WATCH: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM DEREK CARR IN HIS RETURN
We’re in the thick of fantasy football season now, as injuries and bye weeks are starting to thin out the options and “sneaky” plays are becoming more difficult to find. Here’s your early look at the 11-game main slate for Week 6.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with comments or questions: @julianedlow.
Tom Brady ($8,300) – Brady is on the road against a Jets’ defense (and overall team) that has been far better than expected this season. The Jets rank right around the middle of the pack against QBs so far this season, and division games can be a little bit tougher to produce in against teams that know each other so well. Brady is somewhat of an exception to that rule, and while I don’t dislike the spot he’s in this week, I think there are some much more interesting values. With pricing getting tighter each week and value at the skill positions more difficult to find, saving a couple thousand dollars in salary at QB could be the way to go.
Deshaun Watson ($6,700) – Speaking of which, why not just play the red-hot Watson against the Browns this week? The matchup is perfect, playing at home against a Cleveland defense that ranks 28th against QBs through five weeks. The rookie could be a popular play after dropping a second consecutive 35-DKFP effort, but the upside is just too high to ignore in Week 6. Other considerations include Aaron Rodgers ($7,300) priced a full thousand dollars below Brady and Carson Palmer ($6,100) based on the matchup at home against Tampa Bay.
Ben Roethlisberger ($5,700) – Big Ben has been really bad this season — there’s no doubt about it. If he can’t produce this week, then I’m ready to give up on him, but it’s worth considering him one last time. Playing on the road is a notably bad spot for Roethlisberger, particularly in Kansas City. However, the Chiefs rank 26th against QBs this season, and the Steelers could be playing from behind in this one. Producing over 10 DKFP last week while tossing five interceptions is almost impressive if you think about it. This is a do-or-die week for Big Ben here. Hoyer and McCown are listed below; they were both popular value plays last week and remain in good matchups.
Other Value Options – Brian Hoyer ($5,100), Josh McCown ($5,200)
Le’Veon Bell ($9,600) – Bell’s salary rose once again, but this time after failing to reach 20 DKFP by just a hair. Bell just wasn’t very productive against the Jaguars, totaling 93 yards on 25 touches — the 10 catches saved his fantasy day. Bell’s certainly capable of breaking out any week, but as a road underdog against the fifth-ranked defense vs. RBs, I’m not in love with the spot he’s in. Bell is a viable option, as always, but I like too many other RBs to pay up for this week. I’ll be going in a different direction.
Kareem Hunt ($8,200) – One of those directions will be Hunt, who is on the complete opposite side of this matchup — a home favorite going up against the 28th-ranked defense vs. RBs. Hunt’s scored no fewer than 17.6 DKFP in an outing through five weeks and has shown a ceiling as high as any RB. Saving $1,400 to go with Hunt over Bell is a no-brainer for me. But there are more RBs I really like paying up for. Leonard Fournette ($8,000) and Melvin Gordon ($7,800) are both coming off huge weeks and going up against some of the worst rush defenses in the league (particularly Fournette against the 30th-ranked Rams). Meanwhile, Todd Gurley ($7,700) finally regressed, but he wasn’t really given an opportunity against an overrated Seahawks’ run defense. I like his bounce-back potential against a Jaguars defense that’s much weaker against the run than the pass.
Jerick McKinnon ($4,100) – McKinnon makes for the obvious value play at RB this week. Latavius Murray ($4,700) was involved for the Vikings in their first game without Dalvin Cook, going for 43 yards on 14 touches, but it became clear that McKinnon separated himself as the better option. Murray will likely take a back seat to McKinnon (he basically already did, getting out-snapped 47-22 and severely out-produced), after the super athletic pass-catching back went for a 16-95-1 line on the ground and tacked on six catches for 51 yards. After 26.6 DKFP against the Bears, McKinnon is severely underpriced against the Packers in Week 6. The other options listed below are all great values considering their roles in their teams’ passing game.
Other Value Options – Andre Ellington ($5,300), Alvin Kamara ($4,500), Duke Johnson Jr. ($5,100)
Antonio Brown ($9,300) – Last week I suggested fading Brown against the top-ranked defense vs. WR, and although Big Ben was pitiful, Brown still held his own with 28.7 DKFP against the Jags. His 19 targets playing from behind the entire game certainly helped, catching 10 of them for 157 yards. Now the matchup shifts to Kansas City, which ranks 29th vs. WRs this season. I’ve got to be consistent here … so if I’m telling you to think twice before using Bell, and consider Big Ben as a value play, then Brown is a guy that has to be in consideration. Brown’s ceiling is just so high due to the volume that he can have a huge day without even getting in the end zone.
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,100) – The Browns rank near the bottom of the league against QBs, yet rank ninth against WRs. That makes me like Deshaun Watson as a play even more, and you don’t even need to stack him with anybody. But Hopkins is definitely in consideration after catching three touchdowns in Week 5, now up to four touchdowns in the last two weeks with 24 targets. The return of Will Fuller has helped Hopkins.
Sammy Watkins ($4,100) – Honestly, I don’t love the spot here for Watkins, as he’s coming off a goose egg against Seattle and now has to prepare for a Jaguars’ defense ranked third against WRs. Hauling in just one of six targets over the past two weeks is concerning, but priced between Marquise Goodwin and Kendall Wright, Watkins’ name pops right out at you. This is nothing more than taking advantage of a stud who has the ability to go off at any time and is $2,100 cheaper than Week 1. There’s an extremely low floor here, as is the case with Amari Cooper below.
Other Value Options – Will Fuller V ($5,200), Amari Cooper ($5,000)
Rob Gronkowski ($6,800) – Gronk was off the main slate last week, and now it’s Zach Ertz that plays on Thursday with the next two TEs priced below Gronk both questionable for Sunday — Travis Kelce ($6,100) suffered a concussion and Jordan Reed ($5,000) is still dealing with rib, shoulder and sternum injuries (surprise, surprise). That leaves Gronk as really the only stud option, with the closest TE in price that’s sure to play being Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,300), who’s priced up $800 since being considered one of last week’s hot values. ASJ is a good mid-priced option if you can’t afford Gronk.
Cameron Brate ($3,900) – Despite O.J. Howard ($2,600) being in the mix, Brate has remained Jameis Winston’s guy. Howard is playing more of a blocking role, while Brate has been a red zone force, catching a touchdown in three straight weeks. He’s turned 19 targets into 13 catches for 181 yards along with those three touchdowns, good for an average of 16.4 DKFP over the last three weeks. He’s underpriced regardless of matchup, but the Arizona defense doesn’t scare me away despite being above average against the position.
Other Value Options – Austin Hooper ($3,500), Greg Kittle ($3,400)
Jaguars DST ($3,600) – Let’s face it, the Jacksonville defense is for real. All these young studs drafted in the top-10 are paying off. Nobody saw that thrashing of the Steelers happening the way it did, going for five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. The 28 DKFP matched a season-high for the Jaguars, who, if you take away a Week 2 blip against the Titans, are averaging 20.75 DKFP in their four other games. The Rams might get some production on the ground from Gurley on Sunday, but I won’t hesitate to roster the Jacksonville defense.
49ers DST ($2,200) – Value was tough for me to find on this slate for defense. Nothing caught my eye, which led me to look right at the bottom for any value picks that could be sufficient. I’m not telling you the 49ers are going to shut down Washington in D.C. this week, but they average 5.2 DKFP and have produced six, seven and nine DKFP in each of their three road games this season. For the savings, this is a solid option to consider.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.