Week 5 DFS Blue Book
Welcome to the Week 5 DFS Blue Book; your weekly buyer’s guide as a GM in the DFS industry. Each week we will highlight players or match ups that could pay off big based on price, projections, historical performances, and other factors that you need to know about to build a winning roster. Here’s who we’ve highlighted for Week 5 of the 2016 season.
Tom Brady | QB | All Formats
With 344 fantasy points (FPs), Tom Brady was 2015’s QB3. He led the NFL in touchdown passes with 36 TDs and was 3rd in yards with 4770. Through 4 weeks in 2016, the Browns have given up 10 TD passes. Brady will make his season debut against the Cleveland Browns this weekend. Brady will be coming back fired up and freshly tanned from his Mediterranean vacation and the Patriots will be eager to put their 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills behind them. Brady has a very high floor this week but a blowout could hinder his total FP output.
Ben Roethlisberger | QB | All Formats
On any other slate, Ben Roethlisberger would likely be the number one choice at QB. Big Ben has a home game this week against the New York Jets. As I wrote last week, over the last two years (2014 & 2015) Ben Roethlisberger has had some great stark home/road splits. In 2014, Roethlisberger threw for 2,174 yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on the road. In 2015, his road numbers were even worse. Big Ben had 1,850 yards with 5 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. In comparison, his 2014 home numbers were incredible, throwing for 2,778 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. 2015 had the same kind of split, with Roethlisberger throwing for 2,008 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He has increased the difference in those splits this year, as seen in his dud on the road in Philly and his massacre of the Kansas City defense at home. Just like Brady, however, the game flow could hamper his FP output.
Derek Carr | QB | GPP
Derek Carr has opened the season just as he did last year, on fire. Through 4 games in 2016, Carr is the QB6 and ranks in the top-5 in TDs (9), Adjusted Completion Percentage (aC%-79.2) and interceptions (1). Last season, when Carr was notably hot to start the season, he was only QB12 through 4 games. This week he gets the San Diego Chargers at home. So far this season the Chargers have given up 307.3 yards per game through the air. Where they have saved themselves is in the interceptions department; the Chargers have snagged 6 passes. That shouldn’t affect Carr, who has been very careful with the ball this season. Although the Raiders defense seems to have turned a bit of a corner, this game still has major shootout potential making Carr a great GPP target. *Week 5 DFS Blue Book Preferred Play*
Brian Hoyer | QB | Cash
Is there a QB controversy brewing in Chicago? Probably not. In fact, the Bear’s success in Week 4 was as much from Jordan Howard’s insertion into the starting lineup as anything (We will get to that later). That said, Brian Hoyer is a serviceable NFL QB, feel free to ask DeAndre Hopkins how he feels about him. This week the Bears will look to build some momentum when they travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts. The Colts defense has proven to be as inept as their offensive line as they are in the bottom half of defenses against the run and the pass. This week, Hoyer will look to keep up his connection with Zach Miller, Eddie Royal, Kevin White (possibly injured), and who knows, maybe he will even target Alshon Jeffrey this week. At Hoyer’s low price point and the game’s likelihood of being a high-scoring affair, we think Hoyer is definitely in the running for cash game QB.
Should Paxton Lynch be the starting QB for the Denver Broncos against the Atlanta Falcons, he could be used in cash games. So far this season, the Atlanta Falcons have given up 321 yards per game through the air. I wouldn’t expect Lynch to be launching enough passes through the Mile-High air to accrue 300 yards passing but he does have moderate upside and a high floor. Lynch also has some rushing ability which really helps lower priced QBs hit their value threshold.
LeVeon Bell | RB | GPP
In his return to the Pittsburgh Steelers lineup, LeVeon Bell was in on 88% on offensive snaps. More importantly, Bell was the RB3 in PPR formats. He lined up everywhere, at RB, in the slot, and even at outside receiver. The burst was there and he showed confidence in his knee with spins moves and sharp cuts. This week, Bell takes on the New York Jets. It is a tough matchup but Bell’s involvement in the passing game makes him less reliant on offensive line play. There is also the added bonus that game flow could favor Bell. There is a good chance that Bell sees tremendous volume in the 4th quarter while the Steelers look to ice the game.
Todd Gurley | RB | GPP
If in the preseason, I had predicted that the Los Angeles Rams would be 3-1 heading into their game against the Buffalo Bills, you would have demanded that I drink less while writing. If I had gone further and said the Rams would do that while Todd Gurley rushed for 2.6 Yards Per Carry (YPC), you’d have had me strip searched for PCP. But here we are. This week the Bills are traveling to the West Coast after a huge win. They are in a prime letdown spot. We think that it is possible that Gurley finds some running room this week and expect his ownership to remain very low.
Jordan Howard | RB | Cash
Jordan Howard was a noticeable upgrade from Jeremy Langford. The addition of a running game to the offensive game plan really opened things up for the Bears. With 19.20 DraftKings Points (DK Pts.), Howard was able to hit 5x value. His salary has seen a significant bump this week but 3x value is still well within his range of outcomes. In fact, his 91 percent of snaps on offense was good for 2nd most in the NFL at RB last week. This type of volume isn’t reflected in Howard’s price yet so ride him in cash.
Theo Riddick | RB | Cash
Theo Riddick is not what I would call a talented running back. Riddick is, however, a player that has carved out a niche in the league whose role has expanded due to injury. His true role in the Detroit Lions offense is as a pass-catching back. This is where he excels. Through 4 games this season, Riddick leads all RBs with 25 targets and 20 receptions. The injuries that have hit the Lions backfield have only increased Riddick’s usage.
Jerick McKinnon | RB | Cash
This weekend, Jerick McKinnon is approaching must-play cash game status. We are getting this play due to prices being released before Monday Night Football. McKinnon’s usage skyrocketed in Week 4. McKinnon had 21 touches and at his price point, he should easily eclipse 3x value. So far this season, Houston has felt the losses of Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt on defense. They have particularly struggled against the run. We expect McKinnon to continue the trend in Week 5.
Bilal Powell | RB | Cash
Through the past two weeks, Bilal Powell has led all RBs in targets with 16. This week Powell is an incredible value across the industry. The game flow is set up to favor his pass catching ability. The whole industry is waiting on information regarding Matt Forte having X-Rays done following the Jets last game. Regardless of Forte’s health, Powell is a nice target in cash games. However, should Forte miss this game, Powell would become an extremely strong play across all formats.
James White | RB | GPP
There are many New England Patriots that will be celebrating Tom Brady’s glorious return from suspension. Really everyone but LeGarrette Blount should see an increase in fantasy value. This week, we believe that James White steps back into that prominent pass-catching RB role that Brady loves so much. Lest we forget that last season White picked up right where Dion Lewis left off. In the 8 games that White operated as the pass-catching back, he reeled in 34 of 37 targets for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns. This week, the game flow could work against him but there is also a good chance the Patriots attempt to run up the score. That said, the upside is there to use him in GPPs as a source of salary relief. *Week 5 DFS Blue Book Preferred Play*
Antonio Brown | WR | GPP
Thus far in 2016, the New York Jets secondary has been bad. Not surprisingly, Antonio Brown has been great. Brown has been targeted a whopping 43 times this season and he has turned them into 28 catches for 369 yards and 4 touchdowns. What is most exciting is there is actually room to grow. Over the past 2 years, Antonio Brown has never had a Completion Percentage (Targets that are turned into catches-C%) under 70-percent. This year Brown is only sporting a 65-percent C%, which is pretty average. Brown’s salary across the industry is getting to prohibitive levels but we feel hitting 3.5x value is within the range of outcomes.
Odell Beckham | WR | GPP
It is starting to seem like opposing CBs have realized that getting into Odell Beckham’s head is as easy as getting into a Kardashian’s… Okay, Okay. I won’t go there; I wouldn’t want to upset OBJ. That said, OBJ has to get his temper under control and this is the perfect get-right game. As of this writing, Sam Shields is still missing from Green Bay Packers practice. This is a prime game for OBJ to break out. Let’s not forget that through four games in 2015, OBJ had 24 catches for 307 yards. So far in 2016, OBJ has accrued similar numbers with 22 catches for 303 yards. The touchdowns will come and we think this is the week the begin to occur. *Week 5 DFS Blue Book Preferred Play*
Jordy Nelson | WR | Cash
Jordy Nelson is looking like a great cash game play this weekend. Since Week 1, when Nelson was still working back into form, he has been outstanding. In fact, in Weeks 2 and 3, Nelson was the WR2 behind Marvin Jones. This weekend, Nelson will see a lot of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. This is a matchup that the Packers will look to exploit as DRC is a very accomplished slot corner but he has struggled to defend outside WRs. We are expecting the Sunday night game to be an explosive offensive affair and think Nelson will be a huge part of the scoring. Nelson could be looking at double-digit targets with definite touchdown upside which makes him a great cash game play.
Amari Cooper | WR | GPP
Amari Cooper will greatly benefit from Jason Verrett’s unfortunate injury. Cooper will avoid one of the best CBs in the NFL and will instead be covered by Brandon Flowers. Flowers is a very nice slot CB but at 5’9 187 pounds, he doesn’t have the ideal frame to play the outside. We are thinking that many players will flock to Michael Crabtree after last week’s performance but Cooper is the WR to own this week. One area where Cooper excels is Yards After Catch (YAC) and with Flowers being substantially smaller than him, we expect some missed tackles out of the CB.
Jordan Matthews | WR | Cash
Jordan Matthews is coming off an early bye week to play one of the worst teams in the NFL at defending the pass. Matthews, who lines up primarily in the slot will avoid Darius Slay and instead be lined up across from Quandre Diggs. According to PFF, Matthews has a sizeable advantage over Diggs with their grading system. He is also much bigger than Diggs. We expect Matthews to see the largest number of targets in the Eagles passing game, making him a prime cash game target.
Desean Jackson | WR | GPP
Shareece Wright is this season’s Brandon Browner. Throughout the past three weeks, Wright has been charred for five touchdowns. This week, Desean Jackson will be running routes against Wright. Jackson, who is notoriously volatile, is coming off a down game. As we have seen over and over again with WRs, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Perhaps this week, Jay Gruden’s offense attempts to force the ball to Jackson downfield and on screens.
Julian Edelman | WR | Cash
Julian Edelman is going to be pleased to look down the line from his slot position and see Tom Brady. In the four weeks that Brady has sat, Edelman has had to deal with some changes at QB. He has even had to spend practice time practicing at the position. Thankfully for him, Brady is back under center and the offense should begin to run how it has for the last few seasons. Edelman has a chance at being shadowed by Joe Haden but Haden doesn’t often go into the slot. Instead, Tramon Williams, who is horrible, will cover Edelman out of the slot. The game flow could cap his upside but Edelman should double-digit targets this week and is a fine cash game play.
Steve Smith | WR | Cash
Steve Smith has had his career rejuvenated, much in the same way as Larry Fitzgerald’s, by moving into the slot. This week he will avoid Josh Norman while he is in the slot. So far this season, Smith has 35 targets, 24 receptions, and 281 yards. We think that his hot start will continue this weekend in the DMV battle. Smith is cash game preferred but he showed last week that he still has tremendous upside. If the game flow breaks right, Smith could easily hit 4x value again.
DeVante Parker | WR | GPP
This weekend DeVante Parker will look to build on some early season success. He will do so while being covered by Perrish Cox. While not on the Shareece Wright/Brandon Browner-level of CBs to target, Cox has not been good. In fact, Cox rates in the bottom-5 in coverage grade at Pro Football Focus. Parker is a nice target to use against Cox, too. He has a nice aDOT of 15.1 yards which means Ryan Tannehill targets Parker downfield. With the early game struggles that the Dolphins have had this season and the 10 days of preparation, we think that Adam Gase will want to start out throwing downfield. Parker has 4x potential this weekend, making him perfect for GPPs.
Tyrell Williams | WR | GPP
Tyrell Williams is a player that is very interesting this week. This game is looking like it will become a shootout with the injury to Jason Verrett and the overall struggles of both defenses. This is going to lead many users to roster Travis Benjamin but we think Tyrell Williams is the WR to own this weekend. Williams is clearly Philip Rivers’ favorite Red Zone target; he’s seen 8 of such targets. The problem has been Williams hasn’t turned a single one of those Red Zone targets into a touchdown. This week expect some positive regression to the mean for Williams in the touchdown category. *Week 5 DFS Blue Book Preferred Play*
Sammie Coates | WR | GPP
Sammie Coates seems to have settled right into the Martavis Bryant go-route WR role in Todd Haley’s offense. Last week against the Chiefs, Coates saw season-high targets (8) and was once again on the field for over half the offensive snaps (56 percent). Coates has also caught 5 passes of 40 yards or more. At his price point, Coates could hit 4x value with one play. This week, Haley will look to get Coates matched up of Darrelle Revis and try an exploit Revis with the deep ball.
Dorial Green-Beckham | WR | GPP
Dorial Green-Beckham has seen his snaps steadily increase every game this year. DGB has gone from 32 percent of the snaps in Week 1 to 49 percent of snaps in Week 3. We think that with a full bye week to focus on learning Doug Pederson’s offense, DGB is in line for starters snaps. DGB is another player that could conceivably reach 4x value with one play.
If you have noticed a theme of New England Patriots this week, it is because we think they smash the Cleveland Browns. An angry Tom Brady being coached by an upset Bill Belichick is not a recipe for mercy. The Browns have not been good against the TE. Week 1, Zach Ertz caught 6 for 58 yards. Week 2, Dennis Pitta emerged from the dead with 9 for 102. Week 3, a bum named Jordan Cameron had 16 PPR points. And in Week 4, Jordan Reed crushed the Browns for 28 PPR points en route to a TE1 performance. This weekend, each Patriots TE has a chance to light up the scoreboard.
Zach Miller | TE | Cash
Since Brian Hoyer took over for the injured Jay Cutler, Zach Miller has been the TE1. That is an extremely small sample size but if it is compared to last year’s run, we see a player who may be an elite TE. This could be Miller’s last week as a value TE so we recommend using him in cash one last time before he becomes very expensive. *Week 5 DFS Blue Book Preferred Play*
Hunter Henry | TE | Cash
Hunter Henry has certainly benefitted from Antonio Gates’ absence. In Week 1, Henry was on the field for 44 percent of snaps, Week 2, 57 percent. Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Henry has been in on 128 out of 130 offensive snaps. In the 2 weeks that he has started, Henry has also seen his target share rise to 15 percent in those 2 games. This game should be one where Philip Rivers has to throw 40+ times. At that rate, Henry would see 6 or 7 targets which would give him ample opportunity to hit 3x value.
Jacob Tamme | TE | Cash
For several weeks Jacob Tamme inexplicably led the Atlanta Falcons in targets. That usage is gone but with the reduced usage, Tamme’s price tag has went down. This weekend Tamme takes on the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are a nice team to target with TEs because of their pressure and blitzing open them up to the TE. This will be especially true for a TE like Tamme who has a very short Average Depth of Target (aDOT) of 6.1 yards. That means that Matt Ryan is accustomed to getting the ball out quickly to his TE which could be a big part of the Falcons game plan this weekend.
Richard Rodgers | TE | Cash
There was some talk going into Monday night’s game that the New York Giants were no longer a team to target with TEs. But Kyle Rudolph then caught 5 balls for 55 yards and a touchdown. That isn’t an earth-shattering number but it does show that there is still a soft spot in the middle of their defense. This week, Richard Rodgers has a very meager price tag that should allow him to hit 3x value.
Minnesota Vikings | DST | Cash
The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They are so complete. There are elite players at all three levels of their defense. The way they dictate the pace of play consistently creates game scripts that are favorable to Vikings owners. This is especially true in cash games where you know they aren’t going to lose you any points. We also can’t forget that Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the most dangerous return men in football and increases the Vikings DST value with his potential for return touchdowns. *Week 5 DFS Blue Book Preferred Play*
Los Angeles Rams | DST | Cash
The Buffalo Bills are coming off a huge win against the New England Patriots but they have to travel to Los Angeles to take on the surprising 3-1 Los Angeles Rams. The Rams defense starts up front with Aaron Donald. Donald, likely the most dominant player in the NFL, will look to disrupt the Bills running game that has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of Greg Roman’s peewee-level playbook. This game will feature very few plays as both teams will try to establish the run. That isn’t a lot of opportunity for sacks, interceptions, and fumbles, but it does make a safe play.
Miami Dolphins | DST | GPP
The Miami Dolphins lead the league in rushing attempts against. This is likely due to the fact that the Dolphins have been incredibly slow out of the gate this season and teams have been running heavily while leading. I only mention this because at first glance Miami looks like a bad matchup allowing the 4th most rushing yards facing off against DeMarco Murray. But the Dolphins actually only give up 3.75 yards per rush. We think Miami may be able to get off to a better start this week and steer the game script in a different direction. Their ownership should be moderate-to-low and they have high turnover upside.
Friday Afternoon Bonus Adds
Aaron Rodgers | QB | GPP
Deandre Washington | RB | GPP
Quincy Enunwa | WR | GPP
Zach Ertz | TE | GPP