Originally posted: October 13, 2017
In Ahead of the Curve, I will try and identify multiple NFL DFS trends that are pertinent for the upcoming week. These trends could be betting related, player- or team-specific, or game theory/ownership topics to help you gain an edge in your lineups.
Let’s get to the Week 6 Curve:
1. Navigating the Cohort Of High-End Running Backs
This week is loaded with excellent running back plays from the top of the salary scale to all the way down in the middle- and low-tier. We’ll get to one of the biggest Week 6 decisions in the Saints backfield in a moment – but we need to go through prime plays first.
Starting from the top, Kareem Hunt ($9300) is at home, Kansas City is favored and playing a Pittsburgh defense that is allowing the most fantasy points per carry to opposing backs. Hunt has gone over 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this year – while the Steelers are being bludgeoned for the fourth-most scrimmage yards per game via running backs (166.6).
Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette ($8600) is a home-favorite against a Rams’ front-seven that is getting shellacked for the most fantasy PPG by ball carriers. Opposing backs are tagging 119.80 yards, and 1.20 rushing touchdowns per game vs. the Rams as L.A. is allowing the third-most rushing points per carry to the position. Attached to the most run-heavy squad in the league that is running on 57.4% of red-zone plays (third-most), Fournette is in the running for the best RB play on the board in Week 6. He should lose his mind against the Rams.
Devonta Freeman ($8500) is also at home in Atlanta and a huge favorite (-13) over Miami. Since the start of 2015, Freeman is averaging 1.43 rushing touchdowns per game when the Falcons are at home and favored by six or more points (seven-game sample size). Freeman has finished as the weekly RB21, RB6, RB7, and RB17 this year with at least 11.9 PPR points in each game. After an odd Week 1 with just 14 opportunities, Freeman has at least 20 attempts and targets in each game since (21 > 24 > 20).
All-purpose monsters Le’Veon Bell ($9000) and Todd Gurley ($8400) are not home-favorites like Hunt, Fournette, and Freeman – but they are in pristine matchups against Kansas City and Jacksonville, respectively. The Chiefs (24th in FootballOutsiders’ Run Defense DVOA) and Jaguars (31st – Run Defense DVOA) are stout versus aerial attacks, but leaky against the run. Bell has an absurd 66(!) opportunities (attempts plus targets) in his last two games while Gurley finished as a top-six scoring back in each contest in the first month of the season.
Ownership is going to be incredibly exciting this week. Hunt, in theory, is the top play on the board for his floor/ceiling in a fantastic matchup – but Gurley is $900 cheaper on FanDuel and has an equally appetizing draw versus Jacksonville. On this subject, the best receiver in fantasy football, Antonio Brown, is juiced all the way up in price in Week 6 ($9200) and will likely be lower owned than he should while everyone (rightfully) loads up on high-priced backs. With such a loaded crop of high-cost plays, it’d be wise to diversify tournament allocation if you are multi-entering lineups this week.
2. Mark Ingram vs. Alvin Kamara
While Alvin Kamara is the shiny new toy, Mark Ingram is the superior Saints’ running back play this week. Kamara is a sharp start in his right, but Ingram’s floor/ceiling combination is incredibly underpriced on FanDuel at $5900 this week. The Saints are at home, favored by -4.5, and with Adrian Peterson‘s ineffective carries now off the roster – both Kamara and Ingram are in line for more work.
However, it’d be a surprise if the Saints’ magically flip a switch and make Alvin Kamara a volume running back without Peterson. Consider that in Week 2-4, the Saints’ team share of carries was as follows: Ingram (50%); Peterson (29%); Kamara (11%). What’s more, as Adam Levitan notes, Mark Ingram‘s share of Saints running back carries has increased in every week this season: 31% > 47% > 56% > 61%. More specifically, Ingram has at least one red-zone carry in every game so far, and his last three snap rates are 55% > 50% > 62%. Kamara’s snap rates (26% > 29% > 35%) were significantly behind Ingram’s in that span with Peterson on the roster.
With that said, Kamara is tied for the Saints’ lead in red-zone targets (5) with Michael Thomas, and he has at least five targets in every game. That’s a great floor at his cost. Still, Mark Ingram has target totals of 5 > 5 > 4 > 8 this year and now has a legitimate shot at seeing 65% of team carries. In fantasy football, opportunity – not sexy, shiny new things – scores us points. Ingram is the better volume bet against Detroit in Week 6.
3. The Tight End Minefield
This week on FanDuel, Rob Gronkowski is up at an exorbitant $8000 and is effectively priced as a low-end WR1 while Travis Kelce’s price has stagnated in the low-$7000 range. Meanwhile, Jordan Reed’s FanDuel salary is at a near two-year low of $6500, marking his second-lowest cost point since Week 1, 2016.
However, injuries are abundant for Gronk, Kelce, and Reed.
Rob Gronkowski (thigh) will play this week – but on a slate where we want to spend up (at least once) at running back, it’ll be hard to fit in Gronk’s high price point. However, at press-time, Kelce looks like he’s going to clear through the NFL’s concussion protocol and since he’s been questionable for most of the week, he may come in at lower ownership than expected. Travis Kelce is averaging a cool 6/87/0.40 (14.1 FanDuel PPG) at home over the past two years. Kelce has 9.1 PPG on the road during that span.
Finally, Jordan Reed is off of Washington’s injury report but he still says he’s playing at “less than 100 percent” health as we head towards Week 6. Honestly, I don’t think Reed has been 100 percent healthy in many years, and it’s hard to ignore that his snap rate nosedived after Week 1 (87%) to 56% in Week 2 and then was 28% in Week 4 before Washington’s bye. Reed missed Week 3 entirely.
Once again, it makes the most sense to institute a barbell approach at tight end for lineup decisions. If you’re not feeling the high-cost injury mess in Week 6, Austin Hooper ($4800) and Ryan Griffin ($4500) are serviceable punts on FanDuel.
The issue with Austin Hooper this year hasn’t been playing-time, it’s been volume. This year, Hooper has played over 70% snaps in every single game but, before Week 4, Hooper had just six targets total. However, with Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) limited to 31 snaps in Week 4 and now that he’s likely out in Week 6, Austin Hooper stands to see the most significant bump in targets. Sanu runs 61% of his routes from the slot and averaged 7.0 targets per game when healthy in Week 1-3. Granted, Hooper won’t just dominate all of Sanu’s missing passing looks — but both players obviously run routes from a similar part of the field. What’s more, 27.8% of throws going into Miami’s pass coverage have gone to tight ends while only the Browns (7.60) have allowed more receptions per game to enemy tight ends than the Dolphins (7.0).
On the flip side, Griffin is the stone minimum on FanDuel; he has played at least 80% of team snaps in three-straight games with CJ Fiedorowicz (concussion) on injured-reserve with 5.0 targets per contest in that span. This year, the Browns have continued their annual tradition of getting clocked by enemy tight ends as they are seeing the highest target share against tight ends in their coverage (31%) and allowing an insane 81% catch rate to the position. No team is giving up more receptions per game to tight ends than Cleveland.
As usual, figuring out tight end is like swimming in treacherous, piranha-filled waters in Week 6.
4. It’s D-Jax Week
While Patrick Peterson chases Mike Evans around the Bucs’ formation in Week 6, DeSean Jackson will benefit from the Cardinals poor coverage beyond Peterson. The Cardinals are getting waxed for the league’s fourth-most yards per reception (14.37) while Jackson is coming off his best game as a Buc in Week 5 (five catches, 106 yards). Golden Tate (10/107), Brice Butler (2/90/1), Nelson Agholor (4/93/1), and Torrey Smith (3/70/1) have all ripped the Cards’ while each team’s respective best boundary receiver is busy with Patrick Peterson‘s lock-down coverage. Peterson has held down alpha receivers (Hilton – 4/49, Bryant – 2/12/1, Garcon – 4/36, Jeffery – 3/31) all year long.
Arizona has allowed an above-league-average catch rate on throws 30-plus yards downfield while DeSean Jackson already leads the league in targets thrown 20-plus yards in the air per game (3.50). D-Jax has legitimate WR1 upside in Week 6 as the corner he’ll see most of (Justin Bethel) has been waxed for touchdown gains of 37, 45, and 59 yards this year.
5. It’s Also Landry Week (Again)
The lone playable member of the ‘Fins pass offense – and perhaps the entire team in Week 6 – is Jarvis Landry. Owning the NFL version of reverse-splits, Jarvis Landry performs better when the ‘Fins are underdogs by three or more points (12.87 FanDuel PPG) versus all other games (11.66 PPG). The Falcons are favorites by a whopping 13-points in Week 6. What’s more, Landry has double-digit targets in 3-of-4 games this year as only DeAndre Hopkins has seen a higher percentage of his team’s targets than Landry on the year (31%). Given the fact that Atlanta is forcing opposing offenses to the air at the third-highest rate in the league and that Miami is a huge road dog that will likely be without DeVante Parker (ankle), Jarvis Landry has an eight to nine target floor in Week 6. Do you want volume? You’ve got it here.
Source: Fantasy Guru
As a non-profit entity, we do not have the staff to cover the NFL like other great websites. When we find great articles, we pass on the information and give credit where credit is due. The content on our website is provided for FREE and solely to assist the participants in the Fantasy Gives fantasy football fundraiser, where we utilize fantasy sports as a means to support non-profit groups.
This post was adapted from their premium service and WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND PAYING FOR A SUBSCRIPTION TO THEIR WEBSITE! Please visit Fantasy Guru for subscription details.