Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers
Projected Vegas Score: Panthers 24.5, Eagles 21
Quarterbacks- This should be a fun game to watch as Carson Wentz squares off with Cam Newton in primetime on Thursday night. Wentz has been outstanding for the Eagles this season and ranks as a top 10 fantasy Quarterback so far this season. If you're playing the Thursday-Monday slates I always hate having a lot of Thursday exposure because the game is always seemingly over-owned. Wentz is a GPP option only for me in a tough matchup on the road. If you read my weekly takeaways article then you know where I'm about to go with this. Cam, don't do it to me again. I've been incredibly bearish on Cam Newton throughout this year but he has legit looked good the last two weeks. He's completed over 70% of his passes over the last two weeks and has a 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The Eagles are giving up 283 yards per game to opposing Quarterbacks so far this season and now he gets them at home on a short week. Cam is in play in all formats as much as I hate to say it.
Running Backs- Legarrette Blount figures to be the "main" option for the Eagles with Wendell Smallwood likely sidelined again, but I'm going to flat out say I'm completely off the Eagles backfield. There's still three guys seeing work and they have yet to fully commit to someone. Blount could easily find the box, but I'm not risking it at what should be somewhat inflated ownership. As for the Panthers, it's Christian McCaffrey or bust. Jonathan Stewart has been terrible and is not someone I can use in fantasy at this point. McCaffrey is basically being used as a Wide Receiver and the Eagles are susceptible to Running Backs who catch passes, they have up 8 catches to Andre Ellington last week. He's a solid GPP option but not in play for cash games for me.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Zach Ertz has been a fantasy darling this season, he leads all Tight Ends with 48 targets and has been as steady as they come. I think I'm going to take a stand and fade him here, which may come back and bite me. The Panthers have a really athletic linebacker group and have allowed under 10 catches on the year to opposing Tight Ends. I really wish this game was on Sunday, because I would love to use Alshon Jeffrey in this spot. He has had a nightmare schedule thus far and exploded for 90 yards and a touchdown the one week he hasn't been shadowed by an elite cornerback. The Panthers secondary isn't bad, but they are bottom five in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts and this could be a funnel spot for Jeffrey with Ertz in a tough matchup. Given how bad the Eagles secondary is, both Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess are in play for GPPs. Of the two, I prefer Funchess. He leads the team in targets (7 per game) and has been a fantasy monster since Greg Olsen went down with injury.
Overall Outlook- This game is filled with tournament options for me given that it's on Thursday and I really wish it was on Sunday. Cam-Funchess-Jeffrey is an intruiging stack you can look at in GPPs.
Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans
Projected Vegas Score: Texans 28.5, Browns 18.5
Quarterbacks- My poor Browns...some things never change. Kevin Hogan will line up as their 800th starting Quarterback in my lifetime and it's safe to say I'm not using him in DFS. Deshaun Watson, who the Browns could and should of drafted, has come out of nowhere to become of the absolute best fantasy Quarterbacks. The Browns have already given up 11 touchdowns through the air this season, and we can expect a few more on Sunday. Watson lines up as the uber chalk Sunday, but for good reason. He's in play in all formats.
Running Backs- Duke Johnson continues to hit value through his passing game work and this is another spot he should be able to that with the Browns being such sizable underdogs. He's racked up 18 catches over the last three weeks and the Texans defense is certainly banged up. He's a GPP option this week. The Texans have seemed to scrap the committee over the last three weeks with Lamar Miller averaging 70+% of the snaps over that time span. He's also top 10 in terms on red zone opportunities among running backs over that timeframe as well and now is a huge home favorite. I don't think you can go there in cash games, but he is an interesting GPP leverage play off the popular Texans passing game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Browns have legit no option in the passing game that I have any remote DFS interest in aside from Duke Johnson. Rookie Tight End David Njoku has looked good so far in his rookie campaign and is a big-time red zone threat, but I think that's a bit thin unless you're playing a large field GPP. It's the [polar opposite for the Texans as there are options galore in their receiving corps. DeAndre Hopkins has been an absolute target monster averaging 12 targets a game and Will Fuller has already found the box 4 times since returning from injury in week 4. Hopkins is an elite play in all formats with Will Fuller checkin in as a solid tournament option. Another interesting leverage play for me this week is Ryan Griffin. He's averaged 80% of the snaps since C.J. Fiedorowicz went down with injury and is the clear Tight End for the Browns. He's priced as the TE6 on Draftkings but is still minimum priced on Fanduel. The Browns have been torched by Tight Ends all season and I love him in all formats on Fanduel.
Overall Outlook- There should be a lot of fantasy goodness in this game with the total just continuing to rise. Watson-Hopkins-Griffin are all great plays in all formats for me and you can mix in Duke and Fuller in GPPs.
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
Projected Vegas Score: Saints 27.25, Lions 22.75
Quarterbacks- This game projects as a shootout with Matt Stafford and Drew Brees squaring off in the Coors Field of NFL DFS. I prefer that my DFS Quarterbacks are at home, but you can certainly make the case for Stafford in tournaments in a high paced game against a Saints secondary thats given up over 260 yards per game through the air. They've only allowed 6 touchdowns despite the high yardage total and a couple of their corners have actually played really well this season. Drew Brees is one of the top Quarterback options on the slate coming off a bye week against a somewhat overrated Lions defense. The Lions have been funneling tons of work towards the passing game, which is why they're giving up over 250 yards per game through the air. They just lost stud DT Haloti Ngata to an elbow injury however, which should help loosen things up for opposing running backs. Brees is money at home and he should have a huge game in this spot.
Running Backs- I've been somewhat bullish compared to the field on Ameer Abdullah this season and he's in play for tournaments, but I prefer my running backs at home and there are still some other mouths to feed for the Lions. As for the Saints, this gets very interesting. They recently traded Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals, thus leaving us with a two-headed monster of Mark Ingram and promising rookie Alvin Kamara. Many people are excited about Kamara, as am I, but I feel like people have already written off Ingram. Ingram has been a really solid fantasy back over the past two seasons for the Saints and it's not like he isn't useable in the passing game. Plus, like I noted above, the loss of Ngata should help him in terms of his carries. He will 100% see more carries than Kamara, but the rookie will see some passing game usage. I think Mark Ingram is useable in both cash games and GPPs and Alvin Kamara is a great tournament option, especially on Draftkings. I'd lean towards Ingram on Fanduel especially given is egregious price tag.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Marvin Jones figures to match up with rookie Marshon Lattimore who has been surprisingly good in coverage this season and continues Marvin's tough string of match ups to start the season. Golden Tate is my preferred target from the Lions passing game as he is always an option in his high volume slot role. If we get news that Darius Slay is going to shadow Michael Thomas then I would mostly be off him, but for now he is an elite play in all formats. Willie Snead is reportedly going to be "eased into action" which takes him out of play for me. Ted Ginn is always a boom or bust GPP option given he can break off a big play at any time.
Overall Outlook- This game should be high scoring and I'm really not buying the whole Brees is not as good narrative. They've had some tough matchups so far and I'm pretty bullish on the Saints for the rest of the season. Brees is an elite option with everyone else lining up as solid GPP plays. I see the love for Kamara but I love Mark Ingram in tournaments because he should come in as the lower owned of the two.
Miami Dolphins @ Atlanta Falcons
Projected Vegas Score: Falcons 28.75, Dolphins 17.25
Quarterbacks- There's tons of huge favorites this week and that mainly leaves the slate as whole as wide open. We should see the majority of ownership spread out. I think we all have seen Jay Cutler play football this season and if you think he's a DFS option then you probably shouldn't even play DFS. Matt Ryan's pass catchers are a bit banged up we cannot ignore this spot at home against the Dolphins. I honestly could see Ryan kind of flying under the radar after an underwhelming start to the season and we know how great he can play at home in a plum match up.
Running Backs- Jay Ajayi still doesn't look healthy to me and given the state of the Dolphins offensive line he cannot be trusted for DFS. Devonta Freeman has underwhelmed over the past two weeks but he's definitely a GPP option has a massive home favorite. Tevin Coleman is nothing more than a deep GPP flier at this point. Freeman is the clear guy in Atlanta and they seem to lean on him more at home and like I said with Ryan, he could slip under the radar based off recency bias.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- It doesn't look like DeVante Parker will play...#SadFace. His value is continually hurt by Quarterback play anyways, but it doesn't seem like you could run much worse than Parker has throughout his short career. Jarvis Landry averages double digit targets but it's a bit too thin for me and I'm too bearish in this Dolphins offense to consider. Julio Jones has been limited by a hip injury, but he's always a strong GPP play when he plays at home. Mohamed Sanu is expected to miss again this Sunday and Turbo Taylor Gabriel has stepped up in his absence. Gabriel had a big season for the Falcons last season, and he went 3-82-1 last week but also played on 80% of the snaps. He's a great GPP option on Sunday and be sure to have him in your player pool.
Overall Outlook- It's clear we want the Falcons here but I think they are all just GPP options. Ryan-Freeman-Julio and Gabriel are all in play for tournaments and I'm curious to see how highly owned they come in at on Sunday. I think Julio can be used in cash games potentially if you're willing to risk the injury. He is in an elite spot and any type of suppressed ownership has to be taken as a victory.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Projected Vegas Score: Patriots 28.5, Jets 19
Quarterbacks- Oh man, here we go. Tom Brady has averaged over 300 yards per game this season and now gets a date with the Jets on extended rest after playing last Thursday. He's a great tournament option on Sunday but I'm not sure if he is cash game playable. Welcome to Josh McCown chalk week...2017 is wild. I see the love for McCown across the industry because the Patriots defense has been #bad this season. They've given up the most touchdowns through the air this season and over 320 passing yards per game. Would it shock me if McCown has a big game? No, not really. Am I playing him in DFS with all these other QB options? No, not really.
Running Backs- The Patriots have so many mouths to feed It's really a headache trying to figure out which one you think will find the box on a given week. Mike Gillislee was supposed to fill the Legarrette Blount role for the Patriots but he hasn't looked like Blount did at all yet this season. Bilal Powell, we barely knew ya. Powell is expected to miss this weeks game due to a calf injury which would thrust Elijah McGuire into a work horse role. Matt Forte has been practicing so he might return, which could possibly ruin McGuire week. But, how much can we really count on Matt Forte at this point? Keep an eye on the news, and if Forte is inactive McGuire becomes a pure volume play and is viable in all formats.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Chris Hogan just keeps scoring. He is top three among wide receivers in red zone targets this season and just has a knack for finding the box. With Gronk banged up they have been making a point to use him in the red zone and he's in play again this week. Brandin Cooks in always a GPP option and is capable of exploding in almost any match up. The reason I'm off McCown is because I really don't like any of his receiving options outside of athletic freak Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Overall Outlook- I'm not crazy in love with this game but I'm fine with mixing some Patriots in GPPs. I won't be over-exposed to them but it's Brady, he's always an option.
Chicago Bears @ Baltimore Ravens
Projected Vegas Score: Ravens 23, Bears 16.5
Quarterbacks- This game is kind of a dud in comparison to others on the board. I don't have interest in either of these Quarterbacks for DFS. I'm high on Mitchell Trubisky in terms of his career, but not in his second career start on the road in Baltimore. Joe Flacco just really isn't a guy I target in DFS and he doesn't have the ceiling I'm looking for in tournaments.
Running Backs- There's only one play I like in this whole game and it's Buck Allen. Allen played on over 70% of the Ravens snaps last week and it looks like they have finally committed to him as a runner in addition to a pass catcher. I think he is a viable GPP pivot off of other popular cheap options like Kamara and McKinnon. Jordan Howard has rebounded from a nightmare start to the season but I'm not suing him on the road in Baltimore. #FadeTheBears.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Remember what I just said? Oh, yeah. #FadeTheBears. The Ravens really have no pass catcher I want to use either, it's pretty depressing.
Overall Outlook- This game is pretty much the least exciting of all the games this weekend and the only play I'm looking at here is Buck Allen in GPPs.
San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins
Projected Vegas Score: Redskins 28.8, 49ers 18.3
Quarterbacks- Brian Hoyer was my boy last week, helping me net over $1K profit for the 3rd time already this NFL season, but I can't go back to the well against the Redskins. This Redskins defense looks pretty good when watching them play, and they rank top 10 in DVOA against the pass this season. As for the other side though, I love Kirk Cousins this week more than Connor loves an Aaron Judge strike out. Cousins is ALWAYS under-owned and now he gets a defense giving up 150 yards per game traveling across the country for a 1PM start time.
Running Backs-Carlos Hyde had a rough game last week and I don't think I have interest in using him against a defense that has only given up 2 rushing touchdowns this season despite the fact that I have a soft spot for him. I really don't like my running backs to be on the road, generally. Rob Kelley is expected to miss this game for the Redskins which means we will see Semaje Perine take over the lead back role and Chris Thompson on the passing downs. I don't think Thompson will replicate his performance vs the Raiders because Jordan Reed is expected to play, but I think we could see Perine find the box here and he makes for an interesting GPP play.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The one option I have interest in for the 49ers is Tight End George Kittle. Kittle is an athletic freak and the one place to attack the Redskins is with Tight Ends, they rank second worst against Tight Ends this season. I think Kittle might be decently popular after his performance last week, but he's in the conversation as a salary saver. I think both Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder line up in great spots this week. Pryor is a big play waiting to happen, and there are reports out of DC that they want to get Crowder the ball more this week. With Josh Doctson healthy, I think that makes the Crowder scenario all the more likely and I like having exposure to him in tournaments at his decreased price tag.
Overall Outlook- The Washington side here dominates my interest. Cousins-Crowder-Pryor-Perine in that order and you can bring back any Cousins stacks with George Kittle, though I still like Ryan Griffin as a pivot off of Kittle.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
Projected Vegas Score: Packers 24.75, Vikings 21.75
Quarterbacks- I'm still not entirely over just how great Aaron Rodgers was last weekend in that thrilling win over the Cowboys. The Vikings have allowed just 7 touchdowns this season and I think I like the other high priced QBs better this week. I have interest in some of the Viking pass catchers but not in their Quarterback. I expect Case Keenum to start for them and I just don't think he has the ceiling I'm looking for.
Running Backs- The running back situations are equally intriguing this week. If Ty Montgomery misses again for the Packers then Aaron Jones will likely be the feature back once again. I like Aaron Jones a lot and I liked him at UTEP. The Vikings have allowed just one rushing touchdown all season though, so I don't think I can justify playing him in this spot. Jerrick McKinnon looked great on Monday night for the Vikings, out-touching Latavius Murray by 8 and averaging almost 6 YPC. He has a legitimate role in the passing game and with the Vikings expected to be trailing he should have a role again on Sunday. He looks to be the trendy value play this week and I think that's fine in cash games, on Draftkings at least, but I'll probably look elsewhere in GPPs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Jordy Nelson will most likely be shadowed by shutdown corner Xavier Rhodes and that's enough to scare me off. I think we can look at Davante Adams and Randall Cobb again in tournaments, but my lack of attraction towards Rodgers this week has me pretty bearish on both. I like both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen this week in tournaments and I think both are legitimate DFS plays. The Packers secondary is one we have been targeting for over a year in DFS and both Diggs and Thielen have played exceptionally this year despite the QB issues. Diggs has the higher ceiling for tournaments, but Thielen is cash game viable given his price and role in this offense.
Overall Outlook- I'm not in love with this game but the Vikings are certainly interesting. McKinnon will be chalky and I can see why, but I'm not crazy about the play. I like Diggs/Thielen a god bit as one-off GPP plays.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals
Projected Vegas Score: Buccaneers 23.25, Cardinals 22.25
Quarterbacks- This is the sneaky shootout of the week in my opinion. Both of these teams defenses have reputations for being very good, but have both struggled this season. Carson Palmer and Jameis Winston are both in very interesting spots and I can definitely see them both as strong tournament plays this week at low ownership. The Cardinals secondary was just torched by Carson Wentz in week five and that bodes well Winston. The Bucs are giving up over 300 yards per game through the air and we have already seen the likes of Case Keenum rip them up.
Running Backs-The Cardinals recently acquired Adrian Peterson via trade but he has looked horrible this season and the Cardinals offensive line is much worse than the Saints. It really just further complicates things in an already complicated situation. Doug Martin looked great in his first game back from suspension last Thursday against the Patriots. The Cardinals have been funneling usage towards the passing game though which I think hurts Martin this week, I'm not in love with anyone from this position in this game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- How can we ignore the spot for Larry Fitzgerald here? Well, I'm going to. Fitz has had a great matchup most weeks this season and only come through with one big game, and he is notorious for fading as the season goes on. I much rather would at John Brown in GPPs for the Cardinals. Mike Evans will be bottled up by Patrick Peterson thus eliminating him from my player pool. DeSean Jackson matches up with Justin Bethel, if you read my weekly takeaways article then you know what to do here. Play DJax! Cam Brate is the pass catching Tight End while O.J. Howard has been used to block a ton during his rookie campaign. The Cardinals are stingy against Tight Ends, so I'll stick with DJax.
Overall Outlook- DJax, DJax and more DJax. He's one of my favorite plays of the week and I think this came could easily shoot out.
Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Projected Vegas Score: Jaguars 22.5, Rams 20
Quarterbacks- Remember last week when I talked about Jared Goff having a bad game soon? Yeah, this would classify as that. Remember two weeks ago when I talked about Blake Bortles being a #bad NFL Quarterback? yeah, this would classify as that.
Running Backs- Todd Gurley does line up in a fantastic spot this week though and hopefully recency bias takes over after his first bad game of the season last week. Gurley is the premier volume king this season and the Jags have been getting gashed on the ground all season giving up almost 150 yards per game on the ground. Leonard Fournette exploded last week vs the Steelers and the Jaguars are executing their plan perfectly. Play defense, run the ball, hide Blake Bortles. The Rams run defense hasn't been amazing this season and nobody ever seems to want to play Fournette, he's a solid tournament option this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- We aren't targeting this Jaguars secondary with anyone. Period. The whole Bortles thing just gives me a bad taste when it comes to Jags pass catchers and I will look elsewhere this week. This game is pretty boring overall.
Overall Outlook- Gurley and Fournette, there's your plays from this game. I think Gurley can be used in all formats especially since we can expect to see somewhat reduced ownership while Fournette is a great GPP option.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
Projected Vegas Score: N/A
Quarterbacks- The Raiders secondary has been beaten up more than a few times this season already, and I think Philip Rivers could definitely take advantage of them here. I don't typically like to use QBs in division games, but you can make the case for Rivers here. I'm taking a stand and am not using Derek Carr who is returning early from a back injury...no thank you.
Running Backs- The Raiders run defense, and defense as a whole, has left a lot to be desired this season. Melvin Gordon was a workhorse for the Chargers last week and with his passing game role he can be considered a GPP option in a game that the Chargers have a legit shot to win. I want to use Marshawn Lynch here but the Chargers have been getting bludgeoned on the ground. They're giving up the most yards per game on the ground in the NFL through 5 weeks (160) but I just can't trust Lynch's workload and snap count.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Oh yeah, this is where it gets interesting. My absolute favorite GPP play off the week is Keenan Allen against this Raiders defense. Allen is a PPR monster who is averaging almost 10 targets per game so far this season. Working primarily out of the slot this season he should feast on this weak Raiders defense and is a great pivot off of some of the chalky guys in his price range. Both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper should see some Casey Hayward on Sunday and with Carr with a bad back I'm not sure I'll be looking at them in DFS.
Overall Outlook- Keenan Allen. Play him. Just play him. I'm so excited to use Keenan this week and I just have a feeling he is going to be under-owned. You can mix in Gordon and maybe some Raiders in GPPs but at the end of the day make sure you have some Keenan exposure for me.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Projected Vegas Score: Chiefs 25, Steelers 21
Quarterbacks- We all know by now about Big Ben's struggles on the road and he himself even said he "might not have it anymore" after the Jaguars buzzsaw of a defense went into Pittsburgh and flattened them last week. The Chiefs passing defense isn't as good as you would think, which I pointed out last week, but It's not enough for me to want to use Ben. It's week 6 of the NFL and Alex Smith is your mist likely MVP...as I said before, 2017 is wild. Smith has to be considered a tournament play given his form, especially at home.
Running Backs- These are two of the best running backs in the NFL and you can make the case for both of them this week. The Chiefs run defense is solid, but after Le'Veon Bell logged just 15 rushing attempts last week I could see them feeding him here. I wrote it in my weekly takeaways article and I think that we can be ahead of the majority of the field in this thinking, the Steelers run defense is legit #bad. They're giving up 130+ yards per game on the ground and Leonard Fournette ran wild on them last week. Kareem Hunt was the victim of Charcandrick West's vulture twice last week and I don't see that happening again. Kareem Hunt is one of my favorite plays of the week and we can look to take advantage of the recency bias with him not having a huge game against the Texans.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Antonio Brown is matchup proof and should largely miss Marcus Peters coverage on Sunday given how much they can move AB around. We have seen that Brown can still have big games despite Ben's road struggles, even this season, and I've already debunked the whole Chiefs pass defense not being amazing. There have been some rumors that JuJu Smith-Schuster will see increased work Sunday on the outside while Martinis Bryant "takes a break" at times. Bryant has been one of my biggest misses so far this season and while I hope he rebounds I can't trust him at this point. The Steelers defense ranks 3rd in DVOA against the pass and while Tyreek Hill can run by anyone and score I think I prefer Hunt. Travis Kelce suffered a concussion last week, so watch for news on if he is active or not.
Overall Outlook- This game is very interesting. I'm all over Hunt this week and am just hoping we some some recency bias and he isn't that highly owned. I think he's playable in all formats with everyone else checking in as GPP plays.
New York Giants @ Denver Broncos
Projected Vegas Score: Broncos 25, Giants 13.5
Quarterbacks- Eli Manning pretty much lost every viable passing game option to injury last week and now travels to Denver to take on the #NoFlyZone...I'll pass. Trevor Siemian had a hot start to the season but he's kept up his game-manager reputation since. I could see this being a definite run heavy game for the Broncos and they should be easily winning.
Running Backs- The Giants backfield is a mess and their offensive line is so bad they couldn't run the ball anyways. The Broncos were susceptible to the run last season, but they rank first in DVOA against the run this season and have surely corrected the issue. C.J. Anderson has had a couple monsters already this season and he should be in grind out mode in the 2nd half of this game. The Giants have given up over 130 yards per game on the ground this season and Anderson makes for a strong GPP play.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The one guy we can look at in tournaments for the Giants is rookie Tight End Evan Engram. They are really using him as a pass catcher, he's barely blocked all season, and now he should be a focal point with the injury bug hitting the Giants hard. He's ran a route on 87% of Manning's drop backs and the one place to target the Broncos is over the middle. Janoris Jenkins will likely shadow one of Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders, with my guess being DT. That will leave Sanders lined up with Eli Apple who has gotten roasted multiple times this season and makes Sanders an interesting GPP play.
Overall Outlook- This game is pretty ugly with how banged up the Giants are. Anderson and Sanders are the top play from this game and you can get really weird with Engram if you're feeling ballsy.
Analysis for the Monday night game will be posted on Sunday evening!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)