DraftKings Week 6 NFL DFS Sleeper Picks & Contrarian Plays

Written By Nate Lawson on October 13, 2017

Week 6 of NFL DFS is upon us, and everyone is looking to cash in on the big money DFS NFL contests at DraftKings. Every week, we’ll take a look at the top pivot plays off the chalk, as well as identifying contrarian options and sleepers. And to keep up with all things PlayPicksfollow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

As with any DFS sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player, stack, or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and more. This is important when constructing a roster. And if you’re looking for a new way to play DFS, be sure and give DRAFT a try.

Now, let’s dive into our Week 6 pivot, sleeper, and contrarian plays.

Week 6 DraftKings NFL DFS Pivot, Sleeper, and Contrarian Plays

CHALK: Leonard Fournette ($8.0k) vs. LAR
PIVOT: Todd Gurley (7.7K) @ JAX

Both Leonard Fournette and Todd Gurley are going to be heavily owned this week, but the former should be a little less than twice as popular in GPPs (meaning I expect about twice as many lineups to include Fournette as Gurley). However, I am very concerned about this Jaguars offensive line. Looking at this game against Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams, I’m having a very hard time seeing how the Jacksonville Jaguars get anything going offensively. Just look at how well the Rams defense did against Seattle last week: three sacks, 16 points allowed, and two interceptions.

Given that I don’t expect the Jags to have a good day offensively, I do expect the Rams to control time of possession. I also expect Gurley to get more touches than Fournette. What’s more, the Jaguars are tremendous against the pass (arguably the best secondary in the NFL), but they are 31st in DVOA against the run.

Look for Fournette to spend way too much time on the sidelines, while Gurley leads the Rams’ ground assault. This is a great leverage spot, as Gurley and Fournette have the same upside; the latter is just more expensive and part of a worse offense.

CHALK: Jerick McKinnon ($4.1K) vs. GB
PIVOT: Tevin Coleman ($5.0K) vs. MIA
Don’t get me wrong: Jerick McKinnon looked great last week, and he gets a soft Packers defense this week. But if you’re looking to differentiate your lineup by fading the chalkiest of the chalk, take a look at Tevin Coleman.

One half of the dynamic Falcons running corp, Coleman will have plenty of opportunities to rack up a good stat line against a Miami Dolphins team ranked 23rd in DVOA against pass-catching backs. Now, I know — what about Devonta Freeman? Freeman gets a defense second in DVOA against the rush.

That, coupled with the 28.8 implied total for Atlanta, makes me feel really good about the gameflow working in Coleman’s favor. If he’s going to have one standout performance this season (as long as Foreman’s healthy), this might be the week. The Falcons are going to take to the air to score, and Coleman is Matt Ryan’s distant second-best option behind Julio Jones. He’s a solid pivot off the insanely popular McKinnon, with good upside considering the Falcons’ total and the certain holes in Miami’s defense.

SLEEPER: Taylor Gabriel ($4.6K) vs. MIA
Like Coleman, Taylor Gabriel should have an elevated role this weekend, mostly thanks to Mohamed Sanu’s injury, but also thanks to Miami’s solid run defense (second in DVOA vs. run) and solid defense against the tight end position (first in DVOA vs. TE).

The Falcons are projected to win by double digits at home, which makes gameflow a concern here. But I really do believe Miami’s run defense will be able to stop Foreman, at least early. Considering where this Miami defense is weakest (against WR and pass-catching backs), Gabriel makes for an excellent, salary-saving play on an offense projected to score just short of 30.

What’s more, the Dolphins are dead last in DVOA against WR2. (I probably could have just led with that.) Gabriel is a great tournament option. Consider him if you want to spend big at RB.

You could also consider a stack of Matt Ryan, Tevin Coleman, and Taylor Gabriel as a slight variation on our Ryan-Coleman-Jones recommendation from earlier this week.

SLEEPER: Josh McCown ($5.2K) vs. NE 
You should never feel good about rostering Josh McCown, but you can feel OK about it this week. The veteran quarterback has very few weapons, but this week he gets a travesty of a New England secondary: 32nd in DVOA against the pass.

The Jets’ defense has been passable so far this season (except for Week 2 against the Raiders), so I think this game could actually stay closer for longer than most expect. That said, I also believe the Jets will be playing from behind most of the game and will look to pass.

This is a tournament-only play, but an inexpensive McCown has a terrific matchup this week. If you’re looking for a way to fade Deshaun Watson and the rest of the QB chalk, McCown has the matchup, low ownership, and salary relief to make it possible, especially if you’re looking to pay up at RB and/or WR.

CHALK: Mark Ingram ($4.4K) vs. DET
CONTRARIAN: Andre Ellington ($5.3K) vs. TB
With Adrian Peterson out of New Orleans, DFS players will look for Mark Ingram to have an expanded role. While this may be the case over the course of the remainder of the season, Detroit is fifth-best in DVOA against the run. I think this is a good fade, as potentially 20-plus percent of lineups will include the Saints’ lead back. Also, considering the matchup, I think the Saints will likely have better luck finding production elsewhere, which is why I like a Drew Brees-Alvin Kamara stack this week.

By fading Ingram, you can get leverage against the field by paying up for fellow veteran Andre Ellington against a Tampa Bay defense ranked sixth in DVOA against the run, but 21st against running backs catching passes out of the backfield.

I think Peterson will be way, way over-owned this week as he joins an Arizona Cardinals team desperate for a running back. I also think he will be ineffective and won’t eat too much into Ellington’s production since Peterson really shouldn’t be used in the passing game at all. Instead, look for Ellington to remain the Cardinals’ most productive running back against a defense that can be exploited by pass-catching backs.

If you’re fading Ingram, Ellington is a sneaky, deep-contrarian option, who has been targeted 24 times the past two weeks. I don’t see the targets dropping too much with Peterson added, but consider Ellington a GPP-only option.

CHALK: Deshaun Watson ($6.7k) vs CLE
CONTRARIAN: Aaron Rodgers ($7.3k) @ MIN 

Deshaun Watson will be heavily, heavily owned this week, and why not? The Texans’ rookie gets a soft Cleveland defense at home, and he’s under $7K. Hey, even I think he’s a great play, listing him as a top GPP play this week.

But I think DFS players are ignoring another, equally obvious play in Aaron Rodgers, who is just $600 more, with a better floor (for those building Cash lineups).

While Rodgers will be one of the most-owned quarterbacks himself, I think many will chase the upside Watson has to offer. I’ll certainly have exposure to him, as it’s possible he has another massive week. (He’s coming off consecutive 40+ DK point performances). However, for as good as Watson has been, this Texans team has had a rough season, and it got even worse last week losing J.J. Watt.

Even against the Cleveland offense, I’m a bit concerned the battered Texans defense won’t be operating at near their normal level. That could have a high impact on gameflow (Cleveland with higher time of possession, Watson with fewer attempts, etc.). Meanwhile, Rodgers is up against a Minnesota defense in the middle of the pack against opposing quarterbacks (14th in DK pts. against). But Rodgers isn’t middle-of-the-pack. In fact, he hasn’t scored fewer than 20 DK points in any week this season.

The masses will flock to Watson, but if you can work him in for just $600 more, Rodgers is something of a contrarian play considering how popular Watson will be in tournaments. And that $600 extra will give you strong leverage against the field, while rostering arguably the best quarterback in football. All this said, I prefer executing this move in Cash, where I think Rodgers is safer.

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Nate Lawson Avatar
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Nate Lawson

Nate began playing DFS back in 2013, focusing on low stakes MLB contests over at DraftKings. Now, the vast majority of his DFS time is spent identifying optimal picks and player exposure for NBA and NFL GPPs, though MMA and eSports are his DFS guilty pleasures. With a focus on constant iteration, Nate spends a lot of his non-DFS time reading books and essays by leaders in finance and entrepreneurship for application to his DFS strategies...with a bit of cryptocurrency trading on the side.

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