Welcome to the Week 11 FanDuel Primer, brought to you by RotoGrinders. I’ll be breaking down a number of our stat pages/tools that we feel are solid predictors of success from a daily fantasy standpoint.
Before we get deep into the targets/percentage of workload analysis, let’s start things off with our Defense vs. Position page. This page gives you an idea of how each team defends a particular position. This is one of my favorite tools to use each week, and I rely on it more each week as the sample size continues to grow. All player salaries listed below are from FanDuel.
Quarterback – Derek Carr ($7,700) vs. Detroit (29th vs. QBs)
While teams from the west coast going east for an early game can be a bad recipe for fantasy success, Carr is in a nice spot in terms of his matchup this week against the Lions. He'll get to do battle indoors which is typically good for quarterbacks, and he'll face off with a defense that has allowed the fourth-most FPs to opposing QBs this season. Detroit does have one of the league's better corners, Darius Slay, playing on the outside, but it's hard to say whether or not he'll follow Amari Cooper around or if he'll stick to one side of the field. Either way, Carr hasn't had issues when Cooper sees additional coverage, as he's also treating Michael Crabtree as a #1 WR in terms of targets. The Raiders have a nice team total of 24.5 and are two-point favorites in a game with a total of 48. Latavius Murray isn't in a bad spot in his own right, but this seems to be a better spot for the passing game to lead the way.
Running Back – Charcandrick West ($7,100) vs. San Diego (32nd vs. RBs)
After a very poor debut as Jamaal Charles’ replacement, West has carried the ball 20+ times in his last three starts and is also making contributions in the passing game, averaging three catches a game in that span. He’s found the end zone in all three contests, so he’s acting as a true workhorse without anyone threating his goal-line work. Spencer Ware was the only active RB behind West last week, and Ware has seen a combined six touches in the last three games. In addition to a secure workload, West’s matchup and price couldn’t be much better this week. The Chargers allow the most FPs per game to opposing tailbacks this season and aren’t showing signs of turning it around. The fact that West still sits at just $7,100 puts him in play for cash games and GPPs in Week 11.
Wide Receiver – Mike Evans (8,000) vs. Philadelphia (30th vs. WRs)
Vincent Jackson has already been ruled out and Austin Seferian-Jenkins has had a very tough time getting back on the field, so it should be Evans’ show once again on Sunday. Dating back to the Bucs Week 7 matchup with Washington (in which Jackson was hurt), Evans is averaging 13.25 targets per game and has crossed 120 yards receiving in three of those four games. He hasn’t found the end zone in the past few weeks, but with target totals in line with what he’s seeing, the touchdowns will come. Evans has a nice matchup this week against the outside corners of the Eagles. Both Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll haven’t exactly slowed opposing #1s this season, and the Eagles best DB play has come in the slot where safety Malcolm Jenkins roams. The Eagles have allowed the third-most FPs per game to opposing WRs on the year.
Tight End – Jason Witten ($5,500) vs. Miami (31st vs. TEs)
Witten has to be loving the fact that he’ll get Tony Romo back this week. In the first two games of the season when Romo was healthy, Witten combined for 15-116-2 against the Giants and Eagles. Since the Weeden/Cassel combination took over in Week 3, Witten hasn’t found the end zone and has reached double-digit FPs (FD scoring) just once. That should change this week against a Miami defense that has allowed the second-most FPs to TEs, including the most receptions and receiving yards per game to the position. Miami has faced a few of the league’s better TEs (Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Charles Clay, Delanie Walker), but teams have been choosing to attack with TEs due to solid CB play (all three of MIAs top CBs have earned grades of 70 or better according to PFF grading). Miami’s pass rush can also force shorter, quicker routes, something that plays very much into Witten’s favor. This is a GPP-only recommendation, but it’s one with some contrarian upside.
Let’s transition to the Targets page, where you’ll find a breakdown of touches, targets, red-zone targets and percentage of workload, among other. It’s an invaluable tool that can help you find players who are in the best positions to succeed; it’s no secret that you want players on your fantasy team who are heavily involved in the offense, especially those that are also key cogs in the red zone. Instead of hand-picking a few players to touch on, I’m going to give a general overview of what’s happened through ten weeks. I will not be including any players on bye weeks in the breakdown below, since they aren’t DFS relevant this week.
Wide Receivers that have averaged at least 10 targets per game:
DeAndre Hopkins – 13.7
Julio Jones – 13.2
Mike Evans – 10.8
Brandon Marshall – 10.7
Allen Robinson – 10.1
Hopkins shouldn’t see much of a difference with T.J. Yates under center (assuming Brian Hoyer is unable to go) and remains an elite play despite shaky talent at QB. He’s a little hard to justify paying up for in cash games due to the matchup with Darrelle Revis. While Revis may be losing a step, he’s still one of the league’s best shadow corners. However, Hopkins is as safe of a bet for double-digit targets as there is. Julio Jones is also in a tough spot this week. I’d guess that the Colts will use Vontae Davis to shadow Jones, but it’s hard to say given the way both players line up. Davis has had games where he’s shadowed consistently and others where he’s stayed to his side, while Jones lines up all over the field. Jones will at least see Davis at points during the game, so he’s more of a high ceiling GPP play as opposed to a cash game option worth that much of your salary cap. His target count will remain high regardless of the CB matchup he draws.
It’s possible Emmanuel Sanders is unable to suit up or do much even if he does, which gives Demaryius Thomas a bump in value. Thomas has seen double-digit looks in all but two games this season (his lowest target total is seven) and it doesn’t hurt that he’s among the league leaders in percentage of workload. He’s another solid high-upside GPP target. Alshon Jeffery faces off with a very stout Denver secondary and even though it’s hard to peg his matchup, it won’t be easy regardless of where he lands. Mike Evans has the best matchup of the group here. He’s also been seeing an even bigger target total with Vincent Jackson out, so fire him up in any format, especially on full-point PPR sites. Brandon Marshall has struggled in the last two games, but has salvaged his fantasy performances with touchdowns. Despite a consistent workload, he’s tough to recommend towards the top of the salary pool outside of GPPs. If you’re playing in Thursday contests, Allen Robinson continues to be an elite $/point play. He’s still not priced up to his production and is being consistently targeted in the red zone.
Top Five WRs in terms of Percentage of Workload (POW):
Jarvis Landry – 17.85% (18.67% RZ POW)
Julio Jones – 16.60% (17.78% RZ POW)
Demaryius Thomas – 15.81% (10.45% RZ POW)
DeAndre Hopkins – 15.47% (18.31% RZ POW)
Tavon Austin – 15.03% (19.05% RZ POW)
The only name not also on the list above is Tavon Austin, and his numbers here are eye-popping. Austin leads all WRs in red-zone POW, although it’s worth noting his team has had far fewer red-zone opportunities than most. Still, he’s being used when they get down there, and the quarterback play can’t get any worse with Case Keenum. Austin will also have matchups against Baltimore’s outside corners, both of whom have struggled in coverage this season.
Tight Ends that have averaged at least 7 targets per game:
Antonio Gates – 10.8
Greg Olsen – 8.6
Martellus Bennett – 7.8
Travis Kelce – 7.1
Antonio Gates will be the top option in the San Diego passing game with Malcom Floyd looking very iffy and Keenan Allen out for the season. Ladarius Green is also still banged up and didn’t practice Wednesday. Gates is a consistent threat all over the field and has seen at least ten targets in three of the four games he’s played in. Fire him up in any format. Olsen is priced above Gates on most DFS sites, which makes it hard to justify him as anything more than a GPP play. Cam Newton’s passing can still be erratic, although Olsen is far and away Newton’s favorite weapon. The Bills defend the TE position about as well as anybody, but it’s hard to recommend fading Rob Gronkowski with Julian Edelman now out of the picture. Danny Amendola and Keshawn Martin will help fill that void, but Gronk will still be the leading playmaker. Look for massive red-zone usage for Gronk from here on out.
Jordan Reed is in a tough spot against the Panthers, but he still has a few things working in his favor. Washington is expected to be playing from behind and thus will be throwing often, and Carolina struggles a bit more with TEs compared to WRs. He’s a risky cash game option as he’s been fairly touchdown dependent lately, but his ceiling is very high given his price. Martellus Bennett’s target totals have been dropping since Jay Cutler returned. In his last three games, Bennett has seen 5, 9 and 3 targets, with his best game coming against San Diego (8-57-1). He’s been too erratic lately for me to have any real trust in him. Travis Kelce hasn’t shown his monster ceiling since back in Week 1, and it’s unlikely we see that explosion against San Diego, who is easier to beat on the ground. Kelce is always a threat in the red zone, it’s just very hard to predict when his chances will come. Jimmy Graham is an interesting contrarian option this week, but he’s not on my radar as anything more due to more appealing options priced below him. Walker is a tough sell for me as Thursday players’ ownership levels tend to be higher than they should, so playing the fade is usually the right call in tournaments. He’s going to be targeted fairly heavily with the Titans missing both Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, so he does have noteworthy upside.
Top Five TEs in terms of Percentage of Workload:
Delanie Walker – 11.00% (13.11% RZ POW)
Jason Witten – 10.89% (11.29% RZ POW)
Greg Olsen – 10.69% (12.09% RZ POW)
Rob Gronkowski – 10.54% (14.16% RZ POW)
Travis Kelce – 10.54% (9.46% RZ POW)
I’ve already touched on all five players mentioned here, but it’s worth reiterating that Jason Witten should be under-owned this week and is due for a breakout now that Tony Romo is back at the helm. If you want to go cheap at TE, he’s a great way to punt the position.
Welcome to Value town, parts unknown. I won’t be recommending the Aaron Rodgers’ of the world here, but instead will highlight a few players with price tags that don’t add up to their level of talent, opportunity and/or matchup. The ultimate goal is to find players at the bottom of the salary chart who have the upside to produce at an elite level.
Quarterback – Matthew Stafford ($7,000 on FanDuel)
Stafford went through a very tough stretch of games against Denver, Seattle and Arizona (Weeks 3 through 5) where he failed to exceed 12 FPs, but he’s since rebounded nicely and is in another nice spot this week. Oakland is traveling west to east for an early game which is never an easy task, and they’ve been easier to beat through the air this season. Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams have run all over this defense the past two weeks, but they had been stout against the position until then and still project as a fairly tough matchup for Detroit’s running game. Stafford’s arm is the Lions easiest route to success with both Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah unable to do much of anything on the ground. It also doesn’t hurt that Stafford gets to do business in his home stadium.
Running Back – Darren McFadden ($6,800)
Over his last four games, McFadden is averaging a shade over 23 carries a game, not to mention he’s been a nice asset out of the backfield as a pass-catcher. Romo’s return may diminish his carry count slightly, but there is no one pushing him for snaps with Joseph Randle and Christine Michael both out of town. A RB with this type of usage shouldn’t be priced below $7K. McFadden also happens to face a Miami defense that has allowed the second-most FPs to opposing RBs this season, so there is no reason not to consider him whether you’re playing cash games or tournaments. If you want an against-the-grain punt play at RB, Frank Gore is in a nice spot to see 20+ touches. Matt Hasselbeck’s presence as the starting QB should lead Indianapolis into a more run-heavy approach, and Gore will see the goal-line work.
With Julian Edelman out, Amendola should step into a featured role in the Patriots Offense. He’ll also be pushed for work by Keshawn Martin, although Martin may not be healthy enough to take the field this week. Given the high-powered Patriots Offense can score points at will, it’s really hard not to like Amendola at this price tag. Stevie Johnson is another player who will see increased usage as a result of injury. Johnson finished with 7-68 on 10 targets in Kennan Allen’s first game out of the lineup, and Johnson is once again a candidate for double-digit looks. He’s playable in any format at $5,600.
Tight End – Eric Ebron ($5,400)
This is your weekly reminder that the Raiders cannot defend TEs. They’ve allowed the most FPs to the position this season and while the production against them has started to drop off, opposing offenses are still choosing to target them in this way. Ebron has had a few slow weeks since new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter took over, but this is a nice spot for a breakout game. The big play potential is certainly there and Ebron is a solid #2 in the red zone behind Calvin Johnson.