DraftKings NFL: Week 5 Picks
DraftKings NFL: Week 5 Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

This week's 12-game main slate features only one with a total over 47.5, the Falcons at the Texans at 50.0, while five games are 42.5 or below on FanDuel Sportsbook as of early Friday afternoon.

There are a number of injury situations that could open up some tremendous values for cash games and GPPs, though we're not left with a plethora of games that look fun to stack.

RUNNING BACKS

David Johnson, ARI at CIN ($7,500): The case for Johnson is quite simple: he is the primary running back on a team facing a Cincinnati defense that's been gouged by running backs this season, including a league-high 30 catches for 285 receiving yards and three touchdowns, and he comes in after catching eight of 11 targets for 99 yards last week against Seattle. Add in that the Cardinals vs. Bengals game has the second-highest total thanks, in part, to the Cardinals' high pace, and the only reason to not like Johnson is that he's had almost zero success rushing the ball in the past three games, needing 29 carries to reach 91 yards. He could be the highest-owned running back in cash games and GPPs, especially because he makes a lot of sense in a game stack.

Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. JAX ($8,700): The Jaguars have had good numbers against running backs this season, though the rushing attacks of the four teams they've faced – Chiefs, Texans, Titans, Broncos – aren't exactly known for their high-powered backfields. McCaffrey's usage is simply impossible to ignore, as he led the league in carries (86), rushing yards (411), running back targets (31) and running back receptions (25) while sitting third in running back receiving yards through four weeks. He's played 272 of the Panthers' 277 snaps this season, and he's on pace to break the single-season scrimmage yards record of 2,509 set by Chris Johnson in 2009. McCaffrey is the most expensive running back on the slate, and you can make very strong arguments for Dalvin Cook ($8,400) on the road against the Giants and Ezekiel Elliott ($8,300) at home against the Packers, but McCaffrey's usage trumps them both, whether the Panthers are leading or clawing their way back into games.

Jaylen Samuels, PIT vs. BAL ($4,100): Samuels could actually supplant Johnson as the highest-owned running back in cash games if James Conner ($6,200) is ruled out because of the ankle injury that held him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. There is an expectation that Conner plays, and Samuels really shouldn't be anything but a long-shot GPP option if that's the case, but the potential workload at this price if he's the starter will be too good to pass up for most people, even with a number of higher-priced running backs worth playing and some correspondingly cheaper wide receivers to help fit them in. If Conner is able to play, Chris Thompson ($4,600) is an interesting choice with the expectation Washington will need to pass their way back into the game against New England, while Jordan Howard ($5,100) could be used heavily against the Jets. Unfortunately, Miles Sanders ($4,500) is always lurking, which makes Howard less reliable, and while the situation is a little similar with Tampa Bay's Ronald Jones ($4,600) and Peyton Barber ($4,300), Jones seems to be widening the gap between them.

WIDE RECEIVERS

DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs. ATL ($7,800): Hopkins has had three straight sub-par games after his eight-catch, 113-yard, two-touchdown Week 1 explosion against New Orleans. However, the Falcons vs. Texans game has the highest total on the slate and Hopkins is the easiest path to the Texans' passing game (other than Deshaun Watson, of course). Despite some relatively poor showings, Hopkins is still seventh in the NFL in air yards while leading the Texans in targets, receptions and receiving yards. A full game stack could get expensive, though it's likely to be a popular one, with Will Fuller ($4,500) seemingly ready to break out, posting a 17.4 aDOT and 400 air yards despite catching just 14 of 23 passes for 183 yards. On the other side, Julio Jones ($7,700) has just one fewer air yard and reception than Hopkins but 58 more receiving yards, and teammate Calvin Ridley ($4,900) actually leads the Falcons with a 14.7 aDOT. If there's a negative to this game stack it's that it'll likely be popular, especially with a cheap quarterback option (more on him later).

Auden Tate, CIN v. ARI ($3,500): Tate figures to get more targets now that John Ross has been ruled out for six-to-eight weeks because of a shoulder injury, though Tate isn't remotely close to as fast as Ross, so the downfield upside isn't really there. Tyler Boyd ($6,500) is really the biggest beneficiary, as he's already a reliable member of the Bengals' passing game and now faces a Cardinals team that wants to push the pace. The downside to Tate and Boyd is that you're relying on Andy Dalton ($5,700) to get them the ball, and any consideration for Boyd has to make you think about the Saints' Michael Thomas at just $100 more, even with Teddy Bridgewater ($5,200) under center.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB at DAL ($5,600): With Davante Adams ($7,600) potentially sitting out because of a toe injury, Valdes-Scantling could be the no. 1 receiver for Aaron Rodgers in a game they may need to score points in to keep up with the Cowboys. Dallas' defensive numbers against wide receivers look good through four weeks, but the gauntlet of quarterbacks they've faced help explain part of that story: Eli Manning, Case Keenum, Josh Rosen and Teddy Bridgewater. Aaron Rodgers is obviously much better than those four, and while the Packers may focus on the run a bit more, playing catch-up means Rodgers throwing the ball. The game's 46.5-point total isn't that high, but both offenses can put up points and Valdes-Scantling's price keeps him firmly in play.

QUARTERBACKS

Matt Ryan, ATL at HOU ($5,900): Ryan has thrown for more than 300 yards in all four games this season, including multiple touchdowns in the first three. He's $800 cheaper than opposing quarterback Deshaun Watson, but the two will be facing off in the game with the highest total and neither team likes to rely on their running backs. As mentioned above, stacking this game is likely to be a popular move, with the only real differentiating points being the players from other games you include in your lineup. If you're paying down for a quarterback, there's a case to be made for both Andy Dalton ($5,700) and Philip Rivers ($5,800), with the former a play because of his matchup and the latter because he's thrown for more than 290 yards in four games, including multiple touchdowns in three, and they are both home favorites.

Lamar Jackson, BAL at PIT ($7,100): With Patrick Mahomes not on the main slate, Jackson takes over as the most expensive quarterback, costing $400 more than Watson and $600 more than Tom Brady. After rushing for just six yards in his season-opening domination of the Dolphins when he threw for five touchdowns, Jackson has gotten back to racking up fantasy points on the ground, rushing for 232 yards in three games. Whether he does it with his arm or legs, the matchup against the Steelers isn't one that should be avoided, with the only issue being that his style of play doesn't make it particularly easy to stack around him, especially with the Ravens struggling to find a way to get the ball in Marquise Brown's hands more often.

TIGHT ENDS

Zach Ertz, PHI vs. NYJ ($6,000): With no Travis Kelce or George Kittle, Ertz is at the top of the tight end salary scale, though it's not by much ahead of Evan Engram ($5,800) and Darren Waller ($5,000) despite a significantly better matchup. The Jets' defensive stats against tight ends look good, but you can't ignore that they've played the Bills, Browns and Patriots, three teams that really don't utilize their tight ends in the passing game as much as the Eagles do with Ertz and Dallas Goedert ($2,900). Given the overall lack of impact tight ends on the slate, Ertz figures to be very popular in cash games and GPPs, even at a price that's nearly double that of the tight end who could be higher owned than him.

Tyler Eifert, CIN vs. ARI ($3,300): Eifert is the answer to the question of "which tight end is facing the Cardinals this week?" We ask that question because the Cardinals have allowed 117.1 fantasy points to the position through four games, with Tampa Bay the next highest at 84.50. The 32.6-point difference between the Cardinals and Bucs is more than the difference between the Bucs and Washington, who have allowed the 14th-most fantasy points to tight ends. Needless to say, it's a spot worth targeting. You can make the very reasonable argument that Eifert is not nearly as good as T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, Greg Olsen and Will Dissly, the four tight ends the Cardinals have faced this season, but his low salary helps alleviate that concern. Even though he's likely to be very highly owned in cash games, fading Eifert really shouldn't be all that dangerous, as a monster game by Eifert is probably about 15 fantasy points, a figure that can definitely be made up elsewhere.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Patriots at WAS ($4,300): I said on our weekly preview podcast that the Patriots defense might be the most under-priced "player" on the slate even though they are the most expensive defense. They come in having scored at least 10.0 fantasy points in every game this season, including two games with at least 25.0 because of defensive touchdowns. They haven't recovered a fumble yet, but they've intercepted 10 passes and recorded 18 sacks. They now face a Washington offense that could have Colt McCoy under center, though even if Case Keenum is healthy enough to start, he's plenty viable to play against. For those looking to pay down, the Panthers' matchup against Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars looks like an inviting one, and the $2,600 price for a defense with four turnovers and 14 sacks in the past two games looks like great value.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Andrew M. Laird plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kingmorland, DraftKings: andrewmlaird, Yahoo: Lairdinho.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew M. Laird
Andrew M. Laird, the 2017 and 2018 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's Head of DFS Content and Senior Soccer Editor. He is a seven-time FSWA award finalist, including twice for the Football Writer of the Year Award.
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