The Contrarian is back to help you find some potential diamonds in the rough to help round out your tournament lineups for Week 11. Before digging into this week’s selections, let’s take a look at some of the games that may fall off the radar for the masses and contain some of this week’s hidden gems.
Under The Radar Games Of The Week
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Detroit Lions
This game is not the first tilt that will come to mind as a source of fantasy points when you take a look at the full Week 11 docket, but don’t make the mistake of completely passing it by. There’s points to be had here, and we can start finding them by taking a gander at the Lions passing game. Matthew Stafford tends to fly under the radar for fantasy purposes, but he’s averaging a solid 20.2 points per game on DraftKings. Earlier this season, we would have leaned towards Marvin Jones Jr. to pair up with him, but Golden Tate has since righted the ship and regained his status as the top target in the passing attack.
The other Lions worth considering are Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick, but there are likely better options you can find at their respective positions. For the Jaguars, the season has not gone along as expected. In short, the club has been one of the bigger disappointments of 2016. That being said, there could be some second half garbage time points to be had, as they find themselves as a 6.5-point underdog as of this writing. Blake Bortles belongs nowhere near your short list for Week 11, but you could consider him as a flier if you’re rolling with multiple lineups. Those interested in Bortles will want to look towards Allen Robinson for stacking purposes, as he has outpaced his teammates in target volume by a wide margin. No other Jaguars are jumping off the page, but Julius Thomas has found the end zone in three of his last four games.
Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals. Over the past three games, one team has allowed the most fantasy points to both the quarterback and tight end positions. That team is the Buffalo Bills, and it suddenly makes a stack of Andy Dalton and Tyler Eifert an appealing option. Beyond that interesting tidbit, there’s some other attractive options from this tilt. There are few weeks in which A.J. Green does not deserve consideration, and this week will not be one of those outliers. For the Bills, Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy are the highest upside - and safest - options. We could also make an argument for Charles Clay as a cheap flier at tight end, as the Bengals have had their own struggles against tight ends over the past three games.
Contrarian Thoughts To Keep In Mind
The Packers run defense has hit the skids. In Weeks 1 through 7, it was a pretty good idea to avoid playing a running back against the Packers. That’s not the case anymore, as backs have found a good amount of success over the past three weeks. That makes Rob Kelley an intriguing low-cost option this week when the Packers travel to the nation’s capital.
The Cardinals have allowed double-digits fantasy points to opposing defenses in consecutive games. There’s certain offenses we would normally quickly look past when looking for an opposing defense to target, and the Cardinals fit the bill in that regard. However, the turnover bug has bit the club over the past two games, and they’re facing off against a Vikings club that has forced their share in 2016.
Colin Kaepernick has scored more than 20 fantasy points in consecutive games. The 49ers are a bad football team, but Kaepernick has been producing for fantasy purposes. While it certainly hasn’t been pretty, he offers intriguing upside for second half garbage time points in a game in which the 49ers will likely be getting shellacked against the Patriots
The Chiefs running game is not producing of late. Earlier this season, it seemed like the Chiefs running game would wind up on the short list as a unit to target nearly every week. The unit is still popping up on short lists, but it’s simply not producing over the past three weeks. Perhaps Spencer Ware will completely take the reins back over this week in an appealing home matchup against the Buccaneers and make this a moot point, but it’s a red flag to keep in mind.
Let’s take a look at this week’s top contrarian selections, starting with the quarterback position.
Matthew Stafford, $6,600. Don’t look now, but the Lions are tied for first place in the NFC North. They’re a decent sized favorite at home against the Jaguars this week, and we like Stafford to deliver an efficient performance that comes with the potential for some upside. He’s thrown for two scores in five games this season, and three or more on four occasions. We’ll consider two touchdowns a lock, and consider three a very real possibility. The Lions should be pretty fired up for this one, as they’ll be in front of a home crowd that’ll be pretty pumped to be welcoming a co-division leader this late in the season.
Kirk Cousins, $5,800. Cousins is riding a four game streak of scoring at least 18 fantasy points per game, and he has an excellent shot to make it five in a row against a struggling Packers team. Looking back over the past three games, the Packers have allowed Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota to throw for multiple scores, but they managed to hold Andrew Luck in check. The game features one of the highest projected totals of the week, but most DFSers will look to the opposing sideline and snag Aaron Rodgers if they’re looking for a signal caller from this matchup. We’ll zag slightly and choose Cousins, and assume we have a floor of 18 points with upside for more.
Jay Ajayi, $6,800. Ajayi came back to earth last week against the Chargers, and he has another tough matchup on paper up ahead against the Rams. We can say on paper because the Rams have allowed some big games to opposing backs, but they’ve offset that by holding others in check. That makes their overall fantasy points allowed to the position look pretty good at first glance, but by digging deeper we notice they can be beat by a quality back. Ajayi fits the bill in that regard, but there’s also another reason to consider him.
The Rams are finally handing the keys to Jared Goff, and we simply don’t know what we’re going to get. The Rams have been offensively challenged this season to say the least. While it’s possible that Goff could come in and deliver a spark, there’s also the risk that he comes in and implodes - and the Dolphins control the game clock as a result. That would bode well for Ajayi’s potential production, and we find ourselves intrigued by that scenario coming into play.
Rob Kelley, $4,400. Kelley has received the bulk of the work in the Washington backfield over the past two weeks, and signs point to that continuing for the foreseeable future. We already touched on the Packers recent struggles in stopping the run of late, and they’ll be facing off against a back that has increasing confidence and looks to be rounding into form. He’s averaging nearly 4.3 yards per carry since being handed the reins, but he’s only found the end zone a pair of times this season. We’ll look for him to step it up on that front starting this week, and we’ll definitely enjoy the salary cap flexibility that Kelley offers us while also offering some nice upside.
Jordan Matthews, $5,400. This is one of those situations that we become intrigued by because we know many other DFSers will shy away. There’s no secret to the fact that Seattle is a tough place to play, and also no secret to the fact that plans for the Hall of Fame bust many were fitting Carson Wentz for in the early part of the season have been put on hold. All that being said, we’re also intrigued by Matthews not just for the sake of being different, but also because he’s seen double digits in targets over the past three weeks. The Seahawks have allowed a couple of decent lines to opposing receivers in 2016, and there’s a good chance that Matthews sees a large number of targets again. The game script calls for the Eagles to be coming from behind, and that points to them leaning on the passing game in the second half. Matthews is a sneaky play that’s of the boom-bust variety, but we like him to lean towards boom.
Golden Tate, $5,300. We’re pretty high on Stafford as a contrarian quarterback option, so we’ll want to pull the trigger on his top target if we choose to roll with him. Even if we don’t run out any lineups with Stafford at the the helm, we can easily make a case for rostering Tate. Over the past four games, he’s seen 43 targets sailing in his direction. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and it appears as if his early season struggles are a thing of the past. Tate needs to start finding the end zone on the regular to make his return to fantasy relevance complete, and we’ll look for him to do that a time or two against the Jaguars on Sunday.
Zach Miller, $3,800. The loss of top target Alshon Jeffery for a few weeks opens up some targets in the Bears passing attack, and Miller stands to benefit. He’s second on the team in targets for the year to begin with, but he could see even more heading his way starting this week. Jeffery’s absence opens up plenty of value in the Bears passing game in the form of Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal, but we’ll go with the safety that Miller offers instead. Some more red zone looks would be a welcome development as well, but he has a chance to return some nice value if he simply hauls in the bulk of what heads in his direction.
Charles Clay, $2,600. We mentioned earlier that the Bills have been struggling against tight ends of late, but their opponents have as well. That makes Clay an intriguing option against the Bengals, but the enthusiasm is slightly offset by the fact that he’s been a disappointment this season. Although he’s shown flashes of chemistry with Tyrod Taylor and checks in at second on the team in targets for the year, that hasn’t translated into fantasy production. We’ll look for that to start changing this week, as teams begin to get wise to the fact that Robert Woods deserves some attention. Taylor may have to start looking Clay’s way even more as a result, and perhaps that’ll be the kickstart he needs.
New York Giants, $3,500. The Giants are priced like an elite defense this week, but they’ve only delivered like one for fantasy purposes a couple of times this season. The price increase is due to the fact that they are facing off against the Bears, a team that imploded last week against the vaunted defense of the Buccaneers. The Giants are a bit better than that squad thus far in 2016, thus we have some reason for optimism - and a price increase. We’ll bank on many DFSers not wanting to pay the premium for the Giants since there’s plenty of other appealing matchups on the docket, and enjoy the upside that comes our way in the process.
Detroit Lions, $3,200. The Lions appear on the list of contrarian selections for a third time this week, and this may be the safest play of the bunch. The Jaguars have allowed double-digits in points to opposing defenses in consecutive weeks, and the same turnover bug that has made its way to Arizona has made a layover in Jacksonville. The Cardinals will likely snap out of their malaise, but we don’t have the same confidence that the Jaguars will do the same. A team that was widely expected to compete for the AFC South crown or a Wild Card spot is staring at the basement, a Top 10 draft pick, and likely a new head coach. That’s unfortunate for the Jaguars faithful, but we won’t be merciful for DFS purposes. We’ll look for a fired-up Lions club to be the third team in a row to touch double-digits in defensive fantasy points.
Thanks for reading The Contrarian 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.