Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 5
Welcome to the weekly Yahoo NFL DFS Primer! This will be a weekly piece where I analyze high-dollar and value plays at each position across Yahoo’s NFL main slate. The focus will be on both tournament and cash game options as we try to unlock slate-breaking upside in Yahoo's unique DFS game.
Lamar Jackson ($36) - After a lackluster performance in a prime-time spot against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jackson bounced back in a huge way, torching the hapless Washington Football Team for 193 passing yards on only 21 attempts with two passing touchdowns plus 53 rushing yards and a rushing score. Jackson barely saw the field in the fourth quarter as the Baltimore Ravens got back to their old dominant ways in Week 4.
I expect similar results this Sunday, with the potential for even more playing time, as the Cincinnati Bengals have an offense that has proven they can shoot out with anybody.
The Bengals rank bottom ten in both Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) allowed per play and Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, so the stars are aligned for Jackson to serve up some dual-threat goodness against Joe Burrow and company.
Not surprisingly, Jackson leads the Ravens in rush attempts and is second on the team in Rushing NEP per play at 0.35 per rush. Jackson is adding more than a third of a point to his team's expected total each time he takes off.
Head Coach John Harbaugh has made it known he is aware that designed quarterback runs have contributed more to expected points than any other run play, so on Sunday, we may see a lot more people waving goodbye to Lamar as he runs free.
J.K. waved goodbye to Lamar. @Jkdobbins22 knew @Lj_era8 was GONE.
Tune in next Sunday as we take on the Bengals at 1 p.m. on CBS. pic.twitter.com/F5ZGnZ2VQZ
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 5, 2020
Teddy Bridgewater ($25) - Depending on where you book your bets, the tilt between the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons has either the second- or third-highest total on the slate in Week 5. This will be the game stack of the week, especially on Yahoo, as both teams offer cheap options all across the field. The Bridgewater chalk is likely going to be some of that good chalk you just have to eat.
There's no need to rehash the defensive woes of the Falcons -- it is one of the undeniable truths of the 2020 season that they can't stop anyone.
But the more interesting story is the updated Panthers' play-calling since Christian McCaffrey was lost to injury. Beyond just spreading out the offense vertically, the Panthers have opened up the running lanes to designed plays for Bridgewater. In Week 4, Bridgewater rushed six times (including one score), or the same number he rushed altogether in Weeks 1 through 3.
Living up to his reputation as an efficient, make-sure-it's-the-right-throw quarterback, Bridgewater also ranks top ten this year in Passing Success Rate (52.4%) -- i.e., the percentage of drop backs that lead to positive NEP for a team’s offense -- among all quarterbacks with four games played.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($32) - This is something of a make-it-or-break-it week for the stud rookie who ended up drafted in the mid-first round by the time pre-season ended in early September.
Edwards-Helaire's usage has been there in total, but the week-to-week opportunities have been quite maddening. His rush attempts from the first four weeks (25-10-20-16) are as rocky as his targets in that span (2-8-6-3). No one is going to complain about a minimum of 18 touches in a high-octane offense like the Chiefs, but he still has only the one touchdown against the Houston Texans (and really, who hasn't scored against Houston?).
In this case, we have to trust the usage and wait for the production to follow. There's no better time than the present as Edwards-Helaire gets to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, who are fourth-worst in the NFL in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play.
The Raiders have allowed the eighth-most rushing yards per game to their opponents (138.2 yards), and that's after somehow holding the Buffalo Bills to only 62 rushing yards last week. In two road games (they travel to Kansas City this week), they have allowed an eye-gouging 190 rushing yards per game -- only the Bengals have been worse away from home this year.
All three of Davis, Hunt, and Harris face top-12 rush defenses by Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, while Gibson lines up against the Los Angeles Rams, who actually rank dead last in that category this season.
Over the first quarter of the season, Gibson has morphed into an every-down, reliable workhorse that has lived up to the immense hype he received in training camp. Gibson has proved his worth all over the field and doesn't concede rushing work to other backs when scoring opportunities arise (chart from numberFire's Sam Hoppen).
Running back rushing percent grouped by distance from the end zone (dark green is inside the opponent 20, dark red is inside their own 20): pic.twitter.com/XgX36D3ps5
— Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen) October 6, 2020
Gibson also has shown his chops in the receiving game, which was his bread and butter at Memphis (again, from Sam).
Running back receiving first downs above/below expected: pic.twitter.com/X1dVZXrc5i
— Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen) October 6, 2020
In the first four weeks, Gibson has been game-script proof and will likely be under-rostered thanks to a perceived tough matchup against the Rams.
Adam Thielen ($30) - What do Calvin Ridley, Julian Edelman, Amari Cooper, and DeVante Parker all have in common this year? Besides being the alpha receiver on their respective teams, they have each demolished the Seattle Seahawks secondary this year.
Thielen is next in line for the fledgling Seattle defense, and he should have plenty of opportunities as the Minnesota Vikings will struggle to keep pace with Russell Wilson and the soaring Seahawks offense.
On the season, Thielen is second among all wide receivers in market share of team targets (33.8%), and he has only seen one game less than 32%. He also ranks second in total air yards at 124 per game, as his role has shifted to more of an outside receiver with Stefon Diggs out of town.
Marquise Brown ($15) - If Lamar Jackson is going to potentially have a dominant performance, we should look at one of his pass-catchers to also deliver substantial fantasy points.
Brown is consistently seeing high usage, although it hasn't translated into elite fantasy stats just yet. He has at least six targets each week, and those targets are high-value looks from Jackson.
Week 4 leaders in Air Yards per route run (Wide Receivers, 6 target minimum):
Marquise Brown - 11.05
Adam Thielen - 6.17
Tee Higgins - 4.50
Cedrick Wilson - 4.35
Tim Patrick - 4.08
Zach Pascal - 4.07
— Al Smizzle (@AlZeidenfeld) October 5, 2020
In addition, Brown ranks as one of the wide receivers with the most targets and receiving yards without a touchdown in 2020.
It has been shown that offenses score touchdowns for roughly every 143 yards of offense gained, so we would expect Brown at 242 receiving yards to have about 1.7 touchdowns at this point in the season. The big weeks are coming as long as Jackson keeps looking his way. At just $15 in Week 5, Brown could be one of the best values on the entire slate.
Evan Engram ($15) - The lead receiver opposing the Dallas Cowboys has been in a game-stack that has won DFS players a million dollars at least twice this season -- so basically, don't fix it if it ain't broken.
With no Saquon Barkley or Sterling Shepard this season, and with Darius Slayton struggling in the early going, Engram has set the tone for the New York Giants passing attack. He is top five in the position in target share, total targets, and snap share this season.
The Cowboys are sixth-worst in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per attempt this season, so any targets Engram gets in this great matchup should provide immediate value.