Welcome to Week 5. Last weekend brought us plenty of drama in the league, as a number of games went down to the wire, one into overtime. If you built a DFS team around last week’s picks, chances were strong you had a good weekend. Using multiple variations of the players highlighted in the article last week, I managed an average score of 139. This was good enough to cash in most games, but only good enough for the 55th percentile in the FanDuel 175k NFL Dive. Each week, I will be listing the average points scored from the various lineups, plus the info on the percentile standing.
We had big weeks from Dalton and Matt Ryan, as the prospect of a shootout was indeed as obvious as it seemed. Kerryon played up to his value, while Saquan still managed a strong performance. The superstar of the day was our second running back recommendation, Gio Bernard. Bernard finished with two touchdowns and 23.6 points on FanDuel. Tyler Boyd had over 100 yards receiving, and Tyler Eifert managed double-digit points before breaking his ankle early in the second half. As a whole, Week 4 was a success. Hopefully, we can replicate it again this week.
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A look ahead to Week 5
Week 4 started with a shootout in LA, as the Rams proved to be too much for the Vikings to handle. The trend of shootouts continued through the weekend, as record points were scored for a Week 4 slate. This week, the focus is back on the potential shootouts. Anytime there’s a game between two strong offensive teams, the variance of outcomes will be limited, from a game script perspective. The Falcons travel to Pittsburgh this week and the Vegas line in hovering around 57 points, a record for this season. This is the game I want to pinpoint as the one with most DFS stacking potential.
This week, I will be adding a few additional options for consideration in your flex position. As it is set every week, the prices on FanDuel and DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
Good luck in Week 5 and cheers to another good week of picks.
|Colin's Picks For Week 5|
|QB||Matt Ryan (DK-$6,900/FD-$8,400)||Ben Roethlisberger (DK-$6,900/FD-$8,400)||Kirk Cousins (DK-$6,000/FD-$7,700)||Blake Bortles (DK-$5,500/FD-$7,000)|
|RB||Todd Gurley (DK-$9,400/FD-$9,100)||T.J. Yeldon (DK-$5,600/FD-$6,500)||Aaron Jones (DK-$4,300/FD-$6,100)|
|WR||Adam Thielen (DK-$7,700/FD-$8,300)||JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK-$7,500/FD-$8,000)||Calvin Ridley (DK-$5,800/FD-$6,800)|
|TE||Zach Ertz (DK-$6,500/FD-$7,500)||George Kittle (DK-$5,400/FD-$6,400)||Jared Cook (DK-$4,800/FD-$5,900)|
|Defense||Titans D (DK-$4,000/FD-$3,900)||Broncos D (DK-$3,200/FD-$4,100)|
|Flex||Matt Breida (DK-$5,700/FD-$6,200)||Doug Baldwin (DK-$5,000/FD-$6,700)||Dede Westbrook (DK-$4,700/FD-$5,900)|
Matt Ryan (DK-$6,900/FD-$8,400)
Matt Ryan is on a tear right now and currently sits firmly ranked second among quarterbacks. Ryan also has ten touchdowns and one interception over the past three games. It’s safe to think he’s probably going to continue his tear, as the Steelers are ranked near the very bottom in pass defense. Given the fact both teams have terrible secondaries, it’s also a fair assumption to believe this game will end somewhere around its lofty projected point total of 57. I like Ryan in this one to have another monster week.
Ben Roethlisberger (DK-$6,900/FD-$8,400)
The second half of last week’s game was an ugly one for Ben as the Ravens limited him to just 50 yards passing. The good news is, the Falcons defense isn’t in the same realm as the Ravens this season. The real question is, do you trust Ben enough at home to produce? History says you should, but it’s going to be harder to choose Ben over Matt Ryan this week. Either should be a solid choice for the week.
Kirk Cousins (DK-$6,000/FD-$7,700)
Kirk Cousins had one hell of a game in LA last week. Though the Week 3 flop against Buffalo might be hard to erase from your memory, consider the Vikings are facing the Eagles, who were just shredded by Marcus Mariota. The Eagles are 19th best against the quarterback position this season, but look considerably worse since their solid Week 1 performance.
The Vikings have been shockingly vulnerable on defense this season, so it’s certainly possible Carson Wentz turns this into a back and forth contest. As it stands, I believe Cousins will come out firing and look to exploit some weak mismatches in the Eagles secondary. Most notable is Jalen Mills. Mills has been one of the most vulnerable corners in coverage this season and was absolutely destroyed by Corey Davis in Week 4. Adam Thielen typically lines up in the slot, but his supreme route-running ability should warrant more movement outside this week against the vulnerable Mills. Whether it’s Diggs or Thielen, Cousins will have open receivers this week. Either option is probably a good stacking option to pair with Cousins.
Blake Bortles (DK-$5,500/FD-$7,000)
Bortles really failed to show up the last time I recommended him. That day, at home against the Titans, we learned either the Titans had a good defense, or Bortles was back to being Bortles. Last week, the Titans reinforced the idea that it might have actually been their shockingly good defense, rather than just Bortles being Bortles. After all, Bortles had a huge week versus the Jets in a game that was over very early. This week, the Jags will be facing the Chiefs, who are ranked 29th against opposing quarterbacks. Their defense is definitely not good, so any hesitation about starting Bortles should be ignored for this week.
Todd Gurley (DK-$9,400/FD-$9,100)
Gurley has been everything as advertised this season. He’s currently the second-ranked running back, facing a Seattle defense who just lost their star safety, Earl Thomas. They also lost a linebacker to insider trading, so it’s fair to say the Seahawks might be in for another nightmare day, courtesy of Gurley. In case you forgot, Gurley racked up 180 total yards and four touchdowns against the Seahawks the last time they faced each other. If you play a cheaper quarterback, like Bortles, you should be able to afford Gurley and reap the rewards.
T.J. Yeldon (DK-$5,600/FD-$6,500)
Fournette is out again. No one is surprised, but many people are questioning just how good of a matchup this is for Yeldon. Last week, Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay combined for a pair of touchdowns on Monday against the Chiefs. With Bortles proving his worth this season against other weak defenses, Yeldon should get enough space and opportunity to provide him with both a high floor and high ceiling this week. He is a great value play for the amount of work he will see.
Aaron Jones (DK-$4,300/FD-$6,100)
Aaron Jones clearly looks better than any of the other Packers running backs. As the season progresses, Jones’ touches will increase, thus incrementally increasing his DFS value, so this may be one of the last chances you’ll have to get him at great value. Effective and explosive thus far, Jones has a prime matchup against a Lions team ranking in the bottom three against running backs. With Aaron Rodgers still laboring around with the undocumented leg injury, Jones will continue to serve as his pressure-release valve out of the backfield. Expect a solid, efficient week from Jones.
Adam Thielen (DK-$7,700/FD-$8,300)
I already mentioned Thielen’s tendency to work from the slot, but he should flare out this weekend as the Vikings will be anticipating early pressure from the Eagles defensive front. In an effort to better pass protect, keep the blitz in check, and keep the defense off balance, I expect to see fewer three wide receiver sets. As a result, Thielen should get some time with the struggling corner, Jalen Mills. Thielen currently sits atop the throne as the top fantasy wide receiver. He will find multiple openings in the defense.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK-$7,500/FD-$8,000)
We went over this last week with Tyler Boyd. I’ll clarify why JuJu is such a perfect start here. Last week, the attention was spent on AJ Green, and Boyd went for 11 receptions and 100 yards against the Falcons. This week, the defense should be focused on Antonio Brown. Like Boyd, JuJu is a receiver of immense talent and should exploit this displacement in coverage. With the game script variance unlikely to shift, no matter the score, both quarterbacks will be busy in this one.
Calvin Ridley (DK-$5,800/FD-$6,800)
Ridley is a start for similar reasons as JuJu. Depite the fact Ridley’s target rate is low and receptions tally is only 15 for the season, his six touchdowns lead the NFL amongst receivers. With the Steelers hosting Ridley’s Falcons this weekend, Ridley has a fairly ideal matchup against a defense ranking 31st against opposing receivers. Unfortunately, the low volume carries a low floor and if Ridley is left out of the end zone, it’s likely he could sink your week. For the price and matchup, there are no better options if you’re looking for a big week at a low price.
Zach Ertz (DK-$6,500/FD-$7,500)
Ertz is a target monster. He has averaged 8.6 receptions and 93 yards receiving over the past three games. He is the best example of a high floor we have for the position. Unfortunately for Ertz, he has yet to find the end zone in 2018. The good news is that the Eagles are facing the Vikings this week, and the Vikings have been very mediocre against tight ends this season. A similar athletic tight end, George Kittle, had a big week one against the Vikings. With no other real solid options at tight end this week, Ertz looks like a good bet.
George Kittle (DK-$5,400/FD-$6,400)
We just mentioned Kittle’s big game against the Vikings to open the season. It should’ve been a much bigger week, as Kittle dropped what might have been a long touchdown. If you had questions following Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury in regards to Kittle with Beathard, last week’s massive game against the Chargers should have answered them. Kittle went for 125 and a long touchdown against the same team who held Travis Kelce to six yards. The talent and opportunity are there.
Kittle faces the Cardinals this week, who have a good defensive ranking against opposing tight ends. However, if you look closer, you’ll see that’s skewed because of opposing team’s schemes. The Rams rarely use a tight end, as they go with three-receiver sets over 90% of plays. Will Dissly was injured in the Cards matchup versus the Seahawks, so the Seahawks sought help elsewhere. Kittle is the premier option for Beathard now, so attention will be paid to him moving forward. He’s a reasonable value play this week.
Jared Cook (DK-$4,800/FD-$5,900)
The Chargers were burned by George Kittle last week. This week, the Raiders will be looking to exploit some gaps over the middle against the susceptible Chargers defense. Cook is coming off a monster performance from Week 4, so expect Carr to find his big tight end a healthy amount this Sunday.
Titans D (DK-$4,000/FD-$3,900)
The Titans defense is pretty legit. They currently sit seventh in scoring, and the Bills are coming off a horrendous performance against the Packers in which the Packers amassed a whopping 23 points. The Bills have looked putrid in three of their four games, so there’s a good chance the Titans will keep it rolling.
Broncos D (DK-$3,200/FD-$4,100)
The Jets have been really bad lately. Sam Darnold had a tough matchup last week against the Jags and the Jets didn’t risk much in the game. I can’t see them playing it as docile this week. The Broncos have looked vulnerable at times, but they have a defensive side loaded with playmakers. Trust their pass rush for this one.
Matt Breida (DK-$5,700/FD-$6,200)
If Breida is healthy this week, he’s a low-cost alternative to many others with lower ceilings this week. Breida has looked better than Morris in every area for a few weeks now. If you need to sign someone cheap, Breida could get you a big return on your investment against the last ranked Arizona rush defense.
Doug Baldwin (DK-$5,000/FD-$6,700)
If the Rams are still struggling at corner this week, Baldwin might be a steal. Russell Wilson has been severely limited with options this season and Baldwin’s return is just the kind of spark this team needs to get some rhythm offensively.
Dede Westbrook (DK-$4,700/FD-$5,900)
Westbrook saw a huge increase in volume last week. This week, Blake Bortles will have his new preferred target in a soft matchup against Kansas City. If Westbrook gets a lot of action out of the slot, he should be a good bet for a high floor. For this bargain price, you won’t find much better.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert