If you guys missed me on Wednesday, don't worry, I missed you too. I was thinking about you all day. If you're wondering what I did with my off day, it mostly involved putting up my Christmas tree, which I think is the earliest I've ever put it up.
Normally, I want to put up the tree on Sept. 1, but my wife thinks that's ridiculous and that it shouldn't go up until the Friday after Thanksgiving. If you're wondering how we settled on Nov. 18, I have no idea, which is kind of fitting, because if I ever write a book about marriage, it will be called, "I have no idea what's going on ... but we're having fun."
Speaking of fun, anyone who watches the Cardinals-Seahawks game tonight is going to be having fun because those two teams have perfected the art of playing crazy games. We'll be talking about that in today's newsletter, along with who the MVP frontrunner should be and who I think is the best Super Bowl bet right now from a value standpoint.
We'll also be covering ... you know what, I'm going to stop talking about what we're about to talk about and just get to today's newsletter. As always, if you want to share this newsletter with everyone you know, I will not be offended. Just just click here to grab the link and then send that link to everyone you know.
1. Today's Show: Daily Fantasy advice for Week 11
Although my Christmas tree is now up, I'm guessing Will Brinson's isn't, and that's because I'm pretty sure he has zero free time to get anything done due to the fact that he hosts a daily podcast. For Thursday's pod, Brinson talked about the best daily fantasy plays for Week 11 with fantasy gurus Heath Cummings and Frank Stampfl. The trio went over all the best fantasy options for the 12 games that are being played on Sunday.
During the podcast, the three guys offered their best value plays for the week, so let's take a quick look at those (These are guys you can purchase for $4,000 or less on Draft Kings).
- Brinson: Jets WR Denzel Mims ($3,500). Trying to figure out who's going to be getting the ball in the Jets offense is nearly impossible -- I don't even think the Jets know -- but Brinson is going to take a flyer this week on Mims. One reason the rookie makes sense is because he's averaged 48.7 yards over in New York's past three games and it's starting to feel like a breakout game could be coming.
- Stampfl: Washington TE Logan Thomas ($3,300). No one benefitted more from Alex Smith's first start of the season than Thomas, who caught five passes for a season-high 66 yards in Week 10. With Smith still under center and Washington getting ready to face a bad Bengals defense, those numbers could get even bigger in Week 11.
- Cummings: Dolphins WR Jakeem Grant ($3,500). Last week, Stampfl told us to jump on Jakeem Grant and that advice paid off as the Dolphins receiver totaled 43 yards and a very important touchdown in Miami's win over the Chargers. This week, Cummings is keeping us on the Grant train. With Preston Williams still on injured reserve, Tua is going to need someone to throw the ball to and Grant seems like a smart bet.
To listen to today's episode -- and subscribe to the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. Getting you ready for Cardinals-Seahawks in Seattle
The last time we saw the Seahawks and Cardinals on the same field, it was one of the most bonkers games of the year, which I guess actually isn't that surprising since every game involving at least one of these two teams ends up going bonkers. I mean, the Cardinals won on a Hail Mary in Week 10.
This is a big game for both teams, but it's an especially big game for the Seahawks, because if they lose, it will effectively put them two games behind the Cardinals in the division standings since Arizona will have the season-sweep. Being two games behind someone with six games remaining definitely isn't ideal.
My good buddy Jared Dubin put our deep-dive preview together here at CBSSports.com, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- The Seahawks have the worst defense in the NFL and if they're going to win this week, they're going to have to do the impossible: Stop Kyler Murray. Murray is on pace for 4,260 passing yards and 32 touchdowns this season plus 1,086 rushing yards and another 16 scores. The Seahawks couldn't stop him the first time around and it's hard to imagine them doing any better this time around.
- For the first time all season, the Seahawks didn't score at least 27 points in a game last week when they lost to the Rams 23-16. Don't pay attention to last week though, because it's highly unlikely this offense is going to sputter two weeks in a row. Wilson had a huge game the last time these two teams played back in Week 7 (388 yards and three touchdowns) and it won't be surprising at all if he has another big game.
Dubin's pick: Cardinals 31-27 over Seahawks.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here.
If you're thinking betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan has put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: D.K. Metcalf total receiving yards: Over 78.5 (-115): In nine games this season, Metcalf has gone over 78.5 yards a total of seven times. Not to mention, he'll be looking to bounce back after recording just 28 yards in Seattle's Week 10 loss to the Rams.
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Russell Wilson to score a TD and Seahawks win (+500): Last week, I gave you guys a kicking prop (Thanks again to Rodrigo Blankenship for making me look intelligent), but this week, I'm feeling frisky. For some reason, I think the Seahawks are going to win and I also think that Russell Wilson is going to be on a personal mission to carry them to victory. If Wilson scores a TD AND the Seahawks win, this prop pays out $500 on a $100 bet.
You can check out Sullivan's full gambling preview by clicking here.
3. NFL Week 11 picks
In case you haven't noticed, we love to make picks here at CBS Sports. Two guys who almost always do a good job with their picks are Tom Fornelli and Jordan Dajani. They're so good at picks that I might let them pick what I'm eating on Thanksgiving this year. Dajani is currently 78-62-5 against the spread on the season, and Fornelli writes our CBS Sports HQ PM edition newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. If you're into gambling -- and who's not -- that newsletter is loaded with picks from every sport, so you should definitely subscribe.
With that in mind, let's check out one pick from each guy for Week 11:
- Dajani: Dolphins (-3.5) at Broncos. The Dolphins defense has been on fire and it now gets to go up against a quarterback in Drew Lock who threw four interceptions in Week 10. From Dajani, "If I had to choose a lock of the week, it's probably the Dolphins." I'm sold. Dajani's pick: Dolphins 28-20 over Broncos.
- Fornelli: Falcons (+5) at Saints. This point spread didn't move much after it became apparent that Drew Brees wouldn't be playing and although Fornelli likes the fact that Brees won't be playing -- he's taking the Falcons to cover -- he's picking Atlanta because Matt Ryan has torched the Saints defense that last few times these two teams have played. Fornelli's pick: Saints 27-24 win, but Falcons cover.
4. Super Bowl odds: Jets still alive, Colts feel like best value
You might not believe this, but heading into Week 11, EVERY team in the NFL still has a chance to win the Super Bowl. Seriously, even the Jets could win it and that's because they haven't been eliminated from the playoff race yet. Sure, they'd have to win seven games in a row just to get into the playoffs with a 7-9 record, but crazier things have happened, and in 2020, I'm just not going to rule out anything.
At 0-9, the Jets currently have the worst Super Bowl odds and since none of us will be betting on them to win it all, let's check out the teams that currently have the best odds, via William Hill SportsBook:
Worst odds: Jets +400000 (Bet $100 to win $400,000)
Best value: Colts +2500
My first piece of advice here is don't bet on the Jets even though a $1 bet would pay out $4,000 if they somehow won.
Last week, I said I'd bet the Chiefs and although that's still true, it will get pretty boring around these parts if I say the same thing every week, so I'm going to make two non-Chiefs observations about these odds. First, the Saints odds actually got better compared to last week even though Drew Brees is likely going to miss at least two weeks. Apparently, the oddsmakers in Vegas like Jameis Winston way more than the rest of us. The other thing I noticed about these odds is that one dark horse I like ISN'T EVEN LISTED. The Indianapolis Colts currently have the 11th best odds at +2500 and I think that's a great value because if we've learned one thing about winning the Super Bowl, it's that a great defense can win you the title and the Colts have that.
5. MVP Watch: Not everyone loves Russell Wilson's cooking
The Seahawks plan to "Let Russ Cook" looked like a good idea to start the season, but recently, it's starting to feel like Wilson's kitchen is starting to burn down. Through the first six weeks of the season Wilson looked like a lock to win the MVP, but over the past four weeks, he's completely fallen apart with seven interceptions in four games where the Seahawks have gone 1-3.
With Wilson no longer looking like the best quarterback in the NFL, you might be wondering who's on top of the MVP race right now and since I was also wondering the same thing, I decided to have some people vote on it. Our Jared Dubin rounded up a panel of experts -- to be honest, it wasn't so much a panel as it was me, Wilson and Brinson -- to vote on the MVP award heading into 11 weeks.
Although Wilson has struggled over the past few weeks, he still ended up getting the second most votes from our panel. Of course, when it comes to the MVP race, second is really just the first loser. There's only one winner and right now, we see that being Patrick Mahomes.
Here's a breakdown of our voting:
I personally voted Mahomes at one, so I'm glad to see everyone agreed with me. If you're wondering how Dalvin Cook got a vote or why Tom Brady ended up with two, you can see the explanation for each of our MVP ballots by clicking here.
6. Tua Tagovailoa trying to do something no rookie QB has done since 2004
It's not easy to win in the NFL as a rookie quarterback, even though Tua Tagovailoa is managing to make it look easy. With Tua under center, the Dolphins have now won three straight games, which I'm only mentioning, because if Miami beats the Broncos on Sunday, Tua will become the first quarterback in more than 15 years to win his first four starts during his rookie year.
A win over Denver would push Tua to 4-0. The last quarterback to start his career with four straight wins during his rookie year was Ben Roethlisberger, who did it in 2004. The fact that no rookie QB has been able to pull off four straight wins to start their career in 16 years is kind of crazy to think about, especially when you consider that there have been multiple rookie quarterbacks in that span who went on to great success with guys like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray (Remember, this record only applies to games won during their rookie year, so although someone like Mahomes won the first six starts of his career, only one of his wins came when he was a rookie).
Here's a look at the rookie quarterbacks who have gotten off to the best start in the Super Bowl era:
1. Ben Roethlisberger, 2004: Started 13-0 with Steelers
2. Mike Kruczek, 1970: Started 6-0 with Steelers
3. Virgil Carter, 1968: Started 4-0 with Bengals
4. Phil Simms, 1979: Started 4-0 with Giants
And that's it. That's the entire list of rookie quarterbacks who won at least their first four starts during their rookie year. Not only can Tua put himself on the list this week, but he could shoot up to No. 2 on the list if he can win his next three games (Broncos, Jets, Bengals).
Unfortunately for Tua, he won't be able to catch Roethlisberger. Since the Dolphins only have seven games left on their regular season schedule, the best Tua can do during his rookie year is start 10-0.
7. The Kicker!
Since I have no life outside of this newsletter, I generally spend most of my week going through kicker press conferences to see if anyone has anything exciting to say, and um, Rodrigo Blankenship definitely wins the award this week for most interesting press conference. Apparently, the Colts kicker is best friends with Ric Flair. Not only are they friends, but Rodrigo actually got an invite to Flair's 70th birthday party back in February 2019. I actually ran into Ric Flair in a hotel lobby three weeks before his 70th birthday and he didn't say anything about a party. Still not sure how I didn't score an invite (You can see the picture I took of Flair -- who's posing with CBS Sports NFL writer and huge Flair fan, Ryan Wilson -- by clicking here).
Anyway, if you want to know how Rodrigo and Flair became friends, you'll have to read this story from the Indianapolis Star. If you want to see a picture of Ric Flair wearing a Rodrigo t-shirt with full rec specs, click here.
I'll see you guys tomorrow and Ric Flair, if you're reading, I'll gladly accept an invite to your 75th birthday.