Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 5 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus.
We now have some reliable data from weeks 1-4. There are defenses who have been really bad at certain aspects of the game, and we will look to exploit those here in week 5. With that being said, let’s get to it…
NFL DFS Week 5 Top Plays
Cardinals (19.25) at Eagles (25.75) Total 45
The Cardinals have become a one-dimensional team. I have been off the Palmer train all season and I am not going to jump on here. However, that doesn’t mean you cant roster his pass catchers in a game they should be playing from behind. Fitzgerald has proven he doesn’t age with time. He seems to be getting younger and is making game-winning touchdown catches. The other receivers are starting to get a little healthier between John Brown and JJ Nelson, but this is still Fitz’ team, and he should see more than 10 targets again this week against a leaky Eagles secondary.
On the Eagles side, they’re continuously having to rely on Wentz’s arm because their run game is just not good enough. Sure, they still run the ball because you can’t throw every play, but the value here comes from the air. Arizona has been giving up some chunks of yards to the deep middle portion of the field. If you want to pay up for Ertz, he is in a great spot here. Otherwise, I prefer Agholor and Torrey Smith as a GPP dart throw. He can take the top off the defense and go for a long TD in the deep middle part of the field where Arizona has been weak. He has made a living out of his big play potential, and I expect him to put that on display Sunday with Jeffrey being shadowed by Peterson.
Top plays: Fitz, Ertz, Agholor, Smith (tourney only)
Panthers (21) at Lions (23) Total 44
The Panthers are not good. They put up 30 points on the Pats because that is just how bad the Pats defense has been this season. Do not go points chasing here. In fact, this is a great spot for a Lions D that has scored double-digit points in all 4 weeks. The Panthers are on the road and Cam is being bombarded by the media with his controversial comments. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he comes out and throws a couple interceptions due to his head not being in the game. You can still play McCaffrey because the Panthers get him into space in any way they can.
The Lions are much better at home. This game figures to be low scoring, so I wouldn’t go crazy here. I do like Tate, Jones or Abdullah as one-offs here. I prefer Abdullah this week because the Lions should be playing from in front in this one.
Top plays: McCaffrey, Lions D, Tate, Jones, Abdullah
49ers (21.25) at Colts (22.75) Total 44
There is mainly one player I want to roster in this game. Carlos Hyde. He came out and said he escaped Sunday’s game without any setbacks and is ready for week 5. This is one of his juiciest matchups all season, and he can be played as one of the top RBs on the slate.
Garcon and Hilton are fine here, but I prefer to use Hyde as the sole 49er. Hilton has been seeing the lion’s share of targets from Brissett and gets a juicy matchup and is still underpriced.
Top plays: Hyde, Hilton
Jaguars (17.75) at Steelers (26.25) Total 44
The Steelers finally got Leveon going last week as he was able to score 2 TDs and ran for 144 yards on 35 carries. In another slow-paced game this week, Leveon should see a ton of carries this week. The Jags have been absolutely shutting down the passing attacks they face but have been getting eaten alive in the trenches allowing the 30th adjusted line yards and rank 31st in 2nd level yards to RBs and 32nd in open field yards. Those are not the stats you want to see when facing Leveon Bell… Top RB this week, and you may need him to win tourneys.
Steelers can be beaten on the ground. Fournette is a good play here in a slow-paced game.
Top plays: Bell, Fournette
Bills (18.25) at Bengals (21.25) Total 39.5
This is one of the lowest total games of the week, as it should be. Neither team has looked stellar on offense in tough matchups. The Bills have been playing great defense this year and just beat the Falcons in Atlanta. If I am playing anyone from this game it is Joe Mixon. His outburst is coming. The talent jumps off the screen when you watch him. Since he hasn’t exploded yet, you can still get him at low ownership. He is involved in the passing game enough that he has a safe floor also.
On the other side, I would rather pay up for Gurley or Bell than McCoy. Same with AJ Green, I would rather pay up for OBJ.
Top plays: Mixon, Bills D, Bengals D
Jets (19.5) at Browns (19.5) Total 39
There is one lock play here: ASJ. He is one of the cheapest TEs, in the best TE matchup and is seeing a healthy target share. I guess you can fade him in large tournaments, but when a guy with this talent and opportunity is this low of a price is in a matchup this good, you just play him and differentiate your lineup elsewhere. The other play on the Jets side (mainly on DK) is Josh McCown. Yes, you read that right. Josh. McCown. He is $4,500 on DK… That is a free square when it comes to a QB. 250 yards and 2 TDs is beyond reasonable from McCown this week against a bad Browns defense, and he would smash value at that output given his price.
I suppose on the other side you can play Crowell, but he has not been good this year in favorable matchups. I prefer Duke Johnson if I am using a Brown. Ricardo Louis makes for a punt play at WR after seeing 9 targets last week and is dirt cheap.
Top plays: McCown, ASJ, Duke
Titans (23.25) at Dolphins (20.25) Total 43.5
Mariota is currently a game-time decision. Regardless of whether he plays or not, the best value of the week comes from this game. Enter Demarco Murray at $5400 on DK and $6400 on FD. Game flow has not been his friend at all this year, but in a game that is predicted to be close, with the Titans favored, I think we see our first glimpse of a full workload for Murray in this game. They kept him out all preseason so that they would have him healthy and ready to go for the regular season. If they were going to only give him 12-15 carries a game, they would not have done that. If Mariota sits, Cassel will take over on Sunday. When backup QBs come in, we generally see 2 things happen. The team runs the ball more, and the QB peppers the TE and RB with targets because these are simple high percentage plays. If Cassel plays, Murray should get a few targets to go with his already safe floor at this insanely low price. Walker is an awesome play at TE this week if you aren’t playing ASJ. You can even be different and play both on the same team.
On the other side, Jarvis Landry will continue to see targets, Devante Parker will continue to stretch the field and catch TDs, and Cutler will continue to target Stills deep. All 3 of these receivers are in play this week as the Titans have been getting torched through the air. I would rather pay down for McCown over Cutler, but if you play Cutler in a stack here, I wouldn’t hate you for it.
Top plays: Murray, Walker, Landry, Parker
Chargers (20.75) at Giants (24.75)
Last week, I recommended the Giants air attack because they were going up against the worst pass rush in the NFL. The O Line was inherently helped by this. This week, not so much. While the Chargers suffered from the loss of Verrett, they are still getting pressure on the QB and this means Eli is going to be forced to make rushed throws throughout the afternoon. With that being said, OBJ will still have tons of room to operate against weak corners. He is able to get open off the line rather quickly, and Eli will target him consistently. Engram has also been seeing consistent targets in this offense as well. I wouldn’t load up on the passing attack here, but would highly recommend you pay up for OBJ this week.
On the Chargers side, it is really tough to know who is going to get the Eli Apple boost. They move all 3 of their receivers around the formation consistently. All 3 of Benjamin, Tyrell, and Allen can play in the slot and on the outside. So there isn’t a consistent matchup for us to target here. Instead, I think Rivers will spread the ball around to whoever is open. I can get behind playing one of these 3, but I wouldn’t stack them up.
Top plays: OBJ, Engram, Allen, Tyrell, Benjamin (not stackable)
Ravens (18.25) Raiders (20.75) Total 39
This is going to be a low scoring defensive battle. With the Raiders being forced to start EJ Manuel, and the Ravens pass game being meh, this is a great spot to load up on RBs and defenses. Both Lynch and Alex Collins are in amazing spots this weekend, and neither team will have a big enough lead to force the other to pass. Again, look for a low scoring ground and pound game on both sides here.
Top plays: Lynch, Collins, Ravens D, Raiders D
Seahawks (23.5) at Rams (24.5) Total 48
For those who don’t know, I was one of the only individuals who was trying to tell everyone that this Rams offense was going to be legit this year. With all of the personnel changes on this team, I was so excited to see the real version of Goff and Gurley this year. They are now surrounded by creative coaches and playmakers who can take the pressure off of them, and that is allowing them to thrive. Nothing is going to change this week. The Seattle D isn’t their smash mouth, shut you out type that we have come to know. Instead, they are actually getting owned in the run game this year. They are 28th in stuff rank and 31st in open field yards while being 17th in adjusted line yards. This screams Todd Gurley once again. Gurley leads the team in targets and is a top 5 RB every single week because of this pass catching floor with TD upside. He is going to be low owned because people see the Seahawks and will stay away. I want in. This is a high total and you are making a mistake if you fade this game.
On the other side, no Carson means less production for the Seahawks. For those who haven’t watched the Seahawks play this year, their O Line is terrible. Their struggles have been because their O Line is so bad. What Carson was really good at was making defenders miss in the backfield, instead of being tackled for a loss like Rawls and Lacy do. Carson was able to turn a 3-yard loss into a 3-yard game. This changes drives. Going from 2nd and 13 to 2nd and 7 is huge. It opens up the playbook and allows you to get creative. I think the Seahawks are in a solid spot here, but if they produce, it will have to be on the wings of Russ, Baldwin, and Graham. I wouldn’t go crazy here though.
Top plays: Gurley, Russ, Baldwin
Packers (25.25) at Cowboys (27.75) Total 53
When we pay up at QB, we want a very high floor, but we also want unmatched upside. Rodgers has both this week. With Montgomery ruled out, the Packers are going to place their fate into the hands of Rodgers and not a backup RB. With that being said, the Dallas offense is good enough to keep the pressure on the Packers and require Rodgers to air it out. This is going to be the highest scoring game of the week, and you would be dumb to fade this game. To pair with Rodgers, the way to be different is to fade Jordy Nelson. He is being propelled this season by TDs and his lack of yardage is concerning. I think Cobb is the top option in this one, while Martellus Bennett and Geronimo Allison are also intriguing options. Fade Jordy, but play Rodgers in this one.
On the other side, Zeke is a top option once again this week. In his two games versus GB last season, he ran for 157 and 128 yards. His only issue in those games is he didn’t get in the end zone. I think that changes tomorrow. We have heard so much from the media about how Zeke looks slow, and his O Line isn’t getting him his usual holes to run through. Look for them to make a statement in this game. Zeke is due for a breakout game here. Also, just play Dez Bryant. He is underpriced and is going to continue to see double-digit targets against a bad defense. His TD upside is unmatched. If you want to play Dak, you can pair Beasley or Witten with him as well. This game is juicy.
Top plays: Rodgers, Cobb, Bennett, Allison (stackable), Dak, Zeke, Dez, Beasley, Witten (stackable)
Chiefs (22.5) at Texans (22.5) Total 45
As a football fan in general, I am going to really enjoy this game. How do you root against Deshaun Watson? The way he carries himself off the field is second to none, and he approaches the game the right way. He faces the undefeated Chiefs at home. I don’t think there is any standout fantasy plays from this game except for the usual targets from these teams, as both teams have very solid defenses. I would play one of your favorites from these teams, but wouldn’t load up here.
Top plays: Hill, Kelce, Hunt (not stackable), Hopkins