For this week, we will feature 6 QBs. I know that is a lot to consider but I don't believe there is a clear cut QB to roster (unlike the last 2 weeks). We will just jump right into it so here is an image displaying the results of my QB analysis.
For those who are data scientists/statisticians, you might be wondering about the formula I use for predicted DraftKings (DK) score and how I came about that formula. I am happy to share the formula and residual plots which are shown below.
My QB model uses multiple linear regression and the coefficient that has the most weight is a logarithmic transformation of DK salary. Given that I will be on Thanksgiving break next week (the free time is a welcomed change!), I will put together an article going into more details about the model and how I trained and tested it. I will also show how the model compares to actual QB scores from the past few weeks of this season.
For now, let's keep our focus on Week 11. You will see that Lamar Jackson is my top rated QB. He hasn't had quite the same success this year as he did last year. However, he is still a very talented QB and will be facing a weak pass defense. His ownership might be low so you definitely want to have him on your roster when he finally has his first monster game of this season.
Justin Herbert is the 2nd highest rated QB. He had a tough game against Miami (a defense we love this week) but for the most part he has played more like a veteran than a rookie. He gets one of the weakest teams in the NFL and will be playing at home. Oddly he doesn't correlate well with Keenan Allen but I still intend on having at least one lineup with both of them in there.
After that we have Aaron Rodgers and Teddy Bridgewater. While I love Rodgers, playing on the road in Indianapolis makes me nervous. The Colts defense is no joke and Frank Reich is a terrific coach. He will wisely rotate his RBs so that they stay fresh while controlling the clock. The Packers run defense is not very good and Colts QB Philip Rivers has done an admirable job of managing the offense. The best defense against Rodgers is to keep him on the sidelines and that is what I expect will happen. As for Bridgewater, I don't want to take my chances given his current injury. Plus there are more reliable options for roughly the same price.
Jameis Winston comes in at 7th but with Saints head coach Sean Payton's vacillation about who will start tomorrow and his propensity to rotate Taysom Hill behind center frome time to time (he will most likely have Hill play more snaps than usual), I think it's best to avoid that QB situation on DK. However, I LOVE Hill as my tight end on FanDuel (FD) but more on that later.
Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan are two of my favorites for QB. They are cheaper options than Jackson and Herbert and can outperform them. Plus they have strong correlations with their top pass catchers. I will definitely feature some stacks that include them. Lastly, the Patriots - Texans stack is an intriguing one. I suspect it will be largely overlooked given that Houston is 2-7 and the Patriots are no longer a Super Bowl contender with a 4-5 record. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots defense ranks dead last and Houston is 28th. In fact the bottom two run defenses are New England and Houston. You have two very good QBs in Cam Newton and DeShaun Watson and super cheap options at RB and WR. If you want to pay up for Dalvin Cook or Alvin Kamara (or perhaps both), then the game in Houston is your one-stop shop for DFS value plays.
Before we begin building our stacks, it is important to invest in one defense and to not change our mind. That defense will be the Dolphins. Last year the Miami defensive unit looked terrible from Weeks 1 - 4 but this season they are the reason why the Dolphins should be back in the postseason for the first time since 2016 and could even win their first playoff game since 2000. My defense analysis (using linear regression with offensive - defensive DVOA differential between home and road teams in each game used as the input) is shown below.
While the Bengals and Redskins are better values on DK, I can't justify going with Cincinnati given that they have had 3 negative DK scores. While Washington has had two games with double digit scores, the Bengals offense is not that bad. Miami presents the 3rd best value and the highest predicted DK score. Even better is that the Dolphins get a juicy matchup against Denver. The Broncos offense ranks dead last based on Football Outsiders offensive DVOA metric. Furthermore, no other team has turned the ball over more than the Bronocs while they are 7th to last in yardage gained and 5th in points scored. The Dolphins rank 3rd in takeaways and they have climbed the rankings in most other defensive categories. There is a good chance Denver QB Drew Lock might have to sit out this game due to injury and I am getting all of this for $3400. Sign me up! The Steelers offense will be popular and rightfully so but I can't justify paying $4600 for them on DK when Miami can do better for $1200 less.
The tight end position tends to be a crapshoot and most likely I will pair my starting QB with his tight end. For example, Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews make a for a very nice Ravens stack. You can say the same for Jackson's former teammate Hayden Hurst who now has Matt Ryan as his QB. However, I want Taysom Hill on FD. With Drew Brees out due to a rib injury, there is a good chance that Hill gets more than his usual snap count. Sean Payton will probably use Winston more often at QB but I can see some drives that feauture Hill behind center. His nickname is the "swiss army knife" for good reason. He is a moveable piece who can also get you points as a runner and receiver. For $4500 as a tight end on FD, this is the type of chalk you have to eat. In fact, I would classify him as a "free square" for those who remember the game bingo as a kid. Don't get cute here. You play Hill. Period.
Where the skill part of DFS comes into play is how you use your salary savings to construct a robust lineup. Now we are ready to build our stacks and find our star players! There are several high priced options in favorable matchups who can break the slate. Here is a list of those slate breaking players (40 or more points on DK) this season.
Week 1: Davante Adams 44.6
Week 2: Aaron Jones 48.6
Week 3: Alvin Kamara 47.7 / Tyler Lockett 40
Week 4: Joe Mixon 45.1 / George Kittle 43.1
Week 5: Chase Claypool 45.6
Week 6: Derrick Henry 43.4 / Justin Jefferson 42.6
Week 7: Tyler Lockett 56 / Davante Adams 47.6
Week 8: Dalvin Cook 51.6 / D.K. Metcalf 43.1
Week 9: Dalvin Cook 42.2
Week 10: Alvin Kamara 34.8 (it was a low scoring week overall for NFL DFS)
Claypool was an exception but all of the other players mentioned above were high priced options in favorable matchups. You will see a mix of RBs and WRs so we will need to evaluate both positions when searching for that slate-breaking player. For this week, the big names that pop out are Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Davante Adams, Derrick Henry, Julio Jones/Calvin Ridley, Michael Thomas, and Keenan Allen. I think we can get two of these players in one lineup and if we can get three, that would be awesome!
Here are some sample lineups for both DK and FD. I will have my final lineups ready by Sunday morning but maybe later tonight if I can find the time! Good luck and let me know on my Twitter feed what you think of my strategy for Week 11.