You know the drill. Let’s go!
Quarterback: Cam Newton & Drew Brees
Projected Ownership: 13-16 percent (DK)
I am pairing these two players together because they are currently carrying the same FantasyLabs ownership projection and are slated to square off against one another in what Editor-in-Chief Matthew Freedman has cleverly coined the Coors Field of NFL DFS. With only a marginal difference in salary and point projections on both FanDuel and DraftKings, there is a strong argument to be made for either player. As I have said in the past, I wouldn’t worry too much about ownership at this position: 13 to 16 percent ownership isn’t all that high. It is perfectly fine to take a quarterback who correlates well with your lineup and look for differentiation elsewhere.
With that said, you likely want access to this game, especially considering that both teams currently have Vegas-implied team totals of at least 25 points. When it comes to Cam, you can just simply go without pairing him with a teammate. His ability to score with his legs negates any sort of necessity to stack him with a pass catcher. Additionally, you still have the rest of your roster to find contrarian options or leverage from the chalky plays of the week. Again, 13-16 percent ownership is fine if you think that he is a top option.
Rolling out naked Brees is not as attractive an option, but it is an option nonetheless. He presents no real threat with his legs, but he currently has the highest projected ceiling at the QB position and no obvious stacking partner. Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Mark Ingram, and Brandin Cooks are all currently projected to be in only five to eight percent of lineups and are each squarely in play this week. I think that is reflective of the uncertainty regarding who to Stack with Brees, as no option stands out as clear No. 1.
Snead has been injured, and Cooks, Thomas, and Coby Fleener each have between 28 and 32 targets on the year. Attempting to predict where Brees is going to throw the ball and who is going to do the most with his opportunities is a tall task. For that reason, I think it is worth considering the idea of playing Brees by himself and allowing our opponents the difficult task of hitting on the right stack. It is entirely possible that he throws for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but spreads the ball out in a way in which no single receiver has a monster game himself.
Stacking him with two or more of his options is definitely in play, but going with a naked-Brees lineup will certainly be a less popular way to gain access to his upside this week.
Running Back: Le’Veon Bell
Projected Ownership: 31-40 percent (DK)
Bell is, in my opinion, the No. 1 option on the week, and I appear not to be alone in that assessment: We currently have him projected to be in 31 to 40 percent of lineups this weeks.
One of the more popular forms of roster construction this week is going to consist of higher-priced running backs and lower-priced wide receivers. One way to avoid following the herd while pivoting off of Le’Veon would be to roster a couple of running backs who fall outside the top of the pricing spectrum. Two options, Carlos Hyde and Theo Riddick, are both currently projected to be in five to eight percent of lineups this week and are priced at $5,100 and $5,300, respectively. Riddick has received at least 10 rush attempts and five targets in each of his last four games, but Hyde has a steadier workload and has found the end zone in each of his last three games.
Another option, though a bit riskier, would be Giovani Bernard, who currently has a FantasyLabs ownership projection of only two to four percent. This game could set up well for Gio, as the Bengals are currently eight-point underdogs to the New England Patriots. Gio carries a +3.27 Plus/Minus when the Bengals are underdogs and has averaged six targets per game when in that situation dating back to 2014. A.J. Green could be relatively ineffective if the Patriots continue their long-standing tradition of attempting to limit the opposing team’s No. 1 WR, and Gio could see an increased role if the game script tilts in his favor.
Lastly, I recommend keeping an eye on our News page. Reportedly, the “training wheels” have come off of Jamaal Charles, and his offensive coordinator plans to “sprinkle in” Charles this week. He could be an intriguing option at $5,100, and his FantasyLabs ownership projection is currently only five to eight percent.
Wide Receiver: Cameron Meredith
Projected Ownership: 26-30 percent (DK)
Cameron Meredith’s nine receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown in last week’s game versus the Colts surely caught everyone’s eye. Now, he gets to follow that up with a matchup against the Jaguars, who allow a +2.4 DK Opponent Plus/Minus to wide receivers.
If you decide to go with one of the chalky high-end RB options of the week, then your necessity for savings is going to beg of you to select the super chalky Meredith. You could avoid this situation all together by paying up at the WR position and searching for value at RB or elsewhere, but there are still some options if you find yourself in need of a lower-owned pivot off of Cameron this week.
There is another receiver, one who has seen at least six targets in each game this season, is currently a three-point underdog, is $200 cheaper than Meredith, and has a FantasyLabs ownership projection of only two to four percent. Additionally, he is slated to square off against Pro Football Focus’ 106th-ranked cornerback. Normally, you would tell me that I am describing a cash-game option. Would you be surprised if I said that the man I am referring to is Tavon Austin?
Per Bryan Mears’ Market Share Report, Tavon’s market share of his team’s receiving targets (28.5 percent) through his last four games is the tenth-highest percentage in the league. Despite seeing no less than six targets in any game this season, he has managed to put up two duds — a 2.8-point game versus the Cardinals and a 5.5-point game versus the 49ers. However, Tavon stands out in our Player Models: He currently has higher projections and more Pro Trends than Meredith. The Bears WR may be the safer option, but if I were running a single entry into this week’s Millionaire Maker, Tavon would get the nod over Meredith without my thinking twice about it.
Tight Ends: Greg Olsen
Projected Ownership: Nine to 12 percent (FD)
Olsen is not alone this week with his slate-high FantasyLabs ownership projection of nine to 12 percent: Martellus Bennett, Travis Kelce, and Jimmy Graham all join him with that projection. I think Olsen makes a ton of sense as a stack with Newton, but I also think that he can give you a solid piece of Cam if you decide to pay down at QB.
Like QB, the TE position is one that allows you the ability to roster the guy you think fits best with your general strategy or lineup. However, that applies only if you are sure to differentiate your lineup at other positions.
There are plenty of low-owned TEs available this week, and one of my favorite pivots is none other than last week’s chalk option, Zach Ertz. Going from the chalk to the pivot option in the manner of a single week is not an easy feat, but it is made easier when you catch three balls for 37 yards on your way to a 5.2-point FD performance. I don’t think we should put too much weight into last week’s performance, considering that it was only his second full game with his new quarterback. This is a perfect time to jump on Ertz, as everyone else has already abandoned ship: He currently has a FantasyLabs ownership projection of only two to four percent.
The Week 6 NFL Dashboard
For more information on other Week 6 plays, see the positional breakdowns and team previews on our NFL dashboard.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs: