Welcome to the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown, where Jeff Mans breaks down everything you need to know to build safe, high-floor lineups.
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE:
ADDED TO PLAYER POOL:
Darius Slayton, WR, Giants (1.65x/$5800/$4800)
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Panthers (1.7x/$7100/$5900)
It took four weeks but now I am pissed off. After reading some comments here in our chat room, I honestly started wondering why in the fuck I do this. Nobody else is working 18-20 hour days in the fantasy industry. Surely nobody does so, spins fantasy gold week after week, then has to hear about how bad they are because an idiotic referee can’t tell what a catch is and Sean McVay decides to pull his “starting” RB. It’s absolutely insane to have started the season on absolute fire, be undefeated in cash games, and have to hear about the few misses.
Imagine for a second that you spent an entire week of your life telling EVERYBODY that a player who a month ago was beloved would finally break out. Then imagine that player racks up 181 total yards, three TD’s and 42.1 fantasy points. Imagine that he’s the highest-scoring player of the entire slate and is just three percent owned in DFS. This is what we DFS analysts call “the dream” as it is a rarer occurrence than witnessing a bigfoot butt fucking a unicorn in the Peppermint Forest. This was likely the play of the year that should have led to another million plus in Elite Mafia winnings. Instead, I read bitching about Darrell Henderson and for some completely odd reason Logan Thomas. It’s absolutely infuriating.
Meanwhile, I see celebrations over Ryan Fitzpatrick’s QB12 production, which was 0.4 more points than Deshaun Watson. No mentions of Watson’s TD pass to Will Fuller taken off the board or Fitzpatrick’s last-minute TD run and final drive that generated 50% of his entire production for the week. I understand this is the way the general DFS player thinks and acts, but I truly thought we were all past that. Celebrating mediocrity and sweeping a missed opportunity such as Joe Mixon at 3% ownership under the rug is just not something that I can do. If you got kicked in the dick by Darrell Henderson last week, I totally understand. But there was so much that went right for us that it’s appalling to hear/see/read so much negativity.
Last week was one of, if not, the most challenging I can remember in 10 years of providing DFS analysis. But we battled, kept on top of the rapidly changing slate, and avoided so many pitfalls, including the precious Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kenyan Drake, Michael Gallup and Adam Trautman. There are going to be some REAL BAD weeks this season folks. That is the nature of DFS NFL. But last week simply wasn’t it. Not even close.
I guess what makes me so angry is I want us to be better. The analysis here at Elite Fantasy isn’t supposed to gel with mainstream DFS. Quite frankly, I absolutely resent the lack of common football understanding amongst our competitors. This article is not designed to throw 50 players against a wall and hope the right ones stick. We are single entry folk (for the most part) who needs to narrow the player pool down to just the meat and cut out the fat. So when we do exactly that, for God’s sake, make it count.
Alright venting over. For now. Let’s check in with the single entry 50/50 paylines from the first four weeks:
I had hoped this week would be a lot less crazy, but it hasn’t worked out that way. As I am writing this, there are six teams that are still in limbo for week five: Tennessee, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Denver and New England. Follow-up testing will be done, and by the time this article is posted, we will know more. But please understand, our training of only investing in the certainties will go a long way toward our bottom line this season. UPDATE: Add the Jets & Cardinals to the mix after a positive test by a Jets player on Friday.
The thing that stands out about this week is there are a lot of mismatches across the NFL. The Ravens against the Bengals, the Cowboys against the Giants, the 49ers against the Dolphins, the Rams against the Potatoes and the Cardinals against the Jets. While this is great for some of those skill position players, it isn’t ideal for fantasy. What is important this week is identifying which of these underperforming teams can give the favorite a run. We need more competitive ballgames in order to increase the expected pace and expected points this week.
Another thing you will notice is the lack of true high-end RB’s this week. Sure, we have Ezekiel Elliott against the Giants, who will be very tempting, but after that, the highest-priced RB’s are Derrick Henry, James Conner, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and James Robinson. This is a good time to remind you that just because a player is expensive in DFS salary, doesn’t mean they are actually a good player. This is what happens when Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, Marlon Mack, Raheem Mostert, Leonard Fournette and Le’Veon Bell all go down with injury. With so many questions at RB this week, we are going to have our hands full navigating these rough waters.
Let’s dive in.
Here is the DFS NFL Cash Game Breakdown for Week 5:
Los Angeles Rams at Washington Potatoes – Temperatures in the low 70’s but some rain showers in the area on Sunday afternoon. Might make the deep passing game a bit more difficult, but that is all.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens – The same showers that are in the DC area will impact Baltimore, as well. The chances of heavier rain pick up as the game goes on, but again, nothing to panic about.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS QB||TOTAL OLINE||PASS OLINE||TIME TO THRW||PACE||ATTS PG||INT AIR YDS||CMP AIR YDS|
WEEK 5 DFS NFL QB BREAKDOWN
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (1x/$9000/$7700) – There is never a wrong time to play Patrick Mahomes. It is all about whether or not to pay the tremendous salary that goes along with him. Normally, I prefer to pay down at the QB position, but they’re enough quality value options for us at other positions to consider it. In four career meetings against the Raiders, Mahomes averages 299 yards passing, 19 yards rushing, 1.75 passing TD’s, .25 rushing TD’s and 26.4 fantasy points per game. But there is reason for optimism on the Raiders side this week. Vegas is 10th in the NFL in scoring this season, while the Chiefs have given up the fifth-most rushing yards and second-most yards per carry. The Raiders will attack on the ground and likely have success early on. But Mahomes and the rest of this Chiefs offense is just too powerful to be kept down. What really puts this over the top is the Chiefs’ lack of rushing success in the red zone. Kansas City has just one rushing TD this season, while Mahomes has thrown nine of his 11 TD’s from inside the 20-yard line and eight of those inside the 10-yard line.
Deshaun Watson, Texans (1.2x/$7900/$6900) – Watson was the only QB I used last week and came through like a champ. Of course, it would have been better if his final five-yard TD pass to Will Fuller would have been held up. Still, he threw for 300 yards and two TD’s and has still yet to throw for less than 253 yards in any game this season. What we should particularly love about Watson this week is Texas fired Bill O’Brien and will have Romeo Crennel serving as the interim head coach. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is back to calling the plays, but the word out of Houston is Watson himself will now have the autonomy to change in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage. This will be a terrific change for Watson, who will now be free to identify the advantages he sees in the defense and exploit them. The Jaguars are dead last in overall DVOA, last in DVOA against the pass, and have surrendered the seventh-most passing TD’s this year.
Matt Ryan, Falcons (1.15x/$7700/$6100) – Folks are going to be down on Ryan after seeing him struggle mightily against the Packers on Monday Night. But it’s rare for him to have two bad games in a row, especially when at home against an inferior opponent. It’s no secret the Falcons defense is absolutely atrocious and will bleed points each and every week. That keeps Matty Ice throwing and throwing and throwing. Ryan is third in the NFL in pass attempts, third in completions, fourth in yards and fourth in yards per game. The Panthers are third-worst in overall DVOA, seventh-worst in DVOA against the pass, and have the fewest sacks in the NFL this season. Ryan threw for 311 and 313 yards in his two meetings against a much better Carolina defense last season. This game has a very good chance to shoot out, and while I am sure Teddy Bridgewater will be popular, it is a much better idea to use the far superior QB at a very similar price.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals (1.15x/$8300/$7200) – We can’t deny that Murray has struggled in each of his last three games specifically with turnovers. But despite those struggles, he has continued to rack up great fantasy numbers and stands as the QB6 in fantasy points among QB’s. Murray leads all NFL QB’s in rushing yards (265) and touchdowns (4) this season. The Jets have allowed the third-most total points, 10th worst DVOA against the pass and fifth-worst pass coverage according to PFF.
Don’t Forget About…
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (1.15x/$8700/$7400) – We can’t ignore the gaudy numbers that Prescott has been putting up this season. He is the second-highest scoring fantasy QB and is on pace for an absolutely ridiculous 6,760 passing yards this season. So, the question is if and when this pace slows down because it absolutely has to at some point. Does that happen this week? Well, the Giants defense is a lot tougher than people are giving them credit for. They are much better however against the run than they are against the pass. The Giants are eighth-worst DVOA against the pass this season while the Cowboys themselves are ninth-worst. Dak has put up these pinball numbers mostly when coming back from deep holes that the Cowboys defense has created. I worry a bit about the Giants’ ability to score enough to keep Dak throwing, but we do have his running ability to fall back on, as well.
Favorite GPP Play…
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (1.45x/$7400/$6600) – The ideal GPP QB this week will likely be whichever QB goes lower owned between Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray and Watson. But if they all chop ownership, Ben Roethlisberger becomes a very intriguing option for us in tournaments. The Steelers were forced into a bye week last week which gave time for their beat-up offensive line and WR’s to heal. Roethlisberger has thrown for seven TD’s in just three games while averaging 260 yards per game. The Eagles defensive line is playing well and doing so by shutting down the run. But the Eagles secondary is still giving up production. Philly has allowed the ninth-most completions, 10th most passing yards, ninth-most passing TD’s and 11th worst in pass coverage according to PFF. The Steelers deep WR corps is a bad matchup for this Eagles secondary. After Darius Slay, this is an awful group of DB’s which gives Ben a plethora of opportunities in the passing game this week.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA RUSH||DEF VS RB||TOTAL OLINE||RUSH OLINE||EVADED TKLS||BRKWYS||OPP SHARE||RZ TOUCH||GZ TOUCH|
O-LINE/D-LINE MATCHUPS (Mans Model – Point System Scale of 0 – 100)
- San Francisco 49ers → Miami Dolphins – 40
- Baltimore Ravens → Cincinnati Bengals – 38
- Kansas City Chiefs → Las Vegas Raiders – 31
- Los Angeles Rams → Washington Potatoes – 25
- New England Patriots → Denver Broncos – 24
- Houston Texans → Jacksonville Jaguars – 19
WEEK 5 DFS NFL RB BREAKDOWN
Kareem Hunt, Browns (1.3x/$7000/$6500) – It’s a shame that he has been so productive even when Nick Chubb was healthy because that has driven up his price this week. But Hunt is still very underpriced considering his new role as the lead RB in the NFL’s best rushing offense. While he won’t get all of the touches, he will now occupy the vast majority of passing down work and the goal line opportunities. The Browns offensive line is first in overall rating according to PFF, first in run blocking according to PFF and first in adjusted line yards this season. The Browns are second in the NFL in rushing attempts, first in rushing yards, first in rushing TD’s and first in yards per rushing attempt. Despite being a backup for the first four games, Hunt is 10th in the NFL in rushing yards, sixth in rushing yards per carry and seventh in fantasy points among RB’s this season. So, this added volume puts Hunt’s true DFS salary in the neighborhood of $8K on FD and $7K on DK.
Jerick McKinnon, 49ers (1.45x/$6400/$5800) – If Raheem Mostert is healthy and plays this week, he can easily absorb this spot in our lineups for us because the salary between McKinnon and Mostert just isn’t that different. McKinnon played 92% of the 49ers offensive snaps last week and received 21 touches in the process. While it should be noted that McKinnon isn’t doing well on the ground, he’s averaging 3.2 yards per carry on 28 attempts since filling in for Mostert. Still, he has 12 targets, 10 receptions and an additional 82 yards receiving over those two games. The matchup is a great one for whichever 49ers RB gets the touches, as the Miami Dolphins are second-worst DVOA against the run this year. The Dolphins have also given up the fourth-most rushing TD’s and ninth-most fantasy points to RB’s. UPDATE: Raheem Mostert is suddenly questionable for this game. It looks like Mostert will try and play Sunday, which would significantly impact the value of McKinnon in DFS.
James Robinson, Jaguars (1.55x/$6600/$6700) – Robinson has been the lone bright spot for this Jaguars offense this season. Though I have my questions on whether Robinson is starting running back timber, the numbers and matchup are on his side this week. Robinson is fourth in the NFL in opportunity share (80.6%), eighth in touches (74), eighth in evaded tackles (23), ninth in yards per carry (4.8), eighth in rushing yards (285) and sixth in fantasy points among RB’s this season. The Texans have surrendered the most rushing yards, seventh-highest rushing yards per carry, fourth-worst DVOA against the run, third-most rushing TD’s and the third-most fantasy points to RB’s this season.
Mike Davis, Panthers (1.45x/$6800/$6400) – Seems like all of the same faces back in our hearts and minds this week. Davis has been an absolute stud in replacing Christian McCaffrey these last two-plus weeks. He was much better on the ground last week posting a 16-84-1 rushing line after struggling running the ball against the Chargers the previous weeks. Still, Davis is averaging 22.6 fantasy points per game since taking over the starting RB job in Carolina. Some folks may be worried about the involvement of Reggie Bonnafon last week but he has been placed on IR and will not be playing anytime soon. No matter what Davis does running the football, we know with certainty that he will receive a heavy target share and reception total in this Panthers offense. The Falcons have surrendered the second-most targets (40), second-most receptions (34), third-most receiving yards (257) and 12th most fantasy points to RB’s this season.
Antonio Gibson, Potatoes (1.6x/$5800/$5000) – As soon as Kyle Allen was inserted as the starting QB, the value of Antonio Gibson shot up dramatically. For those who have short memories, Allen was the starting QB in Carolina most of 2019 before he was replaced by Will Grier at the end of the season. All Allen did was check down to the RB’s and specifically Christian McCaffrey. Allen had the highest target share to RB’s in the NFL last year at a whopping 31.2%. Last week, Gibson got the green zone rushing attempt, where he punched it in from the two-yard line for his third TD of the season. He is being used much more on the ground then we would have thought, which is terrific news, as he was thought to have been the Washington pass-catching RB mostly this season. He is setting up for a full-service role here in the very near future, and that could come as soon as this week. Either way, he’ll pay off this salary going away, and at 1.6x multiplier on SuperDraft, he is close to a core play.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (1.35x/$7900/$6800) – I am skeptical on whether the Chiefs are still going to use CEH in the green zone or not. They have been utilizing trick plays such as shovel passes and jet sweeps the last three weeks instead of trusting their rookie RB to get into the end zone. But the good news is the former LSU Tiger has been much more active in the Chiefs’ passing game, racking up 17 targets, 14 catches and 129 receiving yards over the last three games. The Raiders are third-worst in DVOA against the run, fifth-worst in run defense according to PFF, have surrendered the seventh-most rushing yards, and have given up the fifth-highest rushing yards per attempt this season. Vegas has also given up the most rushing TD’s, third-most receptions, second-most receiving yards and the most fantasy points to RB’s so far this season.
Don’t Forget About…
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (1x/$9000/$7800) – Zeke is easily cash viable this week. But the problem I have is this Cowboys offensive line, a paltry 3.9 yards per carry from Zeke so far this year, and the increasing probability the Cowboys defense again bleeds out and Dak has to pass another 50 times to stay in the game. Despite these concerns though, we can trust Elliott enough because he’s still the Cowboys’ unquestioned workhorse. In the first two games of this season, the Cowboys had a lead or were close throughout and Elliott had 22 carries in each game. In the last two games when the Cowboys have been playing catch up the entire game, Zeke racked up 14 receptions. This workload is what our cash game dreams are made of. But he’s the most expensive RB on the board on both salary cap sites and he is only even money multiplier on SuperDraft this week. If you have value players you absolutely love, go ahead and lock in Zeke.
Favorite GPP Play…
Todd Gurley, Falcons (1.4x/$6700/$5700) – My player pool at the RB position is basically all of the players listed above. I don’t have a traditional “GPP RB” this week so will put Gurley down for a few reasons. What makes a great contrarian play is a player that everybody thinks they know the script but then it goes opposite. We all expect a high-flying high scoring affair between the Panthers and Falcons but what if it isn’t? Or if the points do come, maybe it is Gurley falling into the endzone multiple times for those scores. He already has four TD’s this season and did run for 14-97-0 against these Panthers last year when he was with the Rams.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DVOA PASS||DEF VS WR||PASS CVG||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||JAX||LAC||12.0||14.0||36.7||20.0||0.00||0.11||0.00||0.74||4.00||0.00|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||CLE||CIN||18.0||16.0||35.2||9.0||0.00||0.38||0.00||0.55||2.70||0.00|
WR/CB MATCHUPS (BASED ON PFF RATINGS – % Rating Difference 2020)
- Randall Cobb, Texans → DJ Hayden, Jaguars – 56%
- Deebo Samuel, 49ers → Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins – 53%
- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs → Lamarcus Joyner, Raiders – 51%
- Cooper Kupp, Rams → Jimmy Moreland, Potatoes – 46%
- CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys → Darnay Holmes, Giants – 37%
- DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals → Blessuan Austin, Jets – 36%
- Kendrick Bourne, 49ers → Nik Needham, Dolphins – 33%
- Calvin Ridley, Falcons → Donte Jackson, Panthers – 33%
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers → Nickell Robey-Coleman, Eagles – 32%
- Russell Gage, Falcons → Jeremy Chinn, Panthers – 32%
- Julio Jones, Falcons → Rasul Douglas, Panthers – 31%
- Jamison Crowder, Jets → Byron Murphy, Cardinals – 29%
WORST COVERAGE CORNERBACKS – WR MATCHUP (Mans Model)
These are ONLY the main slate options listed here
- Isaiah Oliver, Falcons → DJ Moore, Panthers
- Vernon Hargreaves, Texans → Laviska Shenault, Jaguars
- Donte Jackson, Panthers → Olamide Zaccheaus, Falcons
- Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins → Kendrick Bourne, 49ers
- Trevon Diggs, Cowboys → Damion Ratley, Giants
- D.J. Hayden, Jaguars → Randall Cobb, Texans (UPDATE: Hayden is out this week)
- Emmanuel Moseley, 49ers → DeVante Parker, Dolphins
- Jourdan Lewis, Cowboys → Golden Tate, Giants
- Ugochukwu Amadi, Seahawks → Chad Beebe, Vikings
- Darnay Holmes, Giants → CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys
- Pierre Desir, Jets → Christian Kirk, Cardinals
- Essang Bassey, Broncos → Julian Edelman, Patriots
- Troy Hill, Rams → Isaiah Wright, Potatoes
- A.J. Terrell, Falcons → Robby Anderson, Panthers
- Mackensie Alexander, Bengals → Willie Snead, Ravens
WEEK 5 DFS NFL WR BREAKDOWN
Calvin Ridley, Falcons (1.3x/$8300/$7500) – How good has Calvin Ridley been this year? Good enough to record an absolute zero last week against the Green Bay Packers and still be the fourth-highest scoring WR in fantasy football this season. There is a good chance that Julio Jones misses this game (questionable at the time of this writing) which would force even more targets in the direction of the third-year receiver. Ridley has absolutely destroyed the Panthers over the last two years scoring a TD in every game against them while averaging 94 yards per game. Ridley will draw a shadow of former Eagles CB Rasul Douglas who was the #168 rated CB in the NFL last year out of #199 according to PFF.
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (1.6x/$5900/$6000) – If you haven’t seen Lamb yet this season let me just clear it up for you: he is a star. He is making tough catches in tight coverage and doing damage after the catch as well. In fact, 103 of his 309 receiving yards have come after the catch already this season. Despite being the third WR in Dallas, Lamb is already WR16 in fantasy scoring. That is because he is playing 75% of the Cowboys snaps this season and has been a huge component of these late-game comebacks. This week he draws the coverage of Giants slot CB Darnay Holmes who as you can see above is the 10th worst CB in this week’s main slate according to my model. Holmes also is #138 rated CB out of 163 according to PFF.
Will Fuller, Texans (1.45x/$6600/$6600) – I’m going right back to the well here with the Texans, specifically Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller. Fuller is the #1 in Houston and now that the restraints are off of Watson, we can expect some more aggressive downfield attempts out of these two. Fuller is the WR20 in fantasy football right now getting completely shut out in week two. The Jaguars are dead last in DVOA against the pass and are 24th in passing yards against and 23rd in receiving TD’s.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (1.4x/$7300/$6700) – The only tough part of this is not playing Diontae Johnson, who I also love this week but who also has a tougher CB matchup against Darius Slay. JuJu is a really tough go for Eagles slot CB Nickell Roby-Coleman as he owns a five-inch height and nine-inch wingspan difference over him. With Slay guarding outside, the book has been to attack the middle of the Eagles coverage which is exactly what Ben will do in this matchup. Roby-Coleman is allowing a 92.9% catch rate on targets against him and is currently the #112 rated CB out of 162 according to PFF.
Robby Anderson, Panthers (1.5x/$6200/$5900) – Another difficult decision here as both Anderson and DJ Moore are very viable WR options for us in both cash and GPP contests this week. We all know we want to be invested in Carolina receivers (including Mike Davis) against this horrible Atlanta coverage. The Falcons are eighth-worst in pass coverage according to PFF, second-worst DVOA against the pass, and have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to WR’s this season. Anderson is currently ninth in the NFL in targets, fifth in receptions, seventh in receiving yards and 11th in fantasy points among WR’s this season.
Golden Tate, Giants (1.5x/$5500/$4600) – Tate is our favorite pay down WR option here this week. He has basically been a forgotten entity in the new Giants offense but has drawn 13 targets over their last two games. The main issue for Tate has been yards after the catch which has always been a big advantage of his but hasn’t been there so far this season. Tate matches up with my #8 worst CB of the slate in Jourdan Lewis, who is a sure tackler but terrible cover man. With the Giants offensive line playing so poorly, the offense needs to run quicker routes to pick up yards and first downs. This screams Golden Tate. If Daniel Jones can just stay calm in the pocket and make quick decisions on underneath routes, the Giants should be able to move the ball at will against this Cowboys defense.
Don’t Forget About…
DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (1x/$8700/$7900) – I have a feeling that the biggest miss by DFS players this week may be under owning the best WR in the game against one of the worst defenses in the game. Hopkins is expensive, has a sore ankle, and is coming off of a disappointing effort last week versus Carolina. But Hopkins is still fourth in the NFL in targets, first in receptions, fifth in catch rate, fifth in receiving yards and fourth in fantasy points among WR’s this season. There are a ton of mid-tier receivers in great spots this week but Hopkins is really the best pay up option and we may see a decreased ownership of him as a result.
Favorite GPP Play…
Laviska Shenault, Jaguars (1.65x/$6100/$6300) – This is more of a gut feeling so please proceed with caution. My dude Brian Healy mentioned on the Core 4 NFL Livestream tonight that he really loves Jaguars WR DJ Chark this week which I endorse completely. But if the Texans were to bracket Chark, which they absolutely should do, this would leave Shenault one on one with my #2 worst CB of this slate in Vernon Hargreaves. Shenault is a super aggressive runner after the catch and Hargreaves wants none of that business whatsoever. He is the #136 ranked tackler at CB out of 150. We have all been patiently waiting for the Shenault breakout game and a high scoring game against the seventh-worst DVOA defense might just be it.
|NAME||TEAM||OPP||DVOA TOTAL||DEF VS TE||SLOT%||TGT SHARE||AIR YD SHARE||ADOT||CATCH%||SEPERATION||FPTS PER TGT|
WEEK 5 DFS NFL TE BREAKDOWN
Travis Kelce, Chiefs (1x/$7800/$6400) – This is probably going to be a pay up for TE week. The lower end TE’s are scattered, and most are not in positive environments. Meanwhile, Kelce is once again leading all TE’s in receiving yards and fantasy points as he always does. Those of you who frequently read this space know that I love to use Kelce against the Raiders because they love to cover the TE with linebackers and they never seem to employ good coverage LB’s. In fact, this year they’ve been using Cory Littleton to cover the seam, which is a mismatch made in heaven for Kelce owners. Littleton is the worst cover LB in the NFL right now, according to PFF, and is shorter, slower and weaker than Travis Kelce. Kelce could seriously run right over Littleton, and it would be like driving a Mack truck over a pile of leaves. In his last four meetings with the Raiders (since Gruden took over), Travis Kelce has averaged 10 targets, nine receptions, 107 yards and 22.4 fantasy points per game. He’s expensive, but if he goes off as he has against these Raiders many times, it may be hard to get close to his point total this week.
George Kittle, 49ers (1.15x/$7100/$6600) – On DK, Kittle is more expensive than Kelce but on both FD and SD we get very generous discounts on the 49ers TE. It’s very difficult to not jump all over Kittle after his absolutely dominating return from injury last week, where he rang up a 15-15-183-1 stat line against the Eagles. It looks like Jimmy Garoppolo will start for the 49ers this week, which actually lowers Kittle’s projection just slightly in my game model. Still, the only other TE to have both a baseline and ceiling as high as Kittle is Travis Kelce. Interesting fact here is that over his career, Kittle averages eight targets, six receptions, 77 yards and .36 TD’s per game. That is an outstanding 14.9 fantasy points per game compared to just 12.2 on the road.
Evan Engram, Giants (1.45x/$5500/$4600) – Welcome back, my old friend. Engram has been an afterthought this season, but he really pops off the page this week. Engram is third in among TE’s in targets, fourth in target share, sixth in receptions and ninth in separation this season. He saw 10 targets a week ago against the Rams but could only muster six catches for 35 yards. The Giants often feature Engram against the Cowboys as offensive coordinator Jason Garrett knows all too well. Over his last four games against the Cowboys, Engram is averaging nine targets, seven receptions, 78 yards and 19.6 fantasy points per game. This season, the Cowboys haven’t solved their TE coverage, as they have allowed fifth-most receptions, ninth-most yards, sixth-most TD’s and eighth-most fantasy points to TE’s this season.
Don’t Forget About…
Mark Andrews, Ravens (1.1x/$7500/$6200) – As my man Phil Backert always asks when you ask him if we should play Mark Andrews this week: 1) Is he playing a good team? If the answer is yes, then pass on Andrews. If the answer is no, then go ahead and use him. Last year in two meetings against the Bengals Andrews had eight targets and six receptions in both games for a combined 152 yards and two TD’s. Lamar Jackson complained this week about the Ravens passing offense which is struggling despite a 3-1 record and seventh-most points scored. The notable change here is the TE target share has gone from 43% to “just” 20.4%. If they correct anything in the passing game to satisfy the reigning MVP, look for more balls going in Mark Andrews’ direction.
Favorite GPP Play…
Zach Ertz, Eagles (1.35x/$6500/$5700) – If we’ve learned anything over the first few weeks of the season I hope (pray) that it is that you don’t win GPP’s with super deep sleepers that nobody has ever heard of. Rather, you win GPP’s by using great players who are struggling and that the general population is sick and tired of. Enter Zach Ertz. The Eagles still don’t have any viable WR’s and definitely don’t have one that can beat the tremendous outside coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, the way to move the ball on Pittsburgh is to pepper the middle of the field against slot CB Mike Hilton and LB Devin Bush. That is how the Eagles will attack on Sunday and that means it could be a huge afternoon for Ertz. We are anticipating a sub-5% ownership for him this week.
I am working on a DST model that combines 18 of the most impactful metrics that lead to the most direct sources of DST fantasy points. Those are points surrendered, sacks, turnovers and touchdowns. I’ll be working on this over the next few weeks, so it’s not quite a finished product. Still, this approach has given us some quality options this week.
Los Angeles Rams ($5000/$4000) – An obvious option for us this week and one that will cost us a pretty penny in salary. The Rams have nine sacks and three takeaways over their last two games. The Rams have given up the sixth-least points, are fifth in sacks, seventh in sack percentage, fifth-best in DVOA against the pass, and are the sixth-best pass rush according to PFF. What’s most intriguing here is the Potatoes moving on to Kyle Allen as their starting QB. Remember, Allen is the same QB who threw 16 INT, lost seven fumbles, and took 46 sacks in just 13 games last year in Carolina. The Potatoes offensive line is fourth-worst in adjusted line yards and are without their best offensive lineman in Brandon Scherff.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($4400/$3800) – Another layup for this week and one with a bit of a discount as well. Pittsburgh owns the second-best overall DVOA, are first in DVOA against the run, third-best in overall defense per PFF, second-best against the run per PFF and second in pass rush per PFF. The Steelers have also given up the fifth-least total points, second-least total yards, least number of rushing yards and the lowest yards per carry in the NFL this season. They also have the most pressures, second-most sacks, and are first in sack percentage so far this season. The Eagles, meanwhile, have given up the third-most sacks, are second in giveaways, and have scored the 10th fewest points this season.
Kansas City Chiefs ($4300/$3500) – We always want to own pieces of the Chiefs offense but meanwhile it has been their defense that has seemed to take it up a notch this season. The Chiefs are fourth in DST fantasy points scored this season despite some real tough offensive matchups. Kansas City is fourth in sacks, fourth in sack percentage, fifth in pressures and fourth in takeaways this season. They also are fourth in overall DVOA, first in DVOA against the pass, and have surrendered the third-least passing yards this season.
Washington Potatoes ($3800/$2600) – I’ll fight anyone to the death about whether Washington is a “good” defense or not. Of course, they are. But they have surrendered a lot of points over the last few weeks. But when you realize that those points came from the Ravens, Browns and Cardinals, maybe that isn’t that bad. When you also factor in that they were without two of their best players in DT Matt Ioannidis who is out for the season and DE Chase Young who is likely to return this week. Washington is third-best in overall DVOA, third-best in DVOA against the pass, fourth-best in passing yards against, and fifth-best in total yards surrendered this season. They are also third in sacks, eighth in pressures and third in sack percentage so far this season.
WEEK 5 CORE FOUR
SUPERDRAFT CORE 4
QB – Teddy Bridgewater – 1.7x
RB – Antonio Gibson – 1.85x
WR – CeeDee Lamb – 1.6x
TE – Evan Engram – 1.45x
FANDUEL CORE 4
QB – Deshaun Watson – $7900
RB – Kareem Hunt – $8800
WR – CeeDee Lamb – $5900
TE – George Kittle – $7100
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
QB – Deshaun Watson – $6900
RB – Antonio Gibson – $5000
WR – CeeDee Lamb – $6000
TE – Travis Kelce – $6400
Join me Saturday night in the DFS NFL CHAT for last-minute questions!