For the fantasy football player, success in daily fantasy formats comes down to your ability to find value, to identify players who are faced with great matchups, and to maximize the relationships among the players on your roster (otherwise known as correlation). In other words, what are this week’s best buys on the fantasy football schedule?
Each week, I’ll go through each offensive position and give you a few players I’m considering for my head-to-head lineups, as well as some of the better team defenses for you to select in order to round out those fantasy rosters. These are usually players who are getting as much volume as possible, while also coming in at value prices. I’ll also include some players I’m considering for my tournament pool play. And while things may change between this posting and game time, I’ll do whatever I can to keep people updated on my various social media channels all the way up until kickoff on Sunday.
With all of that in mind, here are my favorite plays for Week 5.
Josh Allen ($8,200 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel), Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Bills rank first overall in both pass rate and pass rate over expectation coming into a game where they are 14-point favorites. There’s a possibility that this game gets out of hand and the Bills run away with it, but in the case where that happens, Allen will likely already have amassed such a monstrous total (due to the Bills’ offensive tendencies) that he will be well worth the price in tournaments.
Tom Brady ($6,000 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel), Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are allowing the fourth-highest deep-completion percentage this season and Tampa Bay’s WR corps is finally at full strength with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans both expected to be back in the lineup for Week 5. The Buccaneers rank fifth in pass rate, throwing the ball 67.8% of the time. This price is entirely too cheap considering the change in status of the players on the other end of his passes.
Trevor Lawrence ($5,600 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel), Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans: Lawrence is progressing quite nicely in his second year as a starting quarterback in the NFL, and I’m willing to throw away the game log from his Week 4 performance against Philadelphia. The Eagles are an extremely tough defense to have success against and that game was played in a monsoon with 20-plus mph winds. Lawrence’s Week 5 matchup is much softer and his fantasy points per attempt are up 81.5% from last season. As a result of the increased efficiency, he already has more red zone passing touchdowns through four weeks this year (8) than all of last season (7).
Teddy Bridgewater ($5,400 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel), Miami Dolphins at New York Jets: The Jets have allowed 5.9% of all passes against them to result in touchdowns, the fifth-highest number in the league. Bridgewater has thrown multiple TD passes in three of his last five starts when his team has been the favorite.
Austin Ekeler ($7,800 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel), Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns: The Browns are allowing the fourth-most yards per carry before contact to opposing running backs, and are also below-average on yards allowed after first contact. Ekeler’s snap count is down from last season, in an attempt by the Chargers to keep him healthier over the course of an 18-week season, yet he still leads all running backs in both catches and receiving yards this year.
Leonard Fournette ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel), Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Fournette played on his lowest snap count in Week 4 with Rachaad White garnering the inside-the-five carries and playing on over 35% of RB snaps. Even so, Fournette has still logged 80.9% of Tampa Bay’s RB touches through four weeks. With four-plus targets in three straight games and multiple catches in all four games, Fournette provides a safe floor with massive TD upside as Tampa Bay comes into Week 5 as a huge favorite against the Falcons.
James Robinson ($6,300 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel), Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans: Go with running backs against Houston. Go with running backs against Houston. Go with running backs against Houston. Did I mention we are going to be going with running backs against Houston? The Texans are allowing over 5.0 yards per carry to running backs and have allowed five RB rushing touchdowns, with only the Lions allowing more. Robinson saw a downturn in terms of his usage in Week 4 in a blowout, but Jacksonville is 7.5 point favorites heading into Week 5. A return to his workload from the previous three weeks is expected. Plus, Robinson has 13 red zone touches while no other member of the Jaguars has seen more than six.
Jeff Wilson Jr. ($5,500 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel), San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers: While Carolina’s defense does look like it’s showing some improvement, the Panthers have allowed the fourth-most red zone drives this season. San Francisco ranks third in red zone rush rate, running the ball on 69.7% of snaps in the final 20 yards of the field. Wilson has shown explosiveness as the starter this season, with a 30-plus yard carry in two consecutive games. He has also seen multiple targets in three out of the four games this year.
Breece Hall ($5,400 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel), New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Hall has seen his snap count and touch share increase in both of the last two weeks, which could be a signal that he’s taking over the Jets’ RB1 job. Miami is a strong defense on paper. However, the Dolphins have allowed 6.2 yards per play, fifth-most in the league. Hall has had at least six targets or a TD catch in all four games this season and has added a 14-plus yard run over the same span. The bottom line with Hall is that the price is still too low. It has not risen enough to match his new role on the Jets.
Field Yates breaks down why the number of targets and snaps is a good sign for Breece Hall to produce in fantasy.
Cooper Kupp ($9,600 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel), Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys: Kupp is to 2022 as Christian McCaffrey was to 2019 — which is to say that, in spite of the inflated salary, no other player in the league has as much of a chance to pay off without scoring a touchdown as is Kupp. In his last 17 games (playoffs included), Kupp has totaled 157 catches on 199 targets, with 15 touches on 35 red zone targets. No player in the league has gotten the amount of service that he has, all of which plays directly into the “full-PPR with bonuses” scoring system on DraftKings. Play Kupp with confidence in cash or tournaments.
Mike Evans ($6,900 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel), Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Chris Godwin ($5,900) is a value this week at his price point, but Evans is where I want to go for TD upside on the Buccaneers. Atlanta has allowed 16 red zone drives this season, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. Evans has logged multiple end zone targets in three of his last four games, the only exception being Week 2 against New Orleans. Last season, in two games against the Falcons, Evans totaled 19 targets, 174 yards, and two touchdowns.
Chris Olave ($5,700 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel), New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks: Olave playing against the Seahawks is a situation where the rubber meets the road. Seattle is allowing a league-high 13.1 yards per completion and 6.7 yards per play. Olave is running away with the air yards leaderboard, with 205 more air yards than any other receiver. The rookie has logged a 30-plus yard catch in three straight games and Seattle has allowed 480 yards this season on deep passes, third-highest in the league. I love it when the puzzle pieces all fit together.
Tyler Lockett ($5,600 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel), Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints: The Saints are allowing 6.7 yards after the catch per slot reception. Lockett has been very productive this year, seeing 34.1% of his targets and 36.4% of his receptions when he lines up in the slot. DK Metcalf will get a lot of attention from the Saints defense, coming off of a massive week against the Lions — and that likely means Marshon Lattimore. That leaves Lockett with the more beneficial CB matchup.
Liz Loza says Tyler Lockett’s target average is enough for him to be a solid WR option.
Tyler Higbee ($4,300 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel), Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys: Higbee has thrived in the Rams offense in the absence of Van Jefferson, totaling 38 targets, 26 catches, and 244 yards. That puts his numbers right in line with Mark Andrews. Higbee has been targeted on 28.1% of his routes (10th-best across all poisitons) which compares favorably to Travis Kelce (28.2%).
David Njoku ($3,800 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel), Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Njoku has emerged as the secondary target-getter on the Browns behind Amari Cooper. Njoku has seen 16 targets and reeled in 14 catches over the last two weeks. The Chargers are allowing a touchdown on 6.2% of all passes, third-most in the NFL.
Pat Freiermuth ($4,100 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel), Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills: Only three tight ends have multiple games with seven targets and 75 yards: Kelce, Andrews and “The Muth.” The Steelers are massive underdogs this week, which can be an encouraging thing. The NFL average pass rate while trailing this season is 67.7%, as opposed to 54.2% when playing with a lead.
Liz Loza would rather have Pat Freiermuth over Kyle Pitts as the Steelers tight end is running more routes.
Evan Engram ($3,100 DraftKings $4,900 FanDuel), Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans: It’s entirely possible that I’m just “wish casting” with Engram, as his price continues to fall while his route running stays constant. Engram is not on the field to block and is running routes on 78% of Jaguars’ dropbacks — which is the fifth-best mark at tight end. The Texans are a bottom-five team in terms of time of possession, and Jacksonville is in the top 10, so trying to take advantage of an Engram bounce-back game when everyone else has abandoned ship? That’s perfect for me in tournaments.
Miami Dolphins ($3,200 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel), at Jets
Tennessee Titans ($3,000 DraftKings, $4,200 FanDuel), at Commanders
Dallas Cowboys ($2,500 DraftKings, $4,100 FanDuel), at Rams
Disclaimer: Al Zeidenfeld (Username: Al_Smizzle) plays on his personal account in games for which he offers advice. He may also deploy different players/strategies than what he advises.