Well, I’m an idiot. My failure to remove Sterling Shepard from my Week 11 NFL FanDuel Sunday Million lineup – despite having more than enough time to do so – cost me at least a few dollars. My 127.82 point total – with a goose egg from Shep and 3.5-point dud from Hunter Henry.. again – was still only 1.06 points away from a payout.
Regardless, I can sleep easy knowing I wasn’t going to win the Sunday Million even if I switched Sterling Shepard for Keenan Allen and spent the remaining $600 on ANY tight end other than Hunter Henry. Never again..
Finally, I’d like to point out that Tyrod Taylor was a last minute removal from this column and video last week. I am clearly smarter than Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott, as Taylor still put up 18.12 FanDuel points despite hanging on the bench watching Nate Peterman throw five interceptions in the first half. But, I regress… Actually, no I don’t. I have a good point. That was so stupid. C’mon McDermott.
Recap of last week’s winning line-up and my picks, then onto Week 12’s best pivot plays in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million.
Week 11 FanDuel Sunday Million Winning Lineup
Total Points: 194.60
Drew Brees: $8,100 salary; 22.6 points; 9.2% owned
Mark Ingram: $8,200 salary; 23 points; 15.2% owned
LeSean McCoy: $8,000 salary; 25.1 points; 13.9% owned
Keenan Allen: $7,100 salary; 34.2 points; 4% owned
Kenny Stills: $5,100 salary; 27.5 points; 1% owned
Jamison Crowder: $5,400 salary; 11.1 points; 15.4% owned
Rob Gronkowski: $8,200 salary; 5.1 points; 16.5% owned
Stephen Gostkowski: $5,100 salary; 20 points; 10.6% owned
Baltimore Ravens: $4,700 salary; 26 points; 9.4% owned
Week 11 Picks
Alex Smith: 9.9 points; 17.8% owned
Chris Thompson: 9.8 points; 12.8% owned
A.J. Green: 13 points; 4.9% owned
Hunter Henry: 3.5 points; 1.1% owned
Chalk: Drew Brees ($7,800), Russell Wilson ($8,600)
Why: Brees gets a matchup that looks much tougher than it is. Overall, I think 15-20%+ of owners will be attracted by the 54 over/under in the Saints-Rams game. Wilson has firmly established himself as a top-3 fantasy quarterback, and draws one of the NFL’s worst defenses in San Francisco on Sunday
The appeal of this matchup will keep Cam Newton above 8-10% owned, but Brees and Wilson should both be higher owned than Newton, along with possibly Tom Brady, Carson Wentz and Ben Roethlisberger.
Newton hasn’t quite returned to his 2015-form, but his ability to create with his legs keeps him extremely valuable from a fantasy perspective. And he – along with the rest of Carolina’s offense – look to be trending in the right direction since Kelvin Benjamin was sent out of town.
The Jets have given up big games to Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Tyrod Taylor since Week 5, and they’ve allowed 30+ rush yard to quarterbacks five different times this year. Newton also has complied more than 55 FanDuel points and 181 rushing yards over his last two games. Buy.
Like I said earlier, I’m smarter than Sean McDermott. Fortunately for all involved, he listened this week, and Tyrod will be starting against the Chiefs.
Kansas City has given up huge performances to Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, and Deshaun Watson over the past few months, and Buffalo’s quarterback will have something to prove coming off a solid, one-half performance in Week 11.
The Chiefs are one of the league’s worst defenses, ranked in the bottom of the league by every FanDuel defensive metric. He won’t be popular because of his huge home-road splits this season, but Tyrod is a great pivot option in one of the best matchups for any quarterback going Sunday.
CHALK: Le’Veon Bell ($9,400), Todd Gurley ($8,500)
Why: The Steelers should run away with a win against the Packers as a 14-point favorite on Sunday Night. Gurley and the Rams host the Saints in the week’s highest projected scoring game (54). New Orleans’ backs should be popular in the matchup too, although less so than Gurley.
Kareem Hunt, despite being hugely disappointing since the first couple weeks of the season, still looks like a legit NFL back with the ball in his hands. The problem is that it hasn’t been nearly enough because of Andy Reid over the past couple months.
Week 11 was one of the best examples of that, as Hunt got only four carries in a second half in which the Chiefs were held without a touchdown in 23 mile-per-hour winds in the Meadowlands. In the four weeks prior, he had more than 20 carries just once while seeing less than 10 touches twice.
Buffalo has been obliterated by running backs over recent weeks, though, as the backs for the Chargers, Saints, Jets and Raiders each combined for over 20 FanDuel points since Week 8 (sometimes well over). The Bills have also given up the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL – by far.
There’s a chance Hunt will never return to the fantasy spot he was early in in 2017, but he still has huge upside, and anyone around 10% owned on Sunday will be a value.
Coleman is a much more attractive fantasy option this week if Devonta Freeman remains sidelined because of a concussion. This pick is assuming Freeman is a go, however, and Coleman gets relegated to second string in Atlanta.
Coleman only managed 43 yards on 20 carries Monday night in a game in which he was met in the backfield by Seahawks defenders on more than a few occasions.
He looked good overall, though, and he would have had two touchdowns if not for an overturned score late in the game. At that price point, and at 8-11% owned, assuming Freeman is active, Coleman has the chance to be a huge value with a real shot to lead the team in carries, whether or not he is Atlanta’s lead back.
CHALK: Antonio Brown ($9,600), A.J. Green ($8,300), Doug Baldwin ($7,900)
Why: Total cop out to pick the top three highest owned receivers, but the matchups these guys have is just too much to overlook. Not sure how they – three of the league’s top eight fantasy receivers – could be anything but chalk on Sunday.
Considered one of the games best four or five fantasy receivers heading into the season, Mike Evans has had a pretty underwhelming 2017 season. But Jameis Winstons’ shoulder injury – which will keep him out in Week 12 for the third straight game – might not be as bad for Evans as most of his owners originally feared.
Fitzpatrick and the Bucs are 2-0 since Winston was sidelined, and Evans has 16 targets over those two games. Overall, if you remove the Week 10 dud against New Orleans and Marshon Lattimore, Evans has at least eight targets and five catches in all but one game this year.
The Falcons have been respectable defending the pass, but Atlanta’ secondary looked vulnerable against Seattle on Monday Night. The pressure up front compensates for its lack of overwhelming talent, and Evans should be higher owend than the 7-9% he’ll see on Sunday.
Amendola was only 1.5% owned against the Raiders in Mexico City in Week 11. If Chris Hogan is sidelined again, that number will tick up, but not by enough to make Amendola an unappealing option in the Sunday Million, particularly against a Dolphins team ranked in the top of the NFL in pass defense.
Amendola caught 8/9 targets last Sunday in his first game as New England’s unquestioned slot receiver this year. It’s never easy to project usage for the Patriots’ skill players, but Amendola should retain that usage in Week 12 – at least in the first half of a game Vegas projects New England to win by 15.5.
Somebody’s gotta get in on that action. And Amendola is as good a dart throw as any in Foxboro, particularly when Brandin Cooks will be over 15% owned.
CHALK: The Big 4
Why: Coppin’ out again – this time even harder and even lazier – but there is such a huge difference between the top 4 tight ends and everyone else at the position. This is the first week in a while that Gronk, Ertz, Kielce and Jimmy Graham will all be active on a Sunday – and you won’t be separating yourself by playing any of these guys in the Week 12 tournament.
First time rolling with Walker this year, who will be facing the Colts and their terrible secondary in Indianapolis. Walker should be overshadowed by the elite guys in front of him this week, and at only $5,900 he’ll be a value even if he’s 10-12% owned on Sunday.
But Walker has been reliably consistent in 2017, particularly since Week 7. Dating back to October 22, Walker has exceeded 7.8 FanDuel points while averaging over eight targets and six catches per game, despite mediocre quarterback play from Marcus Mariota.
Mariota is steadily improving in 2017, though, and against a Colts team allowing an NFL-worst 8.3 yards per pass attempt, his ascent should continue in Week 12. That can only mean good things for Walker, Mariota, and the rest of Tennessee’s offense. You can do a lot worse than Walker on Sunday.
Few will be on Charles Clay facing a Kansas City team that’s been one of the stingiest against opposing tight ends in 2017. But Clay, particularly coming off an injury and quiet comeback performance in Week 11, is a really appealing pivot option this time around.
Kansas City sucks right now, let’s be honest. And the Chiefs haven’t faced a good tight end since Week 2. If Tyrod Taylor starts for the Bills… which he will and absolutely should… Clay should be one of the most valuable tight end options on Sunday. If you’re gonna punt the position, which I probably wouldn’t advise, he and Walker are the guys with whom to do it.