Welcome to the NFL DFS WR Coach, where we identify the best wide receivers for our lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, and SuperDraft!
Week 5 is in the books and we saw a ton of green screens (once FanDuel caught up) coming in from the #EliteMafia. Big congrats to the winners and let’s keep the momentum going into Week 6! Before we dive into the meat and potatoes of this article, let’s do a quick recap for accountability reasons of how my receiver calls panned out. Remember, this position is highly volatile, but the primary focus is finding high target volume in plus matchups.
DeAndre Hopkins (6-131-1, 7 tgts) ✅
Calvin Ridley (8-136-0, 10 tgts) ✅
Stefon Diggs (10-106-0, 16 tgts) ✅
JuJu Smith-Schuster (4-28-0, 5 tgts) 🟥
Will Fuller (4-58-1, 8 tgts) ✅
Marquise Brown (6-77-1, 10 tgts) ✅
CeeDee Lamb (8-124-0, 11 tgts) ✅
Robby Anderson (8-112-0, 12 tgts; 1-3-0 rushing) ✅
Darius Slayton (8-129-0, 11 tgts) ✅
Jeff Smith (3-23-0, 11 tgts) 🟥
GPP Yolo Call: Tyler Boyd (4-42-0, 0 tgts) 🟥
Overall, another strong outing at the wide receiver position. No need to gloat on the hits, let’s identify what went wrong with the misses. JuJu Smith-Schuster fell flat again and is simply not seeing the target share (17%, 6.0 tgts/game) that he did during 2018 season that made him a +1,400-yard receiver. In multiple plus matchups, the Steelers have simply not prioritized JuJu, so neither will we until we see a fundamental shift in the Pittsburgh passing attack. Jeff Smith did not burn you, but I still maintain that the process was right. We identified a receiver with 11 targets at $3K but ran bad with a 3-23-0 stat line. Finally, Tyler Boyd and the entire Bengals offense faltered on the road against Baltimore. Joe Burrow was under pressure a season-high 51.3% of his dropbacks and was sacked seven times. We found our sub-5% play — Boyd was 4.2% owned in the Milly Maker — but Burrow was unable to get anything going in this 27-3 blowout as his offensive line was consistently overwhelmed by the Ravens’ pass rush. Let’s keep the good plays rolling another week.
It’s important to note this article is posted mid-week, so injuries and other news can change our reads as we get closer to Sunday. This article is specifically for Sunday’s “Main” slate, so WRs from Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football are not considered.
Calvin Ridley (ATL) @ MIN
The winless Falcons will enter Week 6 with a new interim head coach in Raheem Morris trying to get this squad back on track on the road. As the team’s defensive coordinator, Morris should be quick to identify the Vikings’ biggest defensive weakness — their cornerback play. Outside cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Cameron Dantzler have combined to allow the fifth-most fantasy points to perimeter wideouts through the first five games of the season. Running 90% of his routes on the outside, Calvin Ridley will square off against these two frequently in this plus matchup. Hughes (73% completion rate against) and Dantzler (67%) not only give up above average catch rates, they’re also major contributors as to why the Vikings are tied for the league lead in explosive pass plays allowed (15+ yards, 12%). The team they’re tied with in this statistic? Atlanta. Expect a ton of big pass plays here on Sunday with Ridley (10.0 targets/game) seeing a ton of volume.
Adam Thielen (MIN) and Justin Jefferson (MIN) vs ATL
Hosting the Atlanta Falcons secondary this week, look for the Vikings to take to the air against a secondary that is hemorrhaging fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. They are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing perimeter wideouts, and as mentioned above, they’re also notably tied for the highest explosive pass play rate (12%). Adam Thielen’s average depth of target (14.75 yards) fits that downfield narrative nicely and his league-high 33% target share ensures plenty of target volume in what projects to be a paced-up environment. Since Justin Jefferson’s promotion to starter (Week 3), he’s played on over 75% of the team’s offensive snaps in each game while sporting a 22% target share. Both wideouts makes a ton of sense as we’ve seen Kirk Cousins sport a quality 21% deep ball rate (third-highest in the league). The cornerbacks they’ll face invite a ton of fantasy goodness on paper making it tough to shy away from rostering a Vikings pass catcher this week. RCB Isaiah Oliver has given up the second-most receptions and receiving yards with a 146.6 QB Rating when targeted, per PFF. LCB A.J. Terrell missed Weeks 3-4 due to injury but has yielded a 92% completion rate when targeted and a 143.4 QB Rating in the three games he played. With Dalvin Cook likely sidelined for this week, don’t be surprised if the Vikings throw more frequently and exploit this terrible secondary.
Allen Robinson (CHI) @ CAR
Ownership will almost assuredly be gravitating towards the two receivers listed above in the MIN/ATL shootout, but if we see an odd gamescript play out there, I like the leverage play of simply rostering Alexander Mattison and dropping down to Allen Robinson at receiver instead. In two games with Mitch Trubisky under center, ARob was averaging 9.0 targets per game and 4.0 receptions per game. In the Bears’ last three games, Robinson’s receiving volume has spiked to 13.0 targets/game and 9.0 receptions/game. The Bears slide Robinson all over the formation to create mismatches and plus looks for their top wideout. He won’t square off against any one singular corner in the Panthers’ secondary, but it’s notable that their pass defense has allowed big outings to opposing WR1’s over their last four games: Calvin Ridley (8-136-0), DeAndre Hopkins (7-41-0), Keenan Allen (13-132-1), and Mike Evans (7-104-1). This game has turned into almost a pick ‘em, standing at CHI +1 at the time of this writing. We’ve typically targeted the Panthers via the ground game — they’re giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs — but the current spread indicates this could be a back-and-forth affair and with ARob’s hefty target volume, he remains a strong DFS play in Week 6.
DeVante Parker (MIA) vs NYJ
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick rebounded nicely from Week 4’s poor outing and had no issues slinging the ball all over the 49ers’ secondary in Week 5. He’ll take on a Jets team this week that is No. 31 in Pass DVOA defense and struggling in coverage on the outside. Pierre Desir comes in as PFF’s No. 84 graded cornerback (out of 115) with Blessuan Austin (No. 101) also struggling. If Austin (calf) sits again this week, his backup, Lamar Jackson (No. 108) leads all corners in most completed air yards allowed over expectation per NextGenStats. The Jets’ corners should provide little resistance to the 6’-3” Parker, with similar tall wideouts like 6’-1” Hopkins (6-131-1) and 6’-4” Tim Patrick (6-113-1) exploiting this coverage the last two weeks. While Parker’s 19% target share may not seem like a ton of volume, he’s been the only consistent receiving threat for the Dolphins and should be leaned on here in this plus matchup.
Jamison Crowder (NYJ) @ MIA
It’s been lost amid all the terribleness coming out of Jets’ camp, but Jamison Crowder has been fantastic fantasy-wise this season. I need to just list these statistical outings because they merit this type of callout:
Week 1 @ BUF: 13 targets, 7 receptions, 115 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Week 4 vs DEN: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 104 receiving yards
Week 5 vs AZ: 10 targets, 8 receptions, 116 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Crowder is averaging 11.0 targets per game and 22.5 FPPG. He’ll square off this week against Dolphins slot corner, Nik Needham, who comes in as PFF’s No. 106 graded cornerback. Needham allowed nine touchdowns in coverage last year and a top-12 rate in yards per coverage snap (1.61). The Jets don’t have much going for them right now, but they do have a talented slot receiver in a plus matchup that they can lean on.
A.J. Brown (TEN) vs HOU
After playing on Tuesday Night Football, the pricing algorithm missed A.J. Brown and his rock solid 7-82-1 (9 targets) stat line. After sitting out of practice the next two days (Wednesday/Thursday), Brown logged a full participation on Friday to mitigate any lingering concerns about his knee. Brown and the Titans square off against the Texans this week in one of four games on the main slate with a total over 51+ points. Brown is sporting a 25% target share over the two games he’s played this year (8.5 targets/game). He torched this Texans secondary in each outing against them last year going off for 8-114-1 and 4-124-1 on a combined 21 targets. With Corey Davis still anticipated to be out due to COVID, look for the high target volume to continue for Brown despite what’s anticipated to be shadow coverage from Bradley Roby. His pricing, on DraftKings especially ($5,600), is just too good of a value to pass up this week.
Marvin Jones (DET) @ JAX
Injuries have led to Marvin Jones being utilized all over the formation for the Lions — he draws +30% route rates at LWR, RWR, and in the slot — but with everyone healthy, look for him to attack the perimeter of this Jaguars defense heavily in Week 6. Jones (14.6 aDOT) has made a career of making big receptions downfield and takes on a Jaguars secondary that is allowing the fifth-highest rate of explosive pass plays on defense (10.3%). This JAX secondary is also decimated with injuries as they have CB D.J. Hayden (IR), CB C.J. Henderson (shoulder), and FS Andrew Wingard (IR) either out or questionable. We just saw Deshaun Watson tear up this secondary with vertical threats Brandin Cooks (8-161-1) and Will Fuller (4-58-1) making big plays against them at will in Week 5. Points project to be plentiful in this 54-point game total and it wouldn’t surprise at all to see Jones connect on some deep passes with the potential for one or two to reach paydirt. He is priced egregiously low across the industry and after burning DFS players early in the year while Kenny Golladay was banged up, recency bias may lead to some lower ownership rates than what Marv merits.
Brandin Cooks (HOU) vs TEN
The Texans offense looks like they regained some momentum and confidence last week in their first game without Bill O’Brien. Look for that to parlay into Week 6 with another solid matchup for their passing game to attack against the Tennessee Titans. The duo of Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks combined for 20 targets in last week’s matchup as the two perimeter wideouts for Houston excelled against a Titans defense that struggles on the outside. We’ve seen Stefon Diggs (10-106-0), Justin Jefferson (7-175-1), and D.J. Chark (4-84-0) have success attacking this defense vertically in the last few weeks. They’ve specifically had success attacking the deep right side of the Texans’ defense which is where Cooks (42% RWR) runs most of his routes. Sporting a 13.6 aDOT, Cooks routes will give him a chance to test LCB Johnathan Joseph, who has had difficulty defending his side of the field:
The deep right and deep middle specifically have yielded a combined three touchdowns to date. Gamescript projects the Texans to be passing on the road here (HOU +3 road dogs) and while the masses gravitate toward Fuller, Cooks provides a great leverage spot and just as high of a ceiling. Cooks has quietly out-targeted Fuller (33 to 30) and is right behind him in red zone looks (7 to 8).
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) @ TB
This play is contingent upon the return of Davante Adams, who is anticipated to make his return this week in a high-scoring battle (57-point total) against the Buccaneers. Adams’ return will merit shadow coverage from Carlton Davis, one of the best up-and-coming corners in the league despite few talking about him. With Allen Lazard (IR) still shelved, look for Marquez Valdes-Scantling — 1.95x multiplier on SuperDraft — to become an integral part of the Packers’ passing attack this week. He moves all over the formation for the Packers but is best utilized as a deep threat and in the red zone. The Bucs’ deep passing defensive rates are skewed a bit given the competition they’ve faced the first five weeks, but don’t forget that we just saw a rookie in Justin Herbert connect for long scores of 53-yards and 72-yards against this secondary in Week 4. MVS sports the third-most deep targets of 20+ yards (12) among all wideouts and carries a hefty 17.7 aDOT. He also leads the Packers in red zone targets (10) and while Adams is making his return, there should be plenty of passing volume to go around here. Teams are passing against the Buccaneers at a hefty 64.3% rate — fourth-highest rate in the league. We know MVS carries some volatility, but with Aaron Rodgers likely throwing heavily in this contest, this could be a potential ceiling week for MVS if the two can connect deep.
Other WRs of Note: Davante Adams, Kenny Golladay, Laviska Shenault, Danny Amendola, and Chris Godwin (I’m joining the Ricky Sanders bandwagon this week)
Yolo Sub-5% GPP Play
Damiere Byrd (NE) vs DEN
There are a ton of expensive plays this week in great spots. After building lineups and mixing-and-matching players, my favorite way to afford all these studs is by taking the salary savings with Damiere Byrd. Byrd is projected to carry an ownership of 4.22% (DK) and draws a plus matchup here against the Broncos’ injury-depleted secondary.
A.J. Bouye on IR has led to Bryce Callahan shifting from the slot to the perimeter and for Denver to elevate rookie Michael Ojemudia to a starting role opposite him. The Broncos keep their cornerbacks to their respective sides of the field and we’ll be targeting Ojemudia (95% RCB) in this particular matchup. Byrd runs 63% of his routes from the left side of the formation and will square off against Ojemudia frequently. Just a few weeks ago, we saw the rookie corner get torched by the Steelers, giving up a 6-148-2 stat line on 10 targets in his direction. That includes a memorable 84-yard bomb to Chase Claypool that got him on the fantasy radar. Ojedmudia is currently PFF’s No. 80 cornerback with opposing QBs targeting him much more frequently (once every 6.4 snaps in coverage) than the stout defense of Callahan (PFF’s No. 12 CB, targeted every 8.1 snaps in coverage).
Byrd’s targets over the last three games have been 9, 3, and 10. There’s some volatility there, but that’s baked into his pricing. However, at just $3.5K on DraftKings, Byrd has a legitimate shot at the 3-point bonus (100 yards) and most importantly, allows you to fit in multiple stud players.