Scott Barrett's Week 5 DFS Breakdown

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Scott Barrett's Week 5 DFS Breakdown

What is this column? Each week I’ll be listing the best and most-interesting plays of the week, grouped by position, and ranked and tiered in some sort of descending order. Keep in mind, we’re looking only at the players available on the main slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

This article is long. It’s going to be long every week. Ideally, it’s all you should need to know to be able to profit playing DFS in any given week.

Be sure to also watch our DFS Preview livestream every Friday at 3PM EST. Be sure to get in our Discord — if you’re not in there already, you’re missing out on a lot of important news updates as well as personal guidance and advice from our experts. And, most importantly, be sure to check back on Sunday mornings for the “Sunday Morning Update” – basically a TLDR version of this piece along with any injury-related updates we might need.

Anyway, let’s dive in…

TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read

Quarterbacks

For cash, on both sites, I think you’re just going to play Trey Lance. But, if I had to rank it, I’d go:

DraftKings: Trey Lance, Daniel Jones, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray

FanDuel: Trey Lance, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones ranks 6th among QBs in FPG (23.5) and 3rd in rushing FPG (7.7), and now he gets a top pass-funnel matchup in Dallas (2nd-highest Pass% over expectation). The Cowboys have given up the 4th-most FPG to opposing QBs (25.5), and Jones ranks just 12th in salary on DraftKings. Still, the rushing production feels somewhat fluky and he’ll probably need that this week to hit big, without Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and potentially LT Andrew Thomas.

For cash, Dak Prescott is your No. 3 QB option on both sites. The Cowboys have the highest implied point total of the slate (29.5) and the Giants rank 7th-worst in passer rating allowed (106.2) and 8th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing QBs (+3.5). Although Prescott hasn't been throwing as much since he attempted 58 passes in Week 1 (25.0 pass attempts per game), he has looked great, throwing for 7 touchdowns to 0 interceptions over his last two games… The big concern with Prescott, however, is that Dallas has gone out of their way to establish the run of late, and they have looked good doing it. And you can also run on the Giants, who rank 3rd-worst in yards before contact allowed per RB rush attempt.

At a higher price tag, I’d be looking at Kyler Murray, who averages 29.5 DK FPG this year. Or, 31.2 FPG over his last 7 healthy games. San Francisco was tough on Murray through the air last year, though he gained 166 rushing yards on 21 carries through two games.

Joe Burrow, Justin Fields, and Trevor Lawrence are all vaguely in play, but not quite on the same level as our other four names.

In tournaments, as always, get weird, get creative, have fun. The QB position is always more about the stack (and the leverage you’ll gain if that stack hits) than the individual QB-play itself…

I’m not quite sure what I’m doing just yet for QBs in GPPs, though I suspect I’ll have a much higher percentage of Joe Burrow and Tom Brady lineups than the field.

Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers
[DK: QB15, FD: QB16]

From Start/Sit:

Earlier this offseason (here), I compared Jalen Hurts (2021) favorably to Lamar Jackson (2019). But, even more outlandishly, I compared Lance (2021) to Patrick Mahomes (2018). That was no doubt at least a little too bold, but it’s not hard to see why I was so bullish:

Lance — who averaged 77.0 rushing YPG and 13.3 rushing FPG throughout his career at North Dakota State — has massive Konami Code-upside. And he’s perfectly set up for success, with an elite offensive mind in HC Kyle Shanahan calling plays, and surrounded by three of the NFL’s best YAC monsters.

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And what happened last week? In just two quarters of play, whilst running the Jimmy Garoppolo offense (and not the Lance offense), Lance totaled 20.4 fantasy points. He rushed 7 times for 41 yards. In other words, he’s on pace to average 40.8 FPG and 82 rushing YPG.

While, of course, that shouldn’t be his expectation this week, we are expecting low-end QB1 production right out of the gates. And despite this neutral to slightly below average matchup. He’s ranked QB9 in our projections, just ahead of fantasy stalwarts Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.

Running Backs

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
[DK: RB1, FD: RB1]

The Titans are favored by 4.5 points. Henry leads all running backs in carries with 116. That's 31 more than the next-closest RB (Joe Mixon, who is hurt). Henry also ranks 9th among RBs in receptions and 11th in receiving yards, with 4 and 63 (2X) more than Alvin Kamara. He averages 32.0 FPG over the team’s last seven wins, but he also dropped 25.7 fantasy points in last week’s loss. And Henry averages 26.9 FPG in his last five games against Jacksonville, or 30.7 FPG in his last four wins against Jacksonville (eclipsing 30 fantasy points in three of his last four). Yeah, just play him.

Damien Williams, RB, Chicago Bears
[DK: RB21, FD: RB28]

Williams is a free square on FanDuel, and a top-3 value on DraftKings.

From Start/Sit:

Williams put together a full practice on Wednesday, which means he’s this week’s Chuba Hubbard. Or, in other words, he’s maybe an RB3-level talent who is likely to see fringe-RB1 levels of volume. And as such, should be viewed as a mid-range RB2 for fantasy this week.

David Montgomery exited early in the fourth quarter last week, with a knee injury, and will be out 4-5 weeks. Williams earned 8 carries and 2 targets last week, and was effective, totaling 70 YFS. Round 6 rookie Khalil Herbert had three carries on the day, but those carries came on the last three plays of the game (before kneels) when the game was out of reach. And Williams out-snaps him 70 to 9 on the full season. He’s a threat to mix in, but I’d expect Montgomery-esque usage for Williams moving forward.

He gets a great matchup this week, against a Raiders defense that has surrendered the 3rd-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+9.1). They also rank bottom-12 in YPC allowed (4.60), rushing FPG allowed (15.4), and receiving FPG allowed (11.5) to enemy RBs. Projected gamescript isn’t great (+5.5), but Chicago has leaned heavier on the RBs with Justin Fields under center, and Williams is seeing enough usage in the passing game (16 carries to 10 targets) and has long seen good usage in the passing game (310 career carries to 186 career targets) that I think he can rise above it.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions
[DK: RB13, FD: RB16]

From the XFP Report:

Last week, HC Dan Campbell had this to say of Swift: “I, certainly, think you’re going to see a lot more of Swift, and he can very easily be out there first play. I think he’s done enough to earn that.”

Swift, who had been dealing with a lingering groin injury, technically hasn’t started in a single game this season. And up until last week, he was stuck in a near-perfect 60/40 committee backfield alongside Jamaal Williams, earning 59% of the backfield XFP to Williams’ 41%. Nonetheless, despite this handicap, Swift still ranked 3rd in XFP per game (20.2) and 3rd in FPG (20.0).

So, any type of demotion for Williams was going to be massive for Swift. For instance, if the committee moved to 70/30 in Swift’s favor, his 20.2 XFP per game average would have jumped to 23.7, which would have led all players at all positions.

So what happened in Week 4? Did Swift see a massive uptick in usage? Emphatically yes, although it didn’t really result in very many fantasy points (8.9). Swift saw 69% of the backfield XFP, earning 18.0 to Williams’ 8.2. And Swift's snap share jumped from 63% to 72% and his route share jumped from 57% to 73%.

Although Williams out-carried Swift 14 to 8, and they both earned 3 opportunities inside the 10-yard-line, Swift out-targeted Williams 7 to 0. His 18.0 XFP ranked 6th-best on the week, marking the third time this season he’s finished top-6 among all RBs in XFP.

If you drafted Swift, congratulations, he’s a league-winner. If you didn’t, get your exposure via DFS. He’s just the 13th-most expensive RB on DraftKings this week, which feels about 6 spots too low.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[DK: RB27, FD: RB21]

Just about every model is going to list Leonard Fournette as a top value on either site. He finally saw the bell cow usage we were waiting for last week, playing on 82% of the team’s snaps, earning 20 of 26 carries and 5 of 5 targets out of the backfield. (Though it’s a bit alarming Ronald Jones out-touched Fournette 2 to 1 in the red zone.) Giovani Bernard is expected back this week, which could be a small problem if Tampa Bay doesn’t win in a blowout (no chance). He scored 20.1 fantasy points on 10 targets and 0 carries in Week 3 (45% snap share). But in two victories, played on just 19% of the snaps, averaging 0.0 carries and 2.5 targets per game.

But, thankfully, Tampa Bay is in no danger of losing this week. They’re 10-point favorites, against a Miami team that ranks 2nd-worst in rushing FPG (19.8) and 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (+8.7). They’re a bit of a run funnel, but the problem with Fournette is, I think Brady wants to score all of the team’s touchdowns this year. And as Johnny says, “Brady only allows his RB a carry whenever he wants a quick breather, which isn’t often.” Which very well may be true.

James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
[DK: RB15, FD: RB10]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

Robinson resumed his 2020 workload last Thursday night with Carlos Hyde inactive, seeing a 95% snap share, 19 total touches and scoring 20.6 fantasy points. Contrary to initial reports, Hyde was not “a healthy scratch”, and appears to have recovered from the surprise shoulder injury that kept him from suiting up in Week 4, and is expected to be active this week. Still, among RBs, Robinson ranks 8th in route share (60%), 8th in target share (12%), 5th in backfield XFP market share (76%), and 6th in snap share (71%).

Despite the bell cow-esque workload, Robinson is the RB13 (by salary) on DraftKings, and the RB9 on Fanduel.

As 4.5-point underdogs, Robinson’s cemented receiving role will keep him on the field in the event the Jags get down early, which helps negate the impact of Carlos Hyde stealing some of Robinson’s early down work. Robinson has historically excelled in negative gamescript, averaging 18.2 DraftKings FPG and 15.7 Fanduel FPG when the Jaguars are underdogs by 3.0 or more points. And should the Jaguars manage to put up points, Robinson should absorb most, or all of the backfield's TD equity, as no other Jaguars RB has touched the ball inside the 10 yard-line this season. Robinson is in play for cash on DraftKings, but I’m most interested in him as a tournament play, specifically on Fanduel where he should carry relatively low ownership.

Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
[DK: RB50, FD: RB33]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

Perine pops as an obvious value in any projection model, as the potential absence of Joe Mixon would result in Perine earning the vast majority of carries in this Bengals backfield, at the stone minimum price on DraftKings. It’s worth noting, though, that Perine won’t have full control over the Bengals’ backfield Sunday:

Perine’s touch floor looks solid, but given he’ll suffer should the Bengals enter a negative gamescript, his touch ceiling is certainly a concern, especially with rookie Chris Evans poised to steal most of the pass game work. His career 3.8 YPC doesn’t inspire much confidence from a talent perspective, but absorbing even just 60% of Mixon’s 20.8 carries per game forces Perine into the cash game conversation given his $4,000 salary on DraftKings. For tournaments, however, the lack of passing game work, projected gamescript, and limited talent make me quite wary, especially at double-digit ownership. I’ll be underweight on Perine in GPPs as a result.

Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
[DK: RB9, FD: RB11]

Harris led all RBs in XFP in Week 3 (37.6) and then ranked 3rd in Week 4 (20.3). He now ranks 2nd in XFP per game (21.8) and 5th in FPG (18.8). He is firmly the “Knickers” of bell cows, leading all RBs in Positional XFP% (97%), Target% (20%), Snap% (92%), and Route% (81%).

Roethlisberger can be as bad as he’s been. The offensive line can be as bad as it's been. And Harris is going to remain no worse than a mid-range RB1 on this excellent and wholly game script-proof volume.

Gamescript this week is decent, with the Steelers favored by 1.0-point against Denver. The on-paper matchup is absolutely brutal, but, at least it’s also an extremely tough matchup for the WRs, which should result in more volume for Harris. With Chase Claypool likely back, I'd expect about 16 carries and 6 targets with similarly poor efficiency totals. Still, at his price, that’s good enough for him to rank as one of the better RB plays on the slate.

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers
[DK: RB14, FD: RB17]

From Wes Huber's Advanced Matchups:

Over the last two weeks, Philadelphia has permitted a total of 380 rushing yards. The two-game total allowed over the first two weeks stood at 241 yards. You can comfortably hide away a 33% increase in supported rushing YPG from an opponent among the 130 FBS schools in college football. The same cannot be accomplished in the 32-team NFL. When Carolina HC Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady completed their film and analytical study of the Eagles’ defense, you can guarantee they were acutely aware of two facts.

1. Philly’s new DC Jonathan Gannon devoted a great deal of time installing an exotic setup of coverage shells forcing opposing QBs into attacking the short and intermediate levels of the field.

2. Without Brandon Graham on the field to enforce ground games at the point of attack, those dropping so many defensive backs deep with the primary concern of closing off the third level leaves a chunk of the field exposed to run.

Injuries to key players can alter the NFL landscape in a matter of seconds. And every team practices a no mercy approach on injury replacements. The Eagles will be hard-pressed to replace Graham. But the Panthers are attempting to replace a key member of their team, as well.

All reports are suggesting Carolina will be without Christian McCaffrey again this week. Chuba Hubbard is tasked with filling in until CMC is healthy enough to return. He faced an immense first test against Dallas in Week 4. He only managed 71 yards on 15 touches, but the most important takeaway is that he managed to finish the game without damaging his hold on this opportunity. Now he will face a reeling Philadelphia run defense on his home field. Misleading comprehensive data on the Eagles vs. the run and Hubbard’s meh Week 4 make it unlikely that the field will be on him this week. Don’t follow the pact.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
[DK: RB16, FD: RB12]

Per sources, Jon Gruden has come to loathe Kenyan Drake. And that’s fairly evident by his usage last week (20 snaps, 1 carry, 0 targets). Peyton Barber is probably out this week, dealing with a turf toe. So, this should set Jacobs up nicely for a full bell cow workload.

In his first game back from an ankle injury, in a game Las Vegas spent every snap trailing, Jacobs played on 63% of the team’s snaps (55% route share), earning 13 of 15 carries and 5 of 5 targets out of the backfield. This week, he gets near-perfect expected gamescript, favored by 5.5-points against the Bears. (Coming into this season, Jacobs averaged 21.3 FPG in wins but only 10.3 FPG in losses.) Otherwise, the on-paper matchup is somewhere between neutral and below average.

Ultimately, he’s in play as a decent value on DraftKings, but is far from a must-play. And if Jalen Richard is active, I might look to pivot.

Other / Notes

- Alexander Mattison is a must-play on both sites if Cook is out, though that seems unlikely.

- Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, and Austin Ekeler are all popping as decent-to-strong values on both sites (but especially FanDuel). And we like them in that order…

- Dallas has the highest implied point total of the slate (29.5), they’re favored by 7.0 points, and the Giants rank 3rd-worst in yards before contact allowed per RB rush. Dallas has re-committed to the run and Elliott has played extremely well of late. However, and although Elliott has yet to play on fewer than 70% of the team’s snaps, Pollard is still stealing touches (10 or more in three straight games). And Pollard is also playing extremely well (6.8 YPC), which is no surprise

- Barkley is back to a Christian McCaffrey-esque workload, and though he’s at least very close, he might not yet be back to full-on Saquon Barkley-esque effectiveness. Dallas is far more of a pass funnel (2nd-most), though they rank 7th-worst in YPC allowed and 3rd-worst in receiving FPG allowed to opposing RBs. Barkley has 11 catches, 117 receiving yards, and a score as a receiver over his last two games, so that might be what it comes down to in order for him to hit big…

- Ekeler is a fantasy machine, but Cleveland ranks best in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (-10.3), and top-4 in both rushing and receiving FPG allowed. So, the matchup isn’t great, but he’s still very much in play…

- Nick Chubb remains an excellent GPP-play, up against a Chargers run funnel defense (5th-highest Run% over expectation) that ranks 2nd-worst in YPC allowed (5.02). Though, unfortunately, Kareem Hunt’s increased role makes things murky… Hunt has actually seen better volume than Chubb in back-to-back games — two games Cleveland won. Over this span he averages 18.5 XFP per game (RB7) to Chubb's 14.1 (RB19). Chubb has seen 44 carries to Hunt's 25, but Hunt has seen 11 targets to Chubb's 1. Perhaps more alarmingly, Hunt has seen two opportunities inside the 5-yard-line to Chubb's 1… I prefer Chubb, but both are in play. And because both are so in play (i.e. all of this uncertainty), neither one stands out as a top value.

- Derrick Henry is a significantly better play than Alvin Kamara straight up. But you can tell yourself a story for tournaments… We can get Kamara at low ownership. He’s the most fantasy efficient RB in NFL history. On a market share-basis, Kamara is seeing the best usage of his career, and maybe the best usage of any RB in fantasy… So, he’s a fine play for tournaments, but I’d much prefer Henry for high-entry small-field tournaments and cash.

- I was extremely high on Damien Harris early in the week, for reasons outlined here. But I’m far less optimistic now, with New England likely to be missing four of their five top offensive linemen.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
[DK: WR1, FD: WR1]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

Adams has averaged 24.0 FPG since Week 1 of 2020. Over a full season, that would rank 9th all time among WRs, and would be the best WR fantasy season since Antonio Brown averaged 24.3 FPG in 2015. Over that same time span, there have only been 10 instances of a WR scoring 40.0 or more fantasy points in a single game. Adams makes up 30% of those instances. He offers incredible TD equity, as Adams 52 red zone targets since Week 1 of 2020 rank 2nd only to Tyreek Hill’s 57.

Week 5 ushers in a matchup at Cincinnati, and while we may not have believed it at the start of the season, this game is expected to remain competitive, with the Bengals only 3.0-point underdogs in the 3rd-highest game total (50.0) of the Week 5 main slate. Unsurprisingly, Adams has historically crushed spots like this, averaging 26.5 DraftKings FPG and 19.5 Fanduel FPG since 2018 in road games with a total of greater than 48.5 (13 instances). Given his talent and usage, Adams should be about $1,000 more expensive on both sites, especially since he’s playing in one of the top scoring environments of Week 5. He’s $8,200 on both Fanduel and DraftKings, which is $742 lower than his average DK price over the last 14 games, and $1,092 lower than his average FD price. He’s likely to be the highest owned WR on both sites, but that’s typically what happens when we encounter a value this strong.

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
[DK: WR11, FD: WR11]

Wes Huber (here) and I both agree Allen is one of the best plays on the entire slate, though I suspect ownership isn’t going to be anywhere near as high as it should.

From Start/Sit:

Allen totaled only 36 receiving yards last week, and now ranks just 21st in FPG (15.9), 14 spots below Mike Williams (19.4). And yet, I’m still adamant he shouldn’t be viewed any differently from the Keenan Allen we saw last year. You know, when he averaged 20.5 FPG (3rd-best) in non-injury games with Justin Herbert under center.

Allen disappointed last week, but again saw terrific volume. He earned 11 targets, and has now seen 11 or more targets in 5 of his last 6 full games. Allen ranks 4th among all WRs in XFP per game (21.0), well above Williams (17.0). And he’s had some brutal luck this year, seeing a league-high 5 targets and 62 receiving yards called back due to penalty. If those plays counted, Allen would rank 1st in total targets, 7th in receiving yards, and 9th among WRs in total fantasy points scored.

Cleveland is a tough on-paper matchup for opposing WRs, but Allen has the more vulnerable matchup (in contrast to Williams). Allen runs 61% of his routes from the slot… and 61% (8th-most) of Cleveland’s total WR production allowed has come out of the slot.

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
[DK: WR15, FD: WR15]

From Wes Huber's Advanced Matchups:

It took the New Orleans WR unit for James Bradberry to shake a three-game streak of surrendering a TD. He is still allowing 1.41 YPCS (57th), 0.38 FP/CS, and a 108.3 TPR (58th). After watching the game twice, as well as viewing the coaches tape on each of his routes, the only explanation for CeeDee Lamb’s 2/13/0 line last week is game script. Dallas entered the fourth quarter with a 22-point lead over Carolina. If you simply look at the final 36-28 score, that context is entirely lost. This will be the first time Dak Prescott has faced the Giants since suffering his brutal Week 5 ankle injury. In that game, after New York jumped ahead 17-3 early in the second quarter, the score differential never exceeded eight points before the Cowboys took the contest 37-34.

In the early stages of his breakout season, Bradberry spent his time shadowing Amari Cooper toward a 2/23/0 final line. With Lamb working exclusively out of the slot, he torched a variety of Giants for an 8/124/0 line. DC Patrick Graham is featuring a Cover 2 at the sixth-highest rate, mixing in top-15 rates of Cover 3 and Cover 4 toward my estimation as the fourth-most vanilla scheme rotation. Attacking NYG on the outside is key since they are giving up the fifth-most perimeter FPG (21.9). Dallas is implied to score the most Week 4 points (29.5), and the Giants will not have the luxury of shifting any assistance in pass defense since the ground game of the ‘Boys is firing on all cylinders.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
[DK: WR34, FD: WR18]

From Start/Sit:

WR Ja’Marr Chase appears to have fully stolen Higgins’ thunder. He ranks 14th in FPG, with 17.6, which is good for the 9th-best start for any rookie WR since the 1970 NFL Merger. Chase is no doubt getting all of the headline attention, but it’d be a mistake to rank him well above Higgins this week, who is expected to make his return from a minor shoulder injury.

Higgins isn’t far behind Chase in terms of production, ranking 17th in FPG (16.9), and he’s seen far better volume, ranking 22nd in XFP per game (15.7) — well above Chase (who ranks 53rd) and Tyler Boyd (who ranks 48th).

Both wide receivers have an excellent matchup this week, against the Packers, who are expected to be without their CB1 Jaire Alexander. But downgrade SWR Tyler Boyd, as the Packers are giving up the 10th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs (25.0) but the absolute fewest to opposing slot WRs (6.3). Even if Alexander plays he’s unlikely to shadow, but if he does suit up, we’ll bump Higgins down a few spots and he’ll spend roughly 60% of his snaps lined up on his side of the field.

As 3.0-point underdogs against Green Bay’s potent offense, and with Joe Mixon “day-to-day,” we’re expecting Cincinnati to lean far more pass-heavy this week than they’ve been all year (54%, 27th). And that should be good news for the team’s three WRs. We like Chase as a low-end WR1, Higgins as a low-end WR2, and Boyd as a low-end WR3.

Notes: Jaire Alexander has now been ruled out, joining CB2 Kevin King on the bench.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington Football Team
[DK: WR90, FD: WR54]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

The race to be the No. 2 receiving weapon in Washington is on, especially now that TE Logan Thomas has been placed on IR with a hamstring injury. Curtis Samuel’s season debut in Week 4 wasn’t flashy, as he earned a 37% snap share and ran a route on 31% of dropbacks, but he did still see four targets, which tied for the 3rd-most on the team. If there’s one thing we know about Ron Rivera, it’s that he loves to get Samuel designed touches. That was on display in Week 4, as despite his limited playing time, two of Samuels’ four targets were deemed ‘screens’ by PFF. We saw this the last time Rivera and Samuel were together with the Panthers in 2019, when Samuel led all WRs in carries (19) and ranked in the top-20 among WRs in screens (9). When we play min-priced WRs, we are almost always just trying to avoid complete disaster. Samuel’s locked-in touch floor makes the worst-case scenario of a goose egg score almost impossible, and that should make him quite a popular salary-saving option in Week 5. He’s still not an advisable play in tournaments, as his part time role and the risk of re-aggravating his hamstring clearly limit his ceiling. Those same risks are present in cash games, but the $3,000 price tag on DraftKings makes those risks easier to look past, especially given his relatively secure floor.

Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
[DK: WR11, FD: WR13]

From the XFP Report:

Every week Johnson is a mortal lock to: see double-digit targets and smash his DFS salary (3-4X value) and/or spend time in the blue medical tent. And as such, I’m going to continue writing him up for DFS every single week moving forward. Either he hits and I look smart, or he gets hurt and I can blame it all on variance.

In Week 4, his first game back from a knee injury, Johnson led all players at positions in XFP, totaling 30.0 on the back of 15 targets, 144 air yards, 1 deep target, 1 end zone target, and 3 targets inside the 10-yard-line. He now leads all players at all positions in XFP per game (23.7) and XFP market share (32%).

Johnson is the only player to see at least 20.0 XFP in all of his games thus far, and is tied with Cooper Kupp with three such games in totality. He's seen at least 12 targets in 9 of his last 10 games with QB Ben Roethlisberger under center (no injury adjustments). Over this span, Johnson averages 20.9 XFP (33.5% market share), 18.9 FPG, and 12.4 targets per game. For perspective, if over the full season last year, those numbers would have ranked (among WRs): best (best), 4th-best, and best.

Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears
[DK: WR45, FD: WR40]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

The days of Allen Robinson as the Bears’ uncontested WR1 appear to be over. Darnell Mooney currently leads the team in target share (24.8%), route share (94.5%), receiving yards (226), YPRR (1.88), targets of 20 or more yards (4), and FPG (10.2). That’s great usage for Mooney, but it hasn’t translated to anything resembling great production due to the anemic nature of the Bears offense through the first three weeks of the season. But now HC Matt Nagy has abandoned play calling duties, and Week 4 saw OC Bill Lazor orchestrate a 24-point performance - the best of the Bears 2021 season. And Mooney finished Week 4 with a career high 125 receiving yards and 18.5 fantasy points. Plus Mooney’s earned a team-high 29% target share and 48% yardage share with Fields under center.

With Bill Lazor calling plays, Mooney’s current price tags of WR45 on DraftKings and WR40 on Fanduel make little sense given his usage through the first quarter of the season. As 5.5-point underdogs to the Raiders this week, the Bears should be forced to throw, and given the change in play calling duties, we can finally have some confidence they will be able to put points up on the board. Mooney will be one of the main beneficiaries of that additional offensive output, and that makes him a clear value in Week 5.

Tampa Bay Wide Receivers

Tom Brady averaged 327.5 passing YPG and 4.5 passing touchdowns per game from Weeks 1-2. He “struggled” in a tough matchup against the Rams, but still totaled 432 passing yards. Week 4 was rough, but I’m willing to give Bill Belichick his due, and completely throw out this game as an outlier. The final boss level in videogames is never easy. And even Luke Skywalker lost a hand in his battle against his father Darth Vader. [Note to editors: Is this true? I was more of an Indiana Jones guy.]

Anyway, if we should expect Tampa Bay’s pass attack to be fully back and roaring, even or especially with Rob Gronkowski out, there are a few receivers we should like.

Chris Godwin (68% slot rate) has the better matchup this week, as the Dolphins appear to be a premier slot-funnel, ranking 5th-worst in FPG allowed to opposing slot WRs (14.9 FPG), but 7th-best to opposing outside WRs (13.7).

But Antonio Brown’s matchup isn’t entirely bad, as the Dolphins have been extremely vulnerable to deep passes, giving up the 4th-most YPG to opposing WRs on deep passes (92.3). Brown is averaging 3.0 deep targets per game, which ranks 2nd-most and is at least 2X as much as the next-closest Tampa Bay receiver (Chris Godwin).

Mike Evans has the toughest matchup, but is seeing the best volume of the three. And probably could see more end zone targets with Gronkowski out. He ranks 9th in XFP per game (17.8) but 22nd in FPG (15.8). That makes him a fine value on FanDuel, where he’s priced as just the WR14.

Godwin has the best matchup, and isn’t far off Evans in terms of volume, averaging 15.6 XFP per game. And he’s also been more productive, ranking 16th in FPG (17.5). He’s at least a little mispriced as the WR14 on DraftKings.

Brown is just a part-time player (64% of routes), but he’s averaging 7.3 targets per game (less than 1.0 off Godwin). And he’s no doubt a strong value on DraftKings, priced as the WR32.

For GPPs, this is what you’re looking at for Brady stacks. Of course, this matchup profiles as a run-heavy script, but that was true in Week 2 when Brady dropped 30.6 DK fantasy points. And he should be far less highly-owned this week (a week without a lot of our favorite ceiling QBs) after flopping in primetime.

Other / Notes

- Last week, with Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard both out, Kadarius Toney totaled 16.6 XFP (WR21) on a team-high 10 targets. His route share has jumped from 9% to 26% to 74% to 80%. And, most importantly, he looked awesome. Watch this play and then this one. On just 6 receptions he forced 5 missed tackles. Only one other WR has more than 5 missed tackles on the full season (Rondale Moore)… With both Slayton and Shepard likely to sit out again, he’s a tremendous value, against a Cowboys defense that has given up the 7th-most YPG to opposing WRs out of the slot (85.0).

- Justin Jefferson is a strong value on FanDuel. The Vikings are tied with Dallas for the highest implied point total of the slate (29.5), and Kirk Cousins will probably go overlooked as he does most weeks. Dalvin Cook is seriously banged up, and the Vikings can do whatever they want through the air should they so choose, as the Lions rank 2nd-worst in fantasy points allowed per pass attempt (0.68). And Jefferson has the best matchup of the receivers, averaging 2.0 deep targets per game (12th-most, 2X Adam Thielen), against a Lions defense that has given up the 2nd-most deep fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (20.7 vs. a league-average 11.3). I like Jefferson a lot stacked with Cousins, but he’s also fine as a one-off option.

- Jakobi Meyers ranks 11th in targets per game (10.3), though just 24th in XFP per game (15.5). He totals just 0.55 XTD on the full season, so he’s not actually a touchdown regression candidate. But, priced as just the WR25 (DK) and WR33 (FD) on the week, he is a fine volume-related value. My issue is, I actually don’t love the matchup. Houston has been something of a reverse-slot funnel matchup, giving up the 7th-fewest FPG to slot WRs (11.5), but the 12th-most to outside WRs (24.0).

- Similarly, Brandin Cooks is an excellent volume-related value… Last week, in a tough matchup against Tre’Davious White’s shadow coverage, Brandin Cooks caught just 5 of 7 targets for 47 yards. This was the first time he fell under 21.0 DK fantasy points since Week 15 of last season. Still, his volume was a lot better than those 7 targets imply. In a 40-0 beatdown, Cooks’ 7 targets and 47 receiving yards represented a 33% target share and a 54% yardage share… Cooks now ranks 13th in XFP per game (17.5), 12th in FPG (17.9), 4th in XFP% (26%), 2nd in target share (34%), and 1st in yardage share (48%). And yet, he’s just the WR16 (DK) and WR23 (FD) by salary. Still, I don’t really trust the matchup. HC Bill Belichick always dominates opposing rookie QBs. And he always sells out to stop an opposing offense’s top weapon, and there’s no doubt that’s Cooks on this impotent, inept, and barren Houston offense.

- Although he flopped last week, Jaylen Waddle remains an immense value. Will Fuller is out, DeVante Parker is a gametime decision, and he did just see 13 targets two weeks ago. Tampa Bay ranks worst (by a landslide) in schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing WRs (+21.2), though they’re middle of the pack against slot WRs. And Waddle runs 77% of the routes from the slot.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
[DK: TE1, FD: TE1]

Waller leads all TEs in XFP per game (18.5), with 33% more than the next-closest TE (Travis Kelce, 13.9). Though his massive 19-target Week 1 is doing a lot of heavy lifting there. Since Week 2, Waller ranks 2nd-best. Although he’s only 3% off Travis Kelce for the lead, he’s only 1% above George Kittle and Mike Gesicki. And even just 9% above Zach Ertz.

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So, this makes things tricky for us. Waller was always extremely volatile week-to-week, though he's basically a high-end WR1 over his last 9 games, averaging 10.6 targets (7 or more targets in all but one game) and 21.8 FPG over this span. If he is who he has been over this span, he’s a great play. If he is who he’s been over the last three weeks, he’s significantly overpriced.

On paper the matchup is tough, but matchups don’t really matter too much to Waller. And so, in cash I’m inclined to “pay up” — though he’s still fairly cheap, priced as the WR9 — for him on FanDuel.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys
[DK: TE8, FD: TE4]

From Start/Sit:

Last week Schultz earned 7 targets and eclipsed 17.5 fantasy points for the second week in a row. More importantly, his route share jumped from 60% to 76%, while Blake Jarwin's route share dropped from 57% to 36%. Among TEs, he ranks behind only Travis Kelce in PFF receiving grade (89.3), and he could be an every-week mid-range TE1 (or better) if this sort of usage holds.

And that’s where we have him ranked this week, against a Giants defense that’s given up the 4th-most FPG to opposing TEs (17.4). And with CBs James Bradberry and Adoree Jackson both playing well, they’re a bit of a TE funnel matchup, as that represents 27% of their total receiving fantasy points allowed (7th-most).

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team
[DK: TE22, FD: TE37]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

Logan Thomas has been placed on IR with a hamstring injury, and that opens the door to a near full-time role for Ricky Seals-Jones in Week 5 and beyond. After Thomas left Washington’s Week 4 game against Atlanta in the 1st quarter, Seals-Jones earned a career high 62 snaps (93% snap share), finished 2nd on the team in routes (31), 3rd in targets (4), and lined up in the slot or out wide on 74.4% of his routes. That’s a very fantasy-friendly workload.

Prior to Week 4, Logan Thomas ranked 1st among all TEs in route share (93.2%), and 9th in target share (15.4%) while averaging 11.9 FPG (TE6). Now imagine he was a slightly worse player, and at the minimum price on DraftKings. That’s Ricky Seals-Jones in Week 5. Expect RSJ to be the TE chalk, and potentially the highest owned play in Week 5, as he’s a free square in cash games and an outstanding value in all other formats.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins
[DK: TE10, FD: TE8]

From Jake Tribbey’s DFS Values:

Miami is going to need to air it out this week as 10-point underdogs to Tampa Bay. DFS players are aware of this, and they are just as aware that the Buccaneers are a fantastic matchup for opposing WRs, allowing the 2nd-most FPG (34.1) through four weeks. So why write up Mike Gesicki? Shouldn’t we be focusing on Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker?

Well, what many are missing is that Mike Gesicki is a WR, who just so happens to carry a TE designation. Among TEs this season, Gesicki is 9th in targets per game (6.8), 5th in air yards per game (57.0), 9th in XFP per game (11.1), and 7th in target share (18%). And he earned those numbers against New England, Buffalo, Las Vegas, and Indianapolis - all much tougher matchups for WRs as they’ve collectively allowed 18.7 FPG to opposing wide outs. The Buccaneers have given up the 4th-most FPG to TEs lined up in the slot or out wide. And the 3rd-most FPG to TEs overall. The Dolphins questionable (at best) QB and offensive line play limit the overall upside of this offense, and that takes Gesicki out of the cash game conversation. But for tournaments, it’s tough to think of a better contrarian TE play when the rest of the industry is dialed in on these Miami WRs.

Notes: Will Fuller is out. DeVante Parker is a gametime decision.

Other / Notes

- Noah Fant is a very strong play on FanDuel (probably 3rd-best), with Albert Okwuegbunam out and Teddy Bridgewater back. He ranks 7th in FPG (11.4), 5th in XFP market share (15%), and has seen his route share jump from 69% to 86% last week. The matchup is a little below average, but he also shouldn’t be this cheap ($5,900).

- Evan Engram was a fine boom-or-bust pick at cost in season-long leagues, betting on 2020 being an injury-outlier year, but he’s certainly looking far more “bust” than “boom” at the moment. Engram has seen good volume since his return (though that’s at least partly a function of Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton missing time due to injury), but the results have not been good. 12 targets, 7 catches, 45 YFS, 0 touchdowns, 1 fumble, 9.5 fantasy points. Yeah, that’s not going to get it done for fantasy. Not even at the barren wasteland that is the fantasy TE position. And despite New York’s injury-laden WR room, Engram ran a route on just 66% of the team’s dropbacks, which ranked just 21st on the week… Still, he might be too cheap to avoid at just $3,200 on DraftKings.

- Cameron Brate is just the 16th-highest priced TE on DraftKings ($100 more than Engram). Last week, he ran a route on 69% of the team's dropbacks (19th), earning 6 of the team's (43) targets. His Week 4 matchup couldn’t have been worse, as New England has given up just 2.9 FPG to opposing TEs. Miami, meanwhile, has given up the 13th-most, with 25% of their total receiving fantasy points allowed going to TEs (10th-most). He’s by no means a top play, but he is in play as another cheap TE to consider.

- Zach Ertz ($3,400) is also in play, averaging 7.5 targets and 13.7 FPG over the last two weeks (56% route share). Carolina is giving up the 10th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs (+2.4 FPG), though they rank 2nd-best against WRs (-9.8). They’re also top-10 in funnel%.

- Similarly, Jared Cook is another fringe option ($3,600). He 8th in air yards per game (49.3), 9th in targets per game (6.3), 10th in XFP per game (10.7), 12th in FPG (10.0), and 13th in route share (69%).

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and Lead DFS Writer.