Fri Oct 11 11:56am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Ryan is a top play for Week 6
Week 6 brings our first slate with four teams on a bye. It will leave us with fewer choices than we have been accustomed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still come away a winner in DFS. Here are some players to consider across the price scale, as well as a few to avoid, while compiling your entry.
Top-tier option: Matt Ryan, ATL at ARI ($6,200): There are six other quarterbacks who are priced higher than Ryan, but his upside is as high as any of them based on this matchup. He’s attempted at least 43 passes in four of five games this season and has already racked up 11 touchdown passes, including three games in which he had three scores each. Facing him will be a Cardinals’ defense that has allowed 12 touchdown passes, which is tied for second-most in the league. Ryan looks to be in line for a monster performance.
Cheap target: Gardner Minshew II, JAC vs. NO ($5,700): Minshew Mania has taken the league by storm. With top free-agent signing Nick Foles (collarbone) out, Minshew has not only helped the Jaguars remain competitive, but he’s thrived. He has produced two touchdown passes in three straight games and has yet to throw an interception through his four starts. While his yardage totals might not always be off the charts, he could provide value against a Saints defense that has allowed the 10th-highest passer rating (100.9).
Player to avoid: Joe Flacco, DEN vs. TEN ($5,700): If there is an argument to be made for playing Flacco, I don’t see it. Yes, he’s cheap. However, he’s thrown an interception in four straight games and has thrown one or no touchdown passes in four of five contests this season. The Titans have allowed only eight touchdown passes all season while recording five interceptions, so it makes much more sense to roll with Minshew considering he can be had for the same price.
Top-tier option: Mark Ingram, BAL vs. CIN ($7,300): Despite the Ravens not looking all that impressive lately, this has the makings of one of the more lopsided games of the week. The Bengals have been just awful, compiling a 0-5 record in part because of injuries, but also because of terrible offensive line play. Their defense has been torched on the ground, allowing the second-most rushing yards per game to go along with seven rushing touchdowns. No need to overthink this one, Ingram carries an incredibly high floor into this matchup.
Cheap target: Kenyan Drake, MIA vs. WAS ($5,000): As far as unappealing games go, this is about as bad as it gets. Both the Dolphins and Redskins are searching for their first (and what could be their only) win of the season. The good news is that this game still has plenty of fantasy appeal, especially with Drake. The Dolphins’ top rusher could be in line for a productive afternoon with the Redskins allowing the fifth-most rushing yards per game.
Player to avoid: LeSean McCoy, KAN vs. HOU ($5,900): Week 5 was one to forget for McCoy considering he logged a season-low 14 offensive snaps. He didn’t receive a single carry, finishing with two catches on two targets for 23 yards. He had issues with pass protection, which contributed to his limited role. Also, it doesn’t help his cause that both Damien Williams and Darrel Williams are healthy. Since he doesn’t come at much of a discount, McCoy’s limited upside doesn’t make him a viable target.
Top-tier option: Julio Jones, ATL at ARI ($7,700): Stacking Ryan with Jones could be one of the more popular duos of the weekend. Despite coming off back-to-back disappointing games, Jones had 265 yards and four touchdowns through the Falcons’ first three contests. His ceiling is about as high as it gets serving as the Falcons’ top receiver in a game against a horrible secondary, so don’t hesitate to add him to your entry.
Cheap target: DeVante Parker, MIA vs. WAS ($4,300): Run defense hasn’t been the only problem for the Redskins since they have also allowed the most passing touchdowns (13). Despite underperforming in the early part of his career, Parker has actually shown some improvement by catching seven of 10 targets for 126 yards and a touchdown with Josh Rosen starting at quarterback the last two games. Preston Williams ($4,800) will probably be a more popular option in DFS among the Dolphins’ pass catchers, making Parker someone to target in tournament play.
Player to avoid: Nelson Agholor, PHI at MIN ($5,200): Agholor posted valuable back-to-back performances in Weeks 2 and 3, catching 16 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. The key was that he received 23 targets during that stretch. However, he only has one reception on four targets in two games since. With Alshon Jeffery now healthy, Agholor should continue to receive limited opportunities to contribute.
Top-tier option: Austin Hooper, ATL at ARI ($5,500): Could the trio of Ryan, Jones and Hooper lead to some hefty DFS payouts? Hooper has certainly been impressive with the Falcons throwing the ball a lot, catching at least six passes in four of five games. He has received at least six targets in each contest, which is noteworthy since he only had six games with at least six targets all of last season. With the Cardinals giving up monstrous numbers to tight ends, Hooper is difficult to resist.
Cheap target: Will Dissly, SEA at CLE ($5,000): While he’s not overly cheap, Dissly makes a lot of sense at this reasonable price. After playing under 60 percent of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps in each of their first three games, he’s logged 79.4 percent and 89.2 percent of them, respectively, over the last two weeks. With at least 50-receiving yards in four straight games and four touchdowns already, he has a favorable opportunity to keep things rolling versus the struggling Browns.
Player to avoid: Delanie Walker, TEN at DEN ($4,500): It’s difficult for Walker to be productive on a reliable basis given the inconsistent play of Marcus Mariota. Walker has only received four targets across the last two games and has posted 39 receiving yards or fewer in three of five contests. Dissly has a much higher ceiling and isn’t that much more expensive, so it might not be best to take a chance on this being one of Walker’s better performances, especially since the Broncos has allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game.
Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (hamstring) will undergo an MRI exam on his hamstring in the next day or so, according to a source. At that point they'll have a better idea for a timeline. Hill missed both of his targets on Monday night against the Chargers before leaving the game and never returning, so it was a tough pill to swallow for his fantasy owners. The good news is that the Chiefs are on their bye in Week 12, so Hill may not end up missing any games as long as his MRI yields positive results. If he's forced to miss time, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson would once again be attractive flexes in deeper leagues behind Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (hamstring) was not seen at the portion of practice open to the media on Tuesday. The Cardinals are going on their bye in Week 12, so Edmonds will have another week to rest up. He's been out since Oct. 27 against the Saints. In the meantime, the Cardinals signed Kenyan Drake, and he has now leaped an injured David Johnson on the running back depth chart. Edmonds could get some run in Week 13 if he's ready and DJ is still slowed by his injuries, but Edmonds is still unlikely to have any standalone value the rest of the way. He can be left to the waiver wire in most leagues.
Free-agent TE Orson Charles (Broncos) re-signed with the Denver Broncos on an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 19. FB Andy Janovich (arm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) can play Thursday, Nov. 21, if he receives medical clearance from doctors and clearance from the team, according to head coach Frank Reich.
Fantasy Spin: It's still pretty questionable with the short week. Hilton would be a WR2 against the Houston Texans.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he's "excited about the potential return" of rookie running back Benny Snell Jr. (knee) for Week 12 against the Bengals. Snell has missed the last two games and will be evaluated in practice this week. The 21-year-old has 28 rushing attempts for 118 yards in five games this season. He could have a role in the team's backfield if he returns this weekend if James Conner (shoulder) remains sidelined, but Jaylen Samuels would still likely see most of the touches as Pittsburgh's lead back. Snell is only worth stashing in deeper leagues if you own either Conner or Samuels.
Retired tight end Rob Gronkowski won't rule out a return to football in the future, but he has no plans to come back in 2019. If he had planned to return to football this season, Gronk would have to do so by Nov. 30, per league rules. The Patriots offense could surely use Gronkowski on the field this year, as they predictably haven't gotten much production from the tight end position without him. The combination of Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo and Benjamin Watson has left a lot to be desired. The veteran Watson has become the primary pass-catching tight end of late, but he's a low-end TE2 for fantasy purposes. It looks like the Pats will continue to roll with Watson for the foreseeable future.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (knee) is expected to play in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones himself is the source here, who said he expects his top wide receiver to play in a huge game against the 9-1 Patriots. Cooper played on just 55 percent of offensive snaps in Week 11, but Jones stating this early in the week that Cooper will play could be good news. Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on practice reports this week to see how limited Cooper is leading up to Sunday.
The Miami Dolphins waived running back Mark Walton on Tuesday morning. Walton was already suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy, but the Dolphins were, "made aware of a police matter earlier this morning regarding Walton" according to Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier. Kalen Ballage will continue as the lead back for the Dolphins presumably for the rest of the season. Walton, still only 22 years old, may already be running out of chances in the NFL.
Cleveland Browns FS Morgan Burnett (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley took advantage of the thin air in Mexico City and drilled a 49-yarder, the second longest good kick of his career. While Badgley did barely miss a 40-yard shot in the first quarter, he was able to make kicks from 27, 26, and 49 yards on the night. Badgley's leg kept LA in the game since their offense sputtered terribly once they were staring down the goal line, but unfortunately, the Chargers fell to the Chiefs anyway. Badgley has made 80% of his field goal tries and all of his extra points since he returned from a severe groin injury. He's not a superstar or Mr. Dependable, but he's getting the job done well enough for an LA franchise that struggled with kicking woes for years.
Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins made a slashing leap in front of a Chiefs receiver to snag his third interception of the year on Monday night. The pick was just the second one of the season for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and LA is the first defense this season to hold Mahomes under 200 yards passing when he played a full game. Unfortunately, failures on the offensive side of the ball cost the Chargers the game even though the defense held KC to just 24 total points. While it looks like the season is a wash for LA, their defense can still be useful if they can play like that more often.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen finally ended his touchdown drought. In the third quarter of Monday night's loss to the Chiefs, Allen was able to snag a quick pass and dive his way through a couple of defenders to get the score. It was Allen's first touchdown in eight games, and his 71 yards receiving are the most he's posted since Week 3. After a monster start to the year, Allen has become a ghost. While it's easy to blame it on Allen, it's starting to look like the problem originates with Philip Rivers instead. Rivers appears to be getting real old real fast, and that could explain why Allen, traditionally the team's outside man, has gotten lost in the shuffle.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry tacked another 69 yards onto his season total in Monday night's loss to the Chiefs. He's now either tallied 60+ receiving yards or a touchdown in six of the seven games he's played this season, and he's still averaging 12.5 yards per reception this season. Henry has been in a constant struggle with his health, but he seems to be fully healthy now. When he's at the top of his game, Henry is arguably the best tight end in the NFL, and he's proving it this season. Even with a quarterback who has been struggling, Henry is putting up a fine season.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was the man to beat on Monday night, but even he couldn't will the team to a victory. Ekeler carried the ball five times for 24 yards and caught eight of 12 passes sent his way, tallying another 108 yards. Unfortunately, the moment that will get the most attention was the game-ending interception Philip Rivers threw Ekeler's direction. There's no question that the pick was purely Rivers' fault, but his performance really overshadowed what should have been a star-studded Sportscenter appearance for Ekeler, a backup running back who happens to be incredibly valuable. Unfortunately, the unpredictability in Ekeler's touches from week to week limits his dependable fantasy value.
With the game on the line and 75 yards to go, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams picked a huge moment to make a phenomenal catch. Having only caught one pass so far in the match, Williams launched himself up and hauled in a bomb from Philip Rivers to get his team just outside the red zone. Unfortunately, Rivers would throw a game-sealing pick a few plays later. The big play at least gave Williams a respectable fantasy performance, and he now has a reception of 43+ yards in each of his last four games. He's also caught at least one pass for 20 or more yards in his last nine games, and he's become a regular fixture in the Chargers passing attack.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers put up a couple of nice numbers on Monday night as he completed 28 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown, but he also only completed 53.9% of the passes he threw and tossed four interceptions including a game-ending pick in the end zone. Rivers has now moved into sole possession of second place in the league in interceptions with 14, and he's only posted a QB rating over 85 in two of his last seven games. He still has the ability to sling it on occasion, but for the most part, it looks like time has caught up to Rivers. He just can't make the throws anymore, and his decision-making hasn't accepted that fact yet.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon rushed the ball 14 times for 69 yards and caught three passes for 21 more yards in Monday's loss to the Chiefs. Averaging 4.9 yards per carry, it was surprising LA didn't lean more heavily on Gordon's ground game, especially with Philip Rivers throwing interception after interception. However, Gordon still topped 90 scrimmage yards, even if he didn't get to hit the end zone on any of his touches. With Rivers looking like a shell of his former self, Gordon could be in for some greater use over the team's remaining games. He remains one of the most potent parts of the Chargers offense.
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has been one of the more reliable fantasy kickers all season. In most games Butkler has been able to connect on multiple field goals, but Week 11 was not one of those games. It wasn't his fault, Butker hit a 41 yard field goal in the victory over the Chargers. That was his only field goal attempt of the game as the Chiefs won 24-17. The Chiefs head into a bye week in Week 12 so fantasy owners who don't have a lot of depth might consider dropping Butker. The Chiefs offense is strong and Butker gets plenty of chances each week. It's not wise to drop Butker for the upcoming bye week, unless you have no other options.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins was expected to have a solid game after having reliable performances the last few weeks. Instead, Watkins was only able to haul in two of three targets for 26 yards in this one. Tyreek Hill (hamstring) left after the opening drive, but Watkins wasn't able to capitalize. The Chiefs were able to get the win in Week 11, but Watkins didn't do much to help that. Kansas City has a bye week in Week 12, but then has a strong matchup against the shaky Raiders secondary. However, at this point in the season it's tough to trust Watkins. Fantasy owners should consider him a WR3 going forward.