It’s hard to believe that there are only seven more weeks remaining in the regular season. Week 11 is an important week for many teams, as the playoff race picture becomes clearer with each and every loss. It’s an interesting week at wide receiver, as the top options are in less than favorable spots. Julio Jones will have to deal with Vontae Davis shadowing him and DeAndre Hopkins may have T.J. Yates throwing him the ball. This could be a good week to load up on mid-range and value receivers.
With all of that in mind, here are my top plays for FanDuel’s weekend NFL contests.
Cash Game Targets:
Demaryius Thomas: $7,700 (vs. Chicago Bears)
Snap Count Percentage: 85.7%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 16.9%
Most people are going to see that Peyton Manning is out this week and immediately think to avoid Demaryius Thomas. I’d argue that Manning being out is actually beneficial to Thomas, who caught six passes for 54 yards in a quarter and a half with Brock Osweiler under center last week. Thomas is still one of the highest targeted receivers in the NFL, and after only scoring one touchdown all season, he should experience some positive regression in the coming weeks.
Amari Cooper: $7,200 (vs. Detroit Lions)
Snap Count Percentage: 89.2%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 13.7%
The Raiders/Lions game has the feeling of a shootout. Both of these teams have average secondaries at best and both teams have struggled to run the ball at times. We could see a very high-scoring game on the fast track in Detroit. If that happens, it will be a great week to target Cooper and the Raiders passing attack. Cooper has seen a target on 13.7% of the Raiders’ snaps this season and could see double-digit targets against a very beatable Lions’ secondary.
Danny Amendola: $6,100 (vs. Buffalo Bills)
Snap Count Percentage: 59.7%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 6.6%
Julian Edelman is out for the foreseeable future. Luckily, the Patriots have a carbon copy of Edelman in Danny Amendola. While Amendola may not see the same volume of targets that Edelman had, he will run a lot of the same routes and it’s clear that Tom Brady trusts him in this offense. Take advantage of the cheap price tag ($6,100) this week in cash games, as Amendola will likely be one of the most popular targets at the position.
Calvin Johnson: $8,100 (vs. Oakland Raiders)
Snap Count Percentage: 91.9%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 14.3%
The days of Calvin Johnson seeing 15 targets per game are over, but he is still one of the best receivers in the NFL. I mentioned above that I expect this Raiders/Lions game to be high scoring and that both passing offenses could find success in this matchup. Johnson should see double-digit targets against a Raiders’ defense that has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
Mike Evans: $8,000 (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
Snap Count Percentage: 81.0%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 17.9%
If there was ever a game for Mike Evans to have 150 yards and two touchdowns, this is it. Everything sets up perfectly for Evans. The Buccaneers are large underdogs, Vincent Jackson has been ruled out, and he draws one of the best matchups on the board. The Eagles have been stout against the run, but they have allowed the third most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. According to Football Outsiders, they are also the second worst team at defending number one receivers.
Stevie Johnson: $5,600 (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
Snap Count Percentage: 83.4%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 9.3%
Keenan Allen is out for the season, Malcom Floyd is questionable, Antonio Gates is questionable, and Ladarius Green is questionable. The Chargers basically have one healthy wideout right now. Johnson hasn’t seen a ton of targets thrown his way this season, but it’s hard to pass him up this week at a price of only $5,600. He’s a strong play regardless, but he would see a sizable boost if Floyd, Gates, and/or Green are unable to play this week against the Chiefs.
Cash Game Target:
Greg Olsen: $6,400 (vs. Washington Redskins)
Snap Count Percentage: 100.0%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 12.3%
As I mention every week, Rob Gronkowski is a strong play IF you are able to afford him. However, I’m leaning toward saving a couple grand and going with Greg Olsen, who has been nearly as productive as Gronk this season. Olsen has played on 100% of the Panthers’ snaps this season and he has the second-highest target rate of any tight end. He should find plenty of holes in the Redskins’ defense.
Antonio Gates: $5,900 (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
Snap Count Percentage: 72.6%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 13.8%
Antonio Gates is dealing with a knee injury and a hip issue. He also faces the Chiefs, who are one of the best teams at defending tight ends. That should be more than enough reason for people to fade him this week. As we have learned time and time again with Gates, you should never count him out. With all of the injuries to the Chargers’ receiving core, he could see 10+ targets this week. As long as he is cleared to play on Sunday, fire him up as a tournament play.