Week 5 was one of my better weeks of the season. Most of the players I mentioned as my favorites hit last week. Scores across the board were somewhat above average last week, despite Jamaal Charles’ season-ending injury.
Phillip Rivers was my top cash game and tournament quarterback, and he did not disappoint. He was an excellent play at both sites and nearly 4x his value at DraftKings. Sam Bradford started slow but finished strong and was also a top play. Tyrod Taylor did the same, but his rushing ability carried us to another strong day.
My running back plays would have been flawless last week, but Charles’ injury (a guy I had in every league) made that not possible. Still Le’Veon Bell and Justin Forsett more than picked up the slack. Forsett exploded for 30+ points, and Bell notched a touchdown late also to post an excellent score for us.
Willie Snead, who I’ll mention shortly in the Thursday Night Football breakdown, exploded for 141 yards and six catches against the Eagles. Edelman also had a fantastic game against the Cowboys. Jordan Matthews was my big disappoint, who did almost nothing, except drop passes, despite Nelson Agholor missing the game (he might be out again this week).
The tight ends bricked for the most part. I ended up avoiding my plays in this article and going with Derrick Carrier of the Redskins. He was targeted just a few times but did grab a touchdown. Hopefully, you guys saw me mention this on Twitter.
We had little issues picking defense, aside from the Ravens. They imploded for 33 points given up against the hapless Browns, but the Broncos and Buccaneers each exceeded value in a massive way.
As always, the picks I offer below are my favorites for the week, but a lot can change between Thursday and Sunday. Injury questions are always a huge part of DFS, and we encourage all players to look for value with injury news leading up to kickoff on Sunday.
Cash Games and Tournaments
In this article, we’ll go position by position in terms of my favorite picks for the week. I also will be mentioning if I like a player more in cash games or tournaments. This is standard daily fantasy lingo and is simple to understand.
Cash games are contests where you have to beat a few other players, such as head-to-head or 50/50 contests. In these games, you only need to beat your opponent or place in the upper half of the field to cash. Cash games could also extend to 3-man contests or triple ups, or even larger contests. In these types of games, we want players who have an excellent floor of points and aren’t necessarily looking for upside (though, it certainly helps).
Tournaments are large field prize pools that consist of hundreds of players to thousands of players. For example, the Week 1 Millionaire Maker has over 500,000 thousand available entries. In large fields, it pays to be more contrarian. For tournaments or GPPs (guaranteed prize pools), we’re looking for players who are lesser-owned and have high upside or ceilings.
In summation, in cash games, we’re looking for high floors and per point value and in tournaments, high ceilings, and low ownership percentages.
Now, onto the picks for Week 6.
Thursday Night Football
The Thursday Night game this week is an NFC South showdown with the second highest total of the week behind the Colts and Patriots. There will be a lot of points scored in this one. I normally advocate fading the Thursday game if you run some Thursday contests, but this would be a dangerous week to do with such a high total and many viable plays.
On the Saints’ side, Drew Brees is excellently a cash and tournament play. His team is an underdog but is still projected to score 24 points. Mark Ingram’s passing game involvement also gives him a high floor and the Falcons run defense is below-average. My favorite play from New Orleans in this game is Willie Snead, who is still extremely cheap across the industry and has emerged as a go-to target for Brees in the passing game. Brandin Cooks is a guy you can consider in tournaments as well. He’s coming off his best game of the season, but I doubt he will be highly owned.
I probably won’t be playing the Thursday slate, simply because I’m sick of having to think about what to do with Devonta Freeman. He’s exploded for three straight weeks since taking the job and fading him as hurt. With that said, I think if you play Thursday, he’s a premier play in a cupcake matchup against New Orleans.
Julio Jones is always in play as a tournament option if he suits up, but there are serious questions about his availability this week. I wouldn’t consider rostering him in cash with his current injury situation. Leonard Hankerson is an average talent, but he turns into an elite salary-saving option against a horrible Saints’ secondary if Julio Jones is heavily limited or ruled out.
Aaron Rodgers (FanDuel: $9,300 DraftKings: $7,700)
Rodgers is coming off two subpar outings in a row, but let’s not forget how good he has been at home over the past few seasons. The guy throws laser beams and though San Diego’s pass defense has been strong so far, it’s no match for Green Bay’s passing attack.
Let’s also keep in mind that the Chargers haven’t faced anyone near Rodgers’ caliber. They “battled” Michael Vick and the Steelers last week, the Browns in Week 4, and the Vikings, Bengals and Lions dating back to Week 1.
Much of the reason for this is because teams can just run on San Diego at will, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rodgers throw for 300+ yards and several touchdowns in this one. Lacy could end up getting the bulk of the work in this one, (more on him later) but something tells me the best quarterback in the league is ready to get back on track at home.
The Packers are huge favorites at -10.5, odds that have already moved a full point from the -9.5 opener. They’re projected to score over 30 points with the Chargers scoring 20. The spread isn’t firmly into the double-digits, and this may very well be a 10-point game or less in the 4th quarter. Rodgers’ floor and upside this week is off the charts.
Tom Brady (FD: $9,000 DK: $8,100)
Brady is the most expensive quarterback on both DK and FanDuel, but that’s absolutely justifiable. He has yet to throw an interception this season and has 12 touchdowns on the season, including one-yard QB sneak last Sunday.
The Colts defense has not been good this season, but they have shored up their run defense in recent weeks. Belichick may give Brady the keys and allow him to annihilate the Colts through the air, although a run focused gameplan would not surprise me. All-Pro cornerback Vontae Davis is still nursing injuries and is not 100 percent, which upgrades this matchup even more.
It also looks like Andrew Luck will play this week, which should help keep the game close. New England is -7.5 favorites in this one and is projected to score 31 points on Sunday Night. That’s the highest team total of the week. There is no one safer in cash games than Brady. He clearly has the upside for tournaments as well, but I would not be shocked if he was the highest owned quarterback this week.
Matthew Stafford (FD: $6,900 DK: $5,300)
Yes, that Matthew Stafford, the guy who was benched late into last week’s game against the Cardinals for Drew Stanton after throwing an interception. Well, let’s start off with the reality: Stafford and the Lions offense have looked downright terrible over the first five weeks.
However, if we look at their opponents so far, the results may not be that shocking. Detroit has faced some shutdown defense units so far, which includes, the Cardinals, Vikings, Broncos, and Seahawks.
The Lions are -3 favorites at home and are projected to score 23 points in this game. Stafford’s price tag has fallen to a meager 5300 on DK. He has a lot of value over there. It’s tough to consider him a cash game option, but he might be this week because he’s simply so damn cheap. Despite how bad he’s looked this season, he’s my favorite tournament quarterback in what is his easiest matchup of the year by far. Firing him up in cash and loading up at the other is a viable strategy this week.
Matt Forte (FD: $8,400 DK: $7,100)
In the same game, I like Forte quite a bit. Alshon Jeffery may return this week, and deserves some consideration as a play if he does, and it may hurt Forte’s production, but I still like the Bears’ running back in both cash games and tournaments.
Forte’s pass catching ability makes him immune to game flow, and he’s facing a Lions’ defense that is dealing with tons of injuries. Last week, we saw the Cardinals RBBC backfield tear through the Lions front with ease.
Forte has more talent than all of those guys and rarely ever leads the field. Chicago doesn’t have a great team total, but this game should be relatively close. Detroit has fallen to 26th against the pass and 23rd against the run in DVOA rankings, making them a target every week.
Forte can beat them in both areas. Roster him in both tournaments and cash games with confidence.
Eddie Lacy (FD: $7,300 DK: $6,300)
I’ve included Lacy here because he’s not a guy I can respectfully write this column without mentioning. I’m not sure if he’s going to be a major play for me this week, because I may roster Rodgers in cash games, but he’s in play for both cash games and tournaments without question.
In my opinion, “Fat Eddie” looks especially fat this year and out of shape. With that said, he is Green Bay’s primary running back in a game where they are -10.5 favorites at home. San Diego’s offensive has been terrible this year as well, and Green Bay’s defense has been flying around all over the field making plays.
Lacy could easily have two touchdowns in a game against the league’s worst-ranked rush defense according to DVOA. He’s in play across the board in cash games and tournaments, but Rodgers is still my preferred play if you’re looking to get a piece of Green Bay’s offense.
Dion Lewis (FD: $7,200 DK: $5,800)
Dion Lewis is one of my favorite plays this week because he offers such a stable floor for cash games. Especially on DraftKings, where we have a 1.0 PPR, he’s going to be even more valuable.
The Patriots clearly trust Dion and though I mentioned above that the Colts run defense has played better as of late – this could end up being a positive for Lewis. He plays extremely well in the passing game, and I doubt this one turns into a “Blount game” with Andrew Luck trending towards playing this week.
Though his price has risen since last week on both sites – there is plenty of value to be found in Lewis. He may not have the upside of a Gronkowski, but he’s my preferred play to get some exposure to the Patriots and should have no issue paying off his salary.
Jeremy Maclin (FD: $7,200 DK: $6,500)
It’s not often you will see a Kansas City wide receiver in this column, but with the injury to Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs being road underdogs – I think this a prime spot for Jeremy Maclin.
The best part about Maclin is that he’s already been getting targeted heavily and seems to have a strong rapport with Alex Smith, even before Charles’ injury. Maclin has seen double-digit targets in the past three games.
Minnesota defends the pass much better than they defend the run, but they are still in the middle of the pack in pass defense according to DVOA. Maclin moves around the field, so he should be able to get away from standout cornerback Xavier Rhodes for most of the game.
More importantly, Maclin may take over the primary red zone target without Charles on the field. Although there is no doubting his talent, Travis Kelce just simply isn’t being used enough by Andy Reid to consider for me this week. Pencil in Maclin for upwards of 12 targets in a game the Chiefs will likely be playing from behind.
DeAndre Hopkins (FD: $8,500 DK: $7,700)
The crowd may rush to roster Arian Foster in this matchup after the Jaguars were torched by Doug Martin last week, but I’m still a believer that Jacksonville can stop the run fairly well. Their DVOA ranking against the rush is still at 8th, even after last week’s debacle.
One thing we know for sure that Jacksonville does not do well is defend the pass. No cornerback can come close to covering Hopkinshim on Jacksonville, and he is an absolute target monster.
He hasn’t seen less than 11 targets in a game this season and has totaled 36 in the past two weeks. This game is currently a pick at most sportsbooks, and the total is a mere 43 points, but I have zero doubt that “Nuk” gets balls thrown in his direction early and often in this one.
He’s by far my favorite receiver play of the week for both cash games and tournaments. With the number of targets he is seeing, he’s got an outstanding floor and massive upside.
Allen Hurns (FD: $6,500 DK: $5,000) and Allen Robinson (FD: $6,700 DK: $5,900)
On the other side of the ball, both Jaguars’ receivers are in play as well. I give a considerable edge to Allen Robinson because I think he’s much more talented, but Hurns has proven that he can ball as well.
Again, the total isn’t huge in this game, but I can’t help but notice how DFS sites never seem to raise the prices of Jaguars players. Bortles, along with Robinson and Hurns have been putting up excellent stat lines for weeks now, and they’re still criminally underpriced.
Running back T.J. Yeldon did not practice on Wednesday and may sit this week due to a groin injury. Jacksonville will likely rely on the pass more with him sidelined. The matchup against Houston isn’t excellent, but both of these receivers are still way underpriced.
Rob Gronkowski (FD: $8,200 DK: $7,600)
Gronk will be a weekly fixture in the tight end column if he has a good matchup. The Colts have major issues defending the middle of the field, and the even with the high price – Gronk is always in play. I prefer Dion Lewis in cash games, but Gronk is an excellent play in tournaments, particularly because he’s had a few quiet weeks and may be under owned.
Larry Donnell (FD: $5,300 DK: $2,800)
With Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle both battling injuries, Donnell got plenty of targets last week against San Francisco. They both should play, but I would expect Donnell to see still a few red zone looks with Daniel Fells’ career likely over due to injury.
The Giants are +4.5 underdogs against the Eagles on Monday Night in a game that could be a shootout with a total of 50 points. I like him regardless of Beckham and Randle’s status, but he becomes a must-play in my opinion if either of them can’t suit up for Monday night’s contest.
Derek Carrier (FD: $4,900 DK: $2,500)
Carrier ended up being my tight end across the board last week after I decided to roster him over Owen Daniels across the board. Though he saw just three targets, he caught a touchdown. He also was on the field for 95% of snaps.
Jordan Reed is out again this week, and Carrier will once again have a large role. I’d expect a few more targets this week for him. The Redskins face a tough matchup at the New York Jets as -6 underdogs and their point total is just 17 points, but Carrier doesn’t need much to make value, particularly at DraftKings where he is minimum priced.
Bengals (FD: $4,700 DK: $3,000)
The Bengals matchup got a big upgrade with Tyrod Taylor being diagnosed with an MCL strain mid-week. Taylor has not been officially ruled out, but should be by Sunday. EJ Manuel will step in as the starter for the Bills, who may still be without number one wide receiver Sammy Watkins. They are also starting a third and fourth-string running backs.
Though Cincinnati is on the road, and their defense isn’t normally one I love to roster in DFS, this is an excellent spot for them. They’ve gotten to the QB lately, are -3.5 favorites in this one and the Bills are projected to score just 19 points according to the oddsmakers.
Denver Broncos (FD: $5,000 DK: $3,700)
Ah, another road defense. The Broncos head to Cleveland this week to take the Browns. They are -4 favorites in a game with an extremely low total. The Browns exploded for 33 points last week against the Ravens, but they won’t come close to that total this week.
The oddsmakers project Cleveland to score just over 19 points in this one, but I think that may be optimistic. Denver is basically an All-Pro team on the defensive side of the ball and the only reason the Broncos are still undefeated. Ownership levels may also be a little lower for Denver after the Browns explosion of points last week.
New York Jets (FD: $4,800 DK: $3,100)
The Redskins should be a weekly target for DFS players and this week is no exception. The Jets have an ideal matchup against Washington this week. No one runs on the Jets, so Kirk Cousins will be forced to throw downfield after the Jets likely get ahead.
They are -6 at home and the game as a whole has the lowest total of the week at 40.5. Washington’s projected points are also a week-low 17 points. This one could get ugly in a hurry.
Feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@JosephFalchetti) with questions, concerns, or opinions on this week’s games and plays. Good Luck in Week 6!
Author: Joseph Falchetti (twitter)
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