DraftKings NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Week 6
This week’s lineup advice is stack centric featuring a five-man stack from one projected shootout. With so many players featured in that stack — including a trio of pricey players — there’s just one featured player below from another contest.
David Johnson (RB – HOU): $5,400 at Titans
In the first game since Bill O’Brien was fired as the head coach of the Texans, Johnson remained the clear-cut feature back and played 78% of the snaps, as you can see on our snap counts page. He set new season highs in that contest in carries (17) and rushing yards (96), and his four targets were tied for the season-high mark he hit in both Week 1 and Week 2. He also reeled in a couple of receptions, and he’s notched multiple receptions in each game this year.
He hasn’t been terribly efficient, but the volume is there. Furthermore, he has a decent matchup this week against the Titans, a team on a short week after they played on Tuesday night. Tennessee’s been ripped for a jaw-dropping 5.57 yards per carry by opposing running backs this season, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Unsurprisingly with such a gaudy yards per carry yielded to backs, the Titans have been gashed for explosive runs with regularity. In fact, the 20% average explosive run rate they’ve coughed up to backs this year is the highest in the NFL by a wide margin of 5%, per Sharp Football Stats. Football Outsiders ranks the Titans 19th in Rush Defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA).
The Texans are only 3.5-point underdogs on the road against the undefeated Titans, per BettingPros consensus line. The game’s over/under total is a fantasy-friendly 53.5 points, leaving the Texans with a solid implied total of 25 points. If things remain close as the narrow spread suggests, Johnson should have an opportunity to see ample touches in a plus matchup.
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN): $6,100 vs. Falcons
Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN): $7,200 vs. Falcons
Adam Thielen (WR – MIN): $7,300 vs. Falcons
Irv Smith Jr. (TE – MIN): $2,500 vs. Falcons
Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL): $7,800 at Vikings
Let’s start with some of the overall game info before diving into the player-specific info. The Vikings are four point home favorites, and the game’s over/under total is 54 points. That leaves the Falcons with an implied total of 25 points and the Vikings sitting pretty at a juicy implied total of 29 points. The favorites are the significantly more represented part of this game stack as a four-man stack opposite just a single Falcon — albeit an elite single player from the opposition.
The Vikings defense ranks just 15th in DVOA while the Falcons are one of the worst defenses in the NFL ranking 28th in DVOA. They’re especially bad defending the pass and rank 30th in Passing Defense DVOA. Once again, the Vikings are on the better side of things in this matchup. But that’s not where it ends for Minnesota’s offensive options getting a boost.
They’ll also get a tempo bump. The Falcons are playing at the fourth-fastest situation neutral pace this year, according to Football Outsiders. The organization did fire Dan Quinn and promote Raheem Morris to interim coach, so there could be some significant changes to how the Falcons play. However, Morris is a defensive-minded coach, and the organization hasn’t parted ways with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, so I suspect the offense will continue to play at one of the game’s fastest situation neutral paces.
One area both defenses struggle mightily is with coughing up explosive plays. Both teams are tied for surrendering the highest average explosive pass rate percentage at 12%. The Falcons also struggle in that area defending the run ranking tied for the ninth-highest average explosive run rate percentage allowed at 13%.
Now, let’s look at the only member of the Falcons in this stack. Ridley’s been nothing short of fantastic this season, ranking tied for fifth in targets (50), tied for 13th in receptions (29), tied for seventh in touchdown receptions (four), and tied for sixth in receiving yards per game (97.0). He also leads the NFL in Intended Air Yards (797) by a staggering margin of 156 yards over the second-highest total, according to Sports Info Solutions. The third-year pro has eclipsed 100 receiving yards in four of five games, and I like his odds of adding another 100-plus yard effort to his tally this weekend.
Cousins is the focal point of the four-man Vikings stack as the quarterback. Using a quarterback in a run-heavy offense — Minnesota’s passed on only 50% of their plays this year, the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL and well below the average of 58%, per Sharp Football Stats — might seem ill-advised, but he makes up for lack of volume by chucking the pigskin deep. Cousins’ Average Throw Depth of 9.5 yards downfield is the second-longest depth among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts this year, according to Sports Info Solutions. His willingness to fling it deep pairs nicely with Atlanta’s susceptibility to getting ripped for explosive passes.
Out of his pass-catching options, Thielen is the clear top dog. Thielen’s 610 Intended Air Yards are the third most, and his average depth of target of 13.9 yards downfield is tied for 18th deepest among receivers and tight ends targeted at least 10 times this year. He’s twice bested 100 receiving yards this year in a game, and he’s tied for the NFL lead with six touchdown grabs. Thielen’s been held out of the end zone in only one game this year, and his nose for the end zone rounds out nice per-game numbers with averages of 5.8 receptions and 72.8 receiving yards per game this season.
Dalvin Cook hasn’t practiced yet this week and is expected to miss this contest before getting an additional week of rest on the team’s bye week next week, as you can read in Andrew Krammer’s piece from the Star Tribune. Mattison was excellent in relief of Cook last week, and he rumbled for 112 rushing yards on 20 carries and secured all three of his targets for 24 receiving yards in Week 5 in Seattle against the Seahawks. He’ll benefit from Minnesota’s run-heavy approach, but there’s potential for correlation between Cousins and Mattison, too.
In addition to catching all three of his targets last week, he also fared well in the opener with four receptions on four targets for 30 receiving yards against the Packers. The matchup should help him net some looks in the passing game, too, with the Falcons tied for the most receptions allowed to backs (43), yielding the second-most receiving yards (317) to the position, and coughing up the most receiving touchdowns (four) to running backs in 2020.
Smith is the minimum salary at tight end, and, while he’s risky with a pair of goose eggs in the team’s first four games and a couple of single-catch performances amounting to totals of six targets, two receptions, and 14 scoreless yards through the first four weeks, he’s coming off of his best game of the year. Last week, Smith snagged four receptions on five targets for 64 receiving yards.
Of equal importance, he played his highest snap percentage and ran his most routes for the year last week, as you can see on his Player Profiler game log page. His scoring floor is zero points, but last week’s usage is encouraging. Finally, the Falcons have been burned by tight ends and surrendered the second-most DraftKings points per game to the position, enhancing the appeal of using the athletic minimum salary tight end in this stack.
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