One quarter is in the books, and hopefully, you’ve been able to cash in on the offensive explosion we’ve seen across the league. Through the first four weeks, the league is on pace to destroy many offensive benchmarks and things don’t appear ready to slow down. It’s a great time to be a fantasy football player. We’ve also seen several players fulfill their potential and exceed expectations. Expectations can be fickle things though, and their rise and fall can often lead to opportunities for smart DFS players. Keep that in mind as you build your lineups this week; last week’s hero can disappear and a bust can redeem themselves over the course of 60 minutes.
As for this weeks’ targets, it’s mostly a collection of players who let people down this year more often than not, but still offer good value. While being on a “hot” streak can be nice, every game is its own occurrence. These names might not inspire a ton of confidence, but I like them all to provide great production for their price this week. Studs are easy to find, but to cash, especially in a GPP, you need to take some smart risks.
DFS Targets Week Five
Derek Carr, @ LAC ($5200)
On the main slate, Carr is priced all the way down at QB18. Finding a starting QB priced this low is tough, although there are some others right around him. Carr is priced below rookie Baker Mayfield and Ryan Tannehill, who was replaced by Brock Osweiler last week and just above Russell Wilson and Eli Manning. Carr actually had a $100 price increase from last week but is still at his second lowest price of the year, and no one around him has produced as well to this point in the season and has as good a matchup.
Quick, without looking, tell me who has averaged the most points per game this season in DraftKings out of these QBs: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, or Derek Carr? Surprisingly, it’s been Carr with 20.7 points per game. Everyone was ready to laugh at the Raiders from the day they hired Jon Gruden, and it didn’t help their case when they traded Khalil Mack right before the season started. Despite the expected turmoil, the Raiders passing offense has been good, ranking in the top 5 in yards passing, completion percentage, and net yards per attempt. The only thing really keeping Carr from the upper tier of QBs has been a lack of touchdown passes.
As for touchdowns, Carr is coming off his best game of the season. A 45-42 overtime win against a suddenly frisky Cleveland Browns team. In that game, The same Browns team who held Drew Brees to 213 yards in week 2 and followed that up by making Sam Darnold look like an overmatched rookie while throwing for just 161. Carr went for a season-high 437 yards and four TDs. He is averaging over 343 yards per game and has a completion percentage of 71%, and despite the negative perception of his receivers, Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson are both on pace to have 1,000-yard seasons. DC has good numbers and has gotten them against tough defenses, having played the Los Angeles Rams, the Denver Broncos on the road, and the Browns. Do not underestimate his production.
Especially given his opponent this week. The Los Angeles Chargers are once again playing down to their opposition and falling short of their high expectations. Surrendering the ninth most points per game to QBs so far this year with 23.2, LAC has clearly been missing their pass rush monster Joey Bosa, and he has already been ruled out for this game. With just 8 sacks so far, the Chargers have more than just 5 other NFL teams. Interestingly enough, one of those teams is the Oakland Raiders, setting up a possible shootout in LA. Betting lines for this game opened with an over under of 51.5, which has slowly crept up to as high as 53 in some places. There should be plenty of scoring happening here.
The secondary of LA, thought to be a strength heading into the year, has not quite lived up to the billing. The match ups here are mostly even with Cooper and Nelson both capable of beating their man, and Jared Cook, Carr’s preferred target so far this year, has a great match up against Jahleel Addae. Offense will not be an issue in this game, and Carr’s price makes him a very safe bet to deliver a very good return. Start him with confidence.
Ty Montgomery, @ DET ($3800)
Pricing for Ty could not have anticipated the practice week the Green Bay Packers have had. Monty is down to RB45 on the main slate and only $100 more than human tackling dummy Jamaal Williams. Another player coming off a season high in fantasy points, he also has seen a small price increase from last week ($300) to reach his highest price this season. Still, even with the increase, circumstances have changed to allow Montgomery the chance to far exceed his pricing among the backup RBs.
So far this year, Montgomery hasn’t been a great fantasy play. He has only scored double digits once and has a season high of 12.5 points. To get a good idea of his potential, though, look back at his work in the first three weeks of the season when he was on the field for an average of 90% of the teams’ offensive plays. He was a featured part of the offense and averaged 20.4 points in DraftKings those three weeks. A fractured rib cost him time starting in Week 4, opening the door for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to emerge in his absence. Once he returned he didn’t see a snap rate higher than 40.7%, including in all four games so far this season.
While that might not seem like Montgomery is ready to have a good week, but as I mentioned above, his circumstances have changed. This week, Randall Cobb has already been ruled out, and his fellow WRs are in serious danger of also missing time. Geronimo Allison hasn’t practiced all week with a concussion and hamstring combo and Davante Adams is also questionable with a calf issue. That would leave Green Bay without their top three passing options, leaving just Ty and Jimmy Graham as the only active players with double-digit targets.
Making Ty’s potential even more tempting is his Week 5 opponent. The Detroit Lions are an opposing running back’s dream. So far they are giving up the fourth most points per game to RBs (35.7), including the most rushing yards by more than 100 yards. Their sieve-like rush defense hasn’t made the passing game a focus for RBs, but they also are also only ranked 24th in passing defense DVOA against RBs. So while the opportunities haven’t been as numerous as other teams, the Lions still manage to make the most (least?) of them.
We all know what a dangerous weapon Monty can be coming out of the backfield, especially in the pass game. With his QB looking healthy enough to be removed from this week’s injury report, I expect Ty to be a popular option for Rodgers in Detroit. Follow Aaron Rodgers’ example and target Ty Montgomery and be sure to R-E-L-A-X.
Derrick Henry, @ BUF ($4400)
This is a great example of a name that will cause people to run away, but his price and match up demand taking a look. The 29th RB on the main slate, Henry will probably have a lower ownership share than Dion Lewis, who is priced $1,000 more than Henry. Derrick’s price jumped from $4,100 last week to what it was in Week 3 against Jacksonville, but this time against a much softer defense. This pricing provides a low bar for Henry to clear, which is good because he needs it.
Well, things won’t get much better in this section. Henry has yet to rush for more than 57 yards or average more than 3.2 yards per carry. Lewis is the pass catching back in the Tennessee backfield, but Henry should be used as the goal line option. It is entirely possible that Henry is just in a slump. The Titans have been involved in some ugly early games. He has faced the fifth highest percentage of eight man boxes (per NFL Next Gen Stats). The speed and power are still there though, as he also has the highest game speed recorded for RBs this year (21.46 mph). Henry is only 24 years old, and has shown enough talent in the past to not simply write him off.
It will certainly be a leap of faith to roster Henry, which I would only do in a GPP, but the skills are there. If he can’t get on track this week, playing Buffalo, then maybe it will be time to worry.
Finally, something unequivocally positive about Henry this week, courtesy of the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is allowing 30.8 points per game to RBs this year, which ranks 9th. While they haven’t allowed a ton of yards, they have allowed five rushing TDs, the second highest number this year. Game script heavily favors Tennessee here and Henry has been very upfront about his need to improve. He still has the confidence of the coaches and I wouldn’t be surprised to see head coach Mike Vrabel and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur feed him. The Titans defense has been decent so far, ranking in the upper half of the league in most major passing categories but only 25th in rushing yards. But, rookie QB Josh Allen should allow TEN to stack the box and focus on stopping Lesean McCoy and the other Buffalo RBs.
This is far from a sure thing, but this could easily be a very good game for Henry, and his potential ownership makes him a great contrarian play.
Jamison Crowder, @ NO ($4300)
While certainly not the lowest value for a slot receiver, Crowder’s price is still attractive. Him not being on the main slate makes it difficult to roster him, but he is only $100 more after his bye week than the last time he played in Week 3. This is the second lowest price Crowder has seen this year, but more importantly, this is a $600 dollar discount compared to the last slot receiver the New Orleans Saints saw, Sterling Shepard. This is where the real value of Crowder comes into play, and I’ll go more into that later.
Crowder has gotten off to a slow start to the season. He has just 4 targets per game so far and has turned those into 79 yards and one TD. Crowder is actually fifth on the team in targets. He trails Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, and fellow WRs Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson. Still, Crowder is not a forgotten man, as he is third in snap percentage. He is coming off his best game of the year against the Green Bay Packers. Crowder ended the game with four catches for 39 yards and his lone TD of the season. Of this group, he has had the most consistent success and will still be a valuable part of the offense.
He has a great matchup with the Saints and particularly slot cornerback P.J. Williams. After being chewed up by Calvin Ridley in week 3, Williams was the victim of a 25.7 point game from Sterling Shepard. A game in which the Giants only scored 18 points. Williams should be targeted early and often by Washington and QB Alex Smith. Especially if the Saints can take a big lead. Even if that does not happen, the passing attack should be the focus Monday night. NO has a comfortable lead in points per game scored by opposing WRs (60.1 compared to 51.5 to 2nd place TB).
Another important thing to take into account for this game is the nearly week-long absence of Josh Doctson from practice. After suffering an injury to his heel in practice on Monday, he was shut down. He remains questionable to play. If he can’t go, coach Jay Gruden has said that Maurice Harris would likely take his starting spot. With this game having the second highest expected game total, an expanded role against a weak CB opens the door for Crowder. With his slow start, the bye week last week, and the Monday night match up, he has been virtually ignored for DFS purposes. If you are able to use players on Monday, give definite consideration to Crowder and watch him run against Williams.
Ricky Seals-Jones, @ SF ($2900)
This year has seen a very clear top tier and an emerging middle class. If you are searching for value, however, there are still plenty of names down the list. There are several flawed, but interesting, options priced down at TE. The TE16 on the main slate, RSJ offers some very intriguing upside among his cheap TE peers. Also priced at $2,900 are Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tyler Kroft, and C.J. Uzomah. The upside for Seals-Jones is better than all three of those other options without having to rely on TD production. This price is right around where he has been all year and could be the cheapest he will be moving forward.
Despite a slow start, this year (sense a theme yet?) Seals-Jones is coming off his best game so far. Only registering two catches on four targets, the excitement for RSJ comes in the substance of those two catches. One, a great pass to RSJ in a tight window that split two Seahawks defenders for 31 yards down the seam. The other was another great pass to the sideline for 21, again in a tight spot. The main thing here is the excitement being generated by the arm of new QB Josh Rosen. His arm generates more velocity than Sam Bradford could muster up before several injuries, and has Cardinals fans dreaming of better days.
Bradford was doing the offense no favors, and a shake up had to take place. Last week, with Rosen starting his first game, the offense began to use their players correctly. David Johnson had his most carries in a game this season. Christian Kirk also continued to have a strong presence as well, leading the team with 7 targets. If DJ contributes while Kirk and Fitzgerald draw attention in the passing game, RSJ has a clear path to viability.
San Francisco certainly put up more of a fight than anyone expected last week. However, they are still a flawed team relying on a QB who was replaced last year. The 49ers gave up the sixth most points to TEs (16.7) and eighth most to RBs (30.9). They are holding WRs to a more respectable 16th (39.3). Attacking the 49ers with RBs and TEs is a path to success. It should also very manageable for a rookie QB.
San Fran could also be down to CBs, with Richard Sherman and Jimmie Ward both being tagged as questionable. Even if those two play, the match up for RSJ isn’t that scary anyway. Antone Exum Jr. is likely to spend the most time in coverage. The 6’5″ Seals-Jones will be a nice target for Rosen no matter where he is aligned. Plug in RSJ and hope. That’s about the best you can do when playing down for TEs this year anyway.