FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 6
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Lamar Jackson ($9,000 on FanDuel): With most of the top quarterbacks off the main slate, this is a bit of an unusual week at the position, but we do still have the reigning MVP available for the taking. Unfortunately, while Lamar Jackson seemed nearly impervious to poor fantasy outings in 2019, that hasn't been the case this year, as he's failed to reach 20 FanDuel points in three of five weeks. Part of this is due to a dramatic drop in efficiency through the air, going from 0.36 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in 2019 (tops in the league) to just 0.12 per drop back this season (roughly league average). And while Jackson's still running at a high rate, even his rush attempts have dipped from 11.7 to 8.2 per game.
All that being said, while the floor hasn't been the same, Jackson is still running enough to hit jackpot -- only Kyler Murray has more rushing yards at the position -- as he's hit 27.5 and 26.0 points in his best weeks. The lack of many other elite options gives us more incentive to take the plunge, and he projects for the slate's most FanDuel points versus the Eagles.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,400): After Jackson, we have a cluster of quarterbacks who all project around the same range, and particularly with most of the elite plays off the board, paying down could be a wise strategy. Following a Week 1 dud against New England, Ryan Fitzpatrick has quietly posted 24.3, 24.7, 23.3, and 27.6 FanDuel points over the last four weeks, and now he gets to face a woeful Jets team that ranks 31st in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics. There's always blowout risk when facing New York, but Josh Allen and Kyler Murray still posted big scores against them, and it may surprise you that Fitzpatrick actually ranks fifth in rushing attempts and yards at the position. Miami has the slate's third-highest implied total (28.50), and we shouldn't be surprised if Fitzpatrick comes through again this week.
Matthew Stafford ($7,300): Unlike Week 5, when we had a lot of high-total games with blowout risks, all five of this slate's games with totals above 50 have spreads below 5.0 points. On paper, this gives us a bunch of games with shootout potential, and of that group, Matthew Stafford stands out as an enticing option at his salary. This Detroit-Jacksonville matchup has an alluring 54.5 total, and Stafford could have a field day against a Jaguars unit that ranks 32nd in adjusted pass defense. The Lions haven't been so hot against the pass (21st), either, which should hopefully lead to a back-and-forth duel between Stafford and Gardner Minshew ($7,200). Stafford projects as the top point-per-dollar quarterback this week.
Derrick Henry ($9,000): Running back is also missing some of the usual mainstays, vaulting Derrick Henry to the pole position in numberFire's projections. Even after seeing fewer snaps and touches in a blowout win over Buffalo, Henry still managed to score twice for the second straight game, and he's averaging a massive 25.3 carries per game. While the lack of passing game work remains a weakness (10 targets), Henry's 42.5% market share of carries-plus-targets easily bests everyone else on the slate. He should be on the field plenty in what should be a tight, high-scoring game against Houston (53.5 total).
Mike Davis ($7,500): Christian McCaffrey is nearing his return, but it looks like we'll get at least one more week to use Mike Davis as a CMC-lite. Davis curiously continues to carry a fairly modest salary for someone who's now rattled off 19.1, 19.6, and 25.4 FanDuel points. Despite essentially playing just three games and a quarter, Davis now ranks second among all running backs in targets (33) behind only Alvin Kamara. The Bears don't necessarily make for an ideal opponent, but they actually rank just 22nd in adjusted run defense, and the Panthers are slight home favorites.
Alexander Mattison ($7,000): Alexander Mattison is expected to step in for an injured Dalvin Cook, and with Minnesota sporting a slate-best 29.50 implied total in a potential shootout with Atlanta, you can bet he'll be uber-popular. Mattison tallied 136 total yards on 20 rushes and 3 targets in essentially half a game last week, so there's little question that he'll step in as pretty much a direct replacement for Cook. Much like we've seen with Mike Davis, the role often matters more than the name, and a bell-cow role should be what we see from Mattison on Sunday.
Kareem Hunt ($7,000): Between the above options, and salary-savers like James Robinson ($6,500), David Montgomery ($5,900), and Myles Gaskin ($5,700), Kareem Hunt may not necessarily be as high on some people's lists, but he projects as a fantastic point-per-dollar value despite facing the Steelers. As expected, Hunt saw a boost in workload with Nick Chubb out last week, tallying 20 carries and 4 targets on a 70% snap rate, and even in a tough spot against Indianapolis, he converted that into a solid 16.8 FanDuel points. He's pretty much in an identical scenario this week against a tough Pittsburgh defense, but this could actually be a pretty lucrative game environment, as this game up at a 50.5 total.
Davante Adams ($9,000): As the week has gone on, the Packers-Buccaneers total has leapfrogged every other game on the slate (55.5), which should definitely draw our attention. It's actually a tricky game to stack in some respects, but a returning Davante Adams is an easy guy to plug into lineups, and it's no surprise he tops this week's wideout projections. In Adams' lone full game, he saw a whopping 17 targets, and if anything, there's less competition for targets now with Allen Lazard out.
Adam Thielen ($7,400): Adam Thielen leads the slate with a 33.1% target share and faces an Atlanta defense that ranks 30th in adjusted pass defense. With a likely shootout looming, he's a no-brainer way to tap into Minnesota's offense. At this salary, there's a good chance he's the most popular wideout on the slate.
Kenny Golladay ($7,200): If we're rostering Stafford, we need someone to pair him with, and there's no better choice than Kenny Golladay. Golladay has led the team with 15 targets in his two games with a 24.6% target share and 30.4% air yards share, and no other Detroit pass-catcher has seen particularly consistent volume. We witnessed this Swiss cheese Jaguars defense bring back Brandin Cooks from the dead last week, so it's only fair to expect Golladay to feast.
A.J. Brown ($6,500): Another wide receiver who should be popular is A.J. Brown, who finally returned to action in Week 5 and took little time getting reacclimated, grabbing 7-of-9 targets for 82 yards and a score. He's now seen 17 targets (25.0%) across his two 2020 appearances and edges out Thielen as the slate's highest projected point-per-dollar wideout. Note that his individual cornerback matchup against Bradley Roby isn't necessarily ideal, but this is still a Houston pass defense that ranks just 19th in numberFire's metrics.
Mark Andrews ($7,600): Like quarterback and running back, we're missing some notable names at tight end, leaving Mark Andrews alone on an island as a pay-up option. Andrews' inconsistent workload gives him a lower floor than we would like at this salary, as he's averaging just 5.8 targets per game while bouncing anywhere between 3 and 9 looks over five weeks. He saving grace has been his scoring upside as Lamar Jackson's favorite red zone target, with 6 targets inside the 20-yard line and 4 inside the 10-yard line -- both tops on the team by a wide margin. The Eagles rank just 26th in Target Success Rate allowed to tight ends and have allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to the position.
Jonnu Smith ($5,800): Jonnu Smith comes at a more palatable salary than Andrews despite averaging more targets per game (6.8) while also matching him in red-zone targets. Smith is an easy way to gain exposure to Tennessee's offense in a possible shootout and projects as one of the best point-per-dollar tight end values.
Baltimore D/ST ($4,900): The Ravens' defense is coming off a smothering performance against the Bengals and are the top overall unit in numberFire's metrics. Carson Wentz and a scuffling Eagles offense should be easy pickings for them. Wentz leads the league in interceptions and has been sacked the second-most times.
New York Giants D/ST ($3,900): Of course, as much as we want to roster the top defenses all the time, we're generally strapped for cash in most builds and need to find cheaper options. The Giants aren't anything special, but neither is Kyle Allen and the Washington Football Team. As a starter for the Panthers last season, Allen performed poorly in just about any metric you look at, and he averaged negative Passing NEP per drop back last week before getting knocked out of the game. The G-Men project as the top value on the slate.