It’s often difficult to completely disregard reality while crafting your fantasy football roster.
But the fact of the matter is, there are a number of players on lousy teams who still serve as high-end fantasy options. In fact, six of the nine players we’re trotting out this week in our daily fantasy football lineup play for a team with a below-.500 record.
Without further ado, here’s our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($6,400)
The Falcons have been one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments through five weeks, but Ryan has remained a consistent fantasy-points producer. Atlanta’s quarterback has yet to throw for under 300 yards in a game this season and has tossed multiple scores in four of his five contests. The Falcons really need a win this week, and luckily for them, a favorable matchup awaits. Their pass-happy offense should thrive against the Arizona Cardinals, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and the seventh-most total passing yards through five weeks.
Running Backs: Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets ($6,400); Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,500)
Bell should be given the rock early and often this Sunday when the Jets host the Cowboys. Dallas’ defense has been strong for the most part this season, but the unit has been somewhat susceptible to the run. Its six rushing touchdowns allowed are tied for the second-worst mark in the league. Even though Sam Darnold is set to return under center this week, Bell’s touches shouldn’t be diminished. If anything, the star RB could see more screen and dump-off passes.
After a slow start to the season, Mixon finally is starting to come around. His rushing yards have increased each week and he’s typically good for at least a few catches every game as well. This might come as a surprise, but the Baltimore Ravens have allowed the most rushing touchdowns this season. If this Bengals-Ravens matchup turns into a slugfest, which AFC North battles typically do, Mixon will have the opportunity to post a breakout performance.
Wide Receivers: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings ($6,700); Larry Fitzgerald ($6,100); D.J. Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,500)
We typically try not to pick the same players in back-to-back weeks, but it’s tough not look Thielen’s way in Week 6. After seemingly calling out Kirk Cousins, Thielen stuffed the stat sheet last Sunday, catching seven passes for 130 yards with two touchdowns. He’s primed for another big day against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that’s struggled to defend the pass and has been equally stout against the run. In a game where the Vikings will be looking to make a statement, Thielen just might log his highest target mark of the campaign.
Yes, the 36-year-old Fitzgerald still is a viable fantasy option. He currently leads the Cardinals in catches and receiving yards and is tied for the team’s top mark in touchdown grabs. He’s likely in store for a productive afternoon Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed a league-worst 10 touchdowns to wide receivers this season.
Chark has been a monster for the Jaguars this season, averaging a touchdown per game through five weeks. He lit it up against a tough Carolina Panthers defense this past Sunday, catching eight passes for 164 yards with two scores. The 23-year-old has become Gardner Minshew’s favorite target, and the duo should be able to link up quite a few times in Week 6 against the New Orleans Saints, who have been average at best at defending the pass this season.
Tight End: Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks ($4,900)
Dissly quietly is climbing the ranks of fantasy tight ends. After only logging one catch in Seattle’s season opener, Dissly has corralled 22 combined over the past four weeks, including four touchdowns. The Seahawks’ Week 6 opponent, the Cleveland Browns, have allowed four scores to TEs this season, the second-worst mark in the league.
Flex: Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers ($5,100)
Despite offensive guru Kyle Shanahan calling the shots and Jimmy Garoppolo being under center, the Niners are starting to look more like a ground-and-pound football team. Breida has been at the forefront, averaging 85 rushing yards per game over the four contests he’s appeared in. Don’t let the Rams’ front seven spook you, as Los Angeles has allowed five rushing touchdowns through five weeks.
Defense: Washington Redskins ($3,200)
Recommending to start a winless team’s defense normally would come off as pure lunacy. But considering the Dolphins are shaping up to be historically bad, the Redskins actually might be a good play this week. For what it’s worth, Washington was able to sack Tom Brady six times last Sunday.