I’m back with another look at DFS picks for the week and I’m pissed. Week 6 sucked and this league is getting crazier by the week. But I have a feeling Week 7 will be better, or at least my picks will be. As usual, I’m trying to cherry pick some choice selections I like based on player, matchup, cost, popularity, etc.
Here’s what I got for this week.
Joe Burrow (Cin, vs. Cle - $5500 on DK and $7100 on FanDuel) - He’s a little better of a value on DK, but top-5 on both sites. Burrow may not be bursting with upside these days with only 4 TDs total in his last four games (1 rushing), and he has only 22 rushing yards total the last four weeks. But he is still averaging a healthy 277 passing per game, and he did also put the ball up an insane 61 times against the Browns earlier this year (316/3), and the Browns secondary has been noticeably worse since that game. Burrow has thrown for 300+ yards four times already, and he might make it five this week with Joe Mixon out and AJ Green showing us last week that he’s still among the living. I just don’t see a scenario where Burrow gets less than 16.5 DK points, especially since this will be the first time in his brief NFL career that he’s facing a defense he’s already faced before.
Justin Herbert (LAC, vs. Jax - $6400 on DK and $7500 on FanDuel) - He’s about the same value on both sites. Herbert is no longer inexpensive, but he can reach 3X return on DK for example without hitting 20 fantasy points, and he’s a great bet to hit 20 fantasy points. In fact, Herbert has reached 23+ FP in three of his four starts and he’s thrown for 300+ yards or multiple TDs in each of his four starts this season. That’s why it would be stunning if he didn’t come through this week even knowing it’s the NFL and you never know and that his body of work is still very small. The Jags have no pass rush whatever, and Herbert is incredibly dangerous with a clean pocket, as we’ve seen. And he’s got three legit weapons to throw to, plus some no-names he’s helped us become familiar with (like some guy named “Jalen Guyton” who has 6/174/2 so far this year). Their defense has allowed 27+ points in every game this season, including 30+ points in five straight contests, so the only concern is if the Chargers are nursing a big lead and running out the clock for much of the second half or at least the fourth quarter. But at least the scrappy Gardner Minshew is capable of keeping the score close.
Teddy Bridgewater (Car, vs. NO - $5800 on DK and $6800 on FanDuel) - I’m not totally sold on Teddy this week, but he’s a top-5 value on both sites, so I will roll with him. I’m not sold because I don’t know how the Saints are going to play defense coming out of the bye, given they’ve played more zone this year with poor results. They may opt to stay with more zone, given the sad state of their receiving corps, so they can’t risk big plays and Teddy running well on them. Teddy was not good last week, but that was expected with a tough matchup in Chicago, and his receivers really hurt him with several dropped passes. They were also without WR Curtis Samuel, who should be back this week. The bottom line for New Orleans is their secondary has been bad, even Marcus Lattimore, so the matchup is not bad, and it’s possibly very good. TDs have been a problem for Teddy this year, but the Saints have allowed 15 TD passes in only 5 games, so multiple TDs should be very doable. If he gets 2 TD passes, he’s almost a lock because he’s otherwise averaging 260 yards passing with a 70% completion rate and a strong 8.0 YPA the last four weeks.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Matt Ryan (Atl, vs. Det - $6700 on DK) - He’s the third-best value on DK but only the 15th best on FanDuel, so this is DK only. At this point, I think it’s fair to say Ryan is still a shaky play against a good defense but that he can clearly produce against a bad one, as we saw last week. Detroit’s not as bad as Minnesota, but they’re still giving up the 8th-most points to outside WRs and the 5th most to slot receivers. Ryan has finished as a top-6 QB or better in games that Julio Jones has finished, and Julio must be feeling good because he actually did work in practice on Thursday. Calvin Ridley is banged up (elbow), but he should be set to play and doesn't catch passes with his elbow. The Lions limited the Jaguars to 5.5 YPA last week, but they have allowed multiple TDs to every QB they’ve faced this season.
Deshaun Watson (Hou, vs. GB - $6800 on DK and $8200 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel, but top-4 on both sites. Our Greg Cosell has seen every game Watson has played in the NFL, and he said last week’s game was the best of Watson’s career. Clearly, losing Bill O’Brien’s influence, which has increased the player’s influence on the offense, has helped a ton. He’s put up 300+ yards and 2 or more TD in his last three games, and the Packers have allowed multiple TD passes in four of their five games. Green Bay will likely also be down starting CB Kevin King, who is doubtful. That could be a problem for the Packers in what Vegas has as the highest-scoring game of the week with a huge total of 57.
PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE
Kyler Murray (Ari, vs. Sea - $7100 on DK and $8400 on FanDuel) - He’s the #1 value on both sites. So far in 2020, Murray is a guy who you just plug in, and then you win. Even though defenses are more vulnerable to running QBs playing man-to-man, running QBs Cam Newton (47/2), Ryan Fitzpatrick (47/1), and Dak Prescott (26) had success running on Seattle’s defense, which is still very zone-heavy. In fact, given their struggles defending the pass this year, I’m wondering if they will try to play more man this week, and if so that helps Murray’s rushing for sure. That would be risky, so the safer bet is still a lot of zone, and Seattle still gives up the most fantasy points out of the slot and also to outside wideouts. Kyler won’t have to worry about S Jamaal Adams blitzing him this week, as well, since Adams is out again.
Alvin Kamara (NO, vs. Car - $7900 on DK and $9300 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on DK, but he’s still top-5 on FanDuel. Obviously, with Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out, Kamara’s role in the passing game should be increasing, which I didn’t think was possible. I’m used to him catching 81 balls in a season, since he’s done it in each of his three seasons, But how about this: my man is on pace to catch 121 balls this year, a 67% increase. That’s in large part due to Thomas’ absence, and now Sanders is out as well. It also doesn't hurt that his matchup against the Panthers has routinely been the RB matchup dating back to last year. The Panthers have allowed nine TDs to RBs and they’re allowing the second-most FPG to RBs (30.2) this season. Use him in cash games or prepare to lose.
D’Andre Swift (Det, at Atl - $5400 on DK and $6100 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on DK. I’m not one to chase points, but we do have a salary situation here, since he could easily be a nice play at only $5400 on DK. A lot of people may be skeptical, and rightfully so since these coaches are dumb, but he will absolutely get a solid number of rushing opportunities, and more importantly he has noticeable upside in the passing game if this turns into a higher-scoring affair. The Falcons are allowing 9.8 RB targets and 7.8 RB catches a game to RBs the last four weeks.
Giovani Bernard (Cin, vs. Cle - $4500 on DK and $4800 on FanDuel) - With Joe Mixon out, he’s the #1 RB value for us this week on both sites. Our DFS guys are better to address how to deal with Bernard and his popularity, but if Aaron Jones is out I may pivot over to Jamaal Williams below to be sneaky, but both guys will be very popular for obvious reasons. But since my goal is to find players who will deliver 3X their cost, I’m not that worried about the chalkiness (I do consider it). In cases like Gio this week, I think it’s more dangerous not to invest, since a capable guy like Bernard can really supply a great ROI. The matchup isn’t incredible by the numbers, but it’s good, and the Browns passing offense is a disaster right now, which should help Gio’s carry numbers. Joe Burrow is also checking it down to his RBs a lot this year, as Mixon/Gio have combined for 7.6 targets/game so far, which is a lot. And unlike Alex Mattison, who has come up small when handed a massive role, Gio tends to come through, and often majorly. I will say, though: if Aaron Jones is officially out this week, I prefer Jamaal Williams to Gio. Williams is cheaper and I believe he has more upside.
Jamaal Williams (GB, at Hou - $4000 on DK and $5000 on FanDuel) - I can’t believe he’s back here after I stupidly thought he was sneaky and listed him last week. But this situation is a lot different. Obviously, if Aaron Jones is out, he’s going to be a bargain play. But in this case, I do not care how popular he is because the Texans run defense has repugnant. Williams looks as good as ever this year and is averaging a strong 4.7 YPC the last four weeks, plus he has massive upside in the passing game, as he showed in Week 4 with 8/95 on 8 targets. We could see a lot of rookie AJ Dillon if Jones is out, but with the Texans offense humming well right now, I don’t see the Packers nursing a big lead in this one. Jones is more to the questionable side, per the head coach on Friday afternoon, so don’t assume Williams is a lock for a big role until we get the skinny on Jones. But even if Jones is in, that would make Williams sneakier, and I’d consider him on the very low end. I’d rather spend the extra $500 for Gio, but if those funds are used well elsewhere, Williams could come through with such a great matchup and with Jones not at 100%. Also, if Jones is OUT, I prefer Williams to Gio.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Kareem Hunt (Cle, at Ari - $8800 on FanDuel) - He’s a much better value on FanDuel this week, so I’ll list him only there, but he can certainly be used on DK. I love his role right now, especially with Baker Mayfield being so lost, but there’s a lot to like about his matchup as well. Hunt posted 12/101/2 scrimmage against in Week 2 in this matchup, and that was with Nick Chubb as the lead back. Without Chubb, he’s had some tough very matchups, but he still put up 150+ total yards against the Steelers and the Colts. The Bengals are giving up 4.9 YPC to RBs the last four weeks and on the season they are second-worst in broken tackle rate, per SIS.
Mike Davis (Car, at NO - $6600 on DK and $7700 on FanDuel) - It’s really not a good matchup, but man; his role is incredible. He’s getting 23 opportunities and 22 touches a game the last three week, and it’s been relatively easy for him to average 21.9 FP/game, so I’m going to keep rolling with him. Maybe the tougher matchup will scare some off him, as well.
PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE
Chris Carson (Sea, at Ari - $6400 on DK and $7600 on FanDuel) - He’s about the same value on both sites but slightly better on DK. It’s only a solid matchup overall, but there’s nothing scary about it, and RBs are getting plenty of volume with 25 carries and 7 targets a game. We’ve got an expected total of 56 in this one, and I fully expect points to be scored, so a 20+ game is very possible.
Stefon Diggs (Buf, at NYJ - $7000 on DK and $7500 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel and not much of one on DK, but I’m perfectly willing to pay up for Diggs this week. John Brown and TE Dawson Knox are out, so they are down targets, meaning Diggs is going to be seriously peppered with targets for as long as they want to throw it. He’s now posted 14+ FP in every game this season and he has 6+ catches in five of his first six games, and his role is only increasing this week.
Diontae Johnson (Pit, at Ten - $4200 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - I can’t quit Diontae as a general statement, and I certainly can’t quit him in DFS with a matchup I like and a price that is dirt cheap. He is a much better value on DK, keep in mind (he’s the #1 WR value on DK this week). Maybe Chase Claypool has already taken over as the #1 option in this passing game, but if that’s the case it was only made possible by Johnson’s injuries, since he was owning a massive 32% target share in each of his first two games before suffering injuries over the last four weeks, and that includes Week 1, when he had a horrible first half but Big Ben kept going to him. The Titans may get former #1 pick Adoree Jackson back from IR, where he’s been all year. The Titans will make a decision on Jackson Saturday, but even if he’s in it won’t dissuade me from listing Johnson at his ridiculously low price. Oftentimes, you get what you pay for, but Diontae is priced like he’s a journeyman signed off a couch two weeks ago who had a nice game last week. The fact is, I still think he’s a borderline stud, and based on his usage when healthy this year, the Steelers do, too.
Terry McLaurin (Was, vs. Dal - $5800 on DK and $7100 on FanDuel) - You gotta use McLaurin this week, right? He’s a slightly better value on DK, but he’s top-12 on both sites. The Cowboys defense may not be as bad as you think on film, and CB Trevon Diggs is a baller, but his price vs. upside is too appealing this week. QB Kyle Allen is shaky, but he’s not afraid to sling it, and he can extend plays with his legs better than Dwayne Haskins, which may end up working for McClaurin. He posted 7/74 receiving on 12 targets against the Giants last week, which landed him fifth in the league in WR with 58, and Dallas is giving up the third-most FPG to WRs (38.2), and they’ve allowed nine individuals to top 15+ FP in six games this season. Look for 10+ targets again and 100+ yards.
Tre'Quan Smith (NO, vs. Car - $4000 on DK and $5300 on FanDuel) - I have to list him at his pricing with Michael Thomas and Emmanual Sanders out. Smith was highly impactful from Weeks 2-4, racking up 13/182/2 on 17 targets without Michal Thomas, and that was with Emmanuel Sanders out. Granted, he’ll be a marked man, but his pricing vs. upside is too good to ignore.
Mike Williams (Ari, vs. Sea - $4700 on DK and $5900 on FanDuel) - You can’t beat the pricing, which is why he’s a top-5 value for me on both sites this week. The Jags are brutal on defense with no pass rush, so Justin Herbert may do whatever he wants throwing the football. The Jaguars have struggled with downfield threats in each of their last two games with Kenny Golladay (4/105 receiving), Will Fuller (4/58/1), and Brandin Cooks (8/161/1) each reaching 14+ FP. Keenan Allen’s still dealing with a back issue, which only helps Williams.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Kenny Golladay (Det, vs. Sea - $7100 on DK and $8400 on FanDuel) - He’s not a particularly good value on either site, but that’s in large part to our fairly conservative projection for him. It’s conservative for a reason, though: the Lions coaches stink and their offense is too conservative. But Gollday is their leading receiver in yardage despite playing two fewer games than most everyone else, and he has 4+ catches with a TD or 100+ yards in each of those games. The Falcons are allowing the second-most fantasy points to outside WRs still, and the second-most YPA (8.4) this season. They got rocked by vertical threat Justin Jefferson last week (9/166/2), and given the potency of the Falcons offense, they may actually throw the ball 35+ times, making 10+ targets likely for Gollday.
PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE
Christian Kirk (Ari, vs. Sea - $4900 on DK and $5400 on FanDuel) - He’s a much better value on FanDuel but top-14 on both. He was here last week and he blew up, and I don’t think chasing points applies here because I think he might see 2-3 times as many targets this week. So I will stick with the hot hand in such a good spot at such a low price. Seattle’s secondary still gives up the most points to slot receivers and outside receivers, and they have allowed 12 different individuals to reach 11+ FP in just five games this season, so they are very charitable. Kyler Murray isn’t throwing it that well, but this could be a get-well matchup with no Jamal Adams to worry about, and I want Kirk at these prices all day long in a potential shootout.
Hunter Henry (LAC, vs. Jax - $4500 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - Despite being the best TE value this week on both sites, he’s not an amazing play because he’s not being peppered with targets. But Henry has been very steady, putting up 10-14 PPR points in four of his first five games. He scored his first TD of the season just last week, but he’s always in the mix in the red zone (although not many targets this year since they’re scoring from long distance), and the Jaguars have allowed a TE to score in two straight games and in three of their last four. The most appealing thing with Henry this week is his salary, though. At only $4500 on DK, he’s a good bet to come through with 13 or more PPR points in a game the Chargers should crush offensively given the poor pass rush and weak defense the Jaguars are bringing to the game.
Jared Cook (NO, vs. Car - $4200 on DK and $6100 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on DK, but top-3 on both sites. I was back and forth on whether or not I should list Cook late this week, but the Michael Thomas and Emmanual Sanders situations made including Cook an easy call. Cook has only two catches in each of his last three games, but he’s got 2 TDs on those six catches, at least, and he’s rolling with a strong 11.1% TD rate on his targets. The Panthers have allowed just one TD to a tight end this season, but Cook’s still the best bet on the team to catch a TD pass this week outside of Alvin Kamara, and his volume will obviously rise given their terrible WR situation this week.
T.J. Hockenson (Det, vs. Cin - $5100 on DK and $5900 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel for sure (third-best), but he’s top-7 on both sites. But here we go again with this guy. My disdain for him as a DFS pick has nothing to do with him and everything to do with their coaches (and a little Matthew Stafford). I’ve coined a phrase this year that I call the “Alarm Hock,” which is a fictitious alarm that goes off near OC Darrell Bevell anytime Hock gets up to 5 targets. Because, apparently, it’s asinine to frequently target a guy who they took at #8 overall in the 2019 draft and who has some Gronk and some George Kitle in him. Back in Week 3, they slept through the alarm and actually targeted Hockenson 7 times, but otherwise his targets have been 4-5 every week. That’s a problem, but what’s not a problem is the matchup and the possible gameflow, which could force the Lions to actually throw the ball 35+ times. Hockenson will still be TD-dependent, as usual, but he’s got 6 end zone targets on the season, which have helped him score 3 TDs in five games, and the Falcons have given up 7 TDs to TEs, most in the league. You may be underwhelmed, but there’s very little chance he comes up small for you, since he’s been at 9+ FP in all five games.
Rob Gronkowski (TB, at LVR - $5400 on DK and $5300 on FanDuel) - The salaries are usually higher on FanDuel, but not in this case, so Gronk is a much better value on FanDuel. But he’s viable on both sites, since he’s seen more than 80% of the snaps four straight weeks with team-best marks in targets (8), receptions (5), and receiving yards (78) last week while scoring his first TD as a Buc in Week 6. I saw this coming heading into Week 5 and I gave him love that week, but his ascension has already reached heights I didn’t exactly expect. He’s also #2 in TE air yards the last three weeks and S Jonathan Abram is out this week, which is big. The Raiders have given up TDs to the only two viable good TEs they’ve faced this season in Jared Cook (2/13/1) and Travis Kelce (8/108/1). Gronk may certainly need to score to come through, so he’s a little volatile, but he’ll be a decent pick this week if he equals his catch/yardage totals, so a TD may not be required for a good day.
HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH
Travis Kelce (KC, vs. Den - $6300 on DK and $7900 on FanDuel) - He’s the same value on both sites (top-6). I think I forgot to list him last week because I liked his chances more than usual, as I pointed out in either our Matchup Points Podcast or Livestream last week (or both). The reason is teams are playing a lot of zone against KC with deep safeties, looking to prevent big plays, and a guy like Kelce is their best option to take advantage of that (plus running the ball, which they have been doing). Denver is playing a little more man-to-man this year, but we don’t see them trying that this week, since it’s harder to cover their speedy receivers in man and since a defense is more vulnerable to a running QB in man coverage. Patrick Mahomes has been running more, with 7/28/.5 rushing in their last four games. Kelce now has 5 TDs in his first six games with 50+ receiving yards in every game and 5+ catches in five of his six games. The Broncos have been a zone-heavy team in the past, and Kelce threw up 17/186 receiving in two games against Vic Fangio’s defense last season.