Let’s just dive right in this week! I will be keeping a much more consolidated player pool this week, so there will be considerably less players written up than in most weeks. At the quarterback position, I’m considering Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson, and “Hollywood” Kevin Hogan more so than anyone else. Drew Brees and the Saints are at home against the Detroit Lions and are coming out of their Week 5 bye. This game boasts the second highest over/under on the slate, should remain competitive throughout, and should place Brees squarely in the mix of surpassing 300 passing yards and multiple touchdowns. There’s arguably no quarterback coming into Week 6 as hot as Deshaun Watson. He’s thrown for 9 touchdown passes in the previous two weeks, has the ability to rack up both yards and scores with his feet, and now gets to face a Cleveland Browns team at home in which the total has been pounded up by 3 total points. While both Brees and Watson are certain to be popular plays, I think they need to remain firmly on your radar in both cash games and tournaments. I prefer Brees for cash games despite his slightly elevated price tag over Watson across the industry, but Watson’s upside cannot be denied in such an amazing matchup. If you’re looking to open up salary for the rest of your lineup, Kevin Hogan comes in barely above the minimum price this week. With the “over” on the Texans/Browns game attracting so much attention, and the Browns highly likely to be trailing throughout, we should be seeing plenty of pass attempts from Hogan who looked good in mop-up duty last week against the Jets. (16/19, 194 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 30 yards on the ground in the second half) For just $4,600 on DraftKings and $6,100 on FanDuel, I will have plenty of exposure to Hogan this week.
Additionally, while I won’t necessarily be playing these quarterbacks that I’m about to mention, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Aaron Rodgers should all fly under the radar in terms of ownership this week, and make for great contrarian tournament options. The Patriots are on ten days rest as they travel to face the Jets in a battle for first place. The Falcons are coming off their bye week at home against the Dolphins and boast the highest team total of the week, but blowout concerns and a run-heavy game approach should be feared here. Aaron Rodgers is on the second of back-to-back road games against a Minnesota defense that has held their own against him during his career. Kirk Cousins and the Redskins emerge from their Week 5 bye against the 49ers in a prime spot. Carson Palmer should be considered a safe, high-floor quarterback for your cash games in a matchup at home against an exploitable Bucs pass defense.
Alright, kids, buckle up! It’s Jerick McKinnon and Mark Ingram week! We’ve been here before…with both of these guys, but, I’m going right back to the well with both of them. McKinnon had a monster Week 5 game on Monday night and with salaries released before the conclusion of the game, his price tag did not catch up to his fantasy output. At just $4,100 on DraftKings, I will be locking him into my cash games and will absolutely be loading him into my tournament teams, as well. In a glorious matchup against the Packers, I expect the Vikings to be playing catch up from the jump, and McKinnon should be out there accompanying Case Keenum for some easy dump-off and screen passes to rack up PPR points. Now that the Adrian Peterson era in New Orleans is over, I expect an even more solidified workload for Mark Ingram in this offense. With his touch count steadily on the rise through the first portion of the season, I expect Ingram to continue to see around 16-18 carries with 4-6 receptions in the passing game, and the clear option at the goal-line over rookie Alvin Kamara. Speaking of Kamara, he makes for a tremendous PPR tournament play himself this week.
Going to the top tier, I love Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette this week. Both locked into 20+ carries and passing game involvement, these two stud running backs will be worthy of their price tags in the afternoon games on Sunday. The Steelers will have their hands full trying to stop Kareem Hunt as they are giving up over 5 yard per carry on the season. Hunt has cleared 100 yards rushing in 4 out of 5 games this season, and I like his chances to continue that trend this week, and likely find the end zone. Fournette gets a home spot against the Rams this week in a game that the Jaguars should look to control early on the ground. While the matchup and the spot aren’t as juicy as Hunt’s, I think the workload for Fournette remains secure and I like his chances to rack up plenty of yards on the ground, remain involved in the passing game, and find the end zone.
Additionally, I will be sprinkling in some LeVeon Bell who has found great success in Pittsburgh’s road games throughout his career. While I expect the Chiefs to move the ball with ease and rack up a lead, Bell will remain involved in the passing game and will likely garner little ownership as a road dog and with Antonio Brown coming off a monster 19 target performance last week. Devonta Freeman as a massive home favorite in a game that Atlanta should run away with is also in play. Considering how badly the Jaguars run defense has been this season, Todd Gurley, even as a road dog, should find ways to get himself involved after only 14 carries in last week’s game against Seattle. With his passing game involvement, he’s a sneaky tournament option. As a pivot off of the McKinnon and Ingram ownership, going slightly up in price to Buck Allen is a strong tournament consideration. Eclipsing 20 touches again last week, I love Allen’s chances of repeating that again as nearly a touchdown home favorite against the Bears defense which struggles to perform away from home.
In a week where we finally have some running back value, I expect the high-priced wide receivers to garner more ownership than they have so far this season. I’ll be getting heavy exposure to DeAndre Hopkins in a smash home spot against the Cleveland secondary. Second in the NFL in targets, Hopkins should be in consideration for both cash games and tournaments, along with stacks with Deshaun Watson. While I do like Lev Bell this week against the Chiefs, I’d rather be spending that salary on NFL target leader Antonio Brown in a game which the Steelers may well be trailing throughout. Brown should also avoid most of Marcus Peters’ coverage, making this for a juicy matchup with an extremely high ceiling. Coming off the Week 5 bye, Julio should be healthy and ready to roll against the Miami pass-funnel defense. While he hasn’t attracted as many targets as his aforementioned wide receiver counterparts, Julio could be in for an eruption spot this weak with Mo Sanu sidelined. Stacking Michael Thomas with Drew Brees in this home spot against the Lions is a strong tournament option. On FanDuel, I love Keenan Allen’s price tag in his matchup against the Raiders. I’ll side with Hopkins and Julio for similar prices on DraftKings.
The likely chalk mid-range wide receiver this week will be Adam Thielen. With #1 WR Stefon Diggs set to miss this game, the consensus is that Thielen will absorb most of those targets and be in line for a massive game. I’m slightly hesitating at this notion, and I particularly don’t want to be playing both Jerick McKinnon and Adam Thielen in the same lineup. I think Thielen is better suited for tournament lineups, or if you’re fading McKinnon for some reason. Has Amari Cooper finally hit rock bottom? His price across the industry is staggeringly low and is an intriguing buy-low candidate for tournaments against the Chargers this weekend. If you believe in the idea that Xavier Rhodes is a shutdown cornerback and will be able to limit Jordy Nelson’s productivity, then Davante Adams should be on your radar. He’s attracted a massive 9 red zone targets so far this season and could be in for plenty more today. With actual shutdown conerback Patrick Peterson set to shadow Mike Evans, that will open up DeSean Jackson to run straight into Justin Bethel’s coverage who is a stalwart of cornerbacks to pick on in DFS. Larry Fitzgerald will offer plenty of cash game safety in a matchup against the Tampa Bay corners this weekend, also.
Personally, I’ll be looking to punt at tight end this week. It’s hard for me to walk away from an insanely cheap Zach Miller who was clearly the apple of Mitch Trubisky’s eye in his debut last Monday night. Baltimore, while playing stingy defense at home for the better part of four straight seasons, is vulnerable over the middle to opposing tight ends. George Kittle, who is certain to be popular after appearing on last week’s Millionaire Maker winning team, gets a gorgeous matchup against the Redskins on the road. Don’t think that this is point chasing here, Kittle is a solid play for cheap. If you’re paying up, Jordan Reed has one of his lowest price tags that I’ve ever seen, and he’s probably as healthy as he’s been all season. Great tournament option. Gronk and Travis Kelce are both excellent high-end tournament options, I just more than likely won’t be finding my way to prioritize paying up at the position this week.
Defense is extremely straight forward for me this week. I’ll be spending up for one of the elite matchups. Ravens at home against rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky who is making his first career road start. Falcons at home, coming off the bye, against one of the most inept offenses in all of football in the Miami Dolphins. Washington gets to face the 49ers at home. If you’re playing on a site that includes Sunday night football, the Broncos defense is the clear cut option against the Giants offense who was just destroyed by injuries last week.
Seemingly, it’s a pretty straight forward week. With so much value at running back, it makes it very easy to go after your favorite wide receiver and quarterback plays. Whether you want to spend up on Brees/Watson, or punt with Hogan, you’ll be able to find plenty of wide receiver value if you include Jerick/Ingram/Kamara in your roster builds. If you’re looking to differentiate yourself in tournaments, I think it’s a great week to pay up at running back, avoid the aforementioned cheap value plays, and find your favorite midrange wide receivers to jam in.
Best of luck in your contests this week, and stay sharp out there.
You can find me on Twitter @_ryanpaulsen for more DFS nonsense.