Week 11 already, say it ain’t so. Homestretch ladies and gentlemen, time to dial in on some of the top QB and Tight End combos for this week’s slate. Last week Brooks gave us recommendations for Fitz, Mayfield, and Mariota which all paid off, so we’ll look to keep that streak going with plenty to choose from at the Quarterback position. Tight End continues to be a game of fantasy Russian roulette with even top tier options like Travis Kelce failing to produce on a consistent basis. With such a tight price grouping at the QB position, let’s hone in on the fantastic value that’s available at Quarterback, and look at where we can pick up some complimentary pieces at Tight End for these week 11 match-ups.
Cam Newton vs. Detroit Lions – FD: $8,600 | DK: $6,200
“Cash Contest Cam”! It’s hard not to love Cam in cash game formats when he has given fantasy players a consistently high floor all season with plenty of upside as well. Carolina has a ton of weapons that can all take advantage of a woeful Lions defense that currently ranks 30th in passing DVOA. Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess, and breakout rookie D.J. Moore provide plenty of targets to thrash the Detroit secondary with, and as we’ve seen on many occasions, Cam can certainly create big plays with his feet if need be.
There are a couple of red flags with this play, namely that this game projects to be one of the slower paced contests on the slate. Additionally, the potential for Carolina to get up early on a Lions team that is really struggling to move the ball could lead to a prolonged Carolina rushing attack. Christian McCaffery already sports an impressive 96% snap rate and healthy 32% usage rate which only stands to increase if Carolina can run up the score early.
Regardless, Cam remains one of the safer plays on the slate and will undoubtedly be the beneficiary of a favorable match-up on the road. This is a great spot to roster Cam, especially on DraftKings, who sports an incredibly reasonable price tag in relation his production.
Carson Wentz vs. New Orleans Saints – FD: $7,700 | DK: $6,300
An excellent pivot off Cam is cash or tournament games, and an extremely strong value over on FanDuel, is Cason Wentz. The Wentz vs. New Orleans match-up avoids many of the red flags mentioned in the CAR vs DET game and flips the script to an offense driven air raid in the Superdome. The Eagles go on the road to take on a high-powered Saint’s offense that has consistently demonstrated the ability to rack up points at home. If the Eagles want to stay competitive they are undoubtedly going to have to match that firepower with some points of their own. This game currently projects to have the second highest Over/Under at 54.5 and is positioned nicely as a good old-fashioned shoot out in New Orleans.
It’s easy to like a lot of what the Saint’s offense has to offer, but in many cases, those points have been a necessity given several lackluster performances on the part of their defense. New Orleans currently ranks 27th in DVOA which is mainly driven by their secondary’s inability to bottle up the opposing team Wide Receiver #1. This bodes extremely well for a Wentz driven passing attack especially given the recent return of Alshon Jeffery. The weapons don’t stop there as tight end Zach Ertz is coming off of a monster game against Dallas and recent trade acquisition Golden Tate looks to establish himself as a top option in this Eagles offense.
With such a tight spread in quarterback pricing it will be hard to lock-in on a single quarterback this week, but it’s hard to match the upside Wentz provides in what’s sure to be a high scoring affair on the road.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New York Giants – FD: $7,600 | DK: $5,600
Fitzmagic baby! This guy somehow managed to post 15.7 / 19.7 (FD / DK) points on over 400 passing yards, 35 rushing yards, and all while the entire Tampa Bay offense was held to just three points at home against the Redskins. Simply put, this guy slings.
Fitzpatrick gets an easier matchup this week against a New York Giants team that just allowed 23 points to Nick Mullens and a gutted 49ers offense. Both teams have implied point totals over 25 with the third highest Over/Under on the slate signaling yet another opportunity to benefit from a high scoring game. Tampa Bay is one of the worst defenses in the league which forces them to play from behind and sling the rock on a weekly basis. This translates to a ton of targets to Buccaneer weapons Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, and O.J. Howard. Fitz seems to favor his receivers over the TE spot which is why Howard didn’t make it into my preferred TE list, however given the projected totals for this game, there should be plenty of targets to go around.
Another mid-tier value on Fanduel but there’s potential for an outstanding return on DK given the $5,600 price tag.
Hail Mary Quarterback of the Week
Lamar Jackson vs. Cincinnati Bengals – FD: $7,000 | DK: $4,700
Talk about a serious Hail Mary. Am I really suggesting you start a rookie QB with all these other options on the board? Of course I am, they’ll never see it coming! Ok, but let’s be reasonable about this. First off, this is written under the assumption that Joe Flacco is out with a hip injury that appears to have improved throughout the week. Obviously, all of this goes out the window if Flacco guts it out and starts. So just like any other Sunday, keep your eyes on the news. Second, I’m not paying up on Fanduel for this kid. We’ll discuss all the reasons I like Jackson in a second, but with a $7,000 price tag and so many other options on the board, I just can’t justify this pick on anything other than DraftKings.
All that aside, this could be a brilliant GPP play this week. Jackson’s own talents aside we know Cincinnati is getting torched on defense as evidenced by their 51-14 drubbing courtesy of the Saints offense. Now Baltimore doesn’t have that same kind of firepower, but Jackson could be the spark the Baltimore offense needs to make this game exciting and score you some fantasy points along the way.
We have a limited sample size given that our only real exposure to a full workload was Jackson’s performance in the preseason, but Baltimore has continued to try and find ways to get the former Heisman winner involved in the offense all season. With full command of the offense, crazy play making ability with his feet, and a favorable home match-up against a bad Cincinnati defense, I like Jackson in this spot as my Hail Mary pick of the week.
Zach Ertz vs. New Orleans Saints – FD: $7,600 | DK: $6,600
In fairness, neither of these top two options are going to come as a surprise given their QB and match-up situation. We’ve already discussed the shootout potential of this PHI / NO match-up, however there is an interesting nuance to the New Orleans defense that deserves consideration before hitting the lock button on Mr. Ertz.
For as bad as the New Orleans secondary has been, their ability to limit the production of opposing Tight Ends actually places them 5th in DVOA against the TE position. In some sense, I’m hoping this lowers the ownership on Ertz given that it’s bound to be inflated due to his recent 33.5 / 43.5 (FD/DK) point game. Ertz may still end up as the chalk at TE this week, but it’s not without reason. He continues to be the favorite target for Wentz, especially in critical situations. For a high scoring game that could very easily translate into multiple Red Zone targets, and if that translates into touchdowns, then it’s going to be trouble for folks attempting to pay down at TE.
Greg Olsen vs. Detroit Lions – FD: $6,500 | DK: $5,000
No use beating this point into the ground. If I believe in Cam this week, then I must believe in one his most reliable Red Zone options. Olsen has seen a 16.8% target share this season but that share jumps to 30% when it comes to End Zone targets. In a game where I’ve already assumed the Panthers are going to put up a fair number of points then I’m simply betting that some of those points will be generated by Olsen.
TE seems to be a boom or bust wasteland of production, but in all that chaos, I think Olsen provides one of the most reasonable floors for his price tag. Dropping down much further than Ertz or Olsen is getting into an expensive Mid-Tier that doesn’t carry nearly the same track record as these top two options.
Evan Engram vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FD: $5,800 | DK: $4,100
I’m just not crazy about the 6k Mid-Tier range (FD) this week. I like Howard; but Fitz prefers his receivers. Hooper’s not bad; but he’s boom or bust and in a bad match-up. I usually love Ebron; but hate the match-up against Tennessee. So here we sit with Evan Engram in the Mid-Range.
This is more-so about match-up than it is about Engram. The Giant’s offense runs almost exclusively through Barkley and OBJ leaving the rest of the team as little more than check-down options. That coupled with Eli’s rapidly declining career doesn’t leave me with much faith in this pick but it’s too difficult to pass up a match-up against the Tampa Bay secondary.
The Giants are coming off a strong showing on Monday Night Football and perhaps some of that translate into success against a terrible Buc’s defense. I’m far more interested in paying up or punting the TE spot this week, but if your trapped in the Mid-Tier, Engram may be able to provide some value, especially on DraftKings.
Hail Mary Tight End of the Week
Vance McDonald vs. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS– FD: $5,500 | DK: $4,000
I know, I know. The guy has one good game in prime time and all of the sudden he makes the list. Hear me out. What’s interesting about McDonald isn’t his game log, it’s his upcoming match-up. The Jags are a really solid defensive team, top ten overall. However, when it comes to the Tight End position, they rank 23rd in DVOA.
The statistic I stumbled across on FanDuel that sold me was that last year in this same match-up Big Ben targeted McDonald 16 times! The Steelers have a ton of big name offensive weapons and Jacksonville won’t be able to keep everyone bottled up. My money is that their focus is going to be on Connor and Brown which leaves McDonald as a sneaky tournament play that has the potential for major production.
There’s just not a lot to love at this position so taking a shot on a guy like McDonald strikes me as a relatively low risk and high reward play at a price tag of just $4,000 on DraftKings.
QB/TE COMBO of the Week
If it isn’t already obvious where I’m going with this one I’ll go ahead and reiterate. Love me some Wentz / Ertz combo play in what is setting up to be a major shoot out. I certainly won’t talk anyone out of trying find value in a Fitz / Howard stack or even in punting the TE position entirely. There are certainly plenty of the other position player studs out there. That said, stacking this game overall is hardly a bad strategy this week and using the core of Wentz and Ertz seems like an excellent place to start from.