Welcome back to the “Everything You Need to Know” series! In Week 5, we kept our focus on Arizona’s true alpha in Marquise Brown, pinned the Saints as the underrated offense of the week, and fell flat on our face with a Kyle Pitts overreaction. We learned a tough DFS lesson last week, but we’re prepared to tune-up the process, so let’s get right into everything you need to know for the NFL Week 6!
Welcome to Emari Demercado Season
With James Conner headed to the IR, Emari Demercado will step up to lead the Arizona backfield. Demercado, an undrafted rookie out of TCU, boasts a 83rd-percentile Speed Score and a 79th-percentile Agility Score. The man has juice, and he put it on display with his expanded Week 5 role. The rookie finished with 45 rushing yards on 10 carries and tacked on a reception on three targets.
Lining up against the Rams this week, Demercado should see a decent amount of opportunity in a game that the Cardinals should keep close. He dominated the red zone work upon Conner’s departure. With no significant competition behind him, that should continue on Sunday. Fade any noise on Keaontay Ingram. This is the Demercado show in Arizona.
More than a Thielen
The success of Adam Thielen is no fluke. Currently sitting as the WR10 in fantasy points per game, the veteran is getting locked-onto by rookie Bryce Young. Thielen is often Young’s first and only read when he drops back, force-feeding Thielen a 25-percent Target Share. The Panthers have figured out how to take advantage of Thielen’s skill in the slot, getting him short-area targets and letting him generate yards after the catch.
Adam Thielen accounted for 38% of Carolina's first-read targets in Week 5, per @FantasyPtsData.
Thielen over the past month:
– 27% target share
– 33% air yardage share
– 34% first-read target share
– 38% red zone target share
— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) October 9, 2023
Opportunity breeds success in fantasy football, no matter what we think of the player getting it. Thielen was tossed to the curb because of his age and dwindling athleticism, but we overlooked the impact of having a reliable, technically-sound veteran as a security blanket for a rookie quarterback. WR needy teams can look to Thielen as a trade target.
Alvin Kamara Rest-of-Season RB1
Alvin Kamara returned in a big way these past two weeks, finishing as a top-eight running back in fantasy in each week and earning 14 targets in his opening contest. He’s going to be the workhorse many expected him to be throughout the rest of the season. Currently earning 23 Weighted Opportunities per Game, the stars are aligning for an electric RB1 season from Kamara.
Not only is he earning a significant Target Share, but he’s also dominating the rushing and red zone work in the backfield. This is a signal that Kamara will have a stable floor simply through the volume of high-value touches that he’s going to receive.
Despite the 14 targets in his first week back, and the touchdown in his second week back from suspension, Kamara’s performance hasn’t felt very awe inspiring. Because of this, there may still be a buy window in your redraft leagues. If you have a chance to hop on the train, do it and do it quickly.
New England’s Surprising Top Pass Catcher
Despite clearing 30 routes run in one game this season, it’s become increasingly clear that DeMario Douglas is the team’s most talented pass catcher. The rookie out of Liberty is currently generating 2.17 (No. 28) Yards per Route Run while posting a 50-percent (No. 26) Route Win Rate. Somehow, this has gone unnoticed by the Patriots coaching staff, as Douglas recorded just six routes in Sunday’s blowout loss.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 8, 2023
The genie will escape the bottle at some point this season. In deep leagues, particularly dynasty leagues, Douglas is a solid stash. He has explosive playmaking ability and is in an offense desperate for someone who can produce. The DeMario Douglas breakout is coming.
Implied Team Totals
Highest Team Totals
- Miami Dolphins (31.25)
- Buffalo Bills(29.75)
- Kansas City Chiefs (28.25)
- LA Rams (27.5)
- Dallas Cowboys (26.25)
The chalk game this week is going to be in Los Angeles, as the Cowboys come to town in what should be an interesting revenge-game narrative for Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. This is certainly a game you want exposure to this week in DFS. Pairing Herbert and Keenan Allen, with CeeDee Lamb or Tony Pollard on the other side, is the way I’m attacking this matchup.
My favorite contrarian game stack falls in the Rams/Cardinals divisional matchup. The Cardinals defense has been getting shredded by offenses, and their offense is capable of putting points on the board. The game total is tied for the second-highest on the slate at 48. Pairing Stafford and Kupp, with Marquise Brown on the other side of the matchup, is how I’m attacking this game. I’ll be sprinkling Michael Wilson into lineups as well.
Lowest Team Totals
- New York Giants (14.75)
- Cleveland Browns (15.25)
- New York Jets (16.5)
- Carolina Panthers (17.25)
- Tennessee Titans (18.75)
The Giants are becoming auto-fades outside of Saquon Barkley. The anemic offense is providing little value to fantasy gamers, regardless of who the quarterback is. With Deshaun Watson likely out, the Browns join the Giants on the auto-fade list.
Despite having the No. 22-highest implied team total this week, the Buccaneers could be a sneaky source of fantasy points. The Lions have not exactly been a shut-down defense as of late, and the Buccaneers have been clicking offensively to start the season. This could be the slept-on team that puts up 35 points this week.
DFS Values: Trevor Lawrence ($6500), Breece Hall ($6000), Emari Demercado ($4900), Christian Kirk ($5400), Michael Pittman ($6300), Kyle Pitts ($3500)
Working his way back from a neck injury, Ingram opened the week as a limited participant in practice. He’s certainly a stash candidate with James Conner headed to the IR, but this is the Emari Demercado show. We’re sitting, but stashing, Ingram in deep leagues this week.
The return-to-play window has opened for Jeff Wilson, who’s been a limited participant in practice to start the week. So far, there’s no indication as to whether or not Wilson will play. If he’s active, he’s a questionable flex play in deeper leagues (Unless any talk of a snap count comes into play…then he’s a definite no-go).
Treylon Burks, who has missed the last two weeks with a knee injury, has yet to return to practice. Even with limited sessions this week, it’s unlikely the Titans force Burks back out onto the field this week.
Saquon Barkley remains a limited participant in practice as he recovers from his ankle injury. Reports are that he still doesn’t look very good walking/running around on his sprained ankle. It’s doubtful the veteran suits up this week, but his return should be coming soon.
Tee Higgins, who missed last week’s contest with his rib injury, has opened the week as a limited participant in practice. Higgins is currently on a good track to play on Sunday. Given the performance of other receivers fighting through rib injuries, it’s safe to say Higgins is playable if he’s out there. If he’s not, Andrei Iosivas will get another chance to break out.
Mike Evans opened the week after the Buccaneers bye as a non-participant in practice, still recovering from his hamstring injury. This is not a good sign for his potential availability on Sunday.
He’ll need to get in a couple of limited sessions to have a chance at suiting up.
Deshaun Watson is still not practicing with his shoulder injury coming out of the Browns bye week. He has also avoided addressing the media. Neither of these are good signals that Watson will suit up on Sunday. It appears P.J. Walker will get the start in his absence.
Daniel Jones did not practice yet this week as he recovers from the neck injury that forced him out of last week’s contest. While the current expectation is that Jones will play, he’ll need to suit up soon.
Week over week, we’ve been paying attention to the right details and will continue to refine our process as we learn lessons from our losses. By continuing to attack the right matchups, and following the right usage and efficiency trends, we’ll continue to DOMINATE our fantasy matchups and DFS lineups. Happy hunting!