Welcome to the Daily Fantasy Roundup where we'll cover every inch of what you need to set a great FanDuel lineup every week. I hope things went better for you than they did for me in Week 5 DFS. I took one on the chin, but that provided the opportunity to learn. We're looking for more security this week, and there are plenty of studs to provide it.
The theme of Week 6 DFS is sacrifice. As mentioned, there are at least eight clear plays of high-end players in plus matchups. We want a ton of exposure to those players, but it'll be difficult. We're going to have to assume risk in finding value plays this weekend. While that may not be comfortable, there are some deep bargain and punt plays in good spots to help you secure those high-end plays that won't offer much flexibility. In this week's roundup, we'll leave no stone unturned in searching for those values, while identifying the best of those obvious plays.
Top quarterback plays
Carson Palmer - The Cardinals starting quarterback was a value play week-winner in the early goings of the 2015 season. Now, he's joined the ranks of the high-tier quarterbacks. His ceiling has also been somewhat depressed lately with the Cardinals blowing teams out. The team's average margin of victory over their four wins is 19.5 points. It's a good thing Bruce Arians likes leaving his players in there, and doesn't take his foot off the gas. There's appeal to this matchup for Palmer, as the Steelers at home should still keep this game competitive enough to have the Cardinals keep gunning all game. The Steelers pass defense rankings are improving as they now allow only the 12th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. However, they haven't been in a shootout game script yet, and even if Mike Vick is still behind center for this one, the Cardinals offense should make that inevitable.
Andy Dalton - Until his value adjusts to reflect his recent performance, we're not turning away from Andy Dalton. He's the top scoring quarterback through five weeks of the NFL season, but the QB12 on FanDuel. Even on the road against a Bills team that plays good defense, that inconsistent valuation of Dalton makes him a good play, especially in a week where there are a lot of stud plays we like.
Blake Bortles - We're still riding this train as well. If you take out his Week 1 flop against the vicious Carolina secondary, Blake Bortles averages 21.3 fantasy points per game. This is primarily on the back of a healthy passing volume, as he's fifth in the NFL in pass attempts. Again, we're not looking to reinvent the wheel or get cute here. If these mid-range quarterbacks are giving you strong performances, keep going with them if they have good matchups. We're taught to fear the Houston defense, but they rank 24th in quarterback fantasy points allowed per pass attempts, and only record a sack on 3.7 percent of attempts against them (fifth fewest in the NFL). Bortles was only 4.8 percent owned in the Thursday slate with concerns lingering about his injury status, but he's listed as probable by the team.
Colin Kaepernick - The classic "just hold your nose and dive in" DFS play, but Colin Kaepernick has great appeal this week. We know he has a ghastly floor, scoring a combined 26.08 fantasy points In Weeks 1, 3 and 4. However, he showed on the road against the Giants last week he can still produce even without garbage time, scoring over 20 fantasy points. The days of the dominant Ravens defense are long gone. Baltimore has been absolutely torched by opposing passing games, allowing the fifth most passing yards in the NFL through five games. It's not a pass rush issue either, they rank 10th with a sack recorded on 7.7 percent of the pass attempts against them, but they just don't have anyone to cover on the back end. The Ravens rank 23rd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks per pass attempt, and 30th in points allowed to wide receivers. Only 1.4 percent owned, and with values at receiver to stack with, Kaepernick makes for a great ceiling-chasing play.
Top running back plays
Arian Foster - The Texans running back finally seems to be getting his feet under him. After a lackluster Week 4 debut, Foster handled 28 touches on a short turnaround against the Colts last Thursday. We love that sort of bankable volume in our lineups, especially with the early surge by the Jaguars run defense proving fraudulent. They've plummeted to 29th in fantasy points allowed per rush attempt. Foster gives you solid chances to differentiate your lineup compared to the other high-end running backs; only 7.4 percent owned on the Thursday slate compared to 11.5 for Adrian Peterson and 9.9 for Le'Veon Bell.
Eddie Lacy - For the second straight year, fantasy owners are running around like mad looking for answers as to why Lacy is off to a slow start. Perhaps we just have to accept this is who he is, but he's also a big man (listed at 234 pounds, but give me a break) who came back incredibly early from an ankle injury. Larger humans often struggle to move as effectively as normal with pain in the lower body, but Lacy finally began to shed some of the tape around his ankle this week in practice. We'll know a lot more about him after Week 6, as he faces the Chargers in Lambeau Field, who give up 5.11 yards per carry and let up seven total touchdowns to running backs.
Chris Ivory - Volume is the name of the game here, and not many running backs outside the top-end names are safer best for 20-plus touches than Chris Ivory when he's healthy. He's a tone setter, who plays on a good offense at home this week. Washington's defense played well against the run in the early part of the season. But Devonta Freeman and the Falcons showed they can be exposed by volume backs with good offensive lines.
Lamar Miller - A pure punt play at this stage, I like Lamar Miller being only 1.3 percent owned in the Thursday slates. He's been a dreadful point producer, but to no fault of his own. You can't expect a running back to get into any sort of a rhythm when he gets less than 12 touches a game, as Miller was before Miami's bye. Word out of Miami holds that Joe Philbin was the coach that didn't like to run the ball on that staff. With so much invested in Ryan Tannehill, it appears the now former head coach would stop at nothing to prove he could carry the team. That faith got him canned. I'll take the Narrative Street bait here that Dan Campbell (a former NFL blocking tight end) will strive to get back to basics and run the ball with their talented running back. Campbell has said as much, and there's no one to threaten Miller's starting job. Team's haven't tried to run much on the Titans (fewest rush attempts against in the NFL), but this unit doesn't scare us much. If it allows me to get DeAndre Hopkins, Adrian Peterson and some Patriots into my lineup, I'll take the risk with Miller.
Danny Woodhead - In games where we expect the Chargers to chase superior opponents, we like Danny Woodhead. The Packers offense has been a little more quiet than usual the last two weeks, but we can't expect that to last long. Woodhead should see the vast majority of snaps and touches in this game, and comes at a value. Charcandrick West is a popular play in this same range, but I'd rather wait until after the initial reveal with West to play him, and pivot to a known commodity like Woodhead instead.
Top wide receiver plays
Jarvis Landry - Perhaps we're reaching here, but Landry is the only member of the Dolphins offense with a bankable share of the touches. He's averaging 11.75 targets per game, and only dipped below 50 yards once. Most notable, Landry leads the NFL with 11 red zone targets, despite already having his bye week, but hasn't scored a touchdown yet. We're expecting some regression to the mean to take place eventually, and for Landry to find the end zone. The Titans aren't a good secondary, and allow a touchdown on 8.2 percent of the wide receiver targets against them and 1.249 fantasy points per target. Landry was only 2.5 percent owned on the Thursday slate.
Donte Moncrief - T.Y. Hilton popped up on the injury report in the middle of the week with a groin issue, which is never a good sign. If he sits, it's Moncrief who gets the biggest boost in the offense. I've gotten a ton of questions about whether Moncrief is droppable in season-long fantasy, a good sign for his DFS ownership percentage in being low, and he was in fact only 2.4 percent owned on the Thursday slate. With Andrew Luck potentially being back, and the Colts chasing the Patriots all game, I'm loving this play at a still value rate.
Eric Decker - The Jets receiver ranks as they WR10 in standard leagues when counting just the games he's played (Weeks 1, 2 and 4), and averages 16.6 PPR points per game (good for .32 per snap). If you're still not convinced, Decker is fourth among receivers with at least 12 targets scoring 1.89 fantasy points for target. He's good at football. Washington's defense took noticeable steps forward this season, and ranks as the 11th best unit in the league according to FootballOutsiders' metrics. While that's up from a 27th place finish last year, Washington hasn't truly been tested yet, as their competition ranks a combined 23rd in FO's DVOA metrics. Decker should feast against a banged up secondary, and is still a value, despite being one of the best 20 receivers in the NFL.
Mike Wallace - The speedy receiver finally showed some signs of life, posting a double-digit point game against the vaunted Denver secondary. Now he draws a matchup with the Chiefs. Wide receivers have wrecked the Chiefs defense, scoring 11 touchdowns against them. This secondary allows the most fantasy points to receivers, and a 63.2 percent catch rate. At a bargain, Wallace can give you the flexibility needed to get some other big names in your lineup.
Michael Floyd - This is a pure punt play, but Michael Floyd offers you so much flexibility, and as is the theme, we need that this week. FanDuel lists Floyd behind names like Keith Mumphrey, Aaron Dobson and Brian Hartline. So you know the value is there. He plays 71 percent of the snaps in one of the league's best offenses, and still has the talent that made him a first-round pick a few years ago, and the matchup is right this week. This is the type of weird thing that happens in DFS that ends up winning people weeks.
Top tight end plays
This is a "Gronk or nothing" week. I just don't see the value or matchups to chase other players. Also, Gronkowski (11.7 percent owned) was surprisingly jumped by two players in Thursday ownership. Point chasers jumped all over Antonio Gates (36 percent owned) and Tyler Eifert (14.6 percent owned), who is now among the league's best tight ends while still coming at a value. For that reason alone, I'm going heavy with Gronk and making sacrifices elsewhere. If you want to be a little more contrarian with Travis Kelce (3.2 percent owned) that would be the only other route I'd take.
Top defense plays
Stack of the week
Adrian Peterson/Vikings DEF - Indeed, you can form stacks that don't have a quarterback and a pass catcher together. Facing a Chiefs team going on the road after just losing their best player, Minnesota is in great position to control this game coming off their bye. In winnable game scripts, Adrian Peterson has even more appeal than he usually does. He should see 30 touches against a defense that ranks 19th in fantasy points allowed per rush attempt. The Vikings DEF is my favorite stop unit play of the week, and they've only allowed five passing touchdowns all season. Jamaal Charles was the engine that makes this Chiefs offense go. Without him, they're destitute, and forced to rely on Alex Smith as the offensive conductor. That's not a recipe for success. The Peterson/Vikings DEF stack will anchor a ton of my lineups.
Best contrarian play
C.J. Anderson - I know, I'm as sick of writing this as you are of seeing it. But with so many good plays being among the highest owned, we need to do something desperate to differentiate. For that reason, we can give C.J. Anderson (1.4 percent owned) one last roll in very limited spots this weekend. One of the biggest busts in fantasy, Anderson is the RB57 and 67th in fantasy points per touch. The ability is still there, but injuries and a poor offensive line that he doesn't trust are capitulating his slow start. The Broncos line ranks 30th in Football Outsiders' "stuff rate" (running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage), with 28 percent of their runs being of this variety. But things are looking up this weekend as the Browns are the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing an NFL worst 5.33 yards per carry. They also give up 9.38 yards per catch to running backs, and rank 26th in points allowed per rush attempt. Perhaps this is the week Anderson puts it together, especially with Ronnie Hillman nursing a hamstring injury. Again, contrarian plays are risky and most likely won't work out -- that's why they're contrarian. There's a strong chance you look at Anderson's spot in your lineup and see another dud come Sunday night. However, you can tell yourself a story wherein that's not the case. If that comes to fruition, you have a unique and high-scoring lineup.
Andrew Luck - At only 0.5 percent owned on the FanDuel Thursday slate, Luck presents a big contrarian opportunity. He has a poor history against the Patriots, and may not even play in this game (don't trust anything the Colts say with injuries). Luck should have to take to the air to keep pace with the New England offense, and the offense's functionality improved while he was away. Perhaps his health infused with their improved play is a boost. Either way, if you pivot off Brady to Luck in the same value range, you've made a unique lineup. I'm feeling a few Luck/Moncrief stacks in play this week.
Best obvious play
All your Patriots - Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis (if healthy), and Gronk; get them in there. Not only does New England rank as the best offense in the NFL by any statistical measure and the eye test, there's the added Narrative Street bonus of their match with the Colts. As the team who were the main Deflategate snitches, the Colts are sure to feel the full wrath of the Brady revenge tour. Make sacrifices, and do what you can to get these players in there. Just make sure to limit your exposure in some spots as to not sink your week if things go south. And for what it's worth, I'd actually fade Blount this week while others chase the historical trends of how New England attacks the Colts. Indianapolis plays good run defense this season, but has a weak secondary in 2015. New England is a spread offense now, and your DFS lineups should reflect that.
My near 100 percent exposure player
DeAndre Hopkins - The NFL's current leader in passing targets will be one of the most popular plays of the week. Hopkins was 30.2 percent owned on the Thursday slate. The Jaguars are a bit stingier than normal to wide receivers this season, allowing passing touchdowns on just 2.9 percent of the receiver targets against them. Yet, they haven't face a talent like Hopkins. Frankly, we don't care either way. Hopkins' massive share of the passing offense makes him a great play and bet to get into the end zone every week. With Antonio Brown handcuffed to Vick, Beckham hurting and Julio Jones unavailable, Hopkins is the high-end receiver play of the week.
Cheat code(s) of the week
Denard Robinson and Javorius "Buck" Allen - I talked about Allen extensively in my Thursday sleepers column, and while he's still in consideration, Justin Forsett took part in the all-important Friday practice. He and the team were optimistic he'd play all week, and it looks like that may come to fruition. If Forsett does go, he could still be limited, and the team takes him off the field in the red zone frequently (only 40.9 percent of the backfield red zone touches this season). Allen can still make some impact, but his ceiling is likely more depressed from where it looked two days ago. On the other hand, T.J. Yeldon didn't practice all week and is 50-50 to play Sunday, at best. If he's out, that opens up the door for Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson. The latter returned to practice this week, and has been the more impressive player lately. Robinson had a four game stretch last season where he averaged 97.25 rushing yards per game and scored four touchdowns. I don't feel nearly as comfortable with these two as I have in past player suggestions in this section, and I won't go hard after either. But if you're looking for complete punt plays to stack other stars in your lineups, you can tell yourself a story where either of these replacement running backs scores you nine points.