The Week 5 NFL DFS slate features many heavy favorites, with just three games under a spread of seven, making it all the more intriguing for our picks. Finding the games that will be more competitive than perceived will be vital to unlocking a high upside in tournaments.
You’ll notice a different format from here on out in this article. We will start with the game stacks to target first, then round it out with values at each position, highlighting the players I prefer in cash games along the way. Without further adieu, let’s get to it.
Week 5 NFL DFS Picks: Game stacks to target
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-9) Over/Under 54
I am once again talking about the Dallas Cowboys as a game to stack. What is best for the Cowboys is to slow their pace down, maybe run the ball more to keep their atrocious defense off the field. But, until they show us they are committed to doing that, we’re going to continue to attack them in tournaments.
While the New York Giants lack efficiency, they play at a fast pace and own one of the league’s highest pass/rush ratios. The Dallas defense should help mean they maintain their efficiency woes. Daniel Jones ($5400) is cheap enough to become a “must-have” if he has a 90th percentile outcome. I am not touching any of the Giants RBs, but I am interested in Darius Slayton ($4800) and, to a lesser degree, Evan Engram ($4600). Golden Tate ($4600) will come in at less than half the Slayton ownership but is a fine piece in your game stacks.
Dak Prescott ($7500) continues to be underpriced at less than $8000. My one worry is that the Giants will not be able to challenge Dallas defensively, which would mean this is more of an Ezekiel Elliott ($7800) game. The stack I prefer is to pair Dak with Zeke and a pass catcher in hopes of absorbing all of the Cowboy’s touchdowns.
While Prescott remains under-priced, salary has caught up to Amari Cooper ($7400, WR3) and Dalton Schultz ($4800, TE8). CeeDee Lamb ($6000) is still affordable at his price point, while Michael Gallup ($5400) is priced appropriately as the cheapest Cowboys WR. If I am picking just one, it depends on what kind of contest it is. In large field GPP’s, it is Gallup, as he and Lamb have similar projections, but Gallup comes at a discount. Also, Gallup has a higher average depth of target (aDOT), which gives him more volatility. For the latter reason, I prefer Lamb in smaller field contests and cash game formats, as his aDOT leans towards a higher floor.
In this game, we have a wonderful DFS combination. Two teams who play at a fast pace, throw the ball a lot, two bad defenses, and in a dome. The only worry here is if the Giants can keep it close. If they can, we will most likely see plenty of Cowboys in winning lineups this weekend.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-2) Over/Under 53.5
If the Cowboys have been my favorite team to attack in tournaments, Atlanta has been my second favorite. With a subpar running game (19th in rushing success rate via Sharp Football Stats), the Falcons are forced to air it out in every game, evidenced by having the sixth-highest pass/rush ratio in the league. However, somewhat surprisingly, the efficiency hasn’t been there, ranking just 18th in passing success rate. On top of that, Carolina has ranked 14th in passing defense success rate, so I can see why people aren’t more enthused about this matchup.
Saying that, as long as Julio Jones ($6800) and Calvin Ridley ($7500) are on the field for this matchup, I like the stacking appeal this game offers. That being said, Jones has not logged a practice this week, which severely hampers the ceiling of Matt Ryan ($6100). In the past two weeks, in which Jones has been hampered by an injury or not played a full part, Ryan has points totals of 11.42 and 12.4. If Jones can’t go, I will limit my exposure to Carolina stacks with Atlanta bring-backs.
Olamide Zaccheaus ($3000) will be in play in all formats if Jones misses this contest. He played 76% of the snaps on Monday night and received nine targets against the Green Bay Packers.
As for Carolina, I like Teddy Bridgewater ($5900) this week. Carolina has the third-highest pass to rush ratio on early downs in neutral game scripts through the first four weeks. This team wants to be pass-heavy, and in a game which is a virtual pick-em, there should be plenty of volume for the Panthers pass catchers. Bridgewater also isn’t afraid to use his legs, with two games of four or more rushing attempts to start the year.
It is a reasonable assumption to say Robby Anderson ($5900) has surpassed D.J. Moore ($6000) as the Panthers’ top receiver. Despite similar target numbers and a higher air yards total for Moore, Anderson has averaged seven more points than Moore in the early season. I don’t have a problem with either one in a game stack. If making just one lineup, I would go, Moore, as he will be less popular than Anderson.
Mike Davis ($6400) has been a pleasant surprise in the stead of Christian McCaffrey. He ranks 18th in opportunity share with 17.7 opportunities per game. Davis has commanded a 23% target share, with no fewer than six targets in every game he’s played this season. He is undoubtedly cash viable and should be in your game stacks if targeting this game.
Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-11.5) Over/Under 55.5
As I was writing my positional values, I found myself suggesting a lot of Chiefs. Kansas City has the highest implied team total on the slate, but aside from Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6800), their players will not be heavily owned. My favorite way to attack this game is to stack the Chiefs pass catchers as leverage off of Edwards-Helaire. If Patrick Mahomes ($7700) ends up accounting for all of the Kansas City touchdowns, you’ll gain massive leverage on the rest of the field.
That said, I also like the idea of pairing Mahomes with Edwards-Helaire and a pass-catcher to have a better chance of securing all of the Chief’s touchdowns. Both Josh Jacobs ($6300) and Darren Waller ($5900) are viable bring-backs. Henry Ruggs III ($4700) is an intriguing player to target, though he should be reserved for the large field GPP’s.
While I like the value that Bridgewater offers, Mahomes and the Chiefs are probably my top pick for Week 5 NFL DFS tournaments.
Positional Values for the NFL DFS Week 5 Main Slate
I will highlight the players I am comfortable playing in a cash game (any structure which gives the same payout to the top half of the field) formats and values to round out your tournament teams. This section will now also include QB’s, as stacking isn’t necessary for cash games.
Dak Prescott ($7500)– I touched on Dak above, but feel free to continue rolling him out in every format. Until the Cowboys show us they want to slow the game down; we can safely project them to play at a fast pace and be a pass-heavy team.
Teddy Bridgewater ($5900)– See above for why I like Bridgewater. He is cash viable at just $5900.
Jimmy Garoppolo ($5500)– Kyle Shanahan says Garoppolo is on track to return this week against the Miami Dolphins. He presents a tremendous value considering his price relative to the 49ers implied team total (30.25, third-highest on the slate).
QB production positively correlates to their implied team total. Also, the narrative around San Francisco is they are a run-heavy team. However, they are just above the league average regarding overall pass/rush ratio at 59/41. If you condense that to early downs in neutral game scripts, San Francisco owns a pass/rush rate of 55/45, above the league average of 52/48. Garoppolo doesn’t offer upside with his legs, but at $5500, he should return value here.
Factoring in opportunity share implied team total, and price, here are the RB’s I feel are the strongest values on the slate.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6800)– The Kansas City Chiefs have the highest implied team total on the slate, while Edwards-Helaire has the second-highest opportunity share on the slate. In a soft matchup to boot, Edwards-Helaire is a strong play in all formats on DraftKings this weekend.
Mike Davis ($6400)– See above for why I like Davis.
Josh Jacobs ($6300)– He ranks first in opportunity share among RB’s on the slate. The team total isn’t ideal, but Jacobs is averaging 4.25 targets per game, along with dominating the carries in the Las Vegas backfield. He is more a GPP than a cash game play, but stacking Kansas City and running it back with Jacobs is a viable strategy this week. Even if the Chiefs jump out to a lead, Jacobs’ involvement in the passing game won’t leave you drawing a blank.
Raheem Mostert($6100)/Jerrick McKinnon ($5800)– If Mostert is healthy enough to play this week, I would only target either player in the largest GPP contests. If Mostert misses another game, McKinnon becomes one of the top values on the slate.
David Johnson ($5200)– Rostering Johnson is less than ideal, but he has the seventh-highest opportunity share on the slate, while the Texans have the fourth-highest implied team total. At just $5200, Johnson is a good value.
James Conner ($6900)– It is a little concerning that Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland stole a few carries from Conner in the Steelers’ most recent game, but that reflected in his projected ownership. I think the Steelers should see plenty of short fields due to the Philadelphia Eagles offense’s ineptness. This could be a multi-touchdown game for Conner.
Cam Akers ($4000)– Akers is only viable in the large field GPP’s as a 1% dart. He could start the game, show a “hot-hand” and lead the Rams backfield in opportunities in a great matchup against Washington.
Tyreek Hill ($6900)– Hill leads the Chiefs in air yards and is second in target share at just under 20%. He is a tournament only play, but we all know he possesses a slate-breaking upside.
Terry McLaurin ($6100)– We could see another case similar to Allen Robinson developing in the case of McLaurin, in a supremely talented WR with nothing at QB. McLaurin has the eighth-highest target share in the league and the sixth-highest percentage of his team’s air yards. That means he is in contention to lead all receivers in opportunities this weekend.
Diontae Johnson ($5600)– He leads the Steelers in targets at eight per game as well as in air yards. If not for the concussion followed by the week off, Johnson would be much higher owned in this spot.
Tee Higgins ($4900)– His snap share dipped to 57% against the Jaguars, but he received just one fewer target than Tyler Boyd ($6200) (seven vs. eight) and even contributed a rushing attempt. The Bengals are one of the pass heaviest teams in the league, so we could see another 6-8 target game from Higgins.
Sammy Watkins ($4500)– Aside from Edwards-Helaire, Watkins might be the way I get exposure to the Chiefs offense in cash games. You’re getting the same target share as Hill for $2400 less. You run the risk of the Chiefs getting up big, Watkins not being involved, and them taking the air out of the ball, but a sub-par game at $4500 won’t bury you in cash games. I also like Watkins in tournaments as a pivot to the highly popular Darius Slayton. Watkins is one of my favorite Week 5 NFL DFS picks.
Olamide Zaccheaus ($3000)– A viable punt if Jones ends up missing the game.
I don’t know how you do it in cash games, but this is a great week to pay up at tight end in tournaments. We finally have George Kittle ($6600), Travis Kelce ($6400), and Mark Andrews ($6200) available on the main slate. You don’t need 300 words describing why you should play these guys.
The order I have them in is Kelce, Kittle, then Andrews, although all of them are fantastic plays if you choose to pay up. I’ll highlight some punts below if you are looking to save some money, but unlike in previous weeks, the opportunity cost might be too great to forego one of these players to save a few thousand dollars in salary.
Mike Gesicki ($5000)– He leads all TEs in air yards and averages a respectable 5.75 targets per game.
Evan Engram ($4600)- Engram is too talented to continue to underproduce as he has. Engram is third among all TEs in targets, which is good enough to lead the entire Giants team in that category.
Logan Thomas ($3500)– Good luck if you want to go here again. The targets have been there, just not the production.
Ian Thomas ($3400)– Five targets in his last game could be a sign of things to come! You could do much worse than an athletic TE at $3400 in an offensive friendly environment.
Jordan Akins ($3300)– A new coaching staff could afford more opportunities for Akins. He is averaging nine fantasy points per game, which would return value at this price. Yes, we are referencing fantasy points per game to justify a punt TE. The position is a tire fire.
As a reminder, I look for mismatches in terms of pressure rate and pass protection (according to Football Outsiders Adjusted Sack Rate metric) and games where we should see a lot of passing plays, as those lead to the most opportunities for sacks and turnovers.
Rams ($4000)– I don’t have much hope for Kyle Allen ($4100). The Rams are in the top 10 in adjusted sack rate while Washington resides in the bottom third.
Steelers ($3800)– Pittsburgh is my top Week 5 NFL DFS pick at DST. The Eagles offensive line ranks 20th in adjusted sack rate while the Steelers defense ranks second. Carson Wentz is operating a vertically challenged offense and is no stranger to mistakes.
Cowboys ($3100)– Dallas should have plenty of opportunities against a Giants team that will have to pass to keep up and ranks as the sixth-worst offensive line in adjusted sack rate.
Texans ($2600)– Houston ranks sixth on the season in adjusted sack rate, while the Jaguars offensive line resides in the bottom five.
Dolphins ($2400)– The 49ers interior offensive line remains an issue, while Garoppolo has never seen a throw he’s afraid to make.
Overview of the slate
Other than the handful of $4000 wide receivers I highlighted, I didn’t see a lot of low priced values that stuck out to me: a balanced roster might be the way to go this week.
Usually, I’m an advocate for paying down at TE, but with the three best players at the position in the league on the slate, that might not be a viable strategy for your Week 5 NFL DFS picks.
And finally, if this is a week to be balanced, it makes it that much harder to pay up at QB.
As always, good luck this week! If I don’t win a tournament, I hope you do.