The Price is Right: NFL Week 11

The video below from 2006 has been widely circulated among The Price is Right junkies. You can get a sense of the public perception of this contestant by how it is labeled on YouTube: “One of the Worst The Price is Right Players Ever.” Joy Herrera has a bit of game show infamy attached to her as perhaps the least deserving person to ever come out a winner of any show. You could search forever and not find a luckier player or another game show host who is as impatient and incredulous as Bob Barker was with Joy; and I watch Alex Trebek religiously. Watch the video until the end and check his reaction – it’s almost like he doesn’t want her to win because of how poorly she played the game.

Switching to DFS, my lineups on FanDuel last week were strong, based on some stellar cash recommendations from FD-Guru.  On another DFS site, however, my lineup looked about as bad as Joy’s attempts at this pricing game. Except I did not get the lucky payoff at the end, and no new car either. Sometimes after I finish a slate like that, I feel like there could be a YouTube video made of my roster construction – “One of the Worst NFL DFS Players Ever.” It would get two million views and the comments would deservedly trash my process.

Flash forward to 2018 with Joy, and there is more to her story. Some time ago, she was diagnosed with stage two progressive avascular necrosis and is in need of stem cell therapy to help relieve her pain and allow her to continue to walk. In July of this year, a GoFundMe was set up on her behalf in an attempt to raise money for the treatment. Partially because of the fame she received from The Price is Right, she has been able to raise more than $21,000 in four months to help with her condition. As any tight community would do, they stepped up to take care of one of their own.

That’s one of the things I love about DFS. It’s still a relatively small community as a niche part of a broadly expanding game, but after every slate and through all the close calls, heartbreaks, and winning lineups, we are all there to do it over again. We can commiserate with each other, laugh at one another, support one another, and generally help each other get better.

I hope as holiday season approaches, you will find a way to help Joy or someone else you know get better. If you want to help Joy, her GoFundMe is https://www.gofundme.com/help-joy-walk-again

Let’s make each other better for Week 11 with some value plays.

Quarterback – Eli Manning ($6,700)

I guess if we are talking about the worst at something, we can stay on brand and talk about Eli. Manning is in the bottom 10 of qualified QBs this year in passing touchdowns, passer rating, QBR, net yards per attempt, completion % inside the red zone, and Football Outsiders’ yards above replacement and value over average. It’s been a mess – and that is with Beckham, Barkley, Engram and Shepherd at his disposal.

But Tampa Bay can mask a multitude of QB shortcomings. The Bucs rank 30th overall in pass defense DVOA, 26th against #1 wide receivers, 31st against #2 wide receivers, 28th against tight ends, and 26th against pass-catching running backs. Hey – guess what – Eli has good players at all those positions!

Eli is priced the same as Derek Carr this week. Sad face. Take advantage.

Running Back – Christian McCaffery ($8,600)

I include Run CMC here not because he is necessarily tremendous value (he is the fourth most expensive RB), but because he seems to be overlooked somewhat on this slate with attention funneling towards Kamara, Barkley, Elliott and Johnson (all rightly so).

Let’s not forget what McCaffery did last Thursday night to the Steelers – the 10th best rushing DVOA and 4th best against pass-catching backs. He amassed 138 yards and three touchdowns for 34.3 FanDuel points. In fact, his five targets in that game were his lowest since week three (when he had 28 rush attempts) and his second lowest number on the year. Detroit presents much less of a challenge for the Panthers this week as they rank 25th in rushing DVOA and have allowed the 11th most FanDuel points per game to running backs in 2018.

Also assisting McCaffery’s ascension and positive touchdown regression is his team’s recent commitment to the run. On the year, the Panthers run on 44% of their plays, but that number has increased to almost 49% in their past three games – the seventh highest in that span.

Running Back – Alex Collins ($6,000)

As of midday Friday, the starting quarterback for the Ravens is unclear. It could be Joe Flacco who hasn’t practiced all week and is injured, it could be Lamar Jackson who has attempted 12 passes all season, it could be Robert Griffin III who is a literal zombie brought back from the dead. One thing is clear, however. The Ravens are home favorites against a Bengals team that has plummeted to 28th in total DVOA and 30th in rushing DVOA.

Save for a game against the Dolphins (who scored 17), the Bengals have allowed at least 28 points in five straight games and are in a defensive free-fall. Minus their best skill position player in A.J. Green, the Bengals may find it difficult to stay competitive as long as their defense is turn-stiling points all game.

Enter Alex Collins with the positive game script. According to Player Profiler, Collins is ranked second in juke rate and tenth in evaded tackles on the season. I guess those are irrelevant if the Bengals are not tackling people anyway, but with a projected larger role in a Ravens win, we are hoping for about 80-90 total yards a touchdown as minimum projections. If Jackson or Griffin were to start, I believe that would actually be a positive thing for Collins despite each of their respective rushing abilities. If either of those two start under center, expect a more conservative game plan focused on the ground game.

Wide Receiver – Kenny Golladay ($6,400)

Simple addition by subtraction here for Golladay this week. With Golden Tate out of town and Marvin Jones, Jr. unlikely to play, there are simply no true middle or deep threats left for Matthew Stafford.

Full disclosure – I am aware that those deeper throws have not even been possible the past couple games as Stafford’s offensive line has allowed him to be under pressure at David Bowie/Freddie Mercury levels. The Panthers, however, are exactly average in adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders. The last two weeks, the Lions have faced the best and eighth best defensive lines in adjusted sack rate. The Bears and Vikings tossed Stafford around like a salad in weeks 9 and 10, but Stafford theoretically should find more time to throw on Sunday.

If he does, he should key in on Golladay. The Panthers come in with only the 24th ranked pass DVOA (with perhaps a large chuck of that due to Big Ben thrashing them in week 10), but their primary corner – James Bradberry – is the 43rd ranked cornerback in yards per reception allowed.

With Jones and Tate running next to him, Golladay’s usage was admittedly sporadic, but last week he was in the game on 96% of the snaps and was second in the entire NFL with 13 targets and 170 air yards. If positive regressions hits – meaning Stafford finds more time to throw and more of the targets find their way into Golladay’s hands – we could be looking at dominant receiving numbers instead of just a massive target share.

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