DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 5
Just because the NFL season is underway doesn't mean you can't enjoy fantasy football drafts.
Over at DRAFT.com, you can get the experience of a fantasy draft while building your daily fantasy rosters, and the format is quite simple.
You roster one quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receiver/tight ends while drafting against opponents in real-time. That means the typical "value" aspect of daily fantasy is different, as you're not worrying about salary cap and instead just playing your opponents for your preferred picks of the week.
What stands out for Week 5's main slate?
When considering running backs in the DRAFT format, you are required to draft two, but the difference between the top options and the next grouping can be a big drop-off.
Our projections have five running backs projected for 19.5 points or more, while the sixth running back is projected for 17.7 fantasy points. A nearly two-point difference might not seem massive, but in fantasy football or DFS, every point matters. In your head-to-head matches, you will 100% be grabbing at least one of these running backs, but as you move on to 4-Person, 6-Person, and 10-person DRAFTS, things can change dramatically.
Let's take a look at a few players by tiers, so you can get a clear picture of where you should be targeting each player.
1. Christian McCaffrey (RB1) - It shouldn't be a surprise at this point, but McCaffrey is our highest-projected running back of the week, clocking in at 22.1 FanDuel points. McCaffrey has been on the field for 98.2% of the Carolina Panthers' snaps this season, which isn't changing anytime soon. He has at least 27 total touches in three of his four games this season. Just play him.
2. Alvin Kamara (RB2) - Kamara and the New Orleans Saints have a strong implied team total of 24.75 this week, and targeting them for offense should be popular. Kamara has 20 touches or more in three of the four games this season, and even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been solid versus running backs this year, Kamara's role within the offense is secure regardless of game script. The volume will be there for him.
3. David Johnson (RB3) - The Cincinnati Bengals are allowing the most FanDuel points per game to running backs this season -- dead last in the league. Johnson and the Arizona Cardinals are looking to pick up their first win of the campaign, which looks like a strong possibility alongside their 22.25 implied team total this week.
4. Dalvin Cook (RB4) - There is plenty of talk surrounding the Minnesota Vikings and their receivers this week, but one thing holds true above all else. Cook is crushing this year and won't be slowing down against the New York Giants, who are allowing 19.7 FanDuel points per game to running backs. He is also averaging 4.5 targets per game, which can give him a boost if the game script turns against them and they are forced to pass.
5. Ezekiel Elliott (RB5) - It's not often we have Zeke in the second-tier of running backs, and it's nothing against him; rather, the other running backs are all playing so well right now. He is up against the Green Bay Packers, who are allowing the third-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. His projection is at 19.2 FanDuel points, just slightly behind the other players, but Zeke could easily outperform them if the Dallas Cowboys feed him.
6. Leonard Fournette (RB6) - Fournette has a consistent role in the offense, is getting more involved in the passing game, and is facing a middle-of-the-road defense this week. At a projection of 16.9 points, he is clearly a step behind other options, but he has nearly the same role. What holds him back this week is the Jacksonville Jaguars' lower 18.75 implied team total.
7. Austin Ekeler (RB7) - Last week Melvin Gordon returned to the team but didn't play a snap. There are reports this week which state MG3 will be apart of the team's game plan. The question is how much? Is it 10 snaps, 20 snaps, or 10 touches? If this question isn't going to be clear by Sunday, Ekeler is a fantastic option against the Denver Broncos, who are the fourth-worst D versus running backs this season.
8. Aaron Jones (RB10) - With Jamaal Williams likely out for this game, Jones' role should be secure within the offense. His 19 or more total touches in two of his last three games are encouraging, and he is in a game with the third-highest over/under (46.5).
9. Joe Mixon (RB9) - Mixon has been disappointing for the most part this season but has a chance to turn that around versus the Cardinals, who are allowing nearly 20 FanDuel points per game to running backs this season. Mixon is really only an option for larger DRAFTs this weekend.
1. Keenan Allen (WR1) - Allen posted a bit of a dud last week, but the Los Angeles Chargers were in control of the game against the Miami Dolphins and didn't need to push the ball. This week, he is up against the Denver Broncos, which has the Chargers as -6.5-point favorites. Allen is averaging 11.75 targets per game, the highest clip in the league, so he can get to his 16.0-point projection on volume alone.
2. DeAndre Hopkins (WR2) - Hopkins is our second-highest projected wide receiver this week and is a full 1.2 FanDuel points ahead of our WR3 this week (Michael Thomas). Of course, 1.2 points isn't massive, but if you are thinking ahead, there is higher equity to grab Hopkins over Thomas, since stacking Hopkins with Deshaun Watson is a better option compared to stacking Thomas and Teddy Bridgewater.
3. Michael Thomas (WR3) - As mentioned right above, Thomas is still a great option this week with a 14.5-point projection. He is up against the Buccaneers, who are allowing a whopping 35.1 FanDuel points per game to wide receivers this season.
4. Julio Jones (WR4) - With a 49-point over/under, the Atlanta Falcons-Houston Texans game is the highest on the slate, and you should be looking here for some offense. Stacking this game should be popular in regular DFS formats, so why not pair Julio with Matt Ryan this week?
5. Tyler Boyd (WR5) - With John Ross being sent to IR and A.J. Green still out, the Cincinnati Bengals will need someone to catch the ball. Enter Boyd, who is our fifth-highest projected receiver this week and who we forecast to get 9.65 targets. A 46.5-point over/under isn't super high, but this could turn into a shootout since the defenses of the Bengals and Cardinals are so bad.
6A/B. Chris Godwin/Mike Evans (WR6/7) - Godwin and Evans are tied because they both come in projected for 13.7 FanDuel points. The Buccaneers put on a show last week and are now facing the Saints, a defense allowing 35.4 FanDuel points per game to wide receivers. The Buce should be in for another big game.
7. Amari Cooper (WR8) - Cooper has been dealing with an ongoing ankle injury, but he was a full participant in Thursday's practice and will be set to take on the Green Bay Packers, who have actually been very strong against wide receivers this season, allowing the fewest FanDuel points per game to them. With that said, he is only an option in deeper DRAFT formats or to be stacked with Dak Prescott.
8. Larry Fitzgerald (WR9) - As we touched on, the Arizona-Cincy game has some sneaky shootout potential since both defenses are so bad. Fitzgerald's targets dipped to only five last week after having seven or more in each of the first three weeks. The consistency isn't there for him to be put in the top-tier, but the matchup is worth attacking, and Christian Kirk is expected to sit.
We all know you should be prioritizing elite running backs and receivers over taking a quarterback in season-long fantasy, and that should be the same here. This week, there are five quarterbacks who we have projected to score from 19.3 to 21.3 FanDuel points, and another four projected at 18.1 to 18.6. At a certain point, it can be splitting hairs and essentially comes down to personal preference, but know that you will be in a good spot at quarterback this week.
1. Deshaun Watson (QB1) - Watson comes in as our top projected quarterback on the week, and it shouldn't be too surprising given his potential upside and the matchup. He is up against the Atlanta Falcons in a game which has the highest over/under on the slate (49.0). Looking to this clash for offensive options will be very popular this week, and the Watson-Hopkins stack has massive upside as the Falcons are in the bottom 12 versus both quarterbacks and wide receivers this season.
2. Carson Wentz (QB2) - Wentz is a near no-brainer this week as the Philadelphia Eagles have an implied team total set at 28.50, tied for the highest on the slate. Wentz has been amazingly consistent this season, with 19.54 FanDuel points or more in each game, a trend that should continue versus the lowly New York Jets.
3. Matt Ryan (QB4) - The Atlanta Falcons are 1-3 in terms of their record, but it shouldn't fall on the shoulders of Ryan, who has at least 300 passing yards in every game this season, along with eight touchdowns in four games. The highest over/under on the slate makes a Falcons stack a high priority this week.
4. Lamar Jackson (QB3) - Jackson is actually projected 0.6 points higher compared to Ryan, but Jackson is playing in a game with an over/under down at 44.0. I fully expect Jackson to reach value this week, but the shootout potential for Ryan has him higher than Jackson.
5. Aaron Rodgers (QB5) - Rodgers certainly has a tougher matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys this week -- they are only allowing 12.6 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, fourth-lowest in the league -- but if the game script turns against him, Rodgers will be forced to throw. It also doesn't help that Davante Adams is out this week, which is why he is firmly in the second-tier.
6. Kyler Murray (QB6) - The Arizona Cardinals run a ton of offensive plays. That is good. They are up against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are allowing nearly 20 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks. Kyler should have plenty of chances to rack up fantasy points, but he's a clear step below the top options.
7. Andy Dalton (QB7) - Dalton is fine fantasy quarterback. That's really all we'll ever game from him. He is serviceable when/if you need him, and that could be this week. Of course this is only for deeper DRAFTS. He's up against Arizona, who is allowing a whopping 24.3 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks.
8. Jameis Winston (QB8) - Will we see 385 yards and four touchdowns from Winston this week? Probably not. But with the Buccaneers playing the Saints with a 46.5 over/under, there is some shootout potential that could be stacked with Godwin or Evans.
9. Tom Brady (QB9) - Brady scored only 4.7 FanDuel points last week -- not good. But in the prior three games, he posted at least 20 points in each outing. The New England Patriots are -15 favorites against Washington. Play Brady, simple as that.