NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 6

In this DFS preview, I'll focus on the Sunday main slate and group players into two categories based on their DraftKings salaries: players to build around and value plays.

Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive players on the slate.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Players to Build Around

QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($7,300) vs. TB

Most of the top quarterbacks on this slate have tough defensive matchups, so it may be a good week to search for value at the position rather than spending near the top of the price range. If you do you want to splurge on a reliable quarterback, however, Aaron Rodgers looks like the best bet. Rodgers has topped 20 fantasy points in three of four games, including two games of more than 30 points. This matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is also tied for the highest total of the week at 54.5 points, and with two veteran quarterbacks going head to head, it probably has the best chance to turn into a shootout.

QB Tom Brady, Buccaneers ($6,500) vs. GB

Tom Brady's fantasy production has been all over the map, ranging from 10.7 points against the Carolina Panthers to 36.5 points against the Los Angeles Chargers. It appears as though his production is going to be game-script dependent this season. That makes him a risky fantasy target, but this matchup with the Packers could potentially turn into a shootout. Green Bay has given up 30 points twice in four games, so if Tampa needs Brady to air it out to keep pace with Rodgers, Brady will have a high ceiling in this matchup.

QB Gardner Minshew, Jaguars ($6,400) vs. DET

Gardner Minshew draws one of his best matchups of the season against a struggling Detroit Lions defense this week. According to Sports Info Solutions, Detroit has forced pressure on just 22.8 percent of opponents' drop backs, the lowest rate in the league. Minshew is one of just six quarterbacks who have reached at least 20 fantasy points in four or more games this season, and he should have an elevated ceiling in this matchup.

RB Derrick Henry, Titans ($7,300) vs. HOU

The Houston Texans shut down the Jaguars run game last week but had previously allowed at least 150 yards on the ground in each of their first four contests. Derrick Henry's salary inexplicably dropped $1,000 last week and climbed back up by only $500 in Week 6. So not only can you roster one of the game's best running backs in a favorable matchup, but his cap hit comes at a bit of a discount.

WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons ($7,800) vs. MIN

The Minnesota Vikings' rebuilt secondary is struggling, as they rank 27th in passing defense and have allowed at least 17 fantasy points to six different receivers through five games. The Atlanta Falcons' receiving corps is banged up -- Julio Jones didn't practice on Wednesday and Russell Gage was a limited participant -- so Calvin Ridley could be in line for a larger role. In the two games Jones has missed this year, Ridley has seen double-digit targets and topped 100 receiving yards in both.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,600) vs. CLE

With Chase Claypool ($5,200) coming off a four-touchdown, 11-target performance, most fantasy players are likely to be attracted to the Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie -- especially given the lower salary. However, this matchup against the Cleveland Browns likely favors JuJu Smith-Schuster, who primarily lines up in the slot, where he'll avoid drawing coverage from Denzel Ward. Three receivers have topped 20 fantasy points against Cleveland, and two of them (CeeDee Lamb and Tyler Boyd) play a similar role in the slot to what Smith-Schuster does in Pittsburgh.

Value Plays

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins ($5,900) vs. NYJ

Rostering quarterbacks facing the New York Jets has been a boom-or-bust strategy. The Jets have held opposing quarterbacks under 20 fantasy points three times, mostly by being non-competitive and allowing teams to run out the clock throughout the second half. In the other two contests, however, quarterbacks have topped the 30-point threshold. Since the Miami Dolphins don't have a stellar run game -- they rank 30th in the league with 3.7 yards per attempt -- this is probably a good spot to use Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has reached at least 25 fantasy points in four straight games.

RB Ronald Jones, Buccaneers ($6,000) vs. GB

Due to the absence of Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones' usage rate has increased significantly over the last two weeks, as he's averaged 23 touches per game in that span. It's possible Fournette returns in Week 6, but Jones' recent production should have him locked into the feature-back role in the offense. There's also a possibility Jones' fantasy production takes a significant step forward in the coming weeks. Only 8.5 percent of Jones' fantasy points have come from touchdowns -- the second-lowest rate among the 20 highest-scoring running backs. That's a sign of Jones' consistency but also some bad luck. Jones leads the team with a 30 percent usage rate inside the 10-yard line but has just two touchdowns on the year. As long as that usage continues, he should see a scoring increase in the near future.

RB Devonta Freeman, Giants ($4,900) vs. WSH

It's extremely difficult to trust any member of the New York Giants, but it's also hard to find a starting running back with a salary under $5,000. So maybe Devonta Freeman is worth the gamble? Freeman's opportunities have increased each week, peaking at 20 in Week 5 (17 carries, three targets). With the Giants favored by 2.5 points, there's a chance Freeman's workload increases again, allowing him to exceed expectations at this inexpensive salary.

WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($6,000) vs. ATL

Since getting moved into a starting role in Week 3, Justin Jefferson has a 22 percent target share for the Vikings. While he's still clearly behind Adam Thielen (33 percent target share in that span), the Atlanta defense should provide opportunities for both receivers. In three of five games, Atlanta has surrendered 17 or more fantasy points to two different receivers. Given the salary difference, Jefferson is slightly more intriguing, but Thielen ($7,300) is also an option this week.

WR Preston Williams, Dolphins ($4,700) vs. NYJ

The Jets' secondary is allowing opponents to complete 72.3 percent of their passes at 10 or more yards downfield, the worst rate in the league, according to Sports Info Solutions. This matchup could potentially benefit Preston Williams, who is tied for the team lead (with tight end Michael Gesicki) with 15 targets at 10 yards downfield. Williams, who is coming off an ACL tear, got off to a slow start but finally broke out with a 23.6 fantasy points last week against the San Francisco 49ers. That performance may have been an indication that Williams is now back to full strength. With four games of single-digit fantasy points on his resume, Williams should be considered a risky player to roster, but with a cheap cap hit and an ideal matchup, there's significant upside to gambling on him.

WR Chris Conley, Jaguars ($3,600) vs. DET

Most NFL teams favor zone coverage, but the Lions lead the league with 57 percent of opponents pass attempts coming while they're lined up in man coverage, according to Sports Info Solutions. Different coverage types can force teams to tweak their game plan, and in the Jaguars' case, it appears to create a bigger role for Chris Conley. Versus man coverage, Conley leads the Jaguars with a 20 percent target share, compared to a seven percent share versus zone and other combo coverage schemes. This trend matches Conley's numbers from last year, when he saw a 25 percent target share versus man coverage compared to 12 percent versus other schemes.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.