Week 5 Review
The boom-bust nature of DFS value plays continued with some great plays and also some choices I wish I had back. Wide receiver has been typically good to us this season, but in Week 5 Laviska Shenault was criminally underused. Robby Anderson continued to frustrate whilst dominating in air yards and Henry Ruggs and the Raiders continued their mini-slump after a hot start. Quarterback was rough with Daniel Jones being knocked into next week by the Cowboys. Jared Goff let anyone down who had the balls to play him, posting single-digit returns and my sweet prince, Trey Lance, was about an inch away from a great points return. Where things went average elsewhere, running back made up for it, with Swift and Fournette both returning excellent points totals of 22.4 and 21.0 respectively. Damien Harris might have joined them had he not been ruled out with an injury, shortly after fumbling on the goal line. Still, his return of 10.8 wasn’t soul destroying. Finally, tight end was decent with Schultz, Seals-Jones and Jonnu Smith all returning okay-excellent value.
Great plays (3x$) – 23 (40%)
Good plays (2x$)- 14 (24%)
Bad plays (below 2x$) – 20 (35%)
We’ve finally hit bye weeks along with another London game early on Sunday morning. Our main slate options thin out a little more and we’re forced to work harder for our selections. The game’s I’m drawn to this week include Ravens v Chargers, Lions v Bengals, Washington v Chiefs and the Giants v Rams. My stack of the week is available here hot on the heels of a fantastic week, and as ever you can find me on Twitter @bestballuknfl
Just the two quarterback suggestions this week. Generally I’ll be aiming to pay up on my rosters.
Taylor Heinicke $5800 v Kansas City Chiefs – 55.5 over/under
Since Ryan Fitzpatrick went down injured in week 1, Taylor Heinicke has played about as well as any replacement-level QB could be expected to do so. Through five weeks Heinicke ranks 18th in PPR fantasy scoring at the position, ahead of the likes of Joe Burrow, Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill. Heinicke also averages a reasonable 18.0 points per game. In Week 6 he should have a nice chance to outscore that as he comes up against a surprisingly bad Kansas defence. The Chiefs are struggling to rush the passer and their secondary has been consistently exposed. Heinicke has done well in avoiding pass rushers with the 2nd fewest sacks for a player who has started four games or more. No team allows more yards per play than the Chiefs 7.1. Quarterbacks have outscored their average fantasy returns by 44.15% when facing the Chiefs, as the chiefs allow the 2nd most points per game to quarterbacks. I’m not expecting that Washington can beat the Chiefs, but if they’re forced into a negative game script, it should make for a decent fantasy output for Heinicke.
Carson Wentz $5400 v Houston Texans – over/under 45.5
Wentz needed a game like Monday’s battle with the Ravens to restore a bit of his reputation. It’s hard to see him ever regaining the aplomb of his 2017 season, but more performances like that and he could start to feel a bit more comfortable in Indy. One thing is for sure, the Houston defence he faces this week won’t be as tough to read as the Ravens. Through five games the Texans have given up 19.08 Draftkings points per game to quarterbacks. Whilst Wentz hasn’t been hyped up as an explosive quarterback he’s quietly got the 2nd best rate of competitions on throws of fifteen or more yards with 59.26%. Wentz has also been careful with the ball, with just one interception on the season. Arguably his worst decision making on Monday was shunning Tails in favour of Heads, during the coin flip on MNF overtime. Indy continues to struggle to run the ball in the red zone, with just three rushing touchdowns, in comparison to their seven passing touchdowns for the season. Wentz might not be a popular play this week, but at his salary, potentially stacked with Pittman, I like it.
Mac Jones $5200 v DAL – 9th most pass attempts in league, 190. 10th in Pass rate over expectation. Dallas QB opponents see a 20.04% boost to scoring on their average.
Sam Darnold $6100 v MIN – Darnold was pressured on 47.5% of dropbacks last week. Vikings get 2nd most pressure in the league, so it could be bad again. Panthers avg 5th most plays per game 66.0. CAR 9th in Pass rate.
Joe Mixon $6400 @ Detroit Lions – Over/under 48.0
Mixon looked to be eased back into last week’s game, seeing his snap percentages dip from an average of 43.75 through the first four weeks, to just 19. However, he was reasonable on the snaps he did play and added a touchdown to his stat line. Now Samaje Perine finds himself on the Covid-19 list after testing positive and Mixon has another week to get healthy and be ready for a nice matchup against Detroit. This Lions side might be more fun than many of us thought but they still can’t defend. Detroit allows the third-most points to running backs (27.68) and allows the second most targets to the position (28.3%). Despite Ja’Maar Chase being incredible, the Bengals still seem to want to run the ball often this year, with the ninth-highest percentage of their plays being a rush at 46.5%. *On Friday Zac Taylor was quoted as saying Mixon will receive a full workload.
D’Andre Swift $6300 v Cincinnati Bengals – Over/under 48.0
We will stay in Detroit for our next selection with D’Andre Swift still being undervalued. On average running backs facing Cinncinati experience an increase of 8.6% to their target shares. The Bengals lead the league in targets allowed to the position and by now we’ve all seen how much Swift will be used in the passing game. He ranks 2nd at the position for targets with 35 averaging 5.8 receptions per game and 50.4 receiving yards per game. Swift also leads the position in yards after the catch at 282. No other back has more than 215. Swift has become one of the premier pass-catching backs in the league, until Draftkings prices him appropriately, I’ll keep advocating for him.
Darrell Henderson $6000 @ New York Giants – Over/under 49.0
Despite Sony Michel’s occasional usage, Henderson is still dominating this backfield when it comes to key usage. Michel has seen one goal line attempt to Henderson’s three, and just 5 targets compared to Henderson’s 13. Henderson has played the third-highest amount of snap percentage across running backs, with only Kamara (82.9%) and Najee Harris (87.0%) outworking Henderson’s 78.9%. This translates to routes run as well where his 71% of routes run ranks third at the position. This week he faces a New York Giants team that is all kinds of a mess, as per usual. The Giants allow an average of 25.98 points to the position, which is the sixth-worst in the league. Whilst the Rams boast the sixth-best rushing offence in DVOA. On average Giants opposing running backs have seen a 14% boost to their average scores. This play will become an absolute lock if for any reason Daniel Jones can’t play and Mike Glennon is under centre for the Giants.
Khalil Herbert v Green Bay Packers $4600 – Over/under 44.5
Our cheapest selection this week comes at the expense of David Montgomery. Whilst he recovers from his knee injury the Chicago backfield is being tag-teamed by Damien Williams and rookie, Khalil Herbert. Whilst Williams at $5800 isn’t a bad looking play, there was enough in last week’s usage to push me towards Herbert whilst Williams himself is banged up. Whilst Williams saw three targets to Herbert’s zero, Herbert out-carried Williams 18-16. Perhaps more importantly Herbert handled all of the two-minute drill workloads. If he can see an uptick in targets we’ll be onto a solid play against a Green Bay defence that allows the 11th most points to the position. Running the ball has been a big part of this Bears team this year, scoring six of their eight touchdowns on the ground and I’m expecting them to continue to emphasise this aspect of the game. ** On Thursday Williams was ruled out for this week. Herbert is now likely to be highly owned and should receive a large amount of the rushing opportunities.
Kareem Hunt V Arizona Cardinals $6200 – Over/under 49.5
On Friday Nick Chubb was ruled out of this game. Kareem Hunt also returned to practice on Friday. All being well he should now see a large workload on Sunday. Hunt’s status needs to be monitored as he seems to be carrying injuries too, but if he can play he faces a Cardinals side that allows the second most yards per attempt in rushing at 5.4. The Cardinal’s rank middle of the pack for allowing RB receptions and targets, giving up an average of 6.2 targets per game and 34 receiving yards. With the Cardinals struggling with injuries and Covid issues, I like the Browns chance to win this and potentially be able to run out the clock. If for any reason Hunt is looking like he might have a reduced role then sixth round rookie, Demetric Felton ($4000) becomes a huge chalk play, having shown flashes so far.
Devontae Booker $5400 – 19 touches to Gary Brightwell 0. Tough matchup against the Rams. Plenty of better options.
Marquise Brown $5900 v L.A Chargers – Over/under 52.5
If the Ravens are on the main slate, this Ravens fan is looking to play them. Especially when the pricing of Ravens players wasn’t adjusted after MNF. Draftkings prices come out on Sunday night, and with the Ravens playing Monday, Brown avoided a bigger bump than the $600 he already received for this week. We’re past the point where people can declare Brown’s form an outlier. Brown is averaging 90.2 receiving yards per game, whilst playing on the league’s most explosive passing game. The Chargers represent strong opposition, and whilst they tend to funnel the game towards accepting rushing attempts, the Ravens offence is built on efficiency. Hollywood is putting up these numbers on 7.6 targets per game. In years gone by people would declare it impossible to maintain with volume, but nowadays like many narratives we’re seeing around Lamar Jackson, that was utter garbage. This game will be one of the games of the week and I would focus on previous offence performances rather than worrying about defensive matchups here. ** On Friday the Ravens ruled out Sammy Watkins and confirmed Rashod Bateman could make his NFL debut. At $3000 he might make for an interesting dart throw if you’re heavily attacking this game, but don’t expect a heavy snap count.
Christian Kirk $5000 @ Cleveland Browns – Over/under 49.0
Kirk seems to be discovering a new lease of life as the Cardinal’s move to a full air-raid system. As Rondale Moore and A.J Green were brought in, some speculated that Kirk could see his snaps reduced but instead he thrived for the most. Since Week 1 Kirk has had just one performance under 9.5 points and has enjoyed spike weeks of 24 and 20.4. His only bum-note coming in a tough matchup against the Rams. Cleveland allows the fifth-most adjusted target share to wide receivers and Arizona boasts the fourth-highest explosive pass rate in the league. At $5000 Kirk looks like a nice way to gain a piece of this exciting Arizona side who may be forced to turn to the pass, even more, this week whilst they deal with injuries on the offensive line.
DeSean Jackson $3700 @ New York Giants – Over/under 49.0
You can categorise this one as a long-shot or a dart throw, or whatever adjective you like, but there’s some theory behind selecting a player who has only played on 25.7% of snaps. Some players just go off against certain opponents and for whatever reason, those teams just can’t defend them. The Giants have never been able to deal with DeSean Jackson, allowing him an average of 60 yards and .47 TD’s per game played. That might not sound overly impressive, but Jackson has played the Giants 19 times. His total stat lines for those games reads as 71/1143/9TD. The Giants allow the sixth-most points to the position and if you’re looking to game-stack this game or need salary relief in tournaments, this is as cheap as I can find this week.
Robby Anderson $4800 v MIN – Please don’t hate me. 6.7 targets per game, only behind D.J Moore. Jumped from 3.7 targets in weeks 1-3, to 9.0 in 4-5 with Arnold gone. No4 in the league for unrealised air yards. It will smash soon.
Tim Patrick $5100 V LV – leads NFL in Catch rate over expected +15.8% (min 25tgts). Den 8th in pass success rate. DEN 7-3 pass/rush TD.
Sterling Shepard $5000 v DAL – DAL allow the 12th most points to the position. With Kenny G out and Toney attracting attention, this might be the sneaky play.
Mark Andrews v L.A Chargers $5200 – Over/under 52.5
If you thought you were done with hearing about my Ravens, you probably don’t know me very well. Like Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews avoided a price jump by playing on MNF. Instead, we’re treated to his price falling by $300 to its second-lowest point this season. Andrews comes into the matchup having put up the 11th best tight end performance in fantasy of all time. All-time. Baltimore feeds Andrews consistently and he sees the third-best target share at the position with 24.4% and has the fifth-highest route per dropback rate of 85%. If you’re choosing between Brown and Andrews I’d lean Andrews as the Chargers struggle to defend against tight ends, allowing opponents an average of a 58.21% increase on their normal fantasy output.
Ricky Seals-Jones v Kansas City Chiefs $3000 – Over/under 55.5
RSJ returns to the column gaining $500 after his Week 5 outing where he almost put up double digits, but still did enough to warrant his inclusion. Replacing the injured Logan Thomas, Seals-Jones usage was almost identical, playing on 99% of snaps and running a route on 88% of dropbacks. Seals-Jones also saw a whopping 60% of Heinicke’s red zone passes and now faces a Kansas City defence that struggles to do anything well. Through five games the Chiefs have allowed an average of 17.38 DK points to TE’s including blow-up performances from Dawson Knox (23.7) and Dallas Goedert (16.6).
Jared Cook v Baltimore Ravens $3200 – Over/under 52.5
The Ravens have been a team to target with tight ends this year, struggling at linebacker and struggling to tackle often. Cook might not be the spring chicken he once was but he’s still a valuable piece in this explosive offence that ranks second in passing plays per game (41.6). The Chargers also remain pass-happy in the red zone, leaning towards passing 54.6% of the time, which ranks fourth in the league. As the more physical Donald Parham continues to mix in with blocking work, Cook seems the more likely to score a touchdown against this Raven’s side allowing the sixth-most adjusted target share to tight ends.
Darren Waller v DEN $6600 – How Cheap? Team less productive in pass game when Jacobs plays… 6th in explosive pass rate. Raiders 4th most pass plays per game avg 41.0. LV 8-4 pass TD’s.
I’ll be back over the weekend with an update pending injury situations. Till then you can find me on twitter, @BestballUKNFL