NFL Breakdown – 2016 Week 11
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers – Total: 51.5; Spread: -4 Carolina
The Saints have not been nearly as good on the road as they have been at home, which makes it difficult to want to look at many of the options on this team. Still, the Carolina defense hasn’t exactly been great, which leaves plentiful opportunity for Brees and his weapons to put together a big game here. In season long leagues, you have no choice, but in daily fantasy, I would use these guys as tournament options only.
The Panthers have been struggling this year, and that is putting it lightly. Cam Newton had a pretty good game against the Chiefs, and I think he could have another one here against a bad Saints defense. I think you could pretty well lock Newton, Jonathan Stewart, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen in as potential targets this week. They all have positive situations and could together big games on the week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns – Total: 49.5; Spread: -9 Pittsburgh
There is very little doubt here that the Steelers should be considered heavy favorites, and the nine points the Browns are getting won’t be enough to cover the spread, in my opinion. I think you can use Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown in this matchup, but it is LeVeon Bell that has the best spot. It isn’t so much that the Browns are a bad run defense, and rest assured they are, but the game flow suggests that as time winds down, it should become the LeVeon Bell show.
The Browns are in a desperate position, as the team has no wins on the season. I don’t think that Hue Jackson is on the hot seat yet, but you really had to expect more out of this team. I know injuries have distracted things some, but still, they should have a win by now. There are a few tournament options here, namely Terrelle Pryor, Corey Coleman, Gary Barnidge and Isaiah Crowell. Crowell actually might be my favorite, as he is cheap, the Steelers have been struggling against the run, and he will likely not be used very much. The Browns are going to score points, but figuring out where and how might be difficult.
Baltimore Ravens @ Dallas Cowboys – Total: 45; Spread: -7 Dallas
The last time we saw the Ravens, we saw them put the smack down on the Cleveland Browns. Well, the Cowboys aren’t the Browns, so I don’t see this being that easy. I can’t really advocate using too many Ravens. The run game isn’t that great, though Kenneth Dixon, unsurprisingly, is showing some flashes. The passing game is full of options, but I just don’t see this being a game where one guy has a huge game; it really, truly appears as if it will have to be a team effort. Typically, team efforts mean that a ton of guys contribute and fantasy value is killed.
The Cowboys should have their way with this defense. It isn’t a bad defense, but this Cowboys offense is very, very good. As a result, I think we can consider two players: Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. Bryant makes for a nice tournament play, because there is a chance that he could catch some long passes early on in the game and the potential for a touchdown or more is possible. Elliott is an easy Rookie of the Year winner, and he’s got to be close to MVP as well. I don’t care about his price; I’ll gladly pay it. I think running Bell/Elliott lineups this week will be a big winner.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Detroit Lions – Total: 47; Spread: -6.5 Detroit
This game is actually really interesting to me. At first, I think it was one that I was just content on mostly passing on, but now I’m looking at it a little bit differently. The Lions defense is atrocious. I honestly think Blake Bortles makes for a decent tournament play. I don’t know if I’ve said that at all this year. With that, Allen Robinson FINALLY put up a big fantasy game against a really tough Texans defense, and I think he could be ready to roll out at a pretty decent price this week. Allen Hurns makes for a fair option as well, but I’d much rather go with Robinson. Finally, can Julius Thomas be the next guy to take advantage of this awful Lions defense against tight ends? It is certainly possible.
The Lions offense has actually been so efficient that it has basically eliminated all fantasy upside from Matthew Stafford. I don’t think I’d use him in daily fantasy, and I would consider using someone else in my season long leagues as well. There are three players I am fine with playing here. The first is Theo Riddick. I think he is priced very nicely and there is a lot of upside within that price. Next is Golden Tate. He is seeing a ton of targets and should be able to feast here with Jalen Ramsey likely taking on Marvin Jones. Finally, Eric Ebron is eating targets as well. The Jaguars did just give up two touchdowns to tight ends this past weekend, and I think he is a guy I want to have some exposure to this week.
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts – Total: 52.5; Spread: -3 Indianapolis
Early on in the week, this game has the highest total on the slate, which is shocking considering that the Saints are in fact playing. Marcus Mariota and the Titans have just looked awesome over the last few weeks, and there is no reason to think it should stop here. I think it is fair to look at Mariota, but a lot of the focus is going to be on DeMarco Murray, who had a very good game this past week. Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker are Mariota’s top options, though Tajae Sharpe and Kendall Wright both caught touchdowns this week. They are all tournament options, but Matthews and Walker need to be started in your season long leagues.
The Colts had the week off, which probably went a long way in ensuring that T.Y. Hilton got healthy. I like him the most in this matchup and he will make it into a ton of my lineups. I don’t like playing the “he’s due” card too much, but I’ll leave it on the table. Donte Moncrief is a touchdown machine, so he’s got to me on the radar. Andrew Luck could be playable as well. With other tight ends in better positions, Dwayne Allen could go a bit underowned, which makes him an interesting tournament target. At his price, Frank Gore actually makes for an intriguing option as well, and I think there is 20-point upside for him in this game.
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals – Total: N/A; Spread: N/A
The Bills had week ten off, and Cincinnati will be coming in on a short week, so it will be interesting to see how things will go here. My gut reaction is that they should be able to have their way with the Bengals defense. Tyrod Taylor makes a good cash game play, as he remains consistent with his price. LeSean McCoy should finally be healthy, and this Bengals run defense isn’t as good as it once was. I like him a lot this weekend.
The Bengals will likely have to throw the ball a lot in this game, as the Bills run defense is sound. I think they will have some troubles doing either, to be honest. A.J. Green always has to be on your list of possible plays, but I think you could find better options. All things considered, on a short week, against a tough defensive team, I would prefer to look elsewhere, and I think you should too.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Kansas City Chiefs – Total: 44.5; Spread: -7.5 Kansas City
I hope you as well dodged the Mike Evans train wreck this past weekend. After being a victim of this just two weeks ago, I was very happy I managed to dodge this one. I actually don’t think I’ll have too much exposure to him this week, either. In fact, I am pretty much writing off the vast majority of this team, as I just don’t see where or how they are going to have success on the road against the Chiefs.
The Chiefs have been pretty disappointing over the last few games. Even with Alex Smith back, the offense sputtered. Even in a matchup that should favor the passing game, I just can’t do it. Spencer Ware carried the ball 13 times in a poor matchup, but this is a much better situation, and with his price as high as it is, I think many will stay away. I think he makes for a good tournament play. Travis Kelce was disappointing as well, making this a nice bounce back spot. Finally, Tyreek Hill is making the most of his opportunities, and is still priced low throughout the industry, making him a nice play.
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants – Total: N/A; Spread: N/A
Jay Cutler is back, and that’s all I really need to say about that. In as good of a matchup as it gets, he choked. Completely and fully. The Giants are another bad defense, but there is very little justification in using Cutler. Not only that, his weapons are all less than ideal either. I guess that Alshon Jeffery can be kept as a tournament only play, but ultimately, it’s tough to want to trust anyone on the Bears after how poor this team has looked over a few games.
The Giants are playing on Monday night, so it’ll be a short week for them. The Chicago defense isn’t as awful as it is made out to be, but it still didn’t look good against Tampa Bay. I’m not a big fan of Eli Manning, but I think Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard are in good spots. Additionally, Roger Lewis is taking Victor Cruz role, at least for Monday. Lewis was a monster at Bowling Green, and I think he could be a sneaky option if Cruz is out again. We’ll have to see how Manning uses him tonight.
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings – Total: 41; Spread: Pick ‘Em
We haven’t seen a pick ‘em too many times this year, but we have one this week. The Cardinals have a number of different weapons they could turn to, but it typically starts and ends with David Johnson. Even though he isn’t one of my favorites this week, he is always a good bet to have a nice game. Larry Fitzgerald had another big week last week, and Michael Floyd came back from the dead. I would probably look to Fitzgerald, as he is the most consistent of the pack. Carson Palmer hasn’t looked good this year, so I’ll pass this week.
The Vikings at this point have no running game, so it is going to come down to the passing game to get them to a win. Stefon Diggs is a target monster right now, and I think that is a shame that his price only went up a small amount. I think he may be the only one in this entire game that I really want. Kyle Rudolph had a nice showing this weekend as well, but I think you’ll find better options in other games. All things considered, this is a pretty clear game for me to dodge all together.
Miami Dolphins @ Los Angeles Rams – Total: 40.5; Spread: -1 Los Angeles
We’ll go from one game with very little fantasy appeal to another one. The Dolphins will travel to the west coast to take on the Rams, and I have to be honest in saying that there isn’t anyone I really want on Miami. I know that we will be chasing Jay Ajayi’s big games for the rest of the year, but I would much rather just use the money elsewhere. There isn’t much appeal with Ryan Tannehill or any of the other offensive weapons. Kenny Stills always has a chance for a deep touchdown catch, but Jarvis Landry hasn’t really been used too much lately.
The Rams are basically as unexciting as the Dolphins in this game. The defense is good enough that I do think it will be tough for Miami to score. Could this be the week that Todd Gurley actually looks like a football player? I’m still not sold on the Dolphins run defense, so I do think I will roll with Gurley and his declining price. Kenny Britt is also another option, but something tells me that it won’t be another big week for him. I think I’ll opt for Gurley in some tournaments, but otherwise just totally stay away from this game.
New England Patriots @ San Francisco 49ers – Total: 52; Spread: -14 New England
It should come as a surprise to no one that the Patriots are this heavily favored even on the road against a poor Niners team. I’m sure Legarrette Blount will be a popular DFS play, and while I think he should be in your season long lineup, I’m going to take a tactical route and load up on Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. After how the game with Seattle ended, I imagine that New England will want to set a tone, and this is a week I could see Brady going for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Gronk having a silly line as well. I’m not going to blame you for going with Blount, but I’d rather roll with the passing game.
It’s tough to really advocate using any of the 49ers options, so I won’t. I can’t see anyone on this side of the ball doing enough to win a tournament, aside from maybe Phil Dawson on FanDuel.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks – Total: 46; Spread: -6 Seattle
This is going to be a stiff test for the Eagles, and quite frankly one that I don’t think Carson Wentz is going to be ready for. Despite what Legarette Blount did against this defense on Sunday night, I don’t see anyone in the Eagles’ backfield putting anything like that together. I really don’t see Wentz being able to get much done through the passing game. I guess Jordan Matthews is worth a look in tournaments due to the catch volume and potential touchdown factor, but otherwise, I’m staying away.
It’s very hard to see what Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson did on Sunday Night Football and not flash back to 2015. Wilson and Baldwin both get and stay hot, so without a doubt, I’ll have a fair share of them here. You say things like “you can’t expect 3 touchdowns every week” and then they’ll have like 3 straight games like that. I think this Eagles defense is good, but this is a poor atmosphere for them, and they are still playing for positioning within the NFC.
Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins – Total: 50; Spread: -3 Washington
The Packers have really been giving up a ton of points lately, and there is no indication that things will change coming into this game. This also means that they should have to do a lot to stay in the game. That is why Aaron Rodgers remains one of the top options at the position on the slate. His top receivers are all in play, as Jordy Nelson looks to have turned a corner, and Davante Adams is white hot. James Starks is also an interesting play here, as the Redskins don’t seem capable of shutting down the run.
Rob Kelly looked pretty good in his second start for the Redskins, and I think this is still a nice spot to use him in. The passing game leaves a lot to be desired, but I think you could still use both Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed. DeSean Jackson could be out again this week, so there is also some potential there for Pierre Garcon. I think the Redskins will score points, so I think we do need to consider some of their options here on this slate.
Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders – Total: 46.5; Spread: -5.5 Oakland
I’m sure at the beginning of the year, most of us would have thought the roles of the Texans and the Raiders would have been reversed. So much for that. The Texans still don’t look great, and I think they should continue to have a hard time here against the Raiders. While the Texans should score a touchdown or two in this game, it just strikes me as difficult to figure out where and how it will happen.
The Raiders will find themselves well-rested and should be able to do some damage here. I am all in on the Amari Cooper bandwagon this week, even against a tougher Texans passing defense. I think he will be one of their keys to success. The other will be Latavius Murray, who should be able to find some holes to run through. I am somewhat happy that this game isn’t on the main slate, because I would likely end up with far more Amari Cooper than I would want.
Good luck this week!