When I’m looking into the DFS slate each week, I like to go game by game and identify players or situations that intrigue me. In every game, on every team, there’s a situation that’s relevant for DFS purposes.
Whether it’s for a positive or negative reason, doesn’t matter. It informs us of how we should be attacking each slate. Each week, I’m going to go through that process here and give my view on a player or situation based on what we know so far and what we can expect to see in the future.
The Cardinals are 10.5-point underdogs in Minnesota in Week 6. There’s some cause for optimism about David Johnson’s ($5,900) workload, especially when you factor in price this week. That price comes from the fact that Minnesota is 1st in DK Points allowed to the running back, but it isn’t impossible to get there against them. Wendell Smallwood and Chris Ivory were able to drop 18 and 16 points on Minnesota, respectively. The Weekly Stat Explorer has his median projection at 16 with a ceiling of 23 PPR points. DJ is viable in GPPs this week.
Atlanta is implied for a slate-high 31 points this week. According to the weekly stat explorer, there are five Falcons who have a ceiling of at least 15 PPR Points. Those two factors are how chalk is made. Julio Jones ($7,900) will most likely be the highest owned WR this week at his price and in this matchup. From a game theory perspective, it would make some sense to be tempted to go elsewhere for a lower owned option. If you can do that, and it pays off then you’ll be like Scrooge McDuck diving into a pile of money…but I don’t really see a scenario where it works out. Don’t confuse the lack of TDs with a lack of usage. He’s 7th in Targets and 3rd in Air Yards on a per game basis this season.
The Ravens travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans as 2.5-point favorites. While they’re implied for just 22 points, there’s one player worth considering. His name is John Brown ($5,500). His usage is insane. He has three fewer targets on the season than Michael Crabtree ($4,700). But he has 453 more air yards. Not a typo. Brown has seen 871 air yards this season on just 44 targets, including 5 in the red zone, for an otherworldly aDOT of 20. He’s seen the same number of air yards as DeAndre Hopkins on 13 fewer targets. His opponent this week, the Titans, have given up 27 and 25 points to Kenny Stills and Will Fuller, respectively. They both had aDOTs above 15 in their games against Tennessee. This is a matchup that can be exploited.
Buffalo is implied for just 15.5 points as of right now. There’s literally no one I’d play on this team as things stand. For the second time this year, Josh Allen ($4,700) attempted less than 20 passes. He ended the day with 82 yards for a paltry 4.3 YPA. I don’t want to keep piling on, so let’s move along.
We laughed in Riverboat Ron’s face when he said he’d give Christian McCaffrey ($8,300) 20-25 touches each week. He’s seen at least 19 opportunities in each game so far this season. He’s averaging 21 PPR points per game, good for RB6 in that category. Washington gave up 18 points to a barely used David Johnson in Week 1 and 21 points to Mark Ingram last week. His usage should give him a safe floor week in and week out.
The Bears head out to Miami as 3 point favorites. It’s a middle of the pack team total at just 22.5 points. Despite the pessimism that might come with that team total, our GLSP App likes a couple of plays here. Allen Robinson ($5,700) and Taylor Gabriel ($4,300) stick out with median projections of 13.7 and 16.7, respectively. They’ve bounced back and forth a bit with their targets over the course of the season so far. Robinson holds a slight lead with 31 targets to Gabriel’s 29. At just over $4,000 with that projection, Gabriel appears to be a solid GPP option.
Cincinnati plays host to Pittsburgh this weekend in a divisional matchup. The Bengals are implied for 28 points which is good for 6th on the main slate. AJ Green ($8,000) has a ceiling projection of 27 points per the Weekly Stat Explorer. He’s scored at least 17 points in all but one game this season, where he still managed double-digits. Green is third in red-zone targets per game and 10th in WOPR. In his career, A.J. Green has played six home games against Pittsburgh and averages 20+ PPR points on 10+ targets.
The best rookie QB, Baker Mayfield ($5,500), plays host to the Chargers this weekend with a 46 O/U total. Los Angeles is giving up nearly 20 points to QBs so far this year. They’ve only held Josh Allen and Derek Carr under 17 points. If you’re not interested in Baker, Carlos Hyde ($4,900) is an intriguing option this week. I’m not sure how you can turn down a guy that’s under $5,000 and is 2nd in the league in carries. Hyde has been a fringe RB1/2 in all but one of his starts and has yet to finish a week outside of the Top 24. He’s seen 16 red zone opportunities so far. Per the RotoViz Screener, he’s had the third most rushes inside the 10-yard (13) and the second most inside the 5-yard line (9).
The Cowboys are home this week in a tough matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They’re home underdogs with an implied total of fewer than 19 points. Not exactly a recipe for fantasy success. There’s no concentration of targets between the WRs and TEs with six different guys seeing anywhere from 10 to 23 targets. Ezekiel Elliott ($7,000) is the play if you want guaranteed touches, but the lack of pep in the offense definitely puts a damper on things.
The Broncos will face a similar game script to what we’ve seen two of the past three weeks. They should be throwing quite a bit as they try to come from behind against the undefeated Rams. In a game they were blown out last week, Emmanuel Sanders ($6,700) saw 14 targets, including four in the red zone. Three weeks ago against Baltimore, he saw eight targets as they played catch up. If the game script goes the way Vegas sees it, we could be in for another pass heavy game that features Sanders. He hasn’t scored fewer than double-digit PPR points yet this season.
DeAndre Hopkins ($7,700) is a target hog. He’s seen double-digit targets in every game so far this season. Hopkins is fourth in Fantasy Points/Game despite scoring just two touchdowns. He’s seeing the most air yards per game (174) with no game under 116 air yards. There’s some talk about Tre’Davious White shutting opposing WRs down, but guys like Adam Thielen and Davante Adams have gotten there this season. The target floor makes him a safe option, and TDs are coming for DeAndre at some point.
The odds on Eric Ebron ($5,400) being a consistent fantasy asset must’ve been astronomical coming into this season. But here we are, with a TE wasteland, and Ebron here to save it all. He’s sandwiched between George Kittle and Jordan Reed this weekend. Ebron is averaging a dozen targets per game over the past three weeks. If you take a look at the season as a whole, he’s dominating many of the stats were looking for from TEs. Ebron has scored five touchdowns and has 12 red zone targets. That type of usage with those outcomes are what we’re used to seeing from the TE1 or TE2 overall. Until Jack Doyle returns, Ebron is going to be a difficult guy to fade.
The Jaguars head into Jerry World for a tilt with the Cowboys as 3 point favorites. T.J. Yeldon ($6,400) comes with another price hike this week but still seems cheap relative to his touch share. The game script was ideal for Yeldon last week to earn a bunch of targets. The past two weeks, whether through targets or carries, Yeldon has seen 41 total opportunities. He should continue to be featured in this offense with Leonard Fournette and Corey Grant on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
Los Angeles Chargers
Melvin Gordon ($8,200) goes up against a respectable Browns defense in Cleveland this week. That may scare some people off, but I don’t get it. Dual-threat running backs like Alvin Kamara and James Conner have scored on this Browns team. Even runners that aren’t a receiving threat like Isaiah Crowell and Marshawn Lynch put up 19 points apiece on this defense. Gordon has one of the best workloads in the league as he’s 8th in rush attempts/game and 4th in targets/game at the running back position. Couple that with 20 red zone opportunities and I’m not sure where the pessimism is coming in. Volume is the name of the game in DFS and the Chargers aren’t afraid to give Gordon opportunities.
If you believe that defense matters, you may want to avoid the Miami Dolphins this week. Per our Weekly Stat Explorer, the Bears are 2nd in points allowed to both the RB and WR so far this season. Kenny Stills ($4,700) and Trey Burton ($4,500) have both seen too few targets to be relevant on a week by week basis as anything other than GPP fliers. I’m not sure how you play Stills over John Brown or Burton over Ebron. You need to find the salary to avoid those plays.
I’m going to keep harping on it . . . target concentration is our friend in DFS. The only thing we want more than volume is predictable volume filtering through a few options. The Vikings pass catchers have accounted for 1,444 air yards through the first five weeks of the season. 1,102 of those air yards (76.3%) have gone to either Adam Thielen ($8,500) or Stefon Diggs ($7,600). Some may call the price on Thielen too high, I say it’s finally appropriate. There isn’t a game this season where he dipped below 24% of the team’s targets or 32% of the team’s air yards.
New York Jets
Some people in our bubble are saying that Robby Anderson ($4,600) is a thing again? He saw just five targets last week and had two scores, one of them for 70+ yards. While it appeared that Sam Darnold is trusting his deep threat receiver a bit more, I’m not ready to anoint this a Peyton Manning-Marvin Harrison type connection just yet. The matchup is good, and I can understand a GPP flier but Anderson has yet to see more than six targets in a week. Oh by the way . . . just play Bilal Powell ($4,500) if Crowell continues to be out.
The Raiders are going over to London to take on the Seahawks as three-point dogs on Sunday. We saw a huge pullback on Marshawn Lynch’s ($5,300) workload last week against the Chargers. They were never in the game, which led to a heavier dose of Jalen Richard ($3,400) than any team should ever use. Jared Cook ($5,000) is a bit expensive, but considering the TE landscape on the main slate, he could be viable. He’s seen at least six targets in 4-of-5 games so far this season. Cook has shown the upside when he’s been used as he has two finishes as the overall TE1 already in this young season.
The Steelers are coming off of a 24 point win against Atlanta and now travel to Cincinnati to face off against the Bengals as 2.5 point underdogs. The GLSP app loves Antonio Brown ($8,700) this week, giving him the second highest ceiling at WR. If you like him, you’re going to have to pay up. It makes sense that he’s the most expensive WR on the main slate as he leads the position in targets/game and is top five in touchdowns, air yards, and WOPR.
Seattle is the favored half of the London game. They’re giving the Raiders 3 points and are implied to score 26 of their own. In big losses to Chicago and the Los Angeles Rams, Tyler Lockett ($5,100) was at his most productive. He didn’t see much more volume as far as targets, but his aDOT was 17 and 20, respectively. In the other three games that Lockett has played, his aDOT has been 11 or less. He’s somehow scored 4 touchdowns despite earning just one red zone target. The matchup look neutral on paper but the Weekly Stat Explorer sees things differently. Lockett’s median projection is 16 with a ceiling of 23 in Week 6.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have the 4th highest team total on the main slate this week at 27.25 as they face off against the Falcons. You’d love to target a pass catching RB against this Falcons defense, but unless a Jacquizz Rodgers revenge game comes true there’s no one to target there. I’d think that playing any of the Bucs pass catchers are in play. Mike Evans ($8,100) should be popular but the GLSP app likes his teammate DeSean Jackson ($5,900). At a $2,000-plus discount, Jackson is interesting as a GPP option.
When it comes to the Titans, it’s Corey Davis ($5,800). He’s fifth in WOPR and 67th in TDs. Those two things don’t match up that way very often. When you look at his WOPR (weighted air yards and targets), you realize that there’s no way a guy who’s seen over 450 air yards over the first five weeks. We’ve seen nine different WRs hit double-digit PPR points on Baltimore this season. Corey Davis will make the tenth.
Washington is looking to bounce back after an embarrassing loss last week. Jordan Reed ($5,200) is projected for a 17-point ceiling. While that might not sound like the most exciting projection in the world, the main slate TEs are pretty gross. None of the big three are on the main slate. If he can find a way to get more involved and falls into the end zone, you’re looking at a guy who is worth considering for GPPs.