.Week six is here, kicked off by the Saquon Barkley showcase in New York last night. This season has seen some crazy offense and strange results, and we saw a good example of that last night. Looking strictly at the yardage totals, you’d think the game on Thursday night was close, as the Giants actually managed to outgain the Eagles. What actually happened was a near complete unraveling of an offense that somehow cannot find ways to use Odell Beckham Jr. Just remember, even bad offenses can move the ball, and garbage time points count just as much as any others.
Before I move on to this week’s targets, just a reminder that these players are not meant to be chalk picks. I wouldn’t even necessarily use more than a few of these players in a single line up. They are just meant as players that could offer good value on middle to lower level pricing at their positions. Used correctly, they can be good pivots away from some of the big names. There will be a risk here, so be sure to perform your own assessment of your lineup(s) to manage that. So let’s move on and good luck this week.
DFS Targets: Week Six
Russell Wilson, @OAK ($5,700)
Wilson is priced as the QB15 in the full Thursday to Monday slate, which is pretty low for Wilson. This is actually a price increase from his season low price of $5,100 in week five. His price is the highest it’s been since week three. This price is just below the average for the top 30 QBs this week, so it won’t take a lot of production for Wilson to return good value here.
Wilson hasn’t been tremendously productive to this point of the season and is only averaging 16.7 points a game. He has yet to throw for 300 yards this season or run for 25. While that doesn’t seem great, Wilson was never overly reliant on big yardage games. For his career, he only has 11 games with 300+ yards passing and just one with 400+. The bulk of his production has come from TDs, as he’s thrown for at least two TDs in four of five games. That includes last week when he threw for three against the Los Angeles Rams. Also driving down his production is the fact that every defense he has faced this year is in the bottom half of points allowed to QBs (in DraftKings) this year.
These numbers all seem to make Wilson middling play, but this should also help to drive his ownership down. Luckily he has a good matchup this week that should allow him to put up a really good day on Sunday, as he will see the most generous pass defense on his schedule so far.
The Seahawks will be going to Oakland having suddenly found a rushing game, which has contributed to the two highest yardage totals for the team this year. However you feel about the relationship between passing and rushing, Wilson leads the NFL in TDs thrown off of play action with 5. This additional wrinkle to the offense will help add a bit of unpredictability to the Seahawk’s attack as Oakland will not be able to drop eight into coverage without suffering the consequences.
Even dropping into coverage likely won’t stop Wilson, as Oakland has been a bad pass defense so far this year. They are among the worst defenses in several categories, including giving up the 9th most yards, 6th worst TD%, and give up the 7th best QB rating. Wilson has Doug Baldwin back and working his way into the offense, Tyler Lockett in the midst of a breakout season, and two RBs who have looked competent. It won’t take be difficult for Wilson to hit or even surpass the 20.0 points per game that the Raiders have been allowing to opposing QBs.
As for pass rush, that seems like a cruel joke of a question as this point. Head coach Jon Gruden seems to take special pleasure in bemoaning the team’s lack of pass rush. He often will single it out as a particular area his team needs to improve on, which is true given that they only have six sacks. The lack of a consistent pass rush has hurt the secondary also, which has only managed three interceptions. Wilson has been especially dangerous when given time this year, as he leads the league in TD passes when given 2.5 or more seconds to pass (per Pro Football Focus) with eight against only a single interception. It should be easy pickings for Wilson in Oakland, and I would expect to see Russell’s price creeping back to where it started the year, in the low to mid-$6000s.
Marshawn Lynch, vs SEA ($5,300)
At $5,300, Marshawn Lynch is DraftKings’ RB22 this week. This price matches his season-opening mark and is the second highest price for him this season. He’s priced around a bunch of backups and starters in a timeshare situation. While Lynch isn’t the workhorse he used to be, he still has been very productive for a RB whose average price this year has been $5,150.
Through the first four weeks, Lynch had dropped in price while simultaneously increasing his scoring in that same time frame. It led to a season-high price of $5,500 last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. After a bit of a let down in that game, Lynch has dropped again, just in time for a potential revenge game against his old team.
Lynch has been effectively utilizing his smash-mouth style of running. While his overall numbers look pretty good, he’s averaging 4.3 ypc and 66.2 yards per game, a lot of that comes from his outstanding showing in week four against the Cleveland Browns, running for 130 yards on 20 carries. Only averaging 3.5 ypc in his other games, Lynch is still getting the yards he can. He is fifth in success rate per Football Outsiders, which is a measure of successful plays divided by total attempts.
Lynch has Lynch has been a steady force for the Raiders and is currently tenth in touches in the league, so expect a safe floor. Despite not being super efficient, Lynch has also been able to keep his nose for the end zone, starting the year off by scoring in three straight games. He should have chances to score here against his old team. Gruden is many things, including media savvy, and knows getting Lynch in the end zone will make for a nice story.
As for his receiving, that has never been a major part of Lynch’s game. He’s never had more than 367 yards receiving in a season and has only caught more than 40 passes once in his career. But, he’s always been a capable receiver, and this year is on pace for 42 targets, his most since 2014. You can count on Beast Mode to add a couple of points through the air in DraftKings.
The way to attack the Seahawks this year has been on the ground, as they have performed as a sort of reverse-funnel defense. Seattle ranks sixth in passing yards allowed but 29th in rushing yards allowed. Oakland would do well to try to ground and pound this game to limit the exposure to their shaky defense.
Personnel-wise, Seattle is missing several key players on defense. Both of their starting safeties from a year ago (Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor) are on IR now, and two rotation DEs are either out or questionable (Dion Jordan and Rasheem Green). OLB K.J. Wright is also out, still recovering from his preseason knee scope.
This will be an interesting test for the Seahawks, without Thomas in the middle. Last week’s opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, are so good offensively that they put up 33 points without two of their starting WRs for large portions of the game. Oakland is a considerable step down in opposition, and I still expect Lynch and the run game to do well against Seattle.
Tyler Lockett, @OAK ($5,100)
I swear I’ll stop plugging players from this game. Down at WR37, Lockett is very affordable for someone with his production so far. Lockett has a higher scoring average than 11 of the next 12 WRs priced above him, and there are no real matchup concerns. Given his performance last week he was due for a price bump. Don’t let a $500 increase worry you, he is still a bargain at this price.
The pricing has Lockett as WR37, but his actual production makes him WR20 this season. He leads the team in targets, receptions, yards, TDs, air yards, WOPR, and YAC. By every measure, he is their #1 receiver. Lockett is on pace for a 64 reception, 1110 yard season, and 13 TD season. That kind of production would have made him the WR7 last year, just beating out Julio Jones. Obviously, the TDs might not be sustainable, but the usage indicates that everything else is. Looking at the point leaders from last year, Lockett matches up well with Brandin Cooks, who had a line of 65/1082/7 for the New England Patriots last year. Cooks at Lockett’s price this week isn’t going to happen.
Perhaps the matchup is what is depressing the price for Lockett? Well, as I detailed in the section for his QB, Russell Wilson, the Raiders are not good in pass coverage. Lockett will likely bounce outside with Doug Baldwin taking the majority of snaps at the slot. If so, Lockett is likely to see either Daryl Worley or Rashaan Melvin. Neither is having an outstanding season with Worley, the better of the two, only rated at 70.7 per Pro Football Focus. It won’t really matter who is matched up, as Lockett has almost perfect passer rating when targeted, 152.8.
There is nothing that Oakland should be able to do to rush Wilson. Combine that with a lack of real options to effectively cover Lockett, and he is poised to have an excellent outing. Get him into lineups and watch as Lockett becomes a sensation across the pond in London.
Chester Rogers, @NYJ ($4,500)
Look another 16 spots below Lockett, and you’ll find the next target, Chester Rogers. The WR53 in the full Thur-Mon slate, Rogers is cheapest WR1 you’ll find aside from Cole Beasley for Dallas (Larry Fitzgerald is also $4,500). He might only be the WR1 due to a T.Y. Hilton injury, but he’s still priced way below where someone with a similar profile would normally be. Hilton is priced at $6,400 this week, and he has averaged fewer points per game than Rogers has the last two games filling in for him. So, like everyone I feature in this space, he is a steal.
Enjoy the pricing while it lasts, as it will definitely rise if he continues to produce. This already is a season-high for him after two productive weeks. Quarterback Andrew Luck might have stumbled into a very viable WR2 to work across from Hilton once he returns.
Really, the most relevant part of Rogers’ season is the last two weeks. After Hilton left the Colts’ week four game against the Houston Texans early, then returned only to leave again, Rogers saw a nice increase in usage. After not seeing more than four targets this year, he saw a season-high 11. Turning those 11 targets into eight catches for 85 yards and a two-point conversion led to a season high in points as well. Rogers followed that up with another 11 target game last week against the New England Patriots. Matching his 8 receptions, this time he only went for 66 yards. With Luck looking as healthy as he has in years, Rogers has a very good QB feeding him looks. These last two weeks have seen him emerge as the top WR option.
Any concerns about his status are mostly due to the presence of Ryan Grant. While Grant has seen a similar snap count to Rogers, Rogers has had a higher target share the last two weeks. Really pick a meaningful metric and Rogers has outperformed Grant: receptions, yards, and YAC. Even more advanced metrics like RACR and WOPR favor Chester over Ryan.
Indianapolis’ opponent this week, the New York Jets, are, frankly, garbage against WRs. Currently, NY gives up the fourth most points per game to WRs, targets, and yards. They allow the second most receptions from those numerous targets, and this week likely won’t see that improve. Trumaine Johnson was brought in to help shore up the secondary, but was held out of last week’s game and might miss this one. Another player already ruled out is Buster Skrine, the slot defender who was supposed to match up with Rogers.
As it stands, NY could be deep on their depth chart for Sunday. It likely won’t matter much, as the two likely players to see Rogers, Daryl Roberts, and Parry Nickerson both allow passer ratings above 100. This should be easy pickings for Luck and his new weapon running from the slot.
Kyle Rudolph, ARI ($4,400)
Rudolph is actually relatively expensive compared to the players listed above. The TE11 on the full slate, the Vikings’ TE has become a forgotten commodity in the NFC North. After back to back quiet weeks, he has seen his price stay pretty steady. Jumping from a high of $4,500 to a low of $4,100 and back again, Rudolph has been as reliable as any other non-elite TE. Kyle is the lowest priced TE that has averaged double-digit points per game.
This position has been a mess if you haven’t paid up or ridden George Kittle. But, Rudolph has been effective and offers a safe floor. His season low is 8.1 points in week one and topped out at 15.1 in week three. Rudolph has quietly been the TE6 this season. He has actually outscored bigger names like Rob Gronkowski, Vance McDonald, and Jordan Reed. Rudolph has just lacked the big games or signature moments some of the other TEs have had this year. He is also held back by the duo of supremely talented WRs on his team that takes much of the attention from both defenders and the media. Don’t sleep on Rudolph. He may be boring but that can be good in DFS.
This will be the one area that might require some intestinal fortitude, but this matchup isn’t a bad one. Arizona has done well up to this point against TEs, only allowing 10.5 points per game, good for 21st in the league. However, looking at their schedule, only two teams feature a TE of Rudolph’s caliber. In week 1 Jordan Reed went for 4/48/1, and in week 5 George Kittle went for 5/83. This should be about where Rudolph ends up, and shouldn’t have a hard time doing so.
Here is where his talented teammates can help him. With Patrick Peterson likely to draw Stefon Diggs, Rudolph should be a frequent target, along with Adam Thielen. The projected defender for Rudolph is S Antoine Bethea, who is not the player he once was in coverage. Play Rudolph with confidence. Just hope that Kirk Cousins remembers how much he loved throwing to Jordan Reed during his run in WAS.