DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 5
Not only does numberFire offer multiple DFS articles (like this one) each and every week, we've also got the tools you need to build lineups and sort through projections that are specific to the scoring system used by DraftKings. And there is perhaps no better way to quickly see the big picture of how the slate is shaping up than by viewing the Matchup Heat Map. In addition to all the written content and awesome tools, numberFire also has podcasts that will preview all the upcoming action.
In Week 5, roster construction for cash games on DraftKings really comes down to which of the three high-end running backs you want to anchor your lineup: Todd Gurley ($9,400) on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, Melvin Gordon ($8,600) at home against the Oakland Raiders, or Christian McCaffrey at home against the New York Giants. The next big decision to make is at wide receiver. Unfortunately, many of the bountiful sub-$5K values from a week ago have been bumped up in price. Finally, when building your player pool, it's a good idea to stock up on players that competing in one of three games on the Heat Map that have an over/under above 50 points.
Kirk Cousins ($6,000): The reason Kirk Cousins is a great tournament option this week is pretty simple. The Minnesota Vikings are having serious issues running the ball as Dalvin Cook deals with a hamstring injury. Even if Cook were healthy, however, he would face a stout run defense that's sixth in success rate and third in limiting explosive runs, per Sharp Football Stats. The pass defense ranks fourth by numberFire's scheduled adjusted metrics, but has seen big performances posted by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Marcus Mariota. Unlike those contests, this is a road start for Cousins. And playing on the road is the major reason why his price tag, projected points, and ownership in DFS will all be reduced. This is a good time to mention that Cousins has faced the Philadelphia Eagles seven times in his career. All three of the games in which Cousins exceeded 300 passing yards against the Eagles came on the road and saw him throw a total of 10 touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford ($5,700): When it comes to a high point-per-dollar value play for cash games this week, the easy answer is Matt Stafford. He's projected as a top-5 quarterback yet is outside the top-10 in quarterback salary. Perhaps the pricing system is overly worried about the pass defense of the Green Bay Packers. While our metrics has them in the top half of the league -- and the team does features a number of talented young players in the secondary -- they were picked apart by Cousins for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns in a Week 2 draw. Mitchell Trubisky struggled mightily against the Packers in Week 1 and Josh Allen looked atrocious last week. But this a home outing for Stafford, who's a slight underdog that is now 5-10 against Packers in his career after sweeping them last season. Since an ugly performance in the season opener, Stafford has seven touchdowns to just one interception over the last three games. Stafford has yet to crest 30 DraftKings points in a game this season, but he has a floor that looks plenty safe.
Russell Wilson ($5,100): Right now is the time take a few shots with Russell Wilson in tournaments. Wilson didn't score a touchdown last week and now faces the Los Angeles Rams D/ST. His passing yards have declined over the last three weeks and he's coming off two sub-200 yard outings. However, he's playing at home for just the second time this season. Last week, his top receiver Doug Baldwin returned from a multi-week knee injury and was able to play on 76 percent of the snaps. Without elite cornerback Aqib Talib on the field, Cousins threw 50 times for 422 yards and three touchdowns against the Rams in Week 4. After barely running in the first three games, Wilson ran four times for 21 yards last week. Not impressive numbers, but both are season highs for Wilson. While hoping for a low-owned vintage home performance from Wilson, stack him Baldwin or Tyler Lockett also bringing it back with a player or two from the Rams.
Christian McCaffrey ($8,000): Priced $1,400 below Todd Gurley and $600 below Melvin Gordon, many cash game players are sure to playing McCaffrey this week. He's yet to score a touchdown, but McCaffrey exceeded double-digit receptions and 100 yards as a receiver in Week 2 and ran wild for 184 yards on 28 carries in Week 3. Following a bye week, McCaffrey should keep things rolling while playing at home as a big favorite against a woeful Giants team. The Giants have the second-worst run defense by our metrics and have allowed five receptions for more than 40 yards to Lamar Miller and Alvin Kamara in consecutive weeks.
David Johnson ($6,300): Even though David Johnson is coming off his best performance of the season his price actually went down by $300 and is now down $2,500 from the season opener. He has 30 or more receiving yards in three of four games, and scored in each of those contests. The defense of the opposing San Francisco 49ers ranks second in targets seen by opposing running backs and is tied for fourth in receiving yards allowed to the position. Last week against the Charger, Gordon and Austin Ekeler combined for 86 yards and each scored as receivers. An easy play in all formats, Johnson is simply too cheap and has a matchup where he can excel in the passing game. It's no surprise to see him projected as a top value.
T.J. Yeldon ($5,600): Even though Yeldon is dealing with an ankle injury, he's going to be extremely high-owned in all formats after Leonard Fournette was ruled out early in the week. In addition to coming off a performance against the New York Jets, where he scored as a rusher and receiver, Yeldon has recorded 90 and 100 yards of offense, respectively, over the last two weeks. Now he'll face a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is at the very bottom of our metrics against the run. They've yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season, but the Chiefs were taken for 136 rushing yards by Denver Broncos teammates Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman just last week. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Chiefs run defense has the dubious honor of being last in both success rate and conceding explosive plays to the run game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,500): The best way to get exposure to the game's highest over/under without breaking the bank is through JuJu Smith-Schuster. He's priced the same as teammate James Conner, but has outscored him in every game aside from the opener. Smith-Schuster has seen double-digit targets in three straight games while playing nearly 80 percent of time in the slot, according to the game charting done by PlayerProfiler, Last week, the Falcons moved Brian Pooleto safety and replaced him with Desmond Trufant in the slot. Trufant is an established player, but has been eaten up for 19 receptions and 200 yards over the last two games. Our projections don't see Smith-Schuster as a strong value but when 10 catches, 100 yards, and a touchdown are all very much on the table this price is reasonable enough to get up to in cash games.
Stefon Diggs ($7,000): Since his quarterback has been named numerous times in this column already, why not stack Cousins with Stefon Diggs? Rookie Sidney Jones has performed well in the slot for the Eagles, where Adam Thielen -- who's $700 more than Diggs -- will line up the majority of the time. Among the top-10 wide receivers in air yards, the only pair of teammates aside from the duo in Minnesota are DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Meanwhile, the outside corners for Philadelphia -- Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby -- were each bad in both Week 2 when they faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also last week against the Tennessee Titans. Coming off a Thursday night fireworks show, Diggs has now exceed 120 receiving yards twice this season and has seen double-digit targets in three straight games.
Devin Funchess ($5,200): While Marvin Jones is sure to among the more popular value plays at wide receiver at only $4,700, Devin Funcehss is an interesting option that's in a similar price range. In fact, playing both in cash games is viable if you playing Gurley or Gordon over McCaffrey as Funchess is a top-10 value by our projections. Tight end Greg Olsen is practicing in hopes of returning in Week 6, meaning Funchess' grip on the non-McCaffrey targets could start to loosen very soon. A matchup with Janoris Jenkins may sound intimidating, but he's barely a top-100 cornerback this season on PlayerProfiler. The Giants may have only allowed two touchdowns to wide receivers thus far, but their pass defense only ranks in the middle of the pack by our metrics.
Travis Kelce ($6,000): After a quiet performance in the season opener, Travis Kelce has gone off over the last three weeks and currently leads the team in targets. During that span he's averaged 7.3 receptions, 10.7 targets, and 100.3 yards per game. Now in a difficult matchup against a formidable defense that has given up very little to opposing tight ends, Kelce gets a reduced price tag and perhaps reduced ownership in tournaments. Jacksonville limited Rob Gronkowski to only two catches for 15 yards back in Week 2, so those checking box scores will be even more discouraged from trying Kelce. Prior to the Thursday night game airyards.com had Kelce first among all tight ends in both air yards and Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR). If a tight end is going to crack the Jaguars this season, bet on Kelce.
Vance McDonald ($3,700): He'll likely be the most owned tight end in cash games, so it's probably best to not overthink Vance McDonald this week. Pittsburgh is the only team with an implied total of over 30 points and are slight home favorite in the week's largest over/under. Atlanta was hit up by Benjamin Watson for 71 yards in Week 3. Last week, Tyler Eifert caught all four of his targets for 38 yards and a touchdown before suffering a season-ending injury. In his last two games, McDonald has caught nine of 10 targets for 174 yards and a touchdown. He's also seen his snap share rise slightly each week as he moves further away from the foot injury that caused him to be inactive for the season opener. McDonald is fine to fade in tournaments, but should be a common sight in all formats.
Arizona D/ST ($2,900): With many DFS players eager to get a discounted David Johnson into their lineups, it makes sense to pair him with the Cardinals defense in a couple of tournament lineups. They'll be on the road for just the second time this season, but have recorded two or three sacks in every game thus far while forcing a total of four turnovers. C.J. Beathard was only sacked once last week against the Chargers, but took a number of brutal hits and had to leave the game at one point. Meanwhile, three starters on the 49ers offensive line did not practice on Wednesday due to their respective knee injuries. Two were limited on Thursday while the leader of the group -- Joe Staley -- sat out once again. Since the Cardinals haven't had a big week of bringing down the passer just yet they rank near the bottom of the league in sacks. However, they are second to only the Rams in both hurry rate and QB hit rate. Should Staley or the other pieces in front of Beathard miss this game, Arizona is in prime position to finally cash in on those strong underlining pass rushing figures.
New York Jets D/ST ($2,600): After recording five interceptions in the season opener, the Jets have added one more pick, four fumble recovieres, and a total 10 sacks in three games. On the season, they are holding opponents near the league average in points scored and draw a home matchup against a Denver Broncos pass offense that has zero touchdowns and three interceptions over the last three games. While the offensive line did a good job of protecting Keenum early in the season, he's been sacked seven times over the last two games. At home against a quarterback that is really struggling is the perfect spot to play what looks one of the better cheap defensive units on the board.