Week 5 DFS Targets

Nathan Smith

Sunday October 8th, 2017

Week 5 DFS Targets

This article is intended to help DraftKings players find an edge in lineup construction. Identifying good players to use is only half the battle; I break down situations and matchups to take advantage of in week 5.


If I’m paying up at QB this week, I’m looking strictly at the showdown in Dallas with the Packers and Cowboys. Aaron Rodgers (8100) will almost certainly be missing emerging star running back Ty Montgomery this week. With Green Bay’s offense shifting more to the pass, and this game projecting to be extremely high scoring, Rodgers makes a fantastic tournament option. This could be the week where he scores 40 points. Dak Prescott (6800) offers nearly the same point per dollar upside as Rodgers. It’s hard to justify locking either QB into your lineup, but it certainly makes sense to have exposure to one or both of them.

In week 5, I believe QB choice should come down to roster construction. I wouldn’t jeopardize the spot of an elite running back, just to jam a top quarterback in. What this means is if I had to choose between having Rodgers or having two elite running backs, I would choose the latter.

A very interesting tournament strategy that has been very successful lately is paying all the way down at quarterback. Last week, Deshaun Watson (6200) was an excellent play as he topped 30 points at just over 5K on DraftKings. He remains in play this week, but only in primetime as he is not on the main slate. In week 3, I had success playing Jacoby Grissett (5600). I didn’t think he was that great of a quarterback, but the opportunity he had to pay off his price tag against a bad defense in a great matchup was too juicy to ignore. This same type of logic leads us to consider guys in week 5 such as Josh McCown (4500), Brian Hoyer (4700), and Jared Goff (5300). I would’ve included Jay Cutler (5200) in that list, but I legitimately cannot recommend him to anybody, ever.

Running Back

This week is one of those times you will want to pay up for elite talent in good matchups. Ownership percentage on the top three running backs won’t matter one bit to me. I will be jamming Le’Veon Bell (9500), Ezekiel Elliott (8800), and Todd Gurley II (8000) in as many lineups as possible. Each one of them has a favorable matchup, including the usage hog Gurley, who can take advantage of an overrated Seahawks defense.

Guys such as LeSean McCoy (7800), Carlos Hyde (6900), Bilal Powell (6200) are not going to find their way on to too many of my teams this week. This says more about how much I love the top three running backs than anything, as I certainly don’t think McCoy, Hyde, or Powell are bad plays. Out of the bunch, Carlos Hyde is my favorite. I would much rather play Hyde in a bigger tournament or a qualifier, due to his injury risk and the fact that I just love the elite running backs so much this week. Melvin Gordon (6000) is too cheap for the amount of usage gets, but I generally shy away from high usage dependent players that are traveling cross country to play in a road game.

In the lower tier, there are actually several very intriguing options to consider. Duke Johnson Jr. (4900) receives an incredible number of targets out of the backfield for the Browns, who take on the Jets in a plus matchup. When targeting lower priced running backs, I always love to look for those that get a fair amount of receiving work. I happen to disagree with Vegas on this game, as I expect upwards of 50 points to be scored. There will almost certainly be multiple low-priced players out performing their price tag in this game, as we’ve already covered Johnson Jr. and McCown. Another running back to consider besides Johnson is Bilal Powell’s teammate, Elijah McGuire (4300). This is a complete shot in the dark, but McGuire does appear to have a decent future ahead of him. Unfortunately, McGuire’s small sample size prevents me from being able to confidently recommend using him a lot, although I will sneak him in a lineup or two.

Other cheap running backs in exploitable matchups and/or situations are Andre Ellington (4600), Alex Collins (4000), Wayne Gallman (3900), and J.D. McKissic (3200). McKissic is in a very interesting spot, as the Seahawks have already lost Chris Carson to IR and ruled out C.J. Prosise for Sunday’s matchup against the Rams. McKissic is a pass catching back who actually did well as recently as last week, when he stepped in for the injured Carson and Prosise. McKissic already smashed his price tag last week, as the former Arkansas State receiver was able to score on the ground and through the air last week against a soft Colts’ defense. Add in the fact that the Rams have been among the league’s worst in defending running backs, and we have ourselves a possible recipe for fantasy goodness.

I have three running backs in a unique category. These are guys that I don’t generally find myself playing, but I can’t get over how underpriced they are. DeMarco Murray (5400), Ameer Abdullah (4700), and LeGarrette Blount (4200) are all guys that could end up getting 20+ touches on their way to a surprisingly good fantasy day. They may profile as a great way to pivot off one of the cheaper running backs listed above. Frank Gore (4400) is in “Jay Cutler territory for me”. The matchup seems right to play him (especially in a revenge spot), but I just don’t know if I can confidently recommend playing him.

Wide Receiver

I have a lot of wide receivers on my radar that are long shots or game theory plays. These guys are just as likely to bust as they are to boom. For instance, I have no issue with targeting literally anybody that will see playing time in the Packers vs. Cowboys game. But when it comes to my confident plays this week, there are three guys I’ll focus on getting into almost all of my lineups. Dez Bryant (6500), DeVante Parker (6600), and T.Y. Hilton (6000) stand out as close to must plays for me this week.

DeVante Parker steps into the same matchup that DeAndre Hopkins exploded in last week. The Titans’ defense loves to focus on stopping the run, leaving them vulnerable in outside coverage against elite receivers. Many people are already aware of the opportunity Parker has, as both he and Jarvis Landry (5800) soak up so many targets from Jay Cutler. This could be Parker’s coming out party, for those who don’t already view him as a talented receiver. His price tag of 6600 is definitely reasonable, and will likely rise in the coming weeks. It seems too obvious to me to target him now, in a great matchup, before his salary increases.

Dez Bryant might be my favorite play of the week. He has had an insanely difficult stretch of four games to start the year, in terms of his WR/CB matchups. The Packers have not had much success stopping the pass in recent years, and Dez has had success in this matchup before. With this game profiling as a likely shootout, there is little to no reason for me not to have Dez Bryant on pretty much all of my teams. His ownership could reach 30% in many tournaments, but I really don’t care. I am confident that I can find other ways to differentiate my lineup, and I’ll gladly eat the chalk to play Dez Bryant at his bargain price of only 6500. To put it simply: Is Dez at home? Yes. Does he have a good individual matchup? Yes. Does Vegas like the Cowboys to score a lot of points? Yes. Is Dez under 7K? Yes. All signs point to go; even if Dez is 40% owned, I will stake my advantage on the field by having him in 80-100% of my lineups.

T.Y. Hilton has only had one eye-popping game so far this year, as he exploded for 31.3 points in week 3 against the Browns. However, a deep dive into his matchups shows that he faced scenarios that were unlikely to yield big games. He struggled to find chemistry with QB Scott Tolzien in week 1, faced Patrick Peterson in week 2, and faced the 12th man in week 4. Coming back home, Hilton has as good a chance as ever to go off against a team vulnerable to the pass. Even if the 49ers game plan to stop the long bomb to Hilton, T.Y. has proven he is capable of catching a short to medium pass and eluding defenders on his way to the end zone. This video shows us one of many times that Hilton was able to turn an average play into a game changing touchdown:


Tight End & Defense

For these two positions, I am hesitant to lock anybody on to all my lineups. Rather than breakdown potential opportunities to exploit, I am listing some of my favorite plays. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3500), Hunter Henry (3800), & Evan Engram (4000) are all in good spots this week.

On defense, if I’m paying up I want to target the Steelers (3900) & Lions (3200). If I’m looking to save a couple hundred, I am very comfortable pivoting to the Ravens (2900) & Eagles (3100).

#PlugPlayers of the Week

My favorite players for week 5 are clear to me. Here are the players I am most likely to plug into the majority of my DraftKings lineups:

  • Dez Bryant (6500)
  • Todd Gurley (8000)
  • LeVeon Bell (9500)
  • DeVante Parker (6600)

Bonus GPP Only Plays

  • Duke Johnson (4900)
  • J.D. McKissic (3200)
  • Elijah McGuire (4300)

Fades of the Week


Best of luck this week on all your DFS contests, and remember to always trust your research process. The Sports Talk has you covered for the latest NFL content. Find us on twitter:

The Sports Talk

Nathan Smith


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Nathan Smith

I write about the NFL and more for TheSportsTalk Follow me on Twitter: @Nathan___Smith

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