FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 5
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Dak Prescott ($8,700 on FanDuel): Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes ($9,000), and Lamar Jackson ($8,900) are all in similar situations as high-salaried, heavy favorites with implied team totals exceeding 30 points. We know what kind of ceiling these three bring to the table, so we're merely nitpicking here, but I give the slight edge to Prescott as arguably the one least likely to be at risk of a blowout. While both Kansas City and Baltimore have top-five schedule-adjusted defenses, per numberFire's metrics, Dallas ranks as one of the worst at 28th. Over the last three weeks, the Cowboys have coughed up 49, 39, 39 points in high-scoring shootouts, leading to Prescott throwing 502, 472, and 450 yards over the span. Perhaps a struggling Giants offense won't be up to the task, but if they are, we could have another lucrative day at the office for Prescott.
Deshaun Watson ($7,900): The Texans are another team with an implied total hitting 30 points, but the difference is that their quarterback comes in at a sizable discount. Deshaun Watson rates as the best point-per-dollar signal-caller in numberFire's projections and holds significant upside in a what could be a back-and-forth game (54.5 over/under) against the Jaguars. The matchup bodes well for the Texans' passing game, too, as Jacksonville ranks 32nd in adjusted pass defense and are dealing with several injuries. If you're into narrative angles, perhaps the coaching change in Houston helps get this team going, too.
Daniel Jones ($7,000): With the elite fantasy quarterbacks posting such big numbers this year, I haven't found myself paying down that often at the position. Through four weeks, the only quarterbacks to crack FanDuel's perfect lineup have been Russell Wilson and Prescott (twice apiece) at salaries over $8,000, and last year's perfect quarterbacks averaged a salary of $7,859. It's just hard to find value plays who can match that ceiling every week. That being said, we do have some intriguing underdog quarterbacks in games with high totals this week, and if you can stomach it, Daniel Jones falls under that category. There's no question Jones has been disappointing this season, and he's failed to throw a single passing touchdown in three straight weeks. But he's also endured a tough early schedule (Steelers, Bears, 49ers, and Rams), and an invisible Cowboys defense could be the remedy he needs to get going. He's still showing rushing upside this season, and let's not forget that he went off for 28-plus FanDuel points on four different occasions in 2019.
Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000): The Cowboys were down multiple scores for much of their Week 4 bout against Cleveland, but even in that worst-case scenario, Ezekiel Elliott still saw 20 opportunities (12 rushes, 8 targets) and a 77% snap rate. Few backs can match his floor, and game script should flip in his favor this time around as an 8.5-point home favorite. Despite the "down" week, he still leads all back in snap rate by a wide margin (88.7%).
Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,900): And speaking of large home favorites, the Chiefs are favored by 12.5 points against the Raiders, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire could be the main beneficiary. Not only should CEH get a boost from a positive game script, but Las Vegas ranks 28th in adjusted run defense, per numberFire's metrics. He has the third-highest market share of team opportunities on the slate, averaging 16.3 carries and 3.8 targets per game.
Kareem Hunt ($7,000): Nick Chubb is out for the foreseeable future with an MCL injury, which theoretically opens the door for Kareem Hunt to be the guy moving forward. That being said, it's unclear exactly how this backfield will shake out, as even with Chubb's first quarter exit, Hunt ended up with just 11 rushes and 0 targets on a 34.7% snap rate, with additional snaps instead going to D'Ernest Johnson (22.7% snap rate) and Dontrell Hilliard (20.0%). However, it's possible Cleveland simply didn't want to push Hunt after getting out to a big lead, considering Hunt entered the game questionable with a groin injury. There are some question marks here, and Indianapolis has performed well on defense so far, but the potential ceiling at this salary is tantalizing if the Browns unleash Hunt moving forward. No other team runs at a higher rate than Cleveland (53.3%).
Mike Davis ($6,800): Mike Davis continues to give us a reasonable McCaffrey-lite impression, averaging 14.5 rushes and 7.5 targets over two starts. The targets are what really make Davis appealing at this salary -- targets are essentially twice as valuable as carries on FanDuel -- and if we include his eight targets in relief of McCaffrey in Week 2, Davis is actually tied with Aaron Jones for the third-most targets among all running backs. This all bodes well in a potentially high-scoring game between Carolina and Atlanta, which has a robust 53.5 total.
Calvin Ridley ($8,300): Calvin Ridley shocked everyone with a bagel on just five targets against Green Bay, but particularly with Julio Jones hobbled, we shouldn't expect Ridley's roster percentage to drop much in a potential shootout. In fact, despite the zero, he still leads all wideouts in FanDuel points (70) and air yards (658), and we should see him jump back up to double-digit targets after tallying 13, 10, and 12 across Weeks 1-3. He's the top projected wideout in numberFire's model this week.
D.J. Moore ($6,600): Hopping back over to the other side of that game, D.J. Moore is another Panther we can look to. Although Moore has seen slightly fewer targets than Robby Anderson ($6,200), he leads Carolina in air yards share (42.8%) by a sizable margin. Perhaps he converts all those air yards into FanDuel points on Sunday, as Atlanta ranks just 29th in adjusted pass defense and have allowed the fourth-most yards to opposing wide receivers.
Will Fuller ($6,600): If you're rostering Watson, then Will Fuller is his obvious partner in crime. Despite seeing no targets in Week 2 -- a game where he may not have been 100% healthy -- Fuller leads the team in targets and air yards, producing double-digit FanDuel points in each of his other three games. As a reminder, Jacksonville ranks dead last in adjusted pass defense this season.
Darius Slayton ($5,800): Stacking the Cowboys is becoming a weekly tradition, and if you're in that same boat, then Darius Slayton is the most obvious choice to run it back for game stacks. Slayton has a 36.8% air yards share -- no one else on the team is even close -- and 20.4% target share, and this is a team sorely lacking other weapons with Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard out.
Travis Kelce ($7,800): Travis Kelce is probably more of a luxury at his salary, but if you can find a way to fit him in, he's the highest projected tight end and has loads of scoring upside on a Kansas City offense showing a slate-high 33.50 implied team total. Only Darren Waller ($6,800) has seen more targets at the position this year.
Evan Engram ($5,500): The player who ranks third in tight end targets? It's actually Evan Engram, who's averaging 7.5 per game through four weeks. Of course, it's amounted to diddly-squat on a poor Giants offense, but perhaps this is the week he finally turns that volume into points. He doesn't get many air yards, though, so his upside could be limited without a touchdown. Given that Engram could be popular, Dalton Schultz ($5,300) is an easy pivot in tournaments.
Pittsburgh D/ST ($4,400): The Steelers are favored by a touchdown at home against an Eagles offense dealing with injuries and a struggling quarterback. Carson Wentz leads the league in interceptions (7), and among starting quarterbacks, he has the second-worst Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back behind only Sam Darnold. Pittsburgh's defense projects in the same range as the Rams and Ravens, but at a far lower price point.
Dallas D/ST ($3,500): Despite all the Giants plays I've recommended, there's no getting around the fact they've been abysmal on offense. Case in point, only the Jets rank worse than the Giants in overall offense, per numberFire's metrics. Obviously, the Cowboys' defense hasn't been so hot, either, but if you aren't stacking up this game, a pass-heavy game script could lead to sacks and turnovers from Daniel Jones. Dallas rates as easily the best point-per-dollar defense in our projections.