We’re five weeks in and we’ve got a decent handle on trends and tendencies at this point. As usual, the goal here is simple. We’re looking to highlight the games and teams circling the best Vegas totals and play calling outlook. For a full player by player outlook on the week, make sure to check out my thoughts in the Week 6 Worksheet.
*Lines taken from BetUS
The highest game total of the week belongs to the Panthers visiting the Saints in the Coors Field of NFL DFS. Since the start of last season, the average combined point total for games in New Orleans is 65.8 with just two games posting combined scores under 50 points with a low of 45 points. The Saints themselves have scored 28 or more points in seven straight home games while allowing 27 or more points in all seven.
Drew Brees ($8,500) is a bargain as the 6th quarterback in terms of pricing this week. Brees has thrown three or more touchdowns in seven straight games at home, the second longest streak in NFL history. Over that span, he’s averaged 30.1 FanDuel points with a low of 22.5. Lock him into cash lineups where you're paying up at the position. The Carolina secondary is allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempt this season after allowing 6.2 yards per pass attempt in 2015, so don’t find any issues around the perception that the Carolina pass defense is still what they were a season ago.
With Brees is in play, so are all of his weapons. Brandin Cooks ($7,500) is priced comfortably and he has scored eight touchdowns over his past seven games in New Orleans. Willie Snead ($7,000) is an option as well as Carolina is roating their secondary due to injuries, but he’s placed in a gray area of pricing this week - below the top options, but ahead of the values - so he's tougher to wedge into final rosters. Instead, where I’m not using Cooks, I’m looking at rookie Michael Thomas ($5,400) as a cheaper play this weekend and a direct pivot off of the ownership that Cameron Meredith will surely have at the same cost. Thomas has led the Saints in targets in each of the past two games and has found the end zone in each of those games as he leads the Saints with six red zone targets.
While Brees will be my primary cash game quarterback, Cam Newton ($8,900) makes for a great tournament option. New Orleans allows 5.5 red zone trips per game at home, the most in the league and the Saints have allowed a touchdown on 31 percent of their opponent's possessions, the highest rate in the league. Tack on to those numbers that Newton scored over 30 points in each of the meetings between these teams a season ago.
You can pepper in Kelvin Benjamin ($7,800) where you please, but we’re largely looking at Greg Olsen ($8,100) when pairing Newton with one of his teammates. Olsen has 29.2 percent of the team receptions and 36.2 percent of the Panther receiving yardage while has eight or more receptions in three consecutive games against the Saints. Add in a Saints receiver of your choosing and you have a high ceiling game stack.
Seattle has a solid team total and are big home favorites, things we love to see in unison when targeting games. Russell Wilson ($8,400) has dealt with lower body injuries, but is coming off of a bye week to aid him and just put up 24 points in last game played prior to that off week. Atlanta has allowed over 20 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks to four of the five quarterbacks they’ve faced and are allowing 21.3 passing points per game, tied for the second most in the league.
Christine Michael ($7,400) is also in a great spot and flying somewhat low this week given the surplus of good options at the running back position. Michael has 22 and 23 touches since becoming the starter and has been a top-12 scoring option in each of those weeks. The Falcons are allowing the 5th most points to opposing backfields, so don’t let him go completely under owned.
The week off may have made some owners forget about Jimmy Graham ($6,900) being back to his old self. He went over 100-yards in each of his two games before the bye, the first time he has had back to back 100-yard receiving yard games since 2013. Graham leads all tight ends with 12.1 yards per target while the Falcons have allowed four top-12 scorers at the position.
The Patriots have the second highest team total after Carolina and although it was against the Browns, the New England offense looked like the juggernaut we expected to see at full strength. Tom Brady ($9,000) threw for 400-yards for the 8th time in his career in his first game back and now has multiple touchdown passes in 14 of his past 17 games played. Three of the past four quarterbacks to face the Bengals have been top-12 scorers as well. You’re paying a premium on Brady over the field, but he’s in a fantastic spot once again.
They aren’t on the main slate, but definitely get into some contests that have the Monday Night game available. 81.6 percent of the yards gained against the Jets have been through the air, the second highest rate in the league (Green Bay, 86.5 percent). The Jets are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 71.7 percent of their passes and have allowed 1,512 passing yards, the most in franchise history through five weeks. Not only are they allowing hyper-efficiency to opposing passing games, but the Jets are also getting toasted vertically, surrendering 10 plays of 30 or more yards.
That plays right into what the Cardinals want to do with their passing game. 24.2 percent of Carson Palmer's ($7,700) pass attempts have been 15 yards or further downfield, the highest rate in the league. With Palmer playing on Monday Night and missing last week’s game, he may not be on people’s minds, making him a potential value in terms of ownership and ceiling.
Larry Fitzgerald ($7,500) is a fine option in that game as he has five or more receptions in every game this season and is leading the team with seven red zone targets, but where the Jets weaknesses really lie make John Brown ($6,600) the most attractive option in terms of upside and cost. Brown has led the Cardinals with 11 and 16 targets in the past two games that Palmer has started and with Michael Floyd playing just 44 and 33 percent of the team snaps the past two weeks; Brown is the clear vertical option in this passing attack.
When looking at play totals and their subsequent splits, we have to be excited about using LeSean McCoy ($8,200) this week. Not only are teams running an abundance of plays versus San Francisco, but they are running the ball with them, something the Bills inherently want to do as an offense. McCoy has been a top-17 scorer every week so far this season and that was while facing four defenses in the top half of points allowed to running backs and three in the top-12. He has 47.1 percent of the Buffalo touches, the fourth highest rate for any player in the league. 41.2 percent of McCoy's carries have also gone for five or more yards, the highest rate of all players with at least 40 carries on the season.
After allowing just 65 rushing yards Week 1, the 49ers have allowed 167.3 rushing yards per game over the past four weeks, the most in the NFL and a 100-yard rusher in every one of those games. That’s a bad mix when facing the Bills, who want to be run-heavy. 44.8 percent of their offensive yardage comes from rushing output, the highest rate in the league.
As if they needed it, the Steelers could be in line for a play calling boost as the Dolphins are facing the most plays per game in the league. Ben Roethlisberger ($8,700) has thrown for 250 or more yards in six straight games dating back to last season, the longest ongoing streak in the league. He has as also thrown a touchdown once every 12.8 pass attempts, the best rate in the league. It’s a great matchup, but I generally prefer using Roethlisberger at home and Brees underneath him in terms in pricing.
Pricing this week makes it really hard to pay top-dollar for Antonio Brown ($9,700), but if you can, he’s been a top-10 scorer in every game except for one while Miami has allowed the 6th most receptions and the 5th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
While it’s harder to fit Brown in, because we really want to target Le’Veon Bell ($9,300) this week where we can. Bell has already hit 20 points scored in each of his first two games back without even scoring a touchdown yet as he has 23 and 29 touches since returning. The Dolphins face the most running back touches per game at 35 and are big underdogs here, setting up for another monster from Bell.