With all of the top players at your disposal each week in daily fantasy football, it can be tough to decide between guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones when building your lineup. In this weekly article, I’ll take a look at guys on the upper or middle range of salaries at each position (“retail prices”), identifying my favorite plays for the week. Make sure to complement these players with “value plays,” and as always be mindful of the different strategies that apply for GPP versus Cash contests.
FanDuel and DraftKings NFL Week 5 Picks: Top QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs and D/ST
Aaron Rodgers (GB, FD: $9,500, DK: $8,100) at Dallas Cowboys
Rodgers should have no issues carving up a Dallas defense that’s allowed 270 passing yards per game and eight passing touchdowns in their last three games. Ty Montgomery will likely miss this Sunday due to broken ribs, causing the Green Bay offense to rely on Rodgers even more with only rookie running backs on the depth chart behind Montgomery. Rodgers has carried the Pack on his back, as Rodgers does, throwing for 300+ yards in his first three outings and totaling four TDs (on just 179 yards passing) in a blowout win against the Bears. He’ll have 10 days to prepare for Dallas’ defense, a team he posted 355 yards and two TDs against in the ’16 playoffs.
Dak Prescott (DAL, FD: $7,700, DK: $6,800) vs. Green Bay Packers
This will be a popular game for fantasy output, as it features the highest total of the weekend (52) by five points. Dak has a great matchup against a secondary he torched for 549 passing yards and six touchdowns in two games last season. He’s been in great (fantasy) form to begin the season, entering Week 5 as the QB6 in fantasy. The Cowboys have the highest team total of weekend at 27. Prescott has impressive numbers at home in his career, averaging 250 passing yards and 25 yards on the ground, with 15 passing and 5 rushing TDs in 10 home games. Rodgers is the only other QB with a higher floor, so I love Prescott this weekend as a cash game play, especially on FanDuel where he’s priced as the QB8.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT, FD: $9,500, DK: $9,500) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The dynamic Steelers back officially broke out in Week 4, piling up 186 total yards and two rushing TDs on 39 touches. It’s encouraging to see the production increase since the usage has been there (52 touches in Weeks 2-3), so we can continue to ride Bell now that he’s found a groove. He’ll take on a Jaguars defense that’s allowed the second-most rushing yards on a league-high 5.8 yards per carry (102-594-4). Pittsburgh enters Wednesday as 8.5-point home favorites with a team total of 27.3 (third-highest), so Bell should see plenty of action once again against a weak rushing defense. Bell makes for a great cash game and tournament play.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL, FD: $8,900, DK: $8,800) vs. Green Bay Packers
As I mentioned under Prescott, this is going to be a popular game to target for fantasy players. Zeke is the next man up on that list. He ran all over the Packers in their two meetings last season, tallying 282 rushing yards on 50 carries (5.64 ypc). Elliott’s rushing output hasn’t been as impressive through four weeks, but his involvement in the passing game has significantly increased, adding a new feature to his fantasy production. Zeke has caught 16 of 19 targets for 118 yards this season after catching just 32 passes all of 2016. He’s also excelled at home, averaging 134 total yards and a touchdown in 10 games at Jerry World. I love Zeke in all formats this weekend.
Todd Gurley (LAR, FD: $7,800, DK: $8,000) vs. Seattle Seahawks
It’s hard to discount what Gurley has done through four weeks as he’s racked up 596 total yards and seven touchdowns on 106 touches. Sean McVay has made Gurley a focal point of the offense by including him in the passing game more than ever before (20 catches this year after just 43 all of 2016). He’s also averaging more than a full yard per carry higher than last season as well (4.21 to 3.18), including a 4.81 yards per carry average if you exclude Week 1. Seattle has actually been vulnerable to the run this season, allowing the fifth-most rushing yards through four weeks. Gurley appears to be game flow-proof at this point so I’m comfortable using him in any circumstance, especially at home against against a Seahawks team struggling against the run.
Jordy Nelson (GB, FD: $8,600, DK: $8,100) at Dallas Cowboys
It’s tough to look away from Jordy this week with such a high team total, especially if Davante Adams ends up inactive due to a concussion. Even with just three games played, Nelson leads the NFL with five receiving touchdowns. He’s now caught 19 TDs in his last 20 games, and will face a Cowboys defense that’s allowed the 10th-most points to opposing WRs, including five touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers will need to air it out with the injury to Ty Montgomery, so look no further than Nelson when building lineups this weekend.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU, FD: $7,700, DK: $7,600) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Hopkins finished Week 4 as the top scoring PPR wide receiver and will look to replicate that success in a home matchup against the Chiefs. Kansas City has been relatively vulnerable to the pass so far this season, as they’ve allowed the eighth-most passing yards per game. Hopkins will be the clear focal point of Houston’s passing attack, as he’s seen 49 targets thus far, with the next closest receiver (Bruce Ellington) at just 13. The Texans’ top wide out should also avoid ballhawking CB Marcus Peters in coverage, as Peters stays on the left side of the defense while Hopkins has run only 28% of his routes on the right side. The Texans offense is running through Hopkins, so I’m eager to fire him up this Sunday at home.
T.Y. Hilton (IND, FD: $7,300, DK: $6,000) vs. San Francisco 49ers
I didn’t expect to be touting Hilton until Andrew Luck returned, but I’ve been impressed with Jacoby Brissett under center and think Hilton can exploit the Niners’ weak secondary. San Fran has allowed the fifth-most points to opposing WRs, including the fifth-most receptions, sixth-most yards, and third-most touchdowns. We saw Hilton dismantle the Browns’ defense with seven catches for 153 yards and a score in his last home matchup, so I’m confident in his ability to do that once again this week. He’s seen 15 targets in the last two weeks (six more than next closest WR), which makes me feel comfortable with his floor and more willing to roster him, plus he will probably remain relatively low-owned.
DeVante Parker (MIA, FD: $6,100, DK: $6,600) vs. Tennessee Titans
It’s hard to have any faith in the Dolphins offense after they’ve scored just six points against the Jets and Saints in the last two weeks, but they get another juicy matchup with the Titans in their first home game of the season. The Titans have been horrendous covering WRs this year as they’ve allowed the most fantasy points to the position. They’ve allowed eight receiving touchdowns to WRs through four weeks, along with the second-most receptions and seventh-most yards. Parker has seen at least eight targets in their three games and his finished as a WR3 or better every week. His floor is safe in this offense, and I think his ceiling is higher than normal in a home matchup against the most generous defense for wide receivers. I like his chances to reach the end zone and think he has a great chance to finish as a WR1 while other DFS-ers may shy away.
Charles Clay (BUF, FD: $5,700, DK: $4,800) at Cincinnati Bengals
Clay has been the Bills’ best option in the passing game thus far, and will continue to be now that WR Jordan Matthews is out for a month after needing thumb surgery. Tyrod Taylor has targeted Clay 25 times this season, the most on the team and eight more than the next closest WR/TE (Zay Jones). With Matthews now out, Clay becomes the only WR/TE with more than 60 receiving yards (he has 227). Cincinnati has been stingy against tight ends thus far, but Taylor doesn’t have anywhere else to turn on offense besides LeSean McCoy, so Clay’s usage should remain strong. His volume and ability as a pass-catcher make him a top option at TE this weekend.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ, FD: $5,500, DK: $3,500) at Cleveland Browns
It’s amazing to watch the Browns’ ineptitude against opposing tight ends. After allowing the most fantasy points to the position a season ago, Cleveland is behind only the Giants in that category this season. They just surrendered a 6-68-2 line to Tyler Kroft of the Bengals after Kroft entered the game without a five-plus catch or 50+ yard game in his three-year career. ASJ has been average thus far, turning in 5-31-0 and 4-46-0 performances in his first two games back from suspension. However, I expect the Browns to wake him up and showcase their inability to cover TEs once again on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills (FD: $4,600, DK: $2,600) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bills defense looks legit through four weeks as they’ve held opponents to just 13.5 points per game, the lowest in the league. They just showcased their skills by holding the Falcons to 17 points in Atlanta, so I’m not worried about them traveling on the road to Cincinnati. While Andy Dalton has cleaned up his act and avoided throwing an interception since his four-INT game in Week 1, he’s still taking plenty of sacks. He’s been taken down at least three times in every game this season, and the Bills have a very respectable 11 sacks through four games. I like their chances to keep the Bengals in check, so a few sacks and a turnover or three could make for another solid week for the Bills.