Week 6 NFL DFS Starting Points: Vegas Lines
You know that targeting the highest scoring games and particularly the teams with the highest implied totals makes sense in fantasy football. This analysis will highlight exactly which situations are the best to take advantage of and which you might want to avoid within those games. We’ll also highlight a couple games to use caution with, as well as some less obvious targets. All betting lines are courtesy of Westgate Sportsbook.
The high scoring games:
Houston at Kansas City, Total 55.5
This should be a really great football game. The teams both rank in the top 10 in points scored, both are allowing top 10 fantasy numbers to opposing QBs, and neither defense presents a real concern for us. Let me say, I expect Patrick Mahomes’ ankle to be fine by Sunday so it’s possible this spread widens in the Chiefs favor as he progresses favorably throughout the week.
Starting with the Chiefs, the matchup is a good one for the pass game, and neutral for the running backs. Assuming his ankle isn’t bothering him, Mahomes can escape any pressure the Texans bring. The downside, as always, is price. The most expensive QB on both sites, and most expensive player overall on FanDuel, Mahomes is unlikely to hurt your lineups, but you can find a higher return on investment elsewhere. For me it comes down to the rest of your lineup. You can find enough value in some of the other highlighted games here to make Mahomes work, for sure, but he’s not a must-play.
The Chiefs’ backfield was a quagmire of nothingness in Week 5, with Damien Williams the only back to receive a carry (but did next to nothing with them). This remains a situation to avoid for the most part. The receiving corps is similarly messy this week. Travis Kelce led the team in targets in Week 5, but had a frustratingly quiet night in the loss to Indianapolis. He’s a tournament only target at his salary. The big news centers around the availability of Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. Hill is priced to produce big right away, and DFS players will be eager to snap up a new name in a big game for Sunday lineups. Watkins, on the other hand, should have extremely low ownership after playing with, and immediately aggrevating his hamstring injury last week. Keep an eye on his practice reports, but I’m likely fading Watkins this weekend. Taking a low-risk flier on Byron Pringle, who filled in for Watkins with the best stat line of any Chiefs skill player last week, is a smart move if Watkins misses this one. The emergence of Pringle and the potential return of Hill makes it hard to roster Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson at their creeping salaries.
Deshaun Watson deserves an apology from me, as his inconsistency and poor home record until last week left me luke-warm at best on the Texans. DeAndre Hopkins was an outright fade for me, which was ok given the salary, but the explosion of Will Fuller V was something no one saw coming. DFS players chasing these points are likely to be disappointed in Week 6 as Fuller may never have that good a game again. The parallel increase in salary makes him tough to get very excited about. On the other hand, Hopkins’ salary has decreased, quite significantly on DraftKings, making him a potentially high-owned player, but one in a good spot to return value this weekend.
If you’re desperate for a last RB or FLEX and Carlos Hyde fits the cap, he is one of the cheaper players getting the kind of volume (201 carries in Week 5, and over 20 in two games so far) we like to see. I have no clue why Duke Johnson can’t be more useful in this offense, but he’s unplayable right now.
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Atlanta at Arizona, Total 52
Atlanta is giving up the second-most fantasy points to QBs and Arizona the fourth-most. This shootout, like the one between the Cardinals and Bengals last week, is going to be a popular DFS target. Matt Ryan’s salary has come up a bit, but is still very workable on DraftKings and possible on FanDuel. Kyler Murray’s is right below him on one site, just over on the other. I’m taking the experience and weapons of Ryan seven times out of 10, but I do believe that Murray is in a great spot to succeed here.
Julio Jones is this week’s most expensive WR option, and I expect his disgusting stat lines from the last two weeks to keep him out of a lot of lineups. That’s a mistake. I’ll have Jones in a lot of lineups again this week, because the Cardinals simply don’t have anyone capable of matching up with him. Austin Hooper is getting the world’s best TE matchup, so no issues with rostering him in any format. He’s also fantasy’s leading TE scorer (half-PPR), but only the fourth-most expensive option. Calvin Ridley is coming off his third good game of the season, but has a scary low floor (as shown in Weeks 2 and 3). I love him in this matchup at his current salary, especially in a game stack.
Devonta Freeman has steadily improved over the last four games, which is nice, but he still feels like a low-ceiling kind of play. I much prefer to attack Arizona through the air, and though Freeman does have about four targets per game, he just isn’t finding a ton of room to run.
We all saw what Watson and the Texans did to Atlanta last Sunday, so Murray and his pass-catchers are going to be very popular plays this weekend. The Falcons now rank first in fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs (thanks to Fuller’s big day), so with David Johnson looking questionable, this is a great time to roster Murray with Larry Fitzgerald and whoever else is healthy. For me, that’s Chase Edmunds, a guy I actually had to start in a deep (and devastated) dynasty league last week. He saved my week! My gratitude for that aside, he’s been a player just waiting for an opportunity. He took advantage of the fantastic matchup with the Bengals and Johnson’s sore back last week, and should be a terrific salary-saving option this week. It sounds like Christian Kirk will be out again, and even if Damiere Byrd is back, I’m unenthusiastic about any of the secondary receivers for the Cardinals.
The low scoring games:
Washington at Miami, Total 41
Look out, someone’s getting a W this weekend. Just like we think the Texans and Chiefs are well-matched, the Dolphins and Redskins share more than a few interesting stats. Ok, so not just like those good teams, as these two rank in the bottom three in points scored as well as top three in points allowed to opponents. Which will win? Bad offense or bad defense? My money’s on bad offense for the Redskins and bad defense for the Dolphins and I’d bet the under here.
You’re obviously not going to target this game heavily, but given how good the matchups are and how cheap the players are, I do think you could roll out Preston Williams, Davante Parker, Kenyon Drake, Chris Thompson, or Wendall Smallwood as salary-saving lineup fillers. Unlike some low-total games, I’m not using either D/ST from this football train wreck.
Tennessee at Denver, Total 38.5
Someone will probably break out to shake up this game, but I’m not bent on trying to figure out who. Both QBs are in tough matchups, and though Marcus Mariota has been reasonably efficient this season, the fact that Denver is giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to QBs and fourth-fewest to WRs is enough to make him an easy fade even at his cheap salary. Joe Flacco, is as always, a just say no.
Courtland Sutton is emerging as an interesting mid-range receiver, and I was impressed with what he did against the Chargers in Week 6. It won’t be easy for him this week either, but he is clearly the favorite target of Flacco. Emmanuel Sanders isn’t worth the meager salary until he shows us something consistent. Philip Lindsay also had some nice runs against the Chargers, but I just think there are better options above and below his salary level.
Corey Davis and A.J. Brown are having more bad than good games, and though they’re just one long bomb away from reaching value any given week, this conservative offense combined with stout pass defense limits my endorsement. Given how cool I am on these offenses, both teams make interesting pivot D/ST selections in multi-entry tournaments.
High team totals you might miss:
Cincinnati at Baltimore, Total 48
The Ravens should bounce back nicely after a game that Lamar Jackson struggled through to eek out a win in Week 5. The Bengals are a fantasy dream matchup, so feel free to roll with a solo Jackson, or pair him with Mark Ingram and Marquise Brown. Mark Andrews sounds like he will continue to be less than 100 percent in Week 6, and there are plenty of TE options on the main slate, so I’m not forcing him into a Ravens stack. The Ravens D/ST is back in play here too, as the Bengals are scoring the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game and taking the fourth-most sacks.
It’s obviously not a good spot for Cincy this week. Andy Dalton is not going to make any of my lineups, and I’d only use Tyler Boyd or Joe Mixon in a full game stack with my Ravens guys. The low team total and general ineptitude this offense has shown makes any Bengals risky in even the good matchups (which, again, this isn’t).
Dallas at New York Jets, Total 43.5
They got off to a slow start Sunday afternoon, but once Dak Prescott and company got going, they went for it. Everyone reached value for the Cowboys vs. Green Bay. Prescott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott should have smooth sailing again this weekend for DFSers who can afford them. Cooper is the most volatile of the bunch, and you might worry about spending up on a RB who might not have to do a lot to win this game, but Prescott and Gallup are nice mid-range options for any lineups.
The Dallas D/ST isn’t anything spectacular, but the Jets QBs have taken more sacks than anyone this season, and are scoring the second-fewest points per game. Even if Sam Darnold is back, I hardly expect him to be at his healthiest or best.