Expert DRAFTing Week 6

A how-to-guide to beating this week's snake drafts on DRAFT

Main Slate

DRAFT offers weekly fantasy contests with 5-man rosters (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR/TE) and 0.5-point PPR scoring (the same as FanDuel).  But instead of using a salary cap like other daily fantasy sites, teams are built through live snake drafts with 30-seconds per pick. The most common contest sizes are Head-to-Head, 3-Team, 6-Team, and 10-Team. 

First, we will dive into the rankings and draft strategy for each of the four Draft sizes. If you are interested in why the players are ranked where they are in the overall rankings, make sure to check out the in-depth breakdowns of the top options in the positional rankings. 

Please feel free to contact me (email or twitter) with any questions or if you are just looking for some extra advice for this week’s drafts. Constructive feedback on the article format and content is always appreciated.

Draft Rankings and Strategy

 

Head-to-Head drafts

 

  1. Kareem Hunt
  2. Antonio Brown
  3. DeAndre Hopkins
  4. Leonard Fournette
  5. Tom Brady
  6. Julio Jones
  7. Le'Veon Bell
  8. Todd Gurley 
  9. Drew Brees
  10. Michael Thomas

Kareem Hunt is an easy choice at 1.01 in the bigger contests but a tougher call in head-to-head. You really can’t go too wrong with any of the top-4 running backs this week. Hunt and Leonard Fournette are home favorites so they get the nod as the top two but Leveon Bell and Todd Gurley could easily end up with more points in these head-to-head matchups. Due to the depth at running back, if you feel strongly about Tom Brady, Antonio Brown or DeAndre Hopkins, it is perfectly reasonable to go with any of those players at 1.01. 

The biggest drop off in a head-to-head contest is after the top two wide receivers. While Julio Jones and Michael Thomas are solid options with significant upside, their floors are lower than those of the top two. Jones has risk because of his hip injury and Thomas has some risk because Drew Brees is unafraid to spread the ball around and doesn’t lock onto his top receiver as much as Ben Roethlisberger (Brown) and Deshaun Watson (Hopkins) do. If Hunt goes 1.01, locking in the top two receivers for the week (Brown and Hopkins) is a solid strategy. The worst case is that you end up with Drew Brees, Todd Gurley, and Le'Veon Bell to round out the rest of your roster and each is a strong option. 

3-Team Drafts

  1. Kareem Hunt
  2. Leonard Fournette
  3. Antonio Brown
  4. DeAndre Hopkins
  5. Le'Veon Bell
  6. Todd Gurley 
  7. Julio Jones
  8. Melvin Gordon III
  9. Tom Brady
  10. Michael Thomas
  11. Jordy Nelson
  12. Devonta Freeman
  13. Keenan Allen
  14. Drew Brees
  15. Deshaun Watson

The depth at running back is solid in 3-team drafts this week though there is a small tier break after the top four. Melvin Gordon III is coming off of a great performance but has been up-and-down this season and hasn’t consistently seen 20+ touches like the other top backs. He is a good option but comes with more risk than any of the top-four backs. There are positives to the matchup for Devonta Freeman against Miami. The Falcons are huge home favorites, which sets up for what could be a very positive game script. However, Miami has been very strong against the run and much weaker against the pass, so there’s a decent chance that the Falcons offense does most of its damage through the air. It is worth locking in two of the top four backs relatively early. 

Similarly, there is a tier break after the top four receivers. Jordy Nelson has plenty of upside but less of a floor than the top four because he may see shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes and Nelson is coming off of a mild hamstring injury. Keenan Allen has been a force in PPR scoring but hasn’t been a huge red zone threat in recent seasons. 

Drafting Deshaun Watson (making his fifth career start) ahead of Aaron Rodgers as the third quarterback in Drafts this week may feel risky but he is in a better spot and has more upside than Rodgers. Rodgers has been held under 300 yards passing and 2 or fewer touchdowns in 3-of-4 recent matchups against Minnesota. Over the past three weeks, Watson has scored 22.1, 34.7 and 35.5 Draft points. He faces a Browns defense that over the same stretch has allowed 27.8 Draft points to Jacoby Brissett and 28.3 to Andy Dalton. With the upside of Watson and the solid outlook for Drew Brees at home, it isn’t necessary to reach for Tom Brady in the first two rounds. 

6-Team Drafts

  1. Kareem Hunt
  2. Leonard Fournette
  3. Le'Veon Bell
  4. Todd Gurley 
  5. Melvin Gordon III
  6. Antonio Brown
  7. DeAndre Hopkins
  8. Devonta Freeman
  9. C.J. Anderson
  10. Julio Jones
  11. Michael Thomas
  12. Jordy Nelson
  13. Keenan Allen
  14. Tom Brady
  15. T.Y. Hilton
  16. Rob Gronkowski
  17. Mike Evans
  18. Drew Brees
  19. Deshaun Watson
  20. Aaron Rodgers
  21. Jordan Howard
  22. DeMarco Murray
  23. Matt Ryan
  24. Davante Adams
  25. Chris Hogan
  26. Brandin Cooks
  27. Jerick McKinnon
  28. Doug Martin
  29. Jay Ajayi
  30. Kirk Cousins

One of the easiest ways to plan your strategy for a draft is to look at the options available in the final round and decide which positions are most likely to have some players available you would be happy with. The first thing that stands out in looking ahead to the final round of 6-Team drafts is how weak the running back options are. Jay Ajayi has struggled mightily in his last three games and the game script sets up poorly as a double-digit road underdog. Jerick McKinnon looked great on Monday night but should continue to split time with Latavius Murray. His team is also an underdog. Doug Martin faces a tough Arizona run defense on the road and will cede passing-down snaps to Charles Sims. There is a bigger drop off at running back than any other position, so grabbing at least one of the top options in the first two rounds is ideal. 

There is potentially a bit of an advantage this week to landing a pick in the back half of the first round. Drafting from 1.04, you are guaranteed one of the top tier of running backs and at 2.03 can likely grab C.J. Anderson or one of the top-two wide receivers. Drafting from 1.05 and 1.06, the player pool will most likely include Melvin Gordon III, Devonta Freeman, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. Adding two of those four is a great way to build a team this week.

The quarterback position is loaded in Week 5. If your worst-case scenario is Kick Cousins playing at home against an awful San Francisco pass defense, clearly there are no bad options. It will be tempting to take big names like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers early. But while it might make sense to pull the trigger on one of them if you aren’t sold on any of the remaining running back or wide receiver options in the mid-rounds, the best approach is to wait at quarterback. Each of the top-6 options this week comes with a solid floor and major upside. 

The deep second tier at wide receiver (after the top five are off the board) is where the toughest decisions are going to have to be made. The early projections for the receivers in this tier are pretty similar and beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. For example, some will be willing to bet on Mike Evans as a top player regardless of matchup. Others will look at his facing shadow coverage against Patrick Peterson and go a different direction. The top options in the New England passing game (Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan) are all in play but it is tough to guess who will be the top target in any given week. The situation with Green Bay receivers is also tough to decipher. Jordy Nelson destroyed the Vikings pass defense in the first half of their last meeting before Xavier Rhodes started to shadow him. If Nelson sees shadow coverage from Rhodes, then Davante Adams is the best bet. If Nelson doesn’t get shadowed, he is a steal at WR5. 

10-Team Drafts

  1. Kareem Hunt
  2. Leonard Fournette
  3. Le'Veon Bell
  4. Todd Gurley 
  5. Melvin Gordon III
  6. Antonio Brown
  7. DeAndre Hopkins
  8. Julio Jones
  9. Devonta Freeman
  10. C.J. Anderson
  11. Tom Brady
  12. Michael Thomas
  13. Jordy Nelson
  14. Keenan Allen
  15. Drew Brees
  16. Deshaun Watson
  17. Aaron Rodgers
  18. T.Y. Hilton
  19. Rob Gronkowski
  20. Mike Evans
  21. Jordan Howard
  22. DeMarco Murray
  23. Davante Adams
  24. Chris Hogan
  25. Brandin Cooks
  26. Matt Ryan
  27. Kirk Cousins
  28. Elijah McGuire
  29. Jerick McKinnon
  30. Doug Martin
  31. Jay Ajayi
  32. Adam Thielen
  33. Tyreek Hill
  34. Pierre Garcon
  35. Michael Crabtree
  36. Lamar Miller
  37. Carlos Hyde
  38. Chris Thompson
  39. Carson Palmer
  40. Travis Kelce
  41. Will Fuller V 
  42. Larry Fitzgerald
  43. Golden Tate
  44. Jameis Winston
  45. Philip Rivers
  46. Mark Ingram II
  47. Ameer Abdullah
  48. Alvin Kamara
  49. Aaron Jones
  50. Alex Smith

As is the case every week, the biggest dropoff comes at the running back position. The longer you wait to grab your second running back, the more likely it is you end up with a committee back like Mark Ingram II, Alvin Kamara, Ameer Abdullah or Aaron Jones. It may feel strange to take someone like C.J. Anderson over the likes of Tom Brady, Michael Thomas, and Jordy Nelson but it is the right move when taking into account positional scarcity. Anderson belongs in the tail end of the first round. Don’t be afraid to pass up bigger names at other positions to lock in solid options at running back. Owning two running backs who should see 20+ touches provides a significant advantage. 

The top five six receivers have enough upside to justify being selected in the top-15 overall. As per usual, the wide receiver/tight end position has more depth than running back and solid options will be available in the fifth round. If you have to punt one position in the early rounds, wide receiver is the best choice. 

The quarterback position is deep this week but there feels like a little bit of a tier break after the top six passers. Carson Palmer, Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers, and Alex Smith each have solid floors but face relatively tough matchups and are unlikely to put together the type of huge fantasy performance you are looking for in a 10-team contest. Each of the top-six passers has a realistic ceiling of 25+ points and are worth taking in the 2nd or 3rd round of Drafts.

Positional Breakdowns

Quarterback

  1. Tom Brady Brady has thrown for 300+ yards in four straight games and is currently on pace for 5,446 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. He will be at or near the top of the quarterback rankings every week as long as he continues his hot streak. The Patriots have a healthy 28.5-point implied team total, 2nd highest of the week. However, it is worth noting that in his last three starts against the Jets, Brady has averaged just 244 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. 
  2. Drew Brees Brees is always a good bet for 300 yards and at least 2 touchdowns at home. The last time he faced the Lions in the Superdome (2015), he threw for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Saints have the week’s 5th-highest implied team total at 27.8. The Lions have been one of the best teams in football against the run, allowing just 75 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. The Saints offense should score most of those 27.8 on the power of Brees’ arm. 
  3. Deshaun WatsonOver the past three weeks, Watson has scored 22.1, 34.7 and 35.5 Draft points. He faces a Browns defense that is very stout against the run (3rd in DVOA) but porous against the pass (31st in DVOA). After giving up 27.8 Draft points to Jacoby Brissett and 28.3 to Andy Dalton in the previous two weeks, the Browns held Josh McCown to 14.5 points. The biggest concern for Watson may be the presence of Myles Garrett. Garrett had two sacks in his Week 5 NFL debut despite playing limited snaps. He is expected to play more against Houston and will likely spend plenty of time harassing Watson.
  4. Aaron Rodgers In his last four meetings against the division-rival Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers has had one monster game (347 passing yards and 5 total touchdowns) and three solid but unspectacular performances in which he averaged 239 passing yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game. Rodgers always has a solid floor and massive ceiling. Green Bay’s team total is solid (25.3) and ranks 8th highest this week. 
  5. Matt RyanThis looks like an ideal spot for Matt Ryan to have his first big fantasy day of the 2017 season. The Falcons are at home, coming off of a bye, and sport the week’s highest implied team total of 29. The Dolphins also profile as a funnel defense that will force teams to beat them through the air, with a 2nd ranked DVOA run defense and 29th ranked pass defense. The Falcons led the NFL in receptions by running backs last season. Thus, even if Atlanta builds a big lead, Ryan could still rack up points with safe throws to his backs and tight ends to keep the chains moving and the clock rolling. 
  6. Kirk Cousins
  7. Carson Palmer
  8. Jameis Winston
  9. Philip Rivers
  10. Alex Smith

Running Back

  1. Kareem Hunt The Steelers have allowed 136.6 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry and Kansas City is a 4.5-point home favorite. Ryan Hester made a convincing case for Hunt in his Week 6 Trendspotting article: “Pittsburgh is allowing 19.0 rushing fantasy points per game to running backs, second-most in the NFL. Both backs to see over 20 carries against the Steelers ran wild and scored multiple touchdowns. Kareem Hunt has 95% of Kansas City's running back carries and 84% of its non-quarterback carries. In a game with a reasonably high total (46) and a potentially positive game-script (Kansas City is favored by 4), Hunt's outlook is as rosy as any player at any position this week.”
  2. Leonard FournetteThe Los Angeles Rams defense is allowing 46% of the yardageagainst them to come on the ground (137 yards per game) and are giving up 5.0 yards per carry. Fournette comes into the game as arguably the NFL’s hottest running back. He has averaged 26 carries per game over the last two weeks and physically dominated a tough Steelers defense in Pittsburgh last week with 181 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Jaguars are a home favorite, which is enough to give Fournette the nod over Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell in the Week 6 rankings.
  3. Le'Veon Bell The Chiefs run defense is slightly below average, allowing 4.6 yards per carry and the 20th most fantasy points to opposing backs. Bell’s floor over the past four weeks has been 21 touches and he is a near lock for 20+ touches based upon his usage over the last few seasons. His upside in terms of touches is highest in the league, as his 39 touches in Week 4 prove. There is a case for Bell to be ranked a spot or two higher but he and the Steeler offense haven’t been able to fully get on track this season. Ben Roethlisberger has been struggling, which means less red zone opportunities for Bell, who has been held without a touchdown in 3-of-5 games in 2017. 
  4. Todd Gurley On paper, this is a prime spot for Todd Gurley. Jacksonville is allowing 5.4 yards per carry and 146.4 rushing yards per game. But as noted in the Footballguys game preview, the Jaguars have actually fared well when facing the elite running backs on their schedules, noting: “The running backs that they have struggled against are not the running backs that you would think when you look at their schedule. They have struggled against Bilal Powell (162 yards and a touchdown), Derrick Henry (92 yards and a touchdown), and Alex Collins (9 carries 82 yards). Meanwhile, this Jaguars team has shut down Le'Veon Bell, DeMarco Murray, and Lamar Miller. How do we use that information for matchups? It is a relatively difficult question, but we have to wonder if this Jaguars defense is actually better than what we think if they scheme to stop the opposing running back.” Gurley and the Rams are also traveling cross-country for an early kickoff after a physical game against the division-rival Seahawks last week. There is a real risk of a letdown performance here but Gurley has been one of the most consistent fantasy backs through five weeks so we give him the benefit of the doubt in a game in which he should be featured prominently. 
  5. Melvin Gordon III Gordon entered Week 5 frustrated with his lack of touches and made his feelings known in the media. The Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff finally gave Gordon a hefty workload (26 touches) and he responded with a huge day. He put up 31.3 Draft points with 163 total yards and 2 touchdowns in leading the Chargers to their first victory of the season. He has another great matchup in Week 6 and should be featured heavily against an Oakland Raiders defense that is allowing 124.6 yards per game to opponents on the ground (which ranks 25th in the NFL).
  6. Devonta Freeman On paper, the game script looks ideal for Freeman. The Falcons have the week’s highest implied team total of 29 points and are 11-point home favorites. Atlanta should be playing with a lead in the second half and feeding Freeman and Tevin Coleman the ball. The Dolphins defense has been stout against the run, however, ranking 2nd in DVOA run defense. Freeman’s pass game usage makes him a safe play even if the Falcons can’t get the ground game rolling. With Mohamed Sanu out and Julio Jones at less than 100%, Freeman should get a couple extra looks in the passing game. 
  7. C.J. Anderson
  8. Jordan Howard
  9. DeMarco Murray
  10. Elijah McGuire There is some risk in drafting McGuire ahead of some of the more proven players ranked below him. After all, he is a rookie 6th-rounder who has yet to shoulder a heavy load in an NFL game. Plus, while it looks likely that both Bilal Powell and Matt Forte will miss this game, there is some risk for early drafters that one of the veteran backs is able to suit up against New England. Despite these risks, McGuire is worth a gamble as a top-10 running back this week. Assuming Powell and Forte both miss, McGuire is in line for a massive workload with hybrid RB/WR Travaris Cadet the only other back on the roster. He also faces a New England defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone. The Patriots rank 24th against the run dead last against the pass, where they have had an especially tough time covering opposing running backs. 
  11. Jerick McKinnon
  12. Jay Ajayi
  13. Lamar Miller
  14. Carlos Hyde
  15. Doug Martin
  16. Chris Thompson
  17. Ameer Abdullah
  18. Mark Ingram II
  19. Alvin Kamara
  20. Aaron Jones

Wide Receiver

  1. Antonio Brown Brown has been solid in his last two meetings against the Chiefs, with 6-108-0 and 4-64-2 receiving lines. In the second game, both of Brown’s touchdowns came early and he could have had a much bigger game if Pittsburgh wasn’t blowing the doors off of Kansas City. The Chiefs pass defense gets a lot of takeaways and ranks 14th in DVOA but also gives up an above-average amount of yardage (248 passing yards per game) and big plays. While the Chiefs are 4.5-point home favorites, the Steelers have owned this rivalry in recent seasons, going 6-0 in every game Ben Roethlisberger started and finished against Kansas City.
  2. DeAndre Hopkins Watson’s emergence as one of the most exciting young quarterbacks has coincided with a major rebound season for his go-to target, Hopkins. Hopkins is averaging 7.0 receptions per game and has scored 4 touchdowns in the last two weeks. The Browns are allowing 74% of the passes against to be completed and Hopkins is a good bet to see 10+ targets. He is averaging 12.2 targets per game on the season. Pencil Hopkins in for at least seven receptions with a great chance of continuing his touchdown scoring streak. 
  3. Julio Jones Jones was back practicing on Monday and seems like a fairly safe bet to play on Sunday. The unknown is if his hip injury will limit his effectiveness. Drafters will have to weigh the risks of Jones possibly being a decoy against his massive upside if he is healthy. Miami’s mediocre cornerbacks will have a tough time with Jones and he should see a few extra targets with Mohamed Sanu out. The Dolphins defense ranks 29th in DVOA against the pass and have given up some huge days to top opposing receivers in recent years. The Falcons are also likely to try to make a concerted effort to get Jones into the end zone for the first time this season. 
  4. Michael Thomas
  5. Jordy Nelson
  6. Keenan Allen
  7. T.Y. Hilton
  8. Rob Gronkowski
  9. Mike Evans
  10. Davante Adams
  11. Brandin Cooks
  12. Chris Hogan
  13. Adam Thielen
  14. Tyreek Hill
  15. Pierre Garcon
  16. Michael Crabtree
  17. Travis Kelce As of Friday morning, Kelce was still in the concussion protocol. A full practice on Thursday indicates he is very likely to be cleared before Sunday, however.
  18. Will Fuller V Fuller is an intriguing upside play in the final round of Drafts this weekend. Since returning from injury in Week 4, he has scored two touchdowns in both of his starts. He also has a great matchup this weekend against the 31st ranked Cleveland pass defense. However, Fuller has seen just nine targets total in his two games. The floor is much lower for him than it is for other late-round options like Larry Fitzgerald and Golden Tate, but neither of those players can match Fuller’s big-play potential and touchdown upside. 
  19. Larry Fitzgerald
  20. Golden Tate