It's hard to believe how fast the NFL weeks seem to go by. Just yesterday it feels like we talked about the rookie debut of Deshaun Watson and Adrian Peterson's failed tenure in New Orleans. Everything that happened, every game and play, helps tell the story of the 2017 season and provides us with data to work off of.
As we look at the slate of running backs for Week 11, it's not ideal. Bye weeks aren't an issue, the larger issue is the matchups and cost. There are several elite plays to target and we'll highlight two in our "Top Plays", but this week's value plays will require some more risk for DFS players. That said, if we trust the research and roll with the best options, hopefully we'll walk away with some cash.
Kareem Hunt, KC @ NYG, ($8,600)
After an excellent start to the season with a combined 92.3 FanDuel points in his first three games, Hunt slowed down over his next six contest. In that span, Hunt averaged 11.8 FanDuel points per contest and failed to surpass nine FanDuel points in his past two matchups.
Naturally, fantasy owners and DFS players react to that. The hype wore off and it seemed like Hunt hit the rookie wall. But two of Hunt's worst performances came against two of the top five run defenses in the NFL. Meanwhile, his worst performance of the year came against the Dallas Cowboys when the team fed him the ball just 14 times and the Cowboys held him to 61 total yards.
Look for a turnaround this week. Kansas City is coming off its bye week and Andy Reid is historically great in his career with two weeks to prepare, demonstrated by his 16-2 record. Hunt should see the ball 20-plus times in this game and it's an excellent matchup against a New York Giants defense that seems to surrender early in games and got shredded by Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida.
LeSean McCoy, BUF @ LAC, ($8,000)
Now that Buffalo made the move at quarterback from Tyrod Taylor to Nathan Peterman, McCoy could see even more touches than he received previously. While Taylor is the better quarterback and his read-option ability opened up more with McCoy, the Bills may look to just give McCoy more touches with a rookie behind center.
A massive volume of work is a great indicator for fantasy success, but it's made even better with a great matchup. McCoy's skills as a runner are notable, but we're targeting his pass-catching skills for this matchup. In the Chargers past three games, they've surrendered 33 receptions for 283 receiving yards to opposing running backs. When you add that to McCoy's normal work running the ball, he can deliver a top-five performance this week.
Doug Martin, TB @ MIA, ($6,100)
It would be an understatement to say Martin is leaving many fantasy owners with the feeling of sadness. After using a roster spot on him through his suspension, Martin returned in a big way with consecutive games of 60-plus total yards and a touchdown. It built up momentum for a potential second half run of greatness as a low-end RB1.
Unfortunately the last four weeks have crippled fantasy lineups. In his past two games, Martin scored fewer than 10 FanDuel Points and failed to crack six combined FD points in his past two weeks (5.8). As a result, many now want to stay away for Martin.
In this matchup, we want to give Martin one more chance. He faces a Miami Dolphins defense that just allowed Jonathan Stewart to rush for 110 yards, a remarkable acheviement given he never surpassed 70 rushing yards in his previous nine contests. In their past four games, Miami allowed the third-most rushing yards in the NFL. In a close game, Martin should see 16-plus carries and could deliver a quality fantasy performance and provide great value.
Dion Lewis, NE @ OAK, ($5,700)
While Lewis isn't the high volume play we typically look for, he does offer us several traits that make him appealing this week from a FanDuel perspective. In Week 10 we saw New England list Mike Gillislee as a healthy inactive, ending his role in New England's running game and opening the door even wider for Lewis.
Against a stout Denver Broncos defense, Lewis finished with 55 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. 11 FanDuel points certainly works for the price paid, but we'll try and push for more given his matchup this week.
If Lewis receives 15-plus carries in a very winnable game against the Oakland Raiders, he should take advantage of a Raiders' defense that allows the fourth-most rushing yards per game this season. While New England looks for ways to limit Rob Gronkowski and put pressure on Tom Brady, Lewis should have enough holes to run through and could finish Sunday's game with 70-plus yards and a touchdown.
Players to Avoid
Leonard Fournette, JAC @ CLE, ($9,300)
Tevin Coleman, ATL @ SEA, ($5,900)