Our NFL product at FantasyLabs is powered by our Models, which feature projections from Sean Koerner. He’s been FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season ranker in three of the past four seasons, which makes our Models a must-have for the serious DFS player.
One of the best ways to incorporate his projections is by looking at each player’s Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Projected Plus/Minus is a proprietary metric that measures projected points vs. expected points. The higher the number, the better that player is expected to perform relative to his price tag.
If you wind up rostering players who finish the week with a good Plus/Minus, there’s a good chance you’re going to find yourself at the top of the leaderboards.
Here are six players who are popping in our NFL Models for Week 6.
Matt Ryan ($6,400 on DraftKings) @ Arizona Cardinals
The Falcons’ season has gotten off to a disastrous start, but it hasn’t really affected Ryan from a fantasy perspective. In fact, the Falcons struggles have probably worked in his favor: No one at the QB position has carried a larger workload on a week-to-week basis.
He leads the league with an average of 44.4 pass attempts per game, and he’s thrown the ball at least 43 times in four of the first five weeks. He has also passed for at least 300 yards in all five games, which is an important threshold on DraftKings.
Ryan benefits from an elite matchup this week vs. the Arizona Cardinals. They’ve played at the second-fastest neutral pace this season, and the 2.5-point spread suggests that this game should be close. Atlanta ranks fifth in neutral pace, so expect lots of opportunity for scoring in this contest.
The Cardinals defense has also struggled to defend the passing game. They currently rank just 27th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA. Thats an extremely juicy combination from a fantasy perspective, and QBs have averaged a +8.62 Plus/Minus and 80.0% Consistency Rating on DraftKings when facing the Cards this season (per the Trends tool).
Le’Veon Bell ($6,400 on DraftKings) vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Jets offense has been a train wreck over the past three weeks. They’ve scored just 23 total points over that time frame, and 14 of those have been scored by the defense/special teams! They’ve also averaged just 116.5 total yards over their past two contests. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest that the Luke Falk-led Jets might be the worst offense in NFL history.
Luckily, they get Sam Darnold back from injury this week. Things weren’t exactly great with Darnold at helm in Week 1, but they did at least put up 16 points vs. a tough Bills defense.
Bell figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of his return. He’s commanded one of the largest workloads at the RB position this season, logging at least 22 opportunities (carries + targets) in all four games. Overall, his carry market share of 87.65% ranks fourth among all RBs, while his target market share of 26.7% ranks first.
The only thing that has been missing for Bell has been scoring opportunities. Hopefully that comes with the return of his starting QB.
Malcolm Brown ($4,800 on FanDuel) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Todd Gurley has been downgraded to doubtful for Sunday’s contest vs. the 49ers, which should result in an expanded workload for Brown. Brown has been splitting opportunities with Gurley for most of the year, with Gurley playing on 75.5% of snaps compared to 23.5% for Brown. Rookie third-round draft pick Darrell Henderson has been a complete non-factor, logging just two total snaps all season.
Brown has a tough matchup vs. the San Francisco 49ers, but it would be tough to pass up on him at on FanDuel given his price tag and projected workload. Historically, RBs projected for at least 7.5 fantasy points with comparable salaries and implied team totals have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.85 on FanDuel.
Larry Fitzgerald ($5,600 on FanDuel) vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Cardinals’ offense hasn’t been as explosive as advertised this season, but they have displayed their upside. Their offense has been on the field for the fourth-most snaps this season, and they have passed at the sixth-highest frequency. Their offense has also started to move the ball better recently, but they’ve turned just 20 red zone attempts into six touchdowns. If they can start putting the ball in the end zone on a consistent basis, they have huge potential moving forward.
Fitzgerald has been an excellent fantasy asset this season even without scoring TDs. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.32 on FanDuel, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of five games. He’s benefitted from 44 targets, which is tied for the sixth-highest mark in the league entering Week 6.
This matchup vs. the Falcons sets up nicely for him. They rank 30th in pass defense DVOA, and they were just shredded by DeShaun Watson and the Texans last week. Fitzgerald’s Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.5 ranks first on the FanDuel main slate, and his $5,600 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%.
Jamison Crowder ($4,000 on DraftKings) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Bell isn’t the only member of the Jets who will be happy to see Darnold return to the lineup this week. Crowder thrived with Darnold at the helm in Week 1, logging 14 receptions and 99 yards on 17 targets.
You’d obviously like him to be more efficient with his targets, but that kind of volume is outrageous. Crowder also displayed excellent chemistry with Darnold during the preseason, establishing himself as the clear No. 1 WR for the Jets.
Crowder does the majority of his damage from the slot, which gives him an edge vs. the Cowboys. Anthony Brown should oppose him on the majority of his snaps, and Brown owns the worst Pro Football Focus grade among their starting corners. He hasn’t been heavily targeted by opposing offenses this season, but he’s allowed 11 catches on 19 targets and an average of 10.2 yards per reception.
It’s scary to consider putting two Jets in your cash lineup this week, but both Crowder and Bell deserve consideration on DraftKings.
George Kittle ($5,200 on DraftKings) @ Los Angeles Rams
This is an excellent opportunity to buy low on one of the best TEs in the league. He remains a featured part of the 49ers offense, logging at least eight targets in four of five games this season. Overall, his target market share of 25.4% ranks second among all TEs.
Kittle has also seen a massive price reduction over the past month. His salary has decreased by -$1,600 despite the fact that he is still getting boatloads of targets.
Only two other TEs in our database have seen a price decrease of at least -$1,000 while posting a monthly target share of greater than 25%, and those players have averaged 20.80 DraftKings points per game. It’s tough to get excited over a sample size that small, but this has the potential to be one of the best buy-low spots of the entire season.
Pictured: Jets RB Le’Veon Bell (26)
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports