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. The focus is on Sunday games, since both main DFS sites have eliminated Monday and Thursday games from their big tournaments.
The high scoring games:
Cincinnati at New England
Total 47, Patriots -9
It’s safe to say the Patriots are in top form, with Rob Gronkowski suddenly feeling much healthier now that Tom Brady is back in the saddle. This was a dangerous team in Weeks 1-3, but now they are apparently on a rampage. They own the highest implied team total for Week 6 despite facing what has been a fairly limiting defense for fantasy purposes. I don’t think Martellus Bennett matches Week 5’s performance again this season, but using either tight end with Brady ought to be a solid starting point this weekend. My plan will be to hedge a bit, making lineups with Brady and each of his tight ends. None of the receivers project as safe plays, though Julian Edelman received 10 targets last week and could be a nice potential breakout play in tournaments. LeGarrette Blount was disappointing in Week 5, and I use him with some hesitation in a week where there are actually a number of decent options at the position. That said, now that Brady has re-established himself, the Pats could definitely go back to him heavily if they’re up in the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati is averaging just over 18 points per game, is on the road, and a significant underdog. It can make sense to target guys in the passing game in this situation in tournaments, but that would be the only situation I’m using Andy Dalton or A.J. Green, who has been a top five receiver in terms of targets (52) and receptions (36) so far this season. I will continue to fade the Bengals running backs. This has traditionally not been a profitable situation to try to predict and in this particular situation is ill advised.
Pittsburgh at Miami
Total 47.5, Steelers -7.5
In a week where I had a hole in almost every lineup, Big Ben Roethlisberger and Sammie Coates saved me last Sunday. Coates will be the hot name on everyone’s list this week, and it looks like he’s rightfully the number two guy in the Steelers’ passing offense. I maintain that you rarely go wrong building around Antonio Brown, even at his price, when he’s at home. But while Brown actually has more targets and receptions in road games, he has scored less than 25% of his touchdowns away from Pittsburgh. So despite the high total here, I’m probably looking to save with Coates. Miami has been a top fantasy matchup for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends this season, but I suspect this won’t be a 5-6 touchdown game for Roethlisberger. Le’Veon Bell faces the same price issues as Brown and a tougher matchup. Miami, despite all their struggles, has allowed only one touchdown to opposing running backs (rushing or receiving). Jesse James might be a nice value play at tight end this week, given the matchup, high total, and role in the offense. He had eight targets last week, and has three touchdowns so far this year.
Miami should be avoided in DFS. They simply aren’t running enough offensive plays to offer value to any player, even, as I learned the hard way, Jarvis Landry. While Week 5 was the first time Landry’s target volume suffered (he had three), Ryan Tannehill’s passing attempts have been on the decline for weeks. The run game, not the most stable situation to start the year, has devolved into something I want no part of against the Steelers.
The low-scoring games:
Los Angeles at Detroit
Total 43.5, Lions -3.5
It was nice to see Todd Gurley do something against the Bills last week, but he really hasn’t been the game changer the Rams nor DFS players want him to be so far. While running back fantasy points don’t correlate as well with Vegas totals, he still isn’t a guy I’m targeting on the road against the Lions. Obviously, the passing game is a work in progress, but Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, and Kenny Britt are all priced under $6K against a Detroit defense that is the most generous to opposing quarterbacks (eighth to receivers). Case Keenum is cheap enough to make a decent tournament QB, with my preferred order of LA receivers being Britt, Austin, then Quick based on their target volume if for some reason you want to use one.
The Lions are favored here, and the Rams defense has in no way been a shut down unit. Their implied team total is still uninspiring, but Matt Stafford and Marvin Jones Jr. definitely have a connection. The Eagles limited Stafford’s yardage, but he snuck in three passing touchdowns in Week 5. Low volume efficiency is not his game, and I think he’ll be passing more this week. Theo Riddick is holding up as a top running back option for fantasy in PPR formats, but on FanDuel is still very dependent on touchdowns for value. His price is right in the middle, where I’m okay with using him a little, but think there are better cash game options. The Rams make a tempting target for defenses, so if you need to save a bunch, I understand looking to the Lions at $4500, but they simply aren’t built to be a top fantasy defense.
Baltimore at New York
Total 44, Giants -3
This could be a very ugly game. The Ravens defense is genuinely good and both they and the Giants are bottom 10 fantasy matchups for opposing quarterbacks and running backs. There’s nothing attractive here offensively, but both defenses could pay off ($4500 and $4300). Joe Flacco is dealing with an ineffective running game and now injuries to Steve Smith Sr. and Mike Wallace as well. Breshad Perriman at $4900 may catch your eye, but despite around five targets per game, hasn’t made anything happen yet in his second year with the team. Given the low total here I’m not taking chances on a breakout game from Perriman in any but the most risk-reward lineup.
High team totals you might miss:
Tennessee vs. Cleveland
Total 43.5, Titans -7
My weekly FanDuel recap email reminded me that Marcus Mariota was the best value at quarterback in Week 5. While our process is to look ahead, not copy what worked the previous week, this is a team/player worth noting for Week 6. His passing attempts have been steady, his rushing has gone up, and Mariota gets a nice matchup with a Browns team that isn’t stopping anyone (fifth most fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks). To boot, the Browns can hardly expect to stay on the field offensively, providing more opportunities for Mariota against a more tired defense. Mariota, DeMarco Murray, and Delanie Walker are firmly in play for me this weekend.
Buffalo vs. San Francisco
Total 44.5, Bills -7.5
I wrote about the Bills (specifically their defense) last week, but even I didn’t expect such a dominant performance in Los Angeles. It probably comes from living in Western New York over the past 20 years or so… At any rate, they, like the Titans, have an implied team total of over 25 points. They’ll be at home against a 49ers defense that has given up plenty of fantasy points to opposing running backs. It’s easy to like LeSean McCoy, but I bring up the team total to say that this could be a good time to roll with Tyrod Taylor. None of the Bills receivers has proven worth a spot in DFS lineups, but Charles Clay, who has seen an uptick in targets over the past two weeks, is a cheap contrarian pairing with Taylor if you want the extra upside.