It is Saturday morning as I write the Week 11 daily fantasy (DFS) football picks. And the crazy thing is how much is still unknown. Elijah Mitchell is unlikely to play for example and James Robinson is likely to play. But I sure wouldn't bet the house on either of those being the case. And that's just due to injury.
We also have a bunch of players in the COVID-19 protocols. They could be clear to play (Ben Roethlisberger has), or not (no Amari Cooper for the next two games). This is in no way the strangest week I've seen, even if we discount last year. However, this is probably the most uncertain week we have had so far this season. The one thing I can 100 precent promise you is that something wonky is going to happen in this weekend's slate. Might be in cash games, might be in GPPs. Could happen in both. But I promise you it will happen.
Speaking of GPP and cash games, I remind you that I will go through each position and list one "safe" pick and one "high-risk/high-reward" pick. The first is essentially a cash-game play and the second is a GPP play. I also will make sure that said player is priced proportionately about the same across DraftKings, FanDuel, and the other major sites. And in week 11, there is some definitely varied pricing, but we'll get to that! For those of you unfamiliar with DFS, do yourself a favor and look up cash games vs. GPPs. Or hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) and I will explain it to you personally.
Take a deep breath and get ready for the wonkiness as I make my Week 11 DFS picks.
Teams on bye: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams
Safe Quarterback Week 11 Pick
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys (DK $7600, FD $8300) & Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $7200, FD $8400)
This game has the highest over/under of the week at an obese 56.5, more than a TD higher than any other game. And while I don't think 70-plus points total is going to happen, it would not shock me. We all know this is going to be a high-scoring game on both sides. Therefore I like both the QBs in this game. The two sites pricing these quarterbacks slightly differently makes sense. However, I'm happy to take the cheaper option in cash entries on either site. I know I'm going to need that salary later.
And I suspect I don't really need to tell you all the reasons to play either of these quarterbacks. I think a combined 45 touchdown passes (both top five in the league) is plenty of reason alone.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 11 Pick
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $5600, FD $7100)
Garoppolo on the other hand is not even in the top 20 for TD passes or even one of the top 20 fantasy QBs this season. He has yet to have a three-TD game this season. And I'm suggesting him for a GPP play?
Yes, I am. First off, Deebo Samuel is making Garoppolo look like Joe Montana recently. Moreover, the 49ers are playing Jacksonville. The Jaguars are allowing more than 24 fantasy points per game to QBs. Even if Garoppolo falls a little under that mark, he will still make us a nice little profit at his salary cost. And with the 49ers pass catchers getting healthier and improving, I like Garoppolo to have his first three-TD game this week.
Safe Running Back Week 11 Pick
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $7700, FD $8500)
First off, I suffered from a case of sticker shock when I saw the pricing on the top three RB options on FanDuel. Alvin Kamara is out. Dalvin Cook (vs. Green Bay) is very tempting but for about the same price on either site, I prefer Elliott. He has been more productive as he has more rushing yards and more than twice the rushing touchdowns. Plus the Packers' defense is a much tougher matchup than the Chiefs. Zeke will be a popular pick, but in cash games, that is just fine.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 11 Pick
Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (DK $4200, FD $5100)
Chase Edmonds is on IR. I know James Conner is killing it right now, but he's due for some regression. And I like Benjamin as a low-owned, high-leverage play on both sites, especially if Kyler Murray is still gimpy.
Let's even suppose that Conner continues to put up his 14-15 fantasy points per game average. Seattle is giving up easily twice that to running backs this season, meaning there are plenty of points to be had in the Arizona backfield. Benjamin is the Cardinals' RB2 right now and should get his points this week.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 11 Pick
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $7600, FD $8000)
Amari Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 is out for this game (and could miss next week's Thanksgiving Day contest against Las Vegas as well). So while Michael Gallup suddenly becomes a more intriguing option, I am going with the guy who is leading the Cowboys in targets. He also happens to be at least $500 cheaper than Tyreek Hill.
Lamb is averaging more than five catches a game and should easily surpass this against the Chiefs. Lamb also has three 100-yard games on the year. After Sunday, he'll have four.
High Risk/High Reward Wide Receiver Week 11 Pick
Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns (DK $3000, FD $4800)
We are going deeeep with this pick. If you want something a little less bargain-basement, consider Robby Anderson (whom I discussed earlier in the week), one of the Texans' WRs, or any in the Ravens/Bears game. But Reynolds is a very intriguing lottery ticket this week.
I actually liked Reynolds earlier this month, but he was still a bit gimpy and learning the Lions playbook. All reports coming out of Detroit is that Reynolds will not only play, but start. Cleveland is giving up the 10th-most WR fantasy points per game and I think Reynolds' size (6-3, 192) will help win any 50/50 ball against the Cleveland secondary. And we've seen Reynolds score plenty of times before.
There are far worse deep plays you could choose and I love Reynolds for the minimum on DK this week.
Safe Tight End Week 11 Pick
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys (DK $7100, FD $7300)
The No. 1 fantasy TE in a game with the highest over/under? Yeah, I think I want some of that.
High Risk/High Reward Tight End Week 11 Pick
Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens (DK $3400, FD $5100)
I'm usually pivoting off Kelce down to Dawson Knox in most of my GPP entries, but you are probably sick of me recommending him. So instead I suggest Kmet, whom I featured in one of my start/sit articles for this week. Go read that for why I like him this week.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 11 Pick
San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $3700, FD $4900)
Honestly, I don't feel confident about any DST this week. The ones ranked at the top feel way overpriced. The ones in the middle have major questions. And the ones at the bottom are attractively priced but scare the beejeezus out of me.
I'll take fantasy's No. 18 DST (which has been better over the last three weeks) against the NFL's second-worst offense. Set it and forget it.
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 11 Pick
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers (DK $2300, FD $3400)
When these two teams meet you can throw out the seasonal records. And Minnesota absolutely has to win this game to have any chance of making the playoffs this season. I think Mike Zimmer and his staff will throw everything they can at Aaron Rodgers and company to help get them off the field. And given that in the last five years the Vikings are 6-4-1 against Green Bay, I don't see Green Bay coming into U.S. Bank Stadium and blowing them out.
The other thing I like about this pick is that when you look at fantasy points per game down in this range, the Vikings' average sticks out like a sore thumb. It might have something to do with the fact that they are tied for the league lead in sacks (29) despite playing in one fewer game than the Browns and Rams.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.