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There is a saying I like that comes from a poem by the Scottish writer named Robert Burns. The poem is called “To a Mouse” and the line that strikes a particular cord when looking back at last week is, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.” That certainly was the case last week where our duo of top notch wide receivers simply did not live up to their price tags. Luckily other players on our squad stepped up in big ways to help rescue the day. This week we finally come out of the “Byepocalypse” and only have four teams on bye this week as opposed to the six teams on bye each of the past two weeks which made building lineups fairly difficult. This week, however, the price on many players appear to have risen so it’s still going to be difficult to build a dream lineup, it will just be a different kind of difficult though, let’s give it a shot though and jump right in:
Quarterback – Jay Cutler – $8,800
Lots of scorn has been hurled at Jay Cutler in the past, some parts deserved, others not. He’s been accused of being a turnover machine at times, other times label him as a choker who collapses under pressure. Now Culter has been guilty of both at times but he’s also quite a good quarterback when he’s on his game. This week Culter gets a nice matchup against one of the league’s worst defense, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is giving up the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and much of that is due to the fact that they are giving up 266 passing yards on average per game as well as an average of two passing touchdowns per game. Meanwhile Chicago is one of the most dangerous teams through the air with an average of 260 passing yards thrown per game and and average of two touchdowns coming through the air per game. Look for Cutler to have a nice day and to outperform his price easily.
Projected Stat Line – 24 completions for 325 yards and three touchdowns
Follow-Up – Ben Roethlisberger – ($8300) – Ben Roethlisberger didn’t exactly perform as we expected last week throwing for only 207 yards, one touchdown and throwing one interception. That performance was stunted due mainly the Steeler leaning so heavily on Le’Veon Bell. Roethlisberger’s FanDuel points came out to 11.48 which was a $723 dollars per point price tag. Clearly this pick didn’t kick off our Week 11 play very well.
Running Back – LeSean McCoy – $7,700
Thee logic with this pick is that LeSean McCoy and his opponent, the Tennessee Titans appear to be headed in different directions. McCoy has flipped the switch on his production as of late with five of his last six games yielding rushing performance of 80 or more yards. Meanwhile the Titans just gave up one of the biggest rushing games of the year against Le’Veon Bell who rumbled for 204 yards. Clearly, this is a matchup to keep an eye on. Additionally, Tennessee is giving up the second most rushing yards per game on average with a typical outing yielding 144 rushing yards for their opponents. They are also giving up the third most rushing touchdowns per game and the most rushing touchdowns in the league over the last three games. Taken all together the Titans are giving up the most fantasy points to running backs in the league. I don’t expect another Bell type performance out of McCoy but I do think that given his depressed price, he should be an excellent candidate to be near the top of the value metrics when it’s all said and done.
Projected Stat Line – 24 rushes for 100 yards and one touchdown, two receptions for 15 receiving yards.
Follow-Up – Matt Forte – ($9300) – For as unfortunate as the Roethlisberger pick was this pick was dead on. Matt Forte looked great and scored 20.5 fantasy points despite not even scoring a touchdown. His performance gave him a price per point total of $454 dollars which doesn’t seem great when taken individually but the running back position was littered with bad match-ups and even worse performances last week with Forte being one of the very few standouts.
[inlinead]?Running Back – Isaiah Crowell – $5,500
Isaiah Crowell is such an amazing running back and I was banging his drum for a long time before he even came to the NFL. Now, finally, he looks to be in a great position to firmly establish himself as a major threat in the NFL. The reason for this is mainly due to Ben Tate being given his walking papers this week and because Crowell has appeared to have beat out Terrance West for the lion’s share of the rushing duties. This week the Browns face off against the Atlanta Falcons who have given up the second most fantasy points to running backs this season. The Falcons are having a hard time keeping opposing running backs out of the end zone, giving up a league worst 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game. Cleveland meanwhile is scoring the third most rushing touchdowns per game in the league with an average of 1.2 rushing touchdowns being scored per game. Crowell’s price makes him a very attractive option and allows us add some heft to our other positions.
Projected Stat Line – 16 rushes for 105 yards and one touchdown, three receptions for 25 yards
Follow-Up – Ryan Mathews – ($6200) – Ryan Mathews had a productive day back from his extended injury absence putting up 16 rushes for 70 yards. This netted him eight fantasy points and made his dollars per point $775. That isn’t exactly an amazing total but as our second running back you expect a bit of decline versus your premier running back, especially when they’ve just returned from an injury.
Wide Receiver – Alshon Jeffery – $8,200
If we are going to go with Jay Cutler this week then it makes a lot of sense to also roster one of his favorite targets, Alshon Jeffery. For almost exactly the same reasons outlined when we examined Culter earlier, Jeffery makes for a great high floor, high ceiling play with a very affordable price tag. Look for Jeffery to benefit from a few extra opportunity provided by the Buccaneers as he goes over 100 receiving yards on the day.
Projected Stat Line – Seven receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown
Follow-Up – Antonio Brown – ($9000) – Just as with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown was less the victim of the Titans defense and more a victim of his own team’s success in the running game. Despite a heavy focus on getting Le’Veon Bell the ball Brown was still able to cobble together a nine reception, 91 receiving yards and one touchdown performance which was good for 19.6 fantasy points. This brought his dollars per point value to $459 dollars, much better than his quarterback unfortunately.
Wide Receiver – Mike Evans – $8,400
Given how Mike Evans has performance lately I expect him to be widely owned which provides us a bit of insurance in 50/50 games. If he’s widely owned we will be running with the pack and can separate elsewhere without exposing ourselves to a significant amount of risk. The Evans play here is the flips side of the Bears stack that was outlined thus far. Basically, if Tampa Bay falls behind as we are expecting then they will need to pass a lot in order to catch up meaning Evans should see a lot of targets. This is made all the more likely given the fact that the Bears aren’t really all that great against the pass themselves, giving up the eighth most passing yards in the NFL thus far this season. Chicago is also giving up the second most passing touchdowns in the leagues this season and the most passing touchdowns per game over the last three games. Evans’ price may have exploded but he makes for a must play this week.
Projected Stat Line – Four receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown
Follow-Up – Kelvin Benjamin – ($6600) – Kelvin Benjamin had another huge game against a fairly pathetic Falcons secondary to the tune of nine receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown. This performance gave him a fantasy point total of 21.4 points, good for $308 dollars per point making him one of the best possible choices for the week. We hit this one dead on!
Wide Receiver – Davante Adams – $5,300
Devante Adams has stepped up recently in a big way and has firmly secured his hold on the Packers number three wide receiver spot, one that has traditionally made for some excellent value selections through the years. This week is no different as Adams faces off against the Minnesota Vikings that could be the latest victim of Green Bay’s passing assault. Over the past three games only Denver has passed for more yards than Green Bay and Adams has come on nicely over that period with a touchdown and just under 100 receiving yards. Now, that’s not exactly going to win it all for you but Adams’ role has clearly increased and appears to be gaining the trust of Rodgers. Look for his targets and fantasy points to continue to grow as the season wraps up.
Projected Stat Line – Four receptions for 55 yards
Follow-Up – Jordan Matthews – ($5500) – Jordan Matthews has clearly taken over as the Eagles primary receiver and that transition has come due to Mark Sanchez taking over as the starting quarterback. Matthews again put up a 100+ yard receiving game and found the end zone, posting 19.2 fantasy points on the day. With a nice low price of $5500, his dollars per point came out to a very tasty $286 dollars, even better than the aforementioned Kelvin Benjamin and making our wide receiver corps very deadly for our competition last week.
Tight End – Antonio Gates – $6,300
Antonio Gates just seems to find ways to remain fantasy relevant, it’s fairly inspiring for a player many declared would be phased out this season. The nay-sayers however have been silenced as Gates has quietly scored an average of 12 fantasy points per game this season. This week, against a Rams defense that is suddenly coming on very strong, I expect Gates to get a lot of looks under pressure from Phillip Rivers. This is due largely to the fact that St. Louis is giving up the sixth most passing yards in the NFL over the last three games. San Diego meanwhile are throwing the fifth most passing touchdowns in the NFL per game with a little over two scores coming through the air per game. Look for Gates to get out of his recent funk and to post his first double digit fantasy score in the month of November with a trip to the end zone.
Projected Stat Line – Four receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown
Follow-Up – Travis Kelce – ($5900) –We really needed Travis Kelce to find his way into the end zone to knock it out of the park last weekend. Unfortunately, Kansas City went a different route and run the heck out of the ball against a normally stout Seattle rush defense. The contrarian approach worked well for them with three rushing touchdowns but hurt our lineup as Kelce only accounted for three receptions for 37 yards. Despite being the Chiefs’ leading receiver in the game his statistics just didn’t contribute much to our lineup.
Kicker – Mason Crosby – $4,900
I’m going to go against my normal approach this week and have decided to pay a bit more for a kicker that could see a significant amount of scoring opportunities this week. If Green Bay can keep their scoring torrent moving then Crosby will benefit from several extra-point kicks. If the Packers even cool down a little bit then Crosby will also benefit from a couple of field goals from decent distances. Either way Crosby should have a nice game and is competitively priced so this doesn’t really feel like much of an over pay.
Projected Stat Line – Three field goals, three extra points
Follow-Up – Blair Walsh – ($4500) – Blair Walsh was a nice choice for kicker last week as he was priced very low and actually came out of his game with nine points! As a low priced option he actually performed better than expected and was one of the better selections to be made at kicker last week. Finally, a kicker that showed up for us!
Defense – Denver Broncos – $4,900
The Broncos defense doesn’t have the best match up of the week but it doesn’t have the worst either. For the most part this is a very safe and middle level play against a Miami team that won’t blow up the score scoreboard and doesn’t do any one thing particularly well. Much like in weeks past when we’ve gone with Denver look for Miami to fall behind early at which point their offense will become increasingly one-dimensional in an effort to try to catch up. Once this occurs Denver can play the pass almost exclusively and wait for the turnovers and sacks to start pile up.
Projected Stat Line – 16 points against, four sacks and one interception
Follow-Up – New York Giants – ($4600) – Man, the Giants defense is just so tough to predict. They’ll go on both cold and hot streaks while trending towards mediocrity most of the time. This week unfortunately was no different as New York scored only four fantasy points against San Francisco last week. To be fair the Giants’ offense didn’t help them much with Eli Manning throwing a head-shaking five interceptions. This, of course, kept the defense on the field way more than they would have been normally and made any kind of reasonable return on investment on this defensive selection highly unlikely.
George Kritikos is back from vacation and ready to rock. Check out his picks for this week below:
Since I was on my honeymoon last week, I will not be reviewing a previous lineup but instead, will focus on this week’s choices.
Quarterback – Andrew Luck – $10,300
Typically, I try to find a quarterback with a good matchup at a modest price but Luck’s matchup is too good to pass on (pun intended), even at this price. He absolutely torched the Jaguars earlier this year to the tune of 370 passing yards and four touchdowns. This is a bottom five pass defense in yardage allowed going up against a top passing offense. Not much to think about here but plenty to see come Sunday.
Projected Stat Line – 29 completions, 360 yards, three touchdowns, 20 rushing yards
Running Back – DeMarco Murray – $9,000
Another elite price for an elite player. Murray is going up against a Giants defense that is bottom five in rushing yards, receiving yards, and touchdowns allowed to running backs. And don’t think because it is a divisional game that the Giants will play them tougher because Murray had 128 yards with a touchdown in their meeting earlier this year. Coming off the bye, Murray may have a little extra juice in his legs to score for the first time in four games.
Projected Stat Line – 24 rushes, 150 yards, four catches, 35 yards, one touchdown
Running Back – Isaiah Crowell – $5,500
This is how you afford Luck and Murray. Crowell may benefit more than anyone with the departure of Ben Tate to the Vikings and this may be the best week he could have been waived. Josh Gordon is back to keep defenses honest and he is facing an Atlanta defense that has allowed over 150 yards per game to running backs with 1.3 touchdowns. With double digit carries in each of the last two weeks, Crowell is in line to see an uptick in usage with the potential of at least one score.
Projected Stat Line – 16 rushes, 80 yards, two catches, 20 yards, one touchdown
Wide Receiver – T.Y. Hilton – $8,500
Why not partner Hilton with Luck in this great matchup? Hilton managed 80 yards on five catches in an earlier meeting but I expect more this time. Hilton has scored three times in the last five weeks while catching at least three passes in every game this season. He should be a frequent target of Luck with Dwayne Allen out, especially in the end zone.
Projected Stat Line – seven catches, 110 yards, one touchdown
Wide Receiver – Andre Caldwell – $5,600
With both Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas ailing, Caldwell is a sneaky buy to do some damage. Miami is not an ideal matchup but someone needs to catch the ball in this game. Caldwell managed three catches in a little over a quarter’s worth of work so Peyton Manning trusts him as a part of the offense when needed. Well, Caldwell is needed in this game and with the way Miami’s offense has been playing recently; Denver will need to score plenty in this one.
Projected Stat Line – six catches, 70 yards, one touchdown
Wide Receiver – Kenny Stills – $5,900
Another wide receiver that could benefit from injury, Stills has a chance to take over a lot of the targets that were directed at Brandin Cooks. With at least three catches in each of the last five weeks, Stills has developed a safe floor at this price with a lot of upside for more. Going against Baltimore, the second worst team in allowing yards to wide receivers, at home with more opportunity, this is a pretty solid gamble.
Projected Stat Line – five catches, 85 yards, one touchdown
Tight End – Larry Donnell – $5,500
After a two game stretch where he had a total of one catch, Donnell has since rebounded with two double digit scoring games in his last four. The team has had to go back to him since Victor Cruz was lost for the season and Donnell has responded well. Against Dallas, who has allowed the most receptions to tight ends, Donnell should see plenty of targets and a similar line to their first meeting (seven catches, 90 yards).
Projected Stat Line – seven catches, 80 yards, one touchdown
Kicker – Billy Cundiff – $4,500
The most consistent of the lower priced kickers, Cundiff has had at least one field goal attempt in every game this season. Atlanta is an average defense against kickers but with Gordon coming back, this offense should move the ball better.
Projected Stat Line – two field goals, two extra points
Defense – Buffalo – $5,200
I’m paying up a little more for defense this week as I was not a fan of the lower priced options. Buffalo is a risky defense given the circumstances around the game but they have been consistent, scoring at least nine points in all but two games this season. Add in a Jets offense that has looked mediocre (to say the last) and the aforementioned craziness with the venue and this could turn into a defensive struggle.
Projected Stat Line – 14 points allowed, four sacks, one fumble recovery, two interceptions
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