Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 5

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Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 5

As this column slowly evolves, I continue to find myself tweaking how I narrow down the field of selections I like, but it’s still all about including the players I feel particularly strong about for the week based on matchup, cost, or both. And sometimes, the week doesn’t line up well for that in terms of matchups. This is not a great week for matchups and calls, and we’re also dealing with some serious covid-19 issues that have been disruptive. So I’m not going to force the issue and list a ton of players just because. As usual, I’ve whittled the field down to the choice players I like.

Just because a player isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean I don’t like him for DFS. As always, check the DFS Projections to see how I think the players stack up, and also sort by FPS/$ to find the best values. I’ll also continue to include more low-end players. That may increase my risk of listing a guy who doesn't do squat, but most DFS lineups can get a huge boost by plugging in a dirt-cheap option who comes through, so I’ll continue to look for them.

QUARTERBACKS

Teddy Bridgewater (Car, at Atl - $5900 on DK and $7100 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on DK. The Cowboys have yet to give up fewer than 28 fantasy points to a QB this season with an average of 354 passing yards per game. Teddy is completing 73.0% of his passes with a strong 8.1 YPA, but he has only 4 TD passes. Atlanta is giving up 3.3 per game, though, and Teddy has plenty of weapons to take advantage of Atlanta if the Falcons want to give up TDs. Bridgewater is also now averaging 17.5 rushing yards a game. The new Panther coaching staff has done a great job putting Teddy in a position to succeed in terms of designing the offense and calling plays, so there’s every reason to believe he’s a top-10 QB this week. He will be popular, though.

Daniel Jones (NYG, at Dal - $5400 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s a considerably better value on DK. I don’t love backing this offense right now, but my goal with these picks is to be right, and if a player scores 3x his cost, I view that as being right. Jones, finally with a good matchup, is an excellent bet to hit that. He’s now averaging 34.3 rushing yards per game, as he’s been taking matters into his own hands lately with 94 yards on 11 carries the last two weeks. The Cowboys are allowing a league-high 0.65 fantasy points per pass attempt, and they are particularly weak against TEs and slot receivers, so I like Evan Engram and Golden Tate as well. They are also giving up the fourth-most FPG to outside receivers and it would be more if the Rams and Browns didn’t run all over them, so we cannot rule out a big game from Darius Slayton. Dallas will likely show better effort on defense this week, but Jones is still a good bet to sling it 40+ times in a fast-paced game, so the main concern is turnovers. Dallas has only 1 INT and 0 fumble recoveries in four games, at least. Jones will be popular, so he’s truly a boom-or-bust guy.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Russell Wilson (Sea, vs Min - $7600 on DK and $8600 on FanDuel) - I see him as the best value on a Point Per Dollar Value basis on DK and the second-best on FanDuel. The Vikings have allowed 300+ passing yards in three of their four games, so I expect them to get smoked. This one has the highest expected game total of 57.

Patick Mahomes (KC, vs LV - $7700 on DK and $9000 on FanDuel) - He’s actually the best value on the board for us on FanDuel this week, but only the fourth-best on DK. I do like CEH this week, but I could also see a big game from Mahomes. He averaged 309 passing with 5 TD passes with a rushing TD in his two games against them last year.

RESCHEDULED GAME (BUT I LIKE HIM)

Josh Allen (Buf, at Ten - $7500 on DK and $8400 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel. If you can somehow use him in DFS this week, I love his matchup against the slow Titans corners. A healthy Allen can absolutely destroy them with all the weapons at his disposal.

RUNNING BACKS

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, vs. LV - $6800 on DK and $7900 on FanDuel) - He’s the top guy on both sites in terms of Point Per Dollar Value, so he will be very popular. CEH is due for a blowup game, given his usage. He’s sixth in carries/game (17.75) and ninth in targets/game (4.75) with 7 opportunities inside the 5-yard-line (4th-most) and an 88% snap share in the red zone. KC is a 13-point favorite, which bodes extremely well for CEH. Five different RBs have reached 16+ FP against them and three RBs (CMC/Kamara/Burkhead) have reached 28+ FP and they give up the most FPG to RBs (38.05).

Antonio Gibson (Was, vs. LV - $5000 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - He’s about the same value on both sites, but is a slightly better value on DK. Gibson is getting better every week and his production has improved each of the last three weeks and he had his best game of the season last week against a tough Ravens defense with 13/46/1 rushing and 4/82 receiving on 5 targets. It’s not the greatest matchup for him, but the Rams are giving up 4.8 YPC with 5.3/51 receiving. Gibson made two big plays in the slot this past week, as well. At only $5000, it shouldn’t be too hard for Gibson to hit 15 PPR points or more given his large and still expanding role. He should be fairly popular, but not that popular.

Devonta Freeman (NYG, vs. LV - $4600 on DK) - He’s not a value on FanDuel, but he’s the seventh-best value on DK per our projections. He is a leap of faith, but he has actually looked good the last two weeks and he’s clearly the top option after he played 55% of the snaps last week with 15 touches. RBs are getting 30/136/1 rushing against the Cowboys so far this year, and Freeman could also rack up some late catches in a hurry-up mode situation, giving him easy 15+ point potential. He’s a good bet to be less than 5% owned, so he can help you this week.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

James Robinson (Jac, at Hou - $6700 on DK and $6600 on FanDuel) - He’s pricey and he will be popular, but it’s hard to ignore all the positives, since the Texans have been brutal against the run all year. As far as the Jaguar backfield is concerned, Robinson owns that bitch. He had 76% of the snaps last week, and he’s now racked up 100+ total yards three straight games. The last two weeks, the Texans have been crushed by Dalvin Cook (146/2 scrimmage) and James Conner (149/1), and they’re giving up 30/163 rushing with 5.4 YPC to RBs the last four weeks with 6 rushing TDs surrendered already.

Kareem Hunt (KC, vs. Ind - $6500 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s the four-best RB value on DK per my projections and the third best on FanDuel. It’s not a great matchup and he’s not 100%, but he practiced fully late in the week and the Colts are down two starting LBs, including the great Darius Leonard, so I’ll take my chances on Hunt this week.

Mike Davis (Car, vs. LV - $6400 on DK and $6800 on FanDuel) - He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel, but top-7 value on both sites, per our projections. And he will be popular. The Falcons and DT Grady Jarrett have been tough against the run, but they have also allowed the second-most receptions to RBs so far with 34, and Davis will absolutely dominate the touches with Reggie Bonnafon on the IR.

PRIMETIME GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Chris Carson (Sea, vs. LV - $6400 on DK and $7800 on FanDuel) - Carson rolled with 20 opportunities last week with 100 total yards and 2 TDs, and he’s been benefiting from his QB’s new-found propensity for checking the ball down to the RBs. The matchup isn’t great for Carson in the passing game, but Seattle should be able to move the ball up and down the field, so 1-2 TDs should be in order. They may opt to keep Carlos Hyde on ice another week, since they have a bye next week.

Alvin Kamara (NO, vs. LAC - $8200 on DK and $8900 on FanDuel) - He’s the most expensive RB on DK, yet the third-best value, which says a lot. On FanDuel, he’s similar as the third most expensive RB and the sixth-best value. His role in the running game is a little week-to-week, but the Chargers are giving up 7 receptions per game to RBs, and Ronald Jones last week should have had a huge game with a boatload of touches (he was very solid still, as well).

WIDE RECEIVERS

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pit, vs. Phi - $6700 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - He’s not an amazing value on either site, but I like him this week, and I’m usually correct on JuJu, like Week 3 when I had him here as a play and he scored. We should see Darius Slay shadowing Diontae Johnson quite a bit, so JuJu’s so-so 18% target share could climb this week. Slot guys Tyler Boyd (10/125 receiving) and Cooper Kupp (5/81) have each made hay out of the slot, and I love Boyd here going into that Week 3 game.

DaVante Parker (Mia, at SF - $5900 on DK and $6400 on FanDuel) - He’s a little risky because he suffered an ankle injury early last week, but Parker has finally learned how to manage injuries, and he practiced fully on Friday. I just love how Ryan Fitzpatrick is locking on him big time, and it’s a bad matchup for TE Mike Gesicki. The 49ers have been stingy, but they are still down three corners, including starters Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Moseley, plus slot corner K'Waun Williams, and their only healthy corner who plays a lot, Ahkello Witherspoon, was limited Friday with a hamstring. The 49ers may explode on offense now that they have their top players back, so Parker could be down with GTP this week.

Marquise Brown (Bal, at Dal - $6100 on FanDuel) - You can certainly use him on DK, but he’s a much better value this week on FanDuel. Brown is rolling with 27% of Lamar Jackson’s targets and 43% of his air yards right now, which is heavy volume, and the Bengals are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to receivers aligned out wide, which is where Hollywood runs 81% of his routes.

Darius Slayton (NYG, at Dal - $5500 on DK and $5700 on FanDuel) - He’s frustrating, but with his salary down and his matchup very good, it’s hard to pass up on a potential opportunity. Slayton has a solid 7 targets in each of his two games without Sterling Shepard, and the Cowboys have allowed multiple TDs to a WR in three straight games. He could be too much for rookie Trevon Diggs on the outside this week.

Golden Tate (NYG, at Dal - $5500 on DK and $5700 on FanDuel) - He’s yet to even 50+ receiving yards this year, but slot WRs Golden Tate, Tyler Lockett, and Russell Gage have each registered 15+ FP against the Cowboys the last three weeks, and I’m feeling a surprisingly big game from Tate this week. If it doesn’t happen, it’ll likely be because Evan Engram blew up.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Will Fuller (Hou, vs. Jax $6600 on FanDuel) - He’s a much better value on FanDuel, but he has blow-up potential on either site with such a good matchup. Fuller posted 6/108/1 receiving on a 21% target share last week and he also had a second TD taken off the board, and it was a longer one. The Jags could be down both C.J. Henderson and likely slot corner D.J. Hayden this week (Fuller will line up in the slot), plus DE Josh Allen and LB Myles Jack are iffy.

Robby Anderson (Car, at Dal - $5900 on DK and $620 on FanDuel) - He’s only the 11th best value on DK, but he’s the fourth-best per our projections on FanDuel. He will be very popular, keep in mind, but he has 5+ catches in every game this season with 99+ receiving yards in three of his four games. He’s getting volume near the line of the scrimmage, so he’s been a major RAC guy. Everything about him is positive this week other than his ownership, which, again, should be high.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LOVE

Justin Jefferson (Min, at Sea - $5500 on DK and $5700 on FanDuel) - We have Jefferson as the best WR value on FanDuel and the third-best on DK. We have Adam Theilen at WR1 this week, so he’s obviously worth starting, but Jefferson is a lot cheaper and he might be just as productive. Seattle’s secondary has been an absolute mess this year and is giving up 25.5 PPG to outside WRs and 35.6 FPG to slot WRs, both tops in the league. Jefferson has split him out wide on 88% of his snaps over the last two weeks, and he looks like a 5-year pro in terms of his route-running, understanding of how to set up defenders, and he’s really flashed on the perimeter. His body language last week was incredible, so he’s feeling it. Seattle should crush it on offense, and they have been really hard to run on, so as 7-point road underdogs, the Vikings should have to throw a lot.

PRIMETIME GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Adam Thielen (Min, at Sea - $7000 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - He’s been getting it done with some tougher matchup, and now he has the easiest matchup in the league in a game in which they should be forced to throw. That’s why he’s the #1 WR on our board this week. Thielen ranks 3rd among all WRs in target market share (33%) and 1st in air yardage market share (50%).

DK Metcalf (Sea, vs. Mina - $6700 on FanDuel) - He’s not really a value on DK, but he’s the second-best value on FanDuel. Obviously, he’s looking good anywhere against vulnerable and young group of outside corners.

RESCHEDULED GAME (BUT I LIKE HIM)

Julian Edelman (NE, at Sea - $5700 on DK and $6200 on FanDuel) - With Bryce Callahan playing outside due to A.J. Bouye being on IR, teams have really picked on Essang Bassey, who oftentimes covers the slot. He’s why I liked Jamison Crowder last week, although Crowder was banged up so we couldn’t rank him as high as I wanted. We may see Cam Newton back, and if we do then I think Edelman could have a big 7-8 catch game. He’s a top-12 value on both sites, but a little better on FanDuel.

TIGHT ENDS

Jonnu Smith (Ten, vs. Buf - $4900 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - Smith hasn’t been running a ton of routes this year, just 60% of their passing plays, but he’s still ninth in targets per game, and he’s been efficient with those targets, thanks in large part to having 4 TDs in three games. But with Corey Davis and Adam Humphries out, and AJ Brown still iffy, targets shouldn’t be a problem for Jonnu, especially against a potent offense. The Bills have been a good matchup for TEs all season, giving up the 5th-most FPG to the position and a healthy 19.7 PPG, the 6th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs (+7.6), and the 5th-highest % of fantasy points allowed to TEs (29.6%).

Eric Ebron (Pit, vs. Phi - $4000 on DK and $5100 on FanDuel) - He’s the first matchup I noticed as standing out when I dig into Week 5, and he will be popular (I’m not helping by pumping him up on national radio all week). We have been all over the poor Eagles LBs for weeks now, even mentioning them going into Week 2 before Tyler Higbee scored 3 TDs, and I wrote here last week that George Kittle could go off. The Eagles will get a safety on him at times, but with Darius Slay a good bet to run with Diontae Johnson, I think they will look more to Ebron, who ranks third on the team in targets (16% share) and second in air yards (19%) in their last two games. We have him as the best TE value on the board on both sites.

Evan Engram (NYG, at Ten - $4000 on DK and $5500 on FanDuel) - Welp, I thought I was kind of on my own with Engram early in the week, but it turns out he may be the most popular TE on the board this week, which does make him less appealing. Of course, that’s just a guess on his percentage of ownership. We have him as the sixth best value on DK and the third-best on FanDuel. Engram is leading the team with a 20% target share, and he’s third in TE targets (30). The Cowboys have allowed 11+ FP to three straight TEs, and it’s not exactly murder’s row of guys (Hooper/Olsen/Hurst). If he can score, he will likely deliver 4X value.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Travis Kelce (KC, vs. LV - $6400 on DK and $7800 on FanDuel) - Kelce posted 90+ yards and 5+ catches in both of his games against the Raiders last week, and he’s due for a TD! We have him as the eight best value on DK and the sixth best on FanDuel.

PRIMETIME GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Hunter Henry (LAC, at NO - $4300 on DK and $6000 on FanDuel) - The Saints may get their top two corners in Marshawn Lattimore and Janoris Jenkin (although Jenkins missed practice Friday), which could work in Henry’s favor. The Saints have been unusually bad against the TE this year, giving up 8/82/1.3 on 11 targets per game, a whopping 24.3 fantasy PPG. Per our projections, he’s the second best value on DK and the fourth best on FanDuel this week.

Sample Lineup Construction

Team 1Team 2Team 3Team 4Team 5
Patrick MahomesTeddy BridgewaterTeddy BridgewaterKyler MurrayDaniel Jones
Clyde Edwards-HelaireEzekiel ElliottJames RobinsonClyde Edwards-HelaireEzekiel Elliott
Kareem HuntJames RobinsonTodd GurleyKareem HuntClyde Edwards-Helaire
DJ CharkRobby AndersonDJ CharkRobby AndersonDeVante Parker
Darius SlaytonDeVante ParkerWill FullerDeVante ParkerRobby Anderson
Golden TateMarquise BrownDarius SlaytonMarquise BrownOlamide Zaccheaus
Eric EbronEric EbronEvan EngramEric EbronTravis Kelce
Mike DavisAntonio GibsonDavid JohnsonAntonio GibsonMike Davis
TexansDolphinsRamsDolphinsDolphins

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.

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