The Rams running back-kicker-defense combination was on the winning line-up for the second straight week. It’s easy to say no one saw that coming, but someone should have. I just didn’t.
Recap of last week’s winning line-up and my picks, then onto Week 11’s best pivot plays in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million.
Week 10 FanDuel Sunday Million Winning Lineup
Total Points: 183.16
Case Keenum: $6,800 salary; 26.06 points; 0.7% owned
Todd Gurley: $9,600 salary; 16.6 points; 14% owned
Mark Ingram: $6,900 salary; 31.1 points; 3.1% owned
A.J. Green: $7,900 salary; 20 points; 21.1% owned
Adam Thielen: $7,000 salary; 7 points; 26.6% owned
Sterling Shepard: $5,700 salary; 19.7 points; 23.8% owned
Vernon Davis: $5,300 salary; 11.1 points; 4.5% owned
Greg Zuerlein: $5,400 salary; 17 points; 13.3% owned
Los Angeles Rams: $4,800 salary; 15 points; 11.8% owned
Week 10 Picks
Kirk Cousins: 28.58 points; 0.9% owned
Jordan Howard: 5.4 points; 20.6% owned
Sterling Shepard: 19.7 points; 23.8% owned
Hunter Henry: 1.2 points; 1.8% owned
Chalk: Dak Prescott ($8,500), Kirk Cousins ($8,200)
Why: Dak gets the Eagles, allowing the sixth most FanDuel points to quarterbacks, in one of the week’s highest projected scoring games. Cousins is coming in off his best game of the year on Sunday, and even against the Saints improved defense he’ll be popular in a matchup Vegas is projecting at a 50 o/u.
Smith is a great option this week, and I think he’ll be about 10% owned. But there will be enough people on the elite guys at the position to make him a pivot in Week 11.
The Giants have mailed it in for the year, losing to a previously-winless 49ers team in San Francisco last week. It’s kind of mind bottling that Ben McAdoo still has a job, but that’s for another day.
New York’s opposing quarterbacks have a 9-1 touchdown-interception rate since Week 6, while Smith has a 10-1 ratio and is averaging 275 yards per game since Week 5. All in all, New York is allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Alex Smith is a remarkably safe option on Sunday, although his ceiling may be capped by the blowout potential.
CHALK: Kareem Hunt ($8,600); LeSean McCoy ($8,000)
Why: I look for Hunt to have his best game since early October against New York’s second-worst run defense. McCoy is a relative discount at $8,000, particularly against a Chargers team allowing the most FanDuel points to opposing running backs.
Chris Thompson’s ownership will be depressed by a pedestrian performance in Week 10. New Orleans’ numbers are really solid against virtually every position on FanDuel too, so look for Thompson to be rostered by only 6-8% of owners on Sunday.
But there’s value here, particularly at that $6,800 price point. New Orleans has fared well against opposing running backs, sure, but it has allowed big games to Jordan Howard, Aaron Jones and Christian McCaffery since Week 3. Not a crop of superstars, but not a group of scrubs, either.
The most appealing metric is the success pass-catching backs have had against New Orleans. James White caught 8-8 targets in Week 2, while Christian McCaffrey and Theo Riddick have hauled in nine and five catches, respectively, since. Thompson’s hands and his ability to find space as Kirk Cousin’s check down receiver are his greatest assets, but he’s also remarkably safe, having scored under 8 FanDuel points just once since Week 4. Love him this week.
Ajayi is finally out of the terrible situation in Miami, running behind a Philadelphia offensive line that is miles ahead of the Dolphins’.
Despite only getting eight carries in his Eagles debut, Ajayi had his best game of the year on FanDuel in Week 10. Let that sink in. Reports at the middle of this week were that Philadelphia would begin increasing his work load heading into its Sunday Night matchup at Dallas. Even with that, Ajayi shouldn’t offer enough excitement to draw chalk-level ownership on Sunday. He’ll be a high-floor guy with a perceived low-ceiling, but at $6,900, he’s worth a gamble.
CHALK: Michael Thomas ($7,800), DeAndre Hopkins ($7,700)
Why: New Orleans is a 7-point favorite in a game Vegas projects as the week’s highest scoring (50 o/u). At $8,600 he’s the highest priced receiver of the week, and still a relative bargain. Hopkins has been discounted to account for the absence of Deshaun Watson, but his performance hasn’t dropped off like it did under Houston’s abysmal QB play last year. Buy.
A.J. Green is still A.J. Green; one of the game’s clear four or five best receivers. And even in a tough matchup with Denver he’ll still be 10-12% owned, considering the other options at the the position on Sunday.
Denver’s gaudy defensive numbers will be enough to make Green an attractive pivot in Week 11, though. The Broncos are in the top 5 in FanDuel points allowed to opposing receivers, and they have the NFL’s fourth best overall defense according to FanDuel’s metrics.
But the best receivers that have taken on Aqib Talib and co. have fared pretty well this year. Alshon Jeffery, Dez Bryant, Kennan Allen and Travis Benjamin (twice) have each posted 10+ point performances, and Green will be the best of the crop. Coming off his third 20+ FanDuel point performance in 2017, Green is a top target for me this week.
Sanders’ value is clearly boosted by the presence of Brock Osweiler behind center in Denver. He was targeted 11 times against the Patriots, hauling in six catches for 137 yards. Osweiler will start again in Week 11.
Sanders has been hit or miss this year, posting four double-digit FanDuel performances while also scoring less than five points three times. Cincinnati will be one of, if not the toughest test he has faced in 2017, and that will keep ownership under 8% on Sunday.
Regardless of the matchup, though, Sanders will get enough looks to make him valuable with Osweiler at quarterback. He’s a high-risk, high-reward option, but there’s enough upside here to make him worth it.
CHALK: Rob Gronkowski ($8,200), Travis Kelce ($7,500)
Why: The Raiders are New England’s best matchup in weeks, and Tom Brady and the rest of the offense should be able to take full advantage. Kelce has the best matchup of any tight end in Week 11, going against a New York Giants team that is lifeless and playing for 2018.
Unlike the Chargers, I can’t stop going back to Hunter Henry. He has two straight games with two targets and under 2.1 FanDuel points, though, so I’m hoping I’m the only one in Week 11.
Henry has been maddeningly inconsistent this year, having registered five straight games over 8.5 FanDuel points prior to those two duds. Buffalo is actually a favorable matchup for Henry this week, though, and he’ll be the one of the best tight ends the Bills have seen all year.
Having allowed 81 points in its last two games, Buffalo’s defense is trending in the wrong direction. I’m betting Henry can take advantage on Sunday.
Witten had seven targets – and caught all seven – in Dallas’ first game with Ezekiel Elliot suspended. Even though he hasn’t found the endzone since Week 7 – and has done so just three times all year – Witten’s stock should continue rising until Elliot returns.
Philadelphia is ranked in the bottom of the league in FanDuel’s pass defense metrics, and it has already allowed huge games to Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed this year. Witten obviously is no longer on that level, but in a game the Cowboys desperately need to win, expect Dak Prescott to lean heavily on his most trusted receiver – and that’s not Dez Bryant.