FanDuel Picks: Week 5 Edition
Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: New England Patriots blowing out the Cleveland Browns
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: New York Giants at Green Bay Packers, New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Ben Roethlisberger vs NYJ, $8,600
Ben Roethlisberger has been playing out of his mind at home over the past few years. In his last 16 games at Heinz Field he has averaged 340 passing yards and close to 3 pass TDs. He gets a Jets defense this week that has given up the 7th most passing yards and is tied for the 6th most pass TDs (8) allowed so far this season. I didn’t write about Antonio Brown this week because he’s the best and everyone knows it, but just make sure you consider a Roethlisberger/Brown stack if you do decide to go this route.
Tom Brady vs CLE, $8,700
Tom Brady is back and he walks into a phenomenal matchup against a Browns defense that is tied for the 3rd most pass TDs (10) allowed this season. He averaged 39 pass attempts per game last season which was 3rd most in the league. Plus, there’s always the angry Brady/Belichick narrative as well where they keep their foot on the gas pedal all game, no matter how many points they’re winning by.
Eli Manning vs GB, $7,700
Things get a lot easier for Eli Manning this week after having to play in Minnesota in Week 4. He now gets a Packers defense that will be without CB Sam Shields again and that has given up the 4th most pass yards so far this season. I expect Aaron Rodgers to have a solid performance as well meaning Manning will be continually forced to throw throughout in this one. Giants at Packers is my favorite potential bonanza of the week.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Plays
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs PIT, $6,900
After throwing 9 INTs the last two weeks, absolutely nobody is going to play this guy. That makes him the ultimate GPP tournament play because his matchup is a favorable one. Fitzpatrick gets a Steelers defense that has given up the 3rd most passing yards this year. If, a big if, those INTs turn into TDs in a game where Fitzpatrick is going to have to keep slinging it all over the field, there’s a good chance you’ll be smiling on Sunday.
Trevor Siemian $7,600 OR Paxton Lynch $6,800 vs ATL
Whoever gets the start for Denver will be in an extremely favorable spot at home against a Falcons defense that has given up the 2nd most passing yards and most pass TDs (13) so far this season. The starter will also undoubtedly be extremely low owned in tournaments since we still don’t know yet who it is going to be.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Demarco Murray vs MIA, $8,400
After seeing between 60-70% of the Titans RB touches in weeks 1 through 3, that number shot up to 90% in Week 4. Demarco Murray is the main guy in the Titans offense right now and he’s getting it done on the ground and through the air. He gets a Dolphins defense this week that has given up the 4th most rushing yards this season.
Melvin Gordon vs OAK, $7,700
Melvin Gordon is the man in San Diego after handling 91% of the RB touches in Week 3 and 89% in Week 4. He’s involved in the passing game and also leads the league in rushing TDs. Now he gets a Raiders defense that has given up the 2nd most rushing yards this season and that just surrendered 113 yards to Terrance West a week ago.
Jordan Howard vs IND, $7,200
With Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey out last week, Jordan Howard handled 90% of the Bears RB touches. Monitor reports but if Langford and Carey miss another week, fire up Howard again because he’s involved in both the running and passing games. He gets a Colts defense that has given up the 14th most rushing yards and that is tied for 5th most rush TDs (5) allowed this year.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Plays
Terrance West vs WAS, $6,400
In Terrance West’s first real chance as the feature back in Baltimore last week he got 21 carries and turned them into 113 yards and a TD. Even though Kenneth Dixon is set to make his season debut this week, reports state the Ravens are going to bring him along slowly. I expect another heavy dose of West this week against a Washington defense that has given up the 3rd most rushing yards and that is tied for the most rush TDs (8) allowed this year.
Jerick McKinnon vs HOU, $6,200
Jerick McKinnon has seen 71% and 66% of the RB touches the past two weeks without Adrian Peterson. He had success as the lead back last week rushing for 85 yards and a TD. Now he gets a Houston defense without JJ Watt that has given up the 6th most rushing yards and 4th most rush TDs (6) this season.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Odell Beckham Jr. vs GB, $8,500
Embrace the negative attention Odell Beckham has received in the media this week. It has nothing to do with his on field performance and will only cause his ownership percentage to be lower than it should. Beckham has seen 39 targets this year which is only 9 off the league lead. His target shares through the first 4 weeks: 28.6%, 26.8%, 28.9%, 20%. Despite what the false narratives floating around are trying to portray, Beckham is still the #1 option in New York and a huge part of the Giants offense. After having to deal with one of the toughest matchups in the league playing at Minnesota last week, things get a lot easier for Beckham in Week 5. The Packers have given up the 4th most passing yards this year and will be without the services of CB Sam Shields yet again.
Here are the numbers for the last two WR1s to face GB without Sam Shields this year:
The squeaky wheel will get the grease this weekend. Beckham will score his first TD of the season. The only question is, does he score more than once?
Brandon Marshall vs PIT, $7,600
I don’t expect Eric Decker to play but you’ll want to check the injury report before you make a final decision on rostering Brandon Marshall. If Decker does sit, I’m bullish on Marshall this week. With Decker out a week ago, Marshall saw 12 targets and a 29.3% target share. That kind of volume will help Marshall take advantage of a favorable matchup against a Steelers defense that has given up the 3rd most passing yards this year. We know the Steelers are putting up points, meaning more targets for Marshall as the Jets try to match Pittsburgh point for point.
Emmanuel Sanders vs ATL, $7,100
Emmanuel Sanders is 6th in the NFL in targets. He has seen 15 more targets than Demaryius Thomas this year and has also seen 50% of the Broncos red zone targets as well. He’s the WR1 in Denver but FanDuel has yet to catch up. Sanders is still $600 cheaper than Thomas this week. Plus, he has a phenomenal matchup at home against a Falcons defense that has given up the 2nd most passing yards and most pass TDs (13) so far this season. If that wasn’t already juicy enough, Pro Football Focus is projecting Atlanta’s top CB Desmond Trufant to shadow Thomas in Week 5 and not Sanders.
Julian Edelman vs CLE, $7,000
Julian Edelman was added to the injury report with a foot issue on Thursday. Monitor reports, but if Edelman is good to go he’s absolutely in play for me. He has already had two weeks with target shares over 30% this season. Now, his best buddy Brady returns. It is highly likely Brady peppers Edelman with targets in a favorable matchup against a Browns defense that is tied for the 3rd most pass TDs (10) allowed this season. Over the last two weeks, the Browns have given up big games to Jarvis Landry and Jordan Reed who both do the majority of their work over the middle of the field just like Edelman. Plus, we still don’t yet know if Rob Gronkowski will be a full go or if his hamstring is still holding him back.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Amari Cooper vs SD, $7,200
The recency effect will cause many to roster Michael Crabtree this week instead of Amari Cooper. That is totally understandable, but it turns Cooper into a very intriguing GPP tournament play. Cooper has only seen 2 fewer targets than Crabtree and actually has more receiving yards than him. If Cooper can finally get into the end zone this week, you could strike gold. His matchup is very favorable against a Chargers defense that will be without top CB Jason Verrett and that has already given up the 6th most passing yards this year.
Quincy Enunwa vs PIT, $6,200
Quincy Enunwa has seen 32 targets on the year, only 7 fewer than Brandon Marshall. If Eric Decker doesn’t play again this week, Enunwa will be one of my favorite GPP tournament plays. Just like Marshall, Enunwa will also benefit from game flow and a favorable matchup against a Steelers defense that has given up the 3rd most passing yards this year.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Zach Ertz vs DET, $5,600
Zach Ertz returns from injury this week to just about the best matchup imaginable. The Lions have given up the 2nd most pass TDs (12) in the league this year. They gave up the most pass TDs (12) to TEs last season and have given up at least one pass TD to a TE in all four games this year.
Delanie Walker vs MIA, $6,400
Delanie Walker returned from injury last week and immediately led the team in targets with 8. He’s the Titans #1 option in the passing game and now he gets a Dolphins defense giving up the 11th most pass yards this year.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Plays
Will Tye vs GB, $4,800
Larry Donnell suffered a concussion last week and is still in the concussion protocol. If he is unable to play this week, Will Tye becomes a one of my favorite TE plays. Tye was tremendous down the stretch in 2015 once Donnell was lost for the season due to injury, is playing in my favorite potential bonanza of the week, and gets a Packers defense that has given up the 4th most passing yards this year.
Richard Rodgers vs NYG, $5,000
Jared Cook has already been ruled out for this week due to injury. That leaves Richard Rodgers who will step back into the TE1 role that he held last season. A year ago, Rodgers finished 12th in catches at the position and also caught 8 TDs. He has a good shot at a TD in what should be a high scoring game.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Justin Tucker vs WASH, $5,000
Justin Tucker has made the 3rd most field goals in the NFL this year, is perfect on his 11 field goal attempts, and should get plenty of opportunities in a game against Washington’s 29th ranked defense (in terms of yards per game allowed). Plus, he’s connected to a Ravens offense that can move the ball but struggles at times to score TDs. That means more field goal attempts.
Stephen Gostkowski vs CLE, $5,100
With Brady back, you know the Patriots are lighting up the scoreboard on the Browns 22nd ranked defense (in terms of yards per game allowed). That will mean plenty of field goal and extra point opportunities for Gostkowski.
Adam Vinatieri vs CHI, $4,700
Adam Vinatieri is 8 for 8 on his field goal attempts this year and should add to that total during a home game against the Bears this weekend. Andrew Luck will put up points at home.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Minnesota Vikings vs HOU, $4,800
The Vikings are giving the Broncos a run for their money as best defense in the league. Entering Week 5, they ranked 2nd in sacks with 15 trailing only those Broncos. They were also tied for third in INTs with 6. This week they get to play at home against a turnover prone QB in Brock Osweiler.
Denver Broncos vs ATL, $5,100
Matt Ryan has been playing out of his mind this year. That’s going to change on Sunday. The Broncos entered Week 5 ranked 1st in sacks with 17. They were also tied for 5th in INTs with 5. They also get to play this one at home. Many will likely fade the Broncos defense because of Matt Ryan’s hot start making them a solid GPP tournament option this week.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Defense Play
New England Patriots vs CLE, $4,800
Rookie QB Cody Kessler playing catch up all game trying to match points with Tom Brady is a phenomenal recipe for fantasy success for the Patriots defense. Sacks and turnovers are coming.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs NYJ, $4,900
Although I believe Ryan Fitzpatrick makes for an intriguing GPP tournament play this week, there’s no denying he has thrown 9 INTs the past two weeks and leads the league with 10 total INTs. Game script could once again work in the Steelers defense favor just like last week if Ben Roethlisberger and company score points like I think they will. Lots of Fitzpatrick drop packs could turn into multiple sacks and turnovers.