Last week’s NFL DFS picks were regrettable. I actually fielded quite a few solid plays, but Josh Allen (3 fantasy points!) ended any hopes of that team being competitive at FanDuel. If you had the sense to pivot off of him (to Mitchel Trubisky, perhaps?) you could have enjoyed a fun week, though.
Most of my other plays were rock solid. Ezekiel Elliott topped 30 fantasy points, David Johnson enjoyed his best game of the young season (16.7), Saquon Barkley kept trucking along (19), Sterlin Shepard (20) was a terrific play, Allen Robinson found the end-zone and the Bears dominated the Bucs.
Antonio Callaway could do nothing despite drawing nine targets in a crazy shootout in Oakland, while Rob Gronkowski was limited by an ankle injury. In the end, I had three bad picks but if you used anyone else from last week you probably at least cashed.
Then again, last week was insane from a raw points perspective. I’m going to aim a bit higher this week and assume a bit more risk. That means fading some chalk, jumping on others and taking a couple of deep dives. Join me as I pour through some of my favorite daily fantasy football picks for week five action at FanDuel:
QB: Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars ($7k)
Patrick Mahomes is facing the Jags, Tom Brady and Drew Brees aren’t on this slate and Aaron Rodgers is too gimpy. I won’t be paying a premium for quarterback this week, so I might as well find a value play I love.
A date with a porous Chiefs defense (28th vs. QBs) may make Bortles chalky, but sometimes you gotta play the popular pick. Bortles saves cash and he should be quite busy with top Jacksonville runner Leonard Fournette out yet again this week. In five games without Fournette, Bortles has put up 20+ fantasy points per contest. He figures to be in for a huge week.
I do think it’s a fine idea to stack him with some of his passing weapons, but he’s been spreading the ball out quite a bit. T.J. Yeldon, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief and Dede Westbrook are all in play. I just don’t want to play Jaguars Roulette this week.
RB: Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers ($6.1k)
Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley are amazing and without a doubt the top two rushers to pay for on the week five main slate. I would love to have them, but they’re quite expensive and I actually see a lot of solid value at RB this week.
One such value play could be Jones, who has looked rather spry in his first two games back from a suspension. Mike McCarthy has been oddly reluctant to hand the keys to Green Bay’s running game over to his most talented back, but after popping off for 82 yards on just 12 touches last week (including a score), even McCarthy can’t be so stubborn.
Jones should see a bigger workload moving forward and I’m on board with a cheap price in the face of a bad Lions run defense (30th vs. RBs).
RB: David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals ($7.6k)
While I can’t afford the very best running backs on this slate, I like the idea of getting cheaper options that will be lower owned and actually could come close to their production. DJ is another guy who is going to be looking at a huge role and he has yet to truly explode this year.
It took the Cards until week four, but Johnson finally touched the ball a whopping 25 times last week (9 more than any other game) and I can’t imagine his role suddenly shrinks again. Johnson is due for some explosive plays and he may be even more involved as a receiver this week.
The matchup looks good, too, with the 49ers ranking just 23rd against running backs. Should Arizona feed DJ as a receiver, he could have his best game of the year against a 49ers defense that has given up the third most receptions and the 6th most receiving yards to the position.
WR: Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers ($9k)
This Steelers/Falcons game has an insane 57 Total at Sportsbetting.ag, so I’m just going to go out on a limb and bet it’s an explosive, high-scoring game. The Falcons will play a big hand in allowing this game to pop off, seeing s how Atlanta ranks just 27th against wide receivers on the year.
Brown is worth paying up in most spots, but he could easily enjoy his best effort of the 2018 season in this one. I also like the idea that due to price and a so-so start by his standards, AB may actually be fairly low-owned.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is an elite (and cost-cutting) pivot play, but that could make him popular. I’ll pay up for Brown and hope he’s finally truly worth his steep price tag.
WR: Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons ($8.8k)
I’m using the same logic for Jones, who is getting harder to pay for due to his insane inability to score touchdowns. Calvin Ridley has found the end-zone five times over the last three weeks and remains an elite pivot at $6.8k, but much like JuJu/Brown, I think that may end up being a mistake.
Jones is flat out due for a 1-2 score game and we know he’s still got a monster role (9+ targets in three of four games). He’s been dealing with a hand injury, which is even more reason (plus his price and lack of TDs) why he could join Brown as slightly under-owned studs.
I don’t know how realistic it is to hope for both of these guys to garner low ownership, but the idea here is they wreck and everyone pays for Gurley/Gordon, only to see the RB value plays I’m on go off.
The Steelers rank 31st against wide receivers, so if you needed more of an argument for Jones, you’ve got it in spades.
If you want another pivot, Adam Thielen ($8.3k) is one of my favorite plays at wide receiver this week.
WR: Chad Williams – Arizona Cardinals ($4.5k)
Williams is what makes this roster go. He is not a safe play at all, but there is a lot of logic in trying him out in tournaments.
First of all, he’s the bare minimum price and he’s coming off of a game where he scored his first career touchdown. He’s manning 80% of the wide receiver snaps, too, while the veteran Larry Fitzgerald is clearly ailing with an injury at the moment.
Should Fitz sit or simply be limited, Williams could again be looking at a lot of field time. Against a Niners pass defense that ranks just 20th against wide receivers, Williams is worth a roll of the dice.
TE: Vance McDonald – Pittsburgh Steelers ($4.6k)
I don’t love the pricing or matchups for the top two tight ends on the main slate and after them I believe you’re taking a considerable risk no matter who you use. I’m punting the position this week, with volatile cheapies like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Austin Hooper and Vance McDonald being the main guys on my radar.
The other two guys have terrific matchups, but the most stable seems to be McDonald, who has seen five targets in every game he’s played this year. His matchup isn’t the greatest, but I like the price, the role and the upside. Pivot to ASJ or Hooper if you feel more comfortable with either of them.
If you need to spend, I much prefer Zach Ertz over Travis Kelce this week. He’s got a huge role, a better matchup and is probably due for a score.
FLEX: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers ($8.1k)
I could slide Adam Thielen (who I love this week) or A.J. Green in here, or maybe drop down at defense to force Melvin Gordon in this one. I’ll settle on McCaffrey, however. He proved in his last game (184 rushing yards!) he can be a true feature back and we all know the guy has a role as a pass-catcher.
The monster touch upside is there for McCaffrey, who is still scoreless on the year and could have a big touchdown day coming. I like other options to consider here, but I will be kicking myself if I don’t use McCaffrey at a nice price and this is the week he goes nuts as a scorer.
The matchup is there for C-Mac to go off, as he’s at home against a Giants run defense that ranks 22nd against the running back position in 2018. They’ve also given up the third most rushing scores and are tied for the second most receiving scores to running backs. Something tells me they won’t do a great job containing the elusive McCaffrey in this one.
DEF: Tennessee Titans ($3.9k)
I am not a fan of defenses this week. The Jaguars have to try to slow down the Chiefs, the Rams are on the road in Seattle and it seems the Eagles/Vikings are off the table. Carolina ($4.4k) and Baltimore ($4.2k) are appealing, but why pay up when the Titans have been solid and get an awful Buffalo offense?
The Titans are on the road and they’re far from unbeatable, but taking on a one-dimensional team that is prone to turnovers and sacks is rather inviting. Considering the matchup and their production (6+ fantasy points in every game this year), Tennessee is my favorite D by a mile.
I want all of the studs just like everyone else, but I’m trying to switch things up a bit this week. If you want Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, I won’t stop you. They’re beasts and they’ll probably wreck again this week.
I’ll just say playing the Seahawks on the road isn’t ideal and Gurley isn’t the only guy the Rams have to score touchdowns. Gordon is also a beast, but the same can be said for the Bolts. I’m saving money at the running back position and grabbing three talented runners that have good matchups and have a shot at putting up huge weeks.
That allows me to get the quarterback I want and also stack two elite wide receivers. Should Jones/Brown have low ownership and finally live up to their elite names, all the better.
Tight end and the Chad Williams play are my riskiest plays of the week. I won’t feel comfortable about tight end no matter what, so I’m not worried too much about the risk there. Williams is a bit more unnerving, but I like the logic behind it in tourneys. Defense just isn’t good this week, so I’m eating the chalk and playing the defense with the best matchup on the board.
I think this pieces together a very strong NFL DFS lineup for week five. I was dead wrong at quarterback last week, so always be open to pivoting off of guys where you don’t agree or don’t buy what I’m selling. I like this team, but some changes can always help a team get better.
Whether you’re with me on this lineup as it stands or just use a few of my week five daily fantasy football picks, I wish you luck this week. Enjoy the games!