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Bales’ NFL Game Theory (Week 6 – UPDATED)

Welcome to Bales’ NFL Game Theory (Week 6)! In this article, I’ll outline my favorite cash game and GPP options at each of the positions. I’ll utilize our Projections Portal when making decisions about what types of leagues specific players are best suited for. You can get all of my Core Plays along with our Cheat Sheets, projections, and Premium Discord channels with our Premium NFL Package.

 

QBs: RBs WRs Game Stacks
L. Jackson K. Hunt D. Adams KC/WAS
P. Mahomes D. Henderson T. Higgins LAC/BAL
T. Heinicke D. Swift T. Hill LAR/NYG
J. Burrow J. Taylor J. Chase DAL/NE
J. Herbert A. Ekeler J. Meyers CIN/DET
K. Cousins L. Murray A. Thielen HOU/IND
CASH SAFE GPP LOW OWNED GPP FADE

*If you don’t already play 3 max entry contests, try using the teams provided in the stacks above to maximize upside and correlation in your NFL lineups.


Quarterbacks

Cash

There are a few options you can consider in cash at quarterback this weekend. The most likely scenario is that you’re spending up, though. Lamar Jackson is coming off of an elite performance on Monday night. He gets an interesting matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, who feature one of the better pass defenses in the NFL, allowing only 214.2 passing yards per game. With that being said, they feature one of the worst run defenses in the league, giving up a league-high 5.6 yards per carry this season. I prefer Jackson’s rushing potential in this matchup, although Los Angeles could tweak their defense forcing him to rely heavily on his arm. If that’s the case, once again, I feel comfortable using Jackson, who threw for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. He’s also projected for the second-most fantasy points with the highest Karma Value in our Projections this weekend.

The other high-priced option is Patrick Mahomes, who’s been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL this season. He’s scored 25+ DK points in 4 of his 5 games, including a game with 35+ DK points. Mahomes also gets an elite matchup against the Washington Football Team, who’s allowed a league-high 1,001 air yards this season. If you need to save a bit of salary here, Taylor Heinicke is the preferred option. He struggled against the New Orleans Saints last week, but he averaged 25.1 DK points per game in his 3 starts before that. Heinicke also gets a great matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are allowing 296.4 passing yards per game. They’ve also given up a 6% touchdown rate in 2021. Heinicke also boasts a solid rushing floor, making him a reasonable cash game option if you can’t get to the top of this position.

GPP

In terms of pure game theory, Matthew Stafford has to be one of the top options at quarterback this weekend. The Los Angeles Rams are big favorites against the New York Giants, and Darrell Henderson is projecting for plenty of ownership. Pivoting off the rushing attack to Stafford and the pass catchers for leverage. Stafford boasts 30+ DK point upside with several elite receiving options for tournaments this weekend.

Once again, I’m going back to Joe Burrow this weekend. He’s finally taking on a larger role for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he gets a matchup against the Detroit Lions, who’ve allowed the second-most air yards (842) on this slate. Justin Herbert went overlooked last week, and that’s shaping up to be the case again this weekend. He gets a plus matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, who’ve allowed 1,577 airYAC this season. That ranks as the fourth-most in the NFL. He’s coming off of a 45.82 DK point performance, yet is going overlooked as most haven’t realized Baltimore’s no longer an elite defense. Other quarterbacks I’m considering in tournaments include Mac Jones, Jared Goff,  and Dak Prescott. 

UPDATE

There haven’t been any changes in my cash game strategy at quarterback this weekend. Lamar Jackson is the top option by a wide margin. Patrick Mahomes is the other spend-up option that can be considered on this slate. If you can’t afford either of them, which you should be able to with the elite value this weekend, Taylor Heinicke can be used in all leagues. He’s a player better suited for GPPs, though, as there is an elite amount of value this weekend.

I haven’t wavered much in terms of tournament options at this position either. Matthew Stafford is an elite leverage play, while Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are likely my two favorite options. As I said above, I’m willing to consider Mac Jones, Jared Goff, and Dak Prescott in GPPs, although there isn’t much need for them unless you’re creating several lineups.

 

Running Backs

Cash

Running back is likely the most interesting position on the slate, as there are several options that I’m willing to consider in cash games this weekend. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire injured, Darrel Williams is expected to take over as the starter. He owns a role in the passing game, and he’s still priced under $5k. Williams is somewhat of a free piece this weekend. Darrell Henderson is also far too cheap on this slate. The Los Angeles Rams are massive favorites against the New York Giants, suggest Henderson could see plenty of work in the second half. He’s also seen a workhorse role with LA when healthy, and I’d expect that to continue this weekend. Using this pair in cash games would open up plenty of salary for other positions.

There are a few other running backs I’d consider in cash games this weekend. Christian McCaffrey is expected to return, and he’s far too cheap because of his injury. In 2 healthy games this season, he posted 24.7 and 27.7 DK points. McCaffrey gets a solid matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, and he’s an elite option in all leagues for his current price tag. Austin Ekeler is slightly cheaper than McCaffrey, and he’s another running back with an elite workhorse role, specifically in the red zone and receiving game. Jonathan Taylor is the final option I’d consider in cash games. He gets a great matchup against the Houston Texans, and the Indianapolis Colts are massive favorites in this game. Taylor gets a ton of looks close to the end zone, making him an. elite option on this slate. Keep in mind, as ownership condenses, some of these players will become better GPP options than cash game plays. It’s a major reason you should return to this article on Friday when I update each position.

GPP

This is the perfect week to go back to the Cleveland Browns running backs in tournaments. Nick Chubb’s seen 20+ carries in 3 consecutive games, and he’s coming off of a 27 DK point performance. He gets an elite matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who are allowing the second-highest yards per carry (5.4) in the NFL. Kareem Hunt’s also been elite for Cleveland this season, and he’s coming off of a 25.9 DK point performance. Although I wouldn’t recommend playing this duo together, they both can be considered in tournaments depending on how much salary you have to spend.

D’Andre Swift is another elite option. He’s locked into a big passing role, and he gets a matchup against a team that’s struggled against receiving backs. Swift’s posted 20+ DK points in 3 of his 5 games, and he’s an elite tournament option, especially on the opposite side of a Cincinnati Bengals stack. I’m intrigued by Ezekiel Elliott’s role in the Dallas Cowboys offense, even in a tough matchup against the New England Patriots. The Cowboys boast one of the highest implied team total on the slate, though, and Elliott is a massive part of their red zone offense. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams get a good matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend. They steal carries and opportunities from each other, making them extremely risky on this slate. Still, Williams makes an interesting salary relief option in GPPs this week.

UPDATE

This slate is riddled with injuries, and it’s making projecting cash games one relatively difficult. The most obvious option at running back with Kareem Hunt in an elite matchup with Nick Chubb officially ruled out. He should be the highest owned player on the slate, and he’s near a lock in all leagues. Darrell Henderson continues to make an elite option as the workhorse running back for a massive favorite. If you need to save salary, Darrel Williams and Khalil Herbert are still viable options. That’s also the order I like them as salary relief plays. Keep in mind, these two were looking extremely chalky at one point, but Herbert will likely go overlooked, while Williams is see significantly less ownership than projected a couple of days ago.

With four players listed above, I’m going to shift into a GPP paragraph. D’Andre Swift gets a great matchup, and he’s been enjoying an outstanding season. Once again, he can be used. Austin Ekeler and Jonathan Taylor are two more higher-priced options, who were projecting for ownership earlier in the week. Since it’s shifting off of them, they make outstanding plays in tournaments. It’s important to note that I’d be willing to play each of the trio listed above in cash games, as well.

Ezekiel Elliott continues to go overlooked, and he’s an elite low-owned option in tournaments this weekend. Dallas is projected to score quite a bit, but people will avoid him because of the matchup against New England and Tony Pollard stealing some carries. Joe Mixon is expected to return to a full role this week, and he boasts quiet upside in a plus matchup against the Detroit Lions. Javonte Williams, Chase Edmonds, and Antonio Gibson are three more players I think you can take a shot on in GPPs.

 

Wide Receivers

Cash

Getting to the top of receiver this weekend could be a key. Tyreek Hill is my favorite option, as I mentioned on our weekly NFL Podcast. He’s seen over 40% of the Kansas City Chiefs air yards in 2021, and he gets a matchup against the Washington Football Team, who’ve allowed over 1,000 air yards this season. This is the ideal matchup for Hill’s skillset. Davante Adams is the other high-priced receiver that should be considered in cash games. He’s seen a massive target share for the Green Bay Packers, and that will continue this week. Hollywood Brown is far too cheap on this slate. He ranks fifth on the slate in DK points per game, yet he’s priced under $6k. Although I don’t love the matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, Brown is simply far too cheap for his role in the Baltimore offense.

There are several other receivers that I’d be willing to consider in cash, but may be better suited for tournaments. Keenan Allen’s a bit too cheap in the Los Angeles offense. He’s enjoying a solid season, although he’s taken a backseat to Mike Williams. Regardless, Allen can be used in all leagues for his price. Tee Higgins, Brandin Cooks, and Van Jefferson are all interesting options on this slate. They vary in price tags, but are each a bit too cheap, specifically for their upside. Again, these plays may be better suited for tournaments, but I’d be willing to consider them at the moment in cash games.

GPP

My favorite tournament option is Ja’Marr Chase, who’s enjoying an elite rookie season. He’s coming off of a 30.9 DK point performance against the Green Bay Packers. Chase’s seen plenty of air yards this season, and he gets a matchup against the Detroit Lions, who’ve struggled with air yards in 2021. Jakobi Meyers is a big part of the New England Patriots offense, and he gets a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, who’ve allowed a league-high 1,632 airYAC this season. Meyers is also due for positive touchdown regression, and he’s surprisingly cheap this weekend.

This is a weekend that you can use plenty of receivers, specifically in tournaments. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are the leverage options to pair with Stafford in a contrarian Rams stacks. Mike Williams isn’t going to carry ownership because of his price tag, yet he comes with as much upside as anyone on this slate. He’s a great pivot off of Hill and Adams. Kadarius Toney’s flashed tremendous YAC ability in his NFL career, and he gets a matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, who’ve struggled with YAC throughout the 2021 season. He’ll make a solid option regardless of other injuries in the New York offense. Terry McLaurin and Tyler Boyd are two more solid options.

UPDATE

There are several players that are questions at the moment, making this one of the most important weeks to get in our free Discord chat. We’ll have updates leading into Sunday that won’t be displayed in this article. At this top of receiver, it’ll be impossible to go wrong with Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill. Hill continues to be my favorite play on the slate, while Adams is projecting for more ownership. If you need to save a bit of salary in cash, Tee Higgins is an outstanding option. Keenan Allen is also far too cheap this weekend, especially if Mike Williams is ruled out. Assuming he’s healthy, Terry McLaurin makes an interesting option, and he’s viable in cash games in that matchup.

Ja’Marr Chase and Marquise Brown are two high upside options that are seemingly going overlooked at this point. They both make elite GPP options, although I’d feel relatively comfortable playing them in cash games, as well. As mentioned above Mike Williams is dealing with an injury, and he’ll be an elite GPP pivot if he’s healthy enough to play without limitations. Jakobi Meyers is another player who’s going overlooked that I would feel comfortable playing in cash games or GPPs. Any of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, or Van Jefferson can be considered on this slate as leverage off of Henderson. Mecole Hardman is also an interesting option if you aren’t using Hill at this position. Brandin Cooks and Michael Pittman will face off against each other this weekend, and both can be used in tournaments, as well.

 

Tight Ends

Cash

Tight is extremely simple this weekend. Ricky Seals-Jones is locked into a massive role for the Washington Football Team, yet his price still sits at only $3,000. He’s the chalk option. RSJ is easily the top cash game play. If you aren’t looking to save salary with him, you’re spending all the way up on Travis Kelce, who’s seen a bit of a price decrease from a few weeks ago. He’s far too cheap for being easily the best fantasy tight end in the NFL, and he’d be the complete chalk if RSJ wasn’t so mispriced.

GPP

In tournaments, there are two players that I’m interested in above the rest. Mark Andrews is coming off of a massive 44.7 DK point performance on Monday night, and his price dipped. He gets another elite matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, who’ve struggled against tight ends in 2021. He’s an elite option in GPPs. Hunter Henry’s taken over the tight end role in New England with Jonnu Smith playing more of a fullback role. The former’s scored double-digit DK points in each of his last 2 games, and he gets a great matchup against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. These are my clear top four tight ends, although I’d also consider Jared Cook or Tyler Conklin. 

UPDATE

Similar to quarterback, there isn’t a ton to update at tight end. I’m adding Mark Andrews to the cash pool, though. He’s absurdly mispriced, and he’d be a lock if Travis Kelce and Ricky Seals-Jones weren’t also grossly mispriced on this slate. This trio is significantly better than any other options, regardless of the type of league. With that being said, I do believe Hunter Henry, Jared Cook, and Tyler Conklin can be considered in GPPs this weekend. They’ll each see very low ownership with the majority of that trending toward the obvious trio.

 

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