Welcome week 5. We are now entering the second month of the NFL season. I hope that September brought you success in Daily Fantasy Sports. Whether you are just beginning to experiment with DFS or you are a seasoned veteran, this article series can be useful. I will be looking at NFL players in Yahoo’s DFS format and selecting those that I believe are valuable at their current prices.

Note: The Thursday and Monday night games are not included in most Yahoo contests.

 

Scoring settings

1 point for 25 passing yards                       1 point for 10 rushing/receiving yards

0.5 points for a reception

4 points for passing touchdown                  6 points for rushing/receiving/return touchdowns

-1 point for an interception                       -2 points for a fumble lost

 

Lineup requirements

1 QB       2RB        3WR       1TE         1Flex(R/W/T)     1 DEF                     $200 budget

 

Home and Dome

There are a few elements that I look at in order to find the most desired matchups. There is what I call Home and Dome, teams that are playing at home with an indoor stadium. While October is too early to worry about snow games, wind can be a factor that can negatively impact passing offenses. Here are the three teams that play Home and Dome in week 5:

Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers

Some stats in this article are via StatRoute.com Use Promo Code GOINGFF to save 25%

Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys

New Orleans Saints vs Washington (Monday Night Game)

While I will not be looking exclusively at these Home and Dome matchups, it is something I consider strongly in my selections.

 

Quarterbacks

Deshaun Watson HOU, $31 vs DAL

Bart Boatwright / Greenville News

This week, the Falcons-Steelers game is the one to target in DFS. The Yahoo prices reflect this as Matt Ryan ($37) and Ben Roethlisberger ($39) are two of the most expensive QBs this week. I cannot fault anyone for investing in either QB, but I think it is a better idea to attack that matchup at other positions. Instead, I am looking to get a cheaper QB who still has a very high potential. In week 5, that QB is Deshaun Watson. For starters, he has a Home and Dome game which generated 26 fantasy points during his only game in Houston this season. Secondly, the Texans have the 10th highest Vegas over/under points spread (or implied total) with 24.5. Of the defenses facing teams with higher totals in the Sunday slate of games, only the Falcons and Steelers are allowing more fantasy points to QBs than the Cowboys. Watson struggled in week 1, but since then he has averaged 27.3 fantasy points. I expect that trend to continue against the Cowboys.

Joe Flacco BAL, $21 @ CLE

When looking for a value play at QB, look no further down the price list than Joe Flacco at $21. That is because the only starting QB with a lower price is Josh Allen at $20. The matchup may not look great at first glance as the Browns have only allowed an average of 15.24 fantasy points to QBs. However, Cleveland is coming off a game in which Derek Carr scored 33.58 fantasy points, more than double his previous 2018 season-high. Furthermore, the Ravens have an over/under of 25 in week 5. To get a QB with a higher implied point total, you have to pay up $27 to get Andy Dalton. While $6 may not seem like much, it may be the difference between being able to afford a top-tier RB/WR and settling for someone else.

 

Running Backs

Todd Gurley LAR, $39 @ SEA

Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports

This will probably be a selection that many DFS players will make, with good reason. Todd Gurley has scored at least 1 TD in every game this season. Even with a relatively difficult matchup, I expect Gurley to continue his productive pace. The Seahawks have allowed 15.43 fantasy points on average to RBs in 2018. They even held Ezekiel Elliott to a season-low 13.3 fantasy points. While this does not instill much confidence in Gurley, I trust the Rams offense much more than the Cowboys’. Even if Gurley was held to a season-low in fantasy points, that could be 22, which is still a pretty solid output.

Melvin Gordon LAC, $35 vs OAK

Similarly to Gurley, Melvin Gordon has been incredibly productive in 2018. However, unlike Gurley, Gordon appears to have a great matchup. The Raiders have allowed on average 23.55 fantasy points per game to RBs. The Chargers also have the third highest Vegas line with an over/under of 29.25 points. The only aspect working against Gordon is the fact that Oakland has also allowed a lot of fantasy points to WRs. Even so, if the Chargers score a significant amount of points, I expect Gordon to reap a respectable amount of that reward.

Christian McCaffrey CAR, $28 vs NYG

After Gurley and Gordon, I believe that the best RB play this week is Christian McCaffrey. He has a decent chance to produce high-end RB numbers but at a slight discount. The New York Giants are one of the 10 NFL teams to allow multiple receiving TDs to RBs this season. McCaffrey’s specialty is his pass-catching ability, therefore, this matchup lines up well for him. The Giants have allowed an additional 4 TD to RBs on the ground. McCaffrey has not scored a TD yet in 2018, but this may be the week where that changes. Even without any TDs, McCaffrey has still averaged 17.3 fantasy per game. The fact that he has gained at least 95 yards from scrimmage in every game really helps his fantasy outlook. In this 0.5 PPR format, McCaffrey is a very useful player to add to your lineups.

 

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown PIT, $38 vs ATL

As I mentioned earlier, I did not select Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger in order to get top-tier players at other positions. I expect this game to be a shootout and for the WRs to be the main beneficiaries. It is difficult to call a player who has averaged 14.9 fantasy points per game a disappointment, but that speaks to the level of production that Antonio Brown has attained over the last few seasons. I expect him to get back on track against a Falcons who have had some key injuries on their defensive unit. The only team with a higher implied point total than Pittsburgh’s 30 is the New England Patriots who play on Thursday night and are thus unavailable for the Sunday main slate.

Julio Jones ATL, $34 @ PIT

Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today Sports

Another player that has underperformed lofty expectations is Julio Jones. After only scoring 3 TDs in 2017, his end zone struggles have continued into 2018. Through 4 games, Jones has 0 TDs. I expect that drought to end this week against the porous Steelers secondary. Vegas’ projections for the Falcons is 27, the 7th highest implied point total this week. I do not expect Julio to get shutout in this shootout.

JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT, $30 vs ATL

Since I have outlined 2 WR in the Falcons-Steelers game, I might as well continue. JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of my favorite players to stack this week, mostly because of the numerous options to pair with him. You can load up on Steelers and play both Brown and Smith-Schuster. Perhaps even more appealing is to buy into the Vegas implied point total for the entire game (57). I would do that by stacking Smith-Schuster with Julio Jones, ensuring that no matter which team has the ball, there is a strong likelihood that my player is producing. Smith-Schuster actually has more fantasy points this season than Brown. While I eventually expect that to change, I am still going to rely on the magic of JuJu.

Keke Coutee HOU, $14 vs DAL

One of my favorite underrated stacks this week is QB Deshaun Watson and WR Keke Coutee. The rookie receiver had a delayed start to his NFL career as an injury kept him out of the Texan lineup for the first three games of the season. In week 4 however, Coutee arrived on the scene and made his presence felt. He gained 109 yards on 11 receptions in a game where fellow WR Will Fuller left due to an injury. Clearly, Watson had no problem trusting the rookie as he threw to Coutee 15 times. That was actually 3 more targets than DeAndre Hopkins received. If Fuller is forced to miss another game, look for Coutee to have another busy day.

 

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz PHI, $22 vs MIN

Rich Schultz / Getty Images

I have mentioned before that I am not a fan of spending large portions of my cap space at the TE position. The only thing as consistent as me writing that has been Zach Ertz getting double-digit targets in 2018. Regardless of who is playing QB, or what other pass-catching weapons the Eagles have on the field, Ertz has had between 10 and 14 targets every game. While he has yet to score a TD, Ertz finally got his first 100-yard game of the season last week. With Rob Gronkowski playing on Thursday night, and Travis Kelce facing a very difficult matchup, I have Ertz as the top TE in the Sunday slate. Paying $22 for the top dog is an acceptable price.

Jonnu Smith TEN, $10 @ BUF

If you are not paying up to get Ertz, you might as well pay down to the minimum. When looking at that level of player, I always want to go after the situations where TDs will likely be scored. An element that factors into TD chances is the amount of time a player spends on the field. In the 3 games since Delanie Walker‘s season-ending injury, Jonnu Smith has been on the field for no less than 91.9% of offensive snaps in a game. While that has not turned into TDs yet, he may get his breakout this week. The Bills have allowed the 8th most 0.5 PPR points to TEs but are bottom third in the league at points allowed to WRs. Therefore, the Titans may have to use the TE more often than they have been in the last few weeks.

 

Flex

T.J. Yeldon JAX, $22 @ KC

Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

As anyone watching Monday night would have noticed, the Chiefs defense is vulnerable to runs up the middle. That was against the Broncos offensive line, and the Jaguars unit is arguably better. With Leonard Fournette‘s injury keeping him out of the lineup this week, expect T.J. Yeldon to get a large workload. He has had at least 12 touches in every game this season. The fact that he is involved in the passing game means that Yeldon will not be taken out of the game if they fall behind. While I do not put him in the same tier as Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley, Yeldon has the potential to produce in a way that will help DFS players.

Dion Lewis TEN, $16 @ BUF

So far in 2018, teams have had a lot of success with RBs against the Bills. Buffalo actually allows the 8th most fantasy points per game to the position with 22.28 in 0.5 PPR formats. In most games this season, the Bills have gotten blown-out early and teams will then play it safe and keep the ball on the ground. While this game may appear to call for Derrick Henry to get a lot of carries, I believe Dion Lewis will actually be the more productive back. Only 4 teams have allowed more receptions to RBs than Buffalo and Lewis is the player the Titans prefer to use when they need to pass the ball. If the Bills to manage to put up points and make it a tight game, Lewis will have a much bigger role.

Ty Montgomery GB, $14 @ DET

I was very tempted to put Aaron Jones in this section. The matchup is prime as the 624 RB rushing yards that Lions have allowed is the most in the league and over 100 more than the next closest team. All that yardage has lead to Detroit allowing the 3rd most fantasy per game to RBs in 2018. These are great reasons to start Jones, but instead, I went with his teammate Ty Montgomery. There are several factors that weigh into that decision, but the price is the primary one. Of the three main Packers RBs, Montgomery is the least expensive. He also has a more consistent role in the passing game which could increase if both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison miss time. Furthermore, Montgomery has just as much of a chance to score a TD as he and Jones both got carries inside the 10-yard line last week. With both players being so similar, I prefer to save some money in order to maximize my options at other positions.

WR – Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB, $10 @ DET

Similarly to Montgomery, Marquez Valdes-Scantling will get a boost this week if other receiving options are absent. Valdes-Scantling actually got the start last week. Unfortunately, he did not produce that well, but that may be due to the fact that the Packers did not need to throw the ball that often. Facing a far better offense (sorry Bills) in the form of the Detroit Lions, Green Bay may need to use the aerial attack more often. That bodes well for the rookie WR, especially if Cobb and Allison are inactive.

 

Defense

Denver Broncos $15 @ NYJ

New York Jets rookie QB, Sam Darnold, had a decent start to his career. In his first NFL regular season game, a Monday Night contest, Darnold led his team to victory. The defense certainly helped by hauling in 5 INTs. With consistently good field position, Darnold managed to throw 2 TD passes, something that he has failed to do in every other game of 2018. In week 5, the Jets face a Broncos defense that just held the incredibly explosive Chiefs offense to a season-low in points. Denver’s deadly pass-rush will probably cause Darnold all sorts of problems. While some will pay all the way up for the Titans defense against the Bills, I prefer the pay less while still getting a matchup against a rookie QB.

Arizona Cardinals $12 @ SF

An even cheaper option on defense is the Arizona Cardinals unit. Last week, I wrote about the Los Angeles Chargers in this article. I outlined what I perceived to be a great matchup against the 49ers, in C.J. Beathard‘s first QB start of 2018. What occurred was 5 fantasy points scored for the Chargers defense that has a diminished pass-rush without Joey Bosa. In week 5, the Cardinals can take advantage of San Francisco mistakes, if they can pressure the QB. With Chandler Jones headlining the defense, I expect a better result than what the Chargers produced last week.

Thank you for reading. I hope that this DFS advice was sufficient enough to win you all some money. If it was not, there is a lot of great content on Going for 2 that you can check out. For any questions or comments, I can be found on Twitter @nyama_ks.

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