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NFL Week 11 FanDuel picks: Buy Alex Smith, sell NFC North wide receivers

Four buys, sells and steals this week in DFS.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Why? Why do the Fantasy Gods look down upon me and mock me with mirth and glee. Why do they look on me, doing my job, working hard, and cackle to themselves at my pain. Why?

As you might have guessed, last week did not go so well for me. I was 0.2 points away from getting my Orleans Darkwa buy pick dead on. L. I had the right idea with selling Todd Gurley but was off by four points. Another L. And I was clearly thinking it was 2015 when I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick would put up 20+ fantasy points against the Jets. Third L. Three Ls. After I did all that hard work getting my record to .500, I’m now back to a very upsetting .407.

Season record: 11-16

Just gotta FOCUS.

Here are four guys who I’m buying, selling and who I think will be steals based on their price and their matchups this week on FanDuel. Now, because it’s always fun to has some form of winning and losing, for one player in each group I give a success line, which is the minimum—or maximum for the “sell” guy—number of points they need to score for me to be happy about my choice. These will be the three guys I feel most confident in heading into the weekend.

With all that said, here are names to keep in mind, for good and bad, when you start to create your FanDuel lineups.


QB Alex Smith vs Giants ($7,900): Does FanDuel know something I don’t know? Is the person who runs the site and makes up all the prices a Giants fan and just blind to how bad this defense is? Is Andy Reid about to blow everyone’s collective mindhole by starting Pat Mahomes instead of Smith this week? I don’t know. What I do know is that Smith, the man averaging 21.1 fantasy points per game, is facing the WORST PASS DEFENSE IN THE NFL at limiting opposing quarterbacks and he’s currently the 10th most expensive signal caller. Riddle me that Batman. Yes in recent weeks Smith hasn’t been the avalanche of fantasy points he was back in the first couple of weeks but he’s playing against a defense that just made C.J. Beathard look like a starting quarterback. Alex Smith going for 100.
Success line: 20 points

RB Melvin Gordon vs Bills ($7,800): Here’s the only stat you need to know about this pick: over the last three games, the Bills defense have allowed 43.2 points to opposing running backs. Per game. For what it’s worth the next closest is Denver with 32.5 FPPG. Now I understand that number gets skewed a lot when you give up 47 points to the Saints but Drew Brees doesn’t throw a touchdown, but I’m also going to say that maybe you shouldn’t trade your best run defender and expect there not to be some negative consequences. Just saying. Gordon has had some rough games the past couple of weeks but I think this is the game he gets back on track.

RB Jordan Howard vs Lions ($7,400): I really had high hopes for Howard last week against the Packers. Facing off against an average Packers run defense—but one that’s 22nd in the league in fantasy points allowed—I thought the Bears would rely on Howard to carry the team to victory. Welp, I’m taking that thought process and just moving it to this week. That shouldn’t be a problem right? The Lions are a much worse run defense (27th, allowing 8th most fantasy points per RORD) and are coming off a game where they allowed the Browns to run all over them.

WR Brandin Cooks vs Raiders ($7,700): Cooks is coming off his best game this season in terms of targets (11) and receptions (T-6) and is about to face the worst pass defense in the NFL (per ROPE). Just straight up the worst. No qualifiers. It’s always risky business beating on a Patriot not named Tom Brady to perform but given how successful Cooks was against the Raiders last year for the Saints—nine targets, six receptions, 143 yards, two touchdowns—I wouldn’t be surprised to see a heavy dose of the receiver this weekend. Also, since Sterling Shepard costs a little too much for a “steal” I’ll put his name here as well. He’s playing the Chiefs. My job here is done.


QB Matthew Stafford vs Bears ($8,000): While this may sound crazy given Stafford’s recent fantasy success, I remind you that while the Bears offense is seriously lacking, the Bears defense is actually pretty good, especially against the pass. (Also if you think this is crazy, just wait till you read my second “sell”.) The Bears have allowed only four passing touchdowns at home and Stafford does not have the best track record at Soldier Field, having thrown nine touchdowns to 11 interceptions there in eight games throughout his career. Here’s to hoping I can fix my track record at the expense of ol’ Matty.
Success line: under 15 points

RB Leonard Fournette vs Browns ($9,300): Here are some facts:

  • Fournette is the most expensive player this weekend by a good $600
  • The Browns have the second best run defense in the NFL
  • Cleveland has allowed only 3.1 yards per attempt this season (1st in NFL) and 19.5 points per game to opposing running backs (8th in NFL)
  • Fournette is coming off easily his worst game of the season against one of the worst run defenses in the league

You can digest those facts however you want to but I’m taking them to mean that I shouldn’t be spending 15% of my budget on Fournette. You can direct all anger and outrage to @petemrogers. Bring it on.

Every NFC North WR: But I’m actually serious. Let’s start with the Bears. Who on the Bears would you ever, EVER consider starting? Check. I already said Stafford might not have the best game which if course would hinder the performances of Golden Tate ($7,600) and Marvin Jones ($6,700). Plus, the Bears are the 12th best team in the NFL at limiting opposing wide receivers. Check. The Packers are playing the Ravens who are currently second at limiting opposing wideouts. I don’t trust Brett Hundley to get Jordy Nelson ($6,400) and Davante Adams ($6,700) involved enough to be worth their price tag. Check. Finally, the Vikings. Now originally I was going to just pick these two guys as my sells but then I saw Adams and Jordy and thought, “I’d also sell them as well” so hence this whole paragraph. Anyway, the Rams have the third best pass defense in the NFL (per ROPE) and are fourth in fantasy points allowed. But more than that, the Rams struggle at stopping the run, something I’d expect Minnesota to take advantage of with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Adam Thielen ($7,700) and Stefon Diggs ($7,500) aren’t the worst starts, but I don’t think they’re going to get you the kind of production you’ll be looking for. Especially Thielen, given that DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones and Cooks cost as much as him.


QB Eli Manning vs Chiefs ($6,500): It’s been well documented what you can do against this Chiefs defense. Here’s to hoping Eli and Ben McAdoo can take advantage.

RB Kenyan Drake vs Buccaneers ($5,600): The Bucs have allowed the 11th most points to opposing running backs the last three weeks and Drake is the only thing that the Dolphins have going for them.
Success line: 10 points

WR Jamison Crowder vs Saints ($5,400): While the Saints’ pass defense has been on the rapid rise, they struggle with receivers out of the slot, which is exactly where Crowder does his damage.

WR Dontrelle Inman vs Lions ($4,900): But wait, didn’t you say no NFC wide receivers? Yea but the Bears gotta throw the ball somewhere.