Welcome back to Fanduel Picks Week 5, your one-stop-shop for the best FanDuel player picks. Week 4 brought us back into the green area after my low priced options panned out almost across the board. Sure Ezekiel Elliot (27.9 FanDuel points), Leonard Fournette (22.5) and Russell Wilson (29.6) all proved to be worth their higher price tags as well, but almost any expert worth his salt can nail the top tier plays. But high-risk, high-reward plays like Devin Funchess (22.5) against a comatose Patriots pass defense and Wendell Smallwood (15.9) against an inept Los Angeles Charger run defense proved to be some of the best cost effective and valuable FanDuel plays Week 4. Throw in my tight end lock of the week Cameron Brate (16) against the Giants (who have now allowed a touchdown in all four weeks to tight ends…wonder if that will pop up again here) and you could have conceivably fielded a winning, top-of-the-line roster full of players under $6,000. With that in mind, let’s get to the Week 5 picks and see where we can trim cash to save up for those high-scoring locks. As a note, these picks are based on Sunday only leagues, so players on Thursday and Monday night will be ignored, as well as London games.
- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers ($9,500) – By now I think I almost perfect my FanDuel strategy: go cheap at kicker and defense (obviously), stream tight ends in the mid-tier grouping around $5,000-$5,500, take high-end skill players with massive upside at wide receiver and running back and play the matchup game at quarterback, targeting those QB’s around the $6,800-$7,500 price level. But that is the general rule. Rules are meant to be broken and there are always exceptions. Meet the exception. Aaron Rodgers is unquestionably the best fantasy quarterback in the game given his individual talent, surrounding talent and coaching scheme. This week, Rodgers travels to Dallas, the same building where Rodgers put up 355 yards and 2 touchdowns last year in Green Bay’s Divisional round matchup against the Cowboys. I understand Rodgers will be without one of the most versatile runners in the game (Ty Montgomery) or one of his more talented wide receivers (Davante Adams). But Vegas still projects this as the highest scoring game of the week (52.5 points), giving the ever so slight edge to Dallas at home. With a rookie runner likely leading the charge in Green Bay, look for Mike McCarthy to keep the ball in Rodgers hands all game, and watch the money roll in.
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks ($8,000) – He’s back! I said all along last year injuries hampered Russell Wilson all last year and I did not back off that notion after his slow start this year. Over the past two weeks, Wilson looks like his old self posting 33.52 and 29.6 FanDuel points in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively, amassing 668 yards and 6 touchdowns, with one rushing touchdown, over that span. Talk about serious production. This week Wilson travels to Los Angeles to face a Rams team that just allowed 252 yards and 3 touchdowns to Dak Prescott in Week 4 and 332 yards and 2 touchdowns to Brian Hoyer in Week 3. With Chris Carson likely out for the year and a rather clustered and uncertain looking backfield, look for Wilson’s arm and legs to lead the way Week 5.
- Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals ($7,200) – I could get used to this. After suggesting Carson Palmer in Week 4 and providing a solid, respectable score of 17.38, Palmer again finds himself in the Sleeper designation priced at a mere $7,200 as he goes up against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. In Week 5, Palmer will look to continue his streak of 3 straight 325+ yard passing games against a Philadelphia defense that ranks 22nd in passer rating against, 24th in completion percentage, 26th in passing yards per attempt and 30th in passing yards allowed per game. If Palmer can find the end zone with more consistency this week, he could wind up as a top 6 quarterback.
- Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers ($9,500) – The low priced options are limitless this week, especially at running back, so I suggest pairing a handful of the best, most reliable high-priced skill players with some of the below deep sleeper options. So where do we begin at running back? How about the obvious. Coming off a 39 touch, 186 yard and 2 touchdown performance, I think it is say to put all the Le’Veon Bell questions to bed. And in Week 5, Bell finds himself in a doozy of a matchup facing a Jaguars run defense that ranks last in yards allowed per game, last in yards per attempt and third to last in rushing touchdowns allowed. Don’t get cute here. With the Steelers projected as heavy home favorites look for Pittsburgh to exploit this mismatch and milk the clock down the stretch against an overmatched Jaguar defense.
- Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($5,400) – This may be my low buy of the week and the player that appears on all my teams. Andre Ellington appeared once already in an article I wrote as I suggested his as my number one streamer this week, but it does not hurt to reiterate great points. As mentioned above, the Eagles pass defense ranks near the bottom of the league, which should make “starting” running back Chris Johnson more or less a non factor. Ellington, the pass-catching back, should see an increased snap count given his large number of targets (22) and receptions (14) over the past two weeks. Look for Palmer to throw the ball 40+ times Week 5 and look for Ellington to be on the receiving end of 8-12 targets, making him a great volume play akin to a WR2 for the rollback price of $5,400.
- Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants ($5,200) – I admit, these next two are complete shots in the dark. But value is value in FanDuel and it’s tough passing up a good matchup and deal. With Paul Perkins nursing bruised ribs, he is unlikely to suit up for Week 5, paving the way for future starting Giants running back Wayne Gallman. I know, Orleans Darkwa poses a significant threat to Gallman’s snap count, but even he missed Week 4 with a back injury. Looking like the only healthy running back in the Giants backfield, Gillman could feast against a Charger run defense ranking second to last in rushing yards allowed per game and fifth to last in rushing yards allowed per carry. If my Week 4 FanDuel running back streamer against the Chargers (Smallwod for 15.9 points) is any indication of the type of day Gallman can have, even on a small number of carries like Smallwood had, Gallman should provide a solid floor of 10-12 fantasy points with the potential for 18+ if he gets a full workload.
- Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks ($4,600) – The Seattle Seahawks backfield is a disaster. Thomas Rawls originally opened the season as the starter, with C.J. Prosise behind him as the pass catching back and Eddie Lacy for spells here and there. With injuries to both Rawls and Prosis, Chris Carson stepped up and looked to officially grab the horns of the Seahawks ball carriers. Unfortunately Carson’s gruesome ankle injury probably rules him out for the remainder of the season leaving…well…I do not know who as the starter. Second year player J.D. McKissic flashed some agility scoring two touchdowns on just 5 touches but Eddie Lacy looked to be the true lead dog carrying the rock 11 times for 52 yards. Lacy looks (somewhat) slimmer but much more athletic and agile this year. Even though Rawls and Prosise should be returning this week, at the bottom-of-the-barrel price of $4,600 Lacy could receive the lions share of the backfield work against a run defense ranking last in touchdowns allowed, third to last in yards allowed per game and fourth to last in yards per carry.
- Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers ($8,600) – Might as well match up my top quarterback play with his ole reliable. Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers go together like cookies and cream, and their connection is just as sweet and delicious for us DFS players. Nelson currently leads the NFL with 5 touchdown receptions on the year and has scored at least 17.4 FanDuel points in all games he started and finished this year. With Adams likely to be out, Nelson profiles as the only true deep threat on a team that loves to takes chances with the most talented quarterback in the league. Look for these two to connect early and often in the shootout in Dallas.
- Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($7,800) – Did someone say shootout in Dallas? In last year NFC Divisional round game against the Packers Dez Bryant had himself a mediocre day. A pedestrian 9/132 and 2 touchdown type pedestrian day. Brant has reived at least 9 targets in 3 of his 4 games this year and twice Dak Prescott targeted Dez 13 or more times, proving that Dez still receives the volume receptions required to be considered a WR1. The Cowboys will look to keep up with Rodgers and his fast-paced, high octane approach, so look for Dak to target his best playmaker for those game-changing big plays.
- DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins ($6,100) – Currently allowing the fifth worst QR rating, 4th worst passing yards per game and league worst 11 passing touchdowns, the Tennessee Titans cannot stop a nosebleed in the passing game. Could Jay Cutler be the exact medicine a defense needs to turns its season around? Possibly. Actually, make that probably. But in the off chance Cutler decides to play like a professional Week 5, I like DeVante Parker‘s chances against a very weak Titans secondary. In Parker’s three games this year, he has seen 9, 10 and 8 targets and recorded at least 69 yards. I call that consistency, which can be the key in FanDuel success. With 6/70 (aka 10 FanDuel points) the floor for Parker, look for Cutler to continue growing this budding relationship and hope Parker breaks just one of his patented long gainers for an 18+ point day.
- Jaron Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals ($4,500) – Another member of the Stream Team (and the Arizona Cardinals), Jaron Brown looks locked in as the WR2 in Arizona. In Week 4 Jaron Brown season high’s in targets (12), receptions (8) and yards (105), playing 82/86 snaps. With Palmer chucking the football all over the joint Sunday, look for the Eagles to focus their attention on stopping all-world wideout Larry Fitzgerald, leaving Jaron Brown free to roam in a very beatable Eagles secondary.
- Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers ($4,600) – Another Packer?!?! Listen, I am not 100% sure this option will pan out, but at $4,600 Geronimo Allison is more than worth the shot. With Davante Adams (team high 28 targets) likely to be sidelined Week 5 with a concussion, Allison looks to benefit most from his absence as Randall Cobb likely continues his work out of the slot. As the WR2 in the Green Bay offense, you can be sure that Allison will receive his fair share of looks Week 5. With the volume likely to be there, consider Allison a great low value, low risk, high reward play that can really pan out and win you your league.
- Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,600) – With double digits FanDuel points in each of his first 4 games and at least 80 yards or a touchdown as well, Zach Ertz has officially solidified himself as a TE1 with Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. Leading the Eagles in targets, receptions and yards, Ertz continues to be the engine that churns Philadelphia’s offense. The Arizona Cardinals defense should pose some problems for Carson Wentz and Ertz’s love affair, but nothing can break this timeless bond. At this point, Ertz is matchup proof and offers consistent high-floor numbers at a discounted price for top-tier tight ends.
- Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers ($5,200) – Another week, another tight end play against the Giants. This week’s variety, however, appears a little more risky than usual. But after allowing 6 catches for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns to Tampa Bay tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard last week, I have no fear in starting Hunter Henry Week 5. Sure Antonio Gates just won’t die, maintaining some semblance of a role in the Chargers high octane, pass happy offense. And although Henry pulled two tremendous Harry Houdini tricks this year with 0 catches, those performances came against quality defense (the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs). At the greatly discounted price of $5,200, here lies a streamer capable of at least one touchdown and double digit fantasy points, with the potential for much more against an anemic tight end pass defense.
- Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay Packers ($5,000) – Green Bay getting some serious love this Week 5. With such a high Vegas total, Mason Crosby should receive plenty of opportunities to put points on the fantasy board, especially in the friendly confines of Jerry World. Our only problem is if Rodgers carves the Cowboys defense like Thanksgiving turkey and Crosby only kicks extra points. One 40 yarder, however, and you’ll have a safe floor, high ceiling play.
- Harrison Butker, K, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,500) – After spending the first three weeks on the Carolina Panthers practice squad, the Kansas City Cheifs picked up Harrison Butker and he impressed in his first performance for the third highest scoring offense in the NFL. After missing his first attempt, Butker went on to make both his extra points and his final three field goals, the last of which being a game winner. Facing a beatable, yet solid Houston defense in the dome at NRG stadium, look for the Chiefs to rely on their replacement kicker as offensive drives stall near the red zone.
- Pittsburgh Steelers DST ($4,800) – The Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves as a 8.5 point underdog this week with a projected team total of just over 17 points, so the Pittsburgh Steelers DST find themselves in quite the comfortable position. Thanks solely to the aforementioned Fournette, the Jaguars boast the league’s second best rushing attack in terms of yards on the ground per game and currently sit atop the AFC South at 2-2. However, besides Week 3 (the Steelers only loss in Chicago), the Pittsburgh rushing defense has allowed only 230 yards on 60 carries, a mere 3.83 yards per rush average. With Blake Bortles still at the helm, captaining the offense with a less-than-stellar 54.5% completion percentage (second worst in the league), look for the Steelers to take the lead early and stack the box, forcing Bortles to throw the Jaguars back into the game, increasing your fantasy output with each successive flailing pass and miscue.
- Baltimore Ravens DST ($4,500) – O come, o come EJ Manuel! Let’s get this straight. A defense who already posted scores of 17 and 25 FanDuel points this year facing an offense ranked in the bottom 10 in the league in rushing yards per game and starting a quarterback that has started just one game since October 25, 2015 can be had for $4,500? I feel like I died and went to heaven. I already prefer saving my money on defense, so targeting the Baltimore Ravens DST Week 5 fits in perfectly with my strategy. And while Vegas has more confidence than I do in the Raiders (currently a 3 points favorite, projected for 21.5 points), one cannot deny the enormous potential of a perennially stellar defense facing off and teeing off against Manuel.
And that’s a wrap for Fanduel Week 5 analysis. Remember to always look at the matchups and Vegas totals, which are always telling, and do not be afraid to admit they know more than you, because they usually do. Until next time, good luck and don’t forget to tip me 10% of your earnings. Thanks in advance.