I’m back for another week of DFS recommendations, and all I need to have a great week is for the RBs to cooperate a little more than they have been - and I’m feeling a big week for the backs in Week 6.
As usual, I’m simply studying the matchups, salaries, and projected ownerships to try to isolate the best plays I can find. I really try to narrow down the field, so I’m always skipping over some good players with strong potential, but you can always review our weekly DFS Projections and sort by FPTS/$ to find the best values. And, of course, our DFS Optimizer, which does all the work for you if you’re looking for some solid lineups.
Cam Newton (NE, vs. Den - $6500 on DK and $800 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on DK but he’s not an amazing value on either site, so there is some downside, but I’m in on Cam this week. Several weeks ago he was being pumped up by many, but I was not into Cam, for what it’s worth, and he didn't do squat. Denver’s numbers don’t look terrible against the pass, but they’ve also played the Jets and also the Titans, who did not have a big day throwing it in the opener. They’ve also faced Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, who posted 311/2 and 297/3 passing. Their pass rush isn’t good, and neither is their secondary. The Pats have had two weeks to prepare for this matchup, so they should be able to break this Bronco defense down with relative ease. Also, the Broncos play man coverage at the league’s sixth-highest rate, so Cam may be looking to take off and run a lot this week. Cam’s Covid-19 situation is a little worrisome, but I’m guessing he’s chomping at the bit to get back to his running ways. Cam actually leads all QBs in rushing fantasy points per game (13.0) which helps Newton this week because it’s much easier to scramble against man
Kirk Cousins (Min, vs. Atl - $6100 on DK and $7100 on FanDuel) - He’s about the same level of value on both sites. Cousins usually scares me because I know they’d like to limit his passing if possible, but this matchup for him and his top two WRs is too good to pass up, and it’s the fourth-highest point total on the board at 54. Getting Julio Jones back will help the Falcon offense, which should help bump up Cousins’ attempts this week. The Falcon secondary is a little healthier, but they don’t have a good pass rush, and they are actually pretty solid against the run, so things are setting up well for Cousins. Over the last four weeks, QBs are completing an insane 29 passes against the Falcons per game, and Atlanta is giving up 351/2.8 passing in that span, good for 30.5 FPG. A lot of those points given up are due to Robert Tonyan’s 3 TD game in Week 4, but the Vikings actually got Irv Smith involved last week. We’re likely looking at 250/2 minimum for Kirkie this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Mia, vs. NYJ - $5900 on DK) - He’s a much better value on DK, so this is DK only. The Magic continues, as Fitzpatrick has scored 23+ FP in four straight games (and 20+ FP in nine of his last 11). Fitz was airing it out last week with success, and that should continue against a bad Jets secondary that is allowing a 72.5% completion rate and 8.8 YPA the last four weeks. That’s very close to Fitz’s impressive numbers in that same span (71.4%, 8.2). Gang Green also helped the Cardinals out of a small slump they were in last week in terms of downfield passing. Kyler Murray’s YPA was under 7.0 heading into last week, and it was a sad 4.2 in Week 4, but he was way up to 10.2 last week against these Jets. In addition, the Jets are getting run on by QBs, and the last two they faced in Murray and Josh Allen ran for a score and totaled 88 yards rushing, and Fitz is averaging 28.3/.5 rushing the last four weeks. He may not have to throw it a ton, which is the only concern, but Fitz should have success when he does throw it. It’s also a revenge game!
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Matthew Stafford (Det, vs. Jax - $6500 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - He’s the same value on both sites. I’ve listed Stafford twice this year, and while I’ve been a little underwhelmed, he’s been solid. I’ll go back to the well with such a good matchup with Stafford posting multiple passing TDs in his last three games. Stafford has also averaged more than 10+ air yards on his attempts in the two games since Kenny Golladay returned to the lineup, and the Jaguars are giving up a league-high 8.7 YPA. It looks like rookie C.J. Henderson will return this week, and former Eagle Sidney Jones has actually been good this year, but it’s still a very beatable defense with no pass rush to speak of. Top slot corner D.J. Hayden is also still on IR. Over the last four weeks, QBs are posting an absurd 75% completion rate and 9.2 YPA against the Jags.
PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE
Patrick Mahomes (KC, vs. Buf - $7800 on DK and $9000 on FanDuel) - The Chiefs offense has actually been a little underwhelming, and a lot of that is because teams are playing a lot more zone and forcing Mahomes to be patient. But despite a so-so start for them, Mahomes is still averaging 316/2.5 passing per game the last four weeks, plus 32.5/.5 rushing, which is an extra 6+ fantasy points added to his passing totals. The Bills do play a lot of zone (69%, per SIS), but they are really struggling on the back end, giving up a 71% completion rate and 2.3 TD passes per game. This one could also be a shootout with the potent Bills offense capable of keeping pace with KC.
Andy Dalton (Dal, vs. Ari - $6500 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - I’m not surprised at all that Dalton came in cold off the bench last week and completed 82% of his passes for a 10.1 YPA. He’s a professional QB who is actually comparable to Dak Prescott in his effectiveness throwing it, and even running it. The Cowboys will likely look to lean on Ezekiel Elliott as much as possible, but Dallas (23.6 seconds in between plays) and Arizona (26.5) are first and second in pace and both teams are top-9 in plays per game. Arizona just lost their star pass rusher Chandler Jones, and Kyler Murray and their offense should be in great shape to make this a high-scoring affair, so Dalton is one of the best QB values on the board this week.
Kyler Murray (Ari, at Dal - $7300 on DK and $8400 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel. Arizona is second in the league with 26.5 seconds between plays, and the Cowboys are first… and the more plays the better for fantasy production. They will likely look to run the ball this week to protect their defense, but that is still a defense that needs protecting, as they give up 2.8 passing TDs per game to QBs. I loved seeing Christian Kirk make some plays down the field last week and they factor can really help DeAndre Hopkins, who tends to crush the zone defense that Dallas runs 69% of the time this year (per SIS).
Alexander Mattison (Min, vs. Atl - $7200 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s a much better value on FanDuel. The Vikings don’t see much of a dropoff from Dalvin Cook (OUT) to Mattison, so we shouldn’t, either. The Falcons have actually been solid against the run all year, but a pair of 3-down backs have produced against them the last two weeks with Mike Davis doing well last week (149 total yards, TD) and Aaron Jones (111/1) the week before (and Jones gave up 16 opportunities to Jamaal Williams two weeks ago). When Dalvin went down last week, Mattison was the guy with 43 snaps to Mike Boone’s 5 and 18 carries in the second half alone. He ended with 20/112 rushing and 3/24 receiving against a tough Seahawk defensive front last week. They love Mattison and feel he’s loaded with football intelligence, so we’re looking at 20-25 touches at least. He is pricey, and he will be chalky, so he will have to score for you to feel good about him. But 125+ total yards with 4-5 catches and 1-2 TDs are definitely in play.
Derrick Henry (Ten, vs. Hou - $7300 on DK and $9000 on FanDuel) - He’s a significantly better value on DK. I’m usually worried about Henry, since he’s boom-or-bust and we’re not seeing much at all in terms of his work in the passing game. Darrynton Evans is out, but they have been working in Jeremy McNichols, so Henry is going to have to do 95% of his damage on the ground. That shouldn't be a problem against one of the worst run defenses I’ve seen this year. The Texans have the highest EPA (Expected Points Added) against RBs, and they give up the sixth-most fantasy points per carry. Henry has found it tougher going this year, but he’s got two rushing TDs in each of his last two games. This Texans defense is giving up the second-most rushing yards per game to RBs (141.2) with a 5.2 YPC average, and over the last four weeks, the massive rushing numbers they’re giving up to RBs is very close to what Henry put up against them last year. They are giving up 26/138/1.3 (5.3 YPC given up) and Henry last year averaged 26/5/148/5/1.5 (5.6 YPC). He will be popular, but he’s hard to pass up if you want to compete in cash games this week.
David Montgomery (Chi, vs. Car - $5800 on DK and $5900 on FanDuel) - He’s a potential steal on both sites, but he’s definitely a better value on FanDuel. Here we go again with Montgomery, who has struck out the last two times I’ve given him any love for DFS. I did so two weeks ago, and he did dominate the touches, and he continues to dominate the touches. It’s been slow going and his production has all been volume-based, so he needs a good matchup to feel good about him - and this is a good matchup. The Panthers are a little healthier than I thought they would be through Friday’s practice, but they’ve still been routinely crushed by opposing RBs dating back to last year. The only RB not to come through against them the last 10+ games is Kenyan Drake, who is officially an enemy of the fantasy people. The Panthers are giving up 20 RB carries for 110 rushing yards and 1.3 rushing TDs per game along with 8.8 receptions for 51 yards over the last four weeks, including that game against the Cardinals. With 20+ touches a lock, if Montgomery can score he’ll be a slam-dunk. If he fails to hit 15+ PPR points, I will be very upset (and then angry).
Myles Gaskin (Mia, vs. NYJ - $5400 on DK and $5700 on FanDuel) - He’s a good value on both sites, especially since he might have the goal-line role on lockdown right now in addition to his working on passing downs. Miami will not have Le’Veon Bell joining them this year, so Gaskin is locked into his large role, a role he earned in camp and has done nothing to lose. If anything, his role is increasing, since free-agent bust Jordan Howard was a healthy scratch last week and Gaskin cashed in with a goal-line TD to go along with his 15 carries and 5 targets (5/34 receiving). Matt Breida could spoil his party to an extent, since Brieda saw season-highs in snap share (31%), touches (10), and yards (59), but Gaskin is a lock for 15+ touches and is the preferred pass-catching back. The Jets are also getting crushed by opposing RBs lately and over the last four weeks they’re giving up 26 RB carries for 128 yards (5.0 YPC) with 1.8 rushing TDs per game along with 5.5 catches per game for 43 yards. We have him with 16 PPR points, which is exactly 3X value on DK.
Antonio Gibson (Was, vs. NYG - $5500 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel. While the results haven’t been amazing, I keep finding myself going back to the rookie Gibson because of his affordable price and ever-expanding role. I do wish JD McKissic would go away, but Gibson last week saw his second-best snap share of the season at 56%, along with a solid 16 touches (including 5 catches). The Giants defense has been pretty solid, but their offense is pretty hopeless right now, so I expect the FT to be able to feed Gibson more carries this week (RBs are getting 23 carries a game against them the last four weeks). I’m looking at 15 carries for Gibson and 3-4 grabs, so I think he can rack up 10+ PPR points without scoring. If he scores, then he’s a great play. And aren’t we due for big play from Gibson?
Jamaal Williams (GB, vs. TB - $4000 on DK) - This is obviously very much on the low-end, and it’s only DK, which is a full point PPR. But the Packers were smart in their last game to use him in the passing game with Davante Adams out again, and he delivered with a stellar performance with 8/95 receiving on 8 targets, along with a healthy 8 carries (for only 10 yards). I don’t expect anything on the ground from him this week, but we could see another big receiving game in this matchup, since the Bucs are giving up over 8 catches a game to RBs the last four weeks. That’s largely a function of teams abandoning the run against Tampa, which the Packers will likely do. Adams is back, but this game looks high-scoring to me, so I’m thinking Williams can get 4-5 catches here for 35-40 yards. He’ll probably need a TD to truly come through, but he’s a viable cheap option if you need one.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Jonathan Taylor (Ind, vs. Cin - $6400 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - The Bengals’ injury report was pretty clean through Friday, but that’s not including DT DJ Reader, who is now on IR. That’s a big loss, so I’m once again listing Taylor in the hopes that he can finally bust out with a huge game. The Bengals were already allowing the third-most rushing yards per game to opposing RBs (131.4) before they lost run-stuffer D.J. Reader for the season, and at least Taylor didn’t lose many snaps to Jordan Wilkins last week. I have to believe Taylor can finally get off with 18+ carries, 2-3 catches, and 100+ total yards. If he scores, he’ll come through - and a huge game is in play with such a good matchup.
Joe Mixon (Cin, at Ind - $6200 on DK and $6900 on FanDuel) - The people who liked him two weeks ago literally did so only because they were favored in the game against the Jags, who were actually quite stout against the run going into that game. They are 7-point road underdogs this week, which could be a problem, but I also think that spread is too high. Indy’s passing game is horrible right now, so while they could certainly win the game, I don’t see them taking Mixon the runner out of the equation, especially with LB Darius Leonard doubtful through Friday. It doesn’t hurt that he saw 76% of the snaps and every RB carry (24) last week, and that he out-targeted Gio Bernard 8 to 2 despite the Bengals trailing the Ravens the whole way. His work in the passing game, with 14 targets and 12 catches the last two weeks really helps raise his floor (Gio has only 2 targets and 1 catch for 4 yards the last two weeks).
PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, vs. Buf - $6700 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - He’s not an amazing value on either site, but this is his last chance to show what he can do while owning this backfield. The Bills are healthier on defense, but their defense overall has really underwhelmed this year. They’re okay against the run, but RBs are getting a promising 24 carries a game for just under 100 yards with 1 rushing TD per game on average over the last four weeks, along with a decent 4/30 receiving. CEH isn’t cheap, so there’s downside, but his ownership should be down after his poor game last week (he did have a TD taken off the board), so I think he will present a small edge in Week 6.
A.J. Brown (Ten, vs. Hou - $5600 on DK) - He’s not a great value on FanDuel, so I’ll list him for DK only. It’s actually not a great matchup, since CB Bradley Roby has been doing a great job manning up against opposing team’s #1 WRs, but he’s hardly infallible. Brown looked great Tuesday night and was taken off the injury report Friday afternoon, plus Corey Davis is not expected to play. Brown will get the ball, and if this game turns into a shootout, very possible, he will get the ball a lot. Brown may not get the 32% target share he had last week with Adam Humphries back, but Brown also got these Texans last season for 12/238/2 receiving in two games so far, and two weeks ago Adam Thielen dropped 8/114/1 receiving on this defense while seeing a lot of Roby. With Ryan Tannehill tossing him dimes in the endzone, a TD is likely unless Derrick Henry bogarts them all.
Justin Jefferson (Min, vs. Atl - $5900 on FanDuel) - He’s not a great value on DK, so I’ll list him for FanDuel only. His 13% target share last week was worrisome, and no one knows if Irv Smith will be a factor or not (I’d lean yes, though), but this Falcons defense has allowed 33+ FP to a pair of WRs in every game except one this year and that team (GB) had no WRs. D.J. Moore had a big-play TD on the outside last week and he and Robby Anderson combined for 12/205/1 receiving on 18 targets. With Julio Jones back and Dalvin Cook out, the odds seem good Kirk Cousins will actually throw the ball 35+ times. It may be unnerving to trust a rookie in DFS, and he’s not dirt cheap. But he’s shown enough already to merit serious consideration when the matchup is good, and this one is great.
Julian Edelman (NE, vs. Den - $5600 on DK and $6200 on FanDuel) - He’s actually a slightly better value on FanDuel, but I’ll use him on DK in a heartbeat since they are full PPR. He may have a more serious knee injury than anyone knows, which may explain his weak 5/58 on 12 targets the last two weeks. But I loved him here back in Week 2 with a good matchup, and he posted 8/179 on 11 targets against the Seahawks. If relatively healthy, I love him again this week in this matchup, and I even like the circumstances with them dealing with adversity but also having extra time to prepare. I liked Jamison Crowder in the slot in this matchup a couple of weeks ago against Essang Bassey, who had been giving up a lot of production, and Crowder posted 7/104 on 10 targets. He’s risky, but he also could pay up nicely with people off him, and I'm seeing a 7-8 catch game here.
Chase Claypool (Pit, vs. Cle - $5200 on DK and $5500 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel, but a good value on both. I never want to chase points in DFS because it’s been harder than ever lately for players to string together back-to-back big games. But the Diontae Johnson (OUT) situation has forced my hand. Our Greg Cosell sees major problems in the Browns secondary, and he sees the Steelers scheming plays specifically for Claypool.
He’s scoring a TD every five targets right now, he’s seen 70% or more of the snaps the last two games with Diontae Johnson out of the lineup, and he’s too inexpensive to not give love to. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s activity has been worrisome in terms of a lack of targets and downfield looks, while Claypool is on fire.
Laviska Shenault (Jax, at Det - $5200 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel. I watched him last week and his body language was great, so he’s feeling it. I actually want DJ Chark to be active for the game, since he seems to help open things up for Shenault, who has 5+ catches and 75+ receiving yards in his last two games with Chark in the lineup. Shenault right now is better against man to man, which is what the Lions run more than any other team. In addition, guys like Tre’Quan Smith and Andy Isabella have each scored 2 TDs against the Lions in their last two games. He’ll need a TD to hit 3X value, but the man is due to score.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Davante Adams (GB, at TB - $8000 on DK and $9000 on FanDuel) - It’s not a great matchup by the numbers, but top CB Carlton Davis is questionable, so Tampa may not be at full strength. Regardless, they play zone defense at the ninth highest percentage in the league, and I always like Adams against zone. Aaron Rodgers also loves zone, and I do think this one could be a shootout.
DeAndre Hopkins (Ari, at Dal - $8200 on DK and $8800 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel and not a good value per se on either site. But then again, I’m rarely going to project a guy to catch 10+ passes, so the projections can do only so much to illustrate a guy’s upside. Dallas plays a lot of zone, which D-Hop eats up, and the Cards should run a lot of plays, so Hopkins will be busy.
Adam Thielen (Min, vs. Atl - $8000 on DK and $9000 on FanDuel) - The Falcons these days are playing a lot more man coverage, about half the time, and Thielen beats man because he’s a sublime route-runner. I loved him this summer and he’s showing exactly why, as his role is massive and he’s savvy enough to get open and make plays. There’s every reason to pay up for Thielen this week, just like last week when I had him as our #1 WR for the week (9/80/2).
PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE
Cooper Kupp (LAR, at SF - $4700 on DK and $5600 on FanDuel) - With Kupp I’ve found that if the matchup in the slot is good, he goes off. Like Week 3, when I had him here and he went for 9/107/1 against the Bills. Well, the matchup looks good again as slot corner K'Waun Williams is out, and they’re playing veteran Jamar Taylor in the slot, who has not fared well early on. Kupp looks like a really sneaky and wise play.
Christian Kirk (Ari, at Dal - $4700 on DK and $5600 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on DK, but top-10 on both sites. Kirk is really interesting to me and I talked him up going into last week, stating they really need to get him going, and they did. I fully expect points to be scored and a lot of plays run, and Kirk is easily Kyler Murray’s #2 option in the passing game, and his price tag makes him a slam dunk
Eric Ebron (Pit, vs. Cle - $4100 on DK and $5200 on FanDuel) - He’s my #1 TE value on DK and #2 on FanDuel. I was underwhelmed last week, but he did catch 5 balls on 6 targets, not bad. He has a 21% target share the last two weeks and he’s still getting looks 10+ yards down the field. No Diontae Johnson helps, and if Chase Claypool commands more attention, Ebron will surprise. The Browns have major issues in the secondary and they’ve been shaky against TEs all year, giving up 17.6 FPG to TEs (6th-most).
Jonnu Smith (Ten, vs. Hou - $5200 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel but a top-6 value on both sites. Jonnu has been a stud this year with 5 TDs in only four games, and he should have had 3 TDs last week. Corey Davis won’t play, so Smith will be receiver 1A for Ryan Tannehill in what could be a high-scoring game. You almost can’t go wrong with Jonnu right now at his still affordable prices.
TJ Hockenson (Det, vs. Jax - $5200 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel, in fact our #1 value, but he’s also a top-7 value on FanDuel. Can they throw this guy the ball a little more? Probably not because they're terrible but Hockenson is a stud who is getting consistent targets every week and end zone targets. A TD is more likely than not, since the Jaguars have allowed four TDs to tight ends in the last four weeks, so he’s a good bet to post a strong 15+ PPR points.
Trey Burton (Ind, vs. Cin - $3100 on DK) - He’s actually the second-best value on DK and not much of a value on FanDuel. Mo Allie-Cox won’t play, and Jack Doyle has run just 29 routes with 3 targets the last two weeks compared to 35 routes and 11 targets for Burton. The Bengals have allowed the third-most TE targets this season with 48 (9.6 per game), so Burton is THE dirt cheap TE to use this week.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Mark Andrews (Bal, at Phi - $6500 on DK and $7600 on FanDuel) - He’s about the same value on both sites, but slightly better on FanDuel. My cat knows this matchup is good by the numbers, as the Eagles are giving up the fourth-most FPG (18.8) to the TE this year, with 5 TDs given up already. But with Darius Slay looking like a go, that’s bad news for Hollywood Brown, which may mean big things for Andrews. I’m not ruling out a blowup 20+ point game here.