This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
The first thing that stands out about Week 5 is that we don't have the Chiefs, Bills, Ravens, Rams or Seahawks on the slate. Those are five of the best offenses in football and they include many of the top DFS options who are usually popular. It makes for an interesting slate this week because there aren't many obvious spots to target, and with the exception of maybe the Cowboys-Giants game, no matchup will be overly popular. Remember to focus on passing-game stacks for GPPs and avoid rostering too many players who project to be popular. The chalky options are never that much better and the leverage afforded by fading them is the No. 1 factor when it comes to winning large-field tournaments. Good Luck!
Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the "main slate" of games kicking off at 1:00, 4:05 and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the vast majority concentrated at the very top.
|40||New England Patriots||24.25||Houston Texans||15.75|
|51.5||Green Bay Packers||27.25||Cincinnati Bengals||24.25|
|44.5||New Orleans Saints||23.25||Washington FT||21.25|
|47.5||Miami Dolphins||18.75||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28.75|
|45||Philadelphia Eagles||20.75||Carolina Panthers||24.25|
|49||Tennessee Titans||26.75||Jacksonville Jaguars||22.25|
|40||Denver Broncos||19.5||Pittsburgh Steelers||20.5|
|49||Detroit Lions||20||Minnesota Vikings||29|
|44.5||Chicago Bears||19.5||Las Vegas Raiders||25|
|46.5||Cleveland Browns||22.25||Los Angeles Chargers||24.25|
|50.5||San Fransisco 49ers||22.75||Arizona Cardinals||27.75|
|52||New York Giants||22.5||Dallas Cowboys||29.5|
These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.
- RB Leonard Fournette vs. MIA ($5,200)
I didn't expect to be highlighting Fournette, but with so much going for him, he looks like one of the best cash-game plays on the slate. He's emerged as the clear No. 1 running back for Tampa Bay and they have a great matchup at home against Miami. He carried the ball 20 times last week and has been heavily involved in the passing game all season. The cheap salary puts him over the top, as rostering him makes it easier to afford the likes of Derrick Henry and Davante Adams.
- WR Laviska Shenault vs. TEN ($4,800)
Shenault has seen at least seven targets in three of four games. The Jaguars use him in variety of ways, and he's coming off a season-high 99 receiving yards. He should be heavily involved in the offense after DJ Chark (ankle) was placed on IR. The cheap salary is another plus; if you still don't want to roster a Jaguars WR, look to Chris Godwin ($6,300) or CeeDee Lamb ($6,200).
Other Cash-Game Options
QB Jalen Hurts at CAR ($7,000)
QB Dak Prescott vs. NYG ($6,900)
QB Daniel Jones at DAL ($6,000)
QB Trey Lance at ARI ($5,700)
RB Derrick Henry at JAX ($9,000)
RB Saquon Barkley at DAL ($7,300)
RB Najee Harris vs. DEN ($6,900)
RB James Robinson vs. TEN ($6,000)
RB Damien Williams at LV ($5,600)
WR Davante Adams at CIN ($8,200)
WR Keenan Allen vs. CLE ($6,500)
WR Chris Godwin vs. MIA ($6,300)
WR CeeDee Lamb vs. NYG ($6,200)
WR Amari Cooper vs. NYG ($6,100)
WR Jakobi Meyers at HOU ($5,600)
TE Evan Engram at DAL ($3,200)
TE Ricky Seals-Jones vs. NO ($2,500)
D/ST Washington vs. NO ($2,300)
D/ST Philadelphia at CAR ($2,200)
Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)
Green Bay Packers (27.25) at Cincinnati (24.25)
Aaron Rodgers ($7,100) and Davante Adams ($8,200) can be rostered in any matchup. Rodgers is likely to be the least popular of the top options at QB even though the Packers have a rather high 27.25 implied total, fifth-highest on the slate. Aaron Jones ($7,900) isn't going to be popular either, and we've already seen him put up 40+ fantasy points this season. Randall Cobb ($4,000) is coming off two touchdowns last week as he saw an expanded role in the absence of Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Robert Tonyan ($4,300) saw a season-high seven targets and ran 32 routes. With the exception of Adams, none of the Packers are going to be popular, and the matchup with the Bengals has shootout potential.
Cincinnati will have had 10 days rest and Joe Burrow ($6,100) is fresh off season-highs in attempts and yards after throwing for 348 last week. The Bengals finally expanded the passing game and would be forced to open it up even more if Joe Mixon (ankle) doesn't play. Not to mention, the Packers are likely to be without their top two corners. Ja'Marr Chase ($5,800) already has four TDs this season and saw a season-high nine targets last week. Tyler Boyd ($5,300) caught nine of 11 for 118 yards. C.J. Uzomah ($3,000) exploded for five catches, 95 yards and two TDs. Tee Higgins ($5,000) is expected to return after missing the past two weeks with a shoulder injury. If Mixon ends up sitting, either of Samaje Perine ($4,000) or Chris Evans ($4,000) would be viable for the minimum salary. The Bengals, and the game in general, become much more appealing if Mixon is ruled out.
- Favorite Stack: QB Burrow + WR Adams + WR Boyd/WR Chase + TE Uzomah
New York Giants (22.5) at Dallas Cowboys (29.5)
Daniel Jones ($6,000) threw for a career-high 402 yards last week, and he continues to show rushing upside as well with 27 carries for 188 yards and two TDs through four games. Keep an eye on injury news before deciding on a Giants WR. Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and Darius Slayton (hamstring) are considered questionable after sitting out last week, and Kenny Golladay ($5,900) and Kadarius Toney ($4,000) picked up the slack in their places. Toney's cheap salary makes him appealing if Shepard and/or Slayton are out. If they're all healthy, I'd look to Evan Engram ($3,200) instead after he saw six targets for the second consecutive week. Saquon Barkley ($7,300) has had back-to-back big weeks, catching 11 of 13 targets and scoring three TDs in that span. The game should set up well for the Giants passing game, as they're expected to be trailing throughout.
Dak Prescott ($6,900) needed just 14 completions to throw four TDs last week. He should have all day to throw against a Giants defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in sacks and QB hits. CeeDee Lamb ($6,200) has seen his salary fall after two down weeks, and he's a good bet to bounce back with Amari Cooper ($6,100) nursing multiple injuries. Dalton Schultz ($4,400) has be on fire, as he caught six balls in consecutive weeks and has three TDs in that span. Ezekiel Elliott ($7,000) looks back to his best and is coming off 20 carries for 143 yards and a TD last week; he is now averaging 20+ fantasy points over his last three games. Even Cedrick Wilson ($4,100) is in play after catching TDs in back-to-back weeks with Michael Gallup (calf) still not ready to return. You could argue that all of the Cowboys are a bit too cheap in this spot and in relation to the rest of the slate.
- Favorite Stack: QB Prescott + RB Barkley + WR Lamb + TE Schultz
Other Stacks to Consider
- RB Derrick Henry at JAX ($9,000)
Henry has tallied a whopping 107 touches over the past three weeks. The Titans are in a nice spot against the Jaguars, and they are likely to be without Julio Jones again, meaning Henry should continue to feature heavily. He's the most expensive player on the slate, but he has 50+ fantasy point upside in these spots.
- WR Davante Adams at CIN ($8,200)
Adams is coming off a disappointing Week 4 when he caught six of 11 targets for 64 yards. We almost never see him have two down weeks in a row and the matchup against the Bengals should be a great bounce-back spot. Without Tyreek Hill on the slate, Adams is the clear-cut top option at WR.
Fading the Field
Every week we see at least one or two players who are very popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. Recency bias is often to blame, but in some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.
- RB Najee Harris vs. DEN ($6,900)
Harris will be a popular option again this week based on how heavily involved he's been in the passing game. After seeing 19 targets in Week 3, he saw seven last week. I see multiple reasons to fade: first, the Steelers offensive line has been terrible, which curbs his rushing upside; second, the game has a paltry 40-point total and should be played at a rather slow pace; third, the Broncos defense is one of the better units in football. I'd rather save some salary and roster James Robinson ($6,000) or D'Andre Swift ($6,100).
The Smash Spot
Players in favorable positions to significantly outperform their salary.
- WR CeeDee Lamb vs. NYG ($6,200)
Lamb is coming off consecutive duds after seeing just eight targets over the last two weeks. The Cowboys have been playing with comfortable leads and the offense has been so good that they haven't needed to throw the ball as much. Now his salary has come down for a home matchup against the Giants, with Cowboys have the highest implied team total on the slate. He has multiple TD upside in this spot and might not be as popular as he should be based on recent results and the other options in that salary range.
The Bargain Bin
QB Trevor Lawrence vs. TEN ($5,800)
QB Mac Jones at HOU ($5,300)
QB Justin Fields at LV ($5,200)
RB Damien Harris at HOU ($5,500)
WR Antonio Brown vs. MIA ($5,200)
WR Darnell Mooney at LV ($4,700)
WR Kadarius Toney at DAL ($4,000), if Shepard or Slayton are out
TE Mike Gesicki at TB ($4,200)
TE Jared Cook vs. CLE ($3,600)
D/ST Las Vegas vs. CHI ($2,900)
Note: Most of the relevant injury news will come after the release of this article. Check back on Saturday night for updates.
- RB Christian McCaffrey vs. PHI
McCaffrey has practiced in a limited fashion this week and said he feels "great." He won't be nearly as popular as Derrick Henry, so that would make this week one of the rare instances where you can roster him for leverage in tournaments.
- RB Joe Mixon vs. GB
Mixon has yet to practice this week due to an ankle injury. If he sits, Samaje Perine ($4,000) and Chris Evans ($4,000) would split the workload. I've heard talk around the industry of Perine being a cash-game option, but I don't think you need to go there. It seems too risky for that format but either option would be fine in GPPs.
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo at ARI
Garoppolo hasn't practiced this week after injuring his calf last Sunday. Trey Lance ($5,700), with his cheap salary and rushing upside, would be a solid option in both cash games and tournaments.
Both Shepard and Slayton are in danger of missing a second straight week. Should that happen, Kadarius Toney ($4,000) would be in line for a significant role after catching six of nine targets last week. Kenny Golladay ($5,900), Evan Engram ($3,200) and Saquon Barkley ($7,300) would also get bumps.
Nothing to be overly concerned about this week.