Week Six: Players to Avoid

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off the list heading into the sixth week of the NFL season.

Josh McCown, Browns, $11,500 – Starting Josh McCown this week feels a lot like buying beanie babies once everyone already owns the collection and bringing them to school the next day only to find out they’re no longer cool. Translation: if you missed out on McCown’s hot streak, do not go chasing his points from the last three weeks by rostering him in week six. The Broncos own what I consider to be the absolute best defense in football and really are the main reason the team sits at 5-0. Only four teams have allowed less yards overall, but none have allowed opponents to less yards on per-game basis. In other words, McCown will not be able to rack up the yards against this defense, even if it comes down to garbage time. The duo of Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib have been flat out dominant, so good luck attacking them with a mediocre receiving core. One player who could succeed despite the brutal matchup is Gary Barnidge, as the Broncos have allowed a middle-of-the-road amount of fantasy points to the tight end (TE) position.

Chris Johnson, Cardinals, $9,500 – While Chris Johnson still got his despite only 11 carries in week five, the backfield situation became a bit of a mess. David Johnson clearly emerged as the goal line back after receiving both of the Cardinals carries inside the five this week (and converting both into touchdowns (TDs)). The third piece of the backfield, Andre Ellington, returned and received only three carries, but took one of those to the house for a long TD. This three-headed monster is officially going to be a pain to predict week in and week out. Furthermore, only 11 teams have allowed fewer rushing yards to opposing running backs (RBs) and they have yet to allow a single TD to opposing backs (either rushing or receiving). The way to beat the Steelers is through the air, and if the Cardinals decide to go pass-heavy, the other two backs are more likely to play on those downs. In Johnson’s price range, go with Charcandrick West instead, as he’ll very likely be the workhorse for his respective team.

Chris Ivory, Jets, $10,400 – The recency bias may lead one to believe this Washington Redskins defense is forgiving to RBs, considering Devonta Freeman just produced his third straight monster performance. However, that just isn’t true, and Chris Ivory’s skill set does not align with those of Freeman. In week five against Washington, Freeman was targeted eight times and caught seven passes for 44 yards. In three games this season, Ivory has only been targeted five times and caught three passes for 12 yards. This means Freeman caught more passes against the Redskins than Ivory has targets for the season. Washington has only allowed 97.6 rushing yards per game, and that’s after this season’s RB1 (Freeman) dropped 153 yards rushing on them. Before his monster game, this team ranked near the top of the list, and I think they possess the skills to shut down Ivory. Unless he finds the end zone, it’s unlikely he produces a monster rushing total, therefore deeming him inadequate for both cash games and tournaments.  

James Jones, Packers, $11,800 – Green Bay’s implied total unsurprisingly sits as the second-highest of the week against the San Diego Chargers. Most will look at that total and assume James Jones, the receiver who has been finding the end zone most often on Green Bay, immediately warrants consideration. Let me sway you in other directions on the Green Bay offense, because I think there are superior plays. Number-one wide receivers (WRs) have produced 13.9% defense-adjust value over average (DVOA), according to Football Outsiders, whereas number-two WRs sit at -21.8% DVOA. In layman’s terms, that means number-one WRs produce well above their average against the Chargers, while number-two WRs (and even ”other WRs”) produce well below average. Randall Cobb seems poised for the big day in the receiving core, as opposed to Jones for that reason. Lastly, the San Diego Chargers have also allowed the most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, so I bet the Packers will look to establish Eddie Lacy in this one. If he runs effectively, he should see around 20 carries, which could limit the need for Aaron Rodgers to sling it. If the Packers get out to a big lead early on like Vegas seems to believe they will (they are listed as 10 point favorites), then the overall passing attempts will decline from the usual output as well. Is Jones the worst option on the board? Absolutely not. He’s a threat to find the end zone every week, but for my money I would say this is not one of the weeks where he ends up giving a Lambeau leap.

Charles Clay, Bills, $8,800 – While the Bengals rank as one of the NFL’s top-five TE defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed, this one really isn’t about the matchup. Charles Clay had emerged as one of Tyrod Taylor’s favorite targets and was targeted at least six times from weeks 2-4. This past week, Taylor was injured on a horse collar tackle and fought through the pain… the same pain that likely will keep him out of at least week six due to an MCL sprain. This means fantasy owners will likely have to rely on E.J. Manuel if rostering targets in the Bills passing game, and that’s not an investment I personally want to make. In 2014, Manuel’s season high in passing yardage was 238 yards and he threw more than one TD just once in four starts. For that reason, I will be fading all Bills pass-catchers, and I recommend you do too.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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