The NFL helped everyone get ready for Thanksgiving with a nice appetizer of a 10-game main fantasy football slate in Week 11. The slate featured some great finishes — including one-possession wins for the Steelers, Giants, Texans, Cowboys, Lions and Ravens. All the close games resulted in some great finishes and big stat lines. Some of the big games were expected, but which step-up standouts are worth looking at next week? Here are my takes on whether you should ride or fade these six stars from week 11.
WR Tre’Quan Smith, NO vs. PHI, $4,000 — 34.7 DKFPLast week against the Bengals, Smith wasn’t targeted at all as the Saints went on the road and rolled Cincinnati. This week, the script was flipped as Smith was targeted a team-high 13 times as the Saints rolled past the Eagles at home. In comparison, All-Pro Michael Thomas ($8,800) was targeted just four times. Smith finished with 157 yards and a touchdown on his 10 catches for 34.7 DKFP after putting up 0.0 DKFP last week.
Smith was vitally involved in the Saints’ game plan which is a good sign that he’ll likely remain the starter over Brandon Marshall, who was inactive this week after signing mid-week. With Thomas and Alvin Kamara ($8,200) established as the centerpieces of the New Orleans offense, Smith will likely return to his role as a third or fourth option next week as the Saints host the Falcons in an NFC South match-up. However, Atlanta’s secondary has been so bad and the Saints offense has been good enough to keep him a good play even though this volume of targets isn’t likely to become the new norm.
WR D.J. Moore, CAR at DET, $4,200 — 31.7 DKFPThe Panthers got a huge game from their first-round pick out of Maryland, as Moore caught seven of eight targets for 157 yards and a touchdown. He had an 82-yard gain, which was the longest non-touchdown play of the season and caught the Panthers’ final touchdown which gave them the chance for a potential game-winning two-point conversion, which they missed. Moore was the team’s best receiver as Devin Funchess ($5,100) struggled with drops.
Moore wasn’t targeted in the season opener, but he has steadly played a growing role in the Carolina offense. He has down-field speed and can offer Cam Newton ($6,200) the ability to go up and make contested passes, which he did multiple times on Sunday in Detroit. Moore and the Panthers will need to bounce back from back-to-back losses as they host the Seahawks. After that, they have two great matchups against the Bucs and Browns, so look for Moore to keep getting plenty of work and establish himself as a playmaker.
RB Gus Edwards, BAL vs. CIN, $3,000 — 22.5 DKFPThe Ravens went to a ground-heavy offensive game plan with Joe Flacco (hip) out and Lamar Jackson ($4,700) under center. While Alex Collins ($4,400), Javorius Allen ($3,700) and Ty Montgomery ($3,100) were the most well-known options in the Baltimore backfield, it was the rookie Edwards that exploded for 115 yards and a touchdown on his 17 carries while also tacking on a successful two-point conversion.
Edwards didn’t have a carry last week and had only totaled 15 carries all season before his breakout. He is a big back and had been primarily used in short-yardage situations after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers. He’s a feel-good story and should have a chance at more work moving forward, but the Ravens backfield has so many options that he’ll be very hard to trust unless he becomes the every down option. Kenneth Dixon (knee) was also designated to return from IR earlier this week further clouding the timeshare.
RB Peyton Barber, TB vs. NYG, $3,600 — 22.0 DKFPThe Bucs came all the way back after Jameis Winston ($5,600) replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,600), but they ended up losing by three to the Giants thanks to a huge game from Saquon Barkley ($8,700). Tampa Bay’s running back also had a good game, as Barber finished with 18 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown, while adding four yards on two catches.
Barber was a great value and had over 20 DKFP for the second time this season, but he has proven to be boom-or-bust. He has been held under eight DKFP in seven of his 10 games, and the Bucs offense hasn’t been able to sustain much on the ground since they often play from behind due to their struggling secondary. Barber has upside, but he isn’t reliable enough to count on, even when the Bucs face the 49ers next week.
TE Jordan Reed, WAS vs. HOU, $3,800 — 20.1 DKFPReed was the top TE on the main slate working with Alex Smith ($4,800) and Colt McCoy ($4,400) after Smith’s gruesome injury. Reed caught a touchdown from McCoy and finished with 20.1 DKFP on seven catches for 71 yards. Reed led the team in targets with 11, and Josh Doctson ($4,200) was second with just seven targets.
Counting on Reed is always risky since he has been prone to injury throughout his career. However, he has been healthy all season and should continue to see plenty of volume with Paul Richardson on IR and Jamison Crowder (ankle) still sidelined. Reed showed a solid connection with McCoy, and Washington will need him to produce on Thanksgiving in an important matchup with the Cowboys as they try to hold on in the NFC East.
QB Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. CIN, $4,700 — 19.7 DKFPJackson piloted the Ravens to a big divisional win against the Bengals in his first NFL start, but his main fantasy contribution was on the ground, not through the air. The rookie dual-threat ran for 117 yards on 27 carries and threw for 150 yards by completing 13-of-19 passes. He was the sixth-best QB on the main slate with his 19.7 DKFP. Baltimore finished with 54 running plays compared to just 19 passing plays, but Jackson seemed to be able to handle the offense and only turned the ball over once.
If Joe Flacco (hip) is out again next week, which reports are already saying he likely will be, Jackson should get another look. While he wasn’t that impressive as a passer, the Ravens take on the Raiders next week, which is a good enough match-up that Jackson has top 10 upside based on his rushing contributions. While he didn’t convince me he’s a long-term solution, he’ll be worth a look next week if Flacco’s out.
Verdict: Ride (for next week vs the Raiders only)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.