NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 11: The Grind Down
Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.
Every game will be broken down with a DFS-first mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS cheat sheet of stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.
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Sports Betting Lines and Overview
Seattle Seahawks DFS Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Tyler Lockett (Probable)
Chris Carson (Questionable)
Travis Homer (Doubtful)
Running Game Outlook
I’ll never complain about watching football, but this is one of the few Thursday night games that I am actually looking forward to. On paper, this is one of the best games of the week. The Cardinals and Seahawks are both 6-3 and tied atop the NFC West. The winner of tonight’s game will take a half-game lead over the Rams.
The Seahawks have had a number of injuries to their backfield over the last few weeks, but are hoping to have Chris Carson back in the lineup this evening. He is shaping up to be a game-time decision, but did practice on a limited basis and according to Pete Carroll, “looked good in all the stuff that he did.” Adam Schefter’s sources aren’t as optimistic, as he reports that Carson is unlikely to play. If he’s able to suit up, we’ll have to keep an ear to the ground to see if he’s going to be limited in any fashion. Alex Collins, DeeJay Dallas, and Travis Homer have split the work over the last two games, but Carlos Hyde is expected back this week after practicing in full on Tuesday.
As far as the matchup is concerned, this is about as mediocre of a spot as you will find for a backfield. On the season, the Cardinals are ranked 11th in DVOA against the run, 15th in defensive adjusted line yards, and 12th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Seahawks have an average run-blocking unit up front, but will be without guards Ethan Pocic and Jordan Simmons. At the end of the day, this comes down to who is available for Seattle. If Carson is ruled out, Hyde will likely lead the backfield in touches at a reasonable price point of $5,200 on DraftKings and $8,000 on FanDuel. Dallas would be a fine value play as well, as he would likely be the primary pass-catching back at a price of only $600 on DraftKings. If Carson is active, predicting touches will become much more difficult.
Passing Game Outlook
Russell Wilson finally had a bad game last week against the Rams, but we can overlook one bad outing. He is still averaging 30 fantasy points per game this season. To be honest, the best thing that happened to Russ in terms of fantasy production was a step-back for the defense. The coaches have no choice but to “let him cook,” as they can no longer win football games by scoring 20 points each week. Wilson is viable in every main slate he’s on, so he’s certainly a strong option for a showdown slate on Thursday night. A matchup against the Cardinals is nothing to be worried about, as they are ranked 13th in DVOA against the pass and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. There was talk of Arizona having his number earlier in the season, but he put that narrative to rest after dropping 36 fantasy points against them in Week 7.
The question isn’t whether or not to play Russ, it’s whether to pair him up with DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett. Metcalf has been the more consistent of the two, but they have traded off big games all season. If you like statistics, Lockett leads the team in targets (79) and receptions (58), while Metcalf leads the team in receiving yards (816), air yards (1,066), and receiving touchdowns (8). When these teams squared off earlier in the season, Lockett went absolutely nuclear, catching 15-of-20 targets for 200 yards and three touchdowns. I know the industry is getting sharper each and every year, but this has to lead to inflated ownership, right? I plan to build multiple lineups in order to gets stacks with both talented receivers, but plan to have a tad more exposure to Metcalf (hoping for lower ownership).
The rest of the wideouts for the Seahawks are usually easy fades in large slates, but we shouldn’t be too quick to get them out of our player pool. We need value plays in order to fit all of the studs in this game and there always seems to be that one random player that has a big game for these showdown slates. David Moore is the clear WR3 in this offense, but Freddie Swain had season highs in receptions (3), targets (4), and receiving yards (37) last week against the Rams. All the talk heading into Week 10 was the increased role for Jacob Hollister, but he only played on 7% of the snaps and only saw one target. Meanwhile, Greg Olsen had his highest snap share (72%) of the season and saw four targets.
Strong GPP Differentiators: DK Metcalf
My Expected Team Exposure: High
Arizona Cardinals Projections Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Maxx Williams (Questionable)
Darrell Daniels (Questionable)
Running Game Outlook
Many had high hopes for Kenyan Drake entering the season and even more had high hopes for Chase Edmonds in the week Drake missed. Despite a string of great matchups, the starting running back for the Cardinals has largely underwhelmed this season. Drake did have a big game against the Cowboys, but most of his production came in garbage time when the Cardinals were trying to milk the clock and he broke off a long touchdown. In Drake’s first game back from injury, it was essentially a 50/50 time split in last week’s game against the Bills. Drake played on 52% of the snaps and had 17 touches, while Edmonds played on 49% of the snaps and had 11 touches.
This might be a situation to avoid in full slates, but there are enough touches for both running backs to be productive in showdown contests. Their matchup against the Seahawks isn’t perfect, but it could certainly be worse. On the season, Seattle is ranked ninth in DVOA against the run, ninth in defensive adjusted line yards, and 22nd in fantasy points allowed to running backs. A large portion of the production they have allowed to the position has been through the air and Edmonds has been the clear pass-catching back in this offense. In fact, Drake doesn’t have a single game this season with more than two targets. We have the two projected similarly and Edmonds is significantly cheaper across the industry. I’ll have exposure to both, but slightly prefer Edmonds if choosing between the two.
Passing Game Outlook:
Kyler Murray has been every bit as good as Russell Wilson this season and has actually averaged more fantasy points per game. DeAndre Hopkins deserves most of the credit for that ridiculous game-winning catch against the Bills, but Murray evaded the pass rush and threw the ball across his body on the run to give his best receiver a chance. He has now scored at least 24 fantasy points in every game so far this season, largely thanks to his high rushing floor. He’s racked up six rushing touchdowns over the last five weeks and has at least 60 rushing yards in four straight games. The Seahawks are vulnerable against the pass (26th in DVOA) and have allowed the 10th most rushing yards to quarterbacks. In their meeting earlier this season, Murray put up 41 fantasy points.
That Hail Mary by the Cardinals swung a lot of dollars in the DFS community, as it put Hopkins over the 100-yard bonus. Despite a brutal matchup against Tre’Davious White, he still saw 12 targets last week against the Bills. The Seahawks already have one of the worst secondaries in football and will now be without two of their top cornerbacks in Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin. Murray should be able to pick this defense apart, making him my top overall play of the slate. Hopkins is an elite play in his own right, but we don’t have enough salary to play all of these studs in the same lineup. He caught 10-of-12 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown when these teams squared off in Week 7.
The touchdown streak for Christian Kirk came to an end last week, but I get the feeling that he’ll start a new one this week against a beat up secondary. He’s not a player that will get peppered with targets each week, but has an aDOT over 12 yards on the season. He has slate-breaking upside and could slip through the cracks given his elevated price point. Larry Fitzgerald has the lowest aDOT on the team and has yet to score a touchdown, which has really limited his upside. He’s likely good for four catches and 40 yards, but will need to find the endzone to be a difference-maker in this slate. Andy Isabella only plays a handful of snaps each week, but only needs to catch one deep target to pay off his salary. He can be added to your MME player pool. And finally, Dan Arnold could become a strong value play if Maxx Williams and/or Darrell Daniels can’t suit up.
My Expected Team Exposure: High