Week 5 Daily Fantasy Football: Picking the Optimal Lineup
Heading into week five we’ve got four solid weeks of daily fantasy football action under our belt, which should give us plenty of stats and rankings to lean back on to help us fill out some winning fantasy lineups.
The past three weeks, it didn’t work out. In week four, specifically, it was all about Jeremy Hill and Devonta Freeman (again). If you didn’t have them, you weren’t winning much of anything. Truth be told, our three lineups weren’t that bad last week. But we didn’t use those two guys, who both found the end-zone three times.
This is one great reason why 50/50 and H2H games are the way to go in daily fantasy football, especially with how crazy things can be early in the year. Still, another week is out of the way and hypothetically that should help even things out and give us a better idea of where to go with our teams.
Just like last week, we’ll create three specific types of teams and enter all three into a GPP and see what sticks:
Keep it Balanced
QB: Philip Rivers – Chargers ($6.2k) – Steelers D isn’t great and he’s at home and a solid value, plus spending on a quarterback not named Brady this week is crazy.
RB: Justin Forsett – Ravens ($5.8k) – Forsett blew up last week and in week 5 gets an awful Browns run defense at home. Over 100 total yards and his first score of the year could be in the cards.
RB: Mark Ingram – Saints ($6.1k) – Ingram is on the road and the matchup isn’t amazing but he’s been rock solid all year with no less than 13 fantasy points in any contest.
WR: Mike Evans – Buccaneers ($6.1k) – Solid home date with Jags and Evans took last week off as Vincent Jackson went nuts. It’s Evans’ turn this time.
WR: Jeremy Maclin – Chiefs ($6k) – Maclin has gone nuts two weeks in a row and a home date with a bad Bears defense shouldn’t stop him now.
WR: Allen Robinson – Jaguars ($5.5k) – Bargain buy here, as Robinson is a massive big play threat and has at least 4 receptions, 68 yards and/or a score in each of his last three games.
TE: Antonio Gates – Chargers ($4.2k) – Strong value for a player of his caliber, plus at home in first game back from 4-game ban. Eyeing 100th career score and with how bad Steelers are versus TEs this year, he just might get it.
Flex: Devonta Freeman – Falcons ($6.3k) – His price has spiked quite a bit but there’s no way I’m fading the dude who has scored 6 total touchdowns in his past two contests.
DEF: Denver Broncos ($3.6k) – They’re not cheap but they’re less expensive than Seattle ($4k) and they’re without a doubt the safest and most consistent fantasy defense (no game under 10 fantasy points) this season.
All of the Upside
QB: Tom Brady – Patriots ($7.8k) – His matchup is fine enough and he’s been blasting everyone. Now fresh off of a bye, Brady shall feast in Big D and is worth paying up for.
RB: Le’Veon Bell – Steelers ($8.5k) – Probably the safest option in all of DFS right now, yet he’s not the most expensive. He has a strong matchup and has put up 26+ fantasy points in both games since returning from a 2-game suspension.
RB: Jamaal Charles – Chiefs ($7.8k) – He’s pretty pricey but right up there with Bell, there just isn’t anyone safer and we know how explosive he can be. A home date with the Bears means big things in week five.
WR: Keenan Allen – Chargers ($7.2k) – At home versus shaky Steelers defense so there is a lot to like about him this week. Has twice gone over 12 catches already this year and could do it a third time in week five.
WR: Dontrelle Inman – Chargers ($3.3k) – Cheap try for Bolts, as two of their top receivers are banged up and could be out. If they’re not active, Inman is a strong sleeper play with a good matchup.
WR: Willie Snead – Saints ($3k) – Snead isn’t an amazing talent but he has a role and is somehow the best wide receiver in New Orleans right now. You can’t knock that at this price.
TE: Derek Carrier – Redskins ($2.5k) – Anytime you can get a guy you like at the minimum, you take the dive. Carrier is a fast, athletic tight end and is also suddenly probably starting in Washington with Jordan Reed banged up.
Flex: Rob Gronkowski – Patriots ($7.5k) – Still a pretty good value for what he can get you, Gronk hasn’t laid a dud yet this year and probably won’t in week five.
DEF: St. Louis Rams ($2.3k) – I know the Rams have it tough on the road against the Packers, but just look at what they did in Arizona last week. St. Louis can rack up sacks and could at least limit the Packers like the Seahawks and 49ers have done recently. That’s plenty good for this price, especially when would-be elite defenses can burn you in any given week.
The Contrarian Way
QB: Josh McCown – Browns ($5.1k) – This is a nice contrarian play, as McCown gets a bad Ravens pass defense and has also been great (23+ fantasy points) in each of his past two starts. He’s dirt cheap and worth the risk, plus few will take the dive.
RB: Todd Gurley – Rams ($4.3k) – Gurley isn’t a contrarian play. He’s a killer value. A lot of people will use him, but he helps this roster and I love him this week.
RB: Marshawn Lynch – Seahawks ($7.1k) – Beast Mode could oddly be a fun contrarian try, as many won’t trust him due to some lingering injuries. He’s also on the road but the Bengals aren’t that tough against running backs and he’s due as can be.
WR: Calvin Johnson – Lions ($7.4k) – He has a brutal matchup this week but he’s still Megatron. He will have to want to make up for last week’s game-losing fumble, too.
WR: Roddy White – Falcons ($3.5k) – Do I love White for week 5 or ever? No, but he publicly complained about two straight games with zero catches and he’s bound to get some love eventually. It could be this week at home after he expressed his displeasure with being phased out of the offense.
WR: Martavis Bryant – Steelers ($3.8k) – I doubt Bryant is a huge contrarian play, simply because he’s too cheap and the value is insane. His matchup isn’t great and this is his first game back, but there is serious upside to be had this week.
TE: Jimmy Graham – Seahawks ($6.1k) – I love Graham as a contrarian option this week, simply because he’s caught between no man’s land in pricing, right below Gronk and above everyone else. It’s a way better idea to either get Gronk or save on TE, but Graham can still be elite and could end up being worth it.
Flex: Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants ($9k) – ODB is far from contrarian, but trying some of those other contrarian plays ultimately leads to you getting him, anyways.
DEF: Denver Broncos ($3.6k) – Go contrarian everywhere you can, but not defense. I like going cheap at defense this week, unless I can fit in Denver first. They’re just so stable and Oakland probably isn’t going to be the first team to carve up the league-leading defense.
The balanced roster is to play it safe. You get guys you can trust that have good roles, solid matchups and a little bit of upside. These types of lineups are largely to be used in 50/50 games and H2H, but like we do with all of our teams, it’s still fun to also toss them into a big GPP and see if it works out.
The “all of the upside” squad is just about getting 3-4 top level elite options that you know will do extremely well and possibly even deliver some of the best performances at their position. You obviously have to take some chances elsewhere, but the idea is those chances are calculated and are supported by some degree of logic.
Lastly, the contrarian style of a lineup is all about getting some guys you really like and feel good about, while pairing them up with a few others you think could do damage but won’t be used on a ton of teams. The more guys you hit on that barely anyone else used, the better your team could do.
The beauty of these three lineup isn’t always going to be “play all three and see if you win”. Instead, it’s what pieces of these three lineup strategies, molded together, will work this week? Ultimately, that’s for you to decide. Good luck in your daily fantasy football leagues in week five!
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