Week 11 may be my favorite week of the season. There are exciting high-end options at every single position and enough of them that none should be prohibitively chalky. Most of the top options are priced relatively affordably too, so we do not have to take a starts and scrubs approach to get a handful of truly elite options onto our rosters.
We have a number of elite quarterback options this week. Patrick Mahomes II, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Dak Prescott each project very well. Given that FanDuel pricing has all of the quarterbacks bunched tightly together in pricing, there is very little disincentive to just roster an elite passer with some rushing upside.
Top QB Plays
Patrick Mahomes II ($8,300), Kansas City at Dallas
This feels like a spot to not overthink it. You could make the contrarian case for any number of cheaper quarterbacks but the cost savings is so minimal that eating the chalk on Mahomes looks like the best option. Maybe you go down to Joe Burrow or Kirk Cousins if it allows you major upgrades at other positions but the tight quarterback pricing range means you only save $900 downgrading from Mahomes to one of the mid-tier options. We know who Mahomes is and do not need to go in depth to extoll his virtues. The only question you should be asking yourself is whether last week’s monster game versus the Raiders was a temporary blip or if this Chiefs passing offense has finally regained its footing. The bet here is it is the latter and we start seeing Mahomes stack 300-yards, 3-plus touchdown games down the stretch. You can stack the Chiefs passing game in any number of ways. The narrow target tree makes Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce elite options. Also, do not forget that Darrel Williams had nine receptions last week.
No. 3: Patrick Mahomes II taps back into the 'backyard football' to go and win a tough game against the Green Bay Packers. In hindsight (through one game), this may have opened up the floodgates we saw vs. Raiders on Sunday Night Football. pic.twitter.com/7ACrsvMDid— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
Lamar Jackson ($8,400), Baltimore at Chicago
Jackson struggled mightily against the Dolphins blitz in primetime last week and the matchup against the Bears is not great on paper. That being said, Jackson is going to be a top option on FanDuel every single week if he is going to be priced right in the same range as all of the other quarterbacks. He has shown a very solid passing floor (235-plus yards in 8-of-9 games and at least one passing touchdown every week) in addition to what he is doing with his legs. Jackson is on pace for over 4,600 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, and more than 1,200 rushing yards.
Other QBs to consider:
Derek Carr ($7,200), Las Vegas vs. Cincinnati
The Bengals defense has been suspect in recent weeks and has been especially vulnerable against quarterbacks like Carr who are content to take the underneath stuff all day and methodically move the ball down the field. Mike White took this approach and carved up the Cincinnati defense for more than 400 passing yards.
Justin Fields ($6,800), Chicago vs. Baltimore
Are we finally starting to see Fields breakout as a top fantasy performer? He had his best day as a passer in his last outing (291 yards and a touchdown) against a strong Steelers defense. He has also finally been unleashed as a runner, averaging 8.0 rushes for 57.3 yards over his last four. If we can start penciling Fields in for six to eight points as a runner, his fantasy projections all of a sudden look pretty tasty. At a sub-$7K price tag, there is plenty of upside here.
We are inundated with strong plays in the higher price range. You can make strong cases for Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Joe Mixon, D'Andre Swift and others. The sheer number of quality high-end options should help to keep any from getting overly popular. There are fewer salary-saving options, which could lead to heavy ownership on Darrel Williams and AJ Dillon, who stand out amongst those priced at $7k-and-below.
Top RB Plays
AJ Dillon ($7,000), Green Bay at Minnesota
This is my favorite play of the week. I am going to lock Dillon in regardless of how popular he ends up being. You are basically guaranteed 20+ touches from him in what is projected to be one of the higher-scoring games on the slate. Dillon fits the typical profile that we have seen succeed in recent weeks… Backup with fresh legs steps into a lead role and hits value due to getting heavy volume. While that alone would be enough to put me onto Dillon in this favorable matchup, there is potentially even more to be excited about in this specific case. You hear the way teammates and coaches talk about Dillon and their excitement about what he could do for the team down the stretch is palpable.
Ben Sirmans on AJ Dillon's potential: "Hate to say sky's the limit and put that kind of pressure on the guy, but I definitely think he has the ability to be one of the better backs in this league. A guy that size making the cuts he can make, he's a lot faster than people think."— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) November 18, 2021
There is only one Derrick Henry but Dillon may be the next best thing in terms of a powerful, plus-sized back with breakaway speed. We have also seen some hints that the Packers might end up leaning on Dillon down the stretch in a similar way to what the Titans have done in recent years with Henry.
Michael Carter II ($6,600), NY Jets vs. Miami
Carter is the most intriguing somewhat under-the-radar play on this slate. Over the last four weeks, Carter has averaged 13.8 carries and 7.8 targets per game. That is Christian McCaffrey-level usage. This is a Jets team and franchise that is languishing and really needs to start building some momentum for the future. Zach Wilson is the key to instilling some hope for a brighter future. But getting the other two top rookies, Carter and Elijah Moore, rolling is the next-best option for the Jets. The Dolphins defense has been playing well of late but is still vulnerable against running backs both on the ground and on screens (due to their blitz-heavy style). We are even seeing Carter emerge as a young leader on this offense, which is greater incentive for the coaching staff to continue to call his number.
Joe Mixon ($7,600), Cincinnati at Las Vegas
The Raiders are giving up 23.5 FanDuel points to opposing backs, ninth-most in the NFL. Coming off of a bye, Mixon is as healthy as he has been since early in the year and should be expected to get the lion’s share of the touches in the Bengals backfield. Aside from the Week 7 game where he was limited with an injury, Mixon has seen five-plus targets in each of his last four games. We should expect that to continue because he has posted receiving lines of 5-59-1, 4-58-1, and 5-46-0 all in the last month and looked good doing it.
Mixon has one of the highest touchdowns expectations on the slate. He has scored multiple touchdowns in back-to-back games and has found the end zone at least once in six straight games. In a game with sneaky shootout potential, Mixon has the potential to have a monster fantasy day.
Other RBs to consider:
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500), Dallas at Kansas City
Elliott does not seem to be getting much early buzz and his ownership is projected to be in the single digits. If that ends up being the case, he is an elite play in what should be a high-scoring affair against the Chiefs. I am not sure I buy those projections, however. In recent weeks, we have seen the projected low-ownership contrarian plays end up turning into chalk by Sunday. Keep an ear to the ground to see how much contrarian love Elliott gets from top DFS touts and make your choice on whether or not to be overweight based upon your gut feel on how popular he will actually be.
Dalvin Cook ($8,400), Minnesota vs. Green Bay
This is a solid price for Cook given his expected volume. Minnesota is a team built to win now with a coaching staff that is on the ropes and a season hanging in the balance. Do not expect them to hold anything back. Cook should get all the touches he can handle. We saw him get 24 carries and 5 targets last week. He should see a similar workload again on Sunday against the Packers. In two games against Green Bay last season, Cook averaged 34.5 fantasy points per game.
Darrel Williams ($6,300), Kansas City vs. Dallas
Assuming Clyde Edwards-Helaire is officially ruled out sometime in the next few days, Williams should be one of the best and most popular plays on the slate. He has been in a workhorse role for a home favorite with a team total of over 29 points. At a bargain price tag, there is so much to like here. Williams has seen at least four targets in six straight games and just had a 9-101-1 receiving line against the Raiders. Stacking him with Mahomes is a way to lock up nearly all of the Chiefs touchdowns and, given what Williams has done as a pass catcher, also a sneaky upside play if he catches another touchdown pass.
We have yet another position chock-full of strong options both at the top in the $8K-plus range (Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs) and in the mid-to-high tier in the $7Ks with Deebo Samuel, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, A.J. Brown and others. If looking for value WR3s, our focus should primarily land on rookies and other young players who are working their ways into bigger roles like Elijah Moore, Rashod Bateman, and Bryan Edwards.
Top WR Options
Deebo Samuel ($7,600), San Francisco at Jacksonville
At this point in the season, we should be comfortable saying Samuel should be an elite option every week. He is averaging 18.7 FanDuel points per game and has four 20-plus FanDuel point games. Samuel is averaging 9.6 targets per game and Kyle Shanahan has even been experimenting with lining him up in the backfield to hand the ball off to him (5-36-1 as a runner last week). The Jaguars have been giving up 29.9 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers and Samuel has a huge market share in the 49ers passing game.
Davante Adams ($8,400), Green Bay at Minnesota
Adams is going to be the top projected total points wide receiver on just about every slate the rest of the season. He is too talented and seeing too much volume from Aaron Rodgers (10.9 targets per game) not to be. He is especially attractive in this key game against a division rival. Over his last three versus the Vikings, Adams has averaged 11.3 catches for 108 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game.
A.J. Brown ($7,200), Tennessee vs. Houston
Brown in an elite option this week with a mid-tier price tag. The Texans are giving up just under 30 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers. Brown is the last man standing amongst the Titans skill position players with Julio Jones and Derrick Henry out. He should be the go-to offensive weapon moving forward and the Texans have not been able to limit their opponents’ top weapons. In four career games against the Texans, Brown is averaging 6.8 receptions for 112 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. He has scored at least once in every game against Houston and racked up 110-plus yards in three-of-four.
Other WRs to Consider:
Bryan Edwards ($5,500), Las Vegas at Cincinnati
Lineup building is most comfortable if you can save some money at WR3. Edwards is a prime option on the lower-end of the salary scale. He has been on the field for just under 90% of the snaps over the last three weeks and is performing when given the opportunity. His 20.7 yards per catch leads the entire NFL and he has a ridiculous career average of 11.6 yards per target. The Raiders just need to make him a priority.
This could be the week they do so. Expect Cincinnati’s two best cornerbacks, Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie, to guard Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, respectively. That leaves Eli Apple on Bryan Edwards. Opponents have been merciless in picking on Apple over the last month to great success.
Rashod Bateman ($5,800), Baltimore at Chicago
Bateman is seeing strong usage since his mid-season debut. He saw six targets in each of his first two games and then eight targets in both his third and fourth games. After a long week to prepare, we could see Bateman’s role continue to grow even further. He is talented enough to do plenty of damage on 8-plus targets per game.
Per @RecepPerception— Corey Buschlen (@FootballStock) November 19, 2021
The only rookies that achieved a 75% success rate or better across all coverages
Man - 76.8%
Zone - 82.8%
Double - 100%
Press - 77.1%
Man - 77.9%
Zone - 85.5%
Double - 75%
Press - 76.9%
Buy high in dynasty
Elijah Moore ($5,900), NY Jets at Miami
When looking for value late in the season, our best bet is young players who are starting to emerge into bigger offensive roles. Moore fits that description. After a slow start, he has been coming on in recent weeks. He has four straight games with at least six targets and has scored four touchdowns over that stretch. Moore also seemed to have a nice connection with new starter Joe Flacco once he came on in relief last week. The Dolphins defense is most vulnerable against quick passes to the slot given how aggressively they have been blitzing and how good their outside cornerbacks are, putting Moore in prime position to see a bunch of targets this week.
This is the strongest slate of tight end options in over a month. We have basically all of the top guys healthy, in strong matchups, and reasonably priced. The options are so strong, it may even be worth considering one of these guys in your flex spot. Most of the ownership will understandably gravitate towards Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, and George Kittle. If your lineup build lets you get up to any of those guys, that is the optimal approach. For those looking to save money to squeeze in the extra elite running back or wide receiver, Dan Arnold and Cole Kmet stand out amongst the sub-$5,500 options.
Top TE Options
Dan Arnold ($5,400), Jacksonville vs. San Francisco
Over the last three weeks, Arnold has seen 25 targets and put together three straight 60-plus yard performances. In terms of floor, his looks to be one of the highest on the slate because he is one of the few tight ends in the NFL who is a true focal point of the passing offense. This is a safe option to save some cap space and know you probably are at least getting a decent number out of your tight end spot. The more difficult question is whether those savings are worth sacrificing the upside of Kelce, Waller, Kittle, and company. Of course, if touchdown variance breaks in Arnold's favor maybe that is a false choice.
The 8 tight ends ahead of Dan Arnold in receiving yards have 21 touchdowns on 518 targets, approximately 1 TD in every 25 targets.— Dave Kluge (@DaveKluge) November 16, 2021
Dan Arnold has 0 TD's on 37 targets since Week 6.
If you add a presumed 1.48 TD's to his 5-week sample, he'd be the TE6 since getting up to speed. pic.twitter.com/qKJ74Gm8Gh
Travis Kelce ($7,300), Kansas City vs. Dallas
Kelce has the highest floor of any tight end in football. He has had very few clunkers in recent years and has scored 10-plus points in 80% of the games this season. The more difficult question is whether, at age 32, he still has the ability to explode for monster fantasy games. After back-to-back 20-plus point performances to open the season, he has gone eight straight games with less than 16 fantasy points.
The matchup here looks great, with a potential shootout against Dallas on tap. The affordable price tag on Mahomes is going to push a lot of ownership this direction but the play still makes sense. For $15,600 (more than $2,000 less than this would have cost you a few weeks ago) you are rostering a strong floor and unmatched upside at the two positions.
George Kittle ($6,800), San Francisco at Jacksonville
Kittle is back and looks great, racking up 11-151-2 over his first two games. The Jaguars have given up a couple big tight end games this season. The positional numbers look better than the reality for the Jaguars defense. The top tight ends they have face this season are Mike Gesicki, C.J. Uzomah, and Noah Fant. Gesicki had 8-115-0. Uzomah had 5-95-2. Fant had 4-33-1. Kittle is a notch above anyone this defense has seen to date.
Other TEs to consider:
Darren Waller ($6,700), Las Vegas vs. Cincinnati
The Bengals defense is reeling after getting carved up by Mike White and Baker Mayfield in back-to-back weeks. The season-ending injury to top coverage linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, who would have drawn this assignment, only complicates matters for the Cincinnati pass defense. Waller has been a thoroughly mediocre fantasy performer for the better part of two months but at some point he is going to break through with one of those huge games we have seen so many times over the last few years.
T.J. Hockenson ($5,900), Detroit at Cleveland
The goose egg in Week 10 will scare people away despite a tempting price tag. Even with the disastrous Week 10 against the Steelers (one target), Hockenson is still right near the top of the list in terms of targets over the last four weeks (32 total).
Miami ($4,600) at NY Jets
The Dolphins have put together back-to-back stellar defensive performances by taking an extremely blitz-heavy approach. Over the last two weeks, they notched nice sacks, caused six turnovers, scored a defensive touchdown, and gave up an average of 9.5 points to the Ravens and Texans. The Jets are beat up along the offensive line and starting Joe Flacco.
Carolina ($4,100) vs. Washington
The Panthers defense has also been extremely hot of late. They have held three straight opponents to 18-or-fewer points and averaged 3.0 sacks and 2.0 turnovers per game over that stretch. As a home favorite against a mediocre Washington offense, the spot is nice and the price is good.
Seattle ($3,700) at Arizona
This is a play with an asterisk next to it. If we get news that Kyler Murray is playing and expected to be relatively healthy, this is probably a stay away. If Murray is out or limited, then this is a game where the Seattle defense could dominate. The Seahawks have given up just 12.3 points per game over their last three.