The Secret Stars weekly article isn't suggesting the lineup you should use this week, rather its purpose is to identify players who represent extreme value at their current salaries for the week. Selecting these players will give you an opportunity to use such players as Rob Gronkowski and Kareem Hunt in your lineups. Here are our Secret Stars for Week 11:
QB Derek Carr $6,400 vs. NE – Carr’s been inconsistent this year, but he’s healthier coming out of a bye week and is likely motivated for a showdown with the defending champs. He’s thrown for 300-plus yards in three straight outings and absolutely blew up in a shootout with the Chiefs in Week 7, so perhaps he’s forced into another situation of that sort opposite Brady and a Patriots defense that’s still giving up the most passing YPG (287.2) in the NFL this season.
RB Damien Williams $4,500 vs. TB – While he was virtually invisible in a blowout loss at Carolina on Monday night, Williams could see much more action as a receiver this Sunday. Tampa’s struggling pass defense is giving up the eight-most receptions per game (6.0) and eighth-most FPPG to opposing RBs this season, while DW is seeing almost all work in the passing game over Kenyan Drake. If the Dolphins fall behind, which seems likely the way their defense is playing, Williams could see plenty of checkdowns from Jay Cutler and he’d be able to make more plays against the Bucs LBs than he did against Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.
RB Rex Burkhead $3,600 @ OAK – The Patriots used all three backs with great effectiveness on Sunday night, as Burkhead, Dion Lewis and James White all scored at least one TD in a route of Denver’s stout defense. Now that trio faces a Raiders team that ranks dead last in overall DVOA defense and 24th against the run, while giving up the third-most FPPG and fifth-most receptions per game (6.33) to that position this year. Burkhead’s finally healthy and his quickness makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing linebackers and safeties.
WR Michael Crabtree $5,900 vs. NE – Crabtree and Amari Cooper could both have big games as the Raiders chase points in Mexico City against the high-scoring Patriots, but Crabtree profiles as more of a secondary receiver that could benefit when Bill Belichick’s defense sells out to stop the “1A” receiver in Cooper. Emmanuel Sanders ran circles around Malcolm Butler due to a similar strategy last Sunday night and Crabtree’s been far more consistent regardless as a polished route runner with great ball skills.
WR Jamison Crowder $4,300 @ NO – Crowder returned from a hamstring injury and continued to revive his season with 4 catches for 76 yards in a very tough matchup against Minnesota. The Saints secondary is no joke, but is also much better along the boundaries, while Crowder is functioning as a versatile slot receiver with a penchant for big plays. He drew a team-high 11 targets in last week’s loss and figures to see a lot of action with the Redskins likely chasing points at the Superdome.
TE Tyler Kroft $2,900 @ DEN – Going cheap at TE is a risky proposition this week, but you will probably get at least modest returns from the Bengals oversized target. Kroft’s been solid as a fill in for Tyler Eifert and he faces a defense that’s been almost exclusively vulnerable to his position and to RBs that can run good routes. A.J. Green figures to struggle against Denver’s elite corners and that would force more targets inside to Kroft.
FLEX Rod Smith $3,400 vs. PHI – Darren McFadden was not at all involved in the first game of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and Alfred Morris was rather ineffective between the tackles. Regardless, it appears that HC Jason Garrett is going to use rookie Rod Smith in obvious passing situations, which led to some late production from the Ohio State product. It’s entirely possible that Smith works his way into a timeshare or takes over the lead back role if Morris continues to show an obvious lack of burst and creativity, plus the 6-foot-3 rookie is looking at increased usage in the passing game against an Eagles team that ranks eighth in DVOA run defense and should play from ahead with Carson Wentz carving up the opposition.
D/ST LAR $2,400 @ MIN – Taking a defense on the road may seem a bit counterintuitive, but the Rams are playing so well on both sides of the ball that they seem prepared to slow down a Case Keenum-led Vikings team. With DBs capable of slowing down Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in single coverage, the Rams should be able to sell out to stop the run, which they’ve been doing much more often since getting all-world DT Aaron Donald back up to speed after his preseason holdout.
Here's our lineup this week:
· QB Derek Carr $6,400 vs. NE
· RB Kareem Hunt $8,000 @ NYG
· RB Alvin Kamara $7,500 vs. WAS
· WR Ted Ginn Jr. $4,800 vs. WAS
· WR Brandin Cooks $6,600 @ OAK
· WR Michael Crabtree $5,900 vs. NE
· TE Jared Cook $4,800 vs. NE
· FLEX Rex Burkhead $3,600 @ OAK
· DST Rams $2,400 @ MIN