Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 5
Each week, this piece will go position by position on the Yahoo daily fantasy slate, looking at high-priced and value options who are viable in cash and GPP lineups. Every article will also feature a player, team, or situation that holds the key to the week due to price, matchup, or projected ownership.
If you've been on the fence about trying Yahoo's daily fantasy product, this is the week to take the plunge. The standard main slate and its eight games with totals under 45 not making you terribly excited? Well, Yahoo's main slate includes the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts game and the massive 56.5 over/under in primetime. Beyond Chiefs-Colts, we do have a number of interesting, evenly-matched squads that present us with seven games with a spread under five points. Week 5 also represents a tipping point of sorts for players that seem to be trustworthy but have let us down throughout the first quarter of the regular season. Adam Thielen has made his lack of production publicly known and now faces the lowly New York Giants. If Sony Michel can't get it going against the Washington Redskins then when can he? Kyler Murray faces a cupcake matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Will he have a breakout game? These players and more discussed below will be under the microscope as roster managers build their player pool going forward.
Patrick Mahomes ($41) - It will be imperative on Yahoo to get a slice of this game in your lineups. I debated including Travis Kelce ($32) or Sammy Watkins ($24), but Kelce is 33% more expensive than the next-highest tight end, and Watkins is locked into at least a timeshare with several other productive receivers on the roster (plus Tyreek Hill returned to practice Wednesday). Locking in Mahomes gives you the most reasonable exposure to a large share of the Chiefs' 33-point total.
Coming off a road game against the Lions where Mahomes had "only" 18 Yahoo points on 315 passing yards, 54 rushing yards, and zero touchdowns, you can bet the farm that he will get back in the scoring column this week at home. Not much more can be said about how otherworldly Mahomes is as a quarterback, but the Indianapolis Colts have been under-the-radar bad as a pass defense through the first four weeks. According to our team defense Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics, Indianapolis ranks as the 10th worst pass defense in the NFL. To make matters worse, when our own Brandon Gdula broke down success rates for all defenses through four weeks, he discovered that the Colts are the fifth-worst at defending the tight end position, allowing a 67.6% success rate on each target. Kelce is about to have a monster game on Sunday night.
The Bengals defense is brutal to watch. These LBs are a dumpster fire. Consistently running into blocks, taking bad angles, and then missing the tackle when they get there
— Brandon Singler (@BSing53) October 1, 2019
Well, OK. The Bengals rank only better than Miami in pass defense this season, allowing .39 NEP per dropback, essentially more than a third of a touchdown for every pass allowed. Look for Murray to key in on David Johnson during the game, as the Bengals also rank 31st in success rate allowed for running back receptions. Johnson has at least nine targets each of the past two weeks, and continues to be the featured piece in the Arizona Cardinals fast-paced attack. Despite the narrative that Murray likes to keep the passing game short and simple, he has actually attempted the fifth-most passes over 16 yards this season. With Christian Kirk out, look for Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson to try and take advantage of a weak secondary.
Alvin Kamara ($33) - This pick may seem counter-intuitive as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have - some would say, surprisingly - the best rush defense in the NFL this season according to our metrics. But selecting Kamara this week is less about his perceived rushing ability and more about the context of the game and Teddy Bridgewater's style of play.
This game checks in with the third-highest implied total on the day slate, at 46.5 but has one of the smallest spreads at only three points as of Wednesday night. With a close matchup and both teams projected for more than 22 points, the offenses should be on display. What this means for the New Orleans Saints is a safe and conservative passing game from Bridgewater. JJ Zachariason tweeted earlier this week that Bridgewater has thrown by far the fewest passes of 16+ yards per attempt than any other quarterback this season.
Through four weeks, here's how frequently each quarterback is throwing it 15 or more yards down the field. pic.twitter.com/2NKZpBvmWS
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 1, 2019
This fact solidifies Kamara's prospects for involvement in the passing game. I look for AK-41 to lead the team in targets Sunday and make his fantasy impact through the air and after the catch.
David Montgomery ($20) - When you hear blokes over in England use the phrase "chock-a-block," it regularly means very busy or full of something. Well, friends, David Montgomery is going to be chock-a-block full of usage on Sunday in our first London game of the season. As anywhere from 4.5- to 6-point favorites, the Bears will likely seek to control the game with their preferred tempo, especially with Chase Daniel running the offense for the time being.
Since Week 1, Montgomery's share of the rush attempts has gone from 40%>62%>54%>66%. Similarly, his market share of the Bears' targets has gone from 2%>11%>10%>15%. Matt Nagy and his staff are finally learning to rely more on the multi-talented rookie back. Daniel only attempted three passes more than 15 yards downfield in his relief duty of Mitchell Trubisky, a pattern that, if it continues, bodes well for Montgomery and his trademark elusiveness. Montgomery forced more missed tackles than any other back coming out of college last season.
DeAndre Hopkins ($33) - Hopkins has made it through the gauntlet of cornerbacks he was matched up against the first four weeks of the season. He will not see a tougher stretch than when he faced Marshon Lattimore, Jalen Ramsey, Casey Heyward, and James Bradberry the first four weeks. Now is the time to buy low on Hopkins who has seen his price drop from $38 last week as he faces the league's sixth-worst pass defense, according to our NEP.
Perhaps you have seen the tweet that surfaced showcasing an example of how soft the Falcons' pass defense was playing on Sunday.
unreal lol pic.twitter.com/MkeqeezAZi
— charles (ronald) mcdonald (@FourVerts) October 2, 2019
If Hopkins sees an afternoon of that type of coverage, a 2019 slump-busting performance is guaranteed. Hopkins still ranks top ten in total air yards and targets on the season, so while the surface-level production may not be what we have expected, the metrics show he is ready to break out when given the right opportunity. This is certainly the right opportunity.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($15) - This is strictly a hedge play as I am assuming Davante Adams does not suit up on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. If Adams is out, Valdes-Scantling becomes one of the best value plays on the board - we currently project him as a top-12 point per dollar play among all wide receivers.
Even playing alongside Adams in recent weeks, Valdes-Scantling has seen his usage develop into immensely more valuable targets. In weeks 1-2, he averaged 10.1 yards per reception while in weeks 3-4 which has grown to a staggering 16.2 yards per catch. He has played on average of 87% of snaps the past three weeks and has the highest average depth of target (aDOT) on the Green Bay Packers. Should Adams be forced to miss, more than 25% of the targets and 31% of the air yards for this passing game will be up for grabs.
Mark Andrews ($21) - As mentioned above, if you want to spend one-sixth of your salary on tight end this Sunday, just plug in Kelce. But assuming you would actually like to have money for other players, Andrews should provide a strong return on investment.
The dominant offensive skills of Andrews despite playing a limited snap count have been instrumental in what has made Lamar Jackson such a success to this point in the season. Andrews ranks top six among all tight ends in targets, receptions, reception NEP per target, and total reception NEP. You can set your clock to Andrews getting 25% of the target share and air yards share, and Jackson locks his eyes to Andrews in the red zone. Andrews' five red zone targets are one less than Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and Willie Snead have combined.
Dawson Knox ($10) - The Buffalo Bills may have really found something in Knox, a late third-round pick who has begun to show signs of supreme athleticism and catch-ability in recent weeks. Knox averages 18 yards per catch in his young career and scored his first touchdown on Sunday despite being matched up against a stingy Patriots defense.
The Tennessee Titans have been rock solid so far in pass defense in 2019, except when it comes to tight ends. The only tight end who has not scored against them is Austin Hooper, who just torched Tennessee for 130 yards in Week 4. While the Titans rank top-12 in success rate against both wide receiver and running back receptions, they fall all the way to 24th in tight end success rate. If Josh Allen or Matt Barkley can continue to target Knox, he could have another solid week operating in the middle of the field.
Ryan Kirksey is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Ryan Kirksey also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username rmkirksey. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.