Week 6 NFL DFS: Tournament strategies and player picks for FanDuel, DraftKings

Each week this season, I'll go through some tournament strategies for that week's slate, then give out some picks I like at each position. Let's start this week's article by discussing some strategies to consider to differentiate tournament lineups in Week 6.

Week 6 tournament strategy session

The story of Week 6 is injury monitoring. There's the running backs, and while the best of the best Christian McCaffrey just had a maintenance day and isn't on the main slate anyway, several other lead backs are in real jeopardy of missing. David Johnson appears to be trending the right direction, while Alvin Kamara was added to the Thursday report with an ankle that caused him to miss the media portion of Friday's practice. Sean Payton wouldn't comment.

Then there's Todd Gurley, who is now doubtful. Gurley is likely to be inactive for Week 6, and it's possible Kamara or even Johnson are as well. There's going to be some cheap running back value because of that, and it starts with Malcolm Brown

Brown is a clear value on all sites, but he's also not much of a pass-catcher, and he's a lock to be highly owned. He's definitely a cash option, but there's a solid argument to fade his likely high ownership in GPPs by either being heavy on a Rams passing game that performs better at home or by being even more contrarian and getting Darrell Henderson into your lineups instead. Henderson has barely played this year after an offseason of hype, but was drawing comparisons to the rols of  Kamara's and Chris Thompson's as pass-catching backs, so it's definitely possible he out-produces Brown in PPR formats. 

Because the Rams play in the afternoon, there will also be the option of swapping to Chase Edmonds if David Johnson isn't able to go, especially on lineups that might need a little differentiation after the morning slate. Edmonds is just a bit more expensive than Brown on most sites, so it might be worth considering leaving $300 available on DraftKings or $400 on FanDuel to keep that option open. 

In addition to the running backs, we have to monitor a couple of wide receiver situations, most notably with Tyreek Hill. Sammy Watkins is also already listed as doubtful, and while Hill looks likely to give it a go, he's not cleared yet. If he's out, we're looking at the same wide receiver trio we saw extensively last week in Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle. If Hill is active, it seems likely Robinson and Hardman would play more than Pringle in three-wide sets. 

That Kansas City-Houston game will be a popular one to stack, and if you're entering multiple lineups, you'll want to have different variations of the receivers and Travis Kelce.

Let's get to the (other) player picks for this week.

Week 5 DFS Picks
Top players
Position
Quarterbacks
ARI Arizona • #1
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL ATL -2.5 O/U 51.5
DK Salary
$6500
FD Salary
$7700
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1324
RUYDS
206
TD
6
INT
4
FPTS/G
20
Murray's been very solid this year, but protection has kept him from truly exploding. Last week, Deshaun Watson had the lowest pressure rate of his career against these Falcons, and he carved them up. It's a good spot to bet on Murray yet again, with the hope being he's able to stand in the pocket a little longer than usual. I love stacking him with Christian Kirk if Kirk is active.
BAL Baltimore • #8
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CIN BAL -11 O/U 48
DK Salary
$6900
FD Salary
$8200
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1271
RUYDS
308
TD
12
INT
5
FPTS/G
27.6
Jackson's passing numbers have dipped of late, but his ceiling is as high as ever, especially against a Bengals defense that has struggled against all forms of the run, including letting Kyler Murray rack up 93 yards and a score last week. Expect Jackson to post his typically strong floor with his legs, and if we get a good passing game, we'll be looking at 30-plus Fantasy points.
HOU Houston • #4
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -4 O/U 55
DK Salary
$6700
FD Salary
$8400
YTD Stats
PAYDS
1364
RUYDS
122
TD
14
INT
1
FPTS/G
28.2
It's hard not to go right back to Watson after his monster Week 5 game, given he'll likely be in a shootout with Patrick Mahomes (who is also very much a DFS option). A big part of Watson's success last week was the Texans' ability to keep him from being pressured at a high rate, and Kansas City is a matchup where they might be able to repeat that because the Chiefs rank 31st in Football-Outsiders' adjusted sack rate.
Running Backs
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #26
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DAL DAL -7 O/U 44.5
DK Salary
$6400
FD Salary
$6800
YTD Stats
RUYDS
206
REC
27
REYDS
166
TD
1
FPTS/G
16.8
Bell has the fifth-most targets and third-most receptions among the league's backs, but hasn't scored since the last time Sam Darnold started in Week 1 and his yardage has left a ton to be desired due to the offense's general ineptitude. With Darnold back for Week 6, it's a great time to get on what has been a very valuable RB workload at a depressed salary.
LAR L.A. Rams • #34
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF LAR -3 O/U 50.5
DK Salary
$4300
FD Salary
$4800
YTD Stats
RUYDS
114
REC
1
REYDS
10
TD
2
FPTS/G
4.6
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF LAR -3 O/U 50.5
DK Salary
$3200
FD Salary
$4500
YTD Stats
RUYDS
0
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
I hit on the Rams backs above, but to get more specific, Brown's salary on half-PPR FanDuel — just $300 above the minimum — makes him the play there. But on full-PPR DraftKings there's a case to be made to gamble with Henderson, given you get an $1100 discount on Brown, and it's possible Henderson is unleashed a bit in his first extended action, especially in the passing game.
JAC Jacksonville • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO JAC -2 O/U 43.5
DK Salary
$6700
FD Salary
$7300
YTD Stats
RUYDS
512
REC
20
REYDS
143
TD
1
FPTS/G
16.8
I've written up Fournette several times this year, so you know I'm a fan of his workload. Simply put, he's still underpriced, especially considering Gardner Minshew has breathed some life into the passing game and offense in general, allowing Fournette to get going a bit. Fournette's combination of a massive snap share, receiving role and goal-line work makes him tough to ignore as the sixth-most expensive RB on both DK and FD, especially as many of the top names carry injury concerns.
Wide Receivers
HOU Houston • #10
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -4 O/U 55
DK Salary
$7400
FD Salary
$8400
YTD Stats
REC
31
TAR
44
REYDS
347
TD
2
FPTS/G
14.8
There's nothing wrong with Hopkins, and the matchup couldn't be better for him to confirm that. Will Fuller is also back in play after he blew up for us last week, but it's a gift to see Hopkins' salary where it is given the matchup he's facing in what should be a shootout.
CIN Cincinnati • #83
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BAL BAL -11 O/U 48
DK Salary
$6300
FD Salary
$6400
YTD Stats
REC
37
TAR
52
REYDS
406
TD
1
FPTS/G
16.4
The Ravens haven't been as imposing as we might have expected entering the season, and they've been hit pretty hard by slot receivers in recent weeks. I don't expect the Bengals to have a huge game as an offense, but we're at the point where Boyd should be viewed as something close to a low-end WR1, if not at least a high-end WR2 in seasonal formats. And he's hardly priced like that, especially on FanDuel, where he's the 17th most expensive WR on a 10-game slate.
LAR L.A. Rams • #17
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF LAR -3 O/U 50.5
DK Salary
$5600
FD Salary
$7100
YTD Stats
REC
31
TAR
47
REYDS
355
TD
0
FPTS/G
13.4
Cooper Kupp has been outstanding for the Rams, but in previous seasons we've seen the WR production ebb and flow in this offense, and Kupp's salary and ownership will both be much higher than Woods or Brandin Cooks. The latter two are still very involved, and they will have their day. This is a good spot to be on the Rams passing attack at home in a game with an over/under north of 50, and Woods (and possibly Cooks, barring health) are great ways to be on it.
DAL Dallas • #13
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ DAL -7 O/U 44.5
DK Salary
$5600
FD Salary
$6100
YTD Stats
REC
20
TAR
29
REYDS
339
TD
1
FPTS/G
19.3
Gallup is the real deal, and we're coming off a week where Amari Cooper had an eruption while Gallup's 14-7-113-1 line in his return from a two-week absence somehow looked quiet by comparison. Gallup has actually out-targeted Cooper by one and has compiled more air yards by 17 in the three games they've played together — and that includes Week 2 when Gallup left early — so take the huge salary discount and likely lower ownership on Gallup this week in a great matchup with a suspect Jets secondary.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #18
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DAL DAL -7 O/U 44.5
DK Salary
$3300
FD Salary
$4800
YTD Stats
REC
5
TAR
11
REYDS
46
TD
0
FPTS/G
4.5
This is purely a salary play, but last week in a game where the Jets got nothing going, Thomas quietly dominated the passing volume as Adam Gase used him in the short screen game a few times, much as he did in their time together back in Denver. Thomas played a full snap share and saw nine targets, and with Darnold back for Week 6, Thomas is just $300 over the minimum on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He does carry a questionable tag, so monitor his health status, but he mostly looked healthy last week and is a good cheap source of targets.
Tight Ends
ATL Atlanta • #81
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ARI ATL -2.5 O/U 51.5
DK Salary
$5000
FD Salary
$6400
YTD Stats
REC
34
TAR
42
REYDS
363
TD
2
FPTS/G
16.4
There's no getting away from Hooper this week against the Cardinals. I don't need to spend too much time on his recent run or the matchup, so instead I'll talk about how in tournament lineups where you don't roster Hooper, you almost have to go with one of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley or Mohamed Sanu. There's going to be production in the Atlanta passing game, and the way Hooper busts is if it just goes to the wide receivers instead, which creates a leverage opportunity on Hooper's expected high ownership.
SF San Francisco • #85
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Salary Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR LAR -3 O/U 50.5
DK Salary
$5200
FD Salary
$6500
YTD Stats
REC
23
TAR
29
REYDS
235
TD
1
FPTS/G
13
If you're not playing Hooper, you're probably paying up for an elite tight end with huge upside. Kittle gives you a solid discount from Travis Kelce, who is also very much in play for all the reasons I've already discussed about the expected shootout between Kansas City and Houston. But the 49ers might trail against a Rams team that I expect to throw plenty without Gurley, and Kittle's best game of the season in Week 5 came on Monday night, so his salary is still way down from where it was in Weeks 1 and 2 on both sites. That makes him a slightly preferable play to Kelce among the top tight ends, for me.

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