If spending for a stud wide receiver or tight end in Week 11, who is your must-start? Does it vary in cash vs. tournament contests?
- Michael Thomas (vs. Philadelphia)
- Julio Jones (vs. Dallas)
- DeAndre Hopkins (at Washington)
- Antonio Brown (at Jacksonville)
- Odell Beckham Jr (vs. Tampa Bay)
- Zach Ertz (at New Orleans)
James Brimacombe: I am all about the Michael Thomas and Zach Ertz stack this week. They are both expensive but the volume that comes with them makes it worth the spend up. Thomas has 20 receptions for 281 and three touchdowns over the last two games while Ertz has 18 catches, 171 yards, and three touchdowns as well over his last two games. This game is the highest total on the Main Slate and although it will be popular it is hard to not do some box score chasing here with the top receivers on each of these teams. It doesn’t hurt that Drew Brees and Carson Wentz are the two quarterbacks that will be throwing them the ball.
Although the Saints have been one of the better teams at defending the tight end position, it is hard to see Zach Ertz as your typical player at the position as he has emerged as one of the best pass catchers in the league regardless of position. For DFS purposes you also get to lock up the position and not worry about trying to fit in a cheap guy that will have very little of a ceiling.
Justin Howe: Beckham, of course, boasts the tastiest matchup of the bunch. The Buccaneers have already allowed 16(!!) different players to top 68 receiving yards, and 9 of them have been wideouts. Even Josh Doctson looked alive against them last week. There are worries over Eli Manning’s arm and ability to get the ball downfield to Beckham, but he seems to be the only receiver immune to Manning’s plummet. He’s pricey and chalky but looks like a great cash piece with Todd Gurley off the main DFS slate.
Thomas will also be chalky, so I’m looking toward Brown as a GPP pivot. The matchup will scare off enough players to qualify as contrarian, but it’s softened noticeably without top cornerback A.J. Bouye. If he can’t suit up, things get much easier for Brown, who racked up 10-157 and 7-132-2 in this matchup last season.
Jones’ last 4 games: 14 targets and 143 yards, 12 and 104, 10 and 121, 11 and 107. Touchdown regression has started to kick in – he’s still only found the end zone on 3% of his catches thus far.
Phil Alexander: Michael Thomas is the easy answer for cash games. The Saints offense is on a tear, while Philadelphia is struggling to field healthy cornerbacks. Don't overthink it, just click his name and figure out the rest.
For GPPs, give me Julio Jones in the dome against the Cowboys, who are in a letdown spot, on short rest, following a big division win on Monday night. As Justin alluded to, the only thing missing from Jones' box scores were touchdowns and they have finally begun to arrive.
Dan Hindery: It’s Michael Thomas for me. New Orleans is a big home favorite in an expected shootout and the Saints don’t really have anyone else to throw to at wide receiver. Tre’Quan Smith hasn’t been involved in the last few weeks, Brandon Marshall was just signed off the street, and Austin Carr was actually second amongst receivers in targets last week. New Orleans is going to have to pepper Thomas with targets and he has been catching everything.
BJ VanderWoude: It is really hard to bet against Michael Thomas at this point in the season, and for me, he provides the best reception/yards/touchdown upside from week to week. It also doesn't hurt that he has one of the best quarterbacks of all time throwing him the ball, and a running game that even the best secondaries in the league have to respect at a high level.
Julio Jones has had four straight 100+ yard games, and the Falcons are hitting their stride on offense. He's now scored touchdowns in back to back weeks after not hitting paydirt since the playoffs of last season. Given his standing in the Falcons high flying offense, I see Julio as a must-start in both cash games and tournaments. He is not dependent on touchdowns, which is a big part of how I choose the receivers I want to spend up on. He's had three 25+ point games without scoring a touchdown, a clear sign of his consistency while also giving you a hint of his upside once he does have a two-touchdown game.
In the last spot, I prefer Odell Beckham Jr Jr over DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown. The Giants are at home against Tampa Bay, facing a defense that has given up the third most points to opposing wide receivers. The choice over Hopkins and Brown is a preference more than anything, but he is the only one of the three to see double-digit targets in his last seven games. Both Brown and Hopkins offer top-tier production with an elite ceiling, but when it comes down to it, I have to go with the matchup. The Giants should have a field day against a Tampa Bay secondary that has not been able to stop anyone this season. I don't think Beckham would be a preferred option over the other two most weeks, but in a perfect matchup, he is my choice this week.