In observance of all the controversy and potential legislative action associated with “insider-trading” in Daily Fantasy Sports we will focus on the obscure. Players I anticipate will be scantily owned so that “we” can gain a competitive advantage. Now that doesn’t mean you should ignore Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, Julio Jones or Rob Gronkowski but if you’re looking to strike it big, you’re going to have to dig deep to separate yourself from the pack.
Daily Fantasy League Breakdown – Week 5
Daily Fantasy League advice.
- Sam Bradford ($7,500/$6,000) and the Eagles’ offense hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders. Bradford has struggled with consistency, the running game hasn’t gotten on track, receivers are dropping passes and the offensive line can’t run block or pass protect. However, Bradford has a 4:0 TD/INT ratio in his last two contests and although he’s only completing 51.8% of his passes in that two game span he’s actually attempting to push the football down the field as evidenced by his 9.64 avg. last week against Washington. The Redskins’ pass defense is awful but the Saints might be worse allowing the most yardage per pass attempt (9.8) in the NFL. Their pass rush is anemic and they have yet to intercept a pass this season. Brandon Weeden of all people looked competent against New Orleans last Sunday. Bradford was a trendy fantasy selection heading into the 2015 season and most if not all the luster has worn off. Again, if you want to take a big swing Bradford offers the potential for a big, under the radar performance in Week 5.
- Injuries and a solitary rushing TD has depressed Eddie Lacy’s ($7,600/$6,700) value in DFS to the point of a bargain. I thought he would snap out of his funk last week at San Fran , which he did to a certain extent (18/90)but he didn’t find the end-zone. The Rams are coming off an impressive win on the road no less against the Arizona Cardinals. The thing is, St. Louis seems to only play their best when facing division foes. No Alec Ogletree at the second level and the inability to consistently stop the run as evidenced by the 120.3 rushing yards per game they are surrendering (26th in the NFL), I expect Lacy to reach pay dirt multiple times. No, I haven’t forgotten about how good Aaron Rodgers is, nor how well he plays at home but I believe Lacy has more than his fair share of success in this contest.
- Devonta Freeman will undoubtedly be the most “started” running back in the Washington at Atlanta matchup but I think a different FSU running back will provide sneaky value that could result in a break-out of sorts. The few that know of Chris Thompson ($5,100/$3,300) are well aware of his explosiveness, fortunately for those few Thompson he has a propensity for getting injured so most are unaware of him. But, he’s healthy now and has carved out a change of pace, passing down role in the Redskins offense. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones certainly present challenges in terms of volume for Thompson but I believe the Falcons open things up and turn this one into a track meet. Washington will likely be without Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson and Kirk Cousins has a tendency to look short to intermediate so Chris Thompson should be heavily involved, on a face track, in space.
- The Detroit Lions have had a rough go of it and Ameer Abdullah ($6,100/$4,100) has been quiet since his eye-popping debut in Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers. The Arizona Cardinals don’t exactly provide for a favorable matchup but that’s part of the reason why you should find a spot for him this week in your DFS lineups. The Cardinals stop the run on the way to the quarterback and their aggressiveness leaves them susceptible to the big play. That being said their last line of defense is very good and typically win in the open field. But, as evidenced by Todd Gurley’s 2nd half performance last week they lose some too. Theo Riddick has dominated passing down work to this point but with the injury to Joique Bell, Abdullah is being featured on early downs. I also think Abdullah will see additional looks in the passing game simply because he is too dynamic not to be used in that manner. Additionally, tight end Brandon Pettigrew is expected to return from injury. He will provide a much needed boost to the Lions’ ability to run the football. I have a sneaking suspicion Abdullah gets to the 2nd and 3rd levels of the defense on more than one occasion at which point good luck defense.
- I certainly hope you haven’t forgotten about Dion Lewis ($6,900/$4,800) in New England. The Patriots were on a bye in Week 4 and Lewis frankly wasn’t needed in New England’s blowout win over the Jaguars in Week 3. The return of LeGarrette Blount may scare most off but Dion Lewis’ role in New England is secure. Why? Because he has the Bill Belichick’s trust. Even more telling than his signing of a 2-year contract extension with the Pats, he wasn’t benched after losing a fumble against the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. I don’t recall any running back having that kind of leash (no matter Blount’s suspension) in New England. The Patriots are the best at exploiting the opposition’s weaknesses. Dallas struggles to rush the passer (defend the pass) and tackle in the open-field. Lewis only trails Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman in targets for the Pats and I expect New England to spread Dallas out and attack through the air. Even if Sean Lee and Rolando McClain play they will have their hands full with Gronk. Dion Lewis is going to have a big day.
- The Bears receiving corps. has been a veritable M.A.S.H. unit. Assuming that Alshon Jeffery will miss yet another game and many are expecting the Chiefs’ 27th ranked pass defense to get on track at Arrowhead (including myself) Marquess Wilson ($4,800/$3,400) presents an intriguing, risky, and more importantly relatively unknown option at receiver. If, and that’s a substantial IF, the Bears offensive line can hold up Wilson can get over the top of K.C.’s defense while they are preoccupied with Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and Eddie Royal. He’s currently averaging 16.6 yards per catch.
- Brandin Cooks has been one of the biggest disappointments in Fantasy Football this season. I personally haven’t selected him in any of my DFS Lineups since Week 2 (although that may change this week). His 20/215/0 line leaves a lot to be desired and his involvement in the offense has been meager from a targets/play-calling perspective despite leading the team in targets. He could very well be going through a sophomore slump. Not to mention Drew Brees doesn’t appear to be able to push the ball down the field quite like he once did. Therefore, I’m not recommending Cooks, instead I present to you rookie wideout Willie Snead ($5,300/$3,000). Snead leads the Saints in receiving yardage (240) and outside of running backs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller has been the only player to provide an explosive play for the Saints.
- The Bucs and the Jaguars are two incredibly flawed teams. Jacksonville hasn’t won a road game in their last 11 attempts nor has Tampa Bay won a home game in their last 11 attempts. Something has to give right? Yep! Both teams’ respective secondary will give up the booty. I’m of the mindset that many believe this will be an ugly, low scoring affair. Certainly with sketchy offensive lines and turnover prone quarterbacks that is a distinct possibility. In fact, I don’t necessarily disagree with the masses but I do believe both offenses will move the football with regularity. Will they stub their toes with penalties and turnovers? Certainly. But for Allen Robinson ($6,300/$5,500), Allen Hurns ($6,100/$4,500) and Vincent Jackson ($6,800/$5,000) it’s going to be easy money. Robinson is averaging a league best 22.0 yards per reception. Blake Bortles is completing 73% of his passes when targeting Allen Hurns. The Jags’ young receiving duo is one of two pairs of receivers in the NFL ranked among the Top 16 players in receiving yards through four weeks (Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders) and they get to face a pair of castoffs in Tim Jennings and Mike Jenkins. They are in line for big days. Vincent Jackson appears to be the only healthy pass catcher that has a rapport with Jameis Winston as teams look to take Mike Evans’ big play ability out of the equation. I expect Jackson to continue to be heavily targeted by Winston after receiving 15 targets last week on his way to a 10/147/1 line.
- As you proceed to set your DFS lineups don’t gloss over the Buffalo at Tennessee matchup. The Bills have a litany of injuries to key players on offense and the Titans are a far cry from the team we saw in Week 1. However, there is one player in particular that I believe will have a BIG game and will largely be an afterthought in the minds of your competitors. That player is Kendall Wright ($5,900/$5,400). Teams have largely punted on running the football against the Buffalo Bills but have still managed to find success. Clearly, the Bills defense is getting acclimated to Rex Ryan’s system and the league has taken notice. Opposing offenses are spreading Buffalo out and getting the ball out quickly. The vaunted Bills D-Line has 7 sacks tied for 19th in the NFL, well below everyone’s expectations. That being said I expect the Bills to put Marcus Mariota on his back several times. However, Wright and Mariota have developed quite a rapport. Mariota’s quick release and Wright’s ability to get in-and-out of his cuts in a hurry allows him to get open quickly. And once Wright has the ball in his hands he has the ability to make defenders miss in the open-field. It just so happens that the Bills have struggled in terms of open-field tackling. Odell Beckham Jr. had a quiet game (by his standards) against Buffalo last week but it was evident Buffalo game planned for him. Dwyane Harris and Rueben Randle reaped the benefits. I don’t think Wright will command that kind of attention from Rex Ryan or other DFS participants. Don’t overlook him.
- Sunday Night’s matchup between the 49ers and Giants figures to be an Odell Beckham Jr. showcase. However, if you’re looking for a receiver in this contest slightly off the radar look no further than Rueben Randle ($5,900/$4,400). Randle is coming off back-to-back games in which he caught a TD pass and appears to be getting healthier. There doesn’t appear to be a firm timetable for Victor Cruz’s return so Randle remains in all two wideout sets. The 49ers had better roll coverage to Beckham so I expect Randle to take advantage of man-to-man coverage in this matchup. The 49ers have struggled to stop the #2 receiver in multiple contests this season allowing strong statistical performances by Darrius Heyward-Bey, James Jones and John Brown.
- The Monday Night game features two poor defenses and star power on offense. However, the masses are all too familiar with who the mainstays are including the return of Antonio Gates from suspension. By no means am I suggesting you ignore the known quantities but you may want to invest in Malcolm Floyd ($5,400/$3,500) too. Floyd is a 34-year-old deep threat, a bit of an oxymoron. However, it’s true. When Phillip Rivers looks to push the football down the field, he’s targeting Floyd. Stevie Johnson will miss this game due to injury so Floyd is slated for an increased role. I wouldn’t be surprised if Floyd gets behind the opposition for a couple of scores as the Steelers scramble to lineup and defend Allen, Gates and Danny Woodhead.
- A cautionary tale at the tight end position. It has been well-documented how the tight end position has torched the Oakland Raiders for 4 straight weeks. Tyler Eifert, Crockett Gillmore, Gary Barnidge and Martellus Bennett have all had big reception and yardage totals against the Raiders and each has scored a least 1 TD in those contests. I expect Owen Daniels ($4,900/$2,700) to catch a TD pass for the 3rd straight week in Denver’s matchup with the Oakland but he’s averaging 3 receptions and just over 15 yards receiving per game. He doesn’t have the speed to get up the seam, nor does Peyton Manning have the arm strength to consistently push the football down the field. Peyton also appears adverse to targeting the tight end position, only looking to the TE on 16.9% of his pass attempts . Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will continue to soak up targets and I believe the Broncos will make a concerted effort to establish some consistency in the running game which means more Virgil Green and less Owen Daniels. Will he have value? Yes. Will he be the player that puts your over the top in DFS? I wouldn’t count on it.
- I like the Bengals Defense ($4700/$2800) a lot this week hosting the Seahawks for a 1 p.m. EST kickoff. Short week for a banged up Seahawks offense sans Marshawn Lynch. Seattle couldn’t pass protect at home and they are going to struggle to do so on the road against Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and company. Cincinnati has been susceptible to the big play in recent weeks but outside of sparingly used Tyler Lockett, Seattle doesn’t have much big play ability to speak of. I’m willing to wager that most still don’t believe in Cincinnati as a whole, so work against the grain and reap the benefits.
- Perhaps this one is a bit obvious, but I imagine many will overthink the matchup considering how well Cleveland’s offense played in Week 4. Let’s face it, the Ravens Defense ($4,500/$2,900) looks bad. Defense is historically this organization’s calling card, but too much talent has either walked out the door, retired or is on the shelf with injury. However, the Ravens routinely own the Cleveland Browns. Having last played on October 8th, I anticipate the Ravens have righted some of their flaws defensively. Josh McCown didn’t exactly flip a switch and become a good QB overnight. Don’t shy away from Baltimore.