Things are almost back to normal in the NFL with only one bye week remaining. And with the Colts, Jets, Panthers and 49ers the only teams on break this week, not many players will be missed, although the diehard Josh McCown fans think otherwise. The options are aplenty, but Iím still going with a fairly cheap option at quarterback.
Alex Smith, KC at NYG ($12,100): After C.J. Beathard torched the Giants, it only makes sense to go with Smith. Heís hit 27 fantasy points four different times this season and this could be another one of those. The only worry is that the Giants wonít score enough points to stay competitive. Smithís floor remains high, with 14 fantasy points his lowest total of the season. Heís also carved up bad defenses and New Yorkís 29th-ranked pass defense (according to Football Outsidersí DVOA) likely wonít limit Smith.
Kareem Hunt, KC at NYG ($13,400): Letís keep it rolling with the Chiefs simply because the Giants are bad and Andy Reid is 16-2 in his career after the bye. Hunt hasnít done much in the fantasy world in recent outings, but a lot of that can be chalked up to playing better defenses or being in lower-scoring games. According to the odds (Chiefs -10, over/under 45), Kansas City is expected to score around 27.5 points. I expect the Chiefs to run away with this game and Hunt will pile on in the fourth quarter, similar to what he did in the first month of the season. And at one of his lower prices of the season, this is a great spot to grab him.
Alvin Kamara, NO vs. WAS ($14,600): This is a lot for Kamara, but I donít trust many other running backs this week, especially some of the expensive ones. Kamara is worth it because of his floor, having hit 15 fantasy points in the last four games. Thatís made possible by 19 receptions over that period, while Mark Ingram only has one in the last two games. Kamara is dominating that aspect and, while Washington has a decent defense, the Redskins were just carved up by Minnesota. The same could happen again.
Amari Cooper, OAK vs. NE ($11,700): The Patriots defense has been playing better, but Iím not completely sold on them. The best offense theyíve faced since the Carolina game was the defunct Falcons, whoíve been mediocre all season. The Raiders rank fourth in offensive DVOA and that should lead to some points in this game. Iím rolling with Cooper over Michael Crabtree because heís cheaper and New England has the 30th-best DVOA against No. 1 WRs.
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI at HOU ($13,500): This one took a while for me to go over, but I think Fitz could be in for another 10-plus targets given the matchup. The Cardinals will want to run Adrian Peterson into the ground with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, but he could have trouble against a defense allowing only 3.7 yards per carry. As for Gabbert, heís known for short passes with a career 6.0 yards per attempt. That should work well with Fitzgerald, who sees a lot of action close to the line of scrimmage. I was tentative because of Fitzgeraldís price with Gabbert but, against a secondary that canít stop anyone, I think heíll be worth it.
Julius Thomas, MIA vs. TB ($6,000): I kind of hate this weekís tight ends unless youíre saving up for Travis Kelce ($12,500). Thomas has a touchdown in each of the last two games, but more importantly received 13 targets. While heís unlikely to have a huge game, Thomas should be good for at least three catches to go with some red-zone looks against a bad Tampa Bay defense.
Sterling Shepard, NYG vs. KC ($12,900): Thereís a misconception that the Chiefs have a good defense and thatís been exploited throughout the season since Eric Berry went down. The Giants arenít good, but Shepard is their top receiver and has 22 targets in the last two games since coming back from injury. Due to those targets and KC ranking 29th against No. 1 WRs, I think Shepard could repeat last weekís numbers (11 receptions, 142 yards).
Rex Burkhead, NE vs. OAK ($8,300): Iím somewhat surprised with how cheap Burkhead is, given that he has 10 receptions in the last two games. Heís become the only Patriots running back in the offense that can act as a receiver, while also run between the tackles. Heís not going to get 20 touches, but Burkheadís surpassed 10 in each of the last two games and thatís enough at this price in what is projected to be the highest scoring game of Week 11.
Arizona Cardinals at HOU ($6,200): The Bengals are sitting a few hundred cheaper ($5,600), but I think the Cardinals will be worth the price, even on the road. For starters, they have five sacks in each of their last five games, while the Texans have allowed 31 sacks in nine games. Tom Savage isnít good and still hasnít led his team to more than eight points in any of his three starts. Without Will Fuller, it could be even more difficult to move the ball for Houston.