4 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 6
The beauty of daily fantasy football is that, unlike a season-long draft where someone is tied to their top players all year, any top players in the NFL can make their way into your lineup. While that can be a blessing, it can also be a curse.
Although you're able to roster Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry all at once if you want, it is unlikely that all three running backs are optimal plays at their respective salaries for a particular week. There are many elements to decide which players are the best plays, and a large aspect of daily fantasy is the matchup a player has.
While usually encompassed in some respects inside the salary figure, a soft matchup can carry a good running back to a great week. On the other hand, a tough matchup can make superstars suboptimal to roster.
Which matchups are lurking in this weekend's games that we can take advantage of on FanDuel?
Chiefs Passing Attack vs. Football Team Secondary
This may need to be restated given their 2-3 record at the moment, but the Kansas City Chiefs are still good at football.
While the 11 turnovers in five weeks are problematic, the Chiefs still are first in the NFL in numberFire's Adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. That primarily revolves around their passing attack, which is second (0.43 Passing NEP per drop back) to only the Rams.
The hefty salaries of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are well worth it entering Week 6. In addition to another must-win for KC to keep pace with the Chargers, they also get a pristine matchup against the Washington Football Team's defense.
Washington has allowed 0.26 Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per drop back to opposing offenses this year, which is the seventh-worst mark in the league. They have allowed a top-five fantasy passer in each of the past four weeks entering a date with Mahomes.
More than ever, Kansas City will rely on their passing game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out for an extended period with his knee injury, and therefore an offense already with an above-average 59.3% pass rate will throw more without their top back. Washington has been fine (0.03 Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per carry) against the run, as well.
Lamar Jackson vs. Chargers Run Defense
A key component of daily fantasy is not only to identify matchups against weak defensive units, but it is also important to analyze where volume may shift inside a game plan.
The L.A. Chargers are tremendous against the pass. Their 0.04 Adjusted Passing NEP per drop back is the fifth-best mark in the NFL. However, their 0.08 Adjusted Rushing NEP per carry is sixth-worst in the league. In a game with a healthy 52.5-point total, the Baltimore running game should be the priority target when attacking their side of a game stack.
The problem is that the Ravens do not have a functional running back target for DFS. No single running back for the Ravens is averaging more than 10.0 carries per game. Their leading rusher by volume is quarterback Lamar Jackson, who averages 11.6 carries per game.
For that reason, when stacking this game, a "naked quarterback" strategy might be an ideal path. Jackson added 56.0% of Baltimore's rushing carries in addition to his 442 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air against Indianapolis in Week 5.
There's a good chance that, if the Ravens are scoring, Jackson is responsible. He also is easier to stack with Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews more than ever now that Sammy Watkins is in serious peril to miss Week 6 with a hamstring issue.
Ricky Seals-Jones vs. (Hopefully) Daniel Sorenson
The aforementioned Chiefs are a strong option but so is Washington on the other side of perhaps the best daily fantasy game to target on the main slate.
The Chiefs' horrendous defense (0.24 Adjusted Defensive NEP per play) is obviously a massive component in Mahomes being below .500 in October, and that brings Football Team members to the table.
Ricky Seals-Jones is likely a name that you have heard in fantasy circles this week. Not only is his usage -- an 86.0% route rate and 8 targets in Week 5 -- exceptional but so is his matchup. Dawson Knox torched Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen for two touchdowns on Sunday night, and now Sorenson will be tasked with defending Washington's current secondary passing-game option to Terry McLaurin.
Sorenson has struggled to a 33.6 overall defender grade from Pro Football Focus, and that has even left teammates visibly upset with the NFL veteran. He is a large reason why the Chiefs are allowing the sixth-most adjusted fantasy points per target to tight ends.
With one of the better workloads at the terrible tight end position, Seals-Jones is arguably the safest big man to target besides Kelce on the opposing sideline. He comes with just a $5,000 salary as well.
Sometimes chalk is chalk for a reason.
Aaron Donald vs. Giants Offensive Line
New York is losing skill personnel left and right, and it has not helped that their stars have had to absorb more contact than others. The Giants' big uglies up front have still ceded a 28% pressure rate this season, which, while improved, is still the second-worst mark on the Week 6 main slate ahead of Denver (30%).
Therefore, it is not ideal that Aaron Donald is coming to town. Donald has led a Rams pass rush that is first on the main slate in pressure rate (33%), and they have 14 sacks through five weeks. Donald has even had to fight through some questionable officiating to get home for three himself.
If the more functional "Danny Dimes" starts, the Rams defense may be less popular on FanDuel because of their $5,000 salary. However, this mismatch is in the trenches, and although the salary is very high, there is still high sack potential for Los Angeles given they are projected for a fairly positive game script as 10-point road favorites.