Sunday - Jul 5, 2020

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DFS GEMS: Week 5

Week 4 was nuts. My read of the running back position thankfully kept me afloat while my quarterbacks and wide receivers nearly sunk me. Thankfully, three running backs landing in the Top 5 (Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette and Austin Ekeler) proved to be just enough to help me have a profitable week. It’s critical as we go through this daily fantasy season that we go back each week and track our successes and our failures so we can learn from both. There are times where you get unlucky (Marlon Mack) and times where things just don’t go the way we thought they would (Cleveland at Baltimore, Tampa Bay at Los Angeles Rams) The important thing is to be able to identify if your process is working and make adjustments where necessary. 

This week is the first week where we’ll switch to this year’s matchup figures in the charts below. With four weeks in the books, we finally have a decent enough sample size to set aside last year’s figures if favor of this year’s. As a reminder the rankings below indicate the corresponding team’s ranking in average DraftKings points allowed per game. The higher the number, the better the matchup. All info that applies to the recommended player will be displayed in bold.


QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta (DraftKings $5,900, FanDuel $7,700)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
atl 49.5 48.5 21.75 23 8 19 11
hou -4.5 -5 26.75 15 24 26 3

For as bad as Matt Ryan the NFL quarterback has been, he’s been a competent quarterback for fantasy purposes. He’s surpassed 20 DraftKings points in three out of four contests this season and he scored 19.7 points the one contest in which he missed the mark. Surrounded with receiving weapons in a matchup that lines up well for quarterbacks and wide receivers makes Ryan a nice sub-$6,000 option in Week 5. High-octane Houston hosting Atlanta should only add fuel to the fire as this one could easily develop into a shootout.

QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (DraftKings $5,300, FanDuel $6,800)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
min -5.5 -5.5 25 11 7 20 22
nyg 46 44.5 19.5 27 13 29 13

I know you’re thinking this guy must be crazy – but hear me out! Cousins has looked bad but we’ve seen good Cousins show up randomly before so maybe this is the week he gets it going? We know he’s got great supporting weapons in Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook so the last element missing is the good Cousins showing up on Sunday. Averaging nearly 30 attempts per game over his last three contests, there is enough volume for success in a favorable matchup such as this. We’re going to need to save and differentiate this week, and Cousins might just give us an opportunity to cover both bases in Week 5.

QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (DraftKings $6,000 FanDuel $7,800)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
gb 48 46 21.25 2 30 1 9
dal -4 -3.5 24.75 6 12 4 24

Dallas doesn’t rank as a very soft matchup for opposing passers on paper but much of that lofty ranking is due to the caliber of the past four opponents. Eli Manning, Case Keenum, Josh Rosen and Teddy Bridgewater aren’t in the same conversation as Aaron Rodgers. The fact that Davante Adams looks likely to miss this match up combined with the bad “paper matchup” should help keep ownership down. Finding a quarterback in this price range will be critical to roster construction efforts this week, and a guy as talented as Rodgers could be a sneaky way to save without sacrificing skills.

QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (DraftKings $6,100, FanDuel $7,800)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
nyj 44.5 44 15.25 17 25 30 1
phi -13 -13.5 28.75 28 6 32 25

The New York Jets are not a good football team at this time and early returns suggest they are far from good defensively. I do expect high ownership but that’s OK at $6,100 as the return on investment should be there in such a tasty home tilt against the hapless Jets defense. They are projected for nearly 30 points and Wentz has all his weapons back with Alshon Jeffery returning to the lineup last week. All signs point to a smash spot for the Philadelphia signal-caller in Week 5.


Running Backs 

RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (DraftKings $8,300, FanDuel $8,800)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
gb 48 46 21.25 2 30 1 9
dal -4 -3.5 24.75 6 12 4 24

He’ll have very high ownership but much like Carson Wentz, it should be well worth it. Green Bay has been gashed by opposing running backs for the early going in 2019, a trend that should continue in Week 5. Elliott ranks fifth in rushing attempts this season making the combination of volume plus matchup somewhat of a perfect storm in this week’s contest. Pay up and start with confidence in what could easily be the week’s highest-scoring affair.

RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee (DraftKings $6,000, FanDuel $6,700)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
buf 38 38.5 17.75 3 20 6 2
ten -1 -3 20.75 15 24 26 3

Speaking of volume, Derrick Henry ranks second in the league behind Christian McCaffrey in total rushing attempts on the season. He’s done well in good matchups this season and draws Buffalo this week. Buffalo, for their part, have allowed the 13th-most points per game to opposing rushers and while this game doesn’t have a huge over/under, there appears to be enough room for a guy like Henry to bash his way to a four times return on investment effort.

RB Sony Michel, New England (DraftKings $5,500, FanDuel $6,300)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
ne -13 -15.5 29.5 1 2 2 5
was 47.5 43.5 14 29 18 31 21

There is so much hate surrounding this player at this point in the season that it makes Michel a contrarian play in Week 5. The matchup against a bottom third rush defense does the trick as does the 29-plus implied team total paired with New England being a 15-plus point favorite. What really draws me in to Michel this week is his continued usage. His 62 rushing attempts on the season has him in the Top 10 in the league. That kind of volume, at this price on an offense this potent can’t be ignored despite recency. With Bill Belichick calling the shots you never know, he might switch over to James White ($5,000 DK) without notice so it may be wise to hedge your bets. One of these New England running backs is going to pop off soon and if you’ve got the right guy rostered when it happens, you’ll be holding the keys to the slate-breaker.

RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (DraftKings $8,700, FanDuel $9,100)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
jax 42 41 18.75 22 4 24 18
car -3 -3.5 22.25 7 14 9 4

I’m not going to try and sell you on McCaffrey. His name makes this list so you know that you can’t fade him despite a tougher matchup this week. He’s tops in the NFL in carries with 86 on the year but is also averaging nearly eight targets per game, including 10 receptions a week ago.

Pay up and don’t get too cute with the fade this week. He’s 80 percent of Carolina’s offense with Cam Newton on the mend still.

RB David Johnson, Arizona (DraftKings $7,500, FanDuel $6,800)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
az 48.5 47.5 22 30 15 7 32
cin -4 -3.5 25.5 20 32 5 7

His 47 carries on the year leave a bit to be desired from the running back position but what he lacks in ground volume, he makes up for through the air. With 21 targets on the season, he rivals some team’s WR1’s (sadly). He’s a bit pricey for my tastes this week given his moderate rushing volume but he dominates what rushing there is to be had on this team, owning 86.5 percent of the total running back snaps over the past two weeks. The juicy matchup against the league’s most generous rush defense makes up for the extra coin spent on Johnson this week.

RB David Montgomery, Chicago (DraftKings $5,200, FanDuel $5,700)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
chi -6 -4.5 22.5 4 9 14 15
oak 41 40.5 18 26 16 25 28

This is my “gutty” running back call this week as Montgomery has been a bit of a letdown this season. He’s seen his volume rise every week, and while last week’s effort was largely attributed to some clock-killing strategy, we can’t fully discount it. Montgomery has seen his running back snap share rise every week, peaking at nearly 70 percent in Week 4. The matchup is solid but under the radar with Oakland ranking dead center in the league in average DK points allowed to running backs. Ownership should be moderate, especially in a game that projects to be on the lower end of scoring this week. Mongtomery is going to pop sooner rather than later. In a nice matchup and on the road with the backup quarterback under center, it just might be the game where it all comes together. 

About David Olivarez

David has been writing fantasy football content steadily since 2012 on the web and has been a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association since 2014. He focuses on Daily Fantasy Sports and Trade Analysis. Feel free to ask him questions on Twitter!