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Fantasy Football Week 11: Take On The Machine

Victiv offers DFS players a chance to win cold hard cash if they can beat Victron, their lineup-generating machine.

CJ Anderson

Consider this your contribution to the Great Machine War: using your years of ceaseless fantasy football obsession to show that we flesh-and-blood humans can take down the algorithms — the machines — that only see the game in a cascade of ones and zeros.

The folks at daily gaming site Victiv, a DFS site that has certainly grown on me this season, are giving fantasy footballers the chance to go brain-to-brain against their optimization algorithm known simply as Victron — no relation to 1980s mechanical hero Voltron, according to sources.

If you beat Victron’s lineup, you win cash money.

Daily gamers are given three free cracks at taking down Victron, as the machine puts its best Week 11 lineup against your best squad to see who can best exploit pricing inefficiencies and find players whose opportunity isn’t fully baked into their weekly salary.

I think this is a great opportunity for those who don’t put much stock in algorithms to show that their way the the way in constructing daily fantasy lineups. Context is critically important, after all, and perhaps human intuition brings something to the game that a machine simply can’t.

Or maybe that’s what the machines want us to think as a way to lull us into a false sense of superiority before they strike at the very heart of our fantasy footballing confidence.

Before you do battle with Victron, here are some Week 11 Victiv value plays I’m using in my lineups…

Drew Brees ($8,600) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Brees, quite amazingly, is the site’s 11th highest priced quarterback this week, and he gets a shot at a Bengals defense that is ranked dead last in Pro Football Focus’ ratings. Cincy is being gouged by opposing tight ends, giving Jimmy Graham an even sillier fantasy ceiling than usual.

I might beg off Brees here if he were playing at Cincinnati, with the quarterbacks’ home-road splits being so dramatic. Brees is in the comfort of the Superdome, however, where he averages 318 yards, an unreal 2.94 touchdown tosses, and 29.6 fantasy points per contest.

C.J. Anderson ($3,700) at St. Louis Rams

Ronnie Hillman is almost certainly out this week, Montee Ball‘s role is yet to be determined, and Anderson showed that he’s by far and away Denver’s most explosive runner last week against Oakland. While we don’t know for sure if Anderson will get the starting gig to himself, I don’t think Anderson needs more than a dozen touches to well exceed his Week 11 price point.

Anderson could be in for quite a workload against a severely over-matched St. Louis defense that could — should — be picked to pieces by Peyton’s Perfect Machine. The Rams sport a middling rush defense and see the eighth most running attempt per game against them (28.9). Anderson’s Victiv price is outside the top-25 running backs this week, making him a must-have in tournament formats.

Odell Beckham, Jr. ($5,600) vs. San Francisco 49ers

It’s pretty clear that Beckham, after a 19-point performance against the Seattle secondary, is as matchup-proof as anyone not named Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, or Julio Jones.

OBJ has been targeted as often as teammate Rueben Randle since Victor Cruz‘s season-ending injury, though it’s increasingly clear that throwing to Randle is about as effective as throwing to Riley Cooper, as they both score .18 fantasy points per route run. OBJ has notched .42 points per route in his two games as a starter.

Beckham is 21st in wide receiver price on Victiv. San Francisco has been stingy against pass catchers for much of 2014, but no matter. I expect Beckham to finish Week 11 as a top-12 option.

Rob Gronkowski ($6,200) at Indianapolis Colts

I think it’s easy to get too cute with tight end on Victiv this week. Gronkowski, on a white-hot tear, is priced in the range of Kelvin Benjamin, Roddy White and Andre Ellington — players with lower floors and ceilings than New England’s freakish tight end.

Tom Brady has targeted Gronk 19 times over the past two games, with Gronk reeling in 18 of those footballs for 255 yards and four touchdowns. The Colts-Patriots throw down is projected by Vegas to be the year’s highest scoring affair, making Gronkowski a great investment for a more than reasonable price. He’ll be in every one of my Week 11 lineups.

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