DraftKings GPP Domination: Week 6

Looking for edges in DraftKings tournaments.

WEEK 6 TOURNAMENT VALUE CHART

The chart below is a value guide for this week’s DraftKings tournaments. In an effort to help the widest range of players, only tournaments ranging from $1-to-$100 buy-ins are listed. The color scaling favors lesser entry fees, lower entry limits, and flatter payout structures since these tournaments generally represent the best return on investment for average DFS players. But remember it’s important to consider your specific strengths and goals when choosing which tournaments to enter.

Do you excel at GPP roster construction and game theory? Then don’t avoid GPPs like the Millionaire Maker due to high entry limits and a top-heavy payout structure -- you can still profit in these types of tournaments while giving yourself a shot at a life-changing payday. Therefore, cells in red do not indicate tournaments to avoid. The color scaling serves primarily to highlight the differences between tournaments, which will make it easier for you to identify the best ones to enter based on your individual skills and goals.

ROSTER CONSTRUCTION

Before constructing your own GPP lineups, it’s important to consider how most of your opponents will be making theirs. Due to the salary cap, figuring out the most common roster construction each week isn’t necessarily as simple as looking at a list of projected ownership percentages for individual players.

This week, there are a few near-certainties when it comes to how most people will build their rosters:

  1. Low-priced running backs will be the chalk for what feels like the first time all season. After salaries were released for the main slate, Jerick McKinnon took control of the Vikings backfield on Monday Night Football. Shortly thereafter, Adrian Peterson was traded to Arizona, opening up additional touches in New Orleans for both Mark Ingram II and Alvin Kamara. Entrants will be all over McKinnon, Ingram, and Kamara, with many lineups featuring both McKinnon and one of the Saints running backs.
  2. The most likely places to spend the savings realized from rostering McKinnon and Ingram/Kamara figure to be WR1 (DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones), RB1 (Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette), and quarterback (Deshaun Watson, Drew Brees). If the crowd devotes most of their cap to these positions, the $5K-$7K ranges at running back and wide receiver can be mined for low-ownership and high-upside.
  3. Tight end stinks, as usual. Rob Gronkowski is on track to play this week, but his health is a question mark and his salary is about the same as Mike Evans’. As of this writing, Travis Kelce had yet to clear the league’s concussion protocol, leaving his status up in the air. And with Zach Ertz already playing on Thursday night, the position is devoid of top-shelf options. As a result, tight end ownership should be especially flat this week, with most entrants targeting one of a few a low-priced options in a perceived strong matchup.

One path to a unique roster would be to start with Le'Veon Bell and Gronkowski. Both players still have the highest ceilings at their respective positions and will force you into price ranges at quarterback and wide receiver most people won’t be targeting. Another easy way to build differently than your opponents is to start a lineup with Bell and another running back in the $8K range. In a rare week where less of your opponents’ cap will be devoted to running back, spending way up at the position (a strategy that has generally worked well this year) will be the exception.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHALK?

Assuming you plan on making multiple GPP lineups each week, your decision on highly-owned players usually isn’t whether to fade them completely, but rather how much exposure you want to them in comparison to their projected ownership.

Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s chalk plays (ownership percentages based on Steve Buzzard’s projections)

QB: Deshaun Watson (vs. CLE, $6,700, 13% owned) - The case for Watson as the chalk quarterback this week is clear enough: 

  • The combined point totals in each of the Texans last three games are 69, 71, and 76. 
  • Houston hosts Cleveland as 10-point favorites with an implied total over 27 points. This is their third consecutive home game. 
  • Watson is the hottest quarterback in fantasy, accounting for five touchdowns in each of the last two games. 
  • Cleveland leads the league in normalized fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks. 

As good as the spot looks on paper, it’s not optimal GPP strategy to join the crowd in piling on Watson as the highest owned quarterback. His salary is (justifiably) up $1,600 since he was last available on the main slate, which means you’re banking on a fourth consecutive 25+ point performance for him to reach value. Not even Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers offer that type of consistency, let alone a rookie quarterback making his fifth career start. As terrible as the Browns defense is, they excel at pressuring the quarterback. Cleveland has three sacks in each of their last three games, their 9.8% adjusted sack rate trails only Philadelphia and Denver for the league lead, and they just got back this year’s number one overall pick, defensive end Myles Garrett. Watson’s big games have come against New England, Tennessee (a pair of bottom-10 pass rush units), and Kansas City (where three of his five passing touchdowns came in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs nursing a double-digit lead). Use Watson in cash games, where his added rushing stats provide a high floor, but fading is an easy way to separate from the field this week.

RB: Jerick McKinnon (vs. GB $4,100, 30% owned) - McKinnon’s surprise 26.6 fantasy point performance on Monday night came against a previously stingy Bears defense that hadn’t allowed an opposing running back to top-70 rushing yards coming into Week 5 (including Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell). This week’s matchup with the Packers is far more forgiving and if Green Bay forces the depleted Vikings offense into catchup mode, McKinnon (who was in on two-thirds of the Vikings snaps last week) is the clear option over Latavius Murray in the passing game. It’s his involvement as a pass catcher that makes McKinnon difficult to fade at just $4,100, even if last week’s 58-yard touchdown run was an aberration (it wasn’t - McKinnon’s elite athleticism gives him the big-play upside you’re after in GPPs). Last year, after offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur took over for Norv Turner, McKinnon had 35 receptions for 226 yards over the final six weeks. He’s an exceptional athlete, in an offensive system suited to his skill-set, who finally has the opportunity for feature back touches behind a decent offensive line. 30% exposure is high for any player, but McKinnon is as close as it gets to a free square. Go with lower exposure than the field, but only slightly.

RB: Mark Ingram II (vs. DET, $4,400, 28% owned) - Ingram would have been interesting at this price even if the Adrian Peterson trade wasn’t the biggest NFL news story of the week. His touches have increased in each of the Saints first four games and despite the narrative Alvin Kamara has a monopoly on New Orleans’ pass-catching role, Ingram has at least four targets in every game this season. Peterson was down to only 8% of the Saints offensive snaps in Week 4, while Ingram and Kamara split the extra field time evenly. We should expect a similar 60/40 split in Ingram’s favor this week at home against the Lions, who have a top-5 run defense (DVOA). Despite the tough matchup, Ingram is rested coming off a bye, the Saints are favored by five points, and Detroit at New Orleans is the only game on the slate with a 50-point over/under. Ingram’s touchdown upside is higher than it should be for a running back in his price range, especially since Peterson’s absence opens up roughly 16% of the Saints opportunities (rushes plus targets) from inside the 10-yard line. Ingram is not the chalk to fade in this spot.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (vs. CLE, $8,100, 29% owned) - Hopkins has received at least 12 targets in all but one game this season and leads the league with a 39.4% target market share. Don’t expect him to quit hogging Watson’s attention at home against the Browns, who rank dead last in pass defense DVOA vs. the opponent’s WR1. The volume and matchup make Hopkins an ideal choice for cash games, but despite back-to-back 25+ point performances, his upside for tournaments is questionable. If it hadn’t been for two late touchdowns last week after Kansas City had put the game out reach, Hopkins would only have one game with more than 18.5 fantasy points this season, despite his ample target supply. Going underweight on the Watson/Hopkins stack is a risk that could bust your week, but the probability the duo goes bonkers for a third straight game doesn’t match their anticipated ownership rates.

WR: Julio Jones (vs. MIA, $8,300, 18% owned) - Miami allows a league-high 60% pass success rate to enemy wide receivers and ranks 31st in yards per pass attempt allowed to the position. Jones has been dealing with a hip issue but says he’s ready for Sunday, which puts him in line to exploit the favorable matchup. Atlanta is at home, coming off a bye, playing on turf (where Jones’ GPP-winning upside has historically been unlocked), and implied to score a slate-high 30 points. This is the blow-up spot we’ve been waiting for with Jones and his ownership should be shaded a bit by Hopkins and uncertainty surrounding the hip injury. Make Jones one of your highest wide receiver exposures this week.

TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs. NE, $4,300, 8% owned) - Seferian-Jenkins came through for the masses (28.5% owned in the Millionaire Maker) with a predictable touchdown against Cleveland last week. His price is up $800 as a result, which makes it tough for him to hit a 4x salary multiple, but the most you can ask of any tight end not named Kelce or Gronkowski this week is coin-flip odds of scoring a touchdown. Seferian-Jenkins’ opponent this week -- the Patriots -- have allowed a tight end touchdown in four-out-of-five games this season and over 50% more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the league average. Josh McCown has been looking for Seferian-Jenkins, targeting him a team-high 18 times since he returned from suspension in Week 3. The matchup, price, and volume are right for “ASJ” in cash games, but there are some interesting tight end pivots with greater upside who won’t garner half his ownership in tournaments. Less exposure than the field is warranted.

DEF: Baltimore Ravens (vs. CHI, $3,700, 14% owned) - Sometimes the puzzle pieces just fit together. The Ravens rank third in year-to-date D/ST fantasy scoring on DraftKings, while the Bears have given up the third-most schedule adjusted fantasy points to opposing defenses. Mitchell Trubisky was awful in his NFL debut, completing a dismal 48% of his passes and committing a pair of turnovers. Now he travels to a hostile environment as a seven-point underdog, with an implied team total of only 16.5 points. Baltimore’s elite secondary has to be counting down the minutes until they face off with Trubisky and the worst group of pass catchers in all of football. The Ravens should be high on your list of defenses this week.

MORE CHALK PLAYS:

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Drew Brees QB  DET $7,200 13% Home favorite QB in game with the week's highest over/under.
Leonard Fournette RB  LAR $8,000 20% Huge workload and scoring opportunities are written in stone.
Kareem Hunt RB PIT $8,200 27% No one has stopped him yet. Pittsburgh just destroyed by Fournette.
Alvin Kamara RB DET $4,500 18% Explosive runner and receiver looking at 12-15 total touches.
Michael Thomas WR DET $7,300 18% Dominating targets for NO. If Brees has big game, so does Thomas. 

CORE PLAYS

These players fall in the middle to upper-middle ownership tiers. Each has a path to top-5 numbers at their respective positions or a strong chance to exceed their salary-implied point expectation. You want more of them than your opponents.

QB: Carson Palmer (vs. TAM, $6,100, 5% owned) - Palmer was mediocre (15.6 fantasy points) in a dream spot against Philadelphia’s abysmal secondary last week when about 9% of Millionaire Maker entrants were on him. Recency bias should cut his ownership in half as he returns home to take on an equally generous Tampa Bay pass defense. The Buccaneers rank 27th in pass defense DVOA and have allowed every quarterback they’ve faced to throw for over 300 yards, with the exception of Eli Manning, who finished with 288 (to go with 3 total touchdowns). The fewest yards Palmer has thrown for in a game this season is 291, thanks primarily to volume. No team has run more offensive plays per game than Arizona’s 69.2 or called pass on a greater percentage of their plays (71%). This game could easily go over its 45 point over/under, making a full game stack including Palmer one that should be on your GPP radar.

RB: Le'Veon Bell (@ KC, $9,600, 10% owned) - This week’s roster construction combined with Pittsburgh’s huge offensive letdown against Jacksonville in Week 5 should result in Bell’s ownership getting slashed by about half. Anytime you can buy up shares of the player with the highest ceiling in fantasy football when he’s not the chalk, it makes sense to do it (ask those who rostered him in a seemingly tough spot against the Ravens two weeks ago). The Chiefs look like a tough opponent since they haven’t allowed many fantasy points to running backs this season. But after Mike Gillislee scored three times on them in Week 1, Kansas City has faced Philadelphia’s uninspiring backfield, Melvin Gordon III (17-79-1), Rob Kelley/Samaje Perine (yuck), and Lamar Miller (15-74-0). Decent running backs have gotten over on the Chiefs 24th ranked rush defense (DVOA) and Bell has excelled in this matchup recently. He’s run for at least 120 yards in each of his last three meetings with Kansas City, including a 30 carry, 170-yard performance in last year’s AFC Division round. If you’re paying down at running back to fit several studs into a GPP lineup this week, Bell belongs on your short list.

RB: Todd Gurley (@ JAX, $7,700, 16% owned) - Gurley is another top-end running back who will see reduced ownership compared to last week as he looks to rebound from a letdown game. The conditions are right for Gurley to get back on track as the Rams travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars, whose defense ranks 1st against the pass, but 30th against the run (DVOA). If it weren’t for the wonky game script that contributed to Bell flopping last week, we’d still be thinking of the Jaguars as the team Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire lit up for 256 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in their previous game. The Rams plan to go pass-heavy on the Seahawks in Week 5 (thus limiting Gurley to a season-low 16 touches) was predictably a disaster. Expect Sean McVay to exploit the weakness of the Jaguars defense and get back to what works for LA -- feeding Gurley early, often, and especially within scoring range. On the season, only Leonard Fournette has accounted for a higher percentage of his team’s opportunities from inside the opponent’s 10-yard line than Gurley’s 56% and five of his league-leading seven touchdowns have come from inside the 10.

WR: Antonio Brown (@ KC, $9,300, 12% owned) - You’ll have to pay up to be contrarian for Brown, who costs a full $1,000 more than Jones. Ben Roethlisberger’s outlier five-interception nightmare and subsequent “Maybe I don’t have it anymore” declaration are still fresh in everyone’s heads, which masks a plus matchup for Brown (not that he needs one). The Chiefs defensive backfield has struggled this season, particularly against the opposition’s top downfield threat. While Martavis Bryant (a solid contrarian play in this matchup) has the higher average depth of target, Brown’s 13.5-yard aDOT is in line with most WR1s and he leads the NFL in total air yards by a wide margin. If Alshon Jeffery (7-92-1), Travis Benjamin (5-105-0), Terrelle Pryor (3-70-1) and Will Fuller V (2-57-2) can get loose for splash plays on the Chiefs secondary, Brown will give them all they can handle, even if Roethlisberger is truly hanging on by a thread.

WR: Davante Adams (@ MIN, $5,700, 15% owned) - The Packers offense isn’t generating a ton of buzz, which is somewhat surprising coming off their thrilling 35-31 win at Dallas last week. Adams returned from what appeared to be a devastating head injury without missing a game and looked no worse for the wear against the Cowboys. He led Green Bay with 11 targets, (more than Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson combined) and scored a pair of touchdowns. The matchup against Minnesota once again favors Adams. Nelson will draw shadow coverage from shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes, while Adams will run the majority of his routes against cornerback punching bag Trae Waynes. Martavis Bryant (3-91-1) and DeSean Jackson (4-84-1) serve as examples of secondary outside receivers who have burned the Vikings this year. The fact Adams’ price dropped by $100 from last week following a multi-touchdown game is a complete mystery.

TE: Zach Miller (@ BAL, $2,900, 8% owned) - Miller led the Bears in targets and scored a touchdown (albeit on a tipped pass) in Mitchell Trubisky’s NFL debut. Expect Trubisky to once again be forced to lean on his only reliable pass catcher against the Ravens. Baltimore ranks dead last in pass defense DVOA vs. tight ends and have allowed the third-most normalized fantasy points per game to the position this season. They also allow 8.5 yards per attempt to tight ends, which should mitigate the impact of Trubisky’s accuracy woes on Miller’s production. The $1,500 discount from Seferian-Jenkins to Miller is the difference between Larry Fitzgerald and Julio Jones this week. If the plan is to go underweight on Seferian-Jenkins, Miller is an ideal pivot.

DEF: Atlanta Falcons (vs. MIA, $3,500, 12% owned) - The Dolphins are in a complete mismatch on the road against the Falcons, who had an extra week to prepare for this contest. Miami is averaging a pathetic 10.2 points per game and struggling to protect Jay Cutler, as evidenced by their offensive line’s 9.4% adjusted sack rate -- the fifth-worst in the league. For his own part, Cutler has been abysmal. He couldn’t clear 100 passing yards against an awful Tennessee secondary last week and has now been intercepted in three straight games. Atlanta’s offense figures to hang a big number on Miami, which will allow their defense to pin their ears back and go after Cutler aggressively for most of the game. They’re only slightly less chalky than the Ravens, but the Falcons defense has a high-floor in this matchup, to go along with massive upside for GPPs.

MORE CORE PLAYS

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Kirk Cousins QB  SF $6,800 9% SF defense in diasaster spot. Flying east for 3rd straight road game.
Matt Ryan RB MIA $7,000 5% Might not have a better chance at a huge game all season.
Ameer Abdullah RB NO $4,900 6% Forgive poor performance vs. tough Carolina D. 40 combined touches in prior two.
Melvin Gordon III WR @OAK $7,800 9% Most who pay up at RB will look in different direction. OAK defense is a mess.
John Brown  TE TAM $4,500 9% Looks healthy and seeing targets. Cheap stacking partner for Palmer. 
Rob Gronkowski TE @ NYJ $6,800 10% Will have no trouble with Jets D if he's healthy. Injury and $ will shade ownership.

CONTRARIAN PLAYS

These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. The greater your exposure to these players, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.

QB: Josh McCown (vs. NE, $5,200, 2% owned) - McCown has proven he can be trusted for about 15 fantasy points when the matchup cooperates, which it should this week at home against the Patriots. No team has allowed more raw fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season than New England. Every quarterback they’ve faced has thrown for at least 300 yards and only Jameis Winston failed to post at least two touchdowns against them. McCown may not have the highest upside, but 250 yards and 2 touchdowns are in his range of outcomes this week (3.5 salary multiple) and he can be cheaply stacked with Seferian-Jenkins or any one of his receivers. Robby Anderson profiles as a better contrarian option than Jermaine Kearse this week, as the Patriots have allowed 17 pass plays of 25+ yards, which trails only the Colts for most in the league.

RB: Marshawn Lynch (vs. LAC, $5,000, 4% owned) - It has become exceedingly clear the Raiders have no intention of playing Lynch for over 50% of the snaps in any given week. But after the Giants inept running game accounted for 144 yards on 23 carries (6.26 yards per attempt) against LA last week, it’s clear the Chargers simply cannot tackle. Over the last three weeks, LA has allowed 52.4% more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the league average despite facing the uninspiring running games of the Giants and Eagles in two of those contests. Lynch will probably top out at 15 carries, but his multi-touchdown upside in this matchup cannot be ignored (provided Derek Carr is active). When the Raiders have gotten inside their opponent’s 10-yard line this season, Lynch’s six carries account for a higher percentage of the Raiders scoring opportunities than any other player on the team (rush attempts plus targets).

WR: Marvin Jones Jr (@ NO, $4,600, 6% owned) - Jones is the one player in the Lions at Saints game the crowd will overlook. He’ll run the majority of his routes against New Orleans cornerback Ken Crawley, the most-heavily targeted corner on the Week 6 slate. Given his respectable target volume (between five and eight in every game this season), Jones is due to begin receiving more scoring chances sometime soon. Last season he was targeted inside the red zone 15 times -- only one less than teammate Golden Tate. So far in 2017, he’s only received one red zone opportunity (which he converted into a touchdown while in Patrick Peterson’s coverage). Besides the New Orleans running backs (who everyone else is going to be on), Jones is the cheapest player with reasonable target and touchdown equity, in what profiles as the highest scoring game on the slate.

TE: Tyler Higbee (@ JAX, $2,500, 1% owned) - The Rams second-year tight end has quietly been making good on the hype surrounding his athletic profile. Higbee goes 6’6’’, 257 lbs., and is a former wide receiver with great hands and vertical speed. Over the last two games, he’s combined for 145 receiving yards on 14 targets, with receptions of 30+ yards in each game. Jacksonville’s elite outside corners make the middle of the field the path of least resistance for opposing quarterbacks. They allow a 56% pass success rates on targets to tight ends, which ranks 24th in the league. Like George Kittle last week, Higbee is young, athletic, minimum priced, and shouldn’t exceed 2% ownership in a plus matchup.

MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS:

Player Pos Opponent Salary Proj. Own % Comment
Kevin Hogan  QB @HOU $4,600 6% Rushing ability gives him a floor. Won't take much passing to smash salary.
Tevin Coleman RB MIA $5,000 4% MIA had major problems w/ Melvin Gordon III and Kamara in passing game.
Amari Cooper  WR LAC $5,000 9% Price and public perception have bottomed out. Capable of beating Hayward.
Adam Humphries WR @ARI $4,000 2% Reliable target volume for $4K receiver. Probably best left for cash games.
DeSean Jackson WR @ARI $5,800 10% Getting on same page with Winston. AZ CB Justin Bethel is a whipping boy.
Jordan Reed TE SF $5,000 9% As healthy as he's going to be this year coming off bye. Great stack with Cousins.
Austin Hooper TE MIA $3,500 6% Soaks up majority of Sanu's targets.