DraftKings NFL Value Plays: Week 5
The NFL season is starting to take shape with every passing week. As a result, more and more trends become apparent that can lead to fantasy success. It’s starting to become clear which defenses are ones to be targeted, whether it be due to injury or poor individual play. It’s the time of year to finally stop referring back to the previous season as much, and accept that things have changed in 2018. As avid fantasy football players, we must adapt to the situations in front of us, as they can change in an instant.
As always, this article will give you plenty of names to consider when you want to save some money in your DraftKings lineup, but still feel good about your potential for production. Before diving in, here are the results from last week.
Point values are for full-point PPR:
There were three solid outings, two disappointing ones, and a last-minute inactive from Chris Carson. However, my backup running back options (Phillip Lindsay and Kerryon Johnson) each had at least 12.6 PPR points, so if you replaced Carson (afternoon game) with Lindsay (Monday night game), it worked out well. Let’s keep the momentum rolling into Week 5.
Carson Wentz (PHI): $5,800 vs. MIN
It’s rare to find Wentz at this price, but the opponent and the fact that it’s only his third game back are probably the reasons for it. Regardless, it’s an opportunity to take advantage. It’s usually pretty intimidating to look at the schedule and see the Vikings defense, but they’ve struggled a bit as of late. They’ve given up an average of 27.7 fantasy points to quarterbacks over the past three weeks, including a huge 39.3 point outing to Jared Goff in Week 4. Wentz may not have the weapons and upside that Goff has this year, but he was considered a must-start elite option last year before his knee injury late in the season.
Wentz still has the same core weapons as last season now that Alshon Jeffery is back in the mix, and the two picked up right where they left off last week against Tennessee. I usually wouldn’t play a quarterback in this price range if they faced Minnesota, but their defense hasn’t performed up to their usual pedigree this year. Wentz has just as much upside as almost any of the more expensive options.
Phillip Lindsay (DEN): $4,800 at NYJ
Lindsay received more touches than Royce Freeman again this past Monday night, proving that he’s the back to own going forward. Freeman will still have value, but as long as Lindsay is getting more work — especially in the receiving game — he will be the more valuable option on DraftKings. The last three running backs to face the Jets that have led their teams in touches have averaged 21.8 PPR points per game. These backs were Kenyan Drake, Carlos Hyde, and T.J. Yeldon, who combined for nine catches and five touchdowns over the three-week span.
Lindsay has proven that he can both catch passes and score touchdowns. Follow the trends, and you will be rewarded. Lindsay should be a near lock this week for any lineup in need of cheap running back production.
Bilal Powell (NYJ): $4,400 vs. DEN
On the sideline across from Lindsay, we’ll find our second value running back. Precisely like the trend that the Jets defense provided us with, if you lead your backfield in touches against Denver, you’re likely to be productive. The Broncos have given up 19.2 PPR points per game over the past three weeks to starting running backs, with the minimum point total being 14.8. The question is whether or not Powell will lead his team in touches. It’s close, but he leads the touch battle with Isaiah Crowell this year 49 to 47.
He’s also used in the passing game, which is key because Crowell is phased out in games in which the Jets are trailing. The fact that Powell is game script proof makes him more likely to get the most touches in the backfield and therefore gives him the best shot at putting up a productive fantasy outing.
Even if the Jets are leading this whole game and Crowell is more involved, Powell has scored at least 7.3 PPR points in every game this year, giving him a safe floor. On the other hand, Crowell put up a 1.3-point dud last week against Jacksonville, as the Jets were chasing points the whole afternoon. One of these New York running backs is going to have a solid stat line this week, so I’d put my money on Powell, the safer of the two.
Jamison Crowder (WAS): $4,800 at NO
If you watched the Saints play the Giants last Sunday, you would have seen that New Orleans had no answer for Sterling Shepard. Losing slot corner Patrick Robinson to injury was a significant loss for the Saints, as he was probably the most talented member of their secondary. Slot receivers have been a thorn in their side, as they’ve given up an average of 17.7 PPR points per game since Week 2 to the position. Jamison Crowder has perfected the slot role and is starting to find his groove with Alex Smith. Crowder was nagged by a groin injury in the opening weeks, but looked good in his last performance before the bye week, putting together a receiving line of four catches, 39 yards, and a touchdown.
Most importantly, Crowder has now had an extra week to shake off any lingering injury issues and get ready for a Monday night showdown with the Saints. Considering the explosive offense New Orleans usually brings to the table, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Redskins playing catch up for a lot of this game. The expected game script and great matchup make Crowder a play I’m confident in this week.
Robby Anderson (NYJ): $3,800 vs. DEN
I’m a fan of Anderson’s talent, and also a fan of Sam Darnold’s, so it’s only a matter of time before these two get on the same page. Anderson doesn’t have the stats to back up a recommendation right now, but it’s better to be proactive than reactive if you’re trying to get a leg up on the competition. The reason a breakout may be coming this week is because Darnold’s favorite target, slot receiver Quincy Enunwa, will be matched up with Chris Harris Jr,, arguably the best slot corner in the NFL. It would be wise to avoid him as much as possible.
Darnold may be forced to look Anderson’s way early and often, which should work out against the rest of this Denver secondary. At least one perimeter receiver has scored 13.1 PPR points or more in all four weeks against the Broncos this year, with a high of 21.6. In two of the four weeks, multiple perimeter receivers on the same team hit or exceeded that minimum point total. None of these statistics are including slot receivers, so there is going to be opportunity for Anderson this week out wide. Although he hasn’t done much so far, bigger games are coming, and it only costs $3,800 to find out if one of those will be in Week 5.
Austin Hooper (ATL): $3,000 at PIT
Hooper has fooled me into trusting him in the past, but it’s hard for me to find a scenario in which he isn’t productive this week. This game is likely to feature lots of scoring, which already bodes well for Hooper’s volume being slightly higher than usual.
Additionally, Pittsburgh has been shredded by tight ends the past three weeks. In Week 2, Travis Kelce went for over 100 yards and found the end zone twice. The following week, both O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate finished with at least 12.4 PPR points. Last week, Baltimore’s three-headed tight end committee came to town, and even they combined for 10 catches and 99 yards.
Hooper is never a safe play because he’s been known to disappear some weeks, but he’s a pretty good poster boy for the idea of a high-upside/ low-cost tight end. While most of the time with cheap tight ends you need a touchdown to hit value, there may just be enough volume in this game to produce sufficient reception and yardage totals.