Oct 12, 2017
Week 6 is upon us and we are beyond the point where a team’s performance is going to be explained away as early season issues. General trends are beginning to become clearer and the pricing for DFS games is getting more locked in, so any shift in a player’s or team’s circumstances should be closely scrutinized. The biggest news in the NFL this week was the trade of Adrian Peterson from the New Orleans Saints to the Arizona Cardinals, and it inspired a slew of pieces about the shift in value for all the players and teams affected by the move. Things like this matter, and more and more in the mainstream media the fantasy impact is becoming almost as big a story as the real world impact. What was once a fringe part of the narrative is now helping to drive it. Moves this big aren’t the norm, but we should all be paying close attention to injury reports and player transactions, on both sides of the ball. Several of the targets this week are working off of helpful circumstances, in addition to their talents, to make them especially good values.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Smith has been riding high as one of the top QB options since his big win in Week 1 against New England and yet still seems to be flying under the radar. For years the narrative on Smith had been one of a game manager, someone who wouldn’t hurt you but was incapable of winning a game by himself. That has changed a bit this year, and while he still isn’t someone most fan would trust to come through in the same way that Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady might, he has managed to change the way fantasy players view him. He has taken a lot more deep shots this year while still managing to keep a high level of efficiency. He’s completing a a career high percentage of passes while also putting up a career high in average yards per attempt. While I don’t want to get into the minutiae of how effective those stats are or aren’t, the take away is that Smith has been throwing better and deeper than ever. He already has more 300 yards games in 5 games this season than he has had in any other full season of his career while still not throwing a single interception. Now he faces a Pittsburgh Steelers team that seems lost after getting embarrassed by the Jaguars at home. The numbers for the Steelers look good on the surface, but they’ve played a mediocre slate of teams at best. The Browns and Bears look like two of the worst teams in the league, the Ravens offense has looked terrible, and the Vikings had just made the switch back to Case Keenum the week the Steelers played them. Kansas City will be the biggest test of the season for the Steelers, and Roethlisberger lit up the Chiefs last year throwing for 5 TDs in a 43-14 win. The Chiefs are only middle of the pack on defense and the Steelers have the pieces to attack a unit that is down their best player in Eric Berry and might be without their other big star, Justin Houston. This could turn into another shoot out for the Chiefs, and Smith would be the beneficiary. Travis Kelce is expected to play and WR Albert Wilson is also expected to be back for this game. As a mid-tier option, the top fantasy QB gets a nice home matchup with the potential to hit a high point total; sounds like a good match up to me.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
There was a little bit of news about the Saints’ backfield situation that you might have missed this week, but I guess Ingram might be getting a little more work now. The clouded situation that Ingram had been working in now is starting to become much clearer, and Ingram should be a nice beneficiary of Adrian Peterson’s departure. He already was leading the other backs in touches by a decent margin and has a bargain price this week in DraftKings. He’s actually priced less than fellow RB Alvin Kamara despite Ingram having almost three times as many carries and only 5 fewer catches on 6 fewer targets. New Orleans is currently tied for fourth in Red Zone attempts per game with Green Bay, and now Ingram’s main competition in that area is gone. This week should provide Ingram with the chance to get on the board with a TD while providing nice yardage coming off a bye at home against the Detroit Lions.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Even though Gurley has been one of the best RBs in fantasy football, people might shy away from his match up against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. Travelling across the country and playing in Florida isn’t ideal, but despite Jacksonville’s defensive success, they are especially susceptible to running backs. Rams head coach Sean McVay has to have seen the struggles the Steelers had last week trying to avoid the running game against the Jags defense. It resulted in a game that led to Roethlisberger talking about retirement after a 5 interception day. The Rams will run against Jacksonville and should try to emulate the game plan the Jets used in week 4 when they ran for 256 yards or the Titans in week 2 when they ran for 179 yards. LA wants to control the game and the clock and protect QB Jared Goff from one of the top pass defenses and that means utilizing their best asset in Gurley. No other running back on the team has reached double digits in carries on the year, so the workload should fall mostly to Gurley. He has been up to the task this year, and will be running against a team that has been inconsistent from week to week so far.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Coming off another comeback victory over the Cowboys in week 5, the Green Bay Packers move on to a road tilt against the division rival Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes has been great shutting down top WRs on the outside, and this week he will be matched up with Jordy Nelson, which sets Davonte Adams up for a nice day in Week 6. Despite taking a nasty hit that had him down on the field and eventually carted off in Week 4, Adams was able to play last week and had a big game. More importantly, he showed no ill effects from the injury that forced him to leave the game against the Bears in week 4. Adams will be mostly lining up against Trae Waynes or Terrence Newman and as good as Rhodes has been, they’ve been bad at handling the duties opposite him. Ted Ginn, Martavis Bryant, and DeSean Jackson all have had double digit PPR scoring days against the Vikings, and Adams is poised to best them all. With Green Bay relying on rookie Aaron Jones to run the ball, they might be forced to throw more than they normally would, which makes Adams even more valuable. He might not be able to match his 25.6 point day against the Cowboys, but he should be able to outscore the other Packers’ receivers.
Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
Last week saw the first game for Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, and while the final numbers weren’t overly impressive, he did look capable of making an impact for Chicago sooner rather than later. We also saw what looked to be a bit of a security blanket for the young QB. Against a good Vikings defense, Trubisky targeted Zachary Miller more than any other receiver for the Bears. Of the 7 targets sent Miller’s way, he caught 3 for 39 yards and a TD. Chicago doesn’t have a great group of receivers, and help won’t be arriving anytime soon either as Markus Wheaton was ruled out for this game earlier today. The other options now for Chicago are Kendall Wright, who did show some signs of life last week, and Deonte Thompson. Aside from not having a big receiver to draw targets away from him, Miller also has a great matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have been exposed by some very mediocre tight ends this year, including Seth Devalve, David Njoku, and Marcedes Lewis. Miller has the talent to match the kind of day Devalve and Njoku combined to put up in Week 2 and Lewis had the next week over in London. Lastly, considering his price is about as low as you can find for someone actually expected to play, he won’t take much to earn a good return on investment.
Honorable Mentions Based on DraftKings Pricing
Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brisett, Kevin Hogan
DeAndre Hopkins, Golden Tate, TY Hilton, Desean Jackson, Adam Theilan
Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, Devonta Freeman, CJ Anderson, Alvin Kamara
Travis Kelce, Ryan MillerBack to DFS