FantasyDraft: NFL DFS WEEK 6 – Mid-Range RBs in Great Matchups
Week six of the NFL season features several mid-ranged priced RBs who are in fantastic matchups. They are all high volume players who have already posted great performances this year. This week’s FantasyDraft lineup is built around three of them, plus a popular high-end RB who has actually seen his workload increased in recent weeks.
Last week, we had several players in the four lineups that we played that had monster days. Unfortunately, they were largely spread out among those lineups. The only lineup that cashed had HOU WR Will Fuller V (56.70) and GB RB Aaron Jones (52.20) who scored a combined 108.90 points. Remarkably, that lineup totaled 215.46 points despite TB WR Mike Evans earning a big fat zero.
All of those players were in last week’s article. Hopefully, this week we have put together a lineup that has some more monster scores with no goose eggs.
The lineup in this article and our DFS Fantasy Foreplay podcast will be played in the FantasyDraft $500 K Hooters Main Event (70K to 1st) contest. If you want to play, signup early. It came within 15 contestants of selling out last week.
The podcast will be posted at the top of this article on Saturday.
QB (Salary on FantasyDraft)
ATL QB Matt Ryan ($12,100) has one of the best matchups on the slate in the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed a third-highest 24.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs. Ryan has earned a three-point bonus in every game this season by passing for more than 300 yards. He has averaged 331 passing yards a game. While the Cardinals have only allowed a ninth-worst 269.2 passing yards a game, they are tied for second-worst 12 passing TDs allowed. Ryan is the sixth most expense QB on the Main Slate and has the potential to compete for the top-performing QB of the week.
KC QB Patrick Mahomes ($14,100) and HOU QB Deshaun Watson ($13,400) face each other in a game that has the highest projected over-under at 55.5 points and could turn into a shootout with the last team who has the ball wins. Their price and likely ownership will be higher than Ryan’s who has the opportunity for similar production.
BAL QB Lamar Jackson ($13,600) is certainly worth consideration. The Ravens are the Chiefs both have the highest projected score total at 29.5 points. The Ravens are favored by 11 points in this game, which indicates that perhaps their RB Mark Ingram ($12,300) will be a better play because of game flow.
QB Russell Wilson ($13,400) is capable of a big game any week, and this week against the Browns is no exception. The Seahawks are projected to score 24 points, so Vegas believes Wilson is good for three TDs.
AIR QB Kyler Murray ($12,900) is a solid play on the opposite side of Ryan. The Falcons have allowed a league-worst 25.3 fantasy points a game to QBs. Atalanta has also allowed 12 passing TDs. The Falcons, however, have allowed fewer passing yards with a 257.4 game average. Murray is more expensive than Ryan and has scored on average 4.63 points less per game than Ryan.
WRs (Salary on FantasyDraft)
DEN WR Courtland Sutton ($9,300) provides the opportunity to get a No. 1 WR with a great matchup at likely very low ownership despite his 17.42 FPPG average. Most DFS players are not going to skip right over Titans at Broncos game because of the low over-under of 40.5 points. Others will avoid Sutton because the Titans pass defense against WRs as a team is in the top third of the league. Those players are not looking at Sutton’s volume or his individual matchup.
“Sutton leads the Broncos receivers in targets (39) and hasn’t seen fewer than seven in a game this season,” wrote Mike Woellert in his weekly WR vs. CB matchup at 4for4. “(CB Malcolm) Butler hasn’t done well in coverage and has yielded a 69% catch rate to opposing receivers. Butler has been responsible for three scores, resulting in 2.0 fantasy points per target.”
WR DAL Michael Gallup ($11,500) picked up right where he left off after missing two games with a knee injury. He had seven receptions for 113 yards and a TD against the Packers. Gallup is now averaging 21.96 FPPPG.
“The Cowboys have a healthy 26.25 implied team total this week against a weak Jets pass defense. Gallup missed the previous two weeks, but slotted right back into place and received 11 targets from Dak Prescott as the Cowboys were playing catch up. Gallup should be matched up on Daryl Roberts for most of his routes. Roberts has allowed touchdowns in consecutive games and is allowing 1.9 fantasy points per target.”
WRs are generally the final piece of the puzzle. We aren’t necessarily looking for the WRs who project to have the biggest day, but the ones who have a good opportunity to exceed value because they are in a great matchup. Woellert also pointed out that HOU WR Keke Coutee ($7,000) has a fantastic matchup against CB Kendall Fuller who has allowed a gaudy 3.1 points per target. Coutee is a great GPP value play, but we are concerned that he is to TD dependent because of his low volume. His teammates WR DeAndre Hopkins ($14,000) and WR Will Fuller V ($12,800) are certainly in play in a game with the highest over-under projection, but are expensive and likely will be heavily owned.
Other high priced WRs who were on our radar were DL WR Amari Cooper ($12,900) and LAR WR Cooper Kupp ($13,900). It also makes sense to play any of the Falcons WRs to stack with Ryan: WR Julio Jones ($15,600), WR Calvin Ridley ($10,600) and Mohamed Sanu ($8,800).
TE (Salary on FantasyDraft)
ATL TE Austin Hooper ($9,000) has the FPPG average of any TE on the Main Slate at 17.46 points, yet he is $3,900 cheaper than KC TE Travis Kelce ($12,900, 16.18 average). That goes to show that the popularity of a player being used heavily weighs into DFS pricing. Hooper and his price are an opportunity to take advantage of. Hooper has the second-most receptions of any TE at 34 and the third-most receiving yards at 363. Hooper faces a Cardinals defense that has allowed six TDs to TEs and 24.9 FPPG, both a league-worst. The only game this season the Cardinals have not allowed a TE to score was last week against CIN TE Tyler Eifert ($6,900).
SF George Kittle ($9,500) has seen the highest percentage (28%) of his team’s offensive passing targets than any other TE, according to Mike Tagliere in his weekly column The Primer which breaks down every player. Kittle has a decent matchup against the Rams who have been average at defending TEs. Kittle’s relatively low price makes him an interesting cash saving approach to a Flex spot. Kittle appears in the Flex for the FantasyPros optimizer. Hooper will likely be a core play for us this week, but Kittle may find himself in a lineup.
Update: Kittle came up on the injury report late in the week with a groin injury. Even if he plays, this type of injury makes it difficult to trust that he will be productive because it will likely limit his mobility.
RBs/Flex (Salary on FantasyDraft)
NO RB Alvin Kamara ($15,200) role has evolved to more of a workhorse running back from that of the big play pass-catcher who has a smattering of rushing attempts. Kamara has 49 (16,17,16) rushing attempts in the last three games. He is facing a Jaguars defense that typically has been solid against the run, but is showing cracks including allowing CAR RB Christian McCaffrey to score 50.70 last week. Kamara is the one player in the league that best compares to McCaffrey.
“Over the last three games with Bridgewater under center, Kamara has totaled 67 of the 84 touches available to Saints running backs,” wrote Tagilere. “That’s quite the difference from years past. He’s been the No. 6 running back over the stretch, holding strong in what’s been a lower-scoring offense. The Jaguars are coming off a game in which Christian McCaffrey stole their soul while totaling 237 yards and three touchdowns. It was just the second time over their last 21 games they’ve allowed a running back to finish better than the RB10. They have now allowed a rushing touchdown in 4-of-5 games, which is vastly different than the team who allowed a rushing touchdown in just 9-of-16 games last year.”
Note: Kamara came up on the injury report on Thursday with a tweaked ankle. He was limited in practice. If Kamara is unable to play we will likely switch him out for TEN RB Derrick Henry ($11,000) and then move up from Sutton at WR.
Update: Kamara missed practice on Friday, but attended a walk-thru Sunday morning and is expected to play. We are sticking with him. However, LAR RB Todd Gurley has been ruled out. This means his backup Malcolm Brown ($7,8000) will take on the lead back role. We have build one lineup where we have replaced Kamara with Browns and with the significant cash savings were able to go up to elite No.1 WRs in LAC Keenan Allen ($14,800) and DAL WR Amari Cooper ($12,900). This new lineup can be found at the bottom of the article.
NYJ RB Le’Veon Bell ($13,600) faces the same Dallas defense that allowed GB RB Aaron Jones to rack up 52.2 fantasy points last week. Jones rushed 19 times for 107 yards and four TDs, plus caught seven passes for 75 yards. We can’t guarantee that Bell will score four TDs, but his usage in the Jets offense against the Cowboys will likely be on par of what Jones saw last week. Bell has averaged 17.75 carries and 6.75 receptions a week. Bell may not score a 50-Burger, but it’s not impossible and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 points is a reasonable projection.
BAL RB Mark Ingram ($12,300) has the best possible matchup in the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed a league-worst 39.0 FPPG to RBs. The Bengals have allowed a league-worst 642 rushing yards and second-worst six TDs. They have also been atrocious at defending pass-catching RBs. The Bengals have allowed 37 receptions, tied for second-worst, for 374 yards and three TDs to RBs, both a league-worst. The nine total TDs allowed to RBs is also a league-worst. Ingram has already posted two big games against weaker run defenses. In Week 1 he scored 25.7 points against the Dolphins, and 38.5 against the Chiefs in Week 3. Ingram has the potential to be in that range again this week.
RB Chris Carson ($10,900) has carried the 49 (22,27) times in the last two games for 222 yards (104,118) and has averaged 4.53 yards a carry. He has also had five catches for 46 yards and a TD. That’s an immense amount of work combined with a very good return. Carson faces a Browns defense that had allowed a seventh-worst 561 rushing yards, and second-worst eight combined (five rushing, three receiving) TDs to RBs. The Browns are also coming off a short week after allowing SF RB Matt Breida ($10,600) to score both a rushing and a receiving TD against them on Monday night. Carson has scored an average of 21.9 points over the last two games. Based on the current workload and matchup, he should be in the range again for at least a 2x performance.
“Knowing Carson saw 28 of the 36 touches last week should definitely ease concerns about Carson’s job security after the fumbling issues,” wrote Tagliere. “The Browns defense was just gashed for 280 total yards and three touchdowns by the combination of 49ers running backs. The injuries have piled up for their defense, as they’ve been missing their two starting cornerbacks and middle linebacker the last three games, and they’ve allowed an average of 25.3 points per game because of that. The 5.01 yards per carry they’ve allowed now ranks as the fifth-highest mark in football and we’ve watched running backs average 23.4 carries per game against them, so it’s not a limited sample size. Knowing they’ve allowed three top-six performances to running backs, you’re playing Carson as a solid RB1 this week who’s gamescript-proof.”
TEN RB Derrick Henry ($11,000) faces the same Broncos defense that in Week 4 allowed JAX RB Leonard Fournette ($13,800) to rush for 225 yards on 29 carries and 20 more yards on two catches. Last week, the Chargers never really got the running game going with the return of Melvin Gordon III ($12,400). Gordon handled the majority of the carries with 12 for 31 yards and caught four of six targets for just an additional seven yards. The Chargers seemed more content to pass to RB Austin Ekeler ($10,900) who caught 15 of 16 for 86 yards, he also had three carries for seven yards. This week, Henry will be the focal point of the Titans attack against the Broncos. Henry has consistently seen a heavy workload with no game below 15 carries. With 98 carries on the year, he has averaged just under 20 carries a game. That type of workload this week against the Broncos should produce results. Henry offers a solid floor and may just have a big day.
LAC RB Austin Ekeler ($10,900) has come down in price $4,200 over the last two weeks since the return of Gordon. We saw last week that Ekeler is still going to be heavily involved with the Chargers offense with 18 total touches. If the Chargers plan to duplicate what they did against the Broncos with Gordon receiving the majority of carries while Ekeler works as the primary pass-catching RB, then Ekeler will return great value in the FantasyPros full point per reception format. The Steelers have been targeted through the air a fifth-most 44 times by RBs, and have allowed sixth-most 22 receptions for a 10th most 239 yards.
WAS RB Chris Thompson ($9,800) or Adrian Peterson ($8,800) has the best matchup of any RBs by playing the Dolphins. The 615 yards Miami has allowed on the ground is very close to the Bengals (642), and the Dolphins had a bye last week. Despite being one of only four teams that have played just four games, the Dolphins have allowed the third-worst 615 rushing yards. tied for second-worst with five rushing TDs, and tied for the league-worst three receiving TDs. Their eight total TDs to RBs are only one less than the Bengals. The problem is neither Thompson or Peterson has been terribly productive. Peterson has only run for 108 yards on the season on 40 attempts for a very meager 2.7 yards per carry with one TD. Thompson has primarily been used as a pass-catcher with an average of five receptions per game. The catches alone should provide a solid floor in this game for Thompson to make value, but his not in a lead back role. Because of the matchup, either can be used as a salary relief dart throw in a flex spot that could provide a huge return. Thompson is likely more appealing because of his role as a pass-catcher.
ARI RB Chase Edmunds ($8,500) will be one of the best value plays of the week if teammate RB David Johnson ($14,200) doesn’t play. Johnson’s back locked up in the last Sunday’s game against the Bengals. He claims he is fine and just needs a day of rest, but at the time of writing has not practiced this week. In relief of Johnson, Edmunds carried the ball eight times for 68 yards and a TD plus caught three of four passes for 18 yards. Right now, we are observing the situation. If Johnson is inactive then we will plug Edmunds into a flex sport. With the salary relief. Perhaps, we will find a way to add Julio Jones to the Ryan stack.
Stud RBs Were Fading:
DAL RB Ezekiel Elliott ($16,200) is the highest-priced RB on the slate but has yet to have a performance this season that warrants his valuation. Last week, we played Elliott in a primo matchup against the Packers and he only produced 17.10 points. He scored a similar 17.5 points against the Saints the week prior. His high for the season is 23 points against the Redskins in Week 2. The matchup isn’t even that fantastic, as the Jets have only allowed a middle of the road average of 24.9 fantasy points to RBs. Elliott is a great player that will likely score over 20 points, but based on his price and recent performances it’s hard to project with a high likelihood that he can provide a 2x performance.
MIN RB Dalvin Cook ($15,900) is going to be in our lineups most weeks, but he has a tough matchup against the Eagles who have allowed a league-fewest 231 rushing yards.
Team Defense (Salary on FantasyDraft)
The Seattle Seahawks ($6,100) is what we were able to afford after the build. We are okay with this choice, as the Seahawks have put a positive score on the board every week this season. They have 7.20 average and twice this season the scored over 10 points (Week 1 Bengals, 12 and Week 4 Cardinals, 16). They are capable of a double-digit score this week against a Browns offense that is struggling.
Put It All Together
Dan McLellan Rankings
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