Week 5 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Steelers Implied Team Total: 30.25
Falcons Implied Team Total: 27.25
Incredibly, the total on this game started at 56 and has already been bet up to 57.5 (as of Tuesday night!). That's the highest over/under so far in what may be a historically great season for offensive production. Featuring two high-powered offenses and two of the worst passing defenses in the league, there should be points galore. Really, the only downside is that this won't be played in Atlanta's dome as the Pittsburgh Steelers play host at Heinz Field. Nonetheless, in both GPPs and cash, you'll pretty much have to get exposure to this game.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
FanDuel Price: $8,400
In cash, it makes sense to play the slightly cheaper quarterback in Matt Ryan ($8,300), who's also carried a strong ceiling at home the last few weeks. But for both of those reasons, his ownership will be higher. Big Ben is coming off a down game at home and as the third-most expensive quarterback on the board, he should have lower ownership than he deserves. It's important to note that his poor showing last week came against a Baltimore Ravens defense that ranks as the best defense in the league, per numberFire's Net Expected Points model.
Remember, Roethlisberger averages seven more fantasy points per game at home since 2011. Plus, the Steelers' defense is so bad that Pittsburgh has been forced to abandon the run in each of the last three games. As a result, Big Ben is averaging 46.5 passing attempts per game this year after averaging just 37.4 per game last year, when he finished as the fantasy QB8. In this column, we've attacked Atlanta's injury-ridden defense to success each of the last two weeks. The newest injury is difference-making defensive lineman Grady Jarrett, a big blow for a defense that already ranks fifth-worst by Adjusted Net Expected Points. Big Ben is a confident play this week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
FanDuel Price: $8,000
Look, Antonio Brown's ($9,000) blow-up game is coming. As such, and playing at home, his ownership will be high like it is most weeks. That's why JuJu is the sharp play, especially after he burned owners with his worst fantasy game of the season last week. Smith-Schuster managed just 4 catches for 60 yards, but he again saw a healthy 11 targets. Last week, we were on Tyler Boyd ($6,300) because of his juicy matchup against Brian Poole in the slot, the weak link in Atlanta's secondary. Boyd totaled 11 catches for 100 yards. With a strong target share and game-breaking ability, JuJu is playable in all formats in that same head-to-head matchup.
Others to Consider
Given his bevy of weapons, strong offensive line and porous defense, Matt Ryan ($8,300) is cash game-viable every week. If you can squeeze him in, the best GPP play on the Atlanta Falcons side is Julio Jones ($8,800). Everyone and their cousin will be rushing to play Calvin Ridley ($6,800) again, and you're more than welcome to use him given the touchdown streak he's on. But let it fly, Julio Jones is going to score this season. Giving up the third-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers, this matchup against the Steelers is as good a time as any for Julio to find the end zone.
This play didn't work last week, but Austin Hooper ($5,000) remains an interesting GPP punt. In addition to struggling against wide receivers, the Steelers have allowed the second-most points to tight ends. Hooper's low target share removes him from cash lineups, but he's squarely on the GPP radar at a position that keeps losing contributors. We'll need to learn more about Devonta Freeman's ($6,800) health later in the week to know how to properly handle him and Tevin Coleman ($6,900).
At his price, James Conner ($7,800) feels tough to stomach coming off a season-low 12 touches. But again, those factors should keep his ownership very low and we've seen him show 30-touch upside when game script remains neutral or positive, something well within reason as three-point home favorites. Every pass-catching back is in play against Atlanta, which has given up seven more running back receptions than any other team in the league. Connor is averaging six targets per game this year.
The Falcons have been just average against tight ends, but the numbers belie the context. They faced Zach Ertz ($7,500) without Carson Wentz ($7,500), got the Panthers without Greg Olsen, then let Tyler Eifert rack up 4 catches for 38 yards and a touchdown in less than three quarters. This makes Vance McDonald ($4,600) an intriguing GPP play at tight end. Confusingly priced $600 below teammate Jesse James, McDonald is running more routes among the two and has seen five targets in every game this year.