An important element to understanding and forecasting fantasy production is having a grasp on a player’s market share. We know that opportunity is king, so how often is a player on the field, and what percent of his snaps result in an opportunity (either a carry or target)? I’ll continue to dive deeper in to those numbers this week to help us make decisions when setting our lineups.
We’re on to Week 11.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
We’ve reach a stabilization point for a lot of metrics now, so it’s easier than ever to trust the data behind the analysis. Having more actionable in-season data that we can lean on makes the second half of the season a lot of fun. The process of understanding how good or bad a player’s matchup is each week is getting easier and will continue to get easier with each passing week. Most of the stats that I’m referencing here are either opponent or schedule-adjusted, making it easier to contextualize what is actually happening instead of just pulling raw data points.
Thanks to amazing sites like Pro Football Focus, Football Outsiders, and 4for4, there has been a tremendous wave of actionable analytics in football over the past few seasons. The more that you can incorporate them in to your lineup building process, the better off you’ll be. I’ll also be referencing the Expert Consensus Rankings from FantasyPros in order to understand how players are viewed each week, and then related it to their price here on DraftKings.
If you’re new to the daily fantasy community, welcome, you’re in for a whole lot of fun. If you have questions, please find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.
Cream of the Crop
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Indianapolis Colts) -$8,400
I believe that Davonta Freeman is the clear number one option at the running back position this week, and with lots of value to be had elsewhere, it’s not difficult to fit in his $8,400 price tag. I believe being $800 more than the next highest priced back will likely keep Freeman’s ownership number in check, making him viable for both cash and tournaments this week. He’s fresh off of a Week 10 bye, and the Falcons are 6-point favorites at home against a leaky Colts run defense. They’re middle of the back in terms of run DVOA at Football Outsiders, but they’ve allowed nearly 120 on the ground per game this season, with an average of 1.3 touchdowns per game. As far as market share is concerned, he’s seeing nearly 90% of the snaps and touches out of the backfield, rendering Tevin Coleman meaningless and not someone to fear.
Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (@ San Diego Chargers) -$4,500
I wish they had been giving Jamaal Charles the ball this much. Since Charles went down a few weeks ago, Charcandrick West has dominated the snaps and touches from Kansas City’s backfield. In a difficult matchup in Denver in Week 10, West handled 24 carries for 69 yards and a score, while mixing in 3 catches for 92 yards and another touchdown. Now, 2.9 yards per carry last week shouldn’t wow you, but the volume should. He’s in a great spot this week against one of, if not the worst run defense’s in the league in San Diego. The Chargers rank 32nd against the run according to DVOA and even though this game is in San Diego, I like West a lot as a 3-point favorite on the road. The Chargers have perhaps the worst home-field advantage in the league right now and even if Kansas City is playing from behind I don’t think West comes off the field. He’s been the only running back targeted out of the backfield over the past few weeks. He’s the 24th highest priced back this week, but rankers at FantasyPros have him at #3 for Week 11.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Green Bay Packers) -$6,800
It’s not surprising to see Adrian Peterson get better as the season goes on. It’s something that we’ve seen in the past with AP, and he appears to be finding his stride as the second half wears on. The league’s leading rusher has found the end zone in back-to-back contests after being on the wrong side of the touchdown variance pendulum early this season, and he’s breaking off big runs like we’re used to seeing him do in seasons past. Fresh off of a 203 yard effort against a solid Oakland run defense, Peterson is available at his lowest price of the season. Huh? Don’t ask questions! The Vikings are slight favorites at home against a reeling Green Bay team, so if hard to envision a scenario where Peterson doesn’t get another 22-25 touches in this one, and he has feasted on the Packers throughout his career.
Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (@ Baltimore Ravens) -$7,600
I’m not sure that the change at quarterback affects Todd Gurley much at all. What I do think affects his viability this week is the other values at the running back position. It’s hard to crawl up to Gurley at $7,600 when I can save $800 and grab Adrian Peterson instead, and that extra $800 takes me from Gurley to Freeman, someone that’s worth paying up for this week in my opinion. This is perhaps the first time in weeks that Gurley isn’t a cash game lock for me, but his tournament upside remains because he has multiple touchdown upside in any matchup.
Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys (@ Miami Dolphins) -$5,000
Darren McFadden struggled last week against a better-than-you-think Buccaneers run defense, but he’s still an elite option at this price. Considering that he’s receiving 94% of the touches out of the backfield and is featured heavily on passing downs, it’s difficult to ask for more. It’s fair to ask McFadden to do more with the touches than he has, but he doesn’t need to do much in order to pay off his $5,000 salary. If Tony Romo does indeed return this week, that can’t hurt McFadden’s viability against a soft Dolphins’ run defense.
Middle of the Pack
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers) -$6,700
After looking doubtful at best most of Sunday morning, Marshawn Lynch surprised most by suiting up and playing against the Cardinals on Sunday night. He was healthy enough to take on his normal workload as he was on the field for nearly 80% of the snaps despite only handling 8 carries for 42 yards. Those totals were game-script induced and not anything that gives me pause moving forward. Lynch has huge touchdown upside in Week 11, playing at home as a 12-point favorite against San Francisco and their 25th ranked run defense. This is the lowest he’s been priced all season, and I’m not sure there’s a matchup/situation better than this one for Lynch.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. Washington Redskins) -$4,400
Jonathan Stewart has five straight games with 20 carries or more and that trend is likely to continue this week against the Redskins. Carolina has opened as a 7.5-point favorite against Washington, a team that’s allowed 170 yards on the ground per game this season. No team runs more than Carolina, and Stewart is front and center in that operation. He’s handled 85% of the work this season, and while his upside in tournaments is capped by his touchdown-stealing quarterback, his floor is high for cash games because of his consistent volume.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (vs. Buffalo Bills) -$5,000
It’s difficult to predict usage in New England and it’s even more difficult to do so when we have just a one game sample size to do so. No team changes their approach each week more than the Patriots, but it looks like LeGarrette Blount will take on a slightly larger role moving forward with Dion Lewis out. Even in a game that saw New England trailing at times Blount handled 90% of the backfield touches despite playing on just 52% of the snaps. James White (38%) and Brandon Bolden (14%) saw the field, but were not featured prominently in any facet of the offense. Blount’s two receptions out of the backfield led the way, as well. The Patriots are 7-point favorites at home and again have the highest implied team total on the board this week at 27.25. If Blount doesn’t have the highest probability at carries inside the 5-yard line this week, I’m not sure who does.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets (@ Houston Texans) -$6,100
The Jets offense has been surprisingly capable this season, and Chris Ivory has had a lot to do with that. With Stevan Ridley and Bilal Powell dealing with injuries for most of the season, Ivory has been able to grab the lead back role and run with it. He’s seeing around 88% of the touches and has seen more work in the passing game, albeit minimal, than anyone expected. The Texans are coming off of a big win on Monday night and will have their hands full with Ivory and the Jets. His work around the goal line makes him a strong tournament option nearly every week.
Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (@ Detroit Lions) -$5,600
Looking at a box score and seeing 12 carries for 48 yards, well, it’s hard to be impressed by that. That was Murray’s output in Week 10 against the Vikings, but Minnesota was up early and the game script never worked in Murray’s favor. The good news is that he hauled in five receptions and stayed on the field despite the team’s deficit, and the two games prior he ran for 5.7 yards-per-carry against two of the better run defenses in the league. Murray’s big-play ability is extremely appealing here against the Lions porous run defense, and Oakland’s 24.75 implied team total is favorable, as well.
Rest of the Field
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (@ New England Patriots) -$5,500
Since returning in Week 6, LeSean McCoy has been remarkably consistent. He’s seeing around 20 touches per game and has been delivering nearly 6-yards per carry. Karlos Williams ($4,200) eats in to Shady’s upside, but McCoy’s delivered despite Williams’ presence, and he makes for an intriguing tournament play at this price. Very few backs have the upside that McCoy does, and he’s likely to be less than 5% owned in large GPP’s.
DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) -$6,000
We’ve seen DeMarco Murray carve out a larger workload each week as the season moves on. He’s handled 62% of the carries over the past four games, and his 19 targets during that time are tied with Darren Sproles. Ryan Mathews is still around to steal a goal line carry here and there, but it’s becoming safer each week to trust Murray’s path to 20 touches. The problem here is that the Bucs are playing well up front and enter play with the fourth best run defense according to Pro Football Outsiders’ DVOA. I think there are better ways to spend $6,000 this week.
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. Dallas Cowboys) -$6,200
Perhaps the biggest change in Lamar Miller’s usage during the Dan Campbell era has been Miller’s role in the passing game. He’s hauled in 21 of his 23 targets over the past three games, and they’re lining him out wide as well as featuring him in the screen game. His price has jumped quite a bit this week, up $800 from last week’s $5,400 price tag. I think the passing game work helps ease any fears around rookie Jay Ajayi eating in to Miller’s role, and in particular, goal line work. Personally, I’m not worried about Ajayi yet, but for $6,200 I only need $600 more to get Adrian Peterson.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers (@ Minnesota Vikings) -$5,300
The news broke on Sunday morning that Eddie Lacy would sit out Week 10, making James Starks the lead dog in the Packers offense. Outside of some garbage time check downs, Starks day was a bit of a disappointment, something that can be said of the Packers as a whole. With Lacy’s Week 11 status still in doubt, look for another week of Starks as the featured back, and if Lacy is out, it clears the path to 20+ touches for Starks again. Minnesota has limited the damage that running backs have done against them this season, but the unit as a whole isn’t one to fear, coming in at 28th according to DVOA.
Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears (vs. Denver Broncos) -$5,600
As of Tuesday evening we don’t know much about Matt Forte’s status for Week 11, so if he sits we have to consider Jeremy Langford again. The Michigan State rookie has looked excellent in his two game trial so far, doing a ton of damage in the passing game and showing a burst that I don’t recall when watching him in college. The sledding will be difficult against a strong Broncos run defense, but if Forte’s out he’s likely to see enough volume to return value on his $5,600 asking price.