DFS is objectively awesome. You submit a lineup, sweat out a slate, and by the end of the day you know whether you’ve won or lost money. Great times.
Of course, there are a lot of sharks out there in the DFS streets. You, yes you reading this, you’re busy. Probably don’t have time to grind through every single piece of football information out there, but who doesn’t want to have some extra skin in the game by the time kickoff rolls around?
What follows is a breakdown on basic DraftKings cash-game and tournament strategy for the Week 6 main slate. I won’t be spending too much time on breaking down why a dude is in a great spot or has upside; you can check out the following articles for full matchup and workload thoughts on pretty much every fantasy-relevant player.
- NFL Week 6 QB Rankings
- Taking stock of every NFL backfield ahead of NFL Week 6
- Week 6 WR/CB matchups and TE breakdown
- Fantasy Football Week 6 Mismatch Manifesto
We’re looking at head-to-head battles or 50/50 contests here. Ownership is like the points in “Whose Line Is It Anyway” — they don’t matter. The singular goal when crafting a cash-game lineup is to set yourself up to score the most points as possible. We don’t need to be all that contrarian when the opponent is either 1) a single other person, or 2) a moderate cut line.
I’m not inclined to spend all the way up at QB until we have concrete evidence that Lamar Jackson’s rush-game usage in Week 5 was nothing more than a blip on the radar. Additionally, Aaron Rodgers has his toughest matchup all season on the road against the Buccaneers’ loaded defense.
I’m also #out on the following QBs priced above $6,000 as cash-game options:
- Ben Roethlisberger: Career-low average target depth has lowered upside.
- Matt Ryan: This passing game has looked lost without Julio Jones (hamstring).
- Tom Brady: Banged-up versions of Mike Evans (ankle) and Chris Godwin (hamstring) haven’t helped the transition to a new offense.
- Gardner Minshew: Saw the scary-low floor in Week 3 against the Dolphins with D.J. Chark (ankle) sidelined.
- Kirk Cousins: Matchup is a dream, but high-end pass-game volume is a weekly obstacle.
- Teddy Bridgewater: Bears defense isn’t a matchup to target.
The top-five contenders that stick out to me are Deshaun Watson ($7,000), Cam Newton ($6,500), Matthew Stafford ($6,300), Ryan Tannehill ($5,900) and Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,900). All five are in winnable matchups and either present a fantasy-friendly rushing floor and/or 300-plus yard upside through the air.
Ultimately, I lean toward going with Cam this week. The Patriots activated him off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday; he’s good to go. Facing a Broncos defense without stud DT Jurrell Casey (bicep, IR) in addition to numerous other talents, Newton shouldn’t face all that much resistance through the air or on the ground. His 15-game pace in rush attempts (175) remains on track to shatter his previous season-high mark in carries (139 in 2017). Newton is the engine of an offense implied to score a robust 27.5 points at home.
Our starting two RB slots are fairly easy: Alexander Mattison ($7,200) and David Montgomery ($5,800). Both possess three-down roles in near best-case-scenario matchups. Projected ownership for each is high, but that’s perfectly fine for cash games. We’ll go ahead and stack Mattison with the Vikings defense ($2,300). They’re easily the most-viable unit priced under $2,500, although the Dolphins ($2,900) as well as the Titans ($2,800) are fellow units that find themselves playing at home and shouldn’t be confused with awful defenses.
I’m inclined to go with a bit of a stars-and-scrubs approach at WR. Fitting in Calvin Ridley ($7,800) proved to be difficult, so I’m fine going with Kenny Golladay ($6,200) and A.J. Brown ($5,600) alongside Newton’s stacking partner Damiere Byrd ($3,500). There’s goose-egg potential with the latter receiver, but the Patriots’ field-stretching WR gives this lineup a bit of upside at a more-than-affordable price. Both Golladay and AJB are top-10 talents at the position that aren’t priced that way because of early-season injuries. The reality that both have since 1) returned to action, 2) performed well, and 3) received full-time roles, has me willing to eat the chalk in their respective glorious matchups.
The other viable cash-game receivers are either in somewhat tough matchups (Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson, Davante Adams) or have more volume concerns as receivers in a run-first offense (Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Terry McLaurin, T.Y. Hilton).
Tight end is a bit of a mess with Travis Kelce (MNF), George Kittle (SNF) and Darren Waller (bye) all unavailable. Because of this I’d like to spent up to Mark Andrews ($6,500) against an Eagles defense that hasn’t come close to containing the position this season. The price tag is steep, but the available savings with Byrd and the Vikings defense make it viable.
This leaves us with $6,400 remaining. I’m inclined to roll the dice with Jonathan Taylor at that price point. The rookie hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire through five weeks, but this is still a talented back who has received at least 14 touches in every game this season. LT Anthony Castonzo (ribs) got in a limited practice on Wednesday and appears to be on track to return. Meanwhile, annoying No. 3 RB Jordan Wilkins (calf) popped up on the injury report after playing a season-low two snaps in Week 5. The Colts are massive home favorites and facing a front that has lost three full-time defensive linemen in D.J. Reader (quad, IR), Sam Hubbard (elbow, IR) and Mike Daniels (elbow, IR) over the past three weeks.
Newton-Mattison-Montgomery-Golladay-Brown-Byrd-Andrews-Taylor-Vikings. Lock it in.
We’ll want to form much more stack-heavy lineups in GPP-style games. Be careful about rostering chalky RBs, WRs or TEs in tournament games; a single flameout is enough to tank your lineup, and dodging a bust greatly helps differentiate your lineup. This is key in tournaments featuring thousands of entries. We want to have a first-or-last approach. Finishing in the top-51st percentile in cash-games will win us some money; not so much in tournaments.
The following stacks are my favorite tournament-worthy situations to build around:
- Lamar Jackson – Marquise Brown – Mark Andrews: The rush-game usage might be coinciding with Jackson’s knee injury, or it’s a one-game outlier from a blowout that was never close. Tournaments are where we should be willing to hope for the latter outcome. Throw in the reality that this is one of the most condensed passing games in the league, and it makes sense to attack an Eagles defense that has given up some massive performances to the WR and TE position alike this season. Losing No. 1 CB Darius Slay (concussion) certainly wouldn’t help the Eagles’ cause.
- Matthew Stafford – Marvin Jones – T.J. Hockenson: The entire Lions’ passing game is set up brilliantly against the Jaguars' already-awful and now also banged-up defense. Everyone realizes Kenny Golladay ($6,200) is a great play, but Jones is far cheaper and is overdue for a big performance. Both Jones ($5,100) and Hockenson ($5,300) have posted fantastic per-snap usage in recent weeks, and Stafford’s average target depth has boomed since getting Golladay back in the lineup. Golladay had four duds in 2019 that featured fewer than 50 receiving yards and no scores; Jones posted 6-101-1, 4-43-2 and 10-93-4 lines in the three occasions that he was active. The duo combined for 20 receiving TDs last season but scored in the same game just twice. I love this matchup; don’t be afraid to go WR-TE instead of WR-WR.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – Myles Gaskin – DeVante Parker – Miami D/ST: The Jets have allowed 27, 31, 36, 37 and 30 points this season. The Dolphins are 10-point favorites and implied to score 28.75 points this week. FitzMagic got back to his gunslinger ways in Week 5 and flashed a high-end rushing floor all season. Parker is cemented as the passing game’s undisputed top option in terms of targets and (especially) snaps. The biggest worry with Gaskin all season was the presence of dark-visor vulture Jordan Howard near the goal line; the ex-Bears and Eagles veteran was a healthy scratch in Week 5. Throw in a #RevengeGame narrative for Fitzpatrick and the reality that this defense played some great football in Week 5 with No. 1 CB Byron Jones back in action — what’s not to love here?
Consider filling out stacks with some of the following pivots off of projected high-owned players at each skill-position.
I don’t mind eating some chalk at the RB position as long as it’s somebody that we can confidently project for 20-plus touches, something that applies to each of Mike Davis, Alexander Mattison and David Montgomery. Still, this could also be said for James Conner, Jonathan Taylor and Ronald Jones, who are each home backs in winnable matchups at similar price points with far lower projected ownership. Additionally, the likes of Kareem Hunt, Miles Sanders and Joe Mixon stand out
Allen Robinson leads the league in targets and faces a beatable Panthers secondary; he’s cheaper and holds lower projected ownership than the slate’s three other receivers priced over $7,000. Jamison Crowder ($6,100) is averaging more fantasy points per game than everybody other than Davante Adams and is a great game stack candidate with the aforementioned Dolphins’ squad; also note the Jets’ slot receiver will avoid the Dolphins’ talented outside CB duo. Laviska Shenault ($5,200) continues to see more targets by the week and could be in for his biggest role yet if Chark (ankle) is ultimately ruled out. Both Tyler Boyd ($5,800) and Tee Higgins ($4,700) are in line for bunches of targets with A.J. Green (hamstring) potentially sidelined; I think the Colts’ early-season success on defense has been a bit fluky. The biggest problem for Joe Burrow this season has been pressure, and the Colts defense ranks just 25th in pressure rate through five weeks. This Burrow-Boyd-Higgins stack is my fourth-favorite option of the week.
Ownership appears to be fairly flat across the TE position this week. Irv Smith ($2,500) is the cheapest potential salary-saver; just realize there’s a true zero-point floor here. I’m out on taking a chance on any of Logan Thomas ($3,300), Chris Herndon ($3,200) and Trey Burton ($4,100). Instead, consider paying up slightly for either Darren Fells (if Akins is sidelined again) or Eric Ebron ($4,100).
Top salary-saving options priced within $500 of their position-floor are as follows:
- QB: Joe Burrow ($5,400)
- RB: Nyheim Hines ($4,000), Lamical Perine ($4,000), D’Andre Swift ($4,500)
- WR: Jeff Smith ($3,000), Darnell Mooney ($3,000), Olamide Zaccheaus ($3,200 if Julio remains sidelined), Damiere Byrd ($3,500)
- TE: Irv Smith ($2,500)
- D/ST: Vikings ($2,300)
Finally, the following five players are my helicopter finalists for the week. The criteria: non-top-five salary, projected ownership under 5%, and upside for triple-digit yards and multiple TDs. Low-owned studs with tournament-winning potential:
- Ryan Fitzpatrick: Always possesses huge upside in good matchups.
- Miles Sanders: As we saw last week, opportunity > matchup in fantasy football land.
- Joe Mixon: Facing a beatable Colts’ front-seven *if* LB Darius Leonard (groin) is again sidelined.
- Tyler Boyd: Almost always faces winnable matchups thanks to operating out of the friendly confines of the slot.
- Odell Beckham: Assuming the illness isn’t covid, OBJ remains a high-end boom candidate, particularly against a secondary that’s been roasted through five weeks.
Thanks for reading and best of luck to everyone in Week 6!