We’re on to Week 11, and it’s the final weekend of byes. While DFS owners will not shed many tears having to do without the Cleveland Browns, the fact that the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers are off will mean plenty of stars are on the sidelines, especially making for a light wide receiver pool. The good news is that Week 12 means everyone is back on the field, and Thursday will have three games and plenty of turkey.
Let’s get through this weekend first, though. The Dallas Cowboys are expected to welcome back QB Tony Romo ($6,500) from injury, and DFS owners hope that means the re-emergence of WR Dez Bryant ($5,300). As long as Romo isn’t terribly rusty, it could be a great weekend for the Dallas offense. The Miami Dolphins rank 20th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 254.7 yards per game and 17 touchdowns through nine games. The Dolphins have yielded 25.0 points per game, too, so the dynamic duo of Romo and Bryant, as well as perhaps WR Cole Beasley ($4,300) and TE Jason Witten ($4,350) could all be in for big-time stat lines after a month and a half of struggles at the quarterback position.
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Derek Carr, QB, Oakland ($6,700 at DET): Carr’s DFS salary has skyrocketed in recent weeks thanks to three consecutive 300-yard games and a total of 13 passing touchdowns over his past four outings. In fact, he has two or more passing scores in seven of his past eight games. It still seems hard to believe that a Raiders QB is finally worthy of spending big DFS dollars, but with Carr and WR Amari Cooper ($5,100), Oakland finally has gotten it right in the NFL Draft. The Lions rank 23rd in the NFL against the pass, so expect the Raiders-Lions game to be a track meet.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland ($5,100 at DET): Cooper has been targeted nine or more times in each of the past three games, as Carr certainly knows where his bread is buttered. He has four or more receptions in each of his nine games while finding the end zone four times in the past eight outings. He hasn’t been held out of the end zone in consecutive games all season, and he didn’t score last week. DFS owners can expect an AC-DC scoring connection in Motown, as the Lions are horrible against the pass. Cooper should be good for his first 100-yard game since Oct. 24, and look for a visit to the end zone.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit ($5,250 vs. OAK): Johnson hasn’t scored a touchdown in either of the past two games, but he has two scores in the past four weekends while posting 81 or more yards in each of the past four. He is starting to come alive, he looks to be getting healthy and he will turn in his second 100-yard game of the season against a spotty Oakland pass defense which is susceptible to the big play.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami ($5,400 at DAL): Miller has managed 93 or more total yards from scrimmage in four of his past five games while totaling seven touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving) since Oct. 18. Since interim head coach Dan Campbell took over Miller has re-emerged as a must-start DFS option at a mid-tier price. The Cowboys have allowed 10 rushing touchdowns, third-most in the NFL, so expect the good times to roll for Miller and the Miami rushing offense.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit ($6,300 vs. OAK): Stafford and the Lions picked up their second victory of the season in Green Bay, and now the Lions and their offense hope to build momentum against the Oakland Raiders. While the Raiders are much better this season at 4-5, they are still very, very poor against the pass. The Raiders rank 31st in the NFL against the pass, allowing 293.2 yards per game with 16 touchdowns. The Raiders have also given up 37 pass plays of 20 or more yards.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle ($6,350 vs. SF): If you’re just not feeling Staff and the Lions offense, then Wilson and the Seahawks might make you feel better. The 49ers have struggled defensively against the pass, giving up 280.6 yards per game with 10 plays of 40 or more yards. Wilson was so-so against the 49ers in the first meeting Oct. 22, but that was also on the road and in a short week with a Thursday kickoff. He will pass for at least 250 yards in this game while running for at least 50 yards and totaling two or more touchdowns. Count on it.
BARGAIN BIN VALUES AND CONTRARIAN PLAYS
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit ($4,150 vs. OAK): As mentioned, the Raiders are pretty poor against the pass. That’s especially true against opposing tight ends, as the Raiders have given up an NFL-high 10 touchdowns vs. the position in nine games. They have made subpar tight ends look like Hall of Famers this season, and now it’s Ebron’s turn to shine.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver ($4,600 at CHI): The run game will need to help out this weekend with QB Brock Osweiler ($5,000) making his first start in place of the injured Peyton Manning (foot). Hillman should see plenty of open spaces against a Chicago Bears rush defense that ranks 26th in the NFL, allowing 118.6 yards per game. Hillman is likely to see plenty of targets out of the backfield, too, as his young quarterback will not have nearly the passing radius as his injured veteran teammate.
Seattle Seahawks Defense/Special Teams ($3,350 vs. SF): The Seahawks’ defense has posted 10.67 Fantasy Points Per Game, and they’re certain to add to that total against a banged up San Francisco offense. The ‘Hawks posted 13.0 Fantasy points on Oct. 22 in the first meeting in San Francisco, tied for their second-highest point total of the season. This time they’ll face QB Blaine Gabbert ($5,000) and a running back trio of Kendall Gaskins ($3,800), Travaris Cadet ($3,100) and Shaun Draughn ($3,000). That’s not exactly a Hall of Fame trio. Look for the Seattle defense to limit the 49ers to single digits in points, if not pitch the shutout.
Charcandrick West, RB, Kansas City ($4,950 at SD): West rolled up a total of 161 yards from scrimmage with a rushing touchdown and an 80-yard scoring reception in Denver last week, and another strong stat line will be in the offing on the road in San Diego Sunday. The Bolts have been struck for 122.9 rushing yards per game, allowing nine touchdowns while giving up a league-high 11 runs of 20 or more yards. For whatever reason West’s DFS salary remains very low. Take advantage, because the bargain won’t last much longer.