NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 11: The Grind Down - Vikings vs. Cowboys
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
Minnesota Vikings DFS Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Irv Smith Jr. missed Week 10 with a groin injury but is trending toward playing in Week 11.
Running Game Outlook
Currently expected to be one of the highest owned players despite the highest price tag on the slate, Dalvin Cook will look to return to form after a “disappointing” Week 10 performance against a strong Bears defense. Prior to last week, Cook was on an absolute tear, racking up 478 total yards and scoring six touchdowns across Week’s 8-9. Cook has seen an absolutely ridiculous workload since returning from injury, averaging 30 touches over his last three games. That insane workload is what makes Cook one of the “safest” plays of the week. Add in a home matchup as 7.5-point favorites against a Cowboys defense that ranks 28th in rush defense DVOA and it’s easy to understand why Cook is the top overall play on the slate.
Passing Game Outlook
As is typically the case with Minnesota’s passing attack, concerns about lack of volume are the biggest hindrance to Kirk Cousin’s, Justin Jefferson’s, and Adam Thielen’s Week 11 fantasy outlooks. In an ideal Mike Zimmer world, the Vikings would run the ball for 4-yards every play and score a touchdown while taking 8 minutes off the game clock. Zimmer’s propensity to run the ball puts a ceiling on the Vikings’ passing attack and it’s tough to envision a scenario in which the Cowboys will be able to make Minnesota throw the ball more this week. Kirk Cousins has thrown the ball more than 27 times just three times this season and I would argue that our current projection of 32 passing attempts for him this week is a bit ambitious.
The positive thing about Minnesota’s passing attack is that although it lacks volume, it’s extremely concentrated and for the most part we know where that volume is going. Heavy concentration is why we can still project both Thielen and Jefferson for near double-digit targets this week. The two Minnesota receivers have combined for over a 50% target share this year and over a 52% target share if you take out the first two games of the season in which Jefferson was playing behind Bisi Johnson as the team’s third receiver.
All of that is a long-winded way of saying, even though the Vikings are unlikely to throw the ball much this week, Jefferson and Thielen still make for strong plays in all formats. As the cheaper option, Jefferson is one of the strongest point-per-dollar receiving options on the slate. Thielen is the more touchdown-dependent option and I would argue he’s the best leverage play off the heavily owned Cook.
Strong GPP Differentiators: Adam Thielen
Roster Construction Punts/Values: Irv Smith Jr.
My Expected Team Exposure: High
Dallas Cowboys Projections Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Andy Dalton was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and is expected to start.
Running Game Outlook
Poor Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys’ star running back hasn’t cracked double-digit fantasy points since Week 6, totaling just 159 rushing yards on 49 attempts in the three games since. Much of Elliott’s ineffectiveness can be chalked up to an injured offensive line and lack of passing game, both issues that aren’t going to be solved this season. Despite his lack of production, it is encouraging that Zeke has racked up 20 touches in back-to-back games, which theoretically gives him some volume-driven upside, even for a terrible offense. It feels bad, but I don’t mind taking some shots on Zeke in tournaments this week on the off chance that the bye week in combination with Andy Dalton return sparks a little fire into the Cowboys offense.
Passing Game Outlook:
Andy Dalton is expected to start under center for the Cowboys who draw a good on-paper matchup for their passing attack. While Minnesota’s defense has been much better of late, they have still allowed the fourth-most points per game to the WR position this season. In Dalton’s limited action, CeeDee Lamb has led the team with 19 targets followed by Amari Cooper 18 targets. We currently have both guys projected for a 20%+ target share this week which makes them tournament viable in a game Dallas may see increased passing volume playing from behind.
Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz are cheaper ways to get exposure to this Dallas passing attack in tournaments. As the Cowboys downfield threat, Gallup has the ability to pay off his dirt-cheap price tag with one play.
Strong Projections: None
My Expected Team Exposure: Low