This week follows a weekend of uniquely extreme highs and lows: some good, some bad, and so much ugly.
While Comeback Player of the Year candidate Alex Smith suited up and bravely played opposite Aaron Donald, Dak Prescott put on his own brave face as he was carted away with a brutal broken ankle that'll have him sidelined for the rest of the season.
The Texans won their first game, valiantly redeeming the fantasy value of Brandin Cooks and David Johnson. The Falcons lost again and finally fired disgraced head coach Dan Quinn, while Carson Wentz lost the Eagles' perch atop the division with a pick-ridden loss to a steely defense.
As Week 6 approaches, here are the drops, swaps and shops you need to make in light of a shocking Week 5.
Syndication: NorthJersey Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Golden Tate has made headlines this season, but unfortunately, it hasn't been for his fantasy performance. The veteran has made a name for himself through eleven years and four different franchises, but he hasn't been able to produce much on a weak Giants offense. Tate is on the field and does catch the majority of his targets, but they're only for a couple of yards: He hasn't gotten more than 47 yards in a game. If he's not adding at least 10 points to your roster, he's not even worth a flex spot, and it seems Darius Slayton is the guy to roster instead of Tate.
Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. 💯 https://t.co/0sjVD2FkHQ— Golden Tate (@Golden Tate)1602550826.0
NFL: Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Gage was a promising part of a high-powered Falcons offense in Weeks 1 and 2, but in the three weeks since, he's barely gotten more than 50 yards… total. While Gage did suffer a concussion in Week 3, he's been listed as active in every game this season. It's possible that the Falcons are reeling from their 0-5 record, and it's very possible that the offense can turn things around in a week like the Texans did, but Gage is a gamble at this point, and there are likely better options out there if you prefer not to wait.
With Week 5 almost in the books, here are some players who are droppable: - Tre'Quan Smith - AJ Green - Nyheim Hin… https://t.co/qAwR8AyBuq— Fantasy Football Laboratory (@Fantasy Football Laboratory)1602603849.0
NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
It's probably not fun being Carson Wentz right now. It's also not that fun having Carson Wentz on your fantasy team. The once-lauded Eagles quarterback who helped bring his city their only championship is now drawing ire from the NFL world for his subpar play this year. To be fair, the Eagles haven't given him much to work with: he lacks offensive line protection and receiving options, putting the quarterback in a universally difficult position. While Wentz may not be entirely to blame, he's barely broken 20 points and is the 20th quarterback after Week 4—there are better options, even in twelve-person leagues.
My man is so done with Carson Wentz 😂 https://t.co/WEcfugPkR1— DailySportsDosage (@DailySportsDosage)1601344938.0
NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Ingram carries a name in fantasy, but that seems to be all he's carrying these days in Baltimore. Once upon a time, the former Saints running back shared a backfield with Kamara as half of a rare and productive RB tandem, but this year, there just aren't enough opportunities for Ingram. Between Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins and maybe Justice Hill, Ingram can't start on your fantasy roster right now. But since so much of fantasy knowledge still relies on what happened last season, you might be able to convince someone that Mark Ingram is the starting Ravens running back and at least get something useful out of this touchdown-or-bust player.
J.K. Dobbins (Rookie) has touched the ball 25x and has 199 yards & 2 touchdowns Mark Ingram (10th year) has touche… https://t.co/Mp51Q6SsCQ— Joe Reed (@Joe Reed)1602612890.0
NFL: New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Another touchdown-or-bust kind of guy, Darius Slayton is a talented deep threat on a winless offense that ranks last in the NFL's worst division this season. He's actually averaging about 15.6 yards per game, so the guy can catch… he's just not catching enough. So even if Slayton gets points a few times this season, it's not consistent, making him a potential play in weak matchups, such as against the Cowboys this week. Either hold onto Slayton for those attractive matchups or sell him on his big-play ability.
Top 10 in percentage share of team's air yards, per @NextGenStats: Adam Thielen- 48.4% Marquise Brown- 45.1% DK Me… https://t.co/EnqGNkU5wC— Frank Stampfl (@Frank Stampfl)1602612093.0
NFL: Buffalo Bills at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Devin is the starting running back for the Bills, but with Josh Allen's passing attack working fairly well for the undefeated team, the run game hasn't been so much of a factor thus far. While his carries have increased each week and he did score a touchdown in Week 4, that score is really what saved him that week and gave him RB2 numbers. With fellow running back Zack Moss set to return this week, now's a good time to score something from Singletary if you need a stable wide receiver or tight end.
Devin Singletary has looked great all season. He currently has -130 odds to have over 58 rushing yards. Bet on th… https://t.co/T0ZLq4dS8s— BetOnline.ag (@BetOnline.ag)1602610998.0
NFL: Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Alright, so adding Chase Claypool might be so obvious that it isn't even worth mentioning, but in case you didn't hear, this Steelers WR scored 7 catches for 110 yards as well as four touchdowns, earning him… 39 points.* Even before this week, Claypool was averaging 25 yards per catch, but he wasn't getting enough volume to justify making your roster. Well, now he is, so bid for him, negotiate for him, spend half of your waiver salary… just try to get this guy, because everyone will be clamoring for him.
The Week 6 Waiver Wire WR Priority List! @FFToday discusses if Chase Claypool can consistently give your team prod… https://t.co/Xp4vRLhHLP— CBS Sports HQ (@CBS Sports HQ)1602615058.0
Laviska Shenault Jr.
NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
He may be available in two-thirds of leagues, but Laviska Shenault is an interesting WR waiver wire add if he continues at his current pace. His target share has increased week by week, and he's been able to accrue more than 10 points without scoring a touchdown. After DJ Chark exited with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter this Sunday, Shenault and Keelan Cole will be looking to split targets in a favorable Week 6 matchup against the Lions.
"Laviska Shanault Jr is better than Chase Claypool 🤢😑, Chase had 1 good game.... Laviska been doing since the start… https://t.co/xY8vcy09jB— Tramainetho (@Tramainetho)1602615184.0
Syndication: Palm Beach Post Allen Eyestone via Imagn Content Services, LLC
It seems that Fitzmagic wins games when he wants to, but in fantasy, it looks like he's been playing like a winner all season. Excluding a 2-point showing opposite the Patriots, Fitzpatrick had two 20-point outings and three that were around 30-points each. Here's the real magic: he's the 10th overall quarterback, but somehow only appears on 19.9 percent of ESPN rosters. Make Fitzmagic appear on yours if you need an upgrade at QB.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the earn the starting job phase of his cycle. Playing well tonight. #MIAvsPIT #MNF https://t.co/Ypx8e0hYXx— Willie L. Franklin (@Willie L. Franklin)1572311519.0
* — dependant on league scoring rules
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It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.