Top Tier :
Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6800)
One of the main themes, “the easy calls”, through the first five weeks was: Target the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Welcome to Week 6, where that theme continues. Matt Ryan at home vs. Tampa Bay is easily the top QB play on the main slate. He's the highest priced player at the position, but that isn't a deterrent from rostering him in a game that has the highest implied total on the slate, at 57.5 points.
The Bucs have given up the most points, the most yards per play, the most passing yards, the most passing yards per attempt, and the third most first downs. Add to that the fact that they're 3rd best in rushing yards allowed, and rushing attempts against, AND the fact that they don't get any pressure on QBs – they have the 26th ‘best' sack percentage – and what you're left with is a complete and total pass-funnel defense that has no answers for it.
In Ryan's three home games – weeks 2, 3, 4 – he's scored 31.68, 43.16, and 32.26 Draftkings points. That's a per game average of 355 passing yards, 3.3 tds and 0.3 ints. He's also scored 2 rushing tds. You can roster him without any of his receivers, as he spreads the ball around so much. If you like the safety of paying up for QBs in your cash lineups, Matt Ryan is the easy and obvious choice this week.
Jameis Winston @ Atlanta Falcons ($5800)
If you don't like to pay up for QBs, you'll want to have a look at the guy on the other sideline in Atlanta on Sunday. I've mentioned several reasons why Matt Ryan is a great play vs. Tampa Bay's defense, and now I'll mention several reasons why Jameis Winston may be every bit as good a play based on the $1000 savings you can get by rostering him over Ryan.
The Falcons have allowed the second most points, the fourth most total yards, the ninth most yards per play, the ninth most passing yards, the second most first downs, AND have the fourth worst sack percentage in the league. So, to recap: Only the Bucs have allowed more points and first downs than Atlanta, and the Falcons get even less pressure on QBs than Tampa Bay.
There is a narrative to be made that might say, “Hey! This is Winston's first start; he may be rusty.” That could be true, but is there a better spot for him to succeed? In Week 15 last season vs. Atlanta, Jameis had 299 passing yards and 3 tds; 3 rushes for 18 more yards, for a total of 25.76 Draftkings points. He'll face a depleted version of that same defense on Sunday. All the weapons he has, the lack of any run game and his team's inability to play defense makes him a great play in this spot. I don't like to pay up for QB if I can help it, so Jameis is my guy for cash games this week.
Russell Wilson @ Oakland (in London, England) ($5700)
I had to go with another ‘mid-tier' priced guy here. There is no one in the lower tier this week worth discussing in any detail, so there's no point in wasting anyone's time mentioning one. I'm willing to bet that rostering Russell Wilson will not be a waste of time, however. Wilson at $5700 vs. the Raiders, in England – where the majority of NFL games have gone over the projected total – is in play for cash games or tournaments.
It's been said, recently, in terms of pass rushers that “it's hard to find a great one.” The same guy also said, “if I can’t get it done, I’m not going to take their money. ” That guy, of course, is Raiders Head Coach John Gruden.
The Raiders have allowed the third most points, the second most total yards, the second most yards per play, the second most yards per pass attempt and the eight most pass yards overall. They've also allowed the fifth most rushing yards at the fifth highest yards per attempt. Their defense isn't much of one in any aspect, and the biggest single factor contributing to that may be their third worst ranking in sack percentage.
This is Doug Baldwin's second game back, and I think it's a certainty that he'll get more than the one target he had in his return last week. Add that to the fact that Tyler Lockett has found a rapport with Wilson, and Wilson now should have two reliable targets in the pass game. If that fails, somehow, his rushing upside against the Raiders' barely functioning run defense provides a nice safety net in cash games, and big upside in tournaments. Wilson is one of my favorite tournament plays this week. I think Russell will definitely get it done, and I have no worries about him taking my money.
Top Tier :
Todd Gurley @ Denver Broncos ($10,000)
“Todd Gurley is good at football.” That was the opening sentence from my Week 5 RB article where I suggested that Gurley was a cash game lineup lock. He ended up being the second highest scoring RB, with 33.3 Draftkings points; 4.2 less than James Conner's 37.5. I loved him last week at $9400, and I may like him even more this week at $10,000 heading to Denver. I've heard a lot of mention that because of his price, he should be a fade this week. I'm not sure why that is, when almost everyone around the industry loved him last week.. Does $600 make that much of a difference when you're talking about a guaranteed 25 – 30 point cash game play? It certainly doesn't to me.
He had 26 total touches last week, and scored 3 times. It could've been 4; one was called back, and they settled for a field goal. In Week 4, 21 touches – 1 score; Week 3, 28 touches – 1 score; Week 2, 22 touches – 3 scores; Week 1, 23 touches – 1 score.
He's averaging 29.3 Draftkings points per game. That's not buoyed by up and down weeks, as he hasn't scored under 25.6 in any game. He's scoring a touchdown every 13.3 times he touches the ball. He's averaging 24 touches a game. He plays behind the league's best offensive line. Two of the Rams three starting WRs may not play on Sunday, in a game, as of now, that is expected to see snow. The Broncos just got torched by Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell for 318 rushing yards. The previous week, Kareem Hunt ran for 121 yards and scored once. Gurley is second in the league in rush yards, 6th amongst RBs in receiving yards, and leads all players in touchdowns, with 9. I could go on, but I think my point is pretty clear.
There is no player with a safer floor OR higher upside than Gurley. A $600 price increase shouldn't raise a red flag in terms of him being a cash game play this week.
Nyheim Hines @ New York Jets ($5100)
A Colts RB is in play this week. I certainly had no expectation of suggesting such a thing, maybe, at any point this season. But, Nyheim Hines is being used as a dual-purpose back, and Andrew Luck has a shortage of receivers to target. Eric Ebron is the #1 target for Indy. That's something else I thought I wouldn't be saying. At the price, Hines is a reasonable play.
First, I do have to mention that Marlon Mack has practiced in full today (it's Wednesday) and is expected to play. This will likely take at least a couple of touches away from Hines, but I don't expect to see much of a decline in his usage, as he's been quite effective as a pass catcher.
In the last three weeks, Hines has 21 receptions, on 25 targets, for 133 yards and 2 scores. He's also rushed for another 73 yards on 24 carries. His Draftkings points totals in weeks 2 through 4 have been 9.3, 28.3, and 16, respectively.
A 3 yards per carry average isn't going to earn you much favor, even in a bad rushing offense like the Colts, so I think it's fair to assume that he will lose some rushing attempts to Mack, but he should maintain his passing game usage. T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle are out this week, and we've seen Hines upside in the passing game in week 4. At $5100, he'll be a low-owned tournament play that could pay off very nicely for you.
Lower Tier :
Carlos Hyde vs. Los Angeles Chargers ($4900)
Carlos Hyde is under-priced this week. He might be the most most under-priced player on the slate. I'm not going to complain about it; I'm just going to take FULL advantage of it.
Hyde has 106 total touches this season – 100 rushes, 6 receptions. That's an average of 21 touches per game; he's seen as many as 25, and hasn't gotten less than 17 in any week. He's scored a touchdown in every game but one. The Browns are playing at home this week in a game where they're 1.5 point underdogs, so they're going to want to slow it down as much as they can, and keep Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon off the field. They should be able to accomplish that on the ground with Hyde.
The Browns have the most rushing yards in the league after five weeks, the sixth best yards per attempt at 4.6, and the second most rushing touchdowns. The Chargers do have a top ten rush defense in terms of yards allowed and touchdowns allowed, but they have also faced the tenth fewest rush attempts. It's only Wednesday, but at $4900 I think Hyde will be in my cash lineups, and he's a great tournament play as well.
Top Tier :
Mike Evans @ Atlanta Falcons ($8100)
In case you haven't noticed, I really like the Tampa Bay @ Atlanta game this week. It's got so much DFS potential, I simply must have a decent sized piece of it, and so should you. Unlike the Atlanta side, the Bucs that are likely to be targeted in the passing game are much easier to pinpoint; especially now since Jameis Winston is back.
In two games vs. Atlanta last season, Evans caught 11 of 20 targets for 157 yards and a touchdown. Only one of those games was with Jameis; the one in which he caught his touchdown. This game should be a shootout and we've seen that Winston loves targeting Mike Evans. I think his target floor is 10, and I wouldn't be shocked if he saw 15.
The Falcons have allowed 12 receiving touchdowns. That's second most in the league; only one behind the Steelers and, of course, the Buccaneers. I've already talked about how bad the Falcons pass defense is in the QB section as part of my Jameis Winston write-up. Evans is the third highest priced WR on the slate, but the ownership projections I've seen have him projected behind six other WRs, so his cost will likely keep him from being too chalky for tournaments. I like pairing him and Winston for cash games this week, and that's just what I'll be doing.
John Brown @ Tennessee Titans ($5500)
Brown had 14 targets last week; 8 of them were over 20 yards. He has 14 such targets this season; that's the most in the league. He leads the league in air yards, and has 6 receptions of 25 yards or more. That's second most in the league, trailing only Tyreek Hill and Desean Jackson who each have 7. He also ranks 3rd in yards per catch at 20.84. John Brown is back in a big way so far this season. He's being provided with many big play opportunities, and he's delivering. There's more to it than that, though.
Brown is tied for the team lead in redzone targets with 5, and leads the team in targets inside the 10 yard line (3) and targets inside the 5 (1). So, it's not just deep routes where Flacco is targeting him. He's being used all over the field, in all situations. His price seems too low to me this week, making him a borderline cash game play, and certainly a great tournament play. I haven't even mentioned his matchup.
When you think of the name ‘Malcolm Butler', you probably don't think ‘defensive liability' or ‘turnstile.' Well, you wouldn't be wrong if you did. In the first four weeks, Butler was targeted 27 times (6th most); allowed 21 receptions (4th most); gave up 397 yards (the most); and 4 touchdowns (the most). Play John Brown this week.
Lower Tier :
Mohamed Sanu vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4800)
Have I mentioned the Tampa Bay at Atlanta game? I think there'll be lots of points scored in that game, and at $4800, Mohamed Sanu is a great way to get a piece of it without giving up a huge chunk of your salary cap. I won't recommend Sanu as a cash game play, simply because Matt Ryan has several options at receiver, but in tournaments, he should be the lowest owned of the pass catchers in Atlanta, behind Julio Jones, Austin Hooper and Calvin Ridley. Even if he isn't fourth on that list, his ownership will be very low overall.
Sanu will draw M.J. Stewart in coverage. He's the fourth-worst rated defensive back on the main slate, according to Player Profiler. Calvin Ridley draws the fifth-worst rated defensive back, Carlton Davis, and will cost you an extra $1500. Sanu has more targets and receptions on the season than Ridley, and makes for a great pivot off him this week.
Top Tier :
Jared Cook vs. Seattle Seahawks ($5000)
How do you know when you should pay down or punt the TE position altogether? When you see Jared Cook near the top of the salary list and he's your favorite play because Eric Ebron is at the top of that list. That being said, Cook is the best receiver on his team right now, and if for some reason, you're looking to pay up at the position, he's in a good spot vs. the Seahawks this week.
He leads the Raiders in targets, receptions and yards, and is one touchdown behind Jordy Nelson for the team lead there too. League-wide at the TE position, he ranks 4th in targets, 2nd in receptions, 4th in yards and 3rd in touchdowns.
I expect this game – which is being played in London, England – to be high-scoring, and if so, Cook will be heavily involved. I have zero interest in playing him, but I certainly understand why he's in play this week.
Cameron Brate @ Atlanta Falcons ($3700)
Have I mentioned this game yet? Regardless, Brate is in a great spot this week. He gets his QB back! Jameis Winston has been notorious for targeting TEs throughout his collegiate and pro careers, and Brate has been the recipient of it. O.J. Howard has made it back to practice this week, but will not play on Sunday, leaving all the TE targets for Brate.
*Update : Howard practiced in full today (Friday) and it looks like he may play on Sunday. Brate is still a great play, but you may want to keep an eye on that situation.*
The last two weeks, Brate has caught 6 of 8 targets for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns. I'd be satisfied with 3 for 30 and a touchdown for $3700, and in a high passing volume game, like the one on Sunday projects to be, that's a very reasonable expectation for Brate. I think he's certainly cash game viable.
Lower Tier :
C.J. Uzomah vs. Pittsburgh Steelers ($3000)
This is one of my favorite plays on the slate on this week. Seriously. So many DFS players are going to be focused on so many other plays in this game that Uzomah is going to be overlooked, and at $3000 he's a welcome addition to my lineups.
The Steelers are seeing 11 targets go to the TE every week – the most in the league. They're allowing 8 receptions a game to TEs – the most in the league. They allow 85 receiving yards per game to TEs – third most in the league. They allow 20.68 Draftkings points per game to TEs – second most in the league.
Almost 21 points allowed to the position per game. No Tyler Eifert. No Tyler Kroft. A 53 point implied game total. $3000. Sign me up.
Good luck this week!