Week 6: Analyzing Ease of Schedule

By Jen Ryan
(Reference Link: http://www.footballdiehards.com/eosforecast.cfm)

Bye weeks are starting to ramp up. We have four teams on the bye this week and four on the bye the following two weeks before we hit that six team Week 9 bye. Match ups and byes are important to pay attention to when making line up decisions for this week and down the road. Using our Ease of Schedule Forecast tool let’s analyze a few Week 6 matchups that you should consider in your season long and daily contests.

Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago Bears, vs. Minnesota Vikings, @ Kansas City
The winless Detroit Lions have been derailed by a sputtering Matthew Stafford. His performance seems to decrease each week and it affects everyone around him. Calvin Johnson, once the undisputed best receiver in the league, has just one 20+ point game. Golden Tate floats around the average performance mark and is almost useless in standard leagues. The most exciting player on this offense right now is running back Theo Riddick, who has been moonlighting as the team’s most consistent receiver.

If there were ever a week for the Lions to bounce back it is Week 6 against the Chicago Bears. They have allowed 11 touchdowns through the air this season and are generous on the ground as well, averaging close to 120 yards per game. The Lions need a win and fantasy owners need big games from their rostered Lions. This week could be it.

Verdict: If you want to buy low on Calvin Johnson do it before he potentially blows up in Chicago this week. Looking further down the line, Johnson has six remaining favorable matchups on the schedule including the final two weeks of the fantasy season against the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers. Golden Tate is tricky to figure out when to play but things should be looking up for him as well. Unfortunately, Ameer Abdullah has done little to nothing since his big run in Week 1, but the good news is Theo Riddick is still available in roughly 75% of ESPN leagues. He has proven to be an every week PPR flex play. He is the second highest scorer on the Lions (61 points), just four points short of Calvin Johnson.

New York Giants - @ Philadelphia Eagles, vs. Dallas Cowboys, @ New Orleans Saints

Odell Beckham, Jr. may not be replicating his 2014 season but he is not doing so badly either as fantasy football’s WR8. I should also mention his quarterback Eli Manning currently sits just outside of the top five at QB6. The Ben McAdoo offense has clicked and despite no Victor Cruz the New York Giants are finding ways to win. They have two heated division games in the upcoming weeks but the secondaries of both the Eagles and the Cowboys have holes that Manning can easily exploit. Once they get past that part of the schedule they will be treated with an even friendlier defense against the New Orleans Saints.
While teams have been busy showing Beckham, Jr. extra attention, Larry Donnell, Dwayne Harris, and Rueben Randle have been shown extra attention from Eli Manning. Those three players combined have 71 targets to Beckham, Jr.’s 52 targets. Manning is spreading the ball around and there is a ton of opportunity for other skill players in the Giants’ offense.

Verdict: While Beckham, Jr. may be hard to acquire and costs top dollar in daily fantasy the Giants’ other offensive weapons definitely merit your consideration across all formats. The upcoming schedule is too good to ignore. Donnell no longer has competition for touches at his position due to the unfortunate and simply tragic circumstances surrounding Daniel Fells. Randle has cooled off since his monster game Week 3 against the Washington Redskins which could be related to Dwayne Harris heating up. He has 14 targets and a score over the past few weeks and appears to solidify his role as the slot receiver. Randle and Harris should be available in most leagues and make for interesting cheap plays in daily fantasy.

Green Bay Packers – vs. San Diego Chargers, BYE, @ Denver Broncos
The bye week followed by the Denver Broncos is a bit intimidating. Why am I even including the Packers in this article? Why am I even mentioning players on an undefeated team full of fantasy powerhouses? The simple answer is Eddie Lacy. He has scored once this season. Even more embarrassing for Lacy is the fact that his Mason Crosby, Richard Rodgers, and the Packers D/ST have more fantasy points than him. Through five weeks he is a bona-fide first round flop.
Eddie Lacy has a chance to redeem himself and finally pay off for his fantasy owners this week. The San Diego Chargers are ranked 30th overall against the run, allowing 132 yards per game, and five touchdowns on the season. If Lacy cannot get it done this week he may be toast. A huge game in Week 6 followed by the bye may be exactly what Lacy needs to gain momentum and regroup before a difficult Week 8 matchup.

Verdict: Much like Calvin Johnson the time is now to get Eddie Lacy. His owners may take just about anything for him at this point. They will not bench him but they are sick of seeing him put up clunkers for them. Do them a favor and take Lacy off their hands. While you are at it, plug him in to a ton of your DFS lineups. At $6,300 there are seven running backs priced higher than him this week.

Denver Broncos - @ Cleveland Browns, BYE, vs. Green Bay Packers
I could copy and paste my Green Bay Packer analysis right here and it would make perfect sense. C.J. Anderson is riding shotgun in Eddie Lacy’s broken down car this week. The similarities are almost uncanny. Anderson is also a bona-fide flop and is being outscored by his kicker, tight end, and D/ST. Why am I mentioning another running back on another undefeated team full of fantasy powerhouses? Same reason I mentioned Eddie Lacy. Anderson has a chance to redeem himself and finally pay off for his fantasy owners this week, especially with the news that Ronnie Hillman is banged up. We know the talent is there with Anderson and we saw it over the last several weeks of the 2014 season. He simply needs a confidence boost before the buy to carry him into a tough Week 8 matchup.

Verdict: While I’m not sure I’d go after Anderson in the same manner I would Lacy I do think he still has a chance to return value. The Cleveland Browns are abysmal against the run. If I am a C.J. Anderson owner I am flipping him after his big game this week. A healthy Ronnie Hillman will eat into his carries and this may be your last chance to get anything for him in return. I also think he is a sneaky DFS play at just $4,500. It would not surprise me in the least bit to see Anderson in a handful of lineups belonging to big money winners this week.

Before setting your lineups in any format, be sure to check our Ease of Schedule Forecast tool. Don’t just look at it; analyze it and let it all sink it. Use the matchups to your benefit for this week and beyond.