NFL DFS Week 6 Picks
ATTACK OF THE CHALK!!!! Last week was one of the highest, if not the highest, scoring slates NFL DFS has ever seen in a long time. It was partly due to monstrous performances across the board, but the fish were smart that week and ate all the correct chalk to skyrocket the cash/GPP lines across all contests. It might just be an outlier or a sign of the times a’changing due to all the great content available for everyone to digest and make smart, analytical picks. The DailyRoto Optimizer was almost perfect on the top value plays across the board (MT/Aaron Jones to be specific), a good example of how statistics can fluctuate greatly as the season drudges on but the ever-knowing bot will always adapt to the treacherous seas of NFL DFS.
The DR ship, aptly named “S.S. My Opinion Is Reflected In The Projections”, will be battling a typhoon of epic proportions in Week 6 as it tries to steer away from all the landmines left behind in the wake of multiple injuries. It’s gonna be a tough week to decipher exactly which players to roster due to numerous potential game-day injuries. For that reason, I’ll stick to the healthy players that are definitely going to play on Sunday. And yes, I may or may not mention some players involved in the disaster that is the Redskins vs Dolphins game.
Mahomes is battling an ankle injury while Tyreek Hill’s status is still up in the air. The NFL has caught up on what can slow down the vaunted Chiefs offense with a heavy man coverage approach while Tyreek is out. Due to the nature of those particular injuries, I’ve decided to pivot to good ol’ Lamar Jackson and his steady floor thanks to his rushing ability. We know the deal with the Bengals defense – they’re very, very bad. Jackson’s coming off his worst game of the season with three picks and no touchdowns, yet he was still able to pad on double digit fantasy points. Since the Miami victory where Jackson had little reason to run outside of the pocket, he’s averaged nearly 7 points per game through his legs alone. Murray was able to pierce the Bengals’ soft defense with several long scrambles, including a dazzling 6-yard touchdown run to cap off a 10/93/1 rushing day. That’s completely feasible for Jackson, who just may have to take over the offense himself with his best weapons nursing potential injuries. Jackson still has the 2nd best rating under pressure, making him a gorgeous start against the 2nd worst DVOA pass defense in the NFL. Jackson’s a no-brainer play with real serious upside if he’s forced to put the offense on his scrawny shoulders.
Ryan continues to stay afloat as a relevant DFS QB due to the nature of the Falcons generally falling behind early and playing catch-up. He’s now thrown for 300+ yards in five consecutive games and still rocking a 70% completion rate, which would honestly put him on a MVP campaign if the Falcons weren’t so….you know, awful. He gets yet another fantastic match-up against a lowly Zona defense that is just one mere week away from getting stud CB Patrick Peterson back into the lineup. Until then? The Cardinals’ 27th DVOA pass defense will continue to be one to exploit in all DFS formats. One of the main reasons why QBs seem to enjoy great fantasy outings against the Cardinals is the nature of the Cardinals’ 2nd fastest pace that often forces its defense to be on the field an ungodly amount of time. They have given the opposing offense the 8th most offensive snaps to play around with, a number that likely would be top five had they not faced the dilapidated Bengals offense. Even with the potential injury to Julio Jones, Ryan has enough weapons around him to keep the 6th fastest offense moving along just fine. Bank on a 6th consecutive 300-yard day from the former MVP!
With the QBs all closely priced together and a lack of a clear value QB that isn’t in a questionable match-up, it makes sense to put Prescott in this position due to his relative lower price point among the elite QBs. Dak has struggled as of late with taking care of the ball with teams figure out Kellen Moore’s offensive approach and picking up the Cowboys’ tendencies on offense. Luckily for Prescott, the Jets don’t seem to have an idea on what to do on the field. They’re a complete mess on offense and still reeling from injuries on defense. With a banged up Dallas OL putting Ezekiel in a rough spot against a competent Jets run defense, the offensive reins likely falls on Prescott’s shoulders (or arm?), and chances are we see plenty of explosive plays against a vulnerable Jets secondary. Prescott’s recent struggles can be largely attributed to one thing – pressure. He ranks 24th worst in passer rating among starting QBs under pressure (29% of the time), compared to the 2nd best rating (and most TDs thrown) when kept clean. The Jets’ pass rush has been anemic at best, grading out as the 3rd worst according to PFF. Even with the OL injuries, Prescott still has it relatively easy if the Jets pass rush continues to wilt on most downs.
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Garoppolo pops as a great value play on the main slate, but I have my concerns on a possible Jimmy goose egg. Both of his starting tackles are likely out against the Rams, which might cast an ominous shadow on Garoppolo’s fantasy upside. He’s historically struggled to move the ball under pressure with QB ratings of 63.3, 54.9, and 74.2 in the last three seasons, respectively. Of course, it’s a rather small sample size since he’s never had a full season under his belt. It’s a prime spot for a blow-up Garoppolo game against a woeful 24th DVOA Rams pass defense that may be missing Aqib Talib come game-day. There are signs that point to a possible Jimmy G resurgence though, more specifically the loss of FB Kyle Juszygzygdtydvyusbusbuybsk. That’s a big blow to their run-heavy offense that had also relied on injured RT Mitch McGlinchey. Garoppolo may be forced to be an actual quarterback and take advantage of a lax Rams secondary that’s progressively got worse each week. I’m still hesitant on a good Garoppolo day, but the projections do love him as a value play so I’ll be rostering him under the guidance of the volatility tool. Crank it to a 30 and sleep easy.
*Note: Alvin Kamara missed practice Friday with an injury sustained earlier in the week. Monitor practice reports for his usage.
What’s this? No CMC as the top play? Oh….they’re in London! THANK LITTLE BABY JESUS! Now we’ll go ahead and take the RB that CMC just completely destroyed! Kamara had a quiet day last week in an expected tough match-up against the #1 DVOA Bucs run defense. He’ll get an easier match-up against the now-dead last Jaguars run defense that apparently was so bad the Panthers were playing a game of Madden on the poor fellas, calling the same run play several times throughout the game with high success. After the CMC damage, the Jaguars now give up the 4th most rushing yards to opposing RBs. With Jalen Ramsey back in the fold, I’d expect the Saints to go back to a run-heavy gameplan to take advantage of the run defense while utilizing Kamara on pass routes against a Jags LB core that was clearly over-matched by CMC’s route running. Kamara still ranks top ten in routes run, targets, yards, and YPR/R. Kamara offers elite upside at a price point that just might be flexible enough to be overweight on.
The Seahawks erased all doubts of a potential time-share with Penny due to Carson’s fumblitis by giving Carson 26 and 28 touches in the last two games. Carson turned those 54 touches into 268 total yards and a touchdown. He’s even holding steady as a consistent pass threat with the 15th most RB routes run despite far fewer possessions in comparison to his fellow RBs. It’s safe to say that Carson’s going to be a bell-cow in any game that favors a run-heavy gameplan. Let’s check and see if that becomes the case in Week 6.
Ah yes, the Seahawks will be facing the dysfunctional Browns that just allowed nearly 300 rushing yards to the 49ers on national television. That embarrassing performance earned the Browns the 2nd worst overall run defense grad and a 23rd DVOA run defense grade. Nice. As long as the Seahawks favor a run-heavy gameplan (5th highest run percentage) and the Browns continue to be terrible, Carson will hold his strong floor and offer solid upside as a mid-tier RB on a slate riddled with RB injuries and game-time decisions.
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Now, now. I know it is risky rostering a non-PPR RB that’s heavily reliant on touchdowns for a good/great fantasy outing. Henry is just amassing an extremely large workload for an offense that shows no signs of stopping that trend anytime soon. Henry’s now seen his biggest uptick in snap count the last two weeks (75% and 63%) while still holding carries hostage with 70% of all carries (Mariota is 2nd in carries!). The increase in snap count has also resulted in his two highest touch totals with 20 and 28 in the last two weeks. Taylor Lewan also made his return from suspension last week, which should give a long-term boost to Henry’s numbers going forward. The Broncos have been a middling run defense all season, giving up the 8th most rushing yards while seeing the 7th most rushing attempts. If the Titans continue to give Henry 70% of the snaps and feed him accordingly, chances are Henry’s 50% of the RZ work (4th highest among ALL players) will lead to a touchdown or two. He’s already garnered the T-6th most RZ opportunities up to this point! Boost that bad boy to a 15 and LET IT RIDE!!!!
What a nut-low result that was for Hopkins last week. Absolute NUT-LOW! Yes, we all knew Fuller would go bonkers in a cake match-up….but what about Nuk’s cake? HE NEVER GOT TO EAT! Sigh. He’ll get another chance to feast upon a KC secondary that has generally allowed Bashaun Breeland shadow opposing #1 WRs. The results of that experiment have been a roller-coaster, as Breeland comes in with a putrid 47.5 PFF grade but hasn’t exactly allowed the number of yards you’d expect from someone graded that low. Breeland has allowed 12/188/1 in his coverage with a QB rating of 68.9. That’s pretty good, right? Well, the Chiefs also have the 3rd worst run defense with the most rushing yards allowed. Teams have simply elected to run at will against the Chiefs to control the time of possession and keep Mahomes off the field. The Texans do not possess that luxury since they continue to put Duke Johnson in RB jail for whatever reason. Clearly the projections think the same, since Hopkins rates as both the best value and overall WR play on the slate. I have to agree with the robots here since the Texans’ avenue to victory hinges on their pass-attack being effective rather than relying on the rotting legs of Carlos Hyde’s corpse. There has to be a reason why Breeland’s coverage grade has dwindled since his best performance in Week 1 (75.7 coverage grade). I’m still holding strong on Nuk and his 9th most air yards coming through one of these weeks. Believe in the projections!
As mentioned earlier in the Dak piece, Prescott generally destroys defenses if kept clean in the pocket. The main beneficiary of a happy Dak? It’s been Cooper and his elite route-running keeping the Cowboys’ motion offense chugging along. He’s been a tremendous deep threat with the 2nd highest YPR/R among eligible WRs, which makes it no surprise that he’s also behind Michael Thomas in total yards despite fewer targets and routes run. Cooper gets a pair of mediocre CBs in Daryl Roberts and the returning FA pick-up Trumaine Johnson, who have both combined for 33/384/3 in their coverage. Obviously that last stat is misleading, as Daryl Roberts has been responsible for the majority of that eyebrow-raising line (23/241/3). It’s just to point out how gorgeous Cooper’s match-up is this week since wherever he lines up is likely going to be a green-light for a Dak bomb. Dallas has currently the 2nd most explosive passing plays (20+ yards), behind only the blazing Chiefs. Just more stats to make a 100% Cooper roster all the more worthwhile.
IT’S CHARK WEEK! Repeated pun! It’s once again a slate full of not-so-obvious WR values if ignoring potential injury situation (cough Robert Woods cough). Chark has been on fire since the beginning of the season when he put up 4/145/1 in his debut. He’s since totaled the 6th most air yards among WRs and has firmly placed himself as the Jaguars’ premier #1 WR. He’ll get a Saints secondary that’s been a pushover all season across all positions. Chark moves all around the field and will even play 19% of his routes in the slot so it’s hard to say where exactly his best match-up might be. The important thing to note here is Chark’s total market shares (22% of targets, 31% of RZ targets) and his 4th highest YPR/R are aiding his lofty air yard numbers. The Saints have allowed the 5th most yards/TDs to opposing WRs and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. As long as Gardner Minshew suits up on Sunday (he’s got minor groin issues, something Uncle Rico probably also had), Chark will continue to trend as an elite value play on the slate. Chum up the waters!
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Yeah, last week was the squeaky wheel gets the grease after Cousins apologized to Thielen and had a 300-yard day. Can he continue that against a Philly D that continues to operate as a pass-funnel defense? Due to how incredibly inconsistent Cousins has been this season, it’s fair to put Thielen in a boom or bust category despite garnering 26% of the team’s targets with a massive 42% RZ target share. Thielen’s actually been an elite WR all season if you ignore Cousins’ numbers and his incomprehensible cowardice that resulted in wide-open Thielen routes being wasted much like Duke Johnson in Houston. The Eagles have surrendered the 7th most yards to opposing WRs with the T-5th most TDs, a trend that’s lasted for well over the past two years as #1 WRs continue to ravage them. I don’t see that changing with Thielen even if Cousins somehow craps his pants and scurries back into his cave. Thielen has also run significantly fewer pass routes (41st) and still has the 10th highest YPR/R. If the Eagles’ pass-funnel holds true, the Vikings won’t be able to rely on a run-heavy Dalvin Cook gameplan all game if they want to actually win the game. Unfortunately for Thielen, his success is entirely tied to Cousin’s arm. Put up a 40 volatility on Thielen and hope that 40% RZ work pops up again as it did last week.
I alluded earlier to a possible higher passing rate for the 49ers’ offense which would be a big boon to Kittle as a top TE play. Kelce is at a bloated price point that doesn’t make him worth rostering unless you absolutely hate the WRs that are a similar price. Kittle offers Kelce upside at a significantly lower price as the team’s undisputed receiver with a 26% MS/T and 36% of the redzone targets. The Rams have generally fared well against opposing tight ends but have a clear weakness in the middle of the defense. I expect the 49ers to attack with plenty of seam routes and moving Kittle all around to expose a weak LB core. Kittle has continued his high YPR/R from last season (broke the record for highest YPR/R for TEs) and is still top 10 in air yards despite having a bye week. It’s not as much of a slam dunk as say, Austin Hooper against the worst TE coverage, but Kittle offers elite upside in an offense that’s geared towards feeding the big guy.
Cook finally broke out of a season-long drought last week with his 1st TD on the season and seeing the most targets of any game thus far. It was a nice breakout game for the elder Cook in what had been a disappointing start to the season. He’s still logging the most slot routes among TEs and has run almost 70% of his total routes in the slot as well. He’s being matched up against linebackers who have no business covering him but just hasn’t gotten the chance to do something with it due to Bridgewater’s reluctance to air the ball out. Bridgewater finally broke out of his shell last week and saw his YPA increase from a woeful 6.15 in previous starts to a healthy 9.24 in Week 5! That probably won’t last for long, but the prospects of a less timid Bridgewater would mean a bigger fantasy ceiling for Cook. He’ll get an average match-up against the Jaguars with nothing notable to uh, note. It’s a price play on a yet again terrible TE slate if you aren’t paying up for sustained production. At least Cook actually has the tools to more than double his price point.
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Everett is more of a snap count and injury play this week. His snap count has varied wildly all season, with 3 games of 70%+ and other with under 50%. In the games where Everett saw at least 70% of the snaps, he’s gained 5, 15, and 23 fantasy points. The other two games? 1 and 2 points. Yikes. Still, he’s trending towards another 70+% campaign with injuries to both Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley possibly pushing for a heavier pass-attack and relying on Everett’s play-making ability. In the 3 weeks with 70%+ of the snaps, Everett’s numbers would have put him 6th in targets/routes ran, 4th highest YPR/R, and gained the 3rd most receiving yards among all TEs in the same three weeks. Point blank, when Everett gets to play meaningful snaps, he usually shows up in a big way. He’s got a tough test against a resurgent 49ers defense that’s seriously showing potential as a top-five overall defense. Not going to be any easy catches for Everett but it’s worth bumping up his projection and tinkering with volatility a little bit to give some props to the 49ers defense. I like a 20 volatility with a 10 boost since I think he’ll have a decent floor but a little bit of a capped ceiling.