FanDuel NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Week 5
A three-man stack — one that’s a bargain, to boot — headlines the roster below, but it’s actually a four-man game stack after including a high-ceiling, yet risky flex play from the opposition. They’re joined by a Los Angeles-powered, star-studded backfield, and yet another game stack. It’s all tied together by a reasonably priced defense that opened as a small favorite, but is now in a pick ’em at home.
Matthew Stafford (DET): $7,600 vs. Packers
Stafford’s distanced himself for a horrible opener in which he tossed four interceptions in primetime during the first Monday Night Football contest of the season. He’s since thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception and twice bested 300 yards passing. He’s at home this week, and Stafford has a track record of playing considerably better at home than on the road. The Packers are a middle of the road defensive matchup in regards to FanDuel fantasy points allowed per game, and Football Outsiders (FO) ranks them 10th defending the pass this season. Green Bay moved on from Dom Capers as their defensive coordinator, and Mike Pettine is serving in that position this season.
With that in mind, it might be wise to take Stafford’s recent history against the Packers with a grain of salt, but he’s surpassed 320 yards passing with multiple touchdown passes in each of his last four games against them. Adding to Stafford’s ceiling, this game projects to be a shootout with an over/under total of 51 points and the Packers favored by just one point, according to Pinnacle.
Todd Gurley (LAR): $9,100 at Seahawks
Value elsewhere on the roster leaves ample cap space for not only Gurley, but another forthcoming stud back. The do-it-all back is off to a fast start, ranking third in yards from scrimmage (532) and tied for first in rushing plus receiving touchdowns (six), per Pro-Football-Reference. FO ranks the Seahawks 10th defending the run, but just 21st defending running backs in the passing game. Gurley’s game script proof, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that his Rams are seven-point favorites with a tasty team over/under total of 27.5 points. Also, the last time he faced the Seahawks in Week 15 last year, he left cleat marks on them for 152 yards rushing, three rushing touchdowns, three receptions, 28 yards receiving, and one touchdown reception.
Melvin Gordon (LAC): $8,700 vs. Raiders
Gordon’s inclusion on this roster means this touted team has the two most expensive running backs. If both backs barely surpass their per-game FanDuel scoring averages, they can best 50 points between the two of them. That’s a nice total to build around.
Getting back to Gordon specifically, he’s having an outstanding season thus far that’s only a tick less impressive than Gurley’s from a raw totals perspective. Gordon ranks fifth in yards from scrimmage (475) and tied for fourth in rushing plus receiving touchdowns (five). I tossed in the raw totals perspective caveat when comparing Gordon’s totals to Gurley’s because the former has been more efficient as a runner averaging 5.1 yards per carry (Gurley sits at 4.3 yards per carry). He’s been extremely active in the passing game averaging 6.0 receptions per game, too.
Gordon should absolutely feast on Oakland’s run defense that’s ceded an eye-popping 5.69 yards per carry to running backs this year. FO ranks the Raiders 28th defending the run and 22nd defending running backs in the passing game. Add in that Gordon’s tied to a team over/under total (29.5 points) that’s tied for the highest of the week, and he’s an easy choice to roster.
Calvin Ridley (ATL): $6,800 at Steelers
The Falcons’ offense sputtered in the red zone under the spotlight in the season’s opening Thursday Night Football contest. They’ve since righted the ship, and per Lineups, their 66.7% touchdown conversion rate in red zone trips is the seventh best in the NFL. Ridley’s been a huge part of their turnaround. Again per Lineups, Ridley’s four touchdowns in the red zone are the most by a receiver this season, and he’s successfully reeled in all five of his red zone targets.
He and Matt Ryan are making sweet music in the red zone, but the rookie is far from a touchdown-or-bust play at wideout with four or more receptions and 50-plus receiving yards in each of his last three games — all games he’s scored touchdowns in and totaled an NFL-high six touchdown grabs in. Pittsburgh’s ill-equipped to slow Ridley’s roll. They’ve coughed up the third most FanDuel point per game to receivers this season.
Marvin Jones Jr. (DET): $6,500 vs. Packers
Kenny Golladay (DET): $6,300 vs. Packers
Jones Jr. and Golladay round out the three-man stack side of a four-man game stack (got that?). The odd man out, Golden Tate, actually leads the team in targets (44), receptions (28), receiving yards (389), and receiving touchdowns (three). He’s also coming off of a big showing (8-132-2).
However, the big-play combo of Jones Jr. and Golladay should theoretically benefit the most from being at home. In his career, Stafford’s averaged just 6.70 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) on the road compared to 7.22 AY/A at home. Last year, he averaged 7.62 AY/A on the road compared to 8.55 AY/A at home. In 2016, he averaged 6.94 AY/A on the road and 7.80 AY/A at home. Whether you’re looking at his career splits or recent years, Stafford averages notably more adjusted yards per attempt at home than on the road.
Those splits pair well with Jones Jr. (15.5 yards per reception this year and 17.3 yards per reception in 35 games with the Lions) and Golladay (14.3 yards per reception this year and 15.8 for his career). It’s also worth noting that Jones Jr.’s seven red zone targets are highest among Detroit’s wideouts followed by Golladay’s three. In scoring territory, these two are the apple of Stafford’s eye.
Vance McDonald (PIT): $4,600 vs. Falcons
McDonald is playing opposite the aforementioned Ridley and is thus a game-stack partner. That’s only a small part of the reason for his inclusion on this roster, though. The more significant reason is his hilariously low salary. He’s priced at only $600 above the minimum for a tight end and $600 below teammate Jesse James. It’s almost as if FanDuel somehow got its wires crossed and flipped the salaries of Pittsburgh’s tight ends. Over the last two weeks, McDonald’s hauled in nine of 10 targets for 174 yards and a touchdown.
Aaron Jones (GB): $6,100 at Lions
Jones completes the four-man game stack as part of Green Bay’s backfield committee. The second-year back has looked the part of the best back in that committee in his two games played this year, however, and the time could be now for him to claim the lion’s share of the work — bad pun totally intended. He was highly efficient last year, and he’s picking up where he left off. According to FO, his 52.2% DVOA and 44 DYAR are the third highest among running backs with six to 31 rushes so far this season, and the former would rank best among all backs if he hit the minimum qualification of 32 carries. Jones has parlayed his 17 carries into 107 yards rushing (6.3 yards per carry) while adding two receptions on two targets for 22 yards.
Also noteworthy in his season stats is his lone rushing touchdown, a red zone rush from three yards out last week against the Bills. He might not need much of an uptick in work to gash a Lions defense that’s coughed up the third-most FanDuel points per game to running backs and a staggering 6.12 yards per carry to them. However, if he does receive a spike in work this week, Jones is a GPP-winning type of difference maker. FO ranks the Lions 27th defending the run.
Jets D/ST (NYJ): $4,200 vs. Broncos
The Jets haven’t duplicated their showstopping defensive effort in their season opener, but they’ve been a strong unit. FO ranks them fifth in DVOA, and traditional marks are favorable, too. The Jets are tied for the sixth-fewest yards allowed per play (5.2), tied for third in turnovers forced (10), and tied for 12th in sacks (10). The Jets have moved from one-point favorites to playing in a pick ’em at home against a Broncos squad that’ll be a little short on rest after playing on Monday night. Quarterback Case Keenum looks an awful lot like his pre-2017 breakout self, and he’s tossed at least one interception in all four games this year (six total).
He also hasn’t tossed a touchdown pass since firing three in the opener, and he’s absorbed seven sacks the last two weeks after taking just two the first two weeks of the season. Things won’t get any easier for him this week against a pass defense that FO ranks second overall. If the Jets can get out to an early lead, there’s massive scoring upside for their defense against mistake-prone Keenum.