Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans (Thursday, 8:30 p.m.)
Vegas O/U: 42.5 pts, Jaguars Total: 22.75 pts, Titans Total: 19.75 pts
I'm going to go against the red-hot hatred of Thursday night games and say that this one holds some real fantasy potential, especially for a Jacksonville offense loaded with skill position talent.
Blake Bortles in Week 10 reminded us that those sleek stat lines don't come when game script is neutral of positive, but when the Jags are forced into throwing the ball to its very good receiving group. Bortles averages 3.4 fewer fantasy points when the Jaguars win this season, though it might be worth noting that the Jaguars have only won two games in 2015.
I think Tennessee's injury ravaged secondary – which wasn't all that good to begin with – is primed for the picking. Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns – who could play through an injury this week – and Marquise Lee provide Bortles with an elevated floor. Tennessee has allowed multiple passing scores in six of its nine games, along with 17.5 scheduled adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks. I'm fine with having exposure to Bortles in cash contests that start on Thursday night.
Allen Robinson's splits are something to behold: ARob notches 21.1 fantasy points when Jacksonville wins, and 10.3 points when they lose. The sample size is obviously quite small though. The Jaguars are favored here and the Titans' coverage unit is a borderline disaster. Tennessee allowed at least 13 receptions to opposing receivers in Weeks 6-9. I think Robinson is a strong candidate for a touchdown on Thursday night.
I see the Jaguars attacking the Titans via the air in this one. I'm bearish on TJ Yeldon, who isn't overly involved in the Jags offense even with nice game flow. The Titans, for as bad as they've been against the pass, have held opponents to 2.8 yards per carry over the past month. Yeldon could be at risk of missing this week's game after suffering a foot or ankle injury in Week 10.
I wouldn't touch the Tennessee backfield, even in tournaments, as Jacksonville's front seven has shut down opposing runners of late (3.3 YPC on the season). Marcus Mariota is slated to benefit from any points Tennessee scores in this tilt. I don't think Mariota's ceiling is as high as Bortles in this matchup, but the Jaguars offer an unbelievably reliable floor for enemy passers. Here are fantasy point totals from the past six quarterbacks to square off with the Jaguars: 16, 15, 23, 16, 18, 19.
The Jaguars are fast becoming a target for anyone looking for solid tight end matchups not named Gronk. Delanie Walker this week faces a defense allowing 14.5 adjusted fantasy points to tight ends after both Baltimore tight ends scored against Jacksonville in Week 10. With Walker's DFS price remains more than reasonable and this game potentially going well over the projected Vegas total, I like his floor a whole lot.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)
Vegas O/U: 47.5 pts, Falcons Total: 26.75 pts, Colts Total: 20.75 pts
For those frothing at the mouth, unable to wait in deploying the Falcons' defense against the Andrew Luck-less Colts: stop, breathe, and roll with another Week 11 defense. Atlanta, fresh off being smoked by Blaine Gabbert, face Matt Hasselbeck, who hasn't thrown an interception in 76 attempts this season. Atlanta's defense is bad almost every way you cut it.
I don't see much reason to punt at the quarterback spot this week, but Hasselbeck is a good candidate who could really easily meet his DFS cost against Atlanta. Hasselbeck has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, including two receivers who face off against shaky cover guys. Hasselbeck is priced below 24 quarterbacks on FanDuel.
Indianapolis beat writers believe the team will lean on the running attack in Luck's absence, which means a potential volume uptick for the ancient one, Frank Gore. Only three defenses give up more schedule adjusted fantasy production to opposing runners than the Falcons, who have allowed more running back receptions than any team in the league (72). That likely means that Gore, with PPR scoring on DraftKings, doesn't need to score a touchdown to exceed his Week 11 cost. He's priced as RB21 on DraftKings. I wouldn't be shocked if he finished the week as a top-10 runner.
The Falcons are giving up a hearty six tight end receptions per week. Dwayne Allen isn't a legit fantasy option, but Coby Fleener is, though I'd keep him away from your cash contests. Fleener is very cheap, as per usual, and could prove a major value if the Colts stick to the conservative passing game they deployed when Luck sat out earlier this season.
Matt Ryan, with Devonta Freeman becoming the unquestioned centerpiece of the Falcons' offense, has become a risky endeavor for DFS gamers. Ryan has thrown for more than one touchdown just four times in 2015, averaging a pedestrian 0.40 fantasy points per drop back. I would steer clear of Ryan, who I see as an inferior play to at least three quarterbacks priced beneath him in Week 11.
Freeman was absolutely shut down against San Francisco and still mustered 21.9 PPR points. That displays an incredibly high floor, and one that can serve as a foundation for any cash game lineup moving forward. The Colts have been rolled by enemy runners on the road all season. I'm paying up for Freeman, who, despite massive volume, remains one of the game's 12 most efficient running backs on a per touch basis.
Jacob Tamme makes for an interesting GPP option in a game that could be among the week's highest scoring affairs. Tamme, who has notched double digit fantasy points five times this season, could benefit from a nice matchup against an Indy defense giving up 15.2 adjusted fantasy points to tight ends. Tamme has 16 receptions over his past couple games. I'd prefer him over Fleener in Week 11 tournaments, as I think Tamme's ceiling is considerable here.
Baltimore Ravens vs. St. Louis Rams (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)
Vegas O/U: 41.5 pts, Ravens Total: 21.75 pts, Rams Total: 19.75 pts
There's certainly a dearth of reliable DFS plays in this matchup between a woebegone offense with a brand new quarterback and an injury-riddled offense facing a usually stout defense.
I wouldn't be persuaded to use Joe Flacco this week after smokin' Jay Cutler put out his cigarette on the goatee of Gregg Williams' defense in Week 10. The Rams, even after that thrashing, have allowed the second fewest fantasy points to opposing passers. Flacco should throw a lot from here on out, but that doesn't make him anything close to a reliable cash game play here.
Kamar Aiken will likely continue to hog targets from Flacco with Steve Smith done for the year. Aiken saw an incredible 14 looks in Week 10 against the Jaguars, turning that opportunity into seven grabs and 73 yards. It was all very meh from a very meh receiver. Only Denver allows less adjusted fantasy production to receivers than the Rams, meaning Aiken is an easy fade this week after a DFS price jump.
Chris Givens continues to intrigue me as a volatile tournament receiver. The former Ram – Narrative Street red alert – saw seven targets in Week 10 and converted one for a score against Jacksonville. Givens was the recipient of a couple deep shots too, which is what we're hoping for in this matchup. Priced near the minimum on DraftKings, I'll once again have exposure to Givens in some GPPs, though I won't stack him with Flacco.
I'm nothing if not a Case Keenum apologist. The new starter for the Rams comes with a DGAF factor that is sometimes off the charts. We saw that in his first pro start, when he blitzed the Colts for 350 yards and three touchdowns. St. Louis has a more-than-solid receiving group that includes a bunch of big red zone targets for a quarterback who has traditionally liked his oversized pass catchers. Keenum plays a Baltimore secondary that allows 21 adjusted fantasy points per contest. I think he's a prime GPP quarterback who could finally make use of Brian Quick, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook.
Todd Gurley is, as always, a cash game staple. You'll likely be forced to choose between Gurley and Freeman in your cash contests this week. I would lean Freeman's way because of his massive pass game action, whereas Gurley's production can come to a halt when the Rams face deficits (we saw that in Week 10).
Teams have tortured the Ravens via the pass all season, holding down running back production for much of 2015. Ravens opponents are only rushing the ball 25.3 times per game over the past month. That won't affect Gurley's usage though, and perhaps a serviceable quarterback will loosen up running lanes for the monstrous rookie. Even after Week 10's down performance, Gurley is ripping off runs at 5 YPC, including almost three yards per carry after contact.
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)
Vegas O/U: 45 pts, Panthers Total: 26.5, Redskins Total: 18.5 pts
Good for you if you locked Kirk Cousins into your Week 10 cash lineups. It's now time to forget that unqualified DFS success, say a prayer of thanksgiving, and forget Cousins as a Week 11 option. In six games against top-10 pass defenses, Cousins has thrown seven interceptions and just barely cracked 200 yards.
Washington's running backs hold some appeal here. Carolina's pass defense has brutalized opponents throughout 2015, while the team's run defense has proven occasionally exploitable. Three of four opponents in Weeks 4-8 had big-time rushing performances, including the Eagles running for 173 yards and a score in Week 7. Washington's runners certainly rely on good or neutral game script, so there is a risk here of the Panthers dominating and taking the run out of Washington's playbook.
Alfred Morris has played more than 40 percent of the team's offensive snaps just twice since Week 6. That leaves Matt Jones as the only viable running threat for Washington this week. Jones is plenty cheap (RB26 on FanDuel) even after going berserk in Week 10 against the hapless Saints.
The Panthers have struggled against slot receivers all season. Outside wideouts have had an incredibly tough time against Josh Norman and company, but opponents have used their slots pass catchers as primary weapons against Carolina. Jamison Crowder runs about 80 percent of his routes from the slot, making him the odds on favorite to benefit from the Panthers' slot-defending deficiency. Crowder is only a GPP play though.
Cam Newton's dance moves take on a Washington defense that has been shockingly good against passers. They allow the 12th fewest adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks, though – as always – we should note that Newton doesn't score his fantasy points in a traditional way. He's 21st in passing yards, 11th in passing scores, seventh in interceptions thrown, and 31st in accuracy on aimed throws. And he's second in fantasy production among quarterbacks.
Newton averages 40.7 rushing yards on 9.2 rushing attempt per contest. As long as that keeps up, Newton is an easy cash game quarterback. He's eclipsed 20 fantasy points in six of his past seven.
Jonathan Stewart is a sneaky high-ceiling option this week, despite Newton hogging the red zone rushing action for Carolina. Washington opponents are notching an eye-popping 166.8 rushing yards over the past five weeks. Only the Browns and Saints have given up more ground yards than Washington has in 2015. Stewart's FanDuel price (RB12) is a lot less appetizing than his DraftKings price point (RB26). I'll be all over JStew on DraftKings.