What’s up Karma Nation and welcome into my sixth game-by-game breakdown of the season. This is my third season doing this article, so if you’ve read it before welcome back, and if you’r new, grab a seat! I will also be covering cash games for both FanDuel and Draftkings on Fridays, and doing an NFL Final Thoughts cheat sheet each Saturday…let’s get it!
Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Seahawks 23.5, Browns 22
Quarterback- All bias aside, I think this sets up perfectly for a bounce-back spot for the Browns, similar to what we saw in Week 4 against the Ravens. One of the bigger mis-matches on this slate is the Browns defensive front against this Seahawks offensive line, but I will still need to include Wilson in my tournament pool simply out of respect for how good he is. It looks like the Browns *should* get Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams back in the secondary this week, but Wilson has a legitimate MVP case again this season, and is never a full on fade for me.
Much has been of Baker Mayfield’s struggles this season coupled with a poor Browns offensive line, but if there was ever a time to buy him it would be this week against a Seahawks that is surprisingly 6th worst in QB pressures. I tweeted out earlier this week a general tweet about recency bias and overreaction to small sample sizes in sports today, and I uncovered a tweet today from Doug Lesmerises comparing Mayfield through five games in year two to Brett Favre through five games in year two…their teams had the same record, they both had 8 interceptions, Mayfield has a slightly higher passer rating, and Favre had just one more touchdown. Perhaps the world isn’t ending, and the Hawks have allowed the fifth-most passing yards in the NFL…oh, and 400 in one game to Andy freakin’ Dalton!
Running Back- Both Chris Carson and Nick Chubb profile as strong plays this week, but none are strong enough to leapfrog Mark Ingram for cash games in the mid-tier. We all saw what Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman were able to do against this Browns defense on Monday night, but at the same time, Brian Schottenheimer is not anywhere near as creative as Kyle Shanahan. Chubb continues to be game-script proof, and has as good of a shot as any Browns player to get in the end zone this weekend. I don’t like him much as a one-off, but stacking Mayfield with Chubb, Odell Beckham and running it back with a Seahawks player makes sense to me in large-field GPPs.
Pass Catchers- If I’m buying Baker Mayfield this week, then it would only be right to buy Odell Beckham along with him, who is this week’s version of Michael Thomas — priced at just $6,800 on DraftKings. Similar to Mayfield, the whole world is down on Beckham despite him still ranking top-ten in both targets and weighted opportunity rating per airyards.com. It would make sense for the Browns to scheme early looks to Beckham on Sunday after they failed miserably to get him involved two weeks in a row, he’s one of my favorite tournament plays on the slate this week.
If looking to run back a Browns stack with someone, the top choice has to be Tyler Lockett over Will Dissly for me. Arguably the biggest weakness on this Browns defense this season has been in the slot, where TJ Carrie has already allowed three touchdowns. Lockett is having the best season of his career, and leads this Seahawks receiving corps in targets by double-digits.
Cash Game Plays: none
GPP Plays: Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Nick Chubb, Tyler Lockett, Chris Carson, Russell Wilson
Philadelphia Eagles @ Minnesota Vikings
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Vikings 23.5, Eagles 20.5
Quarterback- Overall this is a much better real-life game than it is for DFS, but we have some serious decisions to make inside of it for both cash games and tournaments. Carson Wentz has been balling out of his mind for the Eagles this season, but the Vikings have yet to allow a 300 yard passer since Matt Ryan eclipsed the number in Week 1 during garbage time. That will probably keep Wentz out of my player pool in Week 6.
He won’t be chalky, but I do expect Kirk Cousins to gain some tournament traction after his 23 fantasy point Week 5 performance, the problem for me is, he still only threw the ball 27 times. He didn’t smash against the Giants because they game-planned more throws, he was simply more efficient in a good matchup, but that could be the case again this week against this Eagles secondary that has been carved up through the air in 2019. Efficiency is highly important for Quarterbacks and fantasy scoring, but the volume isn’t enough to outweigh the days that Cousins is inefficient and that’s why he won’t get any higher on my board than a tournament play even in this matchup.
Running Back- I’ll also be fading the Eagles backfield, it was announced that Jordan Howard would get the most work moving forward but his lack of passing game involvement doesn’t correlate well with the expected game-script of this game, plus this is a nightmare of a matchup. Dalvin Cook on the other hand is one of the best RB plays on the board again this week, and it’s going to leave some tough decisions for DFS players. Do we value Cook in a tough matchup more than someone like Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara? Similar to Leonard Fournette in past weeks, I tend to not weigh matchup as heavily with a stud player like Cook when he’s seeing 20+ touches every week. Even in a case where his efficiency drops, the volume is still there and that can outweigh in tournaments. It is a tough spot on paper, but the Eagles do rank top-five in catches allowed out of the backfield this season and Cook has target totals of 5, 8 and 6 over the last three weeks, hinting that the matchup might not be quite as bad as most think. I’m listing him in my cash game pool, and will dive deeper into him in this week’s cash game article released on Friday evening.
Pass Catchers- Everyone watched the squeaky wheel narrative hit in Week 5 as Thielen shredded the Giants for 7-130-2 on 8 targets. He leads this team in both air yards and WOPR, and I would buy him as a tournament one-off, or in a stack with Kirk Cousins this week. The interesting one for me is Stefon Diggs, who has only topped 100 yards once this season, with one total touchdown. It’s clear that Diggs was just as unsatisfied with the offense as Thielen heading into last week, so is this the game that they try to get him going? I have no clue, and they aren’t throwing the ball enough for me to double-stack them, so it comes down to one or the other. Diggs is significantly cheaper than Thielen, and is primarily an outside receiver where the Eagles notoriously are roasted…I like him in GPPs at his price. If you’re looking to run back a stack with someone it would have to be Zach Ertz, but I also don’t mind him as a standalone play with ownership so heavily concentrated on Austin Hooper and George Kittle this week. That should leave both Ertz and Travis Kelce very under-owned.
Cash Game Plays: Dalvin Cook
GPP Plays: Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Zach Ertz
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Ravens 30, Bengals 18
Quarterback- This is definitely one of my favorite two or three spots on this slate, Lamar Jackson has been one of mu highest-owned players in DFS this season and he gets a prime bounce-back spot at home against the Bengals. I played Andy Dalton in cash games last week much to own dismay, and I actually don’t think this is the worst matchup for him again this week. Reminder that he has topped 18 DK points in all but one start — strong value for his price, but I’m going to focus on Lamar here. Outside of the Bengals defense being horrible, they allow a ton of rushing yards to opposing QB’s, and they fail to get much pressure on them as well. Those two factors play heavily into Jackson’s game, and the Ravens also quietly have the highest implied team total on the week. He’s in play in all formats, and one of my favorite Quarterbacks for Week 6.
Running Back- The Ravens have really struggled with opposing run games with Brandon Williams banged up, while that does bode well for Joe Mixon, I will probably end up avoiding him here. Gio Bernard is still a factor, and Mixon racked up over 40 rushing yards on the first drive last week only to see the Bengals offense pretty much ignore him thereafter. Mark Ingram on the other hand should generate a lot of buzz in both cash games and tournaments given this matchup. The volume has been there for Ingram weekly, and this is one of the best matchups that a RB can get in the NFL right now — the Bengals have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL.
Pass Catchers- The volume tree is so small on the Ravens that we know if we want to stack someone with Lamar Jackson each week, it’s going to be Hollywood Brown or Mark Andrews. This is great news for DFS, and I think both are solid tournament plays this weekend. Stacking Lamar + Mark Ingram is a move I love in tournaments as well, seemingly granting access to all points scored by the offense. John Harbaugh confirmed that Brown would be ready to go for this weekend, and I prefer him if picking one of the two though I will note that Andrews is a fantastic pivot off of Hooper/Kittle should you choose that route.
Another reason I like this game so much is because it’s clear you can run back your Ravens stack with Tyler Boyd, who had his best game of the season in Week 5 without John Ross. Boyd saw increased targets (14) and gets the exact same matchup I targeted with JuJu Smith-Schuster last week in the slot against this Ravens team. JuJu turned in a 75 yard and one touchdown performance last week, and I see no reason why Boyd can’t replicate him this week. This Ravens defense has gotten worse each week, and they rank bottom-ten in sacks which should give Dalton enough time to pick out Boyd when he’s open.
Cash Game Plays: Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Hollywood Brown
GPP Plays: Mark Andrews, Tyler Boyd
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins
Outlook (The Trash Bowl): This is a spot where two of the teams we have attacked the most in DFS this season play each other, and the game will probably go one of two ways…there are tons of points scored against these bad defenses or the true nature of the teams come through and it’s an ugly game overall. This is a good spot to talk about game theory and why I’m less on this game than others probably are. Over the long haul, I’m not sure if playing bad offenses is a +EV move, even when they’re in a good matchup. I was all over the Arizona/Cincinnati game last week, because the Cardinals are playing at a historically fast-paced, and that game went how I anticipate this one can, pretty bad overall. This isn’t season long fantasy, I don’t have to play guys from this game because I drafted them, I have access to any game on Sunday and jamming in a bunch of players from the worst teams in the league seems like a losing proposition over time. With that, let’s talk about the guys I do think are viable in this game.
Based off their prices, both DeVante Parker and Preston Williams are in play for me in all formats this week, and both seem due for positive regression when comparing their real yards to their air yards. They’re tied for the lead in weighted opportunity rating on this team according to airyards.com, and they have also had some big drops that have taken a lot of fantasy points off the board over the first month of the season. Both have over 20 targets this season, and perimeter receivers have excelled against this Redskins secondary. Bales wrote up that Parker has the better matchup of the two, but given their cheap price tags I am fine with either should you need the salary relief.
More so as tournament darts I think you can look at Adrian Peterson and Kenyan Drake. After the dismissal of Jay Gruden, Bill Callahan seems dead-set on running the football and that should benefit Adrian Peterson in what will be his best matchup of the season. Drake has seen a steady workload each week, and similar to Peterson, this is as good of a matchup as he’s going to get. If there are points scored in this one, it’s likely to come from those four players + Terry McLaurin who returned from injury last week and will benefit from Case Keenum taking back over at Quarterback.
Cash Game Plays: Preston Williams, DeVante Parker
GPP Plays: Adrian Peterson, Terry McLaurin, Kenyan Drake
New Orleans Saints @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Jaguars 22.5, Saints 21.5
Outlook: I wasn’t initially going to break this game off separately, but I do think it’s necessary because it contains one of the biggest questions on this slate…would you roster Gardner Minshew in cash games? Minshew is just $5,000 on DraftKings and would potentially open up a lot of salary cap that could get us from a mid-tier RB/WR to a stud. He’s quietly been really good for fantasy, but it does feel like he has to have a bad game at some point right? Regardless, this Jaguars offensive line will be at a severe mismatch with the Saints who are fifth in QB pressures this season, and they’re also playing at the second-slowest pace which should cap the Jaguars ceiling. I’m going to include him in the tournament pool now, but may update this in my cash game article.
Outside of the Minshew situation, the Jaguars skill positions are loaded with DFS plays as well. Leonard Fournette is seeing Dalvin Cook-esque volume for $2K less in salary, and he has shown on multiple occasions this season that volume can trump inefficiency. He will crack my cash game pool, alongside Dede Westbrook who I prefer to DJ Chark given that Dede should avoid Marshon Lattimore in the slot. Westbrook’s targets have remained steady, and PJ Williams can be exploited in the slot — I also think that there’s a good chance Westbrook comes in lower-owned than Chark due to his blowup game in Week 5.
On the Saints side of the ball, I don’t think that Teddy Bridgewater will be forced into throwing it like he was against the Bucs stout run-defense in Week 5, and that’s why I think this is clear Alvin Kamara game. Christian McCaffrey erupted (again) against this Jaguars defense last week both through the air and on the ground, and if anyone can mimic CMC it’s Kamara. Michael Thomas erupted as chalk in Week 5 and got a huge price increase because of it, he’s a great tournament play every week but I’m going to be overweight on Kamara in this spot, and focus on Hopkins/OBJ/Cooper at the top of receiver.
Cash Game Plays: Alvin Kamara, Dede Westbrook, Leonard Fournette
GPP Plays: Michael Thomas, DJ Chark, Gardner Minshew
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Outlook: If there was ever a game to stack this week it’s this one, referencing the massive 55 O/U, and I will admit that I was a bit worried after making my first-look cash game team this week and having little to no exposure to this game due to pricing. Deshaun Watson exploded for 400+ yards and 5 touchdowns in Week 5 against the lowly Falcons, and I’m sure that the masses will flock to him again this week as their Quarterback — I just want to caution that this team is still coached by Bill O’Brien. The Chiefs defense has always played better at home, his offensive line is still a question, and we just don’t know that the game plan is going to be week-to-week. That’s not to say he’s a bad play, because he’s has a remarkably high-ceiling, but those factors are why I prefer Lamar Jackson to Watson in a cash game setting this weekend.
Patrick Mahomes came away from Sunday night against the Colts pretty banged up, but all signs point to him being available this weekend and he has the highest-ceiling on the main slate. I don’t need to deep dive into the analytics to tell you that Mahomes has had a historic start to his career, and at home against the Texans in an expected shootout is the time to take advantage of it. He’s the top overall QB play on this slate (as always) and I prefer him to Watson in tournaments.
Speaking of BOB, Duke Johnson has once again been a better running back than Carlos Hyde, but O’Brien refuses to go away from Hyde despite inefficiency and the fact that the Texans front office spent a third-round pick to snatch Johnson away from Cleveland. Both of the backfields in this game are too muddled for me to consider any options outside of a game-stack, but if you were choosing one it would have to be Hyde who got above the 20 carry mark in Week 5.
The passing game is where we want to attack this game, and it definitely starts with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Fuller saw as much positive regression as you possibly could last week scoring three touchdowns and getting tackled at the one yard line multiple times, he got a nifty price increase but it’s a reminded that the potential has been there all season. He is nowhere near the “must play” last week, but he is still one of the top WR plays on the slate and has to be in consideration. I feel very strongly about DeAndre Hopkins this week, and it kind of feels like after Fuller erupted last week it’s going to be Nuk’s turn in Week 6. If I was spending up on a receiver in cash games this week, it would be Hopkins over guys like Julio and Michael Thomas.
The Chiefs receiving corps is hard to break down at this moment, and will need an update after we get more clarity on the injury situations. There’s a chance we get Tyreek Hill back who would instantly become a top tournament play, especially if Sammy Watkins misses this game. If both Watkins and Hill were to miss, that could potentially open up some value, but for now I will wait and put an update in red font once we get news. I will note that Travis Kelce is another player due for positive regression, as he was not been rewarded yet for his massive red zone role. He is perhaps the best GPP play on the slate with ownership at his position expected to be so concentrated on two players (Kittle/Hooper) and a Mahomes-Kelce-Hopkins stack may be my go-to from this game.
Cash Game Plays: DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller
GPP Plays: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill (if in), Deshaun Watson, Travis Kelce
Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos
Outlook: This game has the lowest total on the entire slate set at 40, one point lower than the “Trash Bowl” broken down above. I typically avoid these types of games in DFS, but there are two plays I’m interested in for tournaments and I will analyze them below.
Courtland Sutton- Sutton has taken a big leap in his second year, and has been trending upwards in recent weeks while Emmanuel Sanders is trending down. He leads the team in air yards, and has a massive height advantage (4 inches) on both Adoree’ Jackson and Malcom Butler.
Phillip Lindsay- I really hate that they use Lindsay and Freeman so evenly, but Lindsay continues to crush during his time on the field and looks like the better back even on film this season. The Titans are more vulnerable on the ground than you would think, and Lindsay’s ability in the passing game makes him the preferred PPR play on DraftKings.
Cash Game Plays: none
GPP Plays: Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Cowboys 25.5, Jets 18
Quarterback- It wasn’t really until I researched this game and began writing it that I wondered to myself, “Why am I not on Dak Prescott more this week?” I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it seems like Prescott is flying a bit under the radar relative to the other high-tier Quarterbacks this week, and that has his skyrocketing up my GPP ranks as we head into the weekend. He’s topped 23 DK points in all but one week, and he will benefit from the expected return of Tyron Smith.
Sam Darnold will return from mono and it looks like he *hopefully* won’t be dying in this game, although I won’t rule that possibility out with how this Jets offensive line has played. Jets QB’s have taken the most sacks in the league in 2019 and I will be waiting for a more positive matchup to jump on the Darnold train.
Running Back- Weirdly enough, this is the most important area of this game and I think you can make the case for both Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell in all formats. Zeke continues to have these “floor” level games, and was affected by the game-script last week despite rarely leaving the field. Those floor games from Elliott have still resulted in 17+ DK points and it feels like only a matter of time before we get a multiple touchdown game out of the Cowboys 90 million dollar man. I’m listing him in the cash game pool, and choosing three of Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette and out next guess, Lev Bell is going to most likely make or break my week (in cash).
Bell will definitely benefit from the return of Darnold, but it honestly hasn’t mattered much with the volume he’s received, and with his price in the low-$6,000 range on DraftKings, I would probably consider him a strong play regardless of the QB. Bell is averaging 27 touches PER GAME this season for the Jets, and the first rule of fantasy football is that volume is king. He’s priced alongside Leonard Fournette this week, leaving us with a difficult decision between the two in any contest.
Pass Catchers- I’ll start with the Jets here because I just don’t have much interest outside of a shot of Jamison (Crowder) in tournaments. Darnold loves to pepper his slot receiver with targets, and with the state of the offensive line being so poor, it would make sense to prioritize quick passes to Bell and Crowder.
Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup have both played fantastic football this season, along with Dak Prescott, and I considered listing them in the cash game pool, especially Gallup who remains under-priced. Cooper hung over 220 yards on the Packers last week despite largely being defended by Jaire Alexander who has looked like one of the top corner’s in the league this season, and his price barely budged. Gallup leads the team in WOPR, and I absolutely have interest in a Dak-Cooper-Gallup-Bell stack in GPPs. Outside of clear game-stack spots in KC/HOU and ARZ/ATL, the Cowboys stack is right there with the Ravens and the Rams as my top on the Week 6 main slate.
Cash Game Plays: Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell
GPP Plays: Dak Prescott, Michael Gallup, Jamison Crowder
Atlanta Falcons @ Arizona Cardinals
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Falcons 26.5, Cardinals 24
Quarterback- Matt Ryan ended up a bit higher-owned than I thought he would last week, which means that people will definitely go back to to the well against this Cardinals defense that has yet to record an interception. I feel very strongly about a few different Quarterbacks this week, so I won’t call him a must play at all, but he has hit the 300 yard mark in every game this season and is one of the safest options at his position on the entire slate.
I’m completely torn on Kyler Murray this week, not whether to play him or not because I surely want exposure, but more so if I value him as highly as Watson or Jackson in cash games. He finally eclipsed 25 fantasy points (without overtime) last week, and this matchup bodes extremely well for him. Not only have the Falcons been shredded by every QB they’ve faced — ESPECIALLY Deshaun Watson last week — but they have just five sacks on the season which could be crucial for Murray who always seems to be under pressure behind his sketchy o-line play. I’m going to label him as a cash game play for now, and will spend my weekend deciding how highly I grade him relative to the entire slate. I’m not really considering him right now, but could see myself getting there come Sunday.
Running Back- Devonta Freeman continues to get the most work for the Falcons, and he finally found the end zone in Week 5. I think he is once again a great play in tournaments, and I’m wondering if the Falcons will commit to the run here. Joe Mixon gashed the Cardinals for over 40 yards on their first drive last week, and they went away from him after that. If Freeman sees similar success early, they could feature him throughout the day.
David Johnson still hasn’t practiced yet this week, so expect an update once we get more clarity there. IF he was out, Chase Edmonds would be elevated to the cash game pool.
Pass Catchers- This section could become a bit jumbled with me being so interested in both the Quarterbacks. This is a big-time bounce-back spot for Julio Jones, but per usual, he is priced out of consideration for me in cash games and stacking him with Murray/Ryan in tourneys seems like the most logical move to me. Austin Hooper is reviving the Tight Ends vs Arizona narrative this week after I faded Tyler Eifert in Week 5, and he is tough fade in cash with or without Matt Ryan as your QB. Sanu continues to be heavily involved in this offense, and gets the matchup in the slot that we have attacked Arizona with Tyler Boyd and Tyler Lockett in recent weeks. I have him tagged as a GPP play, but his price may bump him into the cash game conversation if salary relief is needed.
Larry Fitzgerald is the optimal stack with Kyler Murray, but we need to wait and see if Christian Kirk is expected to be limited before I make a final decision on him. Given Murray’s rushing ability, you do not need to stack him with a receiver if you choose to use him in cash.
Cash Game Plays: Matt Ryan, Austin Hooper, Larry Fitzgerald, Kyler Murray
GPP Plays: Kyler Murray, Julio Jones, Mo Sanu, Devonta Freeman
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Rams 27, 49ers 23.5
Quarterback- If you watched either of the podcast’s I appeared on this week you would know that this is pretty much my favorite spot of the week, and it’s a hill I’m willing to die on come Sunday. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay are two of the brightest offensive minds in football, so it’s no shock that these teams have averaged over a 60 total throughout their four meetings with them as Head Coaches. I’m a bit worried about how the 49ers will be able to pass protect without Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, so I will probably be avoiding him and focusing on Jared Goff, who is right there with Lamar Jackson as my favorite QB on the slate. Goff’s 2018 home/road splits have carried over to this season as well, and while everyone is down on him, it’s important to remember that he has 20+ fantasy points in all but one game this season. He also has over 38 pass attempts in all but one game, and the Rams have the second-highest implied team total on this slate. This seems like kind of a let down spot for the 49ers on the road, after a huge primetime win, and I’m going to be all aboard the Goff train in Week 6.
Running Back- Given the instability of the 49ers offensive line, and the return on Tevin Coleman, I will likely be avoiding this spot as well personally. The same can be said for Todd Gurley, but I touched on him in the note below.
Pass Catchers- You can take a shot on Deebo Samuel or Dante Pettis in a game stack if you want, but the main play that we like on the 49ers is George Kittle. For starters, he finally found the end zone on Monday night, and he leads this team in WOPR by a wide margin stating that there should be more to come. This is also a Rams defense that schemes targets towards the middle of the field, and he’s only $200 more than Austin Hooper on DraftKings. Kittle vs Hooper is one of the questions of this slate for cash games, but I love him this week in all formats nonetheless.
On the Rams side, I think you can definitely look at all three of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. I was worried that Cooks would miss this game, but it seems like he should be good to go thanks to the extra days off, and is probably the one member of the trio I would reserve for GPPs only. Everyone knows that Cooper Kupp is good by now, he’s fully broken out, has over 20 PPR points in all but one game, and is leading the NFL in targets. The problem here is that his price has caught up to his production, while Robert Woods is UNDER $6,000 on DraftKings. Woods himself is top-five in the NFL in targets, and is simply too cheap to ignore this week. I think you can use Woods as a one-off or in a stack with Goff, and a double-stack with Kupp is certainly on my radar too.
Note: The Todd Gurley news is some of the biggest on the slate, as it looks like he has a legit shot to miss this game. If he’s out, I will provide an update but it will probably bump Malcolm Brown into the cash game pool and Darrell Henderson into the GPP pool.
Cash Game Plays: Jared Goff, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, George Kittle
GPP Plays: Brandin Cooks, Gerald Everett
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)