Updated: Nov 22, 2020
Welcome to week 11 of the NFL season! Each week, we’ll be previewing the main slate on DraftKings. Our philosophy with these selections is to provide you with solid floor plays with some upside to start your roster construction, with potential GPP pivots for even further upside in tournaments.
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If you're new to DFS, I'd recommend checking out our DFS 101 article before getting started, as it can give this column a lot more context.
If you'd like to see how I did in previous weeks, you can find that here:
Please note that the authors of this post are also players of daily fantasy sports, and the selections they make when creating their rosters may or may not include players listed below. You can find Derek Devereaux on DraftKings via the username DerekDevereaux.
This week’s lineup building beer of choice
This IPA isn't an overly heavy IPA; in fact, it's got a bit of a tropical taste to it, which gives me that feeling like maybe, JUST maybe, we'll get another day above 60 degrees before we get hit by a foot of snow. (We won't.)
All lines via Bovada, current as of Saturday afternoon.
Atlanta at New Orleans -4, 49 total (opened at 52.5)
New England -2.5 at Houston, 49 total (opened at 47)
Detroit at Carolina -3. This total was pulled from the board with both starting QBs holding a Questionable tag, but had opened as a 49.
Philadelphia at Cleveland -2, 47 total (opened at 49.5)
Tennessee at Baltimore -6, 49.5 total (opened at 47)
Pittsburgh -10.5 at Jacksonville, 46 total (no change)
Cincinnati at Washington -1, 47 total (opened at 45.5)
NY Jets at LA Chargers -9.5, 46.5 total (opened at 47)
Miami -4 at Denver, 45 total (opened at 46)
Green Bay at Indianapolis -1, 51.5 total (opened at 49)
Dallas at Minnesota -7, 48 total (opened at 50)
Favorite games to target
Finally, a week where all the games are somewhat condensed in totals! It's a really interesting week. Only one game is over 50, but it's a really tough game to stack for GPPs, specifically for the Indianapolis side, because the scoring can come from any one of three running backs, three wide receivers or three tight ends. Atlanta and New Orleans normally would be a game to target, but we still don't officially know who is going to play QB for the Saints (more on that in a bit). I think the sneakiest game might be Cincinnati and Washington.
Ben Roethlisberger, $6700, PIT (at JAX)
The Jaguars were solid against Green Bay last week defensively, but previous to that, they were, well, not very good. Meanwhile, Big Ben has thrown over 40 passes in three of his past four games, and he has his full compliment of weapons back at his disposal. People might be off of this with Pittsburgh being the biggest favorite on the slate (and instead going to James Conner and the running game), but there's nothing stopping them from piling it on like they did last week in a 26 point blowout.
Matt Ryan, $6300, ATL (at NO)
The way to beat the Saints is through the passing game. The Falcons know this, and I suspect they'll let Matt Ryan sling it around early and often in this game. He feels appropriately priced given the context of the slate, but among the remaining 6K players, to me it's pretty clear that he has the most upside of all of them. Solid floor plus upside.
Alex Smith, $5300, WAS (vs. CIN)
55 passes last week for nearly 400 yards passing. Insane! We thought he was a game manager, and yet he's apparently now a volume passer. No touchdowns last game was a disappointment, but Cincinnati isn't a defense to be feared. Yes, it's possible that they score three rushing touchdowns again, but if they're going to let Alex throw it 40+ times in a positive matchup and DK prices him this low, there's at minimum a very nice floor to look at for cash games and one or two touchdowns changes the equation entirely.
The Saints QBs
Listen, I'm a Saints fan and I don't even know what the game plan is here. Adam Schefter reported that Taysom Hill was going to start this game and that Jameis Winston was going to be the backup and "not involved in the game plan." My favorite reporter on the Saints beat, Nick Underhill, has gently been hinting this might be the case throughout the week as well, but also reports that Sean Payton has still not officially named a starter. If you're taking a chance here, the obvious chance to take, in my mind, is on Taysom ($4800) and not Winston ($5900), but the point here is that it is obvious. I expect Taysom's ownership to be extremely high and Winston's to be non-existent. This might be a situation where the risk outweighs the benefit of playing it in GPPs, and the leverage play might just be to play Matt Ryan with a Falcons stack and run it back with one of Kamara (hoping that his usage stays high) or Michael Thomas (likely volume receiver to usurp at least a part of that Taysom passing yardage). And there's definitely the possibility that they end up splitting time, or that Taysom gets replaced, or as I jokingly said on Twitter, Alvin Kamara throws a passing touchdown. There's upside with Taysom, yes, but at this ownership level, is that upside more than the risk when you can just leverage off of it? It might be, and if Taysom burns me and goes off, well, at least my Saints win the game.
Potential GPP pivots: Cam Newton ($6200, at HOU), Carson Wentz ($5700, at CLE), Joe Burrow ($5500, at WAS)
Alvin Kamara, $9200, NO (vs. ATL)
Him and Dalvin Cook ($9000) are the only two running backs in the 9K range, and in fact, the next highest is $1000 less than Dalvin. To me, these two are easily the best two running back plays on the slate. However, as I mentioned above, I'm not convinced that Taysom Hill being high owned is going to have people correlate it with Alvin Kamara, since Taysom is likely to have the most upside by rushing for scores, and, well, that's Alvin's job, too. Meanwhile, I fully expect Dalvin to be the highest owned player on the slate. So if both are in elite spots, but we can get Alvin at, say, half of the ownership, why wouldn't we go there?
Antonio Gibson, $5800, WAS (vs. CIN)
Volume is still sporadic for Gibson, which is a shame because he's quite a bit more talented than JD McKissic. Most importantly, Gibson is getting touches near the red zone, scoring in three straight games. There is some receiving floor here to bolster us in case he doesn't hit pay dirt (and there better be...he's a former WR). Definitely worth consideration in GPPs.
Kalen Ballage, $5600, LAC (vs. NYJ)
The New York Jets are #bad at football. Anthony Lynn came out and said Ballage was going to be the primary ball carrier, and he's also been catching passes out of the backfield too. We originally feared that this might be a bit of a time split, but he's averaged 20 touches per game in the past two games he's played. The price is still low enough and the matchup is ripe.
The Lions RBs
D'Andre Swift has been ruled out for Sunday. The expectation is that Adrian Peterson will be the "starting" back, but as we know with AP, it's basically two yard runs between the tackles. Kerryon Johnson still exists, and he's going to be tasked with more of the explosive plays and passing situations. Both are the stone-cold minimum ($4000), and Carolina's run defense has been so bad that I could get at least 50 yards rushing off them. If you're going here, my gut tells me to lean towards Kerryon, but there's risk in both, really.
Potential GPP pivots: Ezekiel Elliott, oh how the mighty have fallen ($6500, at MIN), Giovani Bernard ($5500, at WAS), Nyheim Hines ($5200, vs. GB)
Terry McLaurin, $6900, WAS (vs. CIN)
There's risk for all of the receivers above him, so why not just find the safer option? In a game that should be competitive, McLaurin is averaging nearly 10 targets a game this season no matter who is throwing the ball. Alex Smith is a more than capable QB. McLaurin belongs alongside Keenan Allen's price range, but DK continues to just price him under where his value should be.
Diontae Johnson, $5900, PIT (at JAX)
Back again to haunt my nightmares. He's burned me multiple times this year already. But when he's been healthy, his target numbers are insane - 11, 10 and 15 in the last three full games he's played. That kind of volume cannot be under $6000. RIP his hammy and RIP my lineups when he's in there, but upside outweighs the risk.
Jakobi Meyers, $4900, NE (at HOU)
If Julian Edelman was this price, would you play him? Because he's putting up those types of volume numbers with a healthy Cam Newton back. 37 targets in his last four games, he's hitting value across the board without scoring touchdowns. Another one that just feels like a misprice.
Potential GPP pivots: Calvin Ridley ($7000, at NO), Marvin Jones Jr. ($5500, at CAR), KJ Hamler ($3600, vs. MIA)
TJ Hockenson, $4200, DET (at CAR)
Tight end is a crapshoot this week, but we know that targets should be heavily funneled for Detroit this week, with Golladay and Amendola both slated to miss the game due to injury. TJ has been up and down with targets, but if we project on the high side, we should expect somewhere around the 12-15 DK points we're looking for, and a touchdown widely exceeds that value on top of it.
Austin Hooper, $3900, CLE (vs. PHI)
He didn't look great last week after returning from injury, but then again, the entire Cleveland offense looked bad. Philly isn't a great matchup overall, but they've been a bit of a funnel for tight ends this year. I suspect his snap count will increase this week at the expense of Harrison Bryant, so maybe this is worth a shot. Like I said, crapshoot.
Potential GPP pivots: Hayden Hurst ($4400, at NO), Eric Ebron ($4000, vs. JAX)
You know the deal by now. Play whoever you want, but make it the last spot you fill in on your roster.
Good luck, and may your screens be green!