NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 5

Week 4 was interrupted by some COVID-19 related postponements, and there's a chance Week 5 will have similar issues. More positive tests from the Tennessee Titans has put their game against the Buffalo Bills in jeopardy. If this game is postponed, the players will remain available on the DraftKings platform, so be sure to double-check the status of that game and avoid any cancelled games if necessary. [Editor's Note: The games between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills have been removed from the main slate.]

In this DFS preview, I'll focus on the Sunday main slate and group players into two categories based on their DraftKings salaries: players to build around and value plays.

Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive players on the slate.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Players to Build Around

QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($7,900) vs. CIN

Over the last two seasons, the Baltimore Ravens have played seven games as double-digit favorites. In those matchups, Lamar Jackson is averaging 33.5 fantasy points per game and has scored at least 26 points in each contest. With Baltimore favored by 12.5 points over the Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson appears to be a safe bet to meet expectations, especially with his salary dropping below $8,000 for the first time this year.

QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys ($7,400) vs. NYG

There's a small risk the Dallas Cowboys build up a big lead over the New York Giants, slowing down the red-hot Dak Prescott's fantasy production. However, this Dallas defense doesn't appear capable of stopping anyone right now. In fact, the Cowboys defense is so weak, the Giants' implied total (22.25 points) is more than they've scored in their last two games combined. Dallas might still end up covering in this game, but it will probably require Prescott to keep throwing at his league-high rate (50.3 attempts per game).

RB Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys ($7,800) vs. NYG

Based on Ezekiel Elliott's production this season, it looks like he's among the safest fantasy plays on a weekly basis. Running backs usually take a hit when their team is trailing, but Elliott has still put up 17 or more fantasy points in every game and has topped 20 points three times. In this matchup against the Giants, he may have an elevated ceiling based on the potential Dallas builds a lead and feeds Elliott throughout the second half. Dallas has only run seven offensive plays with a lead this season, but four of them were handoffs to Elliott.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals ($7,900) vs. NYJ

DeAndre Hopkins carries the highest salary among receivers on this slate, but he's been so consistent with the Arizona Cardinals that he's still worthy of your lineups against a weak New York Jets defense. Hopkins has seen at least nine targets in every game this year -- a usage rate so strong that he's averaging 22.7 fantasy points per game despite reaching the end zone only once.

Value Plays

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers ($5,900) vs. ATL

Atlanta Falcons games are a gold mine for fantasy production due to their solid offense and inept defense, creating high-scoring games on a weekly basis. Atlanta has given up at least 30 fantasy points to quarterbacks in every game this season, as demonstrated by the chart below. Teddy Bridgewater has topped 20 fantasy points just once (last week against the Cardinals), but he's worth a look in Week 5 based on the matchup alone.

WeekQBPointsQB Rank
Week 1Russell Wilson34.81st
Week 2Dak Prescott43.81st
Week 3Mitchell Trubisky/Nick Foles30.86th
Week 4Aaron Rodgers32.63rd


QB Daniel Jones, Giants ($5,400) vs. DAL

After flashing some significant fantasy upside last year -- he topped 30 points four times -- Daniel Jones has been one of the biggest busts of 2020. Through four games, Jones has peaked at 19.4 fantasy points and has been held to 11 or fewer points three times. However, the Dallas defense appears to have the ineptitude to elevate anyone to fantasy relevancy. With the Cowboys' defense allowing 36.5 points per game, it's hard to imagine Jones continuing to struggle.

QB Kyle Allen, Football Team ($4,100) vs. LAR

The Washington Football Team has turned the offense over to Kyle Allen after four disappointing weeks of Dwayne Haskins. In those four starts, Haskins' fantasy production peaked at 18.9 points, and Allen's ceiling is probably not much higher. However, since Allen's salary is set at the near-minimum level, he has to be considered an option for rosters. Allen started 13 games for the Carolina Panthers over the last two seasons and was surprisingly effective from a fantasy perspective. Allen reached at least 17 fantasy points in seven of those starts -- a threshold which would make him a solid return on your investment at this salary.

RB Kenyan Drake, Cardinals ($5,700) vs. NYJ

A couple of disappointing performances have caused Kenyan Drake's salary to fall from its peak of $6,400, just in time to make him a potential steal against the floundering Jets. Part of Drake's struggle has been the result of the Cardinals finding themselves in negative game scripts. When Arizona plays with a lead, Drake has seen a 37.3 percent usage rate this season, compared to 30.5 percent while trailing. The Jets have run just eight offensive plays with the lead (all against the Denver Broncos), so we should feel fairly confident in Arizona's ability to jump ahead and boost Drake's workload.

RB Damien Harris, Patriots ($4,300) vs. DEN

[Editor's Note: This game has been removed from the main slate.]

After seeing just four carries as a rookie in 2019, Damien Harris took over the New England Patriots' backfield in Week 4, his first game since being activated off the IR. Harris posted 100 yards on 17 carries but did not see a target in the passing game. Without a role in the passing game, there's a limited ceiling for Harris, and his production may be game-script dependent. However, it's possible the Broncos provide the necessary game script for him to excel in Week 5. Based on ESPN's win-rate metrics, the Patriots run block win rate (74 percent) holds the third-largest advantage over its opponent's run-stop rate in Week 4 (Broncos run stop rate: 29 percent).

RB Gus Edwards, Ravens ($4,000) vs. CIN

It's obviously risky to roster a third-string running back, but when the Ravens build a substantial lead, they tend to turn the game over to Gus Edwards. So far this season, when Baltimore holds a lead of at least 10 points, Edwards accounts for a team-high 44 percent of carries by running backs. Due to the high probability this game turns into a rout, Edwards should see an increased workload -- and at this cheap salary, a late touchdown is all he needs to pay off.

WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($5,400) vs. NE

[Editor's Note: This game has been removed from the main slate.]

With Brett Rypien at quarterback in Week 4, Jerry Jeudy's target share dropped to just 14 percent, so keep on eye on Drew Lock's status for Week 5. With Lock at quarterback, Jeudy's target share is 24 percent, so he could see a significant boost from his starting quarterback's return. Even if Rypien starts again, however, Jeudy may be worth a look against the Patriots. Despite a generally solid defense overall, New England is allowing 10.6 yards per target to slot receivers, the second highest rate in the league, according to Sports Info Solutions.

TE Evan Engram, Giants ($4,600) vs. DAL

As previously established, the Dallas pass defense is a mess, so it's worth taking a shot on a few of the Giants' weapons and their inexpensive salaries. Over the last two weeks without the injured Sterling Shepard on the field, Evan Engram has taken over as Daniel Jones' primary weapon with a 22.4 percent target share. He's only managed to turn that into 14.7 fantasy points, but the Cowboys should be significantly more generous than the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. For this same reason, Darius Slayton ($4,800) and his 20.9 percent target share over the last two weeks is worth consideration as well.

TE Trey Burton, Colts ($2,900) vs. CLE

The Indianapolis Colts have a crowded depth chart at tight end, so consider Trey Burton a tournament dart throw only. However, he has high upside against a Cleveland Browns defense that is allowing 19.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Burton was activated from the IR for the first time prior to the Colts' Week 4 game against the Chicago Bears, and he promptly led all Colts tight ends in routes (19) and targets (5). Given the presence of Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle, Burton's floor is probably zero, but on this cheap salary, he might be worth a shot in some lineups.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. 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.