Week 5 DFS Lessons Learned


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Week 5 DFS Lessons Learned

We’re now (almost) five weeks into the season and things have settled into a place that is, well, unsettled. Not that it’s been a bad year for calls because it’s actually been a pretty good year so far. But for DFS, I do think things are a little trickier this year. Injuries have been a bigger problem than usual, and due to a variety of mitigating factors, making great DFS picks has been a little tougher in my opinion.

Week 5’s picks were typical: some good calls, some calls that were clearly wise but didn’t work out, and some buzzkills.

At QB, I couldn’t resist going in on Daniel Jones at his low price. We got 100 yards or a TD from three other Giants listed, but Jones was hopeless. That’s why the salaries make evaluating players so tough because when you’re dirt cheap as Jones was, you don’t have to do a ton to come through. But Jones failed to get a damn TD in one of the three best matchups in the league, so I’m going to try to forget Jones exists for at least a month.

The main guy featured at QB was Teddy Bridgewater, and he did come through nicely. Hell, watching the game it felt like he could have had 400+ yards and 3-4 TDs, and he could have. But getting the ball into the endzone continues to be a problem. But I’ll take the positive results for Teddy and won’t complain.

The two studs I listed as being worth their hefty price tags where Patrick Mahomes (30.7 points) and Russell Wilson (25.5) were strong, so I feel good about that.

I also loved Josh Allen yet again this week, so we’ll see if he comes through yet again.

At RB, this is really the position that’s been tough to deal with. It does seem like the RB position has been harder to get right this year, with very few true bell cow types and more backfields with 2-3 guys involved every week. I thought Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a great play, as did many. He had a TD taken off the board, but his 13 touches was pretty shocking. He did have 8 targets, but only 3 catches, which is also shocking. The CEH pick wasn’t a function of lazy analysis and me believing the Raider defense sucked, as it has sucked for over a decade. I actually respect that defense, but they were giving up numbers and CEH was due. He’s still due. Antonio Gibson was a buzz kill, but his usage made his $5000 price appealing. He got only 10 points, but he had a solid 16 opportunities. The problem with him is clearly JD McKissic, whose usage has been all over the map, but he’s now seen 8 targets in two straight games, so he’s potentially prohibitive for Gibson.

My calls for Devonta Freeman, Kareem Hunt, Mike Davis, and Chris Carson were all solid-to-good, but the main buzzkill was James Robinson for the Jaguars. It just goes to show that even if a back has volume and a plus matchup working in his favor--and Robinson did big time going into Week 5--he’s still no lock to produce. There’s no earth-shattering lesson learned here, since he was looking so good going in, but if there is a lesson, it’s to be wary of a guy like Robinson, who has really only been a thing now for a month, while he’s still pricey. Again, he’s been handling a ton of snaps and touches, and the matchup looked as good as possible, but he was quite expensive. I can handle getting a lame output from a $5000 guy on DK, but Robinson was more expensive than stars like Kareem Hunt and Miles Sanders. If there’s another lesson learned with Robinson, perhaps it’s wise to be wary of players going up against a team that just fired its coach, since the Texans clearly got a lift from that fact this week.

I also covered my willingness to pay up for Alvin Kamara, so my Week 5 RB calls will improve if Kamara does well tonight.

One thing I’m seeing a lot of this year is being wrong for the right reasons. I was not feeling Diontae Johnson this week, so I gave JuJu Smith-Schuster love in the column, since the Eagles have had problems with some notable slot guys, namely Tyler Boyd, who was given much love here for that matchup two weeks ago. I did mention how he was not a particularly good value and we only ranked him as WR20, but JuJu obviously got Claypool’d in Week 5. I listed Claypool as a reach play in my Sunday Column, stating he was a better reach play than James Washington, but the rookie had only 1 target in Week 4, so I didn’t think he’d disrupt JuJu much. I didn’t particularly like JuJu as a pick this summer, and it’s pretty clear right now that he’ll be gone in 2021. He’s also lost some trust after this Week 5 stinker. I was also feeling Golden Tate as a potential 15+ point PPR guy, but he got half of that with 4/42 on only 5 targets. Those low-end guys are risky. The other “mistake” was listing and pumping up Justin Jefferson, but I will have to live with that one because the matchup was so good and he was so hot. What I didn’t see coming was TE Irv Smith being taken off the milk carton. Irv had only 2/16 receiving on 5 targets in their first four games, but he got 5 looks with 4/64 in Week 5, which definitely hurt Jefferson’s chance. Jefferson also just missed a bigger play in the game.

Otherwise, WR was mostly good calls with DeVante Parker, Marquise Brown, Darius Slayton, Robby Anderson, and Will Fuller. I did also list and give love to Adam Theilen and DK Metcalf, who combined for 4 TDs and 59 PPR points, so it was a good week overall for my WR calls.

TE was not so great, but the only high-end guy I liked was Travis Kelce, and he did come through with 8/108/1. I did write that he was “due” for a TD, and he got one. I also listed Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, so my week at TE will improve greatly if they both have good games.

The guys who came up small for me were low-end guys, which makes them less annoying. Evan Engram and Eric Ebron were both only $4000, so they had to be listed. Engram did score and had another TD called back, but his 1/16 line with 2 targets was pathetic. Still, he did out-produce George Kittle. Ebron was pretty active and was second on the team with 6 targets, but he also fumbled and posted only 5/43. Again, I thought he’d be needed to step up this week with JuJu due to the tougher matchup for Diontae Johnson, but he also got Claypool’d.

And finally, not listing George Kittle was actually a win. I will never use a guy who went off the week before. It just seems harder than usual lately for players to string together two or more big weeks.

As for the guys I wish I put in the column, here are the top guys this week:

  • Todd Gurley - Knew the matchup was great and listed him as someone I “liked more than usual” in my Sunday column, but my anti-Gurley position all year remained strong and prevented me from going all in.

  • Deshaun Watson - Did like him Week 5 but didn’t list him, mainly due to his poor history last year in this matchup and his inconsistent play on film. But I should have gone with the narrative of the HC being removed as a positive.

  • CeeDee Lamb - Knew the matchup was great in the slot, but opted out, thinking they wouldn’t have to throw as much.

  • Mark Andrews - Knew he was looking good and I did list him as looking better than usual on Sunday, but he was a tad pricey at $6200. Kelce at $6400 looked way more appealing to me, which is why Kelce was listed.

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.