Week 5 FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice, strategy for GPP tournaments
Last week’s FanDuel core plays didn’t pay off as we hoped GPP tournaments. Austin Ekeler was a great start, but everyone was on him against the Dolphins. We needed Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett and Phillip Dorsett to deliver, and they definitely didn’t. Thank goodness there are new daily fantasy football contests each week because we’ve got another chance coming up to right our NFL DFS ship in Week 5.
If you’re new to this article, we pick four players every week we’ll be overweight in our lineup builds. Then, we give an example of how we’d fill in around them in tournaments. Our “Core Four” this week is Matt Ryan, Aaron Jones, Will Fuller V, and Auden Tate. This isn’t an “optimal lineup”, but it’s an example of one you could build if you start with our “Core Four”. If you’re looking for more great NFL, NBA, or MLB, or PGA DFS advice, check me out on Twitter (@DFSBenj).
FanDuel Picks Week 5: NFL DFS example lineup
CORE PLAY: QB Matt Ryan, Falcons @ Texans ($7,700)
This is a tricky week for quarterbacks on FanDuel. There aren’t a lot of great spend-down options at the position, and most of the high-end choices are in tough matchups. However, there are two quarterbacks who are standing out at first glance and both come in the Falcons-Texans matchup. Deshaun Watson and Ryan are great options in a game that has serious shootout potential with the highest total on the main slate at 48.5 points.
Between the two, I’m slightly giving the edge to Ryan, although I still love Watson in all formats if you can find the extra $300 in salary. What’s drawing me to Ryan is the Falcons have shown zero ability to run the ball this season, which has led to Ryan averaging 44 passing attempts per game. Ryan has parlayed that passing volume to more than 300 yards passing in all four games this season, which gives him one of the most secure floors on the slate. I fully expect his touchdown numbers to positively regress after he was shut out last week at home against a stingy Titans defense. While the Houston defense is by no means a pushover, they are solidly in the middle of the pack and aren’t a team that I’m going to avoid, especially with the high total of this game.
CORE PLAY: RB Aaron Jones, Packers @ Cowboys ($6,800)
There are a lot of great options at the running back position this week. You can comfortably spend up on Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara, but for my core play, I’m going to go with the value option and save those top-end options for the example lineups.
Jamaal Williams left Thursday night’s game with a nasty looking head injury, and his status for Week 5 is extremely questionable. If Williams is forced to miss the game, which looks likely at this point, then the Packers backfield is the Jones show. I love Jones at his $6,800 price, and he should push for 20-25 touches with Williams out of the lineup. If he gets that kind of volume, then Jones is the top overall point per dollar play on the slate at his price point. In six career games with more than 15 touches, Jones has averaged 20.4 fantasy points, which is good for a FanDuel plus-minus of plus-10.4. Sure, the matchup with the Cowboys in Dallas is a tough one for running backs, but volume trumps matchup in every situation, and this is setting up to be a career volume day for Jones with the Packers possibly missing both Williams and top WR Davante Adams.
RB Dalvin Cook, Vikings @ Giants ($8,200)
Cook has just as much upside as Ezekiel Elliott does for Week 5, but should come in at lower ownership despite a better matchup against the Giants.
CORE PLAY: WR Will Fuller V, Texans vs. Falcons ($5,700)
Fuller has undoubtedly been disappointing this season. We haven’t seen him have one of the explosive games that he has been known for during his career, but if there was ever a get-right spot for Fuller, it’s this week at home against a porous Falcons passing defense in the highest total game on the slate. Fuller has slate-breaking upside at his $5,700 price point on FanDuel.
While anyone casually looking at the box scores will likely overlook Fuller, a deeper dive suggests that he should have some positive regression coming his way. Deshaun Watson just missed Fuller on a deep pass last week that would have been a walk in 75-yard touchdown, and two weeks ago, Watson again missed Fuller with a seemingly easy 35-yard touchdown against the Chargers. The matchup couldn’t be much better against the Falcons, who were just lit up at home by A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. Atlanta will be without their best player in the secondary in Keanu Neal for the rest of the season, and we saw how badly they struggled without him when he was out of the lineup for the entirety of the 2018 season. I love the Watson-Fuller stack this week, as well as running Fuller in Matt Ryan-Julio Jones or Calvin Ridley lineups.
CORE PLAY: WR Auden Tate, Bengals vs. Cardinals ($5,300)
I’m admittedly a Florida State homer, so seeing a former Seminole in Tate getting an opportunity at the NFL level is great to see. Tate has seen his role in the Bengals offense rise over the first few weeks of the season, and he will slot into the No. 2 receiver role in the Bengals offense in a perfect matchup against the Cardinals at home if John Ross misses this week after suffering a shoulder injury on Monday night.
Tate is a red-zone monster with his 6-5 frame, and he has great speed for a big wide receiver. Tate has 16 targets over the last two weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him approach or surpass 10 target should Ross be ruled out. The matchup could not be any better for Tate and the rest of the Bengals offense against a Cardinals team that inflates opposing offenses given their pace of play. I don’t see the Bengals having the same pass protection issues that they had on Monday night against the Steelers against a bad Cardinals pass rush, which should lead to QB Andy Dalton having a week that more resembles this production from Weeks 1-3 rather than his dud in Week 4.
WR Julio Jones, Falcons @ Texans ($6,200)
I’m going to Julio Jones with Ryan in this lineup, and I see a nice bounce-back week for Jones in this spot. He had a tough week last week against the Titans, but the targets are always going to be there for him and the Texans passing defense is nowhere near as strong as the Titans. It’s hard to tell where Jones’ ownership will fall, but he is a guy to play in GPPs every single week regardless of ownership.
TE O.J. Howard, Buccaneers @ Saints ($5,400)
I realize that Howard has been a huge disappointment this season, but his big-play upside is impossible to ignore at his $5,400. There aren’t many tight ends that can take a pass 70 yards to the house like Howard can, and we have seen the Saints scheme to funnel targets to the inside thus far this season. Howard will be extremely low owned, and he can more than pay off his salary even with low projected volume.
FLEX Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. Jaguars ($9,100)
McCaffrey is an elite talent with elite usage playing at home this week. He’s in both my cash and GPP lineups because he’s just too good to ignore.
D/ST Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Saints ($3,500)
The defense may raise some eyebrows, but the Buccaneers are an excellent value at $3,500. Their defense under new defensive coordinator Todd Boles is getting after opposing quarterbacks, and Shaq Barrett is the Defensive Player of the Year through the first quarter of the season. Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater looked brutal last week against the Cowboys, and the Bucs will be able to put the pressure on him and force him into mistakes.