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DraftKings Chalk, Pivots & Punts: Week 6



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DraftKings Chalk, Pivots & Punts: Week 6

Welcome to NFL Week 6 gang! In case you missed this article the first few weeks, let me explain what we’re doing here. This is a weekly piece on DFS plays for Draft Kings with a focus on GPPs, in particular, the main slate. The articles will indicate who I think will be the chalk plays, who some pivots or contrarian plays are to get off the chalk, and some punt plays that could either save on salary or are just so far below the radar they might be tournament winning plays if all goes well. Instead of saying “Player A” is chalk, pivot to “Player B,” I’ll just have a chart showing my data for the match-ups with the chalk/pivots/punts listed after that. In this article, pivots can be a pivot from one player to another player at the same position, from one position to another, or just a way to pivot to the other side of a game that everyone else might be stacking.

Simply put, the pivots will not always be direct pivots, more like other ideas to consider in the macro-view of the slate. Each game will have a brief write up and will include the team’s projected point total and spread as of the time of writing. Without further ado, let’s have a look at the Sunday main slate.

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Above is the Vegas implied totals and lines for each game, as well as match-up data I have compiled for pace, opponent fantasy points allowed, and raw Yards & TD data vs. the positions we are looking at for building our DFS rosters. Red is bad, orange is less harmful, yellow is more neutral, and green is good. The dark green shade is better than good.

Below is my Chalk, Pivots, and Punts Chart based on my opinion of the slate and what the field will likely be on this week.

CPPWK6

Websites I use to research are:

Plus I have a spreadsheet of my own that I use to keep track of defensive points by position (ie. WR1, WR2, Slot, etc) and multi-TD games allowed.

Now, let’s dig into each game and see what the good chalk is, where to pivot, and if there are any good punts on the slate. Note, in previous weeks I had the games listed in order as they appeared on the Draft Kings slate. This week, I am listing them in order of Vegas implied total points since the higher scoring games are where we tend to focus our attention first when constructing rosters.

Tampa Bay Bucs (26.75/+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (30.25/-3.5) [57]

Tampa has had a week to get adjusted to life without FitzMagic and the return of Jameis Winston ($5800) behind center. Fitzpatrick is an excellent short-term player, but Winston finished last season on fire and will look to regain that form here against Atlanta, who is allowing the second most points to opposing QBs on the slate. Winston has thrown at least 3 TDs against the Falcons in every game he’s faced them since Dirk Koetter took over as the head coach of the Bucs. With the shoot-out type games both teams are playing, Winston has to be toward the top of your player pool this week. Atlanta is allowing 2.4 passing TDs and a multi-TD passing game in 4 out of their five games so far.

Mike Evans FantasyMike Evans ($8100) is going to cost you at WR this week, but the other receiving threats for TB are cheap. Evans, however, has averaged 22.9 points per game in the last 4 games versus Atlanta and should be high on the radar as well. Of the cheaper options, Chris Godwin ($4400) is leading the team in red zone targets with six, and Desean Jackson ($5900) is leading the NFL in points per target for all WRs with at least ten targets on the year. If Jackson gets some slot snaps this week, he could go ham. No one on the Falcons outside can keep up with him either, but they are really weak in the middle. That weakness also puts O.J. Howard ($3500) on the radar as well as a Jameis favorite in the red zone, Cam Brate ($3700). Normally, we like to attack the Falcons with pass catching RBs, but Tampa doesn’t have a viable one of those this year. They’re running a three-headed backfield with Ronald Jones ($3900) finally starting to see some work. I’ll have no interest in this backfield.

At this point, I’m playing Julio Jones ($7900) until he finally has his Julio Jones ceiling game. Tampa Bay allows the most passing/receiving yards, highest yards per pass attempt, and highest average passing TDs per game (3.3) on the slate. There’s room for Julio to do Julio things here, which means he’s probably going to be chalky this week. There should also be enough room for the other guys to get a piece of the pie in this one. Calvin Ridley ($6300) and Mo Sanu ($4800) are both in play as a way to get off some of the chalkier pieces in this game. I don’t imagine Austin Hooper ($3500) as being able to reproduce his numbers from last week, and he’s no longer a sub-$3k option. Matt Ryan ($6800) is the most expensive QB on the slate, but will still be chalky at that price. The Falcons are starting to look like a three-headed backfield after last game. Tampa will allow some rushing TDs, but none of these guys seems likely to get enough yards to make a difference if they only get one TD. I’ll pass on this backfield until there’s more clarity.

There’s a case to be made just to stack this game up and log out until Sunday night to see how much you’ve won. But, we know it’s never that easy. Nevertheless, this game will be highly targeted by DFS players, and very well should be. With so many options, there may not be too many players that jump out as high owned chalk, except for the two QBs and the top 2 WRs. It’s all game theory for how to approach this game with that in mind. I’ll have Winston, Julio, and some combo of Tampa WRs in my pool this week. Not sure I’ll spend up for Matty Ice, will have to see how roster construction goes.

Pittsburgh Steelers (25.5/+2) at Cincinnati Bengals (27.5/-2) [53]

In my opinion, Vegas has this one way too high. Both of the games between these two ended at 43 points total last year, and these two teams always play each other tough. It’s a new year and all, but these rosters are largely the same as they were last year. Ben Roethlisberger has averaged a little over 17 points per game the last two years versus Cincy, both on the road and an average of all four games is right around 17. None of those games went over 20 points. Big Ben won’t be high on my list this week. Antonio Brown ($8700) averaged 20 points per game against CIN in both games last year, but only 8 points in the two games in 2016. William Jackson has been able to shut down Brown in their previous match-ups, but WJ3 isn’t earning high marks from the PFF crew this year. I wouldn’t downgrade Brown for the match-up, as they should be able to scheme him away from Jackson, who sits on one side of the field. The Atlanta trio were all able to put up some pretty good numbers against this defense a couple of weeks ago, so all the Steelers WRs are in play. James Conner ($7700) got slump-buster Atlanta last week and was the chalk that hit. Kenyan Drake busted his slump versus the Bengals last week. Conner could be the best play from the Steelers in this game, but his salary has crept up to RB4 this week. I’d rather find the extra $1000 and roster Antonio in this case.

A.J. Green ($8000) has 3 games over 20 DK points so far this year and had a 7/77/2 game at home against the Steelers last year. The match-up data doesn’t jump out much for this match-up, but with Eifert and Kroft both out at TE, and John Ross looking questionable for the game, Green and Tyler Boyd ($6000) are going to see a lot of work. The Bengals will try to keep Green away from Haden some in this and get him over against Burns or in the slot against Hilton. This is a game where Green should be able to hit that 20 point floor, with 28 points a likely outcome. Boyd should see another 7-10 targets in this one, which makes his salary seem a bit high. C.J. Uzomah ($3000) is a strong punt play that will probably be chalky at TE. He might be all they have left this week, and the Steelers are the worst on the slate versus TEs. Gio Bernard is likely to miss another game, and Joe Mixon ($7500) is back to full workload status. $7500 is too high for me to be on Joe this week though.

Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, and C.J. Uzomah are the three from this game I’ll have in my pool for the week.

Los Angeles Rams (29.5/-7) at Denver Broncos (22.5/+7) [52]

Robert WoodsThe Broncos defense has not been good this year, allowing 19 or more points in every game, and 27 or more in their last 3. The Rams are a the top of the conversation for best offenses in the league.  The Rams OL should give Jared Goff ($6000) enough time to make plays before Miller and Chubb come bearing down on him. Goff is reasonably priced for this slate (will likely be chalky) and he should have his full arsenal of weapons this week with Brandin Cooks ($7000) and Cooper Kupp ($6500) expected to clear the concussion protocol. Robert Woods ($6900) joins this trio of “pick who you like/can afford”. The only one I’d really worry about is Kupp in the slot versus Chris Harris. Woods tends to see more targets than Cooks and has a higher aDot, but Cooks has a higher RACR on AirYards.com.  Todd Gurley ($10,000) is the first to reach the 5-digit price tag this year. If you can afford him, get him, as there isn’t a lot to love in the RB pool this week. Even at that price tag, Gurley may end up a bit chalky. Denver is allowing the highest yards per carry on the slate at 5.2.

Marcus Peters has been struggling so far in LA, but he is answering a lot of press questions about it and seems to still have his confidence. I don’t consider Demaryius Thomas ($5800) or Cortland Sutton ($3500) good enough to take a chance with against him, in case he gets right this week. Nickell Robey-Coleman is a shutdown slot corner so that I won’t have interest in Manny Sanders ($6700) this week. Where LA can be beat is on the ground. The Rams are allowing 5.0 yards per carry, which is partially derived from softboxes as teams are playing catch-up late, but they can be run on. Phillip Lindsay ($4500) out-touched Royce Freeman ($3900) last week after it seemed Freeman was going to start getting more work. Of the two, Lindsay is the safer option and is priced toward the lower end of the salary scale. I may consider him as a punt if I need some salary relief, but otherwise, have no interest in the Broncos offense this week.

Seattle Seahawks (25.75/-3) at Oakland Raiders (22.75/+3) [48.5]

The Raider defense has not allowed a WR or a TE to exceed 18 points in a game yet this year. They have allowed three RB’s to cross the twomper line, with Gurley, Gordon, and Chubb. This sets up well for Seattle and the way they’ve been playing the last few weeks by running the ball 60% of the time. Oakland is allowing 127 rush yards at 4.9 yards per carry and a 1.2 rushing TD per game average. Chris Carson ($4400) is priced way too cheap for this slate is going to be high on my player pool list this week. Not sure if he’ll be chalky, but I would guess he’ll carry decent ownership at this bargain. Carson has run for over 100 yards in each of his last 2 games he played. In the game Carson had to miss due to injury, between his 100-yard efforts, Mike Davis ($4100) ran for over 100 yards and 2 TDs. I was hoping Russell Wilson’s ($5700) price would drop after 4 games of under 20 points in a row, but apparently, DraftKings thinks he’ll ball out because they raised his price by $600. Wilson is always in my player pool, but I’ll have to see how roster construction goes to find out how much, or if I’ll have much exposure to him this week. Doug Baldwin ($5300) had one target last week and has conceded that he is likely to suffer as long as Seattle is successful running the ball. He does operate in the portion of the field that Oakland has allowed their highest point totals to, the slot. If I play Russ, I’ll have Baldwin in there for the stack.

Fire up the narrative; it’s a Marshawn Lynch ($5300) revenge game! I’ll be on board for this in some line-ups. Lynch recently went for 130 yards against Cleveland, demonstrating his ceiling. If he can get across the goal line once or twice, he’ll be well over 20 DK points on the day and smashing value. Seattle is fairly soft against the run allowing 129 yards per game at 4.7 yards per carry, and K.J. Wright will miss the game, further helping Marshawn’s cause here. Jordy Nelson ($4900) should see a lot of rookie corner Tre Flowers, so I’ll have interest there. Amari Cooper ($5200) will also interest me here, as he seems to be on a “good game every other game” pace this season.

Los Angeles Chargers (23.25/-1.5) at Cleveland Browns (21.75/+1.5) [45]

Philip RiversThis should be a fun game to watch with Old Man Rivers and the rookie slinging the ball all over the field. Cleveland’s stats are skewed high because they have been involved in 3 overtime games this year. Still, we know where to attack them and who the Chargers are as an offense. The prolific trio of Phillip Rivers ($5900), Melvin Gordon ($8200), and Keenan Allen ($7500) are the main pieces driving the LA offense, and they come with the higher price tags. They also have a couple of key secondary players with Austin Ekeler ($4200) and Mike Williams ($4300) that are capable of breaking off a solid game here or there and can provide some salary relief. Ekeler is second on the team with 11 red zone opportunities, behind Gordon’s 20 tries. The third guy on the list is actually Rivers with eight rushing attempts. Mike Williams only has four red zone targets but leads the team in TDs and market share for air yards. He’s worth a look as a punt option this week going up against E.J. Gaines.

The Chargers defense hasn’t been as strong as expected this year with Joey Bosa unable to suit up yet. The Chargers made a few tweaks to their DL rotation last week after getting Liguet back, and they looked better, getting more pressure on the QB. Statistically, no one position stands out for the Browns as a mismatch or a spot to exploit the Chargers with. Jarvis Landry is only $6600 this week and is all but assured 10 targets a week. I’ll consider him, but there are two punt plays I’ll also consider here. Squeaky wheel Duke Johnson ($3700) is frustrated about not getting the ball more, and when you watch his plays you can understand why. If I need to save some salary this week, I might get him into a line-up or two. The other guy to consider as a punt is WR Derrick Willies ($3200). With Rashad Higgins out for a couple of weeks, it will be Duke and Willies taking on those snaps and opportunities.

 

 

Indianapolis Colts (21.25/+2.5) at New York Jets (23.75/-2.5) [45]

The Colts are beat up. Hilton and Doyle will miss this game, and Ebron is questionable with 2 DNPs then a full practice on Friday. The Colts signed a TE off the practice squad this week as insurance in case Ebron can’t go or will be limited. If Ebron misses the game, Eric Swoope ($2500) becomes an interesting punt play, even though the Jets are tough against TEs. Should Ebron play, he still has appeal. With Hilton and Doyle out, there isn’t much left for pass catchers besides Eric Ebron ($5400), Swoope, Chester Rogers ($4500), Ryan Grant ($4600), and Nyheim Hines ($5100). The Jets seem like they’ll be without starting corners Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine, so while I can’t really find a WR to lock onto (Rogers if I had to pick one), it does give me a reason to get Andrew Luck ($6200) into some line-ups. Marlon Mack ($3800) should be back in the starting RB spot, but the Colts OL is also beaten up – but will get Castonzo back at LT. I’d like to play Hines in a couple line-ups since he has been getting extra targets the last two weeks, and should continue to have that role even with Mack back. He’s averaged ten targets per game over his last two, which should help pay off the $500 increase in salary he got this week. Hines is also leading the team in red zone carries with 6, and is second behind Ebron in total red zone opportunities with 9.

Indy will get back two corners and their stud rookie LB for this game, making this a little more challenging to find anything to like on the Jets side of the ball. But, they are home favorites with a 3 TD implied total. Isaiah Crowell ($5000)is a gametime decision, so keeping an eye on this situation could uncover a value play. If Crowell were to miss the game, that opens up Bilal Powell ($4500) to take the bulk of the RB work. Crowell (10) and Powell (9) lead the team in red zone opportunities, so if one has all those opportunities to themselves, it could be quite a boost. Most weeks the only “playable” WR on the Jets has been Quincy Enunwa ($5600), but he’s either going to be matched-up against Desir or Moore, which is not an advantageous match-up for him. Robby Anderson ($4600) came out of hibernation last week and went ham for a 30.3 game. Based on pricing and match-up, he’d be the preferred play here, but I don’t imagine I’ll go with either.

Carolina Panthers (22.25/PK) at Washington Redskins (22.25/PK) [44.5]

Cam NewtonCam Newton ($6100) is setting career highs in completion percentage, even with the sorry group of WRs and TEs (with Olsen out) he’s been throwing to. No wonder why he’s locked onto Christian McCaffrey ($8300) for nearly 25% of his throws. Devin Funchess ($4900) has seen 22% come his way, and his price is very appealing this week. Funchess is getting 34% of the air yards market share, and his aDOT is 12.9. This could be a breakout game for him this week. It’s worth noting this is Cam’s second lowest price on the season, and he’s had a couple of good games against Washington in the last few years. A discounted Cam is always going to be high on my player list, and I won’t mind stacking him with Funchess or CMC, or both. The Redskins defense has been vulnerable to rushing TDs, allowing 5 in their 4 games played (1.3 per game). These could go to Cam or CMC. Washington is also allowing a solid 19.5 points per game to RB1s, which is about where CMC’s floor is for this one.

I’m not sure what Vegas sees on the Washington side to make this a pick’em. The Skins passing game is a mess, with a QB throwing worm burners to non-descript WRs and the RBs are banged up. I guess 22 points seems attainable, but only if they’re putting up late garbage points. Washington is a one-dimensional offense that is mainly getting by on the back of Adrian Peterson ($4800), who is averaging 16.2 points this year. Peterson’s price and the fact he’s not being totally ignored in the passing game will keep him on my radar here. However, Chris Thompson is too risky for me at his $6100 price tag and being limited by injuries the past couple weeks. Pass on Smith and the receivers.

Arizona Cardinals (16.5/+10) at Minnesota Vikings (26.5/-10) [43]

David Johnson ($5900) has been progressively scoring more points each week while his salary has continued to decline. I don’t love this match-up for him, but that disparity between price and production has me intrigued. He’s the only player I’d consider from the Cards this week. The Vikings have been beaten three times for 15+ points from some of the better TEs in the league. If you consider Ricky Seals-Jones ($2700) in the same class, then he’s a punt play you can consider.

With the second lowest expected total of the slate on the other side, the Vikings DST ($3800) will be a nice defense to roster this week if you can afford to. With Cook looking questionable at best to play, or even play for very many snaps if he does, Latavius Murray ($4700) gets the smash spot against one of the best team in the league to target with RBs in fantasy football. Murray should see around 70% of the snaps if Cook sits, which is plenty of opportunity to meet value. Arizona is so bad against the run, teams aren’t bothering to pass against them. If Minnesota decides they want to, they have two very elite WRs to target. Adam Thielen ($8500) is priced way up, but the dude is getting 13 targets a game and has not finished below 100 yards receiving yet. He’s got one of the safest floors in the NFL right now and is averaging 27 points per game with his lowest score at 19. Stefon Diggs ($7600) is averaging 11 targets per game but has only two games above 100 yards and hasn’t caught a TD in 3 weeks. Diggs is a bit riskier play this week with the game set up for the Vikings to run the ball a lot, and Thielen handling the possession duties.

Chicago Bears (22.75/-4) at Miami Dolphins (18.75/+4) [41.5]

Pass catching RBs have given the Dolphins a lot of trouble this year, most notably James White’s 31 point game two weeks ago. The Patriots chose to just run and throw the ball with their running backs, and Miami had no answer. I’d expect the Bears to take the same approach in this road match-up. Jordan Howard ($6500) will be the hammer and Tarik Cohen ($4600) will be the finesse. Both guys are worth rostering. Cohen has an excellent price and has the passing game usage to keep his floor up. Cohen’s ceiling was demonstrated two weeks ago with a 33 point game against Tampa Bay. Cohen and the Bears DST ($3300) are likely going to be the only ones I have in my player pool for this game. The Dolphins are just too beat up to trust right now, especially against a defense of this caliber that is healthy and coming off a bye week.

Buffalo Bills (15.5/+10) at Houston Texans (25.5/-10) [41]

Deshaun Watson TexansThere will be no Bills in my player pool, except for possibly the Bills DST ($2200) due to price and potential for Watson to not finish this game either due to injury or just being so far ahead they bring in Weeden. With Watson questionable, he’ll be out of my pool this week. The only Texan I have much interest in will be Keke Coutee ($4600) since he’ll get the routes into the middle areas were Buffalo is most vulnerable. I don’t know that there will be enough volume needed for Hopkins and Fuller to really go off this week.

Ravens (21.75/-2.5) at Tennessee (19.25/+2.5) [41]

Spreadsheet scouting doesn’t uncover any real points to exploit, so we have to look for value and opportunity here. Alex Collins ($4600) is questionable and could be limited in this one. Javorius Allen ($4800) has been outperforming him anyway. If there is any indication Collins won’t play or will be limited, Allen is squarely in play. Since this game has the look of a potential 12-10 score, both teams defenses are in play (Ravens $2800 and Titans $2500). Taywan Taylor ($3900) makes for a decent punt play facing off against Tavon Young in the slot.

Jaguars (22.0/-3.5) at Dallas (18.5/+3.5) [40.5]

T.J. Yeldon ($6400) will probably be chalky this week with both Fournette and Corey Grant now out for the week. Dallas will be missing Sean Lee, which will add to the attraction for folks to flock to Yeldon. Alfred Blue just went for a hair under 20 points against this defense last week, which is about what we can expect Yeldon’s floor to be. The Jaguars DST ($3600) is also in consideration this week. Ezekiel Elliott ($7000) is $700 less than he’s been at any other point this season an is guaranteed to see high volume. With his reduced price, he’s worth considering. If Jalen Ramsey misses the game and the Jaguars are forced to move Tyler Patmon outside and have someone else play slot, then I’ll take a second look at Cole Beasley ($3200) as a deep punt option over Derek Willies.

Final Thoughts

This is an interesting slate with none of the elite TEs in the player pool, making that position easier to punt on. QBs are also priced very reasonable this week. Just playing around with roster construction allows you to get high-end talent at RB and WR and punt at the onsie spots. Game theory may be to build a line-up or two and pay up at those onesie spots and go modest on RBs and WRs. There won’t be a lot of rosters out there like that, which could be an advantage in larger field tourneys. Good luck this week, and thanks for reading!

 

 

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