Week 6 DFS Lessons Learned


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Week 6 DFS Lessons Learned

Week Six was easily the worst week of the young NFL season for making predictions and projections, so naturally Week 6 was pretty nasty for DFS. It actually feels like the week was worse than it was.

At QB, I learned that I can’t trust Cam Newton. Most of my analysis on Cam was about his running, and he ran 10 times for 76 yards with a TD, so I got that right. But 157/0 passing isn’t cutting it. Cam wasn’t that cheap, so while he will likely finish as a top-12 QB, which isn’t terrible, I’ve gotta see two good games in a row of him throwing the ball for me to feel okay about recommending Cam. Cam did provide 3X his $6500 salary with 20.5 points, so technically he was a win, but I regret listing him.

The next guy I featured was Kirk Cousins, who is sitting right now as the QB6 of the week pending MNF, but Cousins has to go down as a win because he cleared 26 fantasy points at $6100, as my analysis was completely correct. But Kirk did also throw 3 INTs, so I do feel like I got a little lucky there. I may recommend him again due to the emergence of Justin Jefferson and their terrible defense, but Kirkie is shaky. Next, I listed Ryan Fitzpatrick and wrote the following: “He may not have to throw it a ton, which is the only concern, but Fitz should have success when he does throw it.” That was about right, since he threw it only 27 times, but he did throw 2 INTs and he only ran it once for 4 yards. Once again, technically, Fitz was a win since he did deliver 3X his cost, but I was also underwhelmed.

I spent a lot of time and space on three QBs playing tonight, so the results of my QB recommendations are still pending.

One thing that is not pending is Matthew Stafford, who was a loss. I didn’t expect them to get 30+ RB carries, which hurt, but Stafford is simply unreliable in this Lions offense and good matchups at home guarantee nothing. They refuse to get the ball to TJ Hockenson more than 4-5 times a game, Marvin Jones has not yet climbed back up on that cliff he’s fallen off of, and they simply don’t have anyone else who can consistently make plays in the passing game. I’d find a way to get the ball more to their stud TE, but what do I know? So much for that great 8-game run Stafford had to open 2019, huh? That means nothing right now, since Stafford isn’t even a top-20 QB so far this year. I wasn’t buying into Stafford’s strong showing last year at all, and I’ve disliked Stafford for a number of years now without really knowing why. But now I know: I hate their coaches.

I did like Deshaun Watson and Ryan Tannehill this week, and I loved the game for fantasy, but opted not to list them. My worry with Tannehill was that Derrick Henry would bogart too much of the production, but they both went off. I did like the game to be high-scoring, so I should have advised to pay up for Watson, who we had as QB5 for the week behind Murray, Mahomes, Allen, and Lamar.

I also listed for MNF Mahomes, Andy Dalton, and Kyler Murray, which was mostly meh, but at least Kyler kicked butt.

At RB, once again, it’s a mixed bag, at best. I couldn’t have been more wrong about Alexander Mattison, so I really need to evaluate whether or not I should be more cautious with popular plays like Mattison. It’s easier to say with the results in the books, but I’m sure Derrick Henry was also extremely popular as well, and I did feature him, so backing a chalky pick can work for sure. This is not the first time Mattison had everyone’s expectations raised due to a massive workload only to see him disappoint, though. I can’t blame it on him, but 30 total yards on only 11 touches is criminal. So until proven otherwise, if Mattison is in this spot again he will likely be popular again, but I’m passing on him. As for Henry, I’ll go back to that well again, obviously.

But by far, the biggest buzz kill was David “Stonewall” Montgomery. Once again, relying on volume means nothing when a RB can’t get out of his own way. Now, in my defense, Montgomery did have a TD called on the field taken off the board. Nick Foles, of course, snuck it in for the score on the next play. Had that TD held up, Montgomery would currently be sitting as the week’s RB4 pending the MNF game, so he was extremely close to being a nice win. But I’m now 0-3 recommending Montgomery for DFS. He at least hasn’t crushed people those weeks, but man, he’s frustrating. It’s a combination of bad play calling, bad run blocking, and bad running from Montgomery, who needs to try to run downhill more, if possible, behind an OL that does him no favors. But no one gets stonewalled as often as Montgomery, and he has to take part of the blame.

Otherwise, RB wasn’t too bad. I did list Antonio Gibson again looking for that 15 point PPR day, but I need to ignore him for a little while. He’s a rookie on a bad team, so he’s week-to-week, and they can’t quit using JD McKissic, who does look good. For some reason, I thought I was being wise listing a dirt cheap option in Jamaal Williams, but he was worthless. It’s one thing to take a shot on a cheap RB who’s trust into a larger role, but that didn’t describe Williams, so listing him was dumb.

I also listed Myles Gaskin, who was a definite win, and Jonathan Taylor, who wasn’t great but is currently RB6 for the week, so I can’t complain too much. But I continue to wait for his blowup game and it’s yet to come. I also listed Joe Mixon, who did get hurt and lost a short TD to Gio Bernard, but Mixon did score and is currently RB9 for the week, so while not a clear win, he wasn’t awful.

I did also feature Clyde Edwards-Helaire, which helped the week’s calls.

The WR position was all over the map, which is typical in a bad week of calls. My first two guys were A.J. Brown and Justin Jefferson and they both went off, which was great. I also went against my better judgment and listed a guy who went off the week before in Chase Claypool (Diontae Johnson being ruled out did it for me), and he was definitely a win with 18.1 PPR points.

But I also flopped on Laviska Shenault, and more egregiously missed badly on Julian Edelman, who had only 6 targets. Number one, I need to completely avoid guys with injury concerns, but in my defense getting specifics on what Edelman is dealing with is a matter of national security, so we’re all in the dark. I loved the matchup and just had a feeling Cam would be feeding him the ball, which was incorrect. One thing I need to do a better job at is balancing my thoughts on the matchup with the other realities relating to the player. In Edelman’s case that was the uncertainty about his health, his QB coming back from a Covid-19 layoff, and who knows how that affected Cam, and a game that didn’t exactly look like an aerial shootout. In my defense, one of the reasons I took a shot with him was his affordable salary. As for Shenault, just when it looked like we could trust him in this offense, he showed again that we cannot trust him. Gardner Minshew and this passing game is really week-to-week, and you just never know when he’ll come out and struggle. I actually liked how DJ Chark was active for the game, but after ignoring Chark more often than not this year, Minshew decided to feed him the ball 14 freaking times, with poor results.

With Edelman and Shenault, I trusted that their QBs would play well enough for them to excel, and they did not. So I need to check my QBs better when recommending receivers. I also flopped on {{Cooper Kupp|WR|LAR}, which was another matchup thing, since the 49ers’ very good slot corner was out. I’ll take that L because Kupp has usually been good when his matchup looks good, and apparently, he just missed a big-play TD in the game. I didn’t see a snap of it, but I will go back and see if I can figure out WTF happened to Jared Goff.

One player who saved my WR calls was Christian Kirk, who I gave love to and he had a big game with 2 TDs and 86 yards.

The TE position was just bad, but it was bad for everyone in Week 6, so not much I can do. I once again failed with a matchup play in Eric Ebron, so once again I need to study these matchup guys a little closer, but it’s hard to pass on a cheap TE with a good matchup. Jonnu Smith got hurt and his backup went off, so I can’t beat myself up again that one. TJ Hockenson did score, but those idiots in Detroit refuse to get him the ball more and seem content to throw him no fewer than 4 but no more than 6 balls.

I did nail the player who I said was THE dirt cheap TE play in Trey Burton, but the long high guy I backed was Mark Andrews, who was dreadful. The backup TE scored, which was annoying, but I didn’t like Hollywood Brown in the game, which is the main reason I went for it with Andrews, but he’s been shaky this year and pretty worthless without the TDs. This Ravens offense isn’t very trustworthy right now.

To recap, my biggest lesson of the week, perhaps the whole season, is to stop assuming that a specific matchup I like means the player in the matchup is a good DFS play. That was the case with Julian Edelman and Eric Ebron.

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.