NFL Week 11: TEs, Ds, and Stacks

I'm not the kind of guy who is into long term commitments when it comes to my hobbies and interests. I start companies, bands, websites, educational courses, and most of the time I'm completely done with them after a few weeks or so.

Sports is about the only thing that keeps my attention on a daily basis, but even then there are only so many articles I can read and information I can digest before I start to get massive burnout. The good thing is that I am always interesting in gaining the advantage for my own personal gain. Whether I'm pouring over every note from Evan Silva's full slate breakdowns, or crunching numbers and lineups on Rotogrinders, these nuggets are required reading if I want to go into the next NFL Week with the numbers on my side. Every day is a learning experience that will only benefit me as a fantasy sports addict. We are all seeking that edge.

TE Picks

I feel like this is a really bad week at TE. I don't feel good about Antonio Gates. He looked noticeably hobbled against the Bears in the last game he played. We don't have Delanie Walker's nice floor to fall back on because he's already played. Certainly Gronk is Gronk, but that $8000 price tag just burns me every time I see it because I know there are so many better values liable to be on the board, but who will it be? That is the eternal question.

Mid-Level Returns: Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, Jason Witten, Jordan Reed. The mid-tier pricing on these guys represents their floors. All of them are a safe bet to see a steady diet of targets and give you production. Olsen and Reed are the best pass-catchers on their respective teams. Witten benefits from the return of Tony Romo, and Kelce may have to take on a bigger role in the passing game if Jeremy Maclin is being shadowed by Jason Verrett. In cash games, I think you can roll with any of these guys and see some points you can live with.

GPP Boom-or-Busts: Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener, Eric Ebron, Jacob Tamme. These are the cheaper guys who offer higher volatility. There is a reason they are cheap. Raiders backup TE Clive Walford has caught 3 TD passes this year. Would I ever recommend rostering him? Absolutely not. Because he receives about 2 targets a game on average. The opportunity there is simply not going to equal high output. Even if Walford manages to snag a TD, that may be his only catch of the game and the risk you took to draft him would barely return 3X value. Walford is a fish play. The kind of pick that guy who works down the hall thinks he's being so smart making until he loses his H2H by 60 points.

Look instead for Zach Ertz. The Eagles have been running more TE-heavy sets lately, and Mark Sanchez was the QB last season when Ertz exploded for an obscene 15 catch day. Ertz has seen steady production but he curiously hasn't hauled in a TD catch yet this year. Now might be a very good time to roster him at $3100. Tamme, Fleener, and Ebron all fall into the same price range as Ertz, cheaper TEs who could see an uptick in volume this week. In Fleener's case, he seems to be heavily targeted by Matt Hasselbeck. Ebron is facing a Raiders defense that is very bad at defending the position. You can make a solid case for any of the other 3 guys having nice games, but I like Ertz's floor and ceiling a lot at the price of $3100.

Defense has never been my strong suit in fantasy football. I've always punted defenses in season-long leagues in favor of streaming because there just isn't enough value in drafting a defense highly. In DFS, we just want to find a defense that has an opportunity to dominate. Whether that means getting a lot of sacks, forcing turnovers, or maybe facing a QB who is prone to throwing pick 6s.

The interesting thing about defensive scoring is that it pays off to have an opportunistic defense more than a "good" defense. We'd rather have a team that gives up 20 points but forces 3 turnovers and returns one for a TD than a defense that holds a team to 12 points, but doesn't force more than 1 turnover or get many sacks. Turnovers, sacks, touchdowns, and points allowed are the only scores here.

I think Seattle will be a popular pick on D this week. People look for safety when picking a defense. They want a known commodity because generally they don't pay much attention to how good a defense is. My personal recommendation this week will be Philadelphia. While they aren't a very good defense, they are opportunistic. While Jameis Winston hasn't been severely turnover-prone over his last few games, we know he likes to get aggressive and force a ball or two. There is also the chance that Darren Sproles could take a punt back to the house as well. A couple other DSTs to consider: New England, Baltimore, NY Jets


I think my favorite stack this week is going to be Stafford/Megatron. I think I could also pair that with a DeMarco Murray / Eagles D stack as well. Brady/Gronk is sure to be chalky, but Brady/Amendola might be as well. If you like narrative street: Ryan Fitzpatrick is facing his former team, and last time he did that he torched them for 6 TDs. The Texans are actually pretty good at locking down #1 WRs, so a sneaky contrarian stack of Fitzpatrick/Decker could net you some points this week in cash. For GPPs, I think you could look for Carr/Crabtree as well. I wrote in yesterday's blog why I favor Crabtree over Amari Cooper this week.

Good luck in Week 11!

-_- DF

Derek Finley

Existing in a world of psychotic monkeys. Writing about sports for passion. Thirsting for knowledge and beer.