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Dan Podheiser

Dan  Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

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Dan's DFS picks for NFL Week 11

19 Nov 2015

By Dan Podheiser
When I went to bed Monday night, right about at the end of the first quarter of the Bengals-Texans game, I just assumed I had no shot to cash in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker.

I was wrong. I woke up Tuesday morning to an e-mail on my phone with a subject line that simply read, "danpodheiser, you won!" Somehow, my so-so lineup that produced a measly 140.54 points was good enough for a 58,312th place finish and a min-cash worth $30. I guess it was because all those New Yorkers were too scared to play.

Either way, I'm right back to where I want to be: a negative 50% return on investment. I've played 10 weeks now at $20 a pop, and have cashed three times for a total of $100. Some might call those results "terrible" or "a waste of money." I say those people just don't know how to have fun.

Or I may have a serious, serious gambling problem. But that's a story for another day.

Besides, DFS is #notgambling.

For a full explanation of the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel scoring, read this blog post by Daily Fantasy Sports 101.

Quarterback: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (DK: $6,300; FD: $7,700)
This is the third time I've gone with my boy Derek Carr this season, and I'm going back to the second-year quarterback in a nice Week 11 matchup against the Lions. Detroit shocked the world by defeating the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin on Sunday for the first time since 1991, but they didn't exactly look prolific doing so. The Lions limited the Packers to just 16 total points, but a bevy of dropped passes took several Green Bay points off the board. Basically, the Lions were lucky.

It's not going to happen again this week. Carr and the Raiders are a team hungry for a playoff spot in the suddenly competitive AFC West, and Carr's ready to bounce back from an "off" performance against the Vikings, in which he still managed to complete 67% of his passes for 302 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Look for Carr to have a monster performance this week, and yes, that means I'm going with a Raiders stack.

Running Back (DK): Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys ($5,000)
McFadden has had two very impressive, 100-yard games in his four starts since becoming the Cowboys' premier runner in Week 7. This week, he will be helped by two key factors: the return of quarterback Tony Romo and a matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who rank 31st in the NFL in rushing defense.

Romo provides an extra threat that the Dolphins will have to look out for, but I expect the main focus of the Cowboys' offense in this game to be McFadden. He's an excellent play in all DFS formats, especially at this amazing price. I'd be shocked if he doesn't get 20-25 carries in this game.

Running Back (FD): Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons ($9,100)
Is it possible that, even at this whopping price, Devonta Freeman is undervalued this week? Yes, he hasn't scored a touchdown in three straight weeks, and he's coming off a game in which he only gained 12 yards on 12 carries against the hapless 49ers. But that was two whole weeks ago, and the Falcons are coming off a bye. And before that disastrous loss in San Francisco, Freeman was far and away the most productive fantasy running back in the league.

This week, Freeman's Falcons have a nice matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, who not only rank 11th-worst in the league against the run, but whose offense is decimated from the loss of quarterback Andrew Luck. That should mean a big, consistent lead for the Falcons, leading to plenty of touches for Freeman.

Wide Receiver (DK): Danny Amendola, New England Patriots ($4,000)
The Patriots are the best team in the league when it comes to the "next man up" philosophy. When one player gets hurt, even a star player, the next man up comes in and replaces that productivity.

Insert Amendola, who will take on the role of Tom Brady's top slot receiver now that Julian Edelman will miss a handful of games with a broken foot. Amendola has already been productive this season, catching 40 balls for 403 yards, and I think he's ready to step up as a major weapon in the Pats' offense. The most important thing to note here, of course, is the ridiculous price on Amendola this week. Sure, he will probably be heavily owned in DraftKings GPPs, but I don't care. He's on my roster no matter what at this price.

Wide Receiver (FD): Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders ($6,500)
I'm probably going to pair both Raiders wide receivers – Crabtree and Amari Cooper – this week with Carr, but I'm highlighting Crabtree here because he has the better price. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw the ball 61 times last week against the Lions, partly because his team trailed for much of the game, but mostly because their secondary is absolutely decimated. As I mentioned previously, the Packers struggled mainly due to dropped balls by their wide receivers, but that doesn't mean they weren't able to get wide open time after time against Detroit.

I expect more of the same this week with Oakland. Start Crabtree, start Cooper, maybe even start former Raider great Tim Brown. They're all going to have big games in Detroit this week.

Tight End: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (DK: $3,100; FD: $5,200)
Mark "The Sanchize" Sanchez is back as the starting quarterback in Philadelphia now that Sam Bradford is injured (who didn't see that coming?). And despite Sanchez's perpetual troubles as a functioning human being – much less as a quarterback – he seems to have success connecting with Ertz in the short passing game. Last season, Ertz caught 15 balls for 115 yards on 18 targets from Sanchez in a Week 16 loss to the Redskins. And last week, after Sanchez came in to replace Bradford, he consistently looked for Ertz as one of his major options.

So, take all of this with a grain of salt. Ertz's success hinges on Mark Sanchez, after all. But I'm willing to take a gamble on the guy one last time, especially at this price.

Defense: Seattle Seahawks (DK: $4,000; FD: $5,400)
The Seahawks are angry after a brutal prime-time loss to the division rival Arizona Cardinals. Luckily, Seattle has the pleasure of welcoming the San Francisco 49ers to town this week. San Francisco has the worst offense in the league, and Seattle's defense is a crew of maniacs. Did I mention that they're angry?

This is an expensive price to pay for a defense. But I'm paying it, because I think Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner may literally take someone's head off this week, and I'm pretty sure that's worth 10 points on DraftKings.
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