Week 11 is upon us, and as always, there’s a ton of appealing matchups on paper for fantasy purposes. Some of them stand head and shoulders above the rest, and they quickly turn into the chalk matchups of the week. Before we dig into the week’s top chalk selections and how to approach them, let’s take a look at the games and scenarios that everyone will have on their radar for Week 10.
Chalk Games Of The Week
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
In addition to having the highest projected total of the week, this game also features a plethora of appealing skill position players. We have a quarterback that’s playing at an incredibly high level in Marcus Mariota, and another that can go off at a moment’s notice in Andrew Luck. There’s appealing passing game targets in the form of T.Y. Hilton and Delanie Walker, and the running games for both teams offer up some value - especially DeMarco Murray.
From an ownership perspective, we can expect Mariota, Luck and Murray to be the most popular options. Mariota is the safest choice of the three on paper, as the Colts have really struggled against opposing signal callers this season. The Colts have also been defensively challenged against the run for the most part, but they’ve surprisingly stepped it up in that department over the past two weeks. That being said, Murray was able to deliver a nice performance in the first meeting between the two clubs in 2016, so we wouldn’t shy away from him by any means.
The Titans have also allowed opposing quarterbacks to do some damage against them this season, including back in Week 7 when Luck threw for 353 yards and three scores. In short, there’s plenty to like from this matchup, and no reason to fade any of the top targets. For stacking purposes, Hilton, Jack Doyle and Donte Moncrief are the top options to pair up with Luck in that order. For Mariota, we’ll recommend from top to bottom Walker, Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe. Even without a full-on stacking option, you’ll likely want some exposure to this one.
New England Patriots @ San Francisco 49ers
There’s a pretty good chance that the Patriots will steamroll over the 49ers, but that’s not dampening enthusiasm. The club is flying out west after a tough loss, and we all know what an angry Patriots squad is capable of. Points aplenty will quickly soothe the agony of defeat they felt against the Seahawks in Week 10, but it’s just a matter of figuring out where they’ll be coming from.
The 49ers run defense resembles a colander more often than not, and they can also be torched through the air. LeGarrette Blount is coming in off of a monster outing and will be incredibly popular, and that’s a perfect recipe for Bill Belichick to suddenly change the Patriots running back rotation. Outside of of the risk of that happening, Blount looks like one of the week’s top overall plays. Tom Brady should be pretty fired up for a trek back to the place of his youth, but it doesn’t take much for Brady to be fired up on a normal week.
It seems like a near certainty that Rob Gronkowski will miss this week’s game, which will make Martellus Bennett a very popular option at tight end. Julian Edelman will also find his fair share of support among Brady stackers. Bottom line, we’ll want some exposure to the Patriots, but pinpointing the exact production will be tricky. Brady is easily the safest option, and we’d feel much better about Blount if Belichick didn’t have a knack for frustrating the hell out of fantasy players.
The 49ers can be summed up pretty simply: Colin Kaepernick has been producing for fantasy purposes and offers up the potential for garbage time points. Jeremy Kerley and Quinton Patton are dirt cheap options at receiver that have a good shot at reaching value.
Chalk Thoughts To Keep In Mind
The Cowboys are on a roll. Few realistic people would have pegged the Cowboys to have a record of 8-1 at this juncture, but that’s exactly where the club stands. The team is playing at an incredibly high level as a whole, and the dynamic duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott continues to light things up for fantasy purposes. We’ll keep riding this train until the wheels fall off, and there’s another appealing matchup on tap against the Ravens this week.
Weather could be an issue in Cleveland. The matchup with the Steelers just misses chalk consideration, but we can still expect interest to be high. There’s a potential for some wind issues at kickoff, so we’ll keep a close eye on this one to see if that is in fact a factor. If it comes into play,, we’ll give a slight bump to LeVeon Bell and downgrade the passing game a tad. If no wind issues, we’ll consider Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown as exceptional plays as well.
The Seahawks may be rounding into form. While the Seahawks have displayed somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde form this season, the fact remains that their record stands at a solid 6-2-1 for the year. Bad news for the rest of the league: they look like they’re getting better as the season moves along. On the fantasy front, that’s a fantastic development, as a healthy Russell Wilson can finally start delivering as we all know he’s capable of doing.
Win-Loss record aside, Aaron Rodgers is on a tear. It’s been a weird season for the Packers, but Rodgers has been a fantasy madman over the past four weeks. He has delivered 27 or more points on DraftKings in each game over that span, and he has a chance at making it five in a row during this week’s trip to the nation’s capital.
Let’s take a look at this week’s top chalk plays by position and how we can approach them for our lineups, starting with the quarterback position.
QB Marcus Mariota, $6,700. There’s a lot of contenders for the chalk quarterback of the week, but we think there’s several factors that place Mariota at the top of the list. For starters, he’s really rounding into form as a starter, and he’s been playing like a man possessed over the past two weeks. Combine that with the fact that he’s playing against an opponent that struggles against both the pass and the run, and that he comes in at a very affordable price, and we have a quarterback that will attract a ton of interest.
There’s plenty of other directions you can turn at quarterback, but it’s going to cost you to find similar upside. Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger and Luck all have high-upside matchups as well, but they also happen to be the four most expensive quarterbacks of the week. One way to approach it is to build your lineup from the inside out. If you find value plays you’re really in love with for Week 11, there’s a good chance you can afford one of the top four. If you’re not sold on anyone from the bargain bin, then Mariota makes a fantastic choice as he can free up some much needed salary cap in that case. For our money, Mariota looks like a top option for both the single and multiple lineup crowds.
RB LeGarrette Blount, $6,400. Blount’s nose for the end zone and the 49ers sieve-like defense will lead the masses in his direction despite any perceived Belichick-related risk. His upside is immense in this matchup, and it’s pretty hard to make a case for fading him if you’re rolling with a single lineup. On the multiple lineup front, you can mitigate the risk by keeping him off a squad or two, but there’s a chance those lineups are dead in the water if he goes off.
For similarly-priced pivots, we can look directly above and below on the salary chart. To the north, Jay Ajayi has a tough matchup on paper, but the Rams can be had by a quality back. Add in the fact that the Rams are starting a rookie quarterback, and the club could be in for a long day. That points to the Dolphins controlling the clock, and Ajayi suddenly becomes quite appealing from that perspective. Assuming Spencer Ware seizes back full control of the Chiefs backfield, he’s in line to be an excellent play this week. The risk comes from the fact that Charcandrick West could continue stealing touches, plus the fact that the Chiefs offense is inherently underwhelming.
WR Jordy Nelson, $7,800. If weather turns out to be no issue in Cleveland, there’s a good chance plenty of DFSers bite the bullet and pay up for Antonio Brown as their top wideout. We’ll assume the winds will be howling and the crowd will be looking to save some cash, which will lead them to travel south and land on Nelson. He’s found the end zone for three consecutive weeks, and we can easily see him making it four in a row against Washington. Additionally, he’s been on the receiving end of a whopping 31 targets over the past two weeks, and there’s nothing to suggest the trend will be slowing down anytime soon.
Nelson’s a fine play for Week 11, but we have plenty of other ways we can pivot. T.Y. Hilton offers similar upside and comes in a little cheaper, but he hasn’t been very effective over the past two weeks. He did go off against the Titans back in Week 7, so perhaps another date with them will help get him back on track. Allen Robinson is even cheaper and finally showing some signs of life, so he’s another potential pivot - albeit a slightly risky one due to the Jaguars offensive inconsistencies.
TE Martellus Bennett, $3,700. If Gronkowski is out as expected, Bennett’s ownership percentage will be through the roof. He’s already proven to have some fantastic chemistry with Tom Brady, and he has a three-touchdown effort under his belt this season. There’s no promises he can pull that trick again, but that upside is on the table against a porous 49ers defense. The main concern with rostering Bennett is if the game turns into a blowout and the Patriots decide to take their foot off the gas. We’ll assume that won’t be the case since they’re coming in off of a loss, but also be cognizant that the risk of that happening is there.
The top tight end options at a similar price point are Zach Miller and Julius Thomas. Miller should see a boost in targets in the absence of Alshon Jeffery, and Thomas has found the end zone in three of his past four. If you’re interested in paying up instead, Tyler Eifert and Delanie Walker have the most appealing matchups of the over $5,000 crowd, but we’ll never turn our noses up at the upside that Jordan Reed and Jimmy Graham bring to the table either.
D Kansas City Chiefs, $3,400. The Chiefs have a solid defense, they’re playing at home, and they’re a sizable favorite. That’s a recipe for a healthy ownership percentage, and we’ll look for them to be the most popular defense of the week. They face off with the Buccaneers this week, and that’s an offense that has some risk of implosion. That points to some nice upside if that comes to fruition, but we’ll consider the Chiefs to have a pretty safe floor regardless.
For differentiation purposes, we can look to the Giants for a little more salary, and the Lions if we want to spend a little less. Both clubs are also pretty sizable home favorites, but we don’t anticipate the same enthusiasm for rostering their squads. The upside is there for both, but those that pivot away from the Chiefs may just decide to save some money and go with the Cowboys, who are pretty severely underpriced at $2,600.
Thanks for reading The Chalk for Week 11. Enjoy the games this weekend, and best of luck with your lineups. Feel free to hit me up anytime on Twitter - @cm_feery - or email - firstname.lastname@example.org - with questions or comments.