DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 6
The daily fantasy football games offered on FanDuel and DraftKings have many similarities, but one distinct difference is that DraftKings uses full PPR scoring. Much like you would in season-long leagues, that means we must evaluate players slightly differently on each site. In this space, we'll help you on the DraftKings side of the equation.
Be sure to pay attention to inactives prior to Sunday's games. Similar to late scratches in the NBA, injuries can have a huge impact on playing time, and great values can open up for you at the last minute. At a position like running back, a low-priced backup can suddenly find his way into 15-20 carries in a feature role and crush his value.
Also, be sure to use numberFire's premium tools at your disposal! In particular, the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied team totals, and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's check out the top plays on this week's DraftKings main slate.
Drew Brees ($7,200): On the high-end at quarterback, Tom Brady is priced way up at $8,300, Aaron Rodgers is in a potentially tough spot at Minnesota, and Matt Ryan might not need to air it out the whole game as a 13.0-point home favorite over the woeful Miami Dolphins. All are still fine tournament plays, but the real prize is Drew Brees at home against the Detroit Lions, in the only game hitting the 50.0-point over/under mark. The New Orleans Saints have one of the highest implied team totals on the board (27.25), and as just a 4.5-point favorite, this has plenty of shootout potential. As Rotoworld's Rich Hribar points out, Brees has been a beast coming out of bye weeks -- in 11 games after the bye with the Saints, he's averaged 355.9 passing yards per game and thrown 32 touchdowns.
Deshaun Watson ($6,700): Speaking of being a beast, Deshaun Watson has served up five total touchdowns in each of the last two games. His league-leading 8.3% touchdown rate is completely unsustainable -- Aaron Rodgers' career rate is 6.4%, which is the fifth-best all-time -- but don't expect the good times to stop against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns rank last in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, and Watson continues to lead all quarterbacks in rushing (179 yards), giving his floor a boost. As you might expect, the Houston Texans have one of the highest implied team totals on the board (28.50).
Kevin Hogan ($4,600): If you're spending down at quarterback, Kevin Hogan is your guy for maximum savings. Hogan managed to put up 17.76 DraftKings points in one half against the New York Jets last week, and there's no doubt he'll be throwing a lot with Watson and friends likely grabbing a big lead. The Texans aren't normally a defense we want to trifle with, but considering this is a banged up defense without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, they shouldn't be as scary moving forward. Don't expect any miracles, but Hogan won't have to do much to pay off such a low price tag. He also did his share of running at Stanford, so he might also be able to scramble for a few extra points. You can also consider Josh McCown ($5,200) against the New England Patriots, although his price has gone up and the Pats defense showed some life last week, so he's better suited for tournaments.
Kareem Hunt ($8,200) and Leonard Fournette ($8,000): Playing at home? Check. Favored to win? Check. Top-five in market share? Check. Yes, if you've got the dough, fitting Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette in your lineups is a strong move. They've proven to be high-volume, matchup-proof backs to begin with, and now get to face defenses among the bottom-four in DraftKings points allowed per game to running backs. Also, don't sleep on Todd Gurley ($7,700) bouncing back against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that also struggles against the run.
Devonta Freeman ($7,400): The Falcons are massive home favorites over the Dolphins with the highest implied team total on the board (30.0), and that can only mean good things for Devonta Freeman. He doesn't quite get the volume of guys like Hunt or Fournette, but he's hit 20 touches in each of the last three weeks while seeing 65.4% of the carries and a 32.8% market share, both top-10 among running backs. It's worth noting that Miami actually ranks second against the run by numberFire's metrics, but that shouldn't deter us with the Falcons likely salting this one away with Freeman in the second half.
Jerick McKinnon ($4,100): We have a new sheriff in town for the Minnesota Vikings backfield, and it's not Latavius Murray. Jerick McKinnon has long been a favorite for many in the fantasy community as a "SPARQ freak" (love the Kermit meme on playerprofiler.com), but it's rarely translated to the football field. Well, it certainly did on Monday night, with McKinnon seeing a season-high 67% of the snaps, and going off for 146 total yards and a touchdown on 22 touches against the Chicago Bears. Best of all, since the game was on a Monday, we haven't seen a price hike on DraftKings, so this is our chance to take advantage before McKinnon's salary rises. Of course, we do need to temper expectations -- Murray will almost certainly remain involved and McKinnon has failed to take advantage of these opportunities in the past. Still, worst case, he'll see plenty of work in the passing game, and he won't need to go nuts against the Green Bay Packers to hit value. Mark Ingram ($4,400) is another potential value play, as he's seen his touches rise every week (18 in Week 5), and Adrian Peterson's departure opens up a handful of extra carries in the backfield.
Chris Hogan ($7,000): With so many high-priced running backs in good spots this week, it might be hard to pay up at wide receiver to get the likes of Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins. But you can still get plenty of upside out of Chris Hogan, who has seen target totals of 9 and 11 the past two weeks, and he's $600 cheaper than Brandin Cooks. Hogan is also the one getting the red zone work, seeing 33% of the red zone targets over the last three games. He's scored at least one touchdown in four straight games, and while he can't keep that up forever (especially with Rob Gronkowski expected back), we still have to like his chances with Tom Brady on his side and the Patriots showing a 28.50 implied team total against the New York Jets.
Michael Crabtree ($5,800): In the mid-range we have Mr. Consistency in Michael Crabtree, who has averaged 7 targets, 6 receptions, and 80-plus yards in his three full games, while catching 4 touchdowns. Derek Carr is trending towards playing against the Los Angeles Chargers, and Amari Cooper is the receiver most likely to draw coverage from standout cornerback Casey Hayward. The steady production and reasonable price makes Crabtree an ideal cash-game play.
Ricardo Louis ($3,900): Ricardo Louis isn't exactly a household name, but he's seen 17 targets over the past two games and is the closest we have to a sure thing in the Browns' receiving corp to pair with Kevin Hogan. He's not a high-upside play, but he's hit double-digit DraftKings points twice, and Hogan will be chucking it against Houston. Kenny Britt re-injured his groin on Thursday, making him unlikely to play this week, which further ensures another 8-9 targets for Louis. Taylor Gabriel ($4,600) is also an intriguing value with Mohamed Sanu expected out, opening up targets in a Falcons offense with a massive implied team total.
Ryan Griffin ($4,000): As always, when a team faces the Browns, their tight end is automatically in play, and this is no different with Ryan Griffin. DraftKings seems to have caught on to this given the less-than-ideal price tag for a modest talent like Griffin, but he's averaged five targets over his last three games and has a great chance of getting a touchdown in a spot where the Texans should be racking up points.
Zach Miller ($2,900): With new quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at the helm Monday, Zach Miller got peppered with 7 targets (27% target share), leading to 3 receptions, 39 yards, and a touchdown. The Bears have a paltry 16.50 implied team total against a tough Baltimore Ravens defense, though, which limits Miller to a low-upside volume play. But with the Ravens putting the clamps on wideouts and the Bears lacking any impact pass-catchers, the targets should filter to Miller by default. Note, too, that this is the same Ravens defense that allowed 3 touchdowns on 4 catches to Marcedes Lewis in Week 3, a guy who has one reception the entire rest of the season.
Kansas City D/ST ($3,200): If you can afford to pay up for the Baltimore D/ST (against Chicago) or Atlanta D/ST (against Miami), then both make for good options, but in cash games, chances are you're going to need a little more salary relief. Enter the Kansas City Chiefs defense against the road-tripping Pittsburgh Steelers, who get Ben Roethlisberger coming off a disastrous five-pick game against the Jaguars. It's reasonable to think Big Ben bounces back to some degree, but we all know about his infamous road woes, and Arrowhead is no fun for opposing offenses. Although the Chiefs have been involved in some high-scoring affairs this season, they've faced some strong competition, and their defense still ranks 14th according to numberFire's metrics.
Tampa Bay D/ST ($2,600): This may seem like an odd choice considering the Bucs have been getting torched through the air this season, but they held their own against the Patriots last week, holding them to just 19 points while sacking Tom Brady three times. They're 1.5-point road favorites against the Arizona Cardinals, who are a prime target for defenses because of their poor offensive line and league-high pass attempts, which is the perfect recipe for sacks and turnovers -- Carson Palmer is tied for the most sacks in the league (19). Tampa Bay may also finally be getting healthier, with some key defenders back at practice this week. They'll almost certainly give up some points, but are fully capable of paying off this low salary.