by Byron Hamilton
Each and every week there is that one player that has that huge game nobody saw coming. Daily fantasy players know the key to success on sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel is identifying these players and inserting them into your lineup. In week one it was guys like Mohammad Sanu and Theo Riddick. In week three we saw Terrelle Pryor have his historic game. And then we have week six. Jay Ajayi, Kenny Britt, and Golden Tate all had games nobody really saw coming, and yet they were the reason players won big in tournaments considering those three alone scored a combined 106.1 points in Draft Kings. We’ll do our best each to help you identify players you should select based on matchups and good old intuition with a mission to help you win some money.
Side note: the values and scoring we use are from Draft Kings. I prefer them for two reasons. They utilize PPR scoring and have an additional flex spot on the roster with no kickers. Everyone hates kickers.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Value – $7,200
It’s officially time we start taking Matt Ryan and this Falcons team seriously. Matty Ice has been at the center of much debate in the fantasy community over the first six weeks of the season. Do we trust him? Do you trade him? When does he fall apart? The answers are yes, no, and I don’t think he does. Over the last two weeks, Atlanta has faced two of the best defenses in the NFL. Ryan did have his worst game of the season against the Broncos but was still able to throw for 267 yards and a touchdown. Last week in Seattle he was his usual productive self as he threw for 3 touchdowns and 335 yards. The schedule gets much easier from here on out, and Ryan is worth a look each week in daily fantasy leagues. The Falcons will host a Chargers defense this week that has allowed 26 points or more in four games this season, which all came above against above average passing offenses. Matty Ice is the third most expensive quarterback on the slate this week, but there’s little reason to think he won’t be worth every cent.
Phillip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
Value – $6,500
Phillip Rivers has to be one of my favorite quarterbacks in the league. This guy is constantly dealt a losing hand but always seems to make the most of it. That holds true this season as well. He leads a Chargers offense that has been plagued by injury but is still averaging a serviceable 20 fantasy points per game. After sneaking out a win against Denver last week, the Chargers will face the Falcons on the road in week seven. If you take a look at the games Rivers has played that have been projected to be shootouts, then you’ll realize he’s very good when he’s caught in a high scoring game. He’s stuck spreading the ball around to a ragtag group of receivers but has found some consistent production out of his rookie tight end Hunter Henry. The scoring total for this game is projected at over 53 points, so keep in mind he’ll likely be highly owned in tournament games this week. Still, Rivers is only $6,500 and has is a great value selection this week against a vulnerable Falcons secondary.
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
Value – $6,000
After a slow start to the season, Mariota has been on fire over the past two weeks. Surprisingly, his yardage totals haven’t been that much different over the last two games. Through a rough first four games, Mariota averaged 231 yards passing and only 13.5 fantasy points per game. Over the last two weeks, he has averaged 223 yards per game and 29.7 fantasy points per game. The difference? Touchdowns. After throwing for only 4 touchdowns over the first 4 weeks, Mariota has 7 to his credit over the last two games. The Titans have leaned heavily on DeMarco Murray and for good reason. However, this team can’t continue to be one dimensional and expect to compete in the National Football League, and I think the coaching staff has realized that. Tennessee hosts a Colts team this week that has been notorious for allowing a ton of points to opposing quarterbacks and currently ranks 23rd against the position. At only $6,000, Mariota is a steal this week and should continue his recent fantasy success.
Brian Hoyer – Chicago Bears
Value – $5,900
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a closet Brian Hoyer fan. The guy has a knack for finding open receivers and limiting turning the ball over. He’s essentially a poor man’s Alex Smith with a little more leash. Last year with the Texans he was a solid streaming option and connected with DeAndre Hopkins in a big way. In a stroke of fortune, he may have even been able to snag the starting quarterback spot in Chicago this year due to his solid performances over the last few weeks. Since becoming the Bears starter, Hoyer has over 300 passing yards in each of the last four games. Last week’s matchup against the Jaguars was the first time he’s has failed to throw two touchdowns during that span. Hoyer faces a depleted Packers secondary on the road this week that may very well be starting Ty Montgomery at running back due to injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. This game should be a passing bonanza, and Hoyer is a steal at just a hair shy of the $6,000 mark.
Hail Mary Play:
Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $6,100
I literally just covered the poor man’s Alex Smith. Here we have the real deal. I honestly don’t understand the pricing on this one. Smith is averaging 15.7 fantasy points in Draft Kings leagues this season. Yet, the next quarterback to average under that many points is Colin Kaepernick at only $5,300. They’re obviously looking at this matchup between the Saints and Chiefs and thinking the same thing I am. Brees on the road. Opposing quarterback at home due for a big game. Smith hasn’t scored more than 19 fantasy points since the first week this season, and the matchup his right for him to replicate his 32 point performance in week 1. Alex Smith is the ultimate game manager, and Andy Reid likes to run the football. However, Drew Brees is one of the highest scoring fantasy scoring quarterbacks in NFL history. My guy says Kansas City won’t be able to keep up with New Orleans without throwing the football around. Opposing quarterbacks have found a large amount of success against the Saints this season, so don’t be surprised if Smith has a big day.
DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans
Value – $7,200
All the Murray haters sure have been quieted over the first part of the season. Any fear of rookie Derrick Henry snagging significant carries from Murray seems like a distant concern that this point. The veteran running back currently sits as the third highest scoring running back in Draft Kings behind only David Johnson and LeSean McCoy. He is coming off a surprisingly flat game against the soft Cleveland defense, but he was still able to rack up 65 yards and a touchdown. That’s not too shabby for a down game. The Titans will face a Colts team that was just shredded by Lamar Miller for 149 yards and a touchdown. While Murray is one of the more pricey running backs this week, I think he put up enough points to make it a worthy investment.
Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers
Value – $6,400
We saw a season-high 27 carries from Gordon last week, and he was able to turn those touches into his second highest rushing total this season of 94 yards against a stout Broncos defense. Unfortunately, he failed to find the end zone for the first time this year and turned in his lowest scoring fantasy game of the season. Gordon has a stranglehold on the backfield carries in the Chargers offense, so he’s guaranteed to see touches. Unfortunately, his fantasy production has been almost entirely reliant on touchdowns so far this season. The good news is the Chargers face a Falcons defense this week that ranks 27th in the league against opposing running backs. After being listed at $7,000 a couple weeks ago, Gordon’s price tag of $6,400 is fairly low considering the matchup.
Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $5,800
You have to feel for the Jamaal Charles owners out there. Last week was the first time you would’ve felt comfortable rolling out Charles all year, and you were spurned by Spencer Ware once again. Granted, Charles did score a touchdown but was only allowed 9 carries on the day. Ware, however, ran for 131 yards on 24 carries and finished the day with over 27 fantasy points. You have to assume Charles will be more involved in the future, but the Chiefs seem perfectly happy allowing Ware to carry the load as long as he’s able to produce. This situation will likely become much more muddled as the season progresses, but I’m riding the hot hand here while I can. The Chiefs running backs have an incredibly advantageous matchup at home this week against a Saints defense that is ranked dead last in the league against opposing running backs. While I expect Jamaal Charles will see more than 9 carries this week, you have to think Kansas City wouldn’t shy away from feeding Spencer Ware after his impressive performance. He’s a relatively inexpensive option with a great matchup this week.
Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $4,800
Every year this happens in Cincinnati. Jeremy Hill starts the season as the starting running back and then slowly starts losing touches to the more talented Giovani Bernard (in my humble opinion). Bernard has seen more touches than his counterpart over the last two weeks and has been much more productive as well. He even saw carries at the goal line, which is normally where Jeremy Hill shines. For the time being, Gio seems to be the guy to play in the Bengals backfield. The scat back has a great matchup this week against the Cleveland Browns, who rank 21st in the league against the running back position. At only $4,800, Bernard is a solid value play with upside this week.
Hail Mary Play:
Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
Value – $4,500
Man, did Ajayi’s performance last week come out of nowhere or what? With Arian Foster healthy enough to suit up for the first time since early in the season, most people were bracing themselves for an even more muddled running back situation. What we saw on Sunday was anything but muddled. Ajayi had a dominant performance as he rumbled his way to 204 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is obviously by far the best game any Miami running back has had this season, and you have to think that Adam Gase will feed the hot hand again this week. Miami will have a tough test this week as they face a Bills defense that is only allowing 16.8 points per game this season. Buffalo is particularly stingy against the pass, so Miami may turn to Ajayi often if Tannehill struggles to get anything going through the air.
Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
Value – $7,900
It seems like Derek Carr has finally realized who is number one receiver is. There was a three-game stretch after week one where Cooper was targeted in passing game nine times or less. However, over the last two weeks, Carr has targeted his talented receiver 12 or more times and Cooper scored over 25 fantasy points in each of those games. In fact, in the three contests Cooper has seen 11 or more targets he is averaging an impressive 7 catches and 134 yards per game. As long as the volume is there, the former Alabama wideout is an elite fantasy option. The matchup this week is especially juicy for Cooper as the Jaguars rank 26th in the league against opposing receivers and are giving up over 30 points per game to high-powered passing offenses. Cooper’s price is steadily rising, so this might be the last week you can grab him for under the $8,000 mark for a while. Get him in your lineups while he’s still affordable.
Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $6,700
This is do or die time for the Kansas City Chiefs passing attack. With only 293 yards on 23 catches and a touchdown on the season, Maclin has been painfully average through the Chiefs first five games. He’s not had a week with more than 80 yards and has only seen more than 8 targets in a game once. To be fair, the Chiefs rely heavily on the running game and are content to let Alex Smith manage the game rather than go out and win it. The Chiefs defense has not fared particularly well against high-powered passing offenses this season, and they will host the explosive Saints on Sunday. Kansas City could very well find themselves in a shootout against Drew Brees, but the good news the Saints rank 30th in the league at keeping opposing quarterbacks and receivers in check. Maclin is a little pricey considering his body of work so far this season, but he has a chance to have by far his best game of the season. He’s well worth the gamble.
Cameron Meredith – Chicago Bears
Value – $4,700
I was in the camp that wrote off Meredith as a one week wonder. After watching him go off again for the second consecutive week I’m going to buy in. Meredith dominated the targets once again against the Jaguars and was targeted a whopping 15 times for 11 catches for 113 yards. After seeing Brian Hoyer target Meredith 27 times in just two weeks, it seems the dynamic duo have a clear rapport forming. We’re talking about a guy who wasn’t active for the first two weeks of the season and already has only three fewer catches than “star receiver” Alshon Jeffrey. The Bears draw an advantageous matchup against a struggling Packers defense this week that has a depleted secondary. I’m officially all in on Meredith, especially at his price point of $4,700.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
Value – $9,200
This will be my shortest summary on a player to date. Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are playing at home. The Chargers are depleted in the secondary and have given up 26 points or more in four games against high powered passing offenses. He’s pricey, but he’s going to have a huge game. All in on Julio.
Hail Mary Play:
Kendall Wright – Tennessee Titans
Value – $3,700
This is purely a reaction to Wright’s game last week. The Titans are in desperate need of a go-to receiver, and it’s clearly not been Tajae Sharpe like everyone thought it would be. Kendall Wright is finally healthy, and the Titans are playing last year’s Saints in the Indianapolis Colts. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m targeting Titans players this week against a Colts team that is reeling on defense. This is the definition of a Hail Mary play, but it could pay off big if Wright comes even close to the production we saw last week. At only $3,700 he’s a total value play.
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
Value – $7,200
Gronk is officially back. The best tight end in the game looked like his usual dominant self last week against the Bengals as he caught 7 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. I typically try to find value at the tight end position in daily fantasy, but Gronk is always an option simply due to his consistency and ceiling. Tim Brady is tearing teams apart and looks to be on a mission over the last two games. While he has been spreading the ball around, Brady always has eyes for his star tight end. Only Julian Edelman has seen more targets in the New England offense over the last two weeks, and I think Gronk and Brady hook up early and often again this week against a Steelers team that will be without Ben Roethlisberger. At $7,200 he’s the highest priced option at the tight end position, so you’ll need to find value at other positions.
Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans
Value – $4,900
I was incredibly confident in Walker last week against the Browns, and boy did he burn me. Cleveland’s defense ranks in the bottom part of the league against opposing tight ends, so it was disheartening to see Marcus Mariota owner target Walker only twice in a game where he threw for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns. That being said, I’m willing to give him another shot this week against a Colts defense that my 6-year-old daughter could score on. Indianapolis has allowed over 22 points in every game except one this season, but they still have Andrew Luck throwing passes for them. This game could feature a lot of scoring, and Mariota will need to reconnect with Walker if this game turns into a shootout. Roll Walker out for another week and see if he can bounce back.
Hunter Henry – San Diego Chargers
Value – $3,600
Well, Antonio Gates had a good run, didn’t he? Nagging injuries to Gates have kept him limited over the last few weeks, and Hunter Henry has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Over the last four weeks, Henry has scored more and more points and turned in a 20 point performance against the Broncos. He’s scored a touchdown in each of the last three games and has quickly become one of the most consistent receiving options in San Diego’s offense. The Chargers will face the Falcons on the road this week in a matchup that has shootout written all over it. At only $3,600 Henry is an absolute steal this week and should be one of the highest owned players in daily leagues. If you do roll with the rookie make sure to select other less obvious players at other positions.
Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Value – $2,900
Jameis Winston has had his fair share of struggles this season. At times he’s looked like the breakout candidate many thought he would be this year. At others, he’s still looked like a rookie trying to adjust to the NFL. As expected, when Jameis struggles the offense struggles. Outside of Mike Evans, there aren’t many “must start” players on the Buccaneers roster. However when Jameis plays well this offense is explosive, and Cameron Brate is usually one of his favorite targets. At only $2,900, Brate is a pure value play with upside this week. He’ll face a 49ers defense that ranks 24th in the league against opposing tight ends, so this is an advantageous matchup. For the price, I think Brate is a great value play this week with upside.
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $2,500
Everyone’s favorite Colts enigma is back as a Hail Mary play this week, but he should fare much better this time around. Doyle hauled in 4 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown last week against the Texans and will see a lot more action in week 7. Dwayne Allen is likely out this week, which makes Doyle the unquestioned starting tight end in a high powered Colts passing attack. His matchup against the Titans isn’t great and Tennessee is ranked 9th in the league against tight ends. However, at only $2,500 is a bargain basement option and should see enough targets to give him an opportunity to put up a decent amount of points.
Who I’m Stacking:
Derek Carr/Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
Total Value – $14,200
Carr and Cooper are finally clicking on a high level after struggling to connect during a three-game stretch a few weeks ago. The biggest difference we’ve seen over last two games is a number of targets Cooper has seen come his way. In games where Carr has targeted his star receiver at least 11 times, Cooper is averaging 7 catches for 134 yards receiving. This week’s matchup is particularly inviting as the Raiders face a Jaguars defense that has been picked apart through the air this season and ranks 21st against quarterbacks and 26th against receivers. Michael Crabtree could also be used in this game as well if you’re looking for a bit of a discount.
Phillip Rivers/Hunter Henry – San Diego Chargers
Total Value – $10,100
There was a ton of discussion after Keenan Allen’s injury regarding who would step up in the Chargers offense. While the jury is still out on the receiving core, Hunter Henry has stepped up in a big way over the last few weeks. Antonio Gates has been limited, and the rookie tight end has taken full advantage of his opportunity his opportunity. Now, Gates should be back to full speed this week. It will be worth monitoring practice reports throughout the week to see who is taking most of the first-team snaps. I can’t imagine that Rivers will suddenly ignore Henry after he’s played so well, so I’m still rolling with him another week. This is an inexpensive stack against a beatable defense in the Falcons. Lots of upside here for sure.
Steal of the Week:
Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
Value – $5,900
While we’ve seen some impressive performances from Tevin Coleman this season, I still think Freeman is the guy to own in the Falcons backfield. He’s dominating the touches and has an excellent matchup at home this week against a Chargers defense that ranks 31st in the league against running backs. This game also has the potential to be a shootout, so I’m investing in as many players as I can. At only $5,900, I think Freeman is a steal and could easily finish as a top 5 running back this week.
I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it each week. I’m truly passionate about fantasy football and love any opportunity to share my opinions with you. As always, hit us up @No_HuddleFFB on Twitter for any questions you might have. Get rich this week!!!