We have an excellent 10-game main slate on tap for Week 6 that begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
This piece will highlight the top NFL DFS players at each position in our FantasyLabs Player Models in terms of their projected ceiling from our award-winning Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner.
(Do people even read intros?)
Let’s dive in.
Top Model Quarterback Ceiling Projections
Patrick Mahomes ($7,500 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel)
Mahomes is back on top of our ceiling projections after being absent from the main slate in Week 5. Matchups don’t matter for Mahomes, and this isn’t an unimposing one against a Texans defense that ranks 15th in pass DVOA and 22nd in PFF’s coverage grades.
The Texans are decent at bringing pressure, ranking 16th in pressure rate, but Mahomes is unphased when teams bring the heat, as he has yet to be sacked when under pressure this season, per Sports Info Solutions. Additionally, when pressured, he still averages 7.5 yards per attempt with a 111.2 Independent Quarterback Rating (IQR).
With the Chiefs boasting an implied team total of 29.5 points, along with a spread of just 4.5-points, Mahomes could be in for an excellent game if this game shoots out like we saw in Falcons-Texans last week.
He’s a better value on DraftKings, where he owns a 77% Bargain Rating.
Matt Ryan ($6,400 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel)
Given quarterback ownership isn’t usually too concentrated relative to other positions, it’s not a spot I always look to go contrarian. I’d expect Ryan to be one of the higher owned quarterbacks on the slate in this spot against the Cardinals, but I still want exposure to him, especially since he’s tied with Mahomes with his ceiling projections.
Ryan has been great this season, averaging 331 passing yards per game, a mark that trails only Mahomes. The Cardinals have been one of the worst defenses against the pass this season, ranking 27th in pass DVOA. They could have a difficult time slowing this offense, especially with Patrick Peterson still suspended.
Top Model RB Ceiling Projections
Le’Veon Bell ($6,400 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel)
If you’re a strong believer in volume over efficiency, then Bell is the play for you! Bell has been abysmal from a rushing standpoint this season, but the return of Sam Darnold should help him out here.
Overall, Bell’s 24.5 touches per game ranks second in the league, trailing only Christian McCaffrey. However, it’s mostly Bell’s role in the passing game that is most attractive to me. He’s seen nine or more targets in three of his four games this year, and it could be a similar story this week since the Jets are 7.5-point underdogs against the Cowboys.
Phillip Lindsay ($5,300 DraftKings; $6,700 FanDuel)
Lindsay isn’t an attractive option to a lot of people due to him splitting work with Royce Freeman. However, his workload has been relatively steady, averaging 17.2 touches per game, seeing 15-plus touches in all but one game.
The Titans boast average run-defense grades per PFF, but they do rank 31st in yards after contact allowed per attempt (3.01). They’re just one of three teams allowing more than three yards after contact. Lindsay boasts a 94% Leverage Rating on this slate as he owns the eighth-highest ceiling projection but just an ownership percent of 2-4%.
Top Model WR Ceiling Projections
Michael Thomas ($7,800 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel)
At the time of writing, Thomas leads our ceiling projections among receivers by nearly two points. He’s an intriguing contrarian option because DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones have comparable projections, but they’re in slightly better spots than Thomas.
And DFS players are getting more efficient and won’t be afraid to target Hopkins and Julio have down games. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them target Thomas coming off an 11-182-2 game last week against the Bucs.
Given his 9-12% ownership projections, Thomas carries a Leverage Rating of 80%. There’s a chance the Jaguars could get Jalen Ramsey (back) back this week, but I don’t think that’s a reason to shy away from Thomas, especially if Ramsey is at less than 100%. Thomas has been steady with Teddy Bridgewater under center, seeing seven or more targets in three full games with him.
Stefon Diggs ($5,900 DraftKings; $5,800 FanDuel)
This spot against the Eagles seems like the right time to target Diggs after he’s been quiet all season. Adam Thielen is coming off a massive game while Diggs put together just a 3-44 game on four targets.
The Eagles are pass funnel with their elite run defense, which should bode well for Diggs. That said, Mike Zimmer is obsessed with establishing the run, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Vikings choose to establish the pass against an abysmal secondary.
I learned a long time ago that teams won’t do what we think they should do. They’ll often just stick to their identities, especially an old coach like Zimmer. If the Vikings do decide to favor the pass, Diggs could offer some leverage since he’s projected for just 5-8% and 9-12% ownership on DraftKings and FanDuel.
He’s a superior value on FanDuel with his 98% Bargain Rating, but he doesn’t offer as much leverage on that site. Regardless, he’s still worth a look on both sites.
Top Model TE Ceiling Projections
Travis Kelce ($7,000 DraftKings; $7,500 FanDuel)
Kelce has been somewhat disappointing by his standards. He’s scored just one touchdown, which came in Week 2 against the Raiders; otherwise, he’s failed to reach salary-based expectations in all but one game.
That said, he’s still averaged double-digit DraftKings points this season and leads the Chiefs with 23% of their target share. And at some point, the touchdowns will start coming as he leads them with seven red-zone targets through their five games.
Austin Hooper ($5,00 DraftKings; $6,400 FanDuel)
Hooper gets the obvious spot against the Cardinals, who don’t defend tight ends all that well. More importantly, Hooper has been a big part of the Falcons’ offense this season.
Through their five games, he’s second on the team with 19.5% of their target share, and he’s tied with Julio Jones in red-zone target share at 21%. I wouldn’t overthink this one. A high-usage tight end against one of the worst defenses in the league. Yes, please.
Top Model D/ST Ceiling Projections
Baltimore Ravens ($4,100 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel)
The Ravens boast our highest ceiling projection, which isn’t surprising since they’re 12-point home favorites against a Bengals team that is implied for just 17.75 points.
They’ve been serviceable at generating pressure, ranking 12th in pressure rate, and Andy Dalton has been sacked on 8.8% of his dropbacks, which is the 10th-highest rate in the league.
The main issue with them: The Ravens are not a strong value, possessing a negative Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. They’ll need to generate sacks and turnovers to reach value in this price tag.
Denver Broncos ($3,100 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel)
The Broncos are a strong target because their 2.9 sack projection is the second-highest projection in our models.
While they lost one of their best pass-rushers in Bradley Chubb, it’s still a good spot against the Titans. Among quarterbacks who have at least 50 dropbacks, nobody has a higher sack rate than Marcus Mariota, who has a sack rate of 13%, per Sports Info Solutions.
Pictured above: Phillip Lindsay
Credit: USA Today Sports