We are officially a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and the bye weeks are here. At first glance, this slate makes you dry heave… and for what it’s worth, it does the same thing at a second glance. There are no high total gargantuan games, leaving much to be desired at quarterback. You’re paying up at running back this week because you don’t have a choice, and volume is worth whatever price tag Draft Kings slaps on it that week. Fortunately, there is value at wide receiver, so we might just be able to construct a palatable lineup in week 5. Enjoy my Week 5 cash game core and let’s all win that money.
Josh McCown – $4500
I’m not going to lie, I’m most uncomfortable with the thought of sticking Josh McCown at the helm of my cash games in week 5. This play is less about confidence in the quarterback, and more about roster construction. The bye weeks are here and there are a ton of holes in running back, forcing you to pay up at that position. However, at $4500, we’re not looking for a ton from McCown. Cleveland ranks 30th in pass DVOA and has allowed at least two passing touchdowns in every game but one. In that one game, they allowed Jacoby Brissett to pass for one, and rush for two. Opportunity cost is exponentially lower with the quarterback than the other positions, and I just don’t see the upside in paying up at QB in a week where we are both feeling the bye weeks and missing value at the other positions.
Le’Veon Bell – $9500
Fully encompassing what it means to be a reverse funnel, the Jacksonville Jaguars are ranked 1st in DVOA against the pass, and dead last in DVOA against the run. Bell had the blow up we had all been waiting for last week, and it came as no surprise. He is still the workhorse we mashed into Draft Kings lineups for ages, and one of the few players on this slate who has 30 touch potential. He gets a great matchup on the ground, but I’m really more excited about Jacksonville giving up a 78% completion to running backs. The price tag is hefty, but I’d rather be safe than on the wrong side of a Bell week.
Carlos Hyde – $6900
Shanahan’s bellow cow has been quietly efficient this season, averaging almost five yards per carry. While the Colts rank very middle of the pack with rushing statistics, I’m more focused on the volume here than I am the matchup. Hyde is averaging just over 80 yards per game and is seeing a good chunk of volume in the passing game, seeing at least 4 targets in every game so far this year. I don’t think there is any clear cut path to victory on this slate, and I am really just targeting players with decent matchups, and no workload competition. As long as he is healthy enough to suit up, Hyde will be my RB2 this week.
Dez Bryant – $6500
Dez has made it through the toughest portion of his 2017 schedule, having faced some of the most elite corners the NFL has to offer. Fortunately, in week 5, he is rewarded with one of the best matchups a wideout could hope for. In a game that boasts the highest total of the main slate, Dez is projected to see the coverage of Green Bay’s Kevin King, who recently let AJ Green go for 10 catches, 111 yards, and a touchdown. Despite the brutality of Dez’s schedule, he hasn’t seen a real reduction in volume, as he is still the 4th highest targeted receiver so far, with 40 targets on the year. As home underdogs, Dallas should need to air it out to keep pace with the Packers, who rank top 10 in both points per game, and pace of play. The matchup is there, the volume is there and the price is right. Free Dez.
Cooper Kupp – $4500
Sammy Watkins has proved himself to be mostly irrelevant in Los Angeles, (aside from that one TNF game, where even I caught a touchdown), and the real standout of this team is the rookie. Kupp is tied for most targets amongst the wide receivers, most yards, and owns the most touchdowns of any wideout on the Rams. While Seattle still holds an intimidating defense, they are not the legion of boom we once came to fear, and are especially susceptive in the slot, where Kupp is running almost 60% of his routes (I learned what those are today, seem pretty cool.) Jeremy Lane is the hole in Seattle’s secondary and this is easily the most exploitable match up in this game. We’re dumpster diving for value fillers this and I think you could do a lot worse for $4500.
Austin Seferian – Jenkins – $3500
I’m going to keep paying down at tight end, in cash games, for as long it stands to yield optimal roster construction. Exploiting a Cleveland defense, that ranks 27th in DVOA against the tight end, is always a +EV game plan. Seferian-Jenkins has caught 90% of his targets so far, and his 10 targets rank second most on the team through weeks 3 and 4. The Jets released TE Will Tye this week, proving they believe in ASJ’s consistency, and cementing his role on the offense, where he is already playing over 75% of the team’s offensive snaps. Death, taxes, and Tight Ends against Cleveland, my friends.