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from the slot

From the Slot: Week 6 NFL DFS Picks Based on Awesemo’s Grades

Geoff Ulrich



After the league’s first Tuesday Night game since 2010, we finally made it past an eventful Week 5 and are now officially onto Week 6. There will still be lots of things to monitor this week, including the COVID situation surrounding players like Cam Newton, but for now, none of the games are on high alert to be canceled, so focusing in on injury and personnel moves is all we can do.

The aforementioned Newton was activated off the COVID-19 list earlier on Tuesday and now seems almost certain to start for the Pats this week. The quarterback carousel of pain this week includes Drew Lock (shoulder), Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), Sam Darnold (shoulder) and Kyle Allen (shoulder), who are all questionable to play in Week 6 as of writing, but also all looking very likely to play. The biggest question mark is likely Garoppolo, who actually suited up last week but looked extra-special terrible against Miami, a factor that could lead to the coaches there choosing to rest him for one game.

Big-name wide receivers like Julio Jones, Diontae Johnson and Mike Evans/Chris Godwin are all worth monitoring this week, as their statuses will have huge trickle-down effects on the rest of the depth chart for their respective teams.

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QB: Matthew Stafford ($6,300) Grades: A, Values: A

Before you go wondering to yourself as to why Stafford received A-grades this week in both projections and value, let me point out the fact that the Lions are in fact playing the Jaguars. Jacksonville is decimated on the defensive side of the ball right now. Having already lost D.J. Hayden for the year, they also were without Myles Jack, C.J. Henderson and Josh Allen last week as well — arguably their three best defensive players. This led to yet another big loss, this time to the Texans, which saw Deshaun Watson throw for 359 yards and three touchdowns — a day which actually could have been even better if he hadn’t overthrown a wide open David Johnson in the end zone.

The Jags have now allowed 300 passing yards in three of their five games this year and face a rested Stafford who has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his last three games. Stafford and Kenny Golladay could hook up for multiple scores here if the aforementioned Henderson stays out. From a projections standpoint, Stafford rates out with the fourth-best overall points projection on the Sunday slate this week and the third-best value rating. Despite the Lions’ own inconsistencies, stacking Staff and his receivers here could easily pay off in this spot.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 10.1%

RB: Jonathan Taylor ($6,400) Grades: B, Values: B

Taylor has frustrated fantasy players somewhat, not by his play, but by the fact his coaches seem content to use him in a three-man rotation. That rotation may have come to an end last week, though, as Jordan Wilkins was left to take just one carry in Indianapolis’ loss to the Browns. Taylor saw 55% of the snaps last week — a big improvement over the last two games — and has also saw three targets, his most since Week 1. The matchup here for Taylor also seems likely to dictate a bigger workload.

The Colts come in as -7.5 favorites, as of writing, over the Bengals, a team that has allowed 5.2 yards per carry as a rush defense this season. Running backs against the Bengals have averaged 25 carries a game thus far and rank sixth as a defense in total rush attempts against per game. After a poor game by his quarterback against Cleveland, look for Frank Reich to get Taylor the ball more in a great spot for him against the Bengals’ weak D-Line. The rookie rates out nicely in the Awesemo model, with the seventh-best points projection and the highest projection of anyone priced under $6,500 on DraftKings this week. He’s not projecting with super high ownership on DraftKings this week either at under 15%.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 12.6%

WR: Davante Adams ($8,000) Grades: A, Values: B

Adams has taken to the practice field early this week and looks set to return to action in Week 6 against the Buccaneers. The Packers – Bucs game has the highest over/under on the slate, and Adams should be in a spot here to produce right from the get go. The Bucs have allowed four receivers to catch eight receptions or more against them in their last four games and could be without the services of their best corner back in Carlton Davis, who missed practice on Wednesday.

Davis has been great so far this year, but if he’s less than 100% against Adams, this could be a spot where he gets exposed a bit. The Bucs still set up as a more of funnel defense and are first in the league in yards per carry against at 2.7 and have faced the second-fewest rush attempts per game at 21.1. Adams should see heavy volume here and has the best points projection at wide receiver on the main Sunday slate on site’s model.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 21.3%

TE: Evan Engram ($4,900) Grades: B, Values: B

The tight end situation on the Sunday slate in DFS looks dire this week, as Darren Waller (bye) Travis Kelce (plays Monday) and George Kittle (plays Sunday night) are all unavailable. Despite Engram averaging a pathetic 7.7 yards per catch, which is down about three yards off his career average before this year, he stands out as a pretty viable play in DFS once again this week. The Washington Football Team has been terrible at covering strong pass-catching tight ends, and you have to figure the Giants may want to take advantage of that fact, especially considering they’ve somehow now gone four games without a passing touchdown as a team.

Washington’s a great matchup for Engram and has allowed five touchdowns and ceded the fifth-most points against per game to the tight end position already. Engram saw a slight salary boost over last week on DraftKings, but that will likely cause his ownership to stay somewhat level, which is good considering how few elite tight ends we have to work with this week. Despite the lack of downfield targets he’s seeing, Engram still rates out well in the Awesemo model, with the second-best points projection and value rating of any tight end on the Sunday slate. It may hurt to click his name after so many slow games, but giving Engram one more chance to produce in Week 6 seems like the play here.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 11.4%

Contrarian Stack: Bears

Despite ranking just sixth in points scored in 2020, the Bears’ core skill players here could be poised for a breakout in Week 6. Carolina comes into this game a tad banged up on the defensive side with top corner Donte Jackson (toe) practicing on just a limited basis this week after leaving last week’s game early. If he’s not 100%, or misses the game entirely, the league leader in targets, Allen Robinson, could be in for a massive day here. Robinson has averaged nine receptions and 104 yards per game since Week 3, which is when Nick Foles took over.

Foles tore apart the last soft defense he faced in the Falcons but has faced arguably the two best defenses in the league since then in Tampa and the Colts. He gets a big reprieve here, though, in Week 6 as Carolina has recorded the second-fewest sacks in the league thus far and ranks third-to-last in adjusted sack rate. Adding in David Montgomery to any Bears stack seems necessary here too, as Carolina ranks second-to-last in yards per carry against, and Montgomery has seen 14 targets the last two weeks with Foles as his quarterback. Much like Pittsburgh last week, don’t be shocked if one or two of the Bears’ big names go off here at potentially very low ownership.

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