DFS Player Pool Week 6
There’s not much to say heading into Week 6. The week has a slight feel of a sequel following an impossibly successful debut. What remains to be seen is will this week be more like The Godfather Part 2, or Iron Man 2? There are plenty of interesting matchups, even with four teams on their bye week. There is value at every position and pricing discrepancies too. Read on and hopefully, this week feels more like a John Wick 2 level of success. Good luck and onto the DFS player pool!
DFS Player Pool Week 6
Lamar Jackson, $6,900, vs. CIN
One week after a season-low 14.44 point outing against the division rival Pittsburg Steelers, Jackson has another AFC North showdown. Luckily, this one is against a much more fantasy-friendly defense. The Cincinnati Bengals defense is, in a word, bad. The kids might refer to them as “trash,” or decidedly “not-lit.” On the season, Cincinnati has allowed the most total yards and the third-highest yards per play average. Their run defense is the worst in the league (in terms of yards allowed), but the pass defense has been merely mediocre. Oddly, this might help Jackson in DFS. With as banged up as his two leading receivers are (Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews) Jackson could see more rushing work in this game when he drops back to pass. Expect Mark Ingram to handle an RB1 workload, but Jackson should still thrive against the Bengals.
Deshaun Watson, $6,700, @ KC
Another week, another great matchup for Watson. Just a week removed from his decimation of the Atlanta Falcons, Watson is back in a great spot for fantasy points. This game has the highest total on the board, by far, at 58. Much like Atlanta, the Chiefs are not ideally suited to take advantage of the main Texans’ vulnerability: the offensive line. Per Pro Football Reference, Kansas City has the third-lowest pressure percentage this season. In the two games Houston surrendered fewer than 4 sacks, Watson has averaged 388.5 yards and 4 TDs. If this game escalates into the shootout many anticipate, Watson will have plenty of attempts against a defense ready to be picked apart.
So far, Kansas has functioned as more of a run funnel defense, ranking 31st in rush defense DVOA and 9th in pass defense. Luckily, Houston hasn’t been very good at running the ball. The strength of both of these teams is passing, and all fantasy players will be rooting for this smash the over. If it does, expect Watson to be one of the best QB plays of the day.
Russell Wilson, $6,600, @ CLE
A likely chalky play, given the recent high profile failure of the Cleveland Browns defense, but Wilson offers solid value. His ceiling is likely a bit capped due to Cleveland’s run funnel tendencies, but his floor is higher than most options this week. The return of outside CBs, Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams might scare players off of him. Don’t run too far though, as their possible return opens the door for more rushing yards in passing situations as Wilson leaves the pocket as Cleveland’s pressure moves in. Also, their presence won’t affect the main matchup for Wilson, which is Tyler Lockett in the slot versus T.J. Carrie. Aside from Lockett, Wilson’s new favorite, TE Will Dissly is set for a decent day as well. The recent returns for Wilson have been excellent and that should continue.
Gardner Minshew II, $5,000, @ NO
Exactly what else does Minshew have to do to prove himself a solid fantasy play? He has stepped to the starter role and made it his own. Minshew sports the 7th best net yards per attempt according to Pro Football Reference. Currently, he is 13th in passing yards and has a very nice 9/1 TD to INT ratio. Former coach Mike Leach talked about his poise as his best attribute as a passer and it has shown. His deep passing has been excellent, especially on the two outside thirds, where he is comfortably above the league average in QB passer rating. In fact, Minshew is the first rookie QB ever to record five straight games with at least 200 yards and a passer rating above 95 to start a career. So far, he is 9th in points per game, and everyone above him on the main slate is at least $1,000 more. The mania is real and looks to continue against New Orleans, on Sunday. As a reminder, New Orleans is allowing the 5th most points per game to QBs and ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders).
Mark Ingram, $6,600, vs. CIN
As I mentioned above, the Bengals are bad. Jackson is probably the safest play of the week at QB, and Ingram is among the safest plays at RB. The Bengals have given up the second-most rushing yards, receptions, and receiving yards to RBs and the most TDs. Here is a breakdown of the points Cincinnati allowed to opposing RBs so far:
Chris Carson: 25
Matt Breida: 17.2
Raheem Mostert: 24.1
Frank Gore: 16.9
James Connor: 26.5
Jaylen Samuels: 22.3
David Johnson: 18.6
The low score for those RBs yields a 2.56 ROI on Ingram’s price. Get Ingram into your lineups.
Chris Carson, $6,000, @ CLE
After the shredding the Browns defense got from the San Francisco 49ers backfield, Carson might be one of the chalky plays of the week. After allowing 173 and then 275 rushing yards the last two weeks, Cleveland is scrambling to fix their run defense. Now, Chris Carson comes to town.
Recently removed from a near benching (per the very rational fantasy community), Carson has reasserted himself as the bell-cow for Seattle. Rashaad Penny was injured in Week 4 (the best opportunity for Carson to lose his job), but returned in Week 5 and had no impact on the Carson workload. Penny totaled 8 touches and had a 12% snap rate compared to Carson’s 28 and 84%. The return of Ward and Williams outside for Cleveland might even help Carson in the passing game. In just five weeks he is only 5 catches and 58 yards from matching his totals from last year. Carson is the cheapest source of heavy volume on the main slate, making him a value here regardless of matchup. Throwing in the Browns is just a bonus.
Le’Veon Bell, $6,400, vs. DAL
One of the strangest prices of the week, Le’Veon Bell is priced way down this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously the big news for the Jets is the return of Sam Darnold to the starting lineup. In the one game he and Bell played together, Bell totaled his season-high in points. Looking closer, Bell’s low point totals have more to do with the defenses he’s been playing than any drop off in talent. His last two games he’s totaled only 26.1 combined points, but it was against New England and the Philadelphia Eagles’ dominant front seven.
The receiving skill is still in play, giving Bell a reasonable floor, especially at his price. That should be especially important against Dallas, who is allowing the 3rd most points per game to RBs, based mostly on receiving work. Against RBs, Dallas has allowed the 2nd most receptions and 5th most receiving yards.
Adrian Peterson, $4,500, @ MIA
Yes, this is an awful game, but that’s part of the beauty of fantasy sports; the ability to turn a shit-show race to the #1 pick in the draft into a compelling competition. Peterson’s here mostly because of Jay Gruden. Or, rather, the firing of Jay Gruden. It made plenty of sense for Washington to fire him, and doing it a week after an ugly loss to the Patriots and a week before the easiest date on their schedule was an easy call. Now, if the team wins, it’s because they rallied around one another and behind their new coach. All that to say this, they will be going for the win.
Peterson has been announced as the starter and new coach Bill Callahan has talked up a return to old-school football. This will likely be the most volume Peterson has seen this season and could set a new high in rush attempts for the season by halftime. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are dead last in rushing attempts against, yards, TDs, allow the second-most points to RBs, and have 7 defenders listed as questionable. The ceiling might not be very high, but Peterson will get a starting RB workload against a very soft defense.
Carlos Hyde, $4,400, @ KC
Playing Hyde is all about getting some exposure to the most likely shootout on the schedule. The total for this game is currently sitting at 55, highest on the slate by far. Hyde has been dominating the touches compared to teammate Duke Johnson, 78 to 41. More importantly, Hyde has dominated the red zone work as well with 10 carries to Duke’s 0, while both players have 2 red zone targets. Last week, Duke had his most work since Week 1 and was still out-touched by Hyde, 21-10.
This is Hyde’s backfield, and Johnson’s utility in the passing game has been mostly ignored as well. The Chiefs defense has allowed the second-most rushing yards, yards per attempt, and rushing first downs. According to Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric, they are the second-worst run defense in the league. Hyde has a great shot to score this week, and even without a TD, his price makes value easy to hit.
Michael Thomas, $7,800, @ JAX
Are there any concerns left with Thomas while Teddy Bridgewater is playing? The initial panic has died down, and MT’s monster week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shows that the ceiling is still very high for him. Now averaging 26 points per game with Bridgewater starting, Thomas is as safe as they come. Currently leading the NFL in receiving yards and receptions, Thomas remains elite. Going on the road into Jacksonville shouldn’t be a problem considering Jalen Ramsey is questionable to play. Follow the reports closely and if he’s out, fire up Thomas.
DeAndre Hopkins, $7,400, @ KC
This matchup has already been covered above, but Hopkins is ready to break out. Last week saw Will Fuller V explode against a good matchup. Despite having a down year by his lofty standards, Hopkins still leads the team in WOPR (per airyards.com), while being second in fantasy points. Again, the breakout is coming. Playing Hopkins means getting him at his cheapest price this season, and the WR1 in this week’s highest point total matchup. Deshaun Watson should be facing a clean pocket most of the day, meaning Hopkins will have ample time to beat CBs Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward. Both of those players will be at a severe disadvantage against one of the premier WRs in the game.
Terry McLaurin, $6,000, @ MIA
Nothing about McLaurin’s results has been risky to this point. Really, the only risk here is tied to his QB. As of now, Case Keenum is slated to start, but his foot injury could limit his effectiveness. In the games Keenum finished, McLaurin averaged 20.9 DK points. The opposing “defense” in Miami has been a train wreck. Currently allowing by far the highest passer rating and adjusted net yards per attempt, Miami is only occasionally inconveniencing offenses. McLaurin has been the lone bright spot of the Redskins’ season, and that should continue this week.
Dede Westbrook, $5,100, vs. NO
Listeners of the DFStatistics podcast I host with Matt Williams know that we have mercilessly roasted P.J. Williams the last two seasons. In our defense, it’s only because he has been awful at his job. New Orleans allows the 4th most points to all slot receivers per game, and the 3rd most to WRs aligned there. With emerging star D.J. Chark taking attention to the outside, Westbrook will be free to run past P.J. all day at home against the Saints. This is possibly the best combination of price and matchup on the slate at WR. Take advantage and enjoy the production.
Jamison Crowder, $4,000, vs. DAL
Byron Pringle, $3,500, vs. HOU
There is a real risk with both of these picks, but depending on the game both can be solid values. Crowder is the higher floor, lower ceiling cash play. Adam Gase and Sam Darnold both love to throw to the slot receiver and Crowder was racking up points in the lone game he played with Darnold. Back in Week 1, he recorded 14 catches for 99 yards on 17 targets. 17! He could be a great value at half that number this week against a likely negative game script.
Pringle is the high ceiling, potential zero tourney play. His ownership might be a bit higher than expected with recency bias sticking in people’s minds. Still, with no Sammy Watkins playing last week, Pringle stepped up with 6/103/1 final line. Watkins has missed practice all week, and Tyreek Hill is still unlikely to play. In a game where points will likely be scored in bunches, any exposure to the KC offense can pay off. With a price as low as Pringle’s, one play can hit value for lineups while allowing for a lot of salary flexibility.
Travis Kelce, $7,000, vs. HOU
The only reason to not play Kelce this week is because of his price. The matchup is great and Kelce figures to have a prominent role for an offense potentially down their top two WRs. If he fits, plug him into your lineups. Kelce’s ceiling is as high as any TE on the slate, and he’s yet to have fewer than 8 targets or 11 points. While that floor isn’t great for the price, at TE, it isn’t disqualifying either.
Austin Hooper, $5,000, vs. ARI
Last week showed that the “start TEs vs. ARI” strategy does have a talent limit. While the gap has closed, the Cardinals still lead the league in points per game allowed to TEs. Last week Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah combined to produce a 4 reception, 30-yard day. But looking at the results of the other TEs facing the Cardinals, Hooper is in the same group talent-wise, like the others who lit them up. Hooper is currently the top TE in DraftKings scoring and is priced as the TE4 on the main slate. His $5,000 salary is a season-high, but if he continues to produce, that could still represent a steep discount. Hooper will be the top owned TE this week and is by far the best combination of talent, 2019 production, and matchup. Both cash and tourney players can use him without worry.
Will Dissly, $4,900, @ CLE
Maybe even surprising than Hooper’s TE1 ranking is Dissly’s TE5 rank five weeks into the season. The second-year player has broken out in the early going, drawing lots of looks from Russell Wilson. Tied for second on the team in targets with D.K. Metcalf, Dissly has averaged an excellent 3.08 points per touch on his 23 catches and one carry. He has been getting designed looks drawn up for him and Wilson has looked for him when it matters. Dissly is second on the team in 1st downs and red zone targets. His opponent, the Browns, are giving up 14.4 points per game to the TE. That includes games against the Jets and Rams (Gerald Everett had 2 targets in that game), and good days from the following:
Delanie Walker: 5/55/2
Mark Andrews: 4/31/1
George Kittle: 6/70/1
Dissly is in that tier of TEs right now, with a QB playing at an MVP level.
Gerald Everett, $3,600, vs. SF
Finally, the Rams have begun to really tap into the potential of Everett. Brandin Cooks remains questionable to return from another concussion, and starting RB Todd Gurley’s status is unknown. Down two major offensive pieces against an aggressive and effective defense, Everett can be counted on to help. As Sean McVay is been forced to vary his offensive approach this season, Everett’s potential is being fulfilled. Seeing 19 targets the last two weeks, he should again be a featured part of the offense after accumulating 12 catches for 180 yards and a TD. Yes, San Francisco has been solid against TEs this season, but they have only faced one TE in the top 15, Vance McDonald. With just two solid weeks, Everett clocks in at TE11. It’s not an ideal matchup, but it’s not as daunting as the numbers make it look. This play is looking for a medium return anyway, given the price. Just be aware of the built-in risk when rostering Everett and be sure to leverage the savings.