As playoff races start to take shape and contenders start to distance themselves from pretenders, DraftKings has another great 11-game main slate on Sunday afternoon. In Week 11, the Buffalo Bills, the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers will get the week to rest and recover on their scheduled bye week. More important for fantasy purposes, the high-scoring offenses of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are absent from this slate since they’re playing in various primetime matchups.
With those big-time fantasy options missing, you may need to great creative as you assemble your lineups. Don’t worry; there are still some great games on tap for Sunday afternoon with seven games in the early wave and four kicking off around 4:00 p.m. ET. The Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens meet in one of the best early matchups, and we’ll also get our first look at Jameis Winston ($5,900) as starter for the New Orleans Saints as they host the Atlanta Falcons in the only divisional clash on the main slate. The late window features the Minnesota Vikings hosting the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts welcoming in the Green Bay Packers in a matchup of first-place teams from different conferences.
As you look through all the matchups to build your DraftKings roster for this slate, make sure to take a look at the affordable plays listed below that come loaded with upside. Each week, I dive into the bargain bin and give you my favorite cheap plays based on recent form, matchup and expected opportunity. Check out the plays I like the most this Sunday.
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($6,000 and under)
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, $5,900 – Coach Sean Payton said that Winston and Taysom Hill ($4,800) will compete for the starting job in practice this week, but I think Winston is the better option at this point for the Saints’ offense. Hill could get a little more work down the stretch if the Saints open up a lead and need to burn the clock, but switching from Drew Brees (ribs) to Winston is a much easier transition and doesn’t require the overhaul of the offense it would take to go to Hill as the full-time starter. In relief of Brees last week, Winston looked fine but not spectacular, completing 6-of-10 passes for 63 yards. Given the game situation, though, he was asked to be a game manager and filled that role nicely while avoiding the turnovers that have plagued him in the past. In his limited work Sunday, it seemed that Winston has a good grasp of the offense and deserves a chance to revitalize his career much like Teddy Bridgewater ($6,400) did filling in for Brees last season.
Remember, Winston was a pretty solid fantasy option just last season, averaging 23.3 DKFP in his 16 starts for the Bucs. He produced 29.3 DKFP and 16.5 DKFP in his two starts against the Falcons, and will be in a very favorable spot against his familiar division foe once again. The Falcons have allowed the fifth-most DKFP to QBs and have surrendered 322.6 passing yards per game along with 22 passing touchdowns in their nine contests. While they have been a little better lately, the only time they have held a team under 300 yards passing this season was in the rain-soaked Thursday Night Football game in Carolina. Winston should be set up for success in this matchup as he tries to show he can be a starter in the NFL going forward.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team, $5,500 – Winston was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and five years later Burrow was the top selection off the board. He has gotten off to a nice start to his career even though the Bengals are only 2-6-1. Cincinnati knocked off the Titans two weeks ago, but they were thoroughly beaten by the Steelers last week, 36-10. Burrow only managed 12.52 DKFP against Pittsburgh, his second-lowest total of the season. However, there were some signs of hope, and with a much easier matchup I think he’ll bounce back with a strong showing on the road this week.
Even in that loss, Burrow was allowed to throw the ball 40 times, and he has averaged 41.1 passing attempts per game so far in his rookie season. Not only is he being asked to throw the ball a lot, he’s throwing the ball deep, with the third highest intended air yards in the NFL behind only Tom Brady and Carson Wentz ($5,700). Burrow will get a favorable matchup against Washington, who just gave up 276 yards and three passing touchdowns to a banged-up Matthew Stafford ($6,000) last week and has also allowed big games to every non-NFC East QB they have faced all season with the exception of Baker Mayfield ($5,400).
Other Option: Tua Tagovailoa ($5,800)
($5,000 and under)
Salvon Ahmed, Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos, $4,800 – The Broncos’ defense gave up 193 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to the Raiders’ RBs last week with both Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker posting monster games. Denver has been very beatable on the ground over the past four weeks, which could set up Ahmed for a second straight big game filling in for Myles Gaskin (knee), who cannot return until after this week’s game. Even with Gaskin out and Matt Breida ($4,000; hamstring) sidelined the past two weeks, the Dolphins were comfortable enough with Ahmed as their lead back to cut veteran Jordan Howard earlier this week.
As the last man standing this past week, Ahmed started and had a big workload against the Chargers, carrying the ball 21 times for 85 yards and a touchdown while hauling in his only target to finish with a solid 16.0 DKFP. He actually was more efficient than those numbers indicate since three of his carries went for negative five yards on the final drive when the Dolphins were just milking the clock. If Breida is able to return, Ahmed could lose some work, but either way, he is likely to remain the power back with Breida sprinkled in on passing downs. Based on the matchup and his success last week, Ahmed is in a great spot to produce another big game from under $5K.
Devine Ozigbo, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, $4,000 – Ozigbo is a long shot, but he could end up in a good place to perform and step into a larger role this week. He has yet to have a catch or carry this season, but this week should change that barring setback. When the Jaguars parted ways with Leonard Fournette at the beginning of the season, some thought Ozigbo would actually be the lead back in Jacksonville, but he started the season on IR after sustaining a hamstring injury before the season. He returned from IR in Week 7 but suffered a setback in warmups and didn’t play. Ozigbo is expected to practice this week and could get his first action of the season against the Steelers.
The Jaguars need some RB depth since Chris Thompson (back) was placed on IR this week. Thompson has played 30% of Jacksonville’s snaps this season and has been closer to 50% of snaps in some of the games while serving as the primary backup for James Robinson ($6,400). The other candidate for some work is Dare Ogunbowale ($4,000), but he has much less upside long-term than Ozigbo, who is just a second-year player. Ozigbo got a lot of buzz coming into the season from the beat writers and coaches and was hailed as a three-down option. He comes with very high risk this week since he’s totally unproven, but especially if the game gets non-competitive, the Jaguars could get a long look at Ozigbo against the Steelers. If you’re looking for a high-upside play at the minimum, Ozigbo fits the bill as long as he practices this week and is healthy for the first time all season.
Other Options: Rex Burkhead ($4,600), La’Mical Perine ($4,400)
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($5,000 and under)
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, $4,800 – Davis was held without a catch in Week 9 against the Bears, but he bounced back with five catches for 67 yards and 11.7 DKFP against the Colts last week. Davis has stepped up this season for the Titans and has 48 targets in his seven games with at least five catches in five of those contests. He had a huge 128-yard, 29.8-DKFP performance against the Bengals in Week 8 and received double-digit targets in both that game and the previous contest against the Steelers.
The 2017 first-round pick has finally started to deliver on his draft pedigree and will continue to be an important part of the Titans’ offense as they take on the Ravens. He has the highest average depth of target on the team and should be a frequent enough target to be a potential value even in a tough matchup against the Ravens’ secondary.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts vs. Green Bay Packers, $4,500 – In last Thursday’s game against the Titans, Pittman had a breakout performance with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown on his way to 22.2 DKFP. The second-round rookie from USC has been limited by injury for much of the season but now looks ready to contribute to the Colts’ offense. He played 87% of snaps in each of his past two contests and looked much more dynamic than T.Y. Hilton ($4,200), who returned from a groin injury but continued to be a letdown.
Since returning to full health, Pittman has looked the part of the WR1 in Indy, and he definitely has the focus of Philip Rivers ($5,600) and the coaching staff. He has seen 15 targets over the last two games and is a nice blend of size and speed making him both a red zone option and a downfield threat. If the targets keep coming his way, he should have another big game against Green Bay.
Breshad Perriman, New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers, $4,300 — Another WR stepping into a bigger role now that he’s healthy is Perriman, who could be the Jets’ top WR now that he’s past a nagging ankle issue and a concussion. The bye week should only help him get healthier, and before the bye he had by far his best game of the season. Against the Patriots on Monday Night Football, Perriman caught 5-of-7 targets for 101 yards, two touchdowns and 30.1 DKFP.
In other good news, Perriman had two red zone looks in Week 9, more than any other RB, WR or TE on the Jets. He has the big-play speed to break long touchdowns but can also be a nice possession option. The Chargers have been pretty good against opposing WRs, but the Jets will likely have to air it out as they play from behind like they have all season. With Joe Flacco ($5,000) back under center another week, Perriman has a very high ceiling if he remains the preferred option.
KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos vs. Miami Dolphins, $3,600 – The Broncos have been leaning heavily on their two rookie WRs this season after an injury to Courtland Sutton (knee). While Jerry Jeudy ($5,300) has stepped up as the WR1, Hamler is also getting a ton of work and remains very affordable. The second-round rookie from Penn State has been targeted 10 times in each of his past two games and been able to catch 10 passes for 125 yards total. He also had the memorable game-winning walk-off touchdown the previous week against the Chiefs.
Hamler played a team-high 87% of snaps in Week 10 against the Raiders and has regularly been on the field for over 75% of Denver’s offense. Hamler hasn’t been able to connect on many long catches yet, but has had a lot of success on taking shorter checkdown passes and turning them upfield for big gains. He’ll look to continue his success against a Miami defense with a good pass rush, which could force QB Drew Lock to check down more quickly and let Hamler do the work after the catch.
Other Options: Jakobi Meyers ($4,900), Curtis Samuel ($4,700), Jalen Reagor ($4,300), Jakeem Grant ($3,500), Cam Sims ($3,300)
($4,000 and under)
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $3,900 – Hooper had a very quiet return from a three-week absence due to his appendectomy. He only was targeted twice and had one catch for 11 yards against the Texans. However, the game was played in awful weather and Baker Mayfield only had 12 completions for 132 yards. While the Browns will definitely want to rely on the run again this week, they will likely be able to throw the ball a little more and Hooper should get back into the flow against the Eagles.
Philadelphia has allowed the most DKFP to TE in the NFL and had given up six catches or a touchdown to opposing TEs in three straight before limiting Evan Engram to just two grabs last week. Since Hooper looks healthy and ready to resume his role as the TE1, he and Mayfield should get back on track and resume building the chemistry they were starting to find before Hooper’s illness, when Hooper hauled in five catches in three straight contests.
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $3,300 – Thomas had four catches for a season-high 66 yards last week against the Lions and continues to be a go-to option for whoever plays QB for Washington. Alex Smith ($5,300) is a champion of checking down and Thomas was targeted six times last Sunday, giving him 52 targets in his nine games this season.
The big tight end has a good matchup against the Bengals this week, who have allowed the second-most DKFP to TEs this season, including seven TE touchdowns in their nine games. Thomas has had at least one red zone target in six games this season, so he has a good shot of finding the end zone this week, making him a great option to consider at just over $3K.
Other Options: Dalton Schultz ($3,600), Jordan Akins ($2,500)
($2,800 and under)
Lions DST, Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers, $2,700 – The Lions will be on the road this week against a banged-up Teddy Bridgewater, who is expected to play through his knee injury sustained last week. Bridgewater does rely on his mobility, though, so he could struggle if he’s not quite 100%. The Lions have produced at least 4.0 DKFP in four of their past five games and have eight sacks and four takeaways over that span. If Christian McCaffrey ($9,400) is able to return, this becomes a tougher matchup, but if he’s sidelined another week, the Lions’ DST will be worth a cheap flier play.
Titans DST, Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, $2,500 — While the rain definitely played a part slowing down the Ravens last week, the once unstoppable rushing attack has been struggling the past few weeks. While the weather shouldn’t be an issue against the Titans this week, they will still be dealing with key injuries on the offensive line and aren’t an automatic “Stay Away” matchup. The Titans’ DST will be looking to bounce back after getting shown up on Thursday Night Football last week, but prior to that game they had actually been a pretty productive unit with at least 5.0 DKFP in five of their previous seven matchups. They have more upside than the other cheap units this week as they try to limit Lamar Jackson ($7,300).
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