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Fantasy Football: Which Patriots should you start/sit vs. Raiders?

Pete Davidson
November 17, 2017 - 12:26 pm

Welcome to Week 11. This week’s recommendations feature a Patriots stack that I feel pretty good about. I’m still mulling the effects of the neutral site game in Mexico City. My current take is that nobody does details like Bill Belichick, so I am counting on the Patriots being ready to play. If the Raiders can compete at all, we could have a high scoring game on our hands.

As always, if you are looking for takes (seasonal or DFS) on any players not listed in this space, feel free to consult my free weekly lineup rankings at rotobahn.com.

For the freshest insights on all the Week 11 action, tune in to the Fantasy Football Hour, this Sunday morning right here on 93.7. Jim Hackett and I will take your questions (via text) and get you ready for Sunday. To keep pace with all of our fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter @Rotobahn. You can also follow Jim @RotobahnHacksaw. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing Jim’s take on the Patriots this week.

QUARTERBACKS

Tom Brady, Patriots at Raiders, $7,400 (Mexico City)

Alright, let’s cut to the chase. I’m loving the Brady/Gronk stack this week. It’s pricey, but there are a lot of ways to go about fitting them in together. For example, you can broaden the stack with a cheap Rex Burkhead to open up some cap room. Brady is one of the few safe plays on the main slate at quarterback. He throws to his backs often, which stabilizes his value somewhat. Brady hasn’t been under 17 DraftKings points since Week 1. I think he has a huge ceiling this week if things break right.

Alex Smith, Chiefs at Giants, $6,700

He throws tons of short passes which solidifies his point floor, and he tends to have a big game every couple of weeks. Smith is a good GPP play against the Giants. Stacking him with either Travis Kelce ($7,300), Tyreek Hill ($7,100) or both makes sense. The key is how the touchdowns materialize. Smith and the Chiefs’ scheme put players in position to 
score touchdowns after the catch. Smith’s fantasy output swings on whether those players score touchdowns … or set up rushing touchdowns for Kareem Hunt. For example, a little swing pass to Tyreek Hill, just before halftime, saved Smith’s Week 9. It was just a dump off, but Hill turned it into a score. If Hunts is tackled inside the ten, as he should have been, Smith ends up having a bad fantasy day. In short, the Giants have the look and feel of a team ready to give up those types of plays. I feel like Smith has a chance to go off because of that.

Drew Brees, Saints vs. Washington, $6,800

His pass attempts have declined in four straight games as the Saints have really cranked up the ground game. I think there’s a good chance that we see a shift this week with the pendulum swinging back to more passing. The Bills were a road apple last week. Washington will put up a better fight. Brees can hit big plays to anybody in his offense. They can come on screen passes or shot plays to Ted Ginn. I sort of like the Ginn stack and or the Alvin Kamara stack.

RUNNING BACKS

Rex Burkhead, Patriots at Raiders, $3,600

This feels like a legit value to me. You get a solid floor with Burkhead in full PPR scoring, which is used by DraftKings, but you also get a chance at a big game because it’s the Patriots offense and they could put up a bunch of touchdowns. I’ve said this a lot over the last year, but Burkhead is a an underrated goal line runner. You never know when that skill set will start to show up. This is a player who can do anything and who can score in a lot of ways. I don’t think we’ll see a healthy Burkhead this cheap again in 2017. This could be a breakout game for him and his salary is obviously low risk. I’m getting him into some of my lineups.

Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Washington, $7,500

I love it when the right player finds the right team. The Saints and Kamara are a great fit. He can flex into whatever they need on a given play and he’s the perfect type of weapon for Drew Brees at this stage of his career—giving him the ability to attack a defense based on what he sees pre-snap. Kamara gives you a stable floor on DraftKings because he catches passes every week, but we’ve seen what a high ceiling he has over the last two games. The rotation we’ve seen in the Saints’ backfield should continue—with both Mark Ingram and Kamara seeing the ball plenty. Kamara is now a RB1 in seasonal leagues and he’s definitely worthy of your consideration in DraftKings GPPs this week.

Chris Thompson, Washington at Saints, $5,400

His early flurry of touchdowns was unsustainable. After finding the end zone four times in the season’s first three weeks, Thompson has slowed down—with only one score over the last six games. That’s what happens when you become the focal point of an offense. Teams try to take you off the board by forcing the ball to other places. That’s the bad news. The 
good news is that Thompson is still dominating the playing time in the Washington backfield. That puts him in a good situation this week. The Saints defense has played far better than most people would have predicted back in August. That being said, their aggressive approach does leave them open for some misdirection. According to ESPN’s John Keim, the Saints have given up 165 yards to running backs on screen plays this year. Only five teams have given up more. This is good news for those using Thompson in full PPR scoring, like we have on DraftKings. I definitely want some exposure to Thompson this week at his affordable price tag. You will get some lineup differentiation and some affordable upside.

Jay Ajayi, Eagles vs. Cowboys, $5,300

He’s a wildcard right now because his role is undefined. That said, he sure looked jacked up when they gave him a few chances back in Week 9. The Eagles have a chance to smash the Cowboys and that makes Ajayi a dangerous man if he sees an incremental increase in job share. He’s worthy of your consideration in GPPs this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs at Giants, $7,100

He’s an exciting player, but most of his big plays this year have come from defensive breakdowns, like the score I alluded to in Alex Smith’s write-up. Patriots fans, I’m sure, remember his big touchdown from Week 1. That score was also on the defense, as both Patriot defenders assumed the other guy was responsible for Hill. He waltzed in for an easy 
75-yard score. The Giants seem ripe for this type of breakdown. This is a defense where two of their starting defensive backs have been suspended by the head coach in recent weeks. There is clearly discord in the ranks. I definitely want some Hill shares this week. A Smith/Hill/Kelce stack feels pretty good to me. Some may have concerns about the Chiefs making a long road trip, but they are coming off their bye, which certainly helps. Andy Reid has had two weeks to craft a game plan. I like that.

Adam Thielen, Vikings vs. Rams, $7,200

I feel good about him regardless of who Minnesota decides to play at quarterback. He runs tasty routes and has been remarkably consistent all year long, which is impressive in that Minnesota has been going through changes every game with their quarterbacks and their running backs. Thielen has been the constant with at least five receptions in every game this season. I like him in DraftKings GPPs this week though I am not using Case Keenum due to the uncertainty with the quarterback situation. I’m just not sure what Mike Zimmer is thinking in terms of when he might decide to make the switch to Teddy Bridgewater.

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks vs. Falcons, $6,900

He’s a similar play compared to Thielen, but in this case, you can play him in tandem with his quarterback. Of course, Baldwin is playing on Monday Night Football, so he’s mostly available in the short slates. I like his chances at scoring and posting over 100 yards in this game. Stacking him with Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson creates a nice power trio. It may sound a bit too chalky, but if you are playing the Sunday/Monday slate, I think Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott will be even more popular for several reasons. First off, Wentz is trendy right now. Second, the Sunday night hometown fans tend to set the tone in these pools.

Nelson Agholor, Eagles vs. Cowboys, $5,200

He’s been in that 4-7 target range most every week this season. I think that is going to change down the stretch because he’s played so well and is so diverse in terms of his route ability. This is a game where Agholor could start to break out of the mold a bit. As teams adjust to Carson Wentz, the Eagles need to counter. Not remaining static and moving Agholor around is one way to go about that, and this is a player who is ready for more. I think he has big game potential and he’s only 5,200 units on DraftKings. Sadly, he’s off the main slate on Sunday night. Could be a nice differentiation play on the Sunday/Monday slate.

Ted Ginn, Saints vs. Washington, $4,800

Ginn gives you a lot of what Agholor does, and he’s on the main slate. If we assume that Josh Norman will be covering Michael Thomas most of the game, I think it’s safe to say that New Orleans will be looking to Ginn for big plays at home on the Superdome’s fast track. If they hit a few of them, you are really in business. Folks may stay away from Ginn, after light output last week in Buffalo, but that game was over fast. The Saints didn’t need Ginn as they were in clock-kill-mode for the entire second half. This week’s game should be different as Washington’s offense can score points in bunches. The game has shootout potential.

TIGHT ENDS

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots at Raiders, $7,200

Gronk is always a good tournament play because he’s that rare tight end who can score 30 points in DraftKings scoring system. There are so many of those 40-60 yard (per game) tight ends whose value is all about whether they get that score. I need a guy in my lineup who can actually go off. Gronk is a good option this week in that sense, and stacking him 
with Brady is certainly a sensible way to go. They could hook up on multiple scores and if that happens, you are obviously in great shape.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs at Giants, $7,300

Kelce and Gronk look similar this week. Both have good matchups and both have production profiles that look more like that of a receiver versus that of a tight end. You have multiple touchdown potential with both and you have a good shot at that 100 yard bonus on DraftKings. Just in case you forgot, that threshold yields a three-point bonus. I’ll probably have a mix of both Kelce and Gronk in my lineups this week, and using both (one in your flex spot) is not at all crazy. It’s actually a good way to create a unique lineup.

Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. Falcons, $6,200

Graham has been active as a red zone weapon lately. He’s had two games with two touchdowns over the last three weeks. Russell Wilson clearly looks for Graham when they get close to the stripe. So Graham, much like Gronk and Kelce, gives you a profile that looks a lot like a wide receiver. Sadly, he is off the main slate this week—playing on Monday 
Night Football. He’s a good option in the short slates—in either the Sunday/Monday or the Monday/Thursday tournaments

Adam Shaheen, Bears vs. Lions, $2,500

Keep your head on a swivel here. Shaheen is an interesting player. He’s getting some playing time at just the right time, because they are finally letting Mitchell Trubisky throw the ball a little bit. With Zach Miller out and with Dion Sims questionable, Shaheen could be heavily targeted this week, and he’s a big play waiting to happen after the catch. The key is Sims. If he doesn’t play, then Shaheen could be an interesting way to create cap space and fit an extra high priced receiver or running back into to your Week 11 lineup.

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