Alright guys, we are past the quarter pole of the NFL season and this is now our time to shine. As you all know, I am a numbers guy, and we are finally at a point in the season where we can use the numbers to our advantage. There are some pretty good sleepers that I can’t wait to play as well as some chalk plays that I will have to use. Let’s see what we have in store for week 5.
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Aaron Rodgers @ Cowboys ($8,100) – Rodgers is the top quarterback on the board in price, but he is worth paying up for this week. Looking at the always informative Football Outsiders defensive efficiency ratings, the Cowboys rank only 21st versus the pass. Moreover, the Cowboys are tied for the most completions per game allowed. I don’t need to sell you on Rodgers, but he has multiple touchdowns in his last 3 games and has scored 20+ DraftKings points each game this year. I will be using Rodgers in plenty of lineups.
Bang for Your Buck
Carson Palmer @ Eagles ($5,800) – At the beginning of this year, the Cardinals looked like a team that were going to rely heavily on their running game and defense to win games. However, once David Johnson got hurt, that plan went out the window. Palmer has thrown for 325+ yards in each of his last 3 games and that has turned into 19.9+ DraftKings points in each of those games. The Eagles’ secondary has not been great as they are 26th in yards per attempt allowed and 30th in pass yards per game allowed, as they have yielded 285 yards a tilt. Palmer should shine this week.
Josh McCown @ Browns ($4,500) – I actually don’t mind a bunch of the lower priced QBs this week if you want to pay up elsewhere as Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer all have favorable match-ups. I think my favorite punt play is McCown who faces the Browns who rank #30 in defensive efficiency versus the pass and dead last in passer rating allowed at 115.2. While McCown has not put up huge fantasy points, he has certainly been serviceable, completing at least two-thirds of his passes every game. The Browns have already allowed 9 touchdowns through the air. McCown might put up a nice score against his former team.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Jaguars ($9,500) – Bell is far and away the most expensive player on the board this week and will likely be highly owned by the masses. That makes no difference to me as I will differentiate elsewhere as this match-up is just too good. While the Jaguars rank #1 in defensive efficiency versus the pass, they are dead last against the run. They are the worst team against the run via regular metrics as well as they are allowing a league worst 5.7 yards per carry against and 165.5 yards per game against versus the run. Bell started slowly this season but his DraftKings points have increased every week so far, culminating in 37.6 points last week. Fade him at your own risk.
Todd Gurley vs. Seahawks ($8,000) – It is an automatic instinct for me to fade any offensive player against the Seahawks, but the numbers are telling me to do otherwise this week. The Seahawks are #30 in defensive efficiency versus the run and are #31 in yards per carry allowed. We all know that Gurley has been one of the top 2 most dynamic players thus far this season with 95+ total yards in each game amounting to 20+ DraftKings points each game. Gurley has been even better in his last 2 games with 30+ touches in each game and 37.5+ DraftKings points in each game. I will be using him quite a bit.
Bang for your Buck
Bilal Powell @ Browns ($6,200) – Powell had quite a game last week while Matt Forte was injured as he had 26 touches amounting to 163 rushing yards and 32 DraftKings points. Cleveland is actually not a great match-up versus the run as they allow only 3.0 yards per carry. But Powell will get a lot of carries and he also catches the ball out of the backfield as he had 5 targets last week. This should be a rock solid game.
Melvin Gordon @ Giants ($6,000) – There are many factors leading to the Giants poor 0-4 start, but among them is that they are 28th in the NFL allowing 142.8 yards per game against the run. The Football Outsiders metrics agree with the standard stats as the Giants are ranked 28th in defensive efficiency versus the run. Gordon has not been all that great to start the season, but he has had 16+ touches in 3/4 games thus far. With heavy volume, he should have good production against the Giants.
Javorious “Buck” Allen vs. Raiders ($4,500) – Just a reminder that DraftKings uses full points per reception scoring. Buck Allen is a great play in this PPR format as he has 6+ targets and 5+ catches in each of his last 3 games. Oakland is a dream match-up for this pass catching running back as they rank in dead last in defensive efficiency versus the running backs catching passes. I should also note, that I like another Ravens running back, Alex Collins who costs a too cheap $4,000 and has looked like the Ravens’ most dynamic offensive player.
Wayne Gallman vs.Chargers ($3,900) – On volume alone this is an excellent price as with Paul Perkins out, Gallman will most likely be the Giants’ lead back this week. In his NFL debut last week, Gallman looked pretty good with 13 touches for 50 yards and a touchdown, equaling 13 DraftKings points. Gallman is a safe bet to lead the Giants in touches and he should easily exceed value.
Jordy Nelson @ Cowboys ($8,100) – Nelson has 7+ targets, 1+ touchdowns and 20+ DraftKings points in every game this year. His success should continue against the Cowboys who rank 21st in defensive efficiency versus the pass. Nelson is the NFL leader in red zone targets over the last 2 years, so if you are worried that he is touchdown dependent you should not be. With Ty Montgomery likely out, quick passes to Nelson will almost assuredly be the Packers’ goal-line offense. I like Nelson for a big game.
Larry Fitzgerald @ Eagles ($6,800) – Old reliable is still producing as he quickly approaches his 35th birthday. Fitz is 3rd in the NFL in targets and caught the winning touchdown in overtime for the Cardinals last week. This week he faces the Eagles who allow the 3rd most pass yards in the NFL and rank 18th in defensive efficiency versus slot receivers. Fitzgerald should be great again this week.
Dez Bryant vs. Packers ($6,500) – While Bryant’s production has been quite pedestrian with only 16 catches for 212 yards, if we look beneath the surface, we can see good things ahead. Most importantly, Dak Prescott continues to try to feed Bryant the ball, as the Cowboys’ #1 receiver ranks 4th in the NFL in targets. After facing a really tough slate of cornerbacks early in the season, Bryant gets a bit of a break as the Packers rank only 21st in defensive efficiency versus #1 receivers. This will be Dez’s breakout.
Bang for your Buck
Golden Tate vs. Panthers ($6,300) – The Panthers rank only 26th in defensive efficiency versus #1 receivers and Tate is the Lions’ leader in targets with 32. This should be a good game for Tate as the Panthers are allowing the 4th worst completion percentage in the NFL. Tate is a master at catching quick safe passes and should catch 7+ balls this week.
Jarvis Landry vs. Titans ($5,800) – The Dolphins offense is absolutely abysmal, but Landry has still seen plenty of action as he has accumulated 11+ targets in 2 of the 3 games thus far in the season. While the Titans are only 29th in defensive efficiency versus the pass, they do rank 9th against #1 receivers. Davante Parker is more of a traditional #1 receiver, so I expect that Landry should be able to capitalize on the Titans’ #31 rank in defensive efficiency versus #2 receivers.
Rishard Matthews @ Dolphins ($5,400) – I would definitely pay attention to make sure that Marcus Mariota is playing before locking in this play as Matt Cassell looks completely lost when he is playing. If Mariota does play though, I love this matchup versus Miami who rank 30th in defensive efficiency versus #1 receivers. Matthews has 8+ targets in 3 of 4 games this year and ranks 17th in the NFL in targets on the year. This is a good spot for him.
Jaron Brown @ Eagles ($4,500) – I have already gone into pretty good detail about how the Eagles’ defense struggles versus the pass, allowing 285 yards per game. This is an excellent price for Jaron Brown against that Eagles team. Brown has 11+ targets in 2 of his last 3 games and had over 100 yards receiving last week. While John Brown and JJ Nelson may be back for Arizona this week, I think there will be plenty of targets for Jaron Brown and he should produce way better than his price tag.
Zay Jones @ Bengals ($3,600) – PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: THIS IS A GPP PLAY ONLY! DO NOT USE THIS IN CASH GAMES! Alright, now that I got that disclaimer out of the way, let me tell you why Jones is a good boom or bust play this week. Jordan Matthews is out and Tyrod Taylor will have to throw to someone. While Charles Clay gets the most targets in Buffalo, Jones has seen a lot of the field and has 17 targets on the year. He has not yet turned that into production, but I think that if Jones keeps getting opportunities, he will start to produce. At this extremely low price, I think it is worth finding out if this is the week that Zay Jones gets it going.
Trent Taylor @ Colts ($3,400) – At this bargain basement price, you will not find anyone else who had double-digit targets last week, as Taylor amassed exactly 10 against the Cards. Indianapolis ranks only 21st in defensive efficiency against slot receivers and I expect Taylor to see the ball a bunch again this week. He should be good for 12-15 DraftKings points which would be phenomenal production at this low price.
Jimmy Graham @ Rams ($4,900) – Graham has quietly started to turn his season around as he has 6+ targets and 60+ yards in each of his last two games. He now gets to face the Rams who rank only 26th in defensive efficiency versus tight ends. Graham should put up a nice game.
Bang for your Buck
Evan Engram vs. Chargers ($4,000) – Engram has been one of the most consistent tight ends in the NFL this season as he has 40+ yards in each game this season. He has also had plenty of opportunity as he had 7+ targets in 2 of his last 3 games, including 11 targets last week. The Chargers are not good versus tight ends ranking 30th. Engram should shine again this week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins @ Browns ($3,500) – The Browns are turning all tight ends into Gronk this year, including journeyman Tyler Croft who scored two touchdowns against Cleveland last week. Josh McCown loves throwing to his tight ends and Seferian-Jenkins has had 4+ catches in each of his two games thus far this year. I think ASJ will be a top 3 tight end this week.
Steelers vs. Jaguars ($3,900) – The Steelers have multiple sacks each game and interceptions in 3 of 4 games. Blake Bortles loves throwing the ball to the other team. This is a good spot for Pittsburgh.
Bills @ Bengals ($2,800) – This is a ridiculously low price for the #1 defense per the defensive efficiency ratings against the #25 offense in Cincinnati. And we should not forget that in their first two games against good defenses, the Bengals could not score a touchdown. They have only looked better against more generous defenses in the last two weeks. Now that they are facing a tough defense again, their glass slippers will once again turn into pumpkins. The Bills are my top value defense of the week.
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