The 2018 NFL season rolls on, and we’re still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 24.0 points per game per team. We could be in for another week of high scores with a 12-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. ET.
With two teams on bye and six in prime-time games, we are without several top-tier quarterbacks.
- Thursday Night Football: Eagles (Carson Wentz) at Giants (Eli Manning)
- Sunday Night Football: Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) at Patriots (Tom Brady)
- Monday Night Football: 49ers (C.J. Beathard) at Packers (Aaron Rodgers)
- Byes: Lions (Matthew Stafford), Saints (Drew Brees)
Even so, this slate features some great games. It’s always a good time to play some daily fantasy football.
For analysis on the smaller slates, consult Chris Raybon’s premium strategy guides (released throughout the week).
In writing this piece, I’ve relied primarily on the FantasyLabs Models. This breakdown is less of a comprehensive analysis of each quarterback and more of an introduction to this week’s players via our large suite of analytic DFS Tools. We’ll start with two high-priced quarterbacks, follow with six passers at the top of our individual Pro Models and finish with the rest of the slate’s starting quarterbacks.
For updates on Vegas spreads and over/unders, check out The Action Network Live Odds page.
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This week, two quarterbacks have top-five positional salaries on DraftKings and FanDuel.
- Matt Ryan: $6,800 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel
- Ben Roethlisberger: $6,500 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel
Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons (-3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 57.5 Over/Under
UPDATE (10/14): Ryan will be without running back Devonta Freeman (foot), who has been ruled out.
After three straight home games with 30+ DraftKings points, Ryan regressed on the road in Week 5, finishing outside of the top 18 at the position. While he completed 68.4% of his passes and didn’t throw an interception, he lost a fumble, took a week-high six sacks and failed to get All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones involved in the game until the second half. In a game that lived up to its season-high 58-point over/under, Ryan led the Falcons to only 17 points.
Although Ryan has been a splits-agnostic per-game passer in the Jones era (since 2011)…
- At home (59 games): 22.3 fantasy points, 283.1 yards and 1.78 touchdowns passing, 0.80 interceptions
- On road (57 games): 22.3 fantasy points, 286.5 yards and 1.72 touchdowns passing, 0.81 interceptions
…it’s perhaps telling that this year, Ryan has struggled in his two games outside of the dome-controlled environment of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but has been a total world-beater at home. Luckily, his Week 6 game is in Atlanta.
Ryan also has a great matchup against the Buccaneers. They’re coming off a bye, so perhaps they have come up with a game plan to stop Ryan and have fixed some of their scheme issues, but so far this year they’ve allowed a league-high 32.1 DraftKings points per game to quarterbacks and have been abused by starting passers (guys who aren’t Nick Foles).
- Drew Brees (Week 1): 34.6 DraftKings points, 82.2% completion rate, 439-3-0 passing
- Ben Roethlisberger (Week 3): 28.0 DraftKings points, 79.0% completion rate, 353-3-1 passing
- Mitchell Trubisky (Week 4): 46.5 DraftKings points, 73.1% completion rate, 354-6-0 passing, 3-53-0 rushing
There’s nothing shameful in giving up big games to two future Hall of Famers, but giving up a slate-best fantasy performance to a previously-poor Trubisky is just shameful. It doesn’t help that the Bucs secondary is without two starters in cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder, IR) and strong safety Chris Conte (knee/stiff arm, IR), but this defense is just bad, ranking dead last with a 28.9% mark in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
It’s possible that the Bucs literally have the league’s worst trio of starting cornerbacks. Brent Grimes was a Pro Bowler with the Dolphins in the 2013-15 seasons, and in 2016-17 he had above-average Pro Football Focus grades of 87.4 and 75.2. This year, though, in the two games he’s played, Miko’s husband has been a liability, allowing a 7-116-1 passing line on eight targets. As for M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis, both are second-round rookies with potential as well as poor PFF coverage grades of 54.5 and 56.3. One day they might be good. But so far, they’ve combined to allow 433 yards and five touchdowns.
While most players tend to underperform against divisional opponents, Ryan has had reverse division/non-division splits throughout his career. On top of that, he’s done especially well against the Bucs since 2016, when they hired Ryan’s former and longtime head coach, Mike Smith, to serve as the defensive coordinator (#RevengeGame).
- Against Bucs (four games): 23.6 DraftKings points, +3.91 Plus/Minus, 301.8 yards and two touchdowns passing, zero interceptions
- All other teams (33 games): 19.9 DraftKings points, +0.29 Plus/Minus, 285.9 yards and 1.85 touchdowns passing, 0.64 interceptions
After suffering through offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s growing pains in 2017, when the Falcons ranked just 23rd with a 50.0% red-zone conversion rate, Ryan & Co. have come alive this season, placing seventh with a 65.0% mark. After a subpar 2017, Ryan has regained some of his 2016 MVP form: He could regress, but right now he’s on pace for the second-best campaign of his career with a 6.0% touchdown rate, 1.1% interception rate and 9.5 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A).
If you roster Ryan in guaranteed prize pools, you might want to use our Lineup Builder to stack him with his teammates, especially wide receiver Calvin Ridley. In Week 5, Ryan and Ridley were together in a ridiculous 6.92% of Millionaire Maker lineups, but with their elevated salaries and poor performances last week, they will likely have reduced ownership on Sunday. Since 2014, NFL quarterbacks on average have had 0.46 correlation with their No. 2 wide receivers. The sample is small, but with Ridley, Ryan has a personal-high mark of 0.95.
The Falcons-Bucs game easily has the slate’s highest over/under, and the Falcons lead all teams with their 30.5-point implied Vegas total. Ryan is tied for first with nine DraftKings Pro Trends, and he has position-high floor projections in our Models.
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers (+2) at Cincinnati Bengals, 53 O/U
Considering that Roethlisberger has been the league’s best home quarterback throughout the Antonio Brown era, Big Ben has disappointed over the past two weeks, when the Steelers were 3-point home favorites in each game.
- Week 4 (vs. Ravens): QB21, 15.9 DraftKings points, -1.55 Plus/Minus, 274-1-1 passing
- Week 5 (vs. Falcons): QB11, 22.6 DraftKings points, +3.03 Plus/Minus, 250-3-1 passing, 2-16-0 rushing
Last week, Roethlisberger had a position-high 12.13% ownership rate in the Milly Maker. With a fantasy finish outside the top 10 and the highest quarterback salary, he sabotaged a lot of his GPP lineups.
And now he’s on the road, where his away splits have reared their mullet-ed hydra heads, even since Brown morphed into an All-Pro receiver.
- At home (30 games): 29.2 fantasy points, 333.0 yards and 2.7 touchdowns passing, 0.87 interceptions
- On road (32 games): 18.0 fantasy points, 270.7 yards and 1.2 touchdowns passing, one interception
Discounting backups and players yet to start 16 games, Roethlisberger has a league-worst -2.9 DraftKings Plus/Minus on the road since 2014. Big Ben is not just a below-average quarterback on the road. He transforms into the Bizarro version of himself: Big Bust.
And it gets worse for Roethlisberger. He has notable division/non-division splits.
- Division (23 games): 21.3 fantasy points, 290.5 yards and 1.7 touchdowns passing, 1.09 interceptions
- Non-Division (39 games): 24.6 fantasy points, 306.9 yards and 2.1 touchdowns passing, 0.85 interceptions
And when his divisional and away splits have intersected, he’s basically been the stone-cold worst.
- On road in division (13 games): 17.6 fantasy points, 267.5 yards and 1.15 touchdowns passing, 1.08 interceptions
- All other circumstances (49 games): 24.9 fantasy points, 309.7 yards and 2.2 touchdowns passing, 0.90 interceptions
Roethlisberger’s -3.64 DraftKings Plus/Minus and 30.8% Consistency Rating on the road against divisional opponents are almost too bad to believe.
But maybe against the Bengals, Roethlisberger will have some luck? They’ve allowed quarterbacks to score the seventh-most DraftKings points per game (24.0), all of their starting cornerbacks — William Jackson (65.1), Dre Kirkpatrick (64.6) and Darqueze Dennard (64.6) — have below-average PFF coverage grades. With the exception of the unimpressive Ryan Tannehill last week, every starting quarterback to face the Bengals has either passed for 300 yards or had four total touchdowns.
- Andrew Luck (Week 1): 23.5 DraftKings points, 73.6% completion rate, 319-2-1 passing, 1-7-0 rushing
- Joe Flacco (Week 2): 23.8 DraftKings points, 58.2% completion rate, 376-2-2 passing, 3-8-0
- Cam Newton (Week 3): 29.6 DraftKings points, 62.5% completion rate, 150-2-0 passing, 10-36-2
- Matt Ryan (Week 4): 32.3 DraftKings points, 74.4% completion rate, 419-3-0 passing, 2-5-0 rushing
Of course, these four games were played without difference-making linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension), who returned to action last week.
And there’s one more cause for concern: The connection between Roethlisberger and Brown has been noticeably off this year. Over the four previous seasons, Roethlisberger had a stellar 9.34 AY/A on his 643 passes directed to Brown. That combination of volume and efficiency is otherworldly. This year, though, of any Steelers pass-catcher targeted at least 10 times, Brown has by far seen the least efficient targets.
- TE Jesse James (14 targets): 15.9 AY/A
- TE Vance McDonald (17 targets): 13.3 AY/A
- RB James Conner (28 targets): 8.5 AY/A
- WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (53 targets): 8.4 AY/A
- WR Ryan Switzer (14 targets): 5.7 AY/A
- WR James Washington (13 targets): 5.3 AY/A
- Antonio Brown (66 targets): 4.4 AY/A
It’s hard to say with whom the blame lies for Big Ben’s embarrassing 2018 AY/A on Brown’s targets. Maybe Roethlisberger is becoming more inaccurate as he ages. Or maybe Brown is slowing down. Either way, Big Ben’s diminished efficiency on passes to Brown clearly doesn’t bode well for his fantasy prospects.
On Sunday morning, I will probably look to hit the under on Roethlisberger’s yardage prop. To find the best bets in the props market, use our Player Props Tool, which is powered by our industry-leading projections. Since Week 1, the props with a bet quality of 10 have gone 102-58-4, which is good for a 64% win rate.
Without question, you should supplement your DFS action with player props.
In the Antonio era (since 2014), Steelers divisional road games have a 4-9 over/under record, which is good for a 37.2% return on investment for under bettors (per Bet Labs). Not once over that span has the Steelers under in divisional road games had a losing season.
Given the circumstances, Roethlisberger is a GPP-only option.
There are six quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
- Kirk Cousins: $6,700 DraftKings; $7,900 FanDuel
- Deshaun Watson: $6,400 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel
- Andy Dalton: $6,300 DraftKings; $7,500 FanDuel
- Jared Goff: $6,000 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel
- Jameis Winston: $5,800 DraftKings; $7,400 FanDuel
- Russell Wilson: $5,700 DraftKings; $7,600 FanDuel
Kirk Cousins: Minnesota Vikings (-10) vs. Arizona Cardinals, 43 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) is expected to play with a strict snap count.
The $84 million man is having the best season of his career with a personal-high 71.2% completion rate, 337 passing yards per game and a 71.7 in ESPN’s Total QBR. Of all quarterbacks with five starts this year, only Mahomes has a Consistency Rating better than Cousins’ 80% mark on DraftKings. Although Cousins has attempted passes of 20 or more yards on just 9.7% of his throws, he has an NFL-high seven deep-passing touchdowns as well as a league-best 139.2 QB Rating on such attempts. Other than the erstwhile FitzMagic, Cousins is the only quarterback this year with multiple 400-yard passing performances.
Big home favorites, the Vikings might not seem likely to throw much due to a run-heavy, play-with-the-lead game script, but to date they have been the league’s second-most pass-happy team with 71.4% pass rate. The Cardinals pass defense has a mid-tier 68.9 PFF grade, but it’s exploitable because of how defenders are deployed.
No. 1 cornerback Patrick Peterson hasn’t been used in shadow coverage this year, so the Vikings can scheme wide receiver Stefon Diggs away from Peterson on the outside. In the slot, wide receiver Adam Thielen — who leads the league with 66 targets and 47 receptions — should be able to exploit safety-turned-cornerback Budda Baker, who has allowed top-three marks of 20 receptions, 227 yards and 163 yards after the catch in the slot. With one of the best receiving tandems in the league, Cousins has given the Diggs-Thielen combo an NFL-high 121 targets.
Cousins is the highest-rated FanDuel quarterback in the Freedman Model.
Deshaun Watson: Houston Texans (-10) vs. Buffalo Bills, 40 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Watson (chest) is expected to play. He’s questionable, but his status has never been in doubt. Wide receivers Will Fuller (hamstring) and Keke Coutee (hamstring) will play on Sunday.
Watson hasn’t been quite as dynamic as he was last year, but he’s still averaging a robust 25.8 DraftKings points per game. The emergence of rookie slot receiver Keke Coutee has added another dimension to the passing attack, and even though No. 2 wide receiver Will Fuller (hamstring) has been slowed by a lingering soft-tissue injury, he’s still on the field and occupying defensive attention as a big-play threat.
In Watson’s eight career starts with Fuller, the quarterback has been the Michael Jordan of fantasy football, averaging 31.6 DraftKings points with a +13.5 Plus/Minus and 100% Consistency Rating.
- 2018, Week 5 vs. Cowboys: 25.0 DraftKings points, +7.21 Plus/Minus, 375-1-1 passing, 10-40-0 rushing
- 2018, Week 4 at Colts: 35.1 DraftKings points, +17.06 Plus/Minus, 375-2-1 passing, 6-41-1 rushing
- 2018, Week 3 vs. Giants: 29.0 DraftKings points, +11.47 Plus/Minus, 385-2-1 passing, 5-36-0 rushing
- 2018, Week 2 at Titans: 26.8 DraftKings points, +8.76 Plus/Minus, 310-2-1 passing, 5-44-0 rushing
- 2017, Week 8 at Seahawks: 38.8 DraftKings points, +20.5 Plus/Minus, 402-4-3 passing, 8-67-0 rushing
- 2017, Week 6 vs. Browns: 24.3 DraftKings points, +5.24 Plus/Minus, 225-3-1 passing, 6-23-0 rushing
- 2017, Week 5 vs. Chiefs: 35.5 DraftKings points, +17.8 Plus/Minus, 261-5-0 passing, 3-31-0 rushing
- 2017, Week 4 vs. Titans: 34.7 DraftKings points, +19.7 Plus/Minus, 283-4-1 passing, 4-24-0 rushing
With top cornerback Tre’Davious White likely to shadow All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins — good luck with that, by the way — Fuller should be able to exploit the underperforming cornerback duo of Ryan Lewis and Phillip Gaines on the outside (PFF coverage grades of 59.6 and 54.3). Coutee will be in a good spot against rookie fourth-rounder Taron Johnson in the slot.
Watson has position-high median projections in our Models, and he leads all quarterbacks with three FanDuel Pro Trends. He’s the No. 1 quarterback in the Bales Model for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Andy Dalton: Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 53 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Running back Giovani Bernard (knee), tight end Tyler Kroft (foot) and center Billy Price (ankle) are out. Wide receiver John Ross (groin) is questionable but should be considered a game-time decision unlikely to start.
Dalton is having a fine season — he has a career-high 289 passing yards per game — but he could be without a number of key offensive players this week.
- Running back Giovani Bernard: Knee, questionable (missed Week 5)
- Wide receiver John Ross: Groin, questionable (missed Week 5)
- Tight end Tyler Eifert: Ankle, Injured Reserve (missed Week 5)
- Tight end Tyler Kroft: Foot, questionable (exited Week 5 early)
- Center Billy Price: Ankle, questionable (missed Weeks 3-5)
As long as Dalton has wide receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd and running back Joe Mixon, he should be fine, but the real reason to like him this week is his matchup. The Steelers have allowed opposing quarterbacks to score the league’s second-most DraftKings points per game (28.2), and the secondary doesn’t have one player with a PFF coverage grade of even 70.
Since last season (including playoffs), the Steelers defense has been significantly worse without Pro Bowl inside linebacker Ryan Shazier.
- With Shazier (12 games): 17.8 points, 16.1 first downs, 294.7 scrimmage yards, 195.8 passing yards, 98.8 rushing yards, +3.45 expected points
- Without Shazier (10 games): 27.3 points, 21.9 first downs, 375.8 scrimmage yards, 256.2 passing yards, 119.6 rushing yards, -7.38 expected points
The Bengals have surpassed their implied Vegas totals in every game this year by an average of 7.1 points, and Dalton has been a cost-efficient passer with his +5.23 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
Dalton has a position-high 65% Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he’s the No. 1 quarterback in the Levitan and Koerner Models.
Jared Goff: Los Angeles Rams (-7) at Denver Broncos, 52.5 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Wide receivers Brandin Cooks (concussion) and Cooper Kupp (concussion) have progressed though the league’s protocol and will play on Sunday.
Ignoring last season’s irrelevant Week 17 but including the playoffs, the Rams have hit their implied Vegas totals in 16-of-21 games under beard model and head coach Sean McVay. The Rams are entrenched as the No. 1 team in The Action Network NFL Power Rankings, and Goff has 300+ yards passing in 8-of-13 regular-season starts since last season’s Week 8 bye. He leads the league with 345.4 passing yards per game and a 10.8 AY/A.
He trails only Brees with his 90.8 PFF passing grade. Goff hasn’t been an aggressive downfield passer, ranking just 24th with 16 attempts of 20 or more yards, but on such passes he has the second-highest accuracy rate at 62.5%. Using play action on a league-high 39.2% of his attempts, Goff leads all starters with 12.7 yards per attempt on play-action passes. Goff isn’t even the MVP frontrunner on his own team — that’s running back Todd Gurley — but he has played like a legit MVP to this point.
Wide receivers Brandin Cooks (concussion) and Cooper Kupp (concussion) both exited Week 5 early with head injuries and are uncertain for Week 6. If Kupp plays, he’ll face a tough matchup against All-Pro slot corner Chris Harris Jr. But Cooks, wide receiver Robert Woods and tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett have exploitable matchups against outside cornerbacks Adam Jones and Bradley Roby, safeties Darian Stewart, Will Parks and Justin Simmons and dime linebacker Brandon Marshall — not one of whom has a PFF coverage grade of even 70.
Goff is the highest-rated DraftKings quarterback in all of our Pro Models except for one (Bales).
Jameis Winston: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) at Atlanta Falcons, 57.5 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Tight end O.J. Howard (knee) is questionable but expected to play on Sunday.
If you listened to the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, you know how high we are on Winston. On the show, both Koerner and I picked Winston to be the No. 1 fantasy quarterback this week for our bold calls. He might be Sunday’s cash-game quarterback du jour.
Winston is hardly the paragon of on-the-field consistency and off-the-field respectability, but he still has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. As a rookie, he became the only 21-year-old in NFL history with 4,000+ yards passing in a season. Still a young player, he leads all quarterbacks in NFL history with 11,636 yards passing before his 24th birthday. With perhaps the league’s top collection of pass-catching talent in wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin and tight ends O.J. Howard (ankle, doubtful) and Cameron Brate, the fourth-year passer is positioned to be a fantasy force for years — as long as he doesn’t sabotage himself with poor decisions, football and otherwise.
The Bucs will need to score points in the game with the slate’s highest over/under, and they have a great matchup against the Falcons, who are 28th in pass defense with a 28.4% DVOA and have allowed quarterbacks to score the league’s third-most DraftKings points per game (27.2). The Falcons defense has suffered a rash of injuries to open the year: Starting middle linebacker Deion Jones (foot, IR), free safety Keanu Neal (knee, IR) and strong safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles, IR) are out. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (ankle) is expected to be out as well.
Since the Falcons lost Jones and Neal in the season opener, quarterbacks have routinely exposed Atlanta.
- Cam Newton in Week 2: 31.6 DraftKings points, 71.1% completion rate, 335-3-1 passing, 5-42-0 rushing
- Drew Brees & Taysom Hill in Week 3: 47.4 DraftKings points, 79.6% completion rate, 396-3-0 passing, 6-46-2 rushing
- Andy Dalton in Week 4: 28.8 DraftKings points, 70.7% completion rate, 337-3-1 passing, 2-13-0 rushing
- Ben Roethlisberger in Week 5: 22.6 DraftKings points, 65.5% completion rate, 250-3-1 passing, 2-16-0 rushing
Winston is tied for first with nine Pro Trends on DraftKings, where he leads all quarterbacks with his ceiling projection. He’s the highest-rated FanDuel passer in the Raybon and SportsGeek Models.
Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Oakland Raiders, 48 O/U
Last season, Wilson led all quarterbacks who played a full season with 23.2 DraftKings points per game, but this year DangeRuss has disappointed. After an acceptable Week 1 performance in Denver — 298 yards, three touchdowns passing and two interceptions — Wilson has been a diminished version of himself.
- Week 2 (at Bears): 16.7 DraftKings points, 226-2-1 passing, 17 yards rushing
- Week 3 (vs. Cowboys): 15.6 DraftKings points, 192-2-0 passing, -1 yards rushing
- Week 4 (at Cardinals): 9.0 DraftKings points, 172-0-0 passing, 21 yards rushing yards
- Week 5 (vs. Rams): 19.9 DraftKings points, 198-3-0 passing, zero rushing yards
It’s not uncommon for Wilson to start a season slowly, but he has just 8.4 yards rushing per game despite being one of the best running quarterbacks in the league, and his 40% DraftKings Consistency Rating is troubling.
Especially irksome is the way in which new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has scaled back the passing game. Wilson hasn’t attempted more than 26 passes in three consecutive games, and not since 2014 (when he was still a glorified game manager) has Wilson had fewer than the 28.4 attempts he’s averaging per game now. Even with the recent return of No. 1 wide receiver Doug Baldwin, Wilson’s upside has been capped by play-calling.
This week, however, he’s intriguing: The Raiders pass defense is 30th with a 33.8% DVOA. Running 63.6% of his routes from the slot, Baldwin could have a big game against 33-year-old cornerback Leon Hall, who has a below-average 59.6 PFF coverage. On top of that, this game is at Wembley Stadium, and since 2012, the London game has an 11-5 over/under record, and the favored team has hit its implied Vegas total in an outstanding 12-of-16 events.
Wilson is the No. 1 FanDuel quarterback in the CSURAM99 Model.
Here’s a quick look at the remaining starters on the slate.
Andrew Luck: Indianapolis Colts (2.5) at New York Jets, 45 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (chest, hamstring) and tight end Jack Doyle (hip) are out. Running back Marlon Mack (hamstring) will play. Tight end Eric Ebron (shin, quad, ankle, knee) is questionable. He practiced fully on Friday and is tentatively expected to play but is a game-time decision.
- $6,200 DraftKings; $7,800 FanDuel
After having a league-low 5.6-yard average depth of target (aDOT) in Weeks 1-3, Luck has started to let it rip, sporting a 9.1 aDOT and NFL-high 829 yards passing over the past two weeks. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (chest, hamstring), tight end Jack Doyle (hip) and running back Marlon Mack (foot, hamstring) are questionable to play after missing Week 5.
Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers (+1) at Washington Redskins, 45 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Tight end Greg Olsen (foot) will play on Sunday.
- $6,100 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel
While there were concerns to open the season about how well offensive coordinator Norv Turner would be able to adapt his Air Coryell system to Newton, the 2015 MVP has a career-high 65.4% completion rate and 9.0 carries per game and a career-low 5.1% sack rate. Newton leads all quarterbacks with an 86.2% accuracy rate from a clean pocket, and he has a position-high ceiling projection on FanDuel.
Philip Rivers: Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Cleveland Browns, 44.5 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) is unsurprisingly out.
- $5,900 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel
The Browns defense is first in the league with 15 turnovers, and it has top-three marks in minutes (2:09), plays (5.0), yards (25.5) and points allowed (1.33) per drive. With their rebuilt secondary, the Browns are second in pass defense with their -19.6% DVOA. But Rivers is as steady as any quarterback in the league. He’s the only passer with five multi-touchdown games this year, and he leads the NFL with QB Ratings of 121.1 when under pressure and 153.5 with play action. He has a position-high 99% DraftKings Bargain Rating.
Blake Bortles: Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Dallas Cowboys, 40.5 O/U
- $5,600 DraftKings; $6,900 FanDuel
Bortles handily “leads” the NFL with 71 interceptions since entering the league in 2014. Betting the over on his interception prop every Sunday morning is one of the purest pleasures in life. But running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is out for Week 6, and in his absence, Bortles has averaged 25.4 fantasy points and 311.5 yards passing per game.
Baker Mayfield: Cleveland Browns (+1) vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 44.5 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Wide receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) is out.
- $5,500 DraftKings; $7,100 FanDuel
Mayfield’s receivers haven’t done him any favors with a league-high 10.3% drop rate on his attempts, but the No. 1 overall pick has still averaged 318.5 yards passing in his two starts. He’s led the Browns to victory in two of his three appearances, and he’s yet to have a PFF grade worse than 80 in any game. Some sharp money is backing the Browns.
Case Keenum: Denver Broncos (-7) vs. Los Angeles Rams, 52.5 O/U
- $5,500 DraftKings; $6,700 FanDuel
With the Vikings last season, Keenum had 17.2 DraftKings points per start with a +1.46 Plus/Minus. In all his other starts since 2014, he’s averaged 13.3 DraftKings points with a -1.91 Plus/Minus and 38.1% Consistency Rating. It’s almost as if general manager and Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway can’t be trusted to scout passers.
Alex Smith: Washington Redskins (-1) vs. Carolina Panthers, 45 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Running back Chris Thompson (rib, knee) is technically questionable but expected not to play. Running back Kapri Bibbs could see action behind Adrian Peterson (shoulder), who is also questionable. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) is questionable but expected to sit. Wide receivers Paul Richardson (knee) and Josh Doctson (heel) are questionable but seem likelier to play.
- $5,400 DraftKings; $7,400 FanDuel
After having five 300-yard passing games last year, Smith has failed to hit that benchmark in any game this year, even though 27 other quarterbacks have done so. For his career, Smith has averaged 16.0 fantasy points across 130 games without wide receiver Tyreek Hill but 21.3 in 30 games with him. Smith doesn’t have a Hill-esque receiver on the Redskins.
Marcus Mariota: Tennessee Titans (+3) vs. Baltimore Ravens, 41 O/U
- $5,400 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel
Mariota (elbow) can’t fully grip a football right now, and he has a career-worst 5.2 AY/A. The Ravens are third with a PFF coverage grade of 86.6, and No. 1 cornerback Jimmy Smith is likely to play more than the 35 snaps he saw last week in his return from suspension.
Sam Darnold: New York Jets (-2.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts, 45 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Running back Isaiah Crowell (ankle) is questionable but expected to play.
- $5,300 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel
Darnold is yet to have 20 DraftKings points in any game. The Colts have been exposed over the past two weeks by Brady (32.5 DraftKings points) and Watson (35.1 DraftKings points), but before that they held Wentz, Smith and Dalton to an average of just 14.6 DraftKings points per game. Under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, the Colts aren’t the same team that last year had a league-worst 28.5% DVOA against the pass.
Mitchell Trubisky: Chicago Bears (-3) at Miami Dolphins, 41.5 O/U
- $5,300 DraftKings; $7,400 FanDuel
Coming off the bye and a 354-yard, six-touchdown performance in Week 4, Trubisky should theoretically have a well-designed game plan that gives him a chance to succeed — but against the Dolphins, quarterbacks have averaged just 15.8 DraftKings points per game, the league’s third-lowest mark. If the Bears’ plans go awry early, Trubisky could have a poor game: He’s a 100% scripted quarterback with a 10.5 AY/A in the first quarter and a 6.5 AY/A thereafter.
Joe Flacco: Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Tennessee Titans, 41 O/U
- $5,200 DraftKings; $7,000 FanDuel
Regression will come for Flacco at some point, but right now he’s pacing for a career-best 4,960 yards thanks to new wide receivers John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead. The Ravens have hit their implied Vegas totals in every game this season but one. Against non-awful passers who aren’t Bortles, Ryan Tannehill and Josh Allen, the Titans have allowed quarterbacks to average 25.8 DraftKings points per game.
Derek Carr: Oakland Raiders (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks, 48 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Wide receiver Martavis Bryant (flu) is questionable but tentatively expected to play.
- $5,100 DraftKings; $6,900 FanDuel
Carr leads the league with eight interceptions — but he also has a career-high 1,641 yards passing and 71.3% completion rate through the first five games of the season. The Seahawks defense is not what it once was without cornerback Richard Sherman (49ers), strong safety Kam Chancellor (retired), free safety Earl Thomas (leg, IR) and edge defenders Michael Bennett (Eagles) and Cliff Avril (released), but the unit has held quarterbacks to a bottom-five mark of 16.8 DraftKings points per game.
Ryan Tannehill: Miami Dolphins (+3) vs. Chicago Bears, 41.5 O/U
UPDATE (10/14): Tannehill (shoulder) is questionable but tentatively expected to play. He practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday but was limited on Friday. Wide receivers Jakeem Grant (shoulder) and DeVante Parker (quad) are questionable. Both practiced fully on Friday.
- $4,900 DraftKings; $6,600 FanDuel
Tannehill could be without three starting linemen — left tackle Laremy Tunsil (concussion, questionable), left guard Josh Sitton (shoulder, IR) and center Daniel Kilgore (triceps, IR) — and he’s facing the league’s top overall defense by PFF grade (91.4) and DVOA (-31.5%). Early sharp bettors are backing the Bears.
Dak Prescott: Dallas Cowboys (+3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 40.5 O/U
- $4,700 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel
Prescott has thrown into tight coverage on a league-high 23.6% of his passes. Either his receivers are getting no separation, the play-calling is horrible or Dak is making poor decisions. It’s probably a combination of all three, and none of those seems likely to change soon. Prescott is last in the league among all non-rookie starters with 13.5 DraftKings points per game — and even some rookies have better averages — and now he’s facing a Jags defense that’s holding quarterbacks to an NFL-low 13.4 DraftKings points per game.
Josh Rosen: Arizona Cardinals (+10) at Minnesota Vikings, 43 O/U
- $4,700 DraftKings; $6,400 FanDuel
Rosen has a league-high 7.8 air yards per completion, but he also has a league-low 57.1 expected completion percentage, which he’s underperformed by a dreadful 8% margin (Next Gen Stats). Among current starters, he’s dead last with 11.5 DraftKings points per start and a 0% Consistency Rating.
Josh Allen: Buffalo Bills (+10) at Houston Texans, 40 O/U
- $4,700 DraftKings; $6,400 FanDuel
The freewheeling Jake Locker impersonator has an NFL-worst 53.3% completion rate among qualified passers. But, honestly, who could’ve expected that a guy with a 54.2% completion rate in college might struggle in the NFL? No current starter has underperformed his expected completion percentage more than Allen has with his -8.1% mark.
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 6 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.
Pictured above: Jameis Winston
Photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports