*Editor's Note: Each Thursday leading into the NFL games, contributing writer Jonathan Auping will break down a few things to consider as fantasy owners set their weekly lineups, including players to start or sit, along with trends to remember. Whether your game is the traditional fantasy league or the daily games from DraftKings, this weekly feature should help you get prepared for the fantasy weekend. *
Make the Smart Plays:
Delanie Walker, TE, Titans (DraftKings Salary $5,500)
The Cleveland Browns are bad at a lot of things. But one thing they are particularly bad at is defending tight ends. In the Patriots' Week 5 win over Cleveland, Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett combined for 176 receiving yards. The week before that Jordan Reed had 73 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns.
As Marcus Mariotta's favorite target, Walker is poised to shred the Browns' defense for some impressive numbers.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (DraftKings Salary $6,200)
Stafford is coming off his most efficient and flawless game of the season in Week 5 when he threw for three touchdowns without an interception against a very good Eagles defense. The Rams have a perfectly average defense that spends far too much time on the field thanks to their inept offense. That's the kind of team that Stafford puts up garbage time statistics on.
It's also worth noting that Stafford is a much better player at home where he has thrown more completions, touchdowns, and for more yards during his career despite having less pass attempts than he has on the road.
But Don't Outsmart Yourself:
Green Bay Defense, (DraftKings Salary $4,200)
The Packers probably have the least reliable defense of any team with Super Bowl aspirations, and that includes the Cowboys. They have only recorded two interceptions all season, and they're facing a quarterback who has yet to throw one in his career.
And even though that quarterback is still a rookie, he's reached the point where it's safe to say he isn't likely to make many mistakes. I don't know that he'll be able to outplay Aaron Rodgers, but I think he'll slice up the Packers defense for a lot of points one way or another.
How To Draft For A Shootout in Green Bay
Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys (DraftKings Salary $4,400):
In his short career Dak Prescott has targeted Cole Beasley more than any other wide receiver. Only Jason Witten has one more target, but three less receptions than Beasley. I don't think Dez Bryant's potential return would do much to change that, at least against Green Bay.
The Packers will be the Cowboys' toughest challenge yet, and while Prescott doesn't have to face Aaron Rodgers, he might have to keep up with him. Dallas will continue to send Beasley over the middle hoping to get a linebacker on him in man coverage. The Packers might be tempted to think Clay Matthews is fast enough to cover him, but quite frankly, he's not. Expect Beasley to make one or two big yardage or touchdown plays each half.
Randall Cobb, WR, Packers (DraftKings Salary 6,000)
The Cowboys defense did an admirable job shutting down A.J. Green in Week Five, but it's a lot easier to shut down a star receiver when he's the only real pass catching threat on the field. It's also easier to do when the guy throwing the ball is Andy Dalton and not Aaron Rogers.
The Cowboys don't have the talent on that side of the field to contain all of the Packers' weapons, and Cobb is coming off of his first 100-plus yard game of the season. Throughout his career, Cobb has been Rodgers' top target when the Packers choose to throw the ball with goal to go.
Survivor Pick of the Week:
(Season Record: 5-0)
(Off the Board: Bengals, Ravens, Chiefs, Redskins, Steelers)
Buffalo Bills over the San Francisco 49ers
I've been saying for almost three weeks that Colin Kaepernick is a better quarterback option for the 49ers than Blaine Gabbert. So it's odd timing that I would pick against them in his first game back as the starter. I think Kaepernick will win some games for San Francisco, but not against this Buffalo team.
The Bills have won three straight games and are coming in with some offensive fluidity and a knack for making big plays. You need a lot of weapons at receiver to score on Buffalo and the 49ers do not have that. Buffalo will hit enough home runs on offense and create enough turnovers on defense to win this game.