DRAFT Week 5 NFL Picks: Round by Round AnalysisBy Mark Dankenbring | Published: October 5, 2017 at 10:52 am
Weekly contests on draft.com feature a new format for DFS players. Instead of a salary-based selection process, DRAFT went back to the basics and implemented a live snake draft format for players. For weekly contests, players must draft 1 QB, 2 RBs, and 2 WRs/TEs. There is only one option with more than six players (10 players), meaning only 30 players are taken off the board in the majority of contests.
With just five rounds to draft and a 30-second pick clock, it’s important to know who you want before the clock starts ticking. Therefore, each week I’ll give you round by round advice, factoring in depth at each position to help you nail each and every pick in your draft. Let’s get started.
DRAFT Week 5 NFL Picks: Round by Round selection of 1 QB, 2 RB, and 2 WR/TE
Week 5 marks the third consecutive week we should target an RB1 in the first round. There’s a premier group this week consisting of Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Kareem Hunt, with outside options in a lower tier that you can pluck later on in the draft.
Le’Veon Bell gets a home matchup against a Jacksonville defense that’s allowed the second most rushing yards this season and an NFL-high 5.8 yards per carry. The Steelers are currently 8.5-point favorites, so gamescript should lead Bell to another huge workload after seeing 39 touches in Week 4. He’ll get plenty of usage against a weak run D, so he makes an easy first round pick and is worthy of the first overall selection this week.
It might be difficult to understand why I love Todd Gurley against a defense like the Seahawks, but Seattle has actually been vulnerable to the rush this year. They’ve allowed the fifth-most rushing yards through four weeks and have allowed the fourth-most yards per carry. Gurley has been a David Johnson-esque back under Sean McVay, as he’s seen 63 touches over the past two weeks and is a focal point in the passing offense. He’s seen 25 targets and has five catches in three of his four games this season. I love his chances of having another productive week against the Seahawks.
Zeke is next up on this list in a home matchup against the Packers. This will be a popular game to target in drafts due to its high point total (52) and bevy of fantasy stars. Elliott ran all over the Packers in their two meetings last season, racking up 282 rushing yards on 50 carries (5.64 yards-per-carry). He’s been less impressive thus far with his only 100-yard rushing game coming in Week 1, but Elliott’s usage in the passing game has elevated his floor this season. He’s caught 16 of 19 targets for 118 yards and has two red zone targets. Against a relatively weak defense (10th-most fantasy points allowed to RBs), I expect Zeke to eat on Sunday and prove worthy of a first round pick.
Kareem Hunt has the least favorable matchup of the top-tier backs, but his talent is undeniable. He’s the first rookie to reach 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first four games since Adrian Peterson did it in 2007. Quite the accomplishment for a rookie RB to be mentioned alongside AP. The Texans have been stingy against running backs, allowing the fourth-fewest points to the position. I’m confident in Hunt’s ability to buck that trend, however, as he’s shown he can make defenders miss and bust explosive plays.
Rounds 2 and 3
The middle two rounds are pretty much up for grabs this week depending on how your draft is going. Snagging a QB or WR/TE will likely be the play if you locked in an RB1 in the first, but place priority on the position that’s being plucked from the most. There are four QBs I see as worthy of a second or third round selection: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, and Jameis Winston.
Brady has been the QB1 through four weeks, racking up nearly 1,400 yards passing and 10 touchdowns. This game is set up to be a shootout with a week-high total of 54.5 and two defenses that have really struggled against the pass thus far. The Bucs are allowing the third-most points per game to opposing QBs and the second-most passing yards per game (better than only the Patriots). Brady should have no time carving up their defense on Thursday night, so feel free to snag him early on in your draft this week.
Rodgers is tied with Brady for the league lead with 10 touchdown passes, and will square off against a defense he exploited in Dallas last season. He notched 355 passing yards and two touchdowns in Jerry World last postseason. He’s thrown for 300 yards in three of his four games this season, with his only sub-300 performance coming in a four-touchdown game against the Bears last Thursday night. Dallas has allowed the 10th-most points to opposing QBs this season, so I’m confident in Rodgers’ ability to post another strong outing in Week 5.
The other side of this game will feature Dak Prescott at quarterback. He’s been no slouch to begin the season, currently sitting as the QB6 after four weeks. Prescott had great success against the Packers in their two matchups last season, totaling 549 passing yards and six touchdowns. The Cowboys have the highest team total of the weekend (27), so Prescott should have no problem finding fantasy success once again versus Green Bay.
Jameis Winston will be licking his chops heading into Thursday night. He gets to square off against a Patriots defense that’s allowed 324 passing yards per game and surrendered 32 points per game through four weeks. They’ve allowed 11 passing touchdowns, tied for most in the NFL. Winston has thrown for 660 yards and five touchdowns in his past two games, so this could be a blow-up spot for the third-year QB. He’s well worth a second-round pick.
Let’s talk about the WR/TE section now, as the second/third round is the perfect place to get your top guy. My favorite targets this week are Jordy Nelson, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, and TY Hilton. They should almost all be available in the second round with the potential for Allen/Hilton to stick around until round three. Again, you have to follow the own path of your draft and choose whoever fits best based on what your opponents are doing.
Nelson finds himself in a solid matchup against the Cowboys. They’ve allowed the 10th-most points to WRs, including five touchdowns to the position. Jordy has been a touchdown machine since the beginning of last season, hauling in 19 TDs in his last 20 games. The Packers will have to air it out in a projected high-scoring affair, especially if RB Ty Montgomery can’t suit up after suffering broken ribs in Week 4. Nelson has as good a chance as anyone to reach the end zone, so feel confident selecting him as your WR1.
Mike Evans might be in the best spot of any receiver this week. The Patriots have allowed the second-most receiving yards and second-most fantasy points to opposing WRs thus far. Evans has already seen 32 targets through three games, giving him a great opportunity to explode in Week 5. He’s had impressive touchdown production as well, hauling in 14 in his last 18 games. Evans is an easy choice for a WR1 this week.
Allen has shown what he’s capable of when healthy as he’s tallied 324 receiving yards and a touchdown through four weeks. He’s been Philip Rivers’ favorite target, having seen 40 already on the season. The Chargers have a tough road-matchup against the Giants, but Allen will likely avoid their best corner in Janoris Jenkins since Allen spends most of his time in the slot, and Jenkins rarely ventures in there. He’s a great candidate to receive 10+ targets again this week, and I like his ability to rack up yards as he’s averaged 13.5 yards per catch this season.
TY Hilton is one of my favorite plays of the weekend as he’ll have a home matchup against the porous San Francisco 49ers’ defense. The Niners have allowed the fifth-most points to WRs thus far. Hilton broke out at home in Week 3 in a favorable matchup against the Browns, so I like his chances to post a similar performance this week. He’s had two more weeks of practice with QB Jacoby Brissett and has seen 15 targets from Brissett over the last two weeks. I expect that number to be closer to 10 this Sunday, which further solidifies Hilton as a top WR play.
Rounds 4 and 5
We now have a WR/TE and RB spot to fill, and it doesn’t really matter what order you fill them in. Instead of separating by position, I’ll mix in both positions based on the value I think each player presents. My rankings for the last two slots are as follows: Bilal Powell, Dez Bryant, Melvin Gordon, Randall Cobb, and DeVante Parker.
Powell comes in as my favorite pick in these late rounds as he’ll travel on the road to face the Cleveland Browns (as long as Matt Forte is inactive). In five games without Forte, Powell has averaged 148 total yards and has finished as a top 10 running back in four of them. He saw 66% of running back snaps in Week 4, so he should see the dominant usage over Elijah McGuire once again. The Browns have yet to play an offensive snap with the lead this season, so I like New York’s chances of getting out to an early lead and pounding the rock with Powell, making him a great RB2 in your DRAFT lineups this weekend.
Dez Bryant is my favorite wide receiver likely to be left in round four. He absolutely went off in their playoff game against the Packers last season, hauling in nine of 12 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers return their entire secondary and added rookie Kevin King, so I’m optimistic Bryant can put together another stat-sheet-stuffing game in Week 5. He especially makes a great pick if you were able to get Dak Prescott in the earlier rounds, as Dak should look his way early and often on Sunday.
Melvin Gordon would be my next selection if Powell and Dez are gone, as he gets a solid matchup against the Giants. The G-Men have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing backs. Gordon was limited to just 11 touches last week as the Chargers were playing from behind the entire game, so I’m not too worried about his workload heading into Week 5. He’s seen 72% of running back touches thus far and has racked up three touchdowns, so he should see a solid workload against a weak run defense, making him a solid selection as a late RB2 this week.
Randall Cobb is just another player from the GB/DAL game to make this list. Dallas has struggled against slot receivers this season, giving up a 5-60-1 line to Cooper Kupp, 13-149-1 to Larry Fitzgerald, and a 7-44-0 to Sterling Shephard. It would be surprising to see Davante Adams play after suffering a concussion last Thursday, which only boosts Cobb’s stock this weekend. He’s been a top 30 WR each of the three games he’s played, so his floor is solid and he has a high ceiling against a defense that has been a turnstile for slot receivers thus far.
DeVante Parker is the last man to make this list and will almost assuredly be available in the fifth round. It’s hard to have faith in the Dolphins offense after they put up just six points in two weeks, but there’s not better slump-busting defense to face than the Titans. Tennessee has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing WRs thus far, including a league-high eight touchdowns to the position. Parker has seen at least eight targets in every game and finished as a WR3 or better in all three weeks. His upside is enormous against this defense, so I love taking a shot at him as the last pick.