slightly riskier than the numbers suggest. 

The Patriots are technically on the road, but their game against the Raiders is at a neutral site in Mexico City. New England is the only team this week projected to score at least 30 points and Oakland ranks 28th in quarterback aFPA. Only four defenses have allowed more yards or fantasy points per pass attempt than the Raiders and Brady is the only quarterback averaging over 300 yards per game this year. If owners are worried about the wind in New York but want to stay in Smith’s price range, Derek Carr ($8,000) is in play. The total in this game is 53.5, giving the Raiders a respectable implied total of 23.5, even as 6.5-point underdogs. New England ranks 31st in quarterback aFPA. Oakland has the sixth-highest neutral pass rate in the league and should find themselves in a pass-heavy game script.

For anyone who wants to punt the position, going down to Ryan Fitzpatrick ($6,400) lets lineups have the top play almost everywhere else. Fitzpatrick is projected as a top-four value against a Dolphins defense ranked 26th in quarterback aFPA and Tampa Bay gets Mike Evans back this week. Fitzpatrick’s level of play against a similarly vulnerable Jets defense makes this a risky cash game option.

Running Back

Kareem Hunt ($8,600) is the top overall value of the week and has the best odds of hitting cash value of any player on the slate. Kansas City is favored by 10.5 points and the Giants rank 26th in running back aFPA. Only four teams have allowed more rushing yards to opposing backs this year than New York and Hunt is accounting for nearly 90% of the Chiefs' backfield touches this season, despite his hiccup in Week 9. With Nathan Peterman taking over as the starter in Buffalo, LeSean McCoy ($8,000) should be the focal point of the offense even more so than with Tyrod Taylor under center. The Bills face a Chargers defense that funnels scoring to running backs as they rank ninth in quarterback aFPA, but 27th against running backs. Melvin Gordon ($7,800) is a fine option on the other side of the ball. The Chargers are favored by four at home and the Bills rank 31st in running back aFPA, but Austin Ekeler’s ascension in this offense nudges me towards Shady. 

Wide Receiver

DeAndre Hopkins ($7,700) registers as the top value at his position with the best odds of hitting cash game value. Hopkins leads the league in virtually every target category imaginable but he will be shadowed by Patrick Peterson. While Arizona ranks 23rd in wide receiver aFPA, only one receiver has caught more than 6 balls or gained over 100 yards against the Cardinals this season. Since Arizona is bad against receivers, on the whole, Bruce Ellington ($4,600) could serve as a punt at the position with Peterson following Hopkins. Ellington has seen 8 targets in each of Tom Savage’s starts.

If not for the wind, Sterling Shepard ($6,500) may be the safest wide receiver on this slate. I like targeting concentrated passing games and since Shepard’s return, he and Evan Engram have combined for nearly 55% of the Giants' targets. Throws should funnel to Shepard this week against a Chiefs defense ranked fourth in tight end aFPA, but 31st against wide receivers.

Update (Nov. 19): Shepard (migraines) is a game-time decision.

Both of Oakland’s primary receivers crack the top-five on the wide receiver value report. Amari Cooper ($7,300) is averaging 12.7 targets per game over the last three weeks and only one team has given up more passing plays of 15+ yards than the Patriots. Cooper comes at a slight discount to Michael Crabtree ($7,500), but Crabtree has been far more consistent, scoring at least 11.4 PPR points in six of the eight games he’s played this year. 

Another passing game focused heavily on two players is the Dolphins, who face a Tampa Bay defense ranked 32nd in wide receiver aFPA. Priced as the WR23 on FanDuel, DeVante Parker ($6,200) is projected as a top-seven wide receiver, but Jarvis Landry ($6,900) ranks third in the league in target share and is only slightly more expensive.

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($7,500) is projected as the top tight end value against a Giants defense ranked 31st in tight end aFPA. New York has allowed the most touchdowns to the position this season, giving up a score to a tight end in every game this year. Paying up for a more expensive tight end than Kelce likely limits the overall floor of a cash lineup, but Zach Ertz ($8,000) and Rob Gronkowski ($8,200) both project as top-three values. Only two tight ends are averaging more targets per game than Gronk and just five players have more red zone targets on the season. Ertz leads all tight ends in targets per game and is in a decent matchup against a Dallas defense ranked 16th in tight end aFPA that will be without Sean Lee. The Eagles are favored by a field goal in what’s expected to be one of the higher scoring games of the week. 

With Jordan Reed unlikely to play this week, Vernon Davis ($5,200) is the best salary-saving option as the fourth-best value at tight end. Davis has seen 20 targets over the past two weeks with Reed out, accounting for at least 26% of Washington’s targets in each game.

Kicker

Priced at the minimum kicker salary, Nick Novak ($4,500) projects as the top value of the week. The Chargers are 4-point home favorites projected for 24 points and Buffalo ranks 23rd in kicker aFPA. Finding a kicker that doesn’t have weather concerns is very important this week and kicking in Los Angeles gives Novak the edge over some kickers who may have better Vegas indicators. As a 7.5-point home favorite with a projected team total over 29, Wil Lutz ($5,000) is projected as a top-two value at his position and will be kicking indoors.

Defense

The Jaguars ($5,600) are favored by 7.5 points in Cleveland and the Browns have the lowest implied point total of the week. Jacksonville has the highest adjusted sack rate in the league and Cleveland has the highest turnover rate in the league. Going all the way down to the Chargers ($4,300) is a great salary-saving move. They are a 4-point home favorite and facing a quarterback (Nathan Peterman) making his first NFL start. Only two teams have allowed a higher adjusted sack rate than the Bills and the Chargers defense ranks in the top-three in the same category.

Cash Viable Plays


Main Slate GPP Strategy

The three offenses with the highest implied point totals all have a projected total median ownership above 60% and no other offense has projected ownership over 37%. Quarterback ownership is usually quite flat, but only two quarterbacks are projected for ownership above 10% this week. Owners can target an unpopular offense and still be overweight by using a relatively small portion of their portfolio.

Passing Games to Target

  • Patriots @ Raiders - New England will have popular plays across the board, but there are ways to access this game and still have a unique roster. The most obvious is to target unpopular plays in any lineup that stacks this game. Another option is to game stack. While many owners recognize the upside of stacking four or more players in one game, few lineups ever have the guts to pull the trigger on this approach. As bad as Oakland has been against the pass, they have done a good job of preventing the long ball, making Danny Amendola ($5,400) my favorite tournament option with a projected ownership below 5%. Michael Crabtree has the lowest projected ownership for any of the Raiders' top-three pass-catchers.
  • Saints vs. Redskins - New Orleans has the second-highest implied point total of the week, but Drew Brees ($8,100) isn’t expected to exceed even 10% ownership. In order to exploit Washington's weakness, look for Sean Payton to line up Michael Thomas ($8,600) in the slot more than the usual 20% slot rate Thomas usually plays. Though Washington is a tight end funnel defense, they’ve allowed back-to-back 100-yard games to primary slot receivers. Owners might consider sprinkling in Brandon Coleman ($5,200) in case Payton doesn’t shake up the formation much.
  • Cowboys vs. Eagles - Carson Wentz is expected to be one of the highest-owned quarterbacks of the week, but this is a great spot to leverage that ownership and play Dak Prescott ($8,500) instead. Wentz’s recent five-game hot streak has come against five teams ranked 11th or worse in turnover rate, resulting in the second-best starting field position for the Eagles over that span. The Cowboys have the fourth-lowest turnover rate in the league, meaning Philadelphia won’t have the short fields they’ve had lately. Both defenses have similar rankings against quarterbacks, but the Eagles rank in the bottom 10 in aFPA to wide receivers and tight ends. Jason Witten ($5,400) has a leverage score near 2 and Dez Bryant ($7,400) ranks third in the league in red zone targets.

Other Pass-Catchers to Target

  • Tyreek Hill ($7,600) is a player who is too volatile without high enough volume to love in cash games, but he faces a Giants defense that has allowed the fourth-highest touchdown rate and yards per pass attempt this season, which bodes well for a player that sees middling volume.
  • A.J. Green ($7,800) has a top-10 leverage score among wide receivers. While he might find it tough to put up big catch or yardage totals against Denver’s secondary, Cincinnati may find themselves with a few easy scoring opportunities. The Broncos have the second-most turnovers of any offense this year which has led to the best average starting field position for their opponents. This may also help explain why Denver has allowed the highest touchdown rate through the air this season. For the same reasons Green could luck into a couple of scores, Tyler Kroft ($5,300) could find paydirt against the Broncos' tight end funnel defense.
  • Golden Tate ($7,600) will likely see low ownership against a Chicago defense ranked fifth in wide receiver aFPA, but Tate is the second-best ceiling value at his position. In a game expected to see high winds, Detroit should opt for more short passes, resulting in an uptick in targets for Tate.
  • Given his volume and the matchup, Larry Fitzgerald ($6,900) looks like a cash game option, but with Blaine Gabbert set to start at quarterback for the Cardinals, I’m reserving Fitz for GPPs. Houston ranks 30th in wide receiver aFPA, allowing the third-highest touchdown rate through the air and second-most yards per pass attempt this season. 

Running Backs to Target

  • In a game with high winds, Detroit may not be able to throw as much as they’re used to, which could put pressure on an offense projected to score five points below their point-per-game average. A grind-it-out game will fall right into the Bears’ run-heavy game plan and Jordan Howard ($7,400) will have a bounce-back game after disappointing as the chalk last week. Running back is the only position Detroit ranks outside the top 20 in aFPA and only two running backs have a higher leverage score than Howard this week.
  • Only three defenses have allowed more receptions to opposing running backs than the Saints this year. With Rob Kelley out, Chris Thompson ($6,800) should return to an expanded role in Washington’s offense. On the other side of the ball, Washington has been stout against running backs and tight ends, but have struggled against the short, interior passing game. New Orleans will highlight Alvin Kamara ($7,500) in that area of the field, especially because they lack a competent tight end. 
  • The Rams defense is one of the most obvious running back funnels in the league, ranked second in quarterback aFPA, but 29th against running backs. The Vikings have been bouncing back and forth between their two backs but as road underdogs, game script should favor Jerick McKinnon ($6,400) here.

Kicker

  • While Oakland has been abysmal on defense, they’ve actually allowed one of the lowest red zone touchdown rates in the league and no team has allowed a higher percentage of drives to end in a field goal than the Raiders. Paying all the way up for Stephen Gostkowski ($5,100) at high elevation in Mexico City may land you the top kicker of the week. Jake Elliott ($5,100) serves as a natural price pivot off of Gostkowski and Lutz in an indoor game where the Eagles are favored and projected to score over 25 points.

Defense

  • Chicago’s offensive line has allowed the seventh-highest adjusted sack rate in the league and only five teams have turned the ball over at a higher rate this season. The Lions ($4,800) are favored and have forced a turnover at the second-highest rate of any defense. As 10.5-point favorites against a team that throws over 60% of the time in neutral situations, the Chiefs ($5,100) are projected as a top-three ceiling value. The Saints ($4,500) are favored by more than a touchdown at home and rank in the top third of the league in forced turnover rate. Only nine teams have turned the ball over at a higher rate than Washington.

Overweight GPP Plays

Players discussed in the cash game section are marked with an asterisk (*).


Primetime Slate

Pricing for the primetime slate matches pricing on the main slate this week.

Passing Game

As discussed in the GPP portion, I like the idea of leveraging Wentz’s popularity and playing Dak, though their ownership will converge much more on this short slate. Russell Wilson ($8,400) projects as the top ceiling value with the best odds to hit GPP value on the slate and Matt Ryan ($7,400) is the clear fourth option, despite his cheaper salary and likely low ownership. Seattle is still a tough opponent even without Richard Sherman.

Dez Bryant dominates red zone targets and no defense faces a higher passing rate in the red zone than Philadelphia. While the Atlanta passing game should struggle as a whole against the Seahawks, Julio Jones ($7,700) gets a boost since he will see a significant amount of time across from cornerback Byron Maxwell. No receiver has better odds of hitting GPP value than Doug Baldwin ($8,100). Football Outsiders ranks the Falcons 30th against No. 2 wide receivers, suggesting that Paul Richardson ($5,900) may be the price-saving option that unlocks the slate. Alshon Jeffery ($7,000) and Nelson Agholor ($6,000) face a Cowboys defense ranked 22nd in wide receiver aFPA, but I’m reserving those two for game stacks, ranked well behind the aforementioned receivers. 

Zach Ertz has the highest ceiling value with the best chance to hit GPP odds, but Jason Witten is my favorite leverage play this week. Only one player has more red zone targets than Jimmy Graham ($6,900), but Atlanta ranks in the top 10 in tight end aFPA.

Running Game

With Devonta Freeman unlikely to play in Week 11, Tevin Coleman ($5,900) is the top projected value on the slate. Philadelphia vowed to get Jay Ajayi ($6,900) more touches this week and Philadelphia quietly runs more often than not in neutral situations with the seventh-highest rush rate in the red zone. Playing Ajayi with the Cowboys' passing game may be the best way to leverage public perception on this slate. After these two running backs, we’re left with dart throws. Rod Smith ($5,200) played 60% of the Cowboys’ snaps last week and his 20% target share was the second-highest among running backs in Week 10.

Kicker and Defense/Special Teams

Because the Dallas/Philadelphia game should be higher scoring and is being played indoors, Mike Nugent ($4,800) and Jake Elliott ($5,100) are safer bets, but Blair Walsh ($4,700) is the top ceiling value at his position and Atlanta ranks 24th in kicker aFPA. The Seahawks ($5,000) defense projects as the top ceiling value by a wide margin. Dallas rarely turns the ball over, so I like going against the grain and making the Cowboys ($4,300) my second-highest owned defense in hopes they can exploit an Eagles offensive line ranked in the bottom 10 in sack rate allowed. 

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2017