The pricing for Week 11 appears tight because Michael Thomas was jacked up to $9,900, Lamar Jackson to $7,700 and Mark Andrews to $6,100. But upon closer examination, it’s not nearly as tight as it seems. There are plenty of underpriced players at all positions, we just have to dig a bit deeper to find them.
The point of this column is to use the news, snap counts, usage, matchups and trends to both be a little contrarian and avoid whiffs. Note that I am discussing the DraftKings main slate only, aka the 11 Sunday day games.
SITUATIONS TO CAPITALIZE ON
1. Chemistry between Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin
Haskins arrived at Ohio State in 2016, two years after McLaurin. They came together in 2018, when Haskins finally got the starting job and combined for a 35-701-11 line. Now they are on the field together in the NFL for their biggest chance as pros. After three straight difficult matchups (SF, MIN, BUF), McLaurin gets to tee off on a funneling Jets secondary ranked 24th in pass defense DVOA and second in rush defense. The best place to attack this unit is on the perimeter thanks to their dreadfully slow corners — McLaurin ran an absurd 4.35 at the Combine. He’s going to play 100% of the snaps as the no-doubt No. 1 WR in one of the best possible matchups with the quarterback he’s been bonding with for the past four years.
2. Eric Ebron’s role change
Ebron saw a big role change last week, playing on a season-high 61% of the snaps and seeing a season-high 31% target share. He should have had a bigger box score but had a touchdown literally ripped out of his hands as he was going to the ground. Now Jacoby Brissett (knee) is back and TY Hilton remains out, leaving Ebron as a primary pass-game weapon again. Note that Ebron ran 33 pass routes last week compared to 22 for Jack Doyle. The Jaguars’ dominant defensive front means Doyle will be needed as a blocker even more, leaving Ebron in the slot and wide a ton.
MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
1. Julian Edelman against the Eagles
The Eagles’ defensive line matches up well with the Patriots’ front, and Sony Michel has been dreadful this season. He’s averaging just 3.3 YPC and is 44th among 52 qualifiers in PFF’s rushing grades. Bill Belichick has had the bye week to get ready for this matchup and is likely to put the game in Tom Brady’s hands. When that happens, Edelman eats. He’s stuck in the slot despite the arrival of Mohamed Sanu and has seen at least 11 targets in four straight games. Against an annually woeful Eagles secondary, we can project strong efficiency on those targets. Edelman’s price tag ($7,600) is high, but that coupled with the low total in this game should keep ownership down. While Edelman doesn’t have 150-plus yards in his range of outcomes like other wideouts in this price range, his floor is higher than most others in the $7K range. And he has access to a solid ceiling thanks to catch rate and the 100-yard bonus.
2. Raiders pass game against the Bengals
I expect Josh Jacobs to be one of the highest-owned players on the entire slate. One way to gain leverage off of that is to construct game scenarios where it’s the Raiders’ pass game that accounts for the Raiders’ touchdowns. It certainly is in the range of outcomes as the Bengals are dead last in pass defense DVOA, dead last in yards per pass attempt allowed and dead last in sacks. While Darren Waller’s box score results have been poor lately, his usage remains among the best among all tight ends. And at $5,500, he’s the cheapest he’s been since Week 7 despite having arguably the best possible matchup. Stacking Derek Carr with Waller and/or Tyrell Williams is a game theory play that also has direct paths to a big result.
CONTRARIAN GPP STACKS
1. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Tre’Quan Smith
At this point, everyone should be aware of the Buccaneers’ defense. This is arguably the biggest funnel in the history of the NFL as they’re absolutely dominant against the run and perhaps the league’s worst against the pass. The Saints certainly are aware of that as well, so we can expect a pass-heavy gameplan. That means plenty of Michael Thomas and Kamara as the featured pass-catchers, but it also brings secondary options into play. Smith finally got healthy last week, playing on 55-of-66 snaps. He only saw two targets, but that’s why he’s just $3,800 and should catch almost no ownership. If trying to be contrarian and gain leverage off Thomas, taking shots on Smith and Kamara making a handful of big plays against this pathetic Bucs pass defense is in the range of outcomes.
2. Devin Singletary and Bills D/ST
Singletary was 22% owned in the Milly Maker last week and managed just 8.0 fantasy points. That combined with a rising tag to $6,000 likely will tank his ownership this week even though he’s facing a Dolphins defense ready to regress after facing Sam Darnold and Brian Hoyer the past two weeks. If we zoom out to the entire season, the Dolphins are 30th in yards per play allowed and 30th in rush defense DVOA. This sets up as a spot for Singletary’s big snap count (67% over the past three weeks) to turn into big touches. The most recent time the Bills dominated an opponent (Week 9 against the Redskins), Singletary racked up 20 carries and four targets.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.