Players available for cheap in DraftKings Sunday Classic lineups: under $6,000 at quarterback, $5,000 at running back, under $4,000 at wide receiver, and under $3,500 at tight end. These are the guys who’ll let you splurge on stars like Ja’Marr Chase and David Njoku.
What did we learn in Week 5? Trevor Lawrence was a wash, but his two-touchdown performance is something he can build from. Javonte Williams played the best game of his nascent career but still played only 41 percent of the Broncos’ snaps — even with Melvin Gordon nursing a leg injury. Kendrick Bourne and Zach Ertz combined for four catches between them. My deepest apologies if you played them.
QB: Taylor Heinicke ($5,800)
Heinicke will be a popular low-cost pick, and for good reason. While he’s coming off a stinker against the New Orleans Saints’ swarming defense, he’d averaged 25.11 fantasy points per game in the three games prior. In Week 6 he gets a Chiefs’ defense that can’t cover anyone deep and currently ranks 31st in pass defense DVOA. Kansas City just gave up 315 yards and three touchdowns on only 26 Josh Allen passes. Heinicke should get the chance to air it out even more in a game that seems destined for a shootout.
RB: Javonte Williams ($5,000) OR Darrel Williams ($4,900)
Darrel Williams will start in place of an injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire and offers valuable PPR potential in a game that will be 80 percent offenses scoring at will. His snap share had been rising each week even before CEH went down, so he’s clearly earned Eric Bieniemy’s trust within the system — as evidenced by his 12-touch day in Philly in Week 4. He’s not a perfect play, but the rest of the bargain crew behind him is thin and he may have the highest ceiling of anyone under $5k — unless, of course, the Broncos finally decide to unleash Javonte Williams.
Denver’s Williams gained 61 yards on eight carries last week against the Steelers’ sixth-ranked rushing defense. Now he gets the 14th-ranked Raiders. If Vic Fangio decides to take the governor off — Williams has only played the majority of his offense’s snaps once this season, and it was a whopping 51 percent — Williams could break free for 20+ points.
WR: Parris Campbell ($3,400)
This is a very tough week for bargain WRs; the guys I like most — Darnell Mooney, Rashard Higgins, Amon-Ra St. Brown — all clock in at slightly over $4k in the Sunday classic. So, let’s roll with a gut play instead.
Are we finally getting the Campbell we were promised? The precise wideout developed into a star at Ohio State and was considered a high-floor pickup when the Colts drafted him in the second round in 2019. Unfortunately, he played only nine games his first two seasons thanks to injury and got off to another slow start in 2021.
That may be changing. His four catches for 56 yards marked his second-best performance as a pro. He’ll take that momentum into a game against the Texans and a passing defense that has been better than expected but still lacks top-end talent. Campbell has played no fewer than 44 percent of Indianapolis’s snaps each game during T.Y. Hilton’s absence, and his six targets last week ranked second behind Michael Pittman. Of course, if Hilton’s activated in time for Sunday, this play gets a whole lot worse.
TE: CJ Uzomah ($3,100)
While I like Evan Engram ($3,400) because of his ability to break a few big plays (when he isn’t busy dropping the ball), I’m gonna roll with the Bengal. Uzomah has been quiet this season, but his breakthrough game (two touchdowns) came against a winless team with a bottom-six passing defense. On Sunday he’ll face … a winless team with a bottom-six passing defense. When Joe Burrow decides it’s a Uzomah day, he goes big. Let’s hope Week 6 is one of those.
Thursday night results: 2-1 (.667). Season to date: 23-14 (.622)
What we learned Thursday night: That Leonard Fournette is a big part of Bruce Arians’ offense while Gio Bernard is gonna get two catches per game and that’s probably it. This was very nearly a 3 for 3 night when a Tom Brady QB sneak picked up three yards. Then he kneeled for -2 yards in the three plays that followed to push him below his 1.5 yard total. The GOAT giveth, and the GOAT taketh away.
Trevor Lawrence OVER 235.5 passing yards. The only two games where opposing QBs didn’t throw for at least 280 yards against the Dolphins were blowouts where Miami trailed by three possessions early in the fourth quarter. If this is a close game, Lawrence will be throwing a lot. If the Dolphins streak to a win, Lawrence will be throwing a lot. Unless the Jags run away with this one you can likely expect 30+ passes from the rookie, and 236 yards is an attainable number.
Taylor Heinicke OVER 1.5 passing touchdowns. Heinicke was averaging two per game before being held out of the end zone by the New Orleans Saints. They rank fifth in pass defense DVOA; the Chiefs rank 31st. The former grad student hung multiple TDs on Buffalo’s stout defense and scored two-plus vs. other bottom feeders like the Falcons and Giants this season. If you’re looking for other touchdown props, you can also get Aaron Rodgers at 1.5 — though it comes with a -195 price tag.
James Robinson OVER 72.5 rushing yards. Urban Meyer could sink this bet with his bizarre roster management, but Robinson has caught fire lately — 315 yards and four touchdowns in his last three games. While his snap count has fluctuated, his low rushing total in that span was still 78 yards. Now he gets to face a Dolphins team that’s given up at least 121 rushing yards each game this fall.
Robby Anderson UNDER 3.5 receptions. Anderson has been baffling to fantasy owners. After starting 2020 with 36 catches and 489 yards in his first five games, he’s had just 12 receptions for 179 yards to start 2021. His target share fluctuates wildly, but the Vikings have been outperforming expectations through the air (sixth in pass defense DVOA) and have the chops to extend his struggles at least one more week.
T.J. Watt OVER 2.5 solo tackles. Watt’s had at least three solo tackles every game he’s played so far. The Seahawks offensive line allowed Russell Wilson to be pressured more than any other starting quarterback in the first five weeks of the season. Now Geno Smith has to step into that role. Watt might have more than 2.5 total sacks when all is said and done Sunday night.
Just looking for picks? I’ve got you. Winners in bold, all odds via Tipico:
Dolphins at Jaguars (+140)
Packers (-210) at Bears
Bengals (-190) at Lions
Texans at Colts (-500)
Rams (-475) at Giants
Chiefs (-280) at Washington
Vikings (-120) at Panthers
Chargers (+122) at Ravens
Cardinals (+140) at Browns
Raiders at Broncos (-190)
Cowboys (-180) at Patriots
Seahawks at Steelers (-250)
Bills (-240) at Titans
Last week: 12-4
Thursday night: 1-0
Season to date: 56-25 (.691)
Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. See Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO).