NFL Week 6 DFS Cheat Sheet: Five recommended plays for all contests

2RXCA1R Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) high fives teammate wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept.24, 2023 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

WR Keenan Allen (82.3 PFF receiving grade), Los Angeles Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys: Kellen Moore’s offensive game plan will run through Allen.

• RB Zach Charbonnet (79.3 PFF rushing grade), Seattle Seahawks @ Cincinnati Bengals: Charbonnet is a matchup-based GPP tournament play.

• Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) lineups require smart matchups analysis and rostership leverage opportunities to succeed. The analysis below details five fantasy assets capable of gaining significant leverage on the field. 

WR:CB Matchup Chart

WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys – $9,000 on FanDuel

Allen (82.3 PFF receiving grade) is a chalky, elite WR1 facing Dallas backup slot cornerback Jourdan Lewis (63.5 PFF coverage grade). Allen is a shoo-in double-digit target hog, operating as offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s focal point in a bragging-rights showdown against the offensive coordinator's former team.

Allen should be employed in both cash games and GPP tournaments at his $9,000 FanDuel salary. 

The game’s 50.5-point over/under is FanDuel's highest Week 6 total.

Dallas lost linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (51.0 PFF pass-rush grade on blitzes) to injured reserve this week. His 31 pass-rush snaps via the blitz tie for No. 7 among NFL linebackers, removing a pass-rushing variable from defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s arsenal. 

Allen remains an elite target earner at 31 years old.

Allen’s slot-receiving data among 35 NFL slot receivers with at least 55 slot-receiving snaps and his first-read target data among 51 NFL wide receivers with at least 95 first-read receiving snaps. 
NFL Slot WR & 1st-Read WR Receiving Keenan Allen
PFF Slot Receiving Grade 75.7 (No. 3)
Target % – YPRR  22.6% (No. 5) – 2.13 (No. 2)
Catch % 79.2% (No. 9)
Yards/Reception – YAC/Rec. 11.9 (No. 10) – 5.2 (No. 8)
15+-Yard Pass Plays 4 (T-No. 5)
20+-Yard aDot % 8.3% (T-No. 18)
PFF First-Read Receiving Grade 80.4 (No. 14)
Target % – YPRR 27.1% (No. 13) – 3.00 (No. 7)
Catch % 84.6% (No. 2)
YAC/Rec.  4.6 (No. 13)

PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects Allen (67.3% pre-snap alignment slot rate) to face Lewis on 23-of-37 receiving snaps.

Lewis’ slot-coverage data among 32 NFL slot cornerbacks with at least 50 slot-coverage snaps. 
NFL Slot CB Coverage Jourdan Lewis
PFF Slot-Coverage Grade 61.9 (No. 21)
Targeted % – Catch % Allowed 19.6% (No. 26) – 60.0% (No. 4)
Yards Allowed per Coverage Snap 2.10 (No. 32)
15+-Yard Pass Plays Allowed % 3.9% (No. 29)

Allen is an elite WR1. He can be game-stacked with Dallas No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb (75.0 PFF receiving grade) as detailed in “WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid.”

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina Panthers – $8,300 on FanDuel

Tagovailoa (84.7 PFF passing grade) is the overall QB5 in scoring (103.7 points) yet PFF’s ownership projections give him just a 6.2% expected rostership rate, likely stemming from the field’s game script-related concerns and his No. 3-ranked $8,300 salary. Tagovailoa's exceptional efficiency and cakewalk matchup against Carolina’s injury-plagued defense pair perfectly for an elite QB1 finish though. He can be trusted in both cash games and GPP tournaments alike. 

FanDuel implies Miami to score an outrageous 30.5 points and 13.5-point home favorites.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Miami an 8.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating.

The pinpoint passer blends his No. 8-ranked 78.8% adjusted completion rate with aggressive downfield passing. Among 31 NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks, Tagovailoa ranks No. 3 in big-time throw rate (5.8%) and No. 1 in past-the-sticks throwing rate (49.4%), yards per passing attempt (9.7) and average time to throw (2.31 seconds). 

Carolina’s defense will likely be without free safety Xavier Woods (80.4 PFF coverage grade, hamstring strain), edge rusher Brian Burns (77.2 PFF pass-rush grade, ankle sprain) and interior defender Derrick Brown (69.9 PFF pass-rush grade, knee/ankle). No. 1 cornerback Jaycee Horn (68.0 PFF coverage grade) and linebacker Shaq Thompson (65.3 PFF defense grade) reside on injured reserve. 

Update 10/14/23: Woods has been ruled while Brown practiced in a limited capacity on Friday, resulting in a Questionable designation for Week 6. Burns is likely to play following his Full Participant Friday designation.

The looming absences bode poorly for a defense that struggles to defend throws targeted 15-plus yards downfield. It ranks bottom seven among NFL teams on such throws in catch rate allowed (56.7%), yards allowed per coverage snap (15.47), explosive pass plays allowed rate (56.7%) 

Carolina’s (74.6 PFF pass-rush grade) 30.3% quarterback pressure rate ranks No. 27 among NFL teams.

Tagovailoa will cruise to a high-scoring QB1 finish.

WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets vs. Philadelphia Eagles – $6,900 on FanDuel

Wilson’s (71.1 PFF offense grade) $6,900 FanDuel salary is egregiously low, falling $2,900 short of the positional maximum, and PFF’s ownership projections peg Wilson for just a 3.8% expected rostership rate. Skittish fantasy managers wrongly fear quarterback Zach Wilson’s (54.8 PFF passing grade) prospects against Philadelphia’s (57.2 PFF coverage grade) nominally strong secondary and fail to account for the secondary’s centerfield injury cluster. Wilson offers elite WR1 upside in both cash games and GPP tournaments. 

Knee injuries prevented Philadelphia No. 1 cornerback Darius Slay (50.6 PFF coverage grade) and safety Justin Evans (61.2 PFF coverage grade) from practicing on both Wednesday and Thursday, signaling likely deactivation come Sunday. No. 1 slot cornerback Avonte Maddox (56.8 PFF coverage grade) is on injured reserve and safety/part-time slot defender Sydney Brown (80.9 PFF coverage grade) is working through a hamstring strain. 

Update 10/14/23: Slay has been ruled out and Evans was shockingly placed on injured reserve. Game-wrecking interior defender Jalen Carter (86.7 PFF pass-rush grade) sprained his ankle during Thursday’s practice and has also been ruled out. Among 44 NFL interior defenders with at least 100 pass-rushing snaps, Carter’s 20.9% pass-rush win rate, 17.8%  quarterback pressure rate and 10.5 pass-rush productivity all rank No. 1. Brown produced three Limited Participant practice designations and is questionable to play.

Wilson’s 28.3% pre-snap alignment slot rate gives him access to fill-in slot cornerback Mario Goodrich (46.5 PFF slot-coverage grade) who ranks dead last in catch rate allowed (100.0%), yards allowed per slot-coverage snap (2.76) and explosive pass plays allowed rate (8.1%) among 41 NFL slot cornerbacks with at least 35 slot-coverage snaps. Goodrich’s thinning safety support invites long-touchdown scoring potential for Wilson. 

PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart gives Wilson a good 79.3 receiving matchup advantage rating against Goodrich. 

While 2022 second-team All-Pro No. 2 cornerback James Bradberry (65.6 PFF coverage grade) will be active, Wilson (4.38-second 40-yard dash) possesses the requisite go-route speed to beat Bradberry (4.45 seconds) in a one-on-one scenario. Among 61 NFL perimeter cornerbacks with at least 90 perimeter receiving snaps, No. 3 cornerback Josh Jobe’s (45.2 PFF coverage grade) 1.49 yards allowed per perimeter-coverage snap rank No. 46. 

New York quarterback Zach Wilson (68.0 PFF passing grade in Weeks 4-5) played well in Weeks 4-5. Among 32 NFL quarterbacks with at least 25 dropbacks during that span, Wilson produced a No. 6-ranked 6.0% big-time-throw rate while delivering the ball accurately via an 80.7% adjusted completion rate, tying for No. 12. The wide receiver Wilson has played a key role in this regard as head coach Robert Saleh has run the offense through him via an NFL wide receiver-high 37.0% first-read target rate.

New York is a 7.0-point home underdog against Philadelphia, priming Wilson for a high-volume WR1 outing as his team attempts to keep pace.

RB Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks @ Cincinnati Bengals – $4,800 on FanDuel

Charbonnet (79.3 PFF rushing grade) is a high-upside GPP tournament play against Cincinnati’s pushover run-defense unit. His affordable $4,800 FanDuel salary is $5,500 short of the positional maximum, and he registers a meager 1.2% rostership rate in PFF’s ownership projections.

As detailed in Week 6’s QB Matchups, Streamer of the Week, Rankings and More and WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid, Seattle’s run-game advantage gives head coach Pete Carroll an opportunity to protect quarterback Geno Smith (76.7 PFF passing grade) as he works through a knee injury while playing behind Seattle’s injury-lessened offensive line.

Charbonnet demolished the Carolina Panthers (47.5 PFF run-defense grade) and New York Giants (47.2 PFF run-defense grade), respectively, before entering Seattle’s Week 5 bye. Among 45 NFL running backs with at least 12 rushing attempts in Weeks 3-4, Charbonnet’s 28.6% explosive run play rate and 42.9% first-down-gained and/or touchdown-scored rate both rank No. 1, and his missed tackles forced per rushing attempt (0.29, tie for No. 10), yards per rushing attempt (5.5, No. 6) and yards after contact per rushing attempt (3.6, No. 6) trail closely behind. Charbonnet (55.7 PFF receiving grade) also flashed Week 4 passing-game chops with an elite 40.0% target rate and 1.80 YPRR. 

NFL teams frequently use a rookie’s pre-bye week performance as a trial-by-fire means of measuring their NFL potential. Should a rookie succeed like Charbonnet, the bye week is spent further incorporating the rookie’s involvement in the rest-of-season game plan. Charbonnet’s pre-bye week showing fits the bill.

Cincinnati’s run defense vyes for league-worst levels.

Cincinnati’s run-defense data among NFL teams.
NFL Team Run Defense Cincinnati Bengals
PFF Run-Defense Grade 51.4 (No. 26)
Average Depth of Tackle 5.22 (No. 31)
Tackles For Loss/No Gain 16 (T-No. 26)
Stops 68 (T-No. 16)
Missed Tackles 33 (No. 31)

As noted previously, Seattle's No. 2 wide receiver Tyler Lockett (58.0 PFF run-blocking grade) will lock horns with Cincinnati's No. 1 cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (51.9 PFF run-defense grade) but the battle between Seattle’s tight ends and Cincinnati safety Dax Hill (67.4 PFF run-defense grade) takes center stage.

Update 10/14/23: Awuzie’s activation status will be determined pre-game after he practiced in a limited capacity on both Thursday and Friday.

Hill is Cincinnati’s primary tight end coverage defender who also serves as the No. 2 run-game defender. His 14 run-defense tackles rank No. 2 on the team and tie for No. 4 among 58 NFL safeties with at least 75 run-defense snaps. His three tackles for loss or no gain tie for No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Given Seattle’s offensive line injuries, Seattle will frequently utilize two-tight ends sets and Seattle tight ends’ 68.5 PFF run-blocking grade ranks No. 5  among NFL-team tight end position groups, signalling run-game erasure for Hill. 

Seattle No. 1 running back Ken Walker III’s (77.6 PFF rushing grade) presence jeopardizes Charbonnet’s cash-game viability but Charbonnet offers extreme leverage against the GPP tournament field.

RB Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans – $4,100 on FanDuel

Mitchell (91.5 PFF preseason rushing grade) traveled with the team to London and practiced in full (shoulder) on Wednesday and Thursday following his return from injured reserve. Mitchell boasts elite 4.37-second 40-yard-dash speed and reliable ball security, fumbling just twice in his three-year college career. Mitchell is a GPP-tournament play against Tennessee’s quietly vulnerable defensive front. He should only be considered for cash games as an extreme differentiator. 

FanDuel implies Baltimore to score 22.75 points as 4.0-point road favorites.

Baltimore veteran running backs Gus Edwards (67.5 PFF rushing grade) and Justice Hill (69.7 PFF rushing grade) do little to retain their Nos. 1 and 2 roles. Among 50 NFL running backs with at least 25 rushing attempts, Edwards ranks No. 35 or worse in missed-tackles-forced (0.11) and yards-after-contact (2.5) per-rushing-attempt rates. Hill’s 4.0 yards per rushing attempt ties for No. 24 and he punctuated his Week 5 performance with a lost fumble.

Among 37 FBS running backs with at least 200 rushing attempts in 2022, Mitchell’s 54 explosive rushing plays led the field by six and both his 7.2 yards per rushing attempt and 0.37 missed tackles forced per rushing attempt rank No. 2. 

Tennessee is dealing with an injury cluster running through its defensive midfield and the Baltimore offensive line’s 67.0 PFF run-blocking grade ranks No. 13 among NFL teams

TEN Def. Injuries Injury Week 6 Status (Thursday) PFF Run-Defense Grade
DI Teair Tart  Toe Out 55.2
DI Jeffrey Simmons  Shoulder (Week 5: Ankle) TBD (LP) 43.4
EDGE Denico Autry  Finger TBD (LP – New) 59.2
S Amani Hooker Thumb TBD (LP – New) 65.2 
LB Azeez Al-Shaair Neck TBD (LP) 73.1 

The explosive Mitchell brings long-touchdown upside to the Week 6 slate. 


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