2020 Daily Fantasy Football: FanDuel NFL Week 5 Main Slate Breakdown - Roto Street Journal
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2020 Daily Fantasy Football: FanDuel NFL Week 5 Main Slate Breakdown

Before we break down the NFL Fanduel Week 5 Main Slate, I may recommend some whacky plays sometimes, but it’s all in the spirit of trying to maximize our returns when these crazy plays hit. It’s cool to find the high-scoring plays, but it’s even more cool and profitable to find the high-scoring PAYoffs. Your “optimal” $7500+ WR that scored 25 points isn’t going to win you much money in a Milly-Maker if almost 30 percent of the field also rostered that same guy… because he was the guy ALL week. My goal’s to help myself and you find those high-leverage plays that give us the biggest edge in taking down tournaments and mass-entry GPPs. 

Note: All Vegas-related data is sourced from VegasInsider.com

The Week 5 Slate

Now it’s time to dive into the fun stuff! After reviewing the slate, my main takeaway is that it should be pretty popular this week to play a lot of guys within that $5,500-$7,000 range. As you read along or skim through, you’ll see that there’s a lot of fantasy gold in this range. I think so much that ownership will be less impactful in our decision-making this week. There are just so many teams that are implied to score either a lot of points (i.e., >28), see a favorable matchup or likely be forced to run an aggressively pass-heavy game script.

Here are the games I like to target this week ranked from top to lowest priority:

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-5.5), 4:05 PM ET, O/U 54.5

This game projects to be a shootout as both teams are offensively capable but defensively challenged. The Texans have given up the most rushing yards in the league (ahem…. James Robinson… ahem), and the Jaguars are the worst defensive team per Football Outsiders DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) metric. I like targeting the Texans by going Deshaun Watson and stacking him with at least Will Fuller and maybe Jordan Akins too (if he is active). Watson has plenty of upside given his team’s Vegas implied score (30 points!), his career track record of putting up ceiling games, and inherent rushing upside. I am not a narrative street guy either, but perhaps the firing of Bill O’Brien (good riddance!) galvanizes this Texans offense to perform big this weekend. 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-12.5), 1:00 PM ET, O/U 50.5

Stuffing Lamar Jackson and guys like Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews are fine plays against a vulnerable Bengals defense, but I want to go another direction here. I love rolling out Joe Burrow and any of his full-time weapons (i.e., Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd) despite the very low Vegas team implied total of 19. Yes, I am a Burrow believer (how could you not be?), but the Ravens defense simply hasn’t performed up to its elite reputation this season. Despite blitzing at the second-highest rate in the league, they are middle-of-the-pack in pressure rate. Believe it or not, Burrow’s sees his highest YPA when blitzed. This will be a game where Burrow has to pass often to give the Bengals a chance to win. In case you don’t believe that, remember that Burrow dropped back 68 TIMES and had 61 PASS ATTEMPTS against the Browns (closed at Browns -5.5) in his second career NFL start on a short week (i.e., Thursday Night Football). I expect a similar pass volume in this matchup. 

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons (-2), 1:00 PM ET, O/U 54

This game has the significant shootout potential that we love to stack in GPP. I particularly favor stacking Panthers like Mike Davis and DJ Moore (the positive regression is coming) with Teddy Bridgewater, while playing an opposing receiver like Calvin Ridley (leading the NFL in air yardage by over 100) or Olamide Zaccheaus (only if Julio Jones is out like we expect). The Falcons have given up the second-most passing yards this season (Bears managed 316 passing yards and 4 passing TD along with a 45-yard run in week 3), and I do not see why the rain doesn’t stop pouring this week. 

Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (-11.5), 1:00 PM ET, O/U 55.5

The Chiefs have the highest Vegas implied team total on the main slate (33), and Bill Belichick isn’t here this week to effectively scheme against the Chiefs offense. I am adamant about getting some exposure to the Chiefs no matter the format. I think many people (including myself) will be rolling out Clyde Edwards-Helaire this week against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Raiders are the second-worst graded defense per PFF and the third-worst defense per Football Outsiders DVOA. Patrick Mahomes could be a great way to differentiate lineups, and I have no issue stacking him with CEH and an elite receiver like Tyreek Hill

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-8.5), 4:25 PM ET, O/U 54

The Cowboys high-octane offense, led by Dak Prescott and his drool-worthy arsenal of weapons, feature an elite Vegas implied team total of 31.25. I am making the effort to fade the Cowboys (except Ezekiel Elliott since it’s so easy to fit the studs in on Fanduel) due to their OL woes and the fact that the Giants have been average to above-average defensively. Keep in mind I usually play a maximum of three distinct lineups, so I can only stack so many teams. I think that this is a prime bounce-back spot for the slumping Daniel Jones and the anemic Giants offense in general. The Cowboys have given up the most points in the league and the third-most yards in the league. They also happen to be PFF’s worst-graded team defense. Not many people will have the stomach to run the Giants out there, but this makes for a huge payoff if some of the other teams (that are more popular) falter while the Giants thrive. 

Let’s dive into a few of the guys I’m digging at each position. 

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes $9,000 – He’s arguably the best quarterback in the league right now and for years to come. This spot makes a perfect breeding ground for another 5+ total touchdown game. Don’t forget about his Week 3 Monday night performance against the “elite” Baltimore Ravens. There’s no reason why he can’t replicate or exceed that performance, and I have zero ownership concerns here. 

Lamar Jackson $8,900 – He’s been pretty disappointing this season given his cost in daily and season-long leagues, but that should drive down ownership if anything. I’m not worried at all about the injuries in practice this week. He is still one of the best quarterbacks in real life and fantasy. This play could easily be a slate-breaker in an expected shootout against a Bengals team that gave up 350 passing yards to Gardner Minshew last week and a big game to Baker Mayfield in Week 2 Thursday Night Football.

Deshaun Watson $7,900 – Watson faces arguably the worst defense in the NFL this week (see what the Jaguars let Ryan Fitzpatrick do to them in Week 3). I hate narrative street, but I am buying that Bill O’Brien’s firing galvanizes this Texans team as a whole. Deshaun Watson still has that week-to-week slate-breaking upside he’s been known for since he entered the league. 

Joe Burrow $7,300 – See the game breakdown above. This is easily my favorite tournament and contrarian QB play this week. He was an underdog by nearly a touchdown against the Browns in Week 2, and he had 61 pass attempts. For those worried about the Ravens’ rushing offense and time of possession, remember that the Browns like to run the football too (35 carries in Week 2). I am stoked to fire Burrow up this week, because I’m so optimistic about his talent and the pass-heavy game script needed to keep this game competitive. 

Teddy Bridgewater $7,100 – You love to see another cheap QB option in a high-potential shootout! Again… Atlanta’s defense has given up the second-most passing yards this season and the most adjusted net yards per passing attempt (it basically factors in touchdowns allowed, interceptions, and sacks into your traditional yards per attempt metric). Fire up the Bridgewater stack with confidence. I love DJ Moore this week as I believe his talent and team-leading Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR) will have to yield those big fantasy games eventually. Why not against the Falcons?  

Running Back

Ezekiel Elliot $9,000 – I am hesitant to play him because he should be chalk and his OL is banged up, but the fact of the matter is Dallas SHOULD score points and lead by a comfortable margin. This sets up a great game environment for a surefire top-two season-long fantasy running back. I also want to keep in mind how easy it is to fit Elliot into your lineups this week!

Clyde Edwards-Helaire $7,900 – CEH has been rather MEH this season considering the hype, but he’s seen three very formidable opponents in the last three weeks. Anyone who has seen this guy play knows that he can and will ball. He has one of the juiciest remaining schedules. The streak of elite production should kick off this week against a cupcake Raiders defense. Don’t worry about his volume either, as he has been getting elite fantasy volume this season. He is fifth amongst RB/WR/TE in opportunity (rushing attempts + targets) market share, tied for fourth in inside-the-5 rushing attempts, playing on arguably the best offense in the NFL, and yet he has only scored ONE touchdown. Edwards-Helaire fits everything the Wolf’s stock formula preaches, and he fits everything I want to see in my fantasy running back. Can I stress any harder about how much of a smash spot he is in?

Disclaimer: Clearly I am a proud Clyde Edwards-Helaire stan.

Kareem Hunt $7,000 – I would absolutely hit the “lock” button on Hunt in my cash game lineups. He is simply way too cheap with Nick Chubb out. This is someone we called an elite RB1 whenever Chubb is out, and yet he is only $7,000? I think he is very viable in tournaments and GPP (despite being chalk) because of his bell-cow status and elite talent. Darius Leonard is also out for the Colts defense this week, so this should boost the floor and ceiling of Hunt. I’m not buying D’Ernest Johnson and Dontrel Hilliard posing a threat to Hunt’s workload. The only argument I can make against playing Hunt in tournaments is that his high ownership also comes with a not-so-easy matchup against the Colts. For what it’s worth, the Colts are currently graded as an elite defense from both PFF and Football Outsiders. It isn’t a prime blow-up spot, but $7,000 is simply too cheap. I will want to get exposure in at least one lineup (and I only make three), but he is not a lock right now for GPP (if you could only start one lineup). In smaller tournaments (e.g., 100-man leagues), I definitely want to get some exposure to Kareem Hunt as the bar to win is significantly lower. 

Mike Davis $6,800 – If his name was prettier, I promise the industry would tout harder for Mike Davis as an RB1. His usage has been bell-cow status during his two starts, and even his tape has looked great (leading in yards after contact per attempt amongst RBs with at least 25 carries last 2 weeks). If you’ve been reading this article, then you already know how great of a game this is. You don’t even need to be worried about high ownership since there are plenty of prettier, more high-profile names in his price range (e.g., Jonathan Taylor, Kareem Hunt, James Robinson). He fits perfectly within a Bridgewater stack too since he has seen ample receiving opportunity (15 last 2 games). Start him with confidence and happiness. 

James Robinson $6,600 – We mentioned earlier that the Texans have given up the most rushing yards, so it makes perfect sense to run him out this week. Robinson has received ample rushing volume with the fourth-highest rushing attempt market share and the tenth-highest opportunity market share. He’s averaged almost 125 yards from scrimmage a game. Continue to ride this train as these volume and production trends should continue this week. 

Jerick McKinnon $6,400 – All of the following analysis and sentiment is predicated on Raheem Mostert being out. I am getting as much exposure as possible to “Jet” McKinnon if Mostert doesn’t play. After considering ownership and projections, McKinnon is arguably my favorite RB play. He led all RBs in snap % last week and has cracked 10 FD points every game despite extremely limited snaps in Weeks 1-2 and getting injured mid-game in a Week 3 blowout. For my results-oriented people, he’s averaged 17.2 FD points the last two weeks he’s started. I think the RB1 production continues this week in what should be a high-scoring affair with positive game script for the 49ers.

Antonio Gibson $5,800 – Did you know that despite part-time snaps, Antonio Gibson is top 10 in inside-the-5 rushing attempts? Or that his 12 targets and 44 rushing attempts have yielded a utilization rate (i.e., (targets + rushing attempts) / snaps) higher than Ezekiel Elliott and on par with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It doesn’t take 20/20 vision to see that Gibson is far and away the most talented running back on his team and one of their best weapons in general. I only expect his playing time to ramp up and am willing to bet on this in my lineups. His ownership should be low as most people won’t be able to stomach playing a Redskins part-time player against the Aaron Donald-led Los Angeles Rams. Add in the narrative that Kyle Allen’s experience with fantasy god Christian McCaffrey (who Ron Rivera has compared Gibson to) will yield more receiving volume for Gibson, and we have ourselves a beautiful high-leverage play in tournaments/GPP. 

Wide Receiver

I’m not inclined to force the $8,000+ wideouts this week (although I do like Tyreek Hill and Calvin Ridley), so I’ll mainly be focused on our mid-range options this week. 

Tyreek Hill $8,200 – See everything above regarding Mahomes and the Chiefs. Hill offers slate-breaking upside every single week, but his chances to reach this plateau are greater than usual this week. Feel free to start him as a standalone or part of a stack. You really can’t go wrong here! 

Calvin Ridley $8,000 – Ridley is the Falcons’ best weapon (assuming Julio Jones is not even remotely close to being fully healthy) currently, and they will need as much as they can get from Ridley this week in what should be a shootout. I actually love the fact that Ridley put up 0 FD points last week. This should drive down ownership. Despite the zero-spot last week, Ridley still sports an elite .62 WOPR (and yes, .62 is an elite WOPR). If stacking the Panthers, Ridley is a great opposing WR to include in the stack. 

Odell Beckham Jr. $6,800 – I want to let you know that the Wolf and I share differing options about OBJ. I touted OBJ pretty hard early in the draft season, and my love died down as we got closer to the season kickoff due to growing concerns about the lack of passing volume. However, after reviewing the receiving volume, I can’t help but recommend Odell in tournaments and GPP. He has a 29.4% target market share and a 45.3% air yards market share. These two market shares yield an extremely elite .76 WOPR that qualifies for third-best in the league. The Colts-Browns game is not a pretty game to target, and the field should feel the same way hence driving down ownership. I can’t help but want to chase another big OBJ game with the hopes that the Browns pass more this game without Nick Chubb. 

Will Fuller V, $6,600 – See everything above regarding the Texans. This is a borderline must-start if you are playing Deshaun Watson (or would you rather play Brandin Cooks and his 1.08 yards per route run?). Not counting his non-existent Week 2 (against an “elite” BAL defense and a mysterious hamstring injury), Fuller has an elite WOPR of .65 and 16 FD points per game. I expect the Texans to score ample points this week against arguably the worst defensive team in the league, and I expect Fuller to play a significant role in the team’s offensive success.

DJ Moore, $6,600 – I’ve been hearing a lot of musings about Diontae Johnson and Robby Anderson being better than Juju Smith-Schuster and DJ Moore, respectively. I buy the Diontae Johnson love, but I’m not buying Robby Anderson. DJ Moore is still the most talented receiver on the team. It’s only been four weeks, and people are panicking despite DJ Moore still being on pace to crack 1,000 receiving yards and having 81 more air yards and two fewer targets than Robby Anderson. I’ll gladly take the air yards advantage at the expense of two fewer targets. All of the DJ Moore panic should suppress ownership, but I clearly don’t agree with the market position. We’ve already hammered how inept the Falcons defense is, so I won’t waste your time. Start DJ Moore as a standalone or part of a stack, but make sure you get exposure somehow. 

Marquise Brown $6,100 – Marquise Brown is another victim of elite WOPR (.71) and market share numbers, but simply suffering in the fantasy results department because of weak team passing volume, poor execution, and general rotten luck (was literally taken down at the 1-yard line last week on a deep reception and YAC). Marquise Brown profiles as your prime buy-low, positive-regression candidate this week in a very favorable matchup (see above). He is too talented and too underpriced to not make for a fantastic standalone or stack component this week. 

Tyler Boyd $6,000 and Tee Higgins $5,400 – I’m bucketing these two guys together as you would mainly be playing these two as part of a stack with Joe Burrow. We mentioned earlier that the Bengals will need to pass at an extremely high volume to keep up with the Ravens, and these two are currently by far the best WR/TE options on the team. I am overwhelmingly convinced that A.J. Green is washed. In 145 routes run, Green has posted an awful 0.82 yards per route run. The team has clearly moved onto Higgins (and for good reason) the last two weeks. Higgins has run more routes (72 versus 70), seen more targets (16 versus. 10), seen nearly three times higher of a YPRR, and tripled Green’s receiving yardage during this time span. In the two weeks of full-time Higgins, Higgins has tied for the league in end zone targets (3) and is tied for second in red zone targets (5). We can easily see a multi-TD game from Higgins while seeing Boyd garner elite targets and yardage. 

Olamide Zaccheaus $4,800 – This is kind of a gross one and is predicated on the absence of Julio Jones, but the price is favorable for a WR that has shown production in a full-time role (actually leads the team in YPRR last two weeks) on arguably the most pass-heavy offense in the league. He should see low ownership as the field is generally scared of going full punt mode at WR. Considering elite wideouts drop stinkers all the time, I think the field should be more amenable to punt wideouts. I will say this week’s strategy features so many mid-range fantasy gold that it may be difficult to fit in someone so cheap. Ultimately I think that 15-20 FD points are within reason if he can luck out a touchdown against the porous Panthers defense.

Tight End

I actually like our top-priced tight ends this week, and it should be easier than usual to fit them in this week given so many great $5,500-$7,000 options this week. 

George Kittle $7,100 – His ownership may be inflated due to the extremely juicy matchup and coming off of an all-time performance last week, but I’m still on board to fit him into lineups as long as you can still differentiate elsewhere. He is an elite receiver that WILL post elite results as long as he is running routes (in the 3 YPRR range dating back to his breakout 2018 season). His route volume may be limited this week in what projects to be a very positive game script against the Dolphins, but Kittle did see 44 routes last week that yielded a ridiculous 16 targets and 36.3% target/snap rate. The 49ers somehow managed to lose against the Eagles last week, so it’s far from guaranteed we see very positive game script the entire time. He is chalky for my tastes, but his upside is undeniable and could easily be a player you must have in your lineups to take down a mass-entry GPP. 

Darren Waller $6,800 – I prefer Waller over Kittle this week due to my expectations of ownership in this price range of TEs focused on Kittle and Andrews. The Raiders will have to get out of their element and pass the ball much more than they usually would (like the Bengals) if they want to stay toe-to-toe with the Chiefs. I don’t see how the defense doesn’t struggle against the Chiefs this week. Heavy Raiders passing volume means significant upside for Waller, who is far and away their best, healthy receiving option. In case you’re curious, Darren Waller sports the best WOPR amongst TEs not named Kittle. 

I do want to point out that Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are both viable options, but I like these two options who happen to be in slightly uglier and less predictable game environments but make up for it with an amazing opportunity. 

Defense and Special Teams

Pittsburgh Steelers $4,400 – I don’t know if the field will continue to believe in Carson Wentz name despite the actual player’s poor play, poor OL, and lack of receiving options (that I believe currently is definitively a worse corps than he had most of last season). The Steelers defense happens to have the highest blitz, hurry, and pressure rates in the league. Conveniently, Carson Wentz has been pressured on 47.1% of his dropbacks, which qualifies for third-highest in the league. If you can afford, have comfort in knowing that this elite Steelers defense could very reasonably achieve or exceed what the Colts did to the Jets earlier in Week 3.

Arizona Cardinals $4,200 – It feels cheap to pick any decent defense that gets to play Adam Gase and the Jets, but it’s hard to argue against targeting anemic offenses. There is an added spin of uncertainty with Joe Flacco starting over Sam Darnold this week, but I’m banking that a 35-year old Flacco is not going to handle, or at least move, better under pressure than Darnold. I’m betting that Flacco’s first start in his first season as a Jet is going to be kind of disastrous.

New York Jets $3,400 – This is probably the cheapest defense I can stomach. This is honestly a solid option that also should be contrarian if you need a bargain bin defense. Kyler Murray proved he’s plenty capable of making turnover-worthy plays. If you must select a defense in this price range, the Jets would be my pick. 

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