If only every game could be like that scintillating Patriots/Giants tilt from last Sunday, the NFL would be swimming in more money than it already is. We have seven weeks of regular season action left, which means there is still plenty of money to be made on FanDuel. Let’s take a look at some quarterbacks and running backs to target (and a few to avoid) in Week 11!
*Note – FanDuel prices in parentheses
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Five to target
1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($9,200)
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers ($8,600)
3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers ($8,300)
4. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($7,700)
5. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos ($6,000)
Tom Brady has pretty much found himself entrenched in the top spot almost every week. Despite his advancing age, his production has hardly slowed. There is some worry about the loss of Julian Edelman, but the Patriots simply reload their offense. Danny Amendola will pick up additional targets and will be a popular play in his own right this week. There’s no reason to be scared off of Brady if you have the salary to spend on him, as the Patriots are solid home favorites on Monday night.
If you are looking for a safe play at quarterback but can’t quite afford Brady, Cam Newton is probably your guy. He has a safe floor because of his rushing ability, and he is always a threat to score on the ground when the Panthers reach the red zone. His price is cheaper than I would have expected as the leader of an undefeated squad, and the matchup this week is a plus, too. Newton is a fine pick in all formats for Week 11
Given their struggles to run the ball this season, the Chargers have been forced to lean on the right arm of Philip Rivers. They continue to pass the ball much more often than they run it, and that should continue in a home game against the Chiefs. The loss of Keenan Allen is a blow to this offense, but Rivers is a safe pick almost every week. He generally finds his way to 300 yards and a few touchdowns, and another good game should be in the works against a middle of the pack Kansas City defense.
Derek Carr has been an underrated fantasy asset in 2015, posting three straight games of 300+ passing yards. He has also tossed thirteen touchdown passes over the past four weeks compared to just three interceptions. He has solid receivers at his disposal in young Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree, and Carr’s price remains very fair at just $7,700. If you want to save a little salary at the quarterback position, I would be fine taking this mid-range play.
If you want to dive into the bargain bin at quarterback, there is a potential play at the $6,000 level this week. Brock Osweiler will draw the start for the Broncos, He draws a decent matchup against a sometimes shaky (though improving) Bears Defense. The Bears have been surprisingly stingy against the pass in recent weeks, so this isn’t the cupcake matchup that some would make it out to be. However, Osweiler has capable receivers at his disposal and showed a willingness to target Demaryius Thomas last week after he entered the game. This isn’t a must-play by any means, but Osweiler does free up salary to spend at other positions.
Two to avoid
1. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals ($8,200)
2. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins ($6,900)
It’s not that I don’t like Carson Palmer this week, but I just don’t see the merit in paying $8,200 for him against a good Bengals team. I would rather pivot up to Cam Newton or down to Derek Carr, or frankly just take Philip Rivers in this range. The safety net isn’t there with Palmer in this matchup like it is with some of the other options.
Kirk Cousins was one of the more popular value plays a week ago, and that came against a very generous New Orleans defense. The matchup is much, much tougher this week against an undefeated Carolina squad. This is not the time and place to chase the points from last week. Let your opponents make that mistake against a rock-solid Carolina defense.
Five to target
1. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons ($9,100)
2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings ($8,900)
3. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks ($8,100)
4. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,100)
5. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys ($6,800)
Devonta Freeman managed only twelve yards in the last game against the 49ers, but he should have a little extra pep in his step coming out of a bye week. This game also projects as one the Falcons should win, as they are almost full touchdown favorites at home against a banged-up Indianapolis team. Freeman is a safe pick because of his improved ability to contribute in the passing game. When you combine that with a matchup against a rush defense that is allowing 115 yards per game, you have a top-tier play.
The Packers have lost three straight games, and their run defense is hardly a shut-down unit. They rank 24th in rush defense, allowing almost 117 yards per game on the ground. Adrian Peterson is riding the heels of three straight 100+ yard outings, including a phenomenal 203-yard performance against the Raiders last week. He comes at a substantial discount from the two most expensive backs, and he is a fine play once again in Week 11.
Marshawn Lynch has been banged up all season long, and most players will see that he only got eight carries last week and run for the hills. However, it’s worth noting that the Seahawks were trailing by a large margin for a good portion of that game. Lynch looked healthy and played on most of the offensive snaps. A home game against San Francisco where the Seahawks are two-touchdown favorites is the perfect recipe to get Lynch back on track. Assuming he is a full go this week, he should have one of his best games of the season. His risky nature probably makes him more of a tournament play than a head-to-head or 50/50 game type of play.
Though there have been many surprises in this fantasy football season, Charcandrick West is the one that is not getting enough publicity. He has been fantastic over the past few weeks and assisted greatly in the Chiefs’ win over Denver a week ago. Now they draw a matchup against a very poor San Diego run defense, and West is the clear lead back with Jamaal Charles on the shelf. You can’t get much better than this for a $7,100 price tag on FanDuel.
There is a bit of a paradox with Darren McFadden these days. The touchdowns still haven’t been there, but the workload has been tremendous over the past month. In addition, he has remained healthy and now has Tony Romo coming back to call the shots this week. That should help open up the running game, and the Dallas offensive line provides a nice boost, as well. McFadden is cheap at just $6,800 on FanDuel and is a fine value pick here against the up-and-down Dolphins.
Two to avoid
1. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears ($7,800)
2. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles ($7,600)
While it is possible that Matt Forte returns this week for the Bears, and his FanDuel price is down to its lowest level in years, this is not the week to target him. Chicago certainly won’t bring him right back into a full workload, and Jeremy Langford has proven himself as a more-than-capable reserve over the past two weeks. At best, this will be a timeshare in Week 11, making Forte a player that you want to avoid even if he returns to the field.
DeMarco Murray has been inconsistent all year long, and the presence of three running backs in Philadelphia is going to make him a volatile player for fantasy purposes. Darren Sproles sees plenty of passing down work, and Ryan Mathews has shown that he is capable of big games this year, too. Mathews has not yet been cleared from the concussion protocol and may not play this week, which will lead people to target Murray. I’m still not sold. Tampa Bay’s rush defense has allowed just five touchdowns all year, and they allow just over 100 yards per game on the ground (good for 12th in the league). Sproles will still see his fair share of snaps, and this is still a situation to avoid.