Week 11 NFL Fantasy Football Intriguing Plays

NFL Sunday is here!  I’m still coming down from an amazing SEC East clinching win for the Florida Gators, and now it’s time to see if we can keep the good weekend going!  Here’s some unconventional names to check out when you get your week 11 Season-Long Fantasy Football, or Daily Fantasy Sports Lineups.  Good luck to all and contact me on Twitter @MSilbAnalytics.

Click here for Week 11 Player Rankings

Name Pos Score+ DK $ FD $ Matchup
Kirk Cousins QB 93.49 5800 7600 GB@WAS
Blake Bortles QB 63.59 5400 7200 JAC@DET
Isaiah Crowell RB 76.18 3900 6200 PIT@CLE
Lamar Miller RB 129.54 5800 7100 HOU@OAK
Spencer Ware RB 127.76 6000 7700 TB@KC
Jordan Howard RB 139.61 5800 6800 CHI@NYG
Jeremy Kerley WR 103.55 3500 5300 NE@SF
Doug Baldwin WR 159.50 5700 6700 PHI@SEA
Michael Thomas WR 163.13 6600 6500 NO@CAR
Kenny Britt WR 136.38 5200 6800 MIA@LA
Jamison Crowder WR 135.62 5400 6300 GB@WAS
Mike Wallace WR 149.48 5500 6800 BAL@DAL
Cole Beasley WR 129.41 5300 6400 BAL@DAL
Jordan Matthews WR 140.92 5400 5800 PHI@SEA
Marvin Jones Jr. WR 130.35 5000 6500 JAC@DET
Dennis Pitta TE 133.80 3600 4800 BAL@DAL
Zach Miller TE 138.25 3800 5500 CHI@NYG
Eric Ebron TE 173.30 4100 5400 JAC@DET
Martellus Bennett TE 117.74 3700 5200 NE@SF
Jack Doyle TE 88.68 3300 5000 TEN@IND

Week 11 NFL DFS Player Rankings (Thu-Mon)

Click here for Week 11 NFL DFS Fantasy Football Player Rankings (.xlsx)

Get ready for the Week 11 slate of NFL Games!  Player Projections are listed below.  Choose wisely and try to get some wins this week!  Connect with me on Twitter as @MSilbAnalytics to talk strategy for the week.  COLOR RUSH soon to kickoff!

Check you Over/Under lines for high scoring games, and keep up to date on injury news!









2016 Fantasy Football Value Projections

2016 Score+ Fantasy Football Value Rankings (Download .xlsx file)


View Full Rankings Here

2016 Fantasy Football Individual Player Value Projections are linked above.  The “Score+” column represents a player’s projected added value to a team with a score of 0 meaning no added value.  The higher a player’s Score+, the more value they add to your team relative to their position.


To generate the projections, I used historical position data from 2010-2015 to calculate the correlation of each individual statistic to future fantasy points performance.  These correlations contributed to a composite statistic consisting of the strongest predictive statistics for each position in each across the major fantasy scoring categories.

QB: Completions, Passing TDs, Interception %, Air Yards/ Attempt, Passing Yards / Game, QBR, Rushing TDs

RB: Rushing TDs, Rush Yards/ Attempt, Rushing Yards/ Game, Rushing Attempts/ Game, Receptions/ Game

WR/TE: Targets, Receiving TDs, Receptions/ Game, Yards/ Game

K, DEF were not included.

Each individual players’ 2015 statistics were then used to create this composite Score+ statistic heading into the 2016 season.  This means that players who did not play in 2015 will not appear (Rookies, Suspensions, Injuries).  Also suspended players Tom Brady (4 games), and Le’Veon Bell (3 games) had the worth of their suspensions replaced by the value of a replacement/average player.  It’s worth nothing that Brady and Bell still rank toward the top of Score+.  Watch out for retired or injured players as well who are included in the rankings.

In intermediate steps of the model, each player is given a raw score, which is then converted to Score+ to standardize the scores across positional groups.  Since the scores are generated by position, I think it’s more beneficial to view the rankings position by position.


I’m a big believer in analytics, but I think they’re best used to support and guide your decisions, not replace your ultimate decision making.  I used the rankings in my leagues primarily to understand the landscape of each positional group, but secondly in comparison to the pre-draft rankings or Average Draft Position (ADP) of my respective league.  As an example, Antonio Brown is ESPN’s #1 player, and my Score+ #1 player.  Therefore, I’d conclude that Antonio Brown is a safe selection at the top of the 1st round.  In contrast, Todd Gurley is ESPN’s #5 overall, #2 RB, but my Score+ has him at #35 overall, #6 RB.  So Todd Gurley still projects well, but you would be passing on value to take him in the first round.  Same goes with Dez Bryant who (even before the Romo injury)  projected at Score+ #146 overall, and ESPN #15.

A better strategy would be to go after Antonio Brown, Julio Jones (ESPN: #4 ovr, #3 WR Score+: #2 ovr, #2 WR), Odell Beckham Jr. (ESPN: #2 ovr, #2 WR Score+: #11 ovr, #5 WR), or Adrian Peterson (ESPN: #3 ovr, #1 RB Socre+: #23 ovr, #2 RB) in the early 1st, or DeAndre Hopkins (ESPN: #7 ovr, #3 WR Score+: #8 ovr, #4 WR), Le’Veon Bell (#17 ovr, #1 RB), Devonta Freeman (ESPN: #9 ovr, #5 RB Socre+: #24 ovr, #3 RB) later in the 1st.  These are players that have top value, but are only available during the 1st, maybe early 2nd round.  This represents a prime example of using analytics to guide your decision, but NOT be your ultimate decision maker.  Adrian Peterson is my #23 overall value player, but there is absolutely no way to expect that he’ll be around past about the 5th pick of your draft.  Be smart with your value, but you can only get it if it’s available.

Since Score+ essentially shows you a player’s value over their position, the accumulation of TEs near the top of Score + overall rankings show that there is a large range of value for tight ends, but that the position is also extremely top heavy.  Score+ shows Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed, Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Antonio Gates, and Jason Witten all in the top 25 overall.  it is ridiculous to suggest that all of these TEs should go in the top 25 (remember to play to pre-rankings and ADP) but there is plenty of value in that group, so it may not make complete sense to reach for Rob Gronkowski, ranked #11 overall by ESPN with the cluster of other TEs at the top.  WR seems to have deep value as well, with RB looking very thin.  This leads me to prefer RBs early in the draft.  I’ve been targeting guys like Jamaal Charles, Demaryius Thomas, Allen Robinson, and Brandon Marshall in rounds 2-3, with strong value in Jarvis Landry, Keenan Allen, and Larry Fitzgerald in rounds 4-6 among a huge group of quality WRs.  Notable low ranking WRs and RBs include Mike Evans, Dez Bryant, Lamar Miller, David Johnson, and Eddie Lacy.

The Quarterback position is deep just as it has been in the past, and there’s not much separation in the position.  So, there’s no reason to reach in an early round for a QB, get your value at RB and WR.  The biggest discrepancy is ESPN’s #1 QB Cam Netwon comes in at #13 in Score+.

Stay away from the busts, and use Score+ to maximize your value!  I’ll be answering Fantasy Football questions on Twitter @msilb7 throughout the season.

Thanks to Pro-Football-Reference for the historical data, ESPN for being my fantasy league host, and Stack Overflow for answering my Python and SQL questions.

2014 NFL Draft: Bridgewater vs Clowney (ft. Matthews)

Players Featured: Teddy, Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Matthews

Clowney, Bridgewater

Confusion at the Top of the Draft Board

     With the 2013 NFL regular season finishing, and January bowls in full swing, players’ draft stocks are under extreme evaluation.  The common conclusion in the media is that Louisville Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be taken first overall by the Houston Texans.  However, I do not believe in the Texans, or any NFL team spending their first round pick on a QB.  Granted, multiple QBs will be taken in the first round, but I’m against this practice.


     Throughout his college career, Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End for the University of South Carolina, was considered a manchild and the type of player who only comes around once in a generation.  After a lackluster start to the season, Clowney’s stock dropped, allowing for others to take the spotlight.  There were rumors that Jadeveon was not putting forth his full effort, as to not injure himself before the draft as he saw former teammate Marcus Lattimore do.  After seeing Clowney’s performance in the Outback Bowl, and his immediate declaration for the draft, I believe that this is the case.  In my mind, as long as Clowney doesn’t show a lack of speed or explosion at the NFL combine, I’m putting this potential red flag to rest.


     As a student at the University of Florida, and an avid Gator Football fan, I have first hand experience of Teddy Bridgewater’s mastery in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.    As apposed to Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater put up better numbers in 2013 than 2012, and doesn’t lead to doubts of a potential decline.  There is no question that Bridgewater is an NFL ready QB, but with Clowney still on the board, I don’t see the value in taking a QB early in the draft.  I’ll go into more specifics with this team-by-team.


     To assess the current projected draft structure, I took all 2014 Mock Drafts released during the month of December, pulled from DC Pro Sports Report,  and calculated the frequency of both Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney throughout the first 5 overall picks and beyond.  As can be seen, a majority of the mock drafts have Bridgewater going #1 overall, but Clowney seems to be evenly split among the first five picks, appearing most often as #3 overall which would send him to the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Case Keenum

 Houston Texans (#1 Overall)

     2013 was filled with disappointment for the Texans.  After winning their first two games, Houston lost 14 straight, and fired their head coach Gary Kubiak in the process.  The team has hired Bill O’Brien, formerly the head coach of Penn State to fill the void.  The Texans flip-flopped between veteran Matt Schaub and second year player Case Keenum throughout the 2013 season.  Schaub is probably not the answer at QB, and Keenum is unproven.  Bridgewater is projected to be an upgrade over Schaub and Keenum, but by how much?  Matt Schaub saw great success in Houston prior to 2013, finishing top 10 in the league for passer rating from 2008-2012.  Case Keenum set multiple NCAA passing records at the University of Houston, though not against the top competition.  Keenum stepped in for Schaub in week 7, and put up good performances through his first three games before starting to struggle, and eventually handing the job back over to Schaub. Yes, the QB situation in Houston is not ideal, but it still does not warrant selecting Teddy Bridgewater with the first pick in the draft.  Is the potential upgrade of Bridgewater worth letting 31 more first round picks fly off the board before other areas can be assessed? Not in my opinion.  Is Bridgewater 31 first round picks better than a Quarterback the Texans can take in round 2? Probably not.  Looking at the top QBs in the draft; Bridgewater, Bortles, Manziel, Carr.  None of them are surefire NFL stars.  None of them are as much of a sure thing as Andrew Luck was perceived to be.  Some of the big names projected to be available in the 2nd round are McCarron, Mettenberger, Murray, Boyd.  Grab one of these guys in the 2nd round.  Is Bridgewater that much better, and that more valuable to the Texans than one of the other 31 first round picks and the addition of one of the QBs from this list?  Most likely not.

J.J. Watt

     Due to this, I believe that drafting Clowney with the first pick provides more value to the team going forward.  Clowney would be set to replace 32 year old Antonio Smith, playing opposite J.J. Watt on the defensive line.  The Texans can then flip Antonio Smith for a late draft pick, which can be used to fill other needs.  In 2012, J.J. Watt was without a doubt the best Defensive End in the NFL.  He failed to replicate is performance in 2013, with substantial decline in tackles, sacks, passes deflected, and forced fumbles.  Adding Clowney into the mix is a win-win situation for both players.  Clowney was double teamed non-stop at South Carolina, and the attention to Watt will give Jadeveon every opportunity to flourish.  With the addition of Clowney on the other end of the line, less pressure is put on Watt.  Teams won’t be able to create a game plan to single out Clowney, or Watt because you can’t double team both of them without greatly compromising your offense.  Other top defensive ends include Is Clowney worth more than passing on 31 other first rounders to take a defensive end in the second round.  I strongly believe so.

Robert Griffin III

 St. Louis Rams (#2 Overall)

     I love the Rams’ management.  I love the Rams’ management.  I love the Rams’ management.  The Rams held the #2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and the Redskins owned #6.  Both sides came together for a trade to swap their first round picks.  In addition, the Rams received The Redskins’ 2012 2nd round pick (#39, Janoris Jenkins), their 2013 1st round pick (#22) *Which was sent to Atlanta along with the Rams’ own 2015 7th round pick, for three picks in the 2013 draft*, and their 2014 1st round pick(#2, Jadeveon Clowney?).  All to move down just four spots in the draft order.  The Rams eventually flipped the Redskins’ former 2012 6th overall selection to the Cowboys for their 2012 1st (#14, Michael Brockers) and 2nd (#45) round picks.  The Rams then traded the Cowboys’ former 2nd round pick to the Chicago Bears for their 2nd round pick (#50, Isaiah Pead), and 5th round pick(#150, Rokevious Watkins)  I love it so much.  I would feel like an evil genius for orchestrating those moves.

Sam Bradford

     The Rams have Sam Bradford at QB, so no need to draft one here.  The decision will most likely fall between OT Jake Matthews from Texas A&M or Clowney.  However, the Rams are reported to be looking to move out of the #2 spot.  This would continue the long string of moves stemming from receiving three extra top picks from the Redskins to move down just four spots.  The Rams are loaded on both ends with Chris Long and Robert Quinn.  Drafting Clowney would allow one of the two to be expendable.  The Rams have LT Jake Long holding down the O-Line, so the Rams could take Matthews and play him opposite of Long, making Sam Bradford a very happy man.  Unfortunately for the overarching theme of the article, the best move for the Rams here is to either grab Matthews, or trade down, acquire more top picks, and take an offensive skill player or a defensive back.

If the draft goes Clowney #1, Matthews #2, we could see the emergence of two dynamic duos on the line.

Chad Henne

 Jacksonville Jaguars (#3 Overall)

  Over the past few years, the Jaguars have consistently been one of the worst teams in the league, winning 5, 2, and 4 games in the last 3 years respectively.  In 2012, the Jaguars drafted WR Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma St.  Blackmon’s off the field troubles leading to suspensions have been a detriment to the team as Blackmon only played 2 games in 2013 after his standout rookie season in which he led all rookies with 865 receiving yards.  In 2013, the team took OT Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M suffered a season ending injury in October, but looks to be a lock on the Jags’ O-Line.

     The Jaguars currently have Jason Babin and Tyson Alualu on each defensive end.  But, draft Clowney could allow Alualu, who is listed as a Defensive Tackle, to return to his natural position.  Clowney provides an impact on the defensive front which would alleviate the pressure put on the Jaguars’ young DBs.

Justin Blackmon

   The Jaguars’ will be very tempted to draft a Quarterback with this selection.  With Chad Henne as their current QB1, and 2011 draft bust Blaine Gabbert at #2, there is definitely opportunity for a rookie to step in and take over.  However, as mentioned with the Texans, the value isn’t there if guys like Clowney or Matthews are still on the board.  If the Jags feel like there’s enough depth in the draft in other positions, they can select OT Jake Matthews for a Texas A&M reunion with Joeckel.  This actually presents a great situation for a young QB to excel.  With Joeckel and Matthews providing good protection, and the ability to throw the ball to Blackmon, Cecil Shorts III, Mike Brown, and Mercedes Lewis, there is a huge amount of talent.  However, the Jags are reported to be letting RB Maurice Jones-Drew test free agency in order to release a large amount of cap space to pursue other players.  The Jaguars could pick up a late round RB to fill the void, sign a free agent, or let Denard Robinson do what Offensive Weapons do.  I believe going Matthews in round 1, then selecting a successful college starting QB like Aaron Murray, or Tajh Boyd is the most effective plan of action to set the Jaguars up for success.

Clowney, Murray

   In the event that both Clowney and Matthews are off the board, things get interesting for Jacksonville.  The value in taking a QB will be as high as ever, so it depends on how the team evaluates the top QBs (Bridgewater, Bortles, Carr, Manziel), and well as the other players at the top of the board (OLBs Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, and C.J. Mosley).  The Jaguars currently have Paul Posluszny at the Middle Linebacker position, and Geno Hayes as one of their Outside Linebackers.  The addition of Mack or Barr could solidify their Linebacking core to improve a defense that was one of the NFL’s worst in 2012 and alleviate the struggling offense.

     My ideal option is to trade down for the next OT on the board, Cyrus Kouandjio from Alabama.  This keep my ideal situation of shoring up the offensive line in round 1, then taking a QB, RB, and defensive players with the following few picks.  My trading down about 5-6 spots, the Jaguars can pull in a haul of draft picks (possibly from a team desperate for a top QB).  Look at what the Rams recieved from the Redskins in 2012.  It seems unlikely that a team would give up that much again, but receiving additional top picks can only help a Jacksonville team that needs so much.

If I Had Picks #1-3 

Houston TexansJadeveon Clowney – DE, South Carolina
Team X* (From WAS via STL)Teddy Bridgewater – QB, Louisville
Jacksonville JaguarsJake Matthews – OT, Texas A&M

*Team X is a mystery team trading up to get Bridgewater, in fear that the Jaguars will be selecting a Quarterback.