DraftKings Week 11 Cash Game Plays
Pat James highlights the best bang for your buck in cash game plays for the DraftKings Week 11 main slate.
Week 10 Review
Chalk bombs littered the field in Week 10 as highly owned plays such as Bilal Powell, Jordan Howard, Adam Humphries, and Cameron Brate did not meet expectations. Matt Stafford, Golden Tate, and Garrett Celek salvaged an otherwise poor week. In the honorable mention section I highlighted Sterling Shepard and Robert Woods, so hopefully they made it into your lineup. Overall my record on the year sits at 45-38.
DraftKings Week 11 Cash Game Plays
Weekend Update: MetLife Stadium looks like it will have some nasty weather, so track the Chiefs’ and Giants’ players in your lineups. If weather is going to play a substantial role, I’d move from Alex Smith to Tom Brady and upgrade Kareem Hunt. I won’t change my Travis Kelce exposure as he is a low aDot player. I have also since moved off DeAndre Hopkins. If you need a second high priced player, Mike Evans or Mark Ingram fit the bill. And now Sterling Shepard is out, so he’s a scratch. Jarvis Landry would be my next pic in the range, but I’d reconstruct my lineup to use the cheaper wide receivers and pay up at running back.
Alex Smith ($6,700)
Boxes Checked: team implied total, matchup, pace bump, turnover rate, red zone play calling
I’d rather roster the safety of Alex Smith this week than the volatility of Kareem Hunt. I have a feeling people will be on Hunt in cash games, but here’s why I’ll be leaning Smith instead. He finds himself in a good spot with a 27-point total as a 10-point favorite. The Chiefs also get a pace bump, playing a top-five team in terms of tempo.
Those stats are positive for both Hunt and Smith, though. Here is where Smith separates. Hunt has been ceding carries to Charcandrick West, only playing on 55 percent of snaps in Week 9. In the red zone, Hunt has 19 carries versus Smith’s 40 pass attempts and two carries. When it comes down to it, the Chiefs are going to put points on the board. I’m more confident in Smith getting it done against a Giants’ secondary that has struggled outside of Janoris Jenkins. Smith spreads the ball around enough that he should have open targets all game long. The Giants’ rank 29th in pass DVOA and Smith has the lowest turnover rate aside from Tom Brady. When an offense moves the chains and stays on the field, fantasy points pile up.
Rex Burkhead ($3,600)
Boxes Checked: team implied total, pass catching back, increased target market share of carries and targets, mispriced, matchup
Rex Burkhead’s snap count has been rising each of the last three games, going from 17 all the way up to playing more than half the snaps last week against the Broncos. The Patriots are touchdown favorites on the road with a 29-point implied team total.
It’s become very clear that Tom Brady trusts Burkhead, evidenced by the increased target and carry market share over the past three games. The Patriots are using Burkhead in the slot where he scored from in Week 10 against the Broncos. Despite sharing the load with White and Lewis, Burkhead is firmly in the mix against a Raiders’ defense that ranks 29th against running backs in terms of receiving yards allowed. Burkhead has been mispriced as he was part of the Sunday prime time game that didn’t factor into Week 11 pricing. It’s always tough to trust a Patriots’ RB, but at his price and current snap/touch share, he should be able to pay off value rather easily.
Chris Thompson ($5,400)
Boxes Checked: team implied total, increased market share of carries and targets, matchup, projected game script, funnel defense.
Chris Thompson, for the first time in a long time, is underpriced on DraftKings. After a few blow up games early in the season, his price skyrocketed to a point where he really wasn’t rosterable at his given workload. A perfect storm in Week 11 has Thompson’s price coming back down to earth, and his workload rising with the absence of Rob Kelley. Thompson has averaged 13 touches over the past three weeks. That number is sure to increase this week with all of Rob Kelley’s snaps, carries, and targets up for grab.
With Washington as touchdown underdogs, we can project a game script in which Thompson should see his ceiling of targets (7 to 10). While the Saints defense has been very good this season, they are vulnerable to the middle of the field. Teams have shifted their attack to slot receivers, tight ends, and pass catching backs while avoiding the outside of the formation. Perfect setup for Thompson and teammate Jamison Crowder.
Sterling Shepard ($6,300)
Boxes Checked: projected game script, market share of targets, matchup, pace of play
The Giants are 11-point underdogs to the Chiefs which sets up well for Sterling Shepard. New York will need to throw for the entirety of the football game. Shepard averaged 11 targets in his last two games since the bye week. With the injuries to Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, Shepard’s only competition for carries is Evan Engram. In a game with a script that should have more throwing than normal, Shepard will notch at least double digit targets. The Chiefs rank 31st in fantasy points allowed to WRs. The Giants run a top five up tempo offense. The stars have aligned once again for Shepard to have a big fantasy day.
Jamison Crowder ($4,300)
Boxes Checked: implied team total, projected game script, individual matchup, market share of targets
Normally, a pass catcher with Jamison Crowder’s recent statistics would get a significant price bump, but he has not. Crowder remains in the low four thousands despite seeing 24 targets over the last two weeks. The matchup against the Saints should be a high-scoring affair with Washington trailing throughout. Crowder could even be in for an uptick in targets with his individual matchup against slot corner PJ Williams. The Saints are a good pass defense, ranked sixth in fantasy points allowed to the position, but Williams is their weakest link. Washington should look to exploit the middle of the field and target Crowder instead of attacking the Saints’ outside corners. Even though a big fantasy day is certainly within his range of outcomes, Crowder only needs a decent day to meet cash game value at his salary.
Jeremy Maclin ($4,500)
Boxes Checked: market share of targets, increased snap rate, matchup, favorite,
Maclin played the largest percentage of snaps (82) last week that he has all year. He also received the most targets (9). Maclin seems finally healthy enough to be the top dog in the Ravens passing offense. The Ravens are on the road and favored, with a team implied total of 20 points. While those aren’t the best circumstances, his price just can’t be beat for the matchup and projected targets. Maclin should see upwards of eight targets and doesn’t need much to meet value. He has crushed value the last two weeks and should be able to do it again in this spot.
DeAndre Hopkins ($6,100) or Bruce Ellington ($3,000)
Boxes Checked: increased target market share, increased red zone target market share, matchup, pace.
Often I’ll list two WRs from the same team and recommend you play whichever fits your salary need. With Will Fuller on the shelf, DeAndre Hopkins and Bruce Ellington should see a bump in targets. Hopkins is already being peppered heavily with a 37 percent share of the total targets and a 34 percent share of the red zone targets. Ellington is minimum price and opens up a ton of cap space if you believe he will soak up most of those targets.
There are two ideas in play here, and you’ll need to go with the narrative that you feel will play out. Will Hopkins continued to be targeted heavily, especially now that Fuller is out, despite being shadowed by Patrick Peterson? Will Ellington assume all those extra targets because the Texans plan to avoid Peterson at all costs? If Hopkins was still in the $9,000 price range as he was a few weeks ago, I’d absolutely be off of him, but only needing to meet value of a $6,000 WR won’t be very difficult. If you need the savings, Ellington should be able to provide similar value. Overall, both teams are top 10 in pace, and the Cardinals are ranked 23rd against fantasy WRs, so I like the spot for either player.
Travis Kelce ($7,200)
Boxes Checked: team implied total, market share of targets, market share of red zone targets, matchup, pace bump, red zone play calling.
No one in the NFL targets the tight end position more than Alex Smith. No one in the NFL covers the TE worse than the Giants (32nd in fantasy points allowed). That’s a combination I can get behind in cash games. The way salary is structured this week, there aren’t a ton of studs to pay up for, so we can get a higher-priced TE in our lineup.
With Janoris Jenkins as the only viable threat in the Giants secondary, passes tend to get funneled to the middle of the field. Kelce receives 27 percent of the red zone targets from Smith, and there will definitely be opportunities for him to score against New York. The Chiefs get a bump in pace, playing a top-five tempo team. Andy Reid also utilizes the passing game at a 2 to 1 ratio in the red zone. All these circumstances, plus a 27-point implied team total, set Kelce up for a big fantasy day.
I don’t think there is a need to pay down at QB, but Blake Bortles is on a value-hitting hot streak if you need him. If you do get off Alex Smith in cash, you’re probably going to need to be on Kareem Hunt, as that game is going to have points scored. Mark Ingram is probably my favorite RB to pay up for, though. A bonus for this week is the Chargers DST. They have one of the highest sack rates in the league, and they are facing a Bills team that sports one of the highest sacks allowed rate.