The Hail Mary (NFL HuLo GPP Plays): Week 11 FIRST LOOK
November 13, 2017 | Doug Shain
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The Huddle – Opening Statement
Welcome to the Hail Mary for Week 11. For those of you who read this article last year or any of my stuff on The Fake Hockey and The Fake Baseball you’re going to find this article very familiar. For those of you who are new please allow me to take a moment to explain where I’m coming from and what you’re going to see in this article.
First and foremost I’m mostly a GPP player and that’s who this article is mostly designed to help. I write for players like me – the guy or gal who enters a single bullet in a couple of low limit GPP’s each week; the casual DFS player. This group of players probably makes up a much larger percentage of the DFS community than you think. If you are a cash game player or a high buy-in/high volume/multi-entry GPP player you should still read this because it’ll give you an everyman perspective that you might not get in other articles (there are plenty of those on this site and I urge you to read them as well because they are fantastic).
Be advised that playing a single bullet in a large field GPP is a very volatile game and you’re going to lose more often than you win. That’s a fact and it’s something you have to know before you start playing. Due to the volatility of this game I’m going to try to give you plays that can help you zoom to the top of your GPP leaderboard. These plays are very boom or bust, so please know that going in.
One way that I like to separate from the field is by trying to anticipate ownership rates of certain players. Over the course of the year I’ll get into this more deeply, but just know for now that all things being equal (and even in some cases when it’s not), I’m going to recommend the player that’s going to have a lower ownership rate.
I have some musts when building a GPP lineup. They include:
– It is a must that I get a QB that is going to throw a lot when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I get RB that are guaranteed touches when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that my WR have upside when building my GPP teams.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my TE is elite or is a punt. There is no in between for me with TE.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my defense gets to the quarterback.
– It is a must that I take a min-priced kicker when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I include at least some HuLo plays when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I remember that chalk is chalk for a reason, and that using chalk isn’t a bad thing.
– It is a must that I remember that bad players and bad players even in good matchups.
The Depth Chart
|Tom Brady (NE) vs OAK||Jay Cutler (MIA) vs TB||Drew Brees (NO) vs WSH|
|Carson Wentz (PHI) @ DAL||Matthew Stafford (DET) @ CHI||Eli Manning (NYG) vs KC|
|Alex Smith (KC) @ NYG||Teddy Bridgewater (MIN) vs LAR|
|Jared Goff (LAR) @ MIN||Blaine Gabbert (ARI) @ HOU|
|Derek Carr (OAK) vs NE|
|Kirk Cousins (WSH) @ NO|
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Todd Gurley (LAR) @ MIN||Melvin Gordon (LAC) vs BUF||LeSean McCoy (BUF) @ LAC|
|Leonard Fournette (JAX) @ CLE||Adrian Peterson (ARI) @ HOU||Jordan Howard (CHI) vs DET|
|Mark Ingram (NO) vs WSH||Jerick McKinnon (MIN) vs LAR||Latavius Murray (MIN) vs LAR|
|Kareem Hunt (KC) @ NYG||Lamar Miller (HOU) vs ARI||Rex Burkhead (NE) vs OAK|
|Alvin Kamara (NO) vs WSH||Marshawn Lynch (OAK) vs NE||Doug Martin (TB) @ MIA|
|Jay Ajayi (PHI) @ DAL||Dion Lewis (NE) vs OAK||Duke Johnson (CLE) vs JAX|
|Jamaal Williams (GB) vs BAL||Isaiah Crowell (CLE) vs JAX||Danny Woodhead (BAL) @ GB|
|Austin Ekeler (LAC) vs BUF||Chris Thompson (WSH) @ NO||Semaje Perine (WSH) @ NO|
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Michael Thomas (NO)vs WS||AJ Green (CIN) @ DEN||Mike Evans (TB) @ MIA|
|Adam Thielen (MIN) vs LAR||Golden Tate (DET) @ CHI||Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) vs CIN|
|Tyreek Hill (KC) @ NYG||Stefon Diggs (MIN) vs LAR||DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs ARI|
|Sterling Shepard (NYG) vs KC||Michael Crabtree (OAK) vs NE||JJ Nelson (ARI) @ HOU|
|Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ HOU||DeVante Parker (MIA) vs TB||Sammy Watkins (LAR) @ MIN|
|Robert Woods (LAR) @ MIN||Dez Bryant (DAL) vs PHI||Kenny Golladay (DET) @ CHI|
|Brandin Cooks (NE) vs OAK||Davante Adams (GB) vs BAL||Keenan Allen (LAC) vs BUF|
|Amari Cooper (OAK) vs NE||Jeremy Maclin (BAL) @ GB||Marqise Lee (JAX) @ CLE|
|Alshon Jeffery (PHI) @ DAL||Dontrelle Inman (CHI) vs DET||Dede Westbrook (JAX) @ CLE|
|Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs TB||Ted Ginn (NO) vs WSH|
|Jamison Crowder (WSH) @ NO|
|Chris Goodwin (TB) @ MIA|
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Travis Kelce (KC) @ NYG||Vernon Davis (WSH) @ NO||Jared Cook (OAK) vs NE|
|Rob Gronkowski (NE) vs OAK||Charles Clay (BUF) @ LAC||OJ Howard (TB) @ MIA|
|Zach Ertz (PHI) @ DAL||Marcedes Lewis (JAX) @ CLE||Tyler Kroft (CIN) @ DEN|
|Evan Engram (NYG) vs KC|
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Jacksonville Jaguars @ CLE||Baltimore Ravens @ GB||Chicago Bears vs DET|
|Denver Broncos vs CIN||Arizona Cardinals @ HOU||Cleveland Browns vs JAX|
|Detroit Lions @ CHI||Philadelphia Eagles @ DAL||Los Angeles Chargers vs BUF|
|Kansas City Chiefs @ NYG||Minnesota Vikings vs LAR|
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears
Back to the drawing board with the Bears defense. I really thought they’d come through in Week 10 against Brett Hundley but he ended up having little issue with Chicago. I think I’m going back to the well one more time with this defense against a Lions team that just struggled with a similar Browns defense. Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate have been outstanding but the few good runs per game that they get from Ameer Abduallah isn’t going to be enough to pull eight men into the box. If the Bears are able to sit back and try to get some pressure on Stafford he is prone to making mental errors. I always like targeting defenses against dome teams who have to go on the road and play outside. While Stafford isn’t drastically worse outside than he is at home, the numbers are just skewed enough that I’m willing to try again with this Bears unit. At the very least I’m almost assuredly fading the Lions offense, even if I don’t end up using the Bears defense. I’m going to go back to the well with Jordan Howard this week, too, as the duo of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson looked very good against Detroit in Week 10 and the Lions have given up over 100 yards per game on the ground on the road this year. Howard is a better player than either The Crow or Duuuuuke. Finally, Dontrelle Inman intrigues me as he’s been a guy that’s excelled when given a chance in the past and if he and Mitchell Trubisky are truly on the same page we can see another decent game out of him for a very low price.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns
Full disclosure, I’m writing the majority of these game previews on Sunday night while Week 10 is fresh in my mind. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s my wife’s birthday on Wednesday and with four articles to write this week, I’d like to get a jump start on things. The second reason I’m doing this is because Week 10 was so bad (for everyone) that I wanted to use this as therapy to help me work out some of my issues with the stupidity of NFL coaching. Much of that stems from the amateur hour that was the Chargers/Jaguars game. The first offender is Doug Moron, um, Marrone. I can’t really justify his decision to pretty much throw exclusively in the second half but at least I get that he was trying to avoid a decent Chargers run defense. Fine, I’m good with that. But o put the ball in Blake Bortles’s hands when all he needed was a FG instead of giving the ball to Leonard Fournette is inexcusable. Needless to say, Bortles got picked. The only reason Jacksonville won that game was because Anthony Lynn is an even worse coach that’s apparently been inflicted with the same virus that had befallen Mike McCoy and has also befallen Dan Quinn (more on both later…crap, ATL is the Monday night game. Ok, short rant here: Why are the Falcons obsessed with giving the ball to whomever is their RB2? When Devonta Freeman is healthy they give a ton of work to Tevin Coleman. Once Freeman got hurt they started giving the ball in meaningful spots to Terron Ward instead of their beloved Coleman. What gives??). So what relevance does this have for fantasy? First of all, it proves to me that you can’t trust any offensive skill position player on the Jaguars outside of Marqise Lee. His targets seem safe, but at this point do I really want to spend up for Leonard Fournette, in a tough road matchup, when I can’t trust his coach to use him properly? Uh, hell no! Besides Lee, who is also in a tough matchup but with volume I can trust, I of course like the Jags defense against the Browns. I don’t think either teams moves the ball much in this game so I’m actually looking at the Browns as my “Defense Whisperer” sleeper of the week. I think both defenses can be good here but there’s not much else to like. I suppose Duke Johnson makes some sense for CLE after seeing what Austin Ekeler did to them in Week 10. Yeah, I can support Duke.
Baltimore Ravens at Green Bay Packers
We are now on our third game of this slate and there are so few offensive players that I find myself interested in. The Packers defense is pretty suspect so I’m actually more comfortable with more of the Ravens than you’d think. I’m highly intrigued by the return of Danny Woodhead to the Ravens team. There are whispers that he could be the primary back as soon as this weekend. If that’s the case then he makes for a very good play against a Packers team that doesn’t pressure the QB and gives up over 110 yards per game on the ground. Give Woodhead 5+ targets and you’ve got an RB2 for sure once you factor in his goal line work. Looking across the industry I see that his price is super affordable, making him even more attractive to me. If the whispers start to turn into shouting, he will surely end up as one of “My Guys” on Saturday. The other name I’m looking at on Baltimore is Jeremy Maclin. He seems to have settled into a high volume role for the Ravens, and although his upside is limited he was a TD away from a big game the last time he played. For his price, I can dig that. On the Green Bay side of things, wow, that’s a rough spot at the moment. I guess Davante Adams has looked ok since Brett Hundley took over so he’ll be an interesting contrarian play, but I won’t put any major capital in him. If Jamaal Williams gets the start at RB due to injuries to Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery I could see him being a source of value, although I use that term lightly as he’s already been priced up on DK ($4.9k). The Ravens run defense isn’t good at all so even at that price I’d consider him as a flex play.
Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans
What if I told you that you could start Blaine Gabbert as your QB in DFS? Is that something that you might be interested in? Don’t laugh too hard because it’s a distinct possibility that he is this week’s version of CJ Beathard (the guy who looked good on Tuesday that you backed off on Sunday because he’s a terrible QB and then regretted because you were way smarter on Tuesday than you were on Saturday). The Houston Texans are terrible on defense. They have given up 33+ points in four of their last eight games. In each of those games they’ve given up at least 323 passing yards. Even in Week 9 when they only gave up 20 points and 279 passing yards, they still allowed Jacoby Brissett to crush his price. It seems like every week they are getting burned by long TD and the Cardinals have deep threats in John Brown and JJ Nelson, not to mention Larry Fitzgerald. Robert Woods isn’t a major downfield threat yet he had a monster game in Week 10, including a 94 yard TD. I don’t know if Fitz has that in him but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Nelson get behind the defense for a big score. Houston is going to stack the box and dare AP to beat them (although I kind of like him as well), so it’ll be a lot of one on one for the ARI WR. If Gabbert can get any time he could put up one of the best games of his career. I also really like the Cardinals defense here as they can just stick Patrick Peterson on DeAndre Hopkins and then dare Tom Savage to beat them. He can’t (especially if Will Fuller is too injured to play in this game). Needless to say, I won’t be investing heavily in Houston at all. If Fuller can’t play I may take a stab at Bruce Ellington or Braxton Miller, whoever is named the starter, if I need to spend way down for a spot. Otherwise, I’m in full fade mode.
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings
I love Jared Goff. He was one of my most widely drafted players in my MFL10 leagues this year. He’s been playing great this year. He has a ton of talent surrounding him and a coach that puts him in a great position to succeed. That said, homeboy is a second year QB that’s about to go play a fierce Vikings defense in the cold Minnesota air. I’m 100% out on the Rams this weekend. I think this is the spot where they lay a total egg. I’m loving the Vikings defense this week as a total under the radar play that every will avoid because of how well the Rams offense is playing. Minnesota only gives up 15.2 points per game at home with 3.5 sacks per game yet they only have 6 turnovers in five games. If the pressure continues, and it will, then the turnovers are going to come. This is your shot for a major double whammy in Week 10. As for the Vikings offense, I’m a fan of their running game against a Rams defense that has trouble stopping the run. I’m just not sure which RB to look at. Jerick McKinnon seems to have the PPR thing going for him but if MIN takes a lead then I think they are going to try to hammer it with Latavius Murray. Murray is the much better value and I think I lean towards him but I’m going to take a little time before I make a decision. As for the passing attack, I don’t love it but I can’t hate you for taking a look at Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen; I prefer Diggs.
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints
When doesn’t Kirk Cousins get his? This past week he only threw for 1 TD but ended up running for 2 more with over 300 yards passing. Who the heck is he throwing to? This is one of the worst set of WR I’ve ever seen for a QB that’s throwing 300+ yards per game. I suppose Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson are the safest plays; there’s no way I’m touching any of the WR. I keep waiting for New Orleans to turn back into a passing team but with seven wins in a row, only one of which saw Drew Brees as a top 10 fantasy QB, I think that time has passed. Is it possible that this is the week we see Brees explode? Of course it is as he’s at home against a team that just got shredded by Case Keenum. What’s more likely is that he takes a few shots (I like Ted Ginn as a home run play; Michael Thomas as a PPR cash play…although this is not a cash game article) but relies once again on his RB. He’s once again one of the most expensive QB and I’m not paying for his old numbers when I’ll be getting his new numbers. I don’t know why I didn’t see it last weekend but why can’t we just play both Ingram and Kamara (besides it being cost prohibitive)? They are by far the two best offensive players on this team and they are both used a ton. I think both get 100+ yards again with then seeing goal line work. If I have to make a choice I prefer Kamara but there’s no doubt that Ingram has the upside; he just gets lost in the passing game sometimes (and Sean Payton hates him).
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants
Finally, a game I can sink my teeth into. The Giants defense is god awful. The 49ers just rolled them up, so imagine what one of the best offenses in the league is going to do to them. I will throw a word of caution out that the Chiefs are going to be ridiculously popular this weekend and oftentimes that kind of group think bites us in the butt. That said, I’ll have a lot of exposure to the Chiefs and try to differentiate elsewhere. Every TE scores against the Giants and now they are facing one of the three best TE in the game. It would be apropos for Kelce to be the TE that didn’t score against the Giants but I just can’t take notion seriously. He’s going to put up a nice game. New York also has given up a long TD in back to back weeks. Do you know who is the best deep threat in the NFL? That would be Tyreek Hill. The Giants also give up approximately 4.7 million yards per game on the ground (closer to 125 ypg, but still). Kareem Hunt hasn’t had one of those monster games in a long time; he’s due. All of that tells me that Alex Smith, one of the top QB in fantasy this year, is going to be worth his high price tag. If you don’t think that four players, all playing different positions, can have a big game then I’ll once again refer you to the last two weeks for New York’s opponents. The Rams had a TE TD, two big WR games, a monster from Gurley, and of course Jared Goff was awesome. In Week 10 the 49ers followed that up with a top 10 game from CJ Beathard and Garrett Celek, a big TD from Matt Brieda, 104 yards from Hyde, and an 82 yard TD from Goodwin. So yeah, there’s plenty of space for everyone to get theirs. I prefer Hill and Kelce over Hunt and Smith but all four should be just fine. For New York I think you can trust Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, and Eli Manning has some serious GPP upside. The Chiefs have given up 26 points per game on the road this year, including an average of 276 passing yards per game. They’ve also given up a bunch on the ground but New York is going to be playing catchup all game and I see no use in the 70 yards I’ll get from Orleans Darkwa. He may be a 12-15 touch per game guy just like Chris Thompson, Tevin Coleman, and Alvin Kamara except that those three are good and Darkwa is simply “meh”.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins
I was heavily inclined to just give a hard pass on the Buccaneers but then I remembered that Miami’s defense isn’t really all that good. They’ve given up 27+ points in three straight games. Josh McCown and Derek Carr looked great against them, while the Ravens ran all over them in Week 8. I’m not a fan of the Tampa Bay run game (even with 20+ touches from Doug Martin), but the passing game is going to get a boost this week with Mike Evans returning to the lineup. I like Evans quite a bit as he’s been held down most of the year and will want to make an impression upon his return. Ryan Fitzpatrick should get the start again and he’s a useful QB, despite what we saw from him in Week 10. Chris Godwin looked good with Evans out and it would stand to reason that the coaching staff will want to get a look at him since they are pretty much out of the playoff hunt. The same philosophy holds true for OJ Howard, a supreme talent that just needs some reps. I’m going to keep my ear to the ground to see if either of these guys are going to be in line for more work in Week 11. If so, they are definite sleepers for me in this game. As for Miami, I really like the passing game against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers give up 33 points and 290 passing yards per game on the road. Jay Cutler isn’t a consistent player but he can surely take advantage of a good matchup. This is a good matchup. I like Jarvis Landry at WR for a little bit of safety and then DeVante Parker if I want some more upside (although I like Landry much more than Parker now that Landry has figured out how to score TD). I need to spend a little more time figuring out this RB timeshare but I’m confident that one of them will have a decent game catching passes out of the backfield this weekend. This offense reminds me a little bit of the Packers last year when they essentially gave up on the running game. That was a great offense for DFS and I think that’s what we are going to get from Miami, albeit to a lesser degree, in this game.
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers
It’s really hard to trust anyone on Buffalo at the moment. They’ve been spanked two weeks in a row and now I smell a QB change coming. Even if Tyrod isn’t given the boot right away, he’s on thin ice. He could respond with a big game, and given the lack of choices presented to us this weekend it’s not out of one’s mind to think that he’s worth a look in DFS. I disagree. When a team is in disarray, I try to avoid them. Let’s also not forget that the Chargers have one of the most underrated defenses this side of New Orleans. Joey Bosa can be a one man wrecking crew in the backfield, while the secondary continues to impress. I could see this being the third game in a row where the Bills get completely decimated. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is one of the better “bad” teams in the league. They lose a ton but only by a few points. I wonder why they keep losing these close games. Is it because their coaching staff is filled with guys who think that Austin Ekeler is the guy to hand the ball to when the game is on the line and you’re trying to kill the clock rather than Melvin Gordon only to watch Ekeler predictably fumble and hand Jacksonville the tie?? Nah, that can’t possibly be the reason that they keep losing. Despite the poor coaching of Anthony Lynn, LAC does have guys that should play well in this game. After the aforementioned fumble by Ekeler, Gordon was inserted back into the game so I think he’s going to be fine going forward. Against a Bills team that just got trounced on the ground by the Saints, he should be in for a huge game. You can’t forget Ekeler either though. He’s going to have a role and, similar to last week, I think both RB are rosterable against Buffalo with Gordon playing the Ingram “hammer” role and Ekeler playing the Kamara “pass catching” role. Hopefully someone with a brain makes Lynn watch last week’s Saints game and tells him to do that. Just do that. I don’t want to touch the pass catchers for LAC because Buffalo doesn’t allow much through the air (and why would then when they are a sieve on the ground). The best part about this game is that people may be so turned off by the Chargers poor decision making that Melvin Gordon could end up with a lower than expected ownership. That’s going to be very hard to pass up. He’s going to be a Tier 1 play for me for Saturday’s update.
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos
Seriously, what is there to like in this game? AJ Green? Maybe? Give me the Denver defense. They should be ok here. I don’t want anyone else. This is one ugly, ugly game.
New England Patriots vs Oakland Raiders (Mexico City, Mexico)
This isn’t a true road game for the Patriots as it’s just as likely that they’re the more popular team down in Mexico as the Raiders are. New England is a great real life football team but they are kind of death for fantasy. Tom Brady should have a good game but who in the world knows who he is going to throw to. I can’t spend up on Gronk with both Dwayne Allen and Martellus Bennett getting looks. I can’t pay up for Brandin Cooks either. Dion Lewis appears to be the lead back in this offense but up until Week 10 he wasn’t really a TD guy. Rex Burkhead might actually be the most reliable offensive weapon on this team as the primary pass catching back, but even he has to deal with James White. Just take Tom Brady and find your skill position players elsewhere. A lot of people are going to jump on Oakland because of New England’s “poor” defense but take a step back and really look at things. Over the last five games they’ve given up an average of only 13.4 points per game. That’s a far cry from the 30.5 points per game they allowed over the first four weeks of the season. I’m not saying that you can’t play Raiders (I like Michael Crabtree, Derek Carr, Jared Cook, and Marshawn Lynch), I’m just telling you to temper expectations given the recent run of great play from this defense.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
All in on the Eagles? Yeah, I’m probably all in on the Eagles. Carson Wentz is a monster and a weak Dallas secondary isn’t going to scare me at all. Alshon Jeffery is finally playing well and is a top ten WR this weekend. Zach Ertz is one of the best TE and football and he should continue to play well. I think Jay Ajayi sees 15+ carries and puts up one of his best games of the season. As for the Cowboys, my feeling about them is totally dependent on Tyron Smith’s availability. If he’s not around then I’m firing up the Eagles defense and letting them take aim at Dak Prescott. If Smith is around then I like Dez, Dak, and Terrance Williams to have good games in a potential shootout. I don’t think Smith is going to play, and I think Philly trounces Dallas.
Your feedback is always welcome. If there’s a player you don’t see or would like to talk more about, you can find me on Twitter @bankster17. I’m around all the time for questions, advice, and comments. I answer every single person that sends me a Tweet.