Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 6
Welcome to the weekly Yahoo NFL DFS Primer! This will be a weekly piece where I analyze high-dollar and value plays at each position across Yahoo’s NFL main slate. The focus will be on both tournament and cash game options as we try to unlock slate-breaking upside in Yahoo's unique DFS game.
Matthew Stafford ($31) - For a slate with no Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Dak Prescott, it seems odd to see 9 of the slate's 24 quarterbacks with a salary at $29 or above. It's almost as if they are daring us to play Nick Foles at $1 over the minimum against the Carolina Panthers.
I'm not falling for it, Yahoo!
Stafford comes back from a bye week with a healthy stable of wide receivers and jumps right back in against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks through their first five games.
The Lions presently have the second-highest team total on the slate and could be facing the Jaguars down one cornerback, one linebacker, and two defensive linemen due to injuries. As long as Matt Patricia doesn't pull any running back shenanigans on Sunday, Stafford should have plenty of opportunities to sling it across the field.
Jonathan Taylor ($25) - After two games where Taylor accumulated less than 45% of the rushing attempts for the Indianapolis Colts, his share shot back up to 67% on Sunday and pushed Nyheim Hines to under 20% of the rush attempts for the first time this season.
As Philip Rivers continues to turn to dust before our very eyes (bottom half of the league in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back and Pro Football Focus' 24th-ranked quarterback), the Colts continue to turn more and more to the running game.
Even with last week's box score that saw the Colts only ran on 35% of their plays, they rush the ball at the seventh-highest rate in the league (48%), including 58% when they play at home.
In Week 6, the Colts will host the fledgling Cincinnati Bengals defense, who just allowed 161 rushing yards to the Baltimore Ravens and also give up 21 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Gaskin has not played on less than 63% of Miami's offensive snaps all season and averages 18 opportunities (targets + rush attempts) each game. Those numbers translate to 50% of the rushing attempts and 16% of the target share of a suddenly-potent Miami Dolphins offense.
The Dolphins coaching staff is also trusting Gaskin more each week -- Jordan Howard was a healthy scratch in Week 5. Miami is moving Howard out of the goal line role and have installed Gaskin as their primary red-zone back. In fact, Gaskin now ranks second among all running backs with 22 red zone touches this year, according to Player Profiler.
Gaskin's success as a rusher and a receiver has been somewhat a surprise as he sees 8+ defenders in the box fourth-most among all running backs in 2020 (32.8%). But against the Jets, they could put all 11 in the box plus pull in Fireman Ed from the stands and it still may not be enough. The Jets allow 28 fantasy points per game to running backs in the early going, including the second-most touchdowns to the position.
Adam Thielen ($26) - If I told you JuJu Smith-Schuster was $24 on this slate and you had no other information, how much would you guess Thielen's salary would be against the Atlanta Falcons? $35? $40?
Yahoo continues to give Thielen a salary too low for the gargantuan workload he is shouldering this year. Somehow he got a $4 salary drop this week despite facing a team that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, and after he accumulated 13 targets and 2 touchdowns in Week 5. As long as he keeps getting salaries that are this low, I will keep advocating for him here.
Not that you need convincing, but here is the list of wide receivers who rank top five this season in both target share and total air yards:
That's the list. Throw in a career-high average depth of target (aDOT) for Thielen this year (14.3 yards) for good measure, and you have a receiver/matchup combo that is destined to smash.
Laviska Shenault ($17) - In a year where we have seen a number of outstanding rookie wide receivers burst onto the scene, Shenault has gone somewhat under the radar as he hasn't had the signature game like Chase Claypool just had or the consistent dominance of a CeeDee Lamb.
But Shenault has seen consistent improvement over his first five weeks, leading him to be one of the top offensive weapons for the Jaguars.
Jacksonville's highest-graded PFF players through Week 5:
Offense: Laviska Shenault Jr. (79.8)
Defense: Sidney Jones (91.9)
— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) October 12, 2020
The Jacksonville coaches recognize this as well, and his target count through five weeks -- 4-4-6-6-8 -- reflects his increased involvement. For the first time last week, Shenault led the team in targets, and he now sits one off the team lead in total targets for the season.
Shenault has proved to be the shifty, elusive player the Jaguars were hoping for in the draft, and they continue to line him up in all sorts of creative offensive formations, leading to Shenault already ranking 10th among all wide receivers in yards after the catch.
Mark Andrews ($27) - Paying this price for a tight end in Week 6 should be extremely contrarian and not where the masses will end up with how expensive quarterbacks and running backs are on this slate. However, Andrews is in a smash spot if you can secure enough value elsewhere.
The Philadelphia Eagles allow the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season, as they have been funneling points to pass-catchers -- the Eagles also rank top-12 in fewest points allowed to running backs.
Andrews continues to be Lamar Jackson's go-to target at all levels of the field. He ranks first among all tight ends in total air yards and ranks sixth in target share through five weeks. But most importantly, Andrews is the security blanket for Jackson in the red zone.
Andrews' nine red zone targets are second-most among all tight ends this year, and he has a 78% catch rate in that part of the field this year.