Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1).
- Which Quarterbacks should you target in DFS for Week 11 of the NFL Season?
- Matthew Freedman breaks down the best options including a deep dive on Panthers QB Cam Newton.
The 2018 NFL season, is still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 24.1 points per game per team. The action continues with a 10-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at the quarterbacks at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
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This week, there are four quarterbacks at the top of our individual Pro Models.
The two who especially catch my eye are Cam Newton and Eli Manning.
Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers (-4) at Detroit Lions, 51 Over/Under
- $6,200 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
UPDATE (11/18): Wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee) will miss his fourth straight game. Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (ankle) is out. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison (shoulder) and edge rusher Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) are both questionable.
On the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, guest Ian Hartitz expressed concern about Newton, who has the slate’s second-worst pace-based matchup and is facing a Lions defense holding quarterbacks to a league-low 55 yards rushing for the season. Even so, Newton is still popping in a number of our Models.
While there were worries at the start of the season about how well offensive coordinator Norv Turner would be able to adapt his Air Coryell system to Newton, the 2015 MVP has career-best numbers with his 68.5% completion rate, 1.7% completion rate and 5.5% sack rate. Even though he doesn’t have a true No. 1 alpha receiver, he does have:
- An elite pass-catching running back in Christian McCaffrey
- A reliable and longtime middle-of-the-field option in tight end Greg Olsen
- A contested-catch playmaker in wide receiver Devin Funchess
- A veteran field-stretcher in wide receiver Torrey Smith
- An emerging 21-year-old first-rounder in wide receiver D.J. Moore
- A versatile Percy Harvin clone in wide receiver Curtis Samuel
Newton has the players around him to succeed. In his five healthy seasons, he’s been a top-four fantasy quarterback. He’s coming off his worst game of the season, a 52-21 Thursday Night Football loss in which he passed for just 193 yards and rushed for 10.
But he’s in a good bounce back spot this week, and even with his Week 10 letdown against the Steelers, Newton has had fewer than 18 DraftKings points in a game this season just once.
What’s perhaps most amazing about Newton’s performance is how he’s been able to overcome the roster issues around him. Continuity is crucial along the offensive line, and three of last season’s starters are not on the field: Left tackle Matt Kalil (knee, injured reserve) was sidelined before the regular season, right tackle Daryl Williams (knee, IR) has missed nearly every game and 2017 All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell is on the Jaguars. Even so, Newton is having one of the best campaigns of his career.
Unsurprisingly, a large portion of Newton’s value comes from his rushing production. On a per-game basis, he leads all quarterbacks with 5.0 expected fantasy points as a runner (per the RotoViz Screener).
Tied for first on the team with four rushing touchdowns and second with 75 carries and 352 yards on the ground, Newton is basically his own short-yardage back. He’s first among all quarterbacks in league history with 58 rushing touchdowns and second to only Michael Vick with 39.6 yards rushing per game. Newton is viable in almost any game environment because of his running ability.
And Newton has a good matchup this week against the Lions. Under first-year head coach Matt Patricia, the Lions are 31st in pass defense with a 37.4% mark in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. In fact, the Lions are bottom-six in pass defense against almost every position.
- DVOA vs. No. 1 WRs: 30.9%, 32nd
- DVOA vs. No. 2 WRs: 25.7%, 27th
- DVOA vs. Other WRs: 71.6%, 32nd
- DVOA vs. TEs: 34.7%, 30th
Unsurprisingly, the Lions have the league’s second-worst Pro Football Focus coverage grade at 48.1.
Eli Manning: New York Giants (-1) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 52 O/U
- $5,200 DraftKings; $6,700 FanDuel
UPDATE (11/18): Bucs edge rusher Vinny Curry (ankle), linebacker Lavonte David (knee), safety Justin Evans (toe) and cornerback M.J. Stewart (leg) are all out. Edge rusher Carl Nassib (elbow) is questionable.
Manning has spent much of the past three seasons auditioning for “The Walking Dead.” He’s completed 67.6% of his passes this year, but he’s been downright unwatchable for most of his games, and even though the Giants have already had their bye, Manning still leads the league with 32 sacks taken.
But this week Manning faces the Bucs, so he’s at least in the GPP-only conversation. The Bucs are 30th in pass defense (36.0% DVOA) and have allowed a top-four mark of 24.2 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
They have allowed 300 yards and/or multiple touchdowns to every passer they’ve faced except for Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, who has proven himself to be a rather points-averse player this year.
For context: The Giants are 2-7. They have a scoring differential of -51 points. They are 26th in scoring with 19.7 points per game. Coming out of the bye in Week 10, there was a real possibility that they would bench their longtime franchise quarterback. And now they are facing the offense that leads the league with 3,251 passing yards.
Even with all of that, the Giants are favored. That’s how bad the Bucs defense is.
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 11 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.