We have reached the midway point of the RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship, and now is when the action begins to heat up. Contestants have a solid sample size of games to evaluate this year’s talents, throwing all of our preseason beliefs out the window (raise your hand if you correctly predicted that Alex Smith would lead all fantasy quarterbacks through five weeks… put your hand down, liar). Even though we have a good idea of where players stand, there are still values to be had this Sunday. I will be going over a handful of assets that I will be targeting in Week 6 of the RWFC.
Here is a quick refresher on how the tournament works:
– 10-week competition hosted on FanDuel
– $10 entry
– Compete against other users and three FanDuel experts (Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper, Kevin Payne)
– Finish above the experts and win an entry in the Week 11 Freeroll with over $4,000 in prizes and RotoWire subscriptions up for grabs
– Each qualifying week acts as a double-up with the top 150 doubling up their cash
– This is not a continuous competition so you can enter every week, and you don’t have to have participated in Week 1 to enter this week’s competition
– You can sign up for this week’s competition here
Before we dive into the value plays, here is a quick breakdown of how the separate RotoWire expert competition went last week. Chris Bennett (k30kittles) benefited from Sunday Night Football’s shootout between the Chiefs and the Texans, receiving a late 56.54-point push from Deshaun Watson and Harrison Butker to rocket to 1st place in the contest. He also struck gold with Melvin Gordon (31.3) and T.Y. Hilton (21.2) to finish with an impressive 154.14 points. Personally, I was sitting pretty in 2nd place (133.54) following the afternoon games, but I helplessly watched my ranking drop to 8th as the contestants — such as Bennett — who invested heavily in the SNF game usurped me. Them’s the breaks, folks.
Here is how the top 10 of the overall expert standings through five weeks shakes up:
1. Mike Doria (mikeinlalaland) 588.90
2. Tate McIntyre (tamc10) 587.46
3. Chris Bennett (k30kittles) 587.36
4. Josh Fathollahi (jashfath) 583.58
5. Logan Larson (lxlarson) 580.28
6. Harry Thompson (hlthompson3) 576.48
7. Dave Hunter (therolypolyboy) 572.46
8. James Seltzer (schweppy23) 563.26
9. James Anderson (realjranderson) 558.84
10. Ken Crites (kencrw) 552.90
Excluded teams: PHI, CAR, IND, TEN, BUF, CIN, DAL, SEA
QB Kirk Cousins, San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins
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FanDuel price: $7,800
I spotlighted Cousins in my previous article back in Week 3, and he rewarded my decision with a handsome 26.8-point performance. He followed that up with another 20-plus point game in Week 4, but his price has only risen $200 since. Cousins will get to face a porous San Francisco secondary that ranks fifth in terms of yards allowed to opposing quarterbacks (250 yards/game). The 29-year-old has accounted for seven of the Redskins’ nine offensive touchdowns this season, so another 20-plus point outing appears to be in store for Washington’s signal caller.
RB Marshawn Lynch, San Die….. I mean, Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
FanDuel price: $6,000
Beast Mode’s stock has been trending in the wrong direction since his Week 1 debut in silver and black. Some have attributed his sudden decline to deteriorating skills, but his two-week lull in Weeks 3 and 4 were the result of game flow (vs. Washington) and a brutal matchup (vs. Denver). Lynch showed some life against the Ravens last weekend (11.8 points), but his $6,000 price tag suggests that he is a low-end play against San Diego. I respectfully disagree. There is a legitimate chance that Derek Carr (back) returns to action this week, which would lighten the box and open up room for the veteran tailback to operate. Even if Carr doesn’t suit up, the Chargers’ defense has surrendered a whopping 161.2 yards/game to opposing running backs this year, and they were just torched by the Giants’ intimidating backfield. Lynch has scored both of his touchdowns this season at home, and I have a good feeling we will see him shaking his dreads for the Black Hole this Sunday.
Alvin Kamara, Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
FanDuel price: $5,800
Kamara exploded for 96 yards (71 receiving) and a touchdown against the Dolphins in Week 4, and that was with Adrian Peterson still on the team. With AP — yes, I use AP and not AD, sue me — getting shipped off to Arizona, the dynamic rookie should see a handful of extra snaps after averaging 22.8 through four games. Mark Ingram is still the early-down back in New Orleans, but Kamara is clearly Drew Brees’ preferred receiving option out of the backfield after receiving 10 targets in their previous contest. Sunday’s matchup against the Lions has the makings of a shootout, which should give Kamara a solid floor in terms of receiving production with the potential for more due to his increased role.
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel price: $5,500
Bryant’s low salary is warranted considering he has produced just one useful fantasy game this season (91 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 2), but there are couple reasons why he should be on your radar this Sunday. The Chiefs’ defense hasn’t looked the same since losing Eric Berry in their season-opener, serving up a league-high 14.5 yards/catch to opposing wideouts this season. Then why aren’t you talking about Antonio Brown, Josh? The answer to the question you were just thinking in your mind is: Marcus Peters. Kansas City’s shutdown corner should spend the majority of the game shadowing Pittsburgh’s top wideout; Brown still may get his, but expect Big Ben to try and exploit a safer matchup by targeting the 6-foot-4 Bryant against 5-foot-11 Terrance Mitchell.
DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
FanDuel price: $6,400
Jackson is a strong value play for almost the exact same reasons listed for Bryant. The veteran wideout will draw the softer defensive matchup opposite Mike Evans, who will be jostling with Patrick Peterson all day long. The deep-ball specialist has alternated strong and poor performances through four weeks this season — which is a microcosm of his entire career — but his targets have remained consistent, receiving between 6 to 9 looks from Jameis Winston on a week-to-week basis. The Cardinals have surrendered 11.5 yards/catch to opposing wideouts (12th-worst in the NFL), so an uptick in targets due to the cornerback matchups could result in a “boom” game for Jackson.
High Risk/High Reward
Drew Brees, Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
FanDuel price: $8,600
Brees checks in as the third-highest priced signal caller out of the available options for this particular contest, trailing only Tom Brady ($9,500) and Aaron Rodgers ($9,000). The price tag warrants the high-risk label, as it will handcuff contestants at other positions. That said, this appears to be the week to pay up for the pricey QB. Brees’ home/road splits are well-documented, and things haven’t changed in 2017 with a 259.7 yards/game average on the road compared to the 356 yards he posted in his lone home matchup. Sunday’s home contest against the Lions — who are the 4th-worst passing defense through five weeks — was given the highest over/under of the weekend by Vegas (50), giving Brees a great shot at meeting or exceeding value. Matt Stafford ($8,500) falls under the same category, but I’m willing to spend the extra $100 on the Saints’ more-vertical attack (7.5 yards/pass attempt compared to Detroit’s 6.5).
Tom Brady, New England Patriots at New York Jets
FanDuel price: $9,500
It’s never a smart move to bet against Tom Terrific, but I simply can’t justify dropping $9,500 on him this week. The 40-year-old continued his fight against Father Time with his fourth consecutive 300-plus yard game, but he left last week’s matchup dealing with an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder. While the injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, the savvy Patriots’ coaching staff will likely implement more three-step drops and short passing routes in order to protect their leader after he was hit six times (three sacks) by the Buccaneers’ D last week. Couple that with the fact that New England may be playing a game of ball control in the second half — yes, I don’t believe the Jets’ smoke and mirror show — and you have the recipe for a solid, but unspectacular day from Brady. That’s gonna be a hard pass for me.
You can follow Josh @JashFath on Twitter.