You’d be hard-pressed to find an NFL fantasy team that does not have at least one player from the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, or Atlanta Falcons. Weekend DFS players don’t have to worry about covering roster spots, but we’ll still find our options limited by the six teams out of the mix in Week 5. Here are my recommendations from among those left in play.
Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers… again
Injuries to Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota further complicate the choices at quarterback, but one constant is the start of the week. Aaron Rodgers faces the Dallas Cowboys in what is sure to be a shootout. Last week, Rodgers threw for less than 200 yards but managed four touchdowns, which is consistent with the west coast red zone offense.
Dallas’ DeMarcus Lawrence could upset the apple cart this week with his tenacious pass rushing skills against the Packers’ deficient offensive line. So far, however, Rodgers has proven immune to bad pass protection. He should get yards and touchdowns, especially with the precarious condition of his offensive backfield.
Dak Prescott will have to keep up, but his rushing game is more likely to share the NFL fantasy points production than Rodgers’.
Value QB: Carson Palmer, Eli Manning
Carson Palmer will look to extend his streak of 300-yard games versus the shaky Eagles secondary. The Giants’ Eli Manning is coming off two top-ten weeks and faces a jet-lagged LA Chargers defense in an early game. Both could provide good value at mid-range pricing.
Bargain bin: Brian Hoyer
The best bargain of the week could come out of Indianapolis. Early indications are that a healthy number of DFS players believe Jacoby Brissett will shine at home against the 49ers’ defense. But Brian Hoyer was challenged by his coach this week. Kyle Shanahan said if San Francisco is going to win games, Hoyer must play better. Indianapolis’ defense has a strong front line and nothing else. Will the Niners take to the air in search of their first victory? If so, Hoyer’s bargain-basement price could prove to be the best value of Week 5.
Running backs: Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette
The year of the rookie running back continues as evidenced by our starts of the week. Kareem Hunt continues to put up record-setting numbers and Fournette offers stability through volume and a touchdown per week. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott rank right with them as premiere starters in Week 5.
Value plays: Wendell Smallwood, Andre Ellington
The best running back values will come out of Philadelphia this week when the Arizona Cardinals take on the Eagles. Arizona is becoming more of a passing team each week and Ellington is a vital part of that effort. Philly’s pass rush will pick on the Cardinals’ wounded offensive line, offering check-down opportunities to the Cardinal’s receiving back. Philadelphia will have to keep up and will pass more than they have the last two weeks. That plays into Wendell Smallwood’s role. Both players offer good value for their prices in standard or PPR leagues.
Duke Johnson remains under-valued in Cleveland and offers another good deal, especially in PPR. On the other side of the field, Bilal Powell and dirt-cheap rookie Elijah McGuire are priced as if Matt Forte was still the starter. He remains shelved with a foot injury, making the understudies excellent bargains.
I am hesitant to recommend a Green Bay Packer running back until the situation clears up there. Ty Montgomery says he will play. I don’t believe it, but if he does, it would upset the value of Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. If Williams is still hurt, Jones is a great running back option. If it sounds like Williams will get the bulk of the work, he is the better deal. Keep an eye on things in Green Bay and wait until the last minute if you insist on taking a Packer.
Wide Receivers: Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald
Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers is probably the best stacking option this week if you can afford them both. Our bargain options will give you a good shot at that. Arizona’s Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are lower-priced but still form an excellent stack. Nelson, Fitzgerald, and DeAndre Hopkins are your quality starters. But none of them might top another wide receiver this week.
Value of the week: Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant finally gets to play against a defense that does not have a top-notch, shut-down cornerback. Dak Prescott will feed him the ball all night in a breakout performance versus Green Bay. Bryant works out all his previous frustrations at the expense of the Packers in Week 5.
Another sneaky value could be DeVante Parker in Miami. The Dolphins look dead in the water after two terrible weeks of offense. Adam Gase has been here before. He rallied the troops twice last season when the offense seemed to stall. In their first true home game of the season, the Dolphins offense is primed to explode this week, with Parker as Jay Cutler’s favorite deep target.
Dirt cheap winner: Nelson Agholor
The Eagles face the Arizona Cardinals this week. Patrick Peterson has taken out top receivers all year. If he sticks to Alshon Jeffery as expected, Torrey Smith goes up in value. But second wide receivers haven’t fared particularly well versus Arizona, either. Carson Wentz’ favorite target, Zach Ertz, could have a tough matchup against a defense allowing only 31 receiving yards per game to tight ends. All that presents Nelson Agholor the chance to be the most consistently open option for Wentz this Sunday. If he breaks even one reception, he will be the bargain of the week.
Tight ends: Jared Cook, Charles Clay
Both Jared Cook and Charles Clay face good defenses who tend to let tight ends make catches. Both also have injury issues among their wide receivers that could bump them up in the pecking order for targets. Both are underpriced, but if you want a cheaper tight end, consider the Jets’ Austin Seferian-Jenkins who gets his turn against the Cleveland defense this week.
D/ST bargain: Jets, Raiders
Minnesota, Buffalo, and Kansas City might be safer bets, but for the price, I believe the Raiders defense rises to the occasion while their offense works without their starting quarterback and a banged-up receiver corps. The Jets go to Cleveland as underdogs this week and they are not happy about it. Look for an inspired effort from the team in green.
I would avoid Seattle’s D/ST on the road against the upstart Rams. I am also avoiding Indianapolis and San Francisco. My bet is that the old man Hoyer will go toe-to-toe with the young whippersnapper Brissett in a surprisingly high-scoring contest.
Last week, 90% of my recommendations worked out, with injured Chris Carson and a couple of defenses doing me in. Hopefully, that trend will continue. Remember that DFS games take better advantage of trends and aren’t affected as much by injuries or bye weeks. So, don’t take too many chances as scores will generally run higher than your regular NFL fantasy league teams. Go with the safe choices for the most part and sprinkle in one or two lesser-owned, but well-researched options to pull your team away from the pack.
If you have DFS or any NFL fantasy football questions, send them to [email protected] and I’ll answer them in our weekly NFL Fantasy Mailbag on Wednesdays or in our Friday DFS post.
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