Fantasy Football: Players to embrace and avoid for Week 5
2:03 | Fantasy
Fantasy Football: Players to embrace and avoid for Week 5
Michael Beller and Andrew Perloff
Sunday October 9th, 2016

Need some help choosing your lineup? Andrew Perloff and Michael Beller give their Week 5 daily fantasy picks.

Andrew Perloff

One of the themes of the early season is the bounce-back week. Julio Jones had one catch in Week 3 and exploded for 300 yards last Sunday. I ended up middle-of-the-pack last week. I’m bouncing back and cashing in this week. I’m letting a couple of disappointing stars lead the way.


Derek Carr ($8,100 FanDuel, $6,800 DraftKings) vs. San Diego

Love the Raiders’ matchup against the Chargers’ pass defense. Carr is sneaky elite. I do admit if I could have afforded Ben Roethlisberger against the Jets or Tom Brady against the Browns, I would have given them a shot with this lineup. I’ll try alternates where I can afford one of the really big guns.

Alternates: It’s a great time to jump on the Wentz Wagon from Carson City, Wentzylvania. Eagles rookie Carson Wentz should be productive against the Lions.

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Todd Gurley ($7,600 FanDuel, $6,500 DraftKings) vs. Buffalo

The L.A. running back appears to be a season-long league bust, but his value has plummeted in DFS to the point of being playable. The Rams said they’re going to try to get him involved in the passing game. The question is, which Bills defense will they face? The one that shut out the Patriots’ JV squad or the one that got torched by Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Buffalo gets DT Marcell Dareus back, but it’s a long trip to the West Coast and the Bills D won’t be able to dial up a dominant performance.

Jerick McKinnon ($6,200 FanDuel, $4,000 DraftKings) vs. Texans

The Vikings running back will be a popular play at this price after he rushed for 85 yards and a TD on 15 carries and caught 3 passes for 10 yards against the Giants last week. But I’m not scared because the price provides the flexibility I need.

Alternates: I’m also playing a lineup with super-cheap Raiders rookie DeAndre Washington ($4,700 FanDuel, $3,400 DraftKings). He’s got sick moves and I own him in my season-long leagues. He’ll get plenty of opportunities with starter Latavius Murray out. 

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Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,500 FanDuel, $8,500 DraftKings) at Green Bay

After all this hubbub, the Giants have to force the ball to Beckham, right? He has a great matchup against a beat-up Packers secondary.

Demaryius Thomas ($7,700, $6,900 DraftKings) vs. Atlanta

The Broncos No. 1 receiver has adjusted to the new QB reality in Denver and had three straight solid weeks. I’d jump on Thomas as much as possible when he faces the questionable secondaries of the NFC South.

Jordan Matthews ($7,000 FanDuel, $6,800 DraftKings) at Detroit

I’m not convinced the Eagles defense is quite as dominant as they’ve looked all season and I think Philly may need to push the ball downfield more in Detroit.

Alternates: I love Chris Hogan at just $5,000 FanDuel and $4,100 DraftKings with Tom Brady in New England. The two showed solid chemistry in Brady’s brief preseason action. Hogan hasn’t done much this season, but he’s on the field a lot and Brady will find him. And I’m also playing Raiders receiver Amari Cooper in an alternate lineup, stacking him with Carr. Cooper’s receiving partner Michael Crabtree has to share the TD wealth in Oakland at some point.

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Kyle Rudolph ($5,500 FanDuel, $3,600 DraftKings) vs. Houston

Minnesota’s top receiver Stefon Diggs is listed as doubtful, so Sam Bradford should be targeting Rudolph often.

Alternate: The Eagles’ Zach Ertz makes his season debut at a cheap price ($5,600 FanDuel, $3,500 DraftKings). And the Pats’ Martellus Bennett is still valuable—especially against Cleveland—as Gronk rounds into shape. If the Bengals announce Tyler Eifert is playing, consider him because they miss him so badly in the red zone.


Nick Novak ($4,600 FanDuel) at Minnesota 

We’ll just ignore when Houston was shut out by New England and the fact that we love the Vikings’ D this week. Novak has put up double digits in every other contest.


Vikings ($4,800 FanDuel, $3,400 DraftKings) vs. Houston

Texans QB Brock Osweiler has thrown six INTs and hasn’t faced a pass rush like Minnesota’s yet. Osweiler will either be careful and take sacks or throw it places he shouldn’t. 

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Michael Beller

Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Jamaal Charles, Mark Ingram, Christine Michael, Spencer Ware, Allen Robinson, Doug Baldwin, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce, and Jimmy Graham comprise a non-comprehensive list of players unavailable to the fantasy community this week. The Saints, Seahawks, Chiefs and Jaguars are all on bye this week, a quartet of teams conspicuous for their rosters laden with fantasy talent.

With those four teams taking a seat, we could see a greater concentration on the remaining stars in DFS contests. That could, in turn, make your lineup differentiators even more important this week. Below are my ideal picks for both DraftKings and FanDuel. I will be playing lineups other than the ones I present below, but these are my go-to lineups for both sites.


Derek Carr (DK: $6,800, FD: $8,100) vs. San Diego

I’ll be using Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz in other lineups, but Carr is my favorite play at quarterback this week. Carr has been nothing short of excellent this season, and looks like a star in the making. The third-year player out of Fresno State is completing nearly 70% of his passes for 1,066 yards, 6.97 yards per attempt and nine touchdowns against one interception. The YPA number leaves a bit to be desired, but that owes in part to Oakland’s offensive scheme; Carr has a quarterback rating of 98.5 or better in three of his four games this season, highlighting the importance of accuracy. The Raiders have played just one game at home this season, and in that contest Carr completed more than three-fourths of his passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the Falcons. He gets a Chargers team that just lost its best defensive player, lockdown corner Jason Verrett, to a partially torn ACL. Even with Verrett on the field, the Chargers had allowed the fourth-most points per game to quarterbacks this season. With Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense likely to do work on the other side of this game, there won’t be any slowing down for Carr.


Le’Veon Bell (DK: $7,500, FD: $8,600) vs. New York

You weren’t expecting anything else from Bell last week, were you? In his first game of the 2016 season, Bell reminded everyone why he’s the best back in the league. He ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 34 yards, scoring nearly 20 points in standard-scoring fantasy leagues without the benefit of a touchdown. Sure, the Jets have been a tough match on the ground this season, but Bell is arguably the best offensive player in the game. There’s no script or matchup that works against him. Compared with the prices on both sites for the top receivers, you’re still getting a bit of a discount on Bell. Go ahead and take it.

Jordan Howard (DK: $5,200, FD: $7,200) at Indianapolis

Howard looked great last week in his first start for the Bears, picking up 111 yards on 23 carries and hauling in three passes for 21 yards. Bears beat reporter and friend of the fantasy section Kevin Fishbain noted that Howard was the first Bear not named Matt Forte to run for 100 yards since Kahlil Bell did so against the Packers on Christmas in 2011. There’s a little concern about being tied to a road underdog, but Howard’s workload won’t be in question, regardless of score or game script. The Bears have four offensive players on which to lean, and Howard is the only one who’s fully healthy, with Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Zach Miller all dealing with injuries. Howard is going to get his.

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Devonta Freeman (DK: $5,000, FD: $7,400) at Denver

I know that the matchup with Denver screams out to avoid Freeman. First of all, that means you’re going to get low ownership on one of the league’s most talented backs. Secondly, the Broncos calling card is their passing defense. They’re still better than league average against the run, but they aren’t exactly a shutdown unit on the ground. Denver’s elite pass defense could lead to more looks for Freeman, and while Tevin Coleman is slated to play despite a sickle-cell trait that makes high altitudes dangerous, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the workload tilted in Freeman’s favor more than usual. Assuming that’s something that will affect Coleman, his actual health is a whole lot more important than a football game.

Jerick McKinnon (DK: $4,000, FD: $6,200) vs. Houston

Let’s wrap up the position with a trip to Minnesota, where McKinnon scored his first touchdown of the season last week. The third-year player out of Georgia Southern looked great against the Giants, racking up 85 yards and the score on 18 carries. He gets a Houston defense that has surrendered the 11th-most points per game to running backs this season, allowing 4.49 yards per carry and five rushing touchdowns. They’ve yet to hold a starting running back to single-digit points and two backs, LeGarrette Blount and DeMarco Murray, cleared 20 points against the Texans. With Minnesota favored by six points at home, McKinnon could have a favorable game script, as well.


Odell Beckham (DK: $8,500, FD: $8,500) at Green Bay

All the hand wringing over Beckham has reached a seemingly farcical point. Really, we’re worried about a guy who had 187 catches for 2,745 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first 27 career games—numbers that, for a receiver’s first two seasons, had Jerry Rice and Randy Moss looking up at him—because of a slow start this year? Beckham has eighth in the league in receiving yards through three games, and then got shut down by Minnesota’s vaunted defense last week. He dropped a would-be 36-yard touchdown in Week 2, a catch he makes 99 times out of 100. The hand wringing, which is ridiculous, ends this week. Sam Shields is expected to miss his third straight game because of a concussion. In two games without Shields, the Packers allowed a 9-182-1 line to Stefon Diggs, and a 6-205-2 day to Marvin Jones. What’s more, Damarious Randall suffered a thumb injury in practice earlier this week. He’s still on track to play, but potentially at less than 100%. Beckham is going to exorcise his 2016 demons on Sunday night.

Jordy Nelson (DK: $7,900 FD: $8,400) vs. New York Giants

The opposing-receiver-in-the-same-game stack can be a beautiful tactic when the right combination of players is presented. That’s exactly what we have this week. Opposite Beckham is Nelson, who appears to be all the way back from the torn ACL he sustained last season. The first sign came in Week 2, when he got behind the Minnesota defense for a 39-yard hookup with Aaron Rodgers. 

This, however, from Green Bay’s Week 3 win over Detroit, was the confirmation that Nelson was back to his old form.


Meanwhile, the Giants are dealing with injuries across their secondary. Safeties Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot) are expected to miss Sunday’s game. Cornerback Eli Apple missed last week’s loss to the Vikings with a hamstring injury, and has yet to practice beyond a limited fashion this week. Fellow corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been limited because of a groin injury. If both Apple and Rodgers-Cromartie are out, Trevin Wade, who struggled mightily against the Vikings, would be in line to start. Janoris Jenkins isn’t a shadow corner, meaning Wade, if he starts, could see a steady diet of Nelson. Those bright lights you see are Rodgers’s eyes lighting up.

Quincy Enunwa (DK: $4,600, FD: $6,200) at Pittsburgh

Despite Eric Decker’s absence last week due to his shoulder injury, Enunwa remained in the slot. He caught six of his seven targets for 60 yards, spending most of his day matched up Jeremy Lane, Seattle’s standout slot corner. All in all, that’s an impressive showing for Enunwa with his increased role in the offense. The Jets will lean on him again, this time in a game with an over/under that’s pushing 50. The Steelers will force Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw a ton to try to keep up with their offensive juggernaut, and that’s great news for Enunwa (and Brandon Marshall, of course). Sean Davis, who spends most of his time lined up in the slot for the Steelers, isn’t nearly the player Lane is. Game script and environment are both in Enunwa’s favor here. No matter where you play your DFS, he’s a great value in Week 5.


Hunter Henry (DK: $3,300, FD: $5,400) at Oakland

Why not go back to this well? Truth be told, my first instinct was to get Zach Ertz into the lineup thanks to a juicy matchup with the Lions, but he’s $200 more expensive on both sites, and those dollars were necessary to get all of Carr, Howard, Beckham and Nelson into the lineup. Henry is a fine pivot, catching nine passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in his two starts in place of Antonio Gates, who’s on track to miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury. Henry looks almost like a Gates clone, just updated for the modern NFL. He’s a versatile route runner who’s dangerous up the seam and breaking toward the sideline, as well. The Chargers will throw a lot this week, both out of nature and necessity. Henry gives you a cheap avenue into their aerial attack.


Andrew Franks (FD: $4,500) vs. Tennessee

Sure, Franks isn’t tied to a great offense, but the Dolphins are 3.5-point favorites at home against the Titans this week. That’s enough for me to trust a kicker with a minimum salary.

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Chicago Bears (DK: $2,200, FD: $4,200) @ Indianapolis

This goes against nearly all tenets of picking a fantasy defense, so proceed at your own risk. One axiom for defenses in the fantasy game is, “When in doubt, trust a team that’s favored at home.” The Bears are neither favored, nor at home, and their defense has been beset by injury all year. Having said that, the Colts offensive line remains terrible, allowing a league-high 15 sacks. Add in five turnovers, three which opposing defenses have taken back for touchdowns, and the Colts offense has been the second friendliest to fantasy defenses this year. I maxed out my lineup in other spots, necessitating a cheap defense. Why not roll the dice on a unit that has been better than advertised (just one 100-yard receiver despite facing DeAndre Hopkins, Dez Bryant and Marvin Jones) with a great matchup?

DraftKings lineup:
QB: Derek Carr
RB1: Le’Veon Bell
RB2: Jordan Howard
WR1: Odell Beckham
WR2: Jordy Nelson
WR3: Quincy Enunwa
TE: Hunter Henry
FLEX: Jerick McKinnon
DST: Chicago Bears

FanDuel lineup:
QB: Derek Carr
RB1: Jordan Howard
RB2: Devonta Freeman
WR1: Odell Beckham
WR2: Jordy Nelson
WR3: Quincy Enunwa
TE: Hunter Henry
K: Andrew Franks
DST: Chicago Bears

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