NFL DFS Week 5: Hot Sizzle Taeks
Hey, the Jets actually did something! And the Dolphins didn't. Classic, classic AFC East bum teams. Last week's hot taeks did swell once again, while the top plays were all right enough. Not fantastic, but not Skip Bayless awful. The value plays + the DR projections continue to smash, so we'll keep that trend going. It's a week with the Pats on a TNF slate and multiple high-scoring teams on a bye, which only means more wackiness is in store for us degenerates. There might even be another Hail Mary win for the king of the QBs, Aaron Rodgers, as he plays against the Cowboys once again. You do remember that miracle pass to Jared Cook to get the Packers into FG position? What a glorious play that was! Not only do we get that game, Week 5 also presents quite the cornucopia of mystery backfields. Rawls? Fat Eddie? Prosise? Gamble on McKissic? Or try to guess the Packers' RB rotation? Broken and dead TyMont? Bum knee and overall fatness Jamaal Williams? Or their best healthy RB in Aaron Jones? Decisions, decisions. If only there was a site that had projections detailing the probabilities of other various running backs and their match-ups... onto our NFL DFS Week 5 Hot Sizzle Taeks.
Top Play – Many will probably choose Aaron Rodgers in what likely will be a high-scoring game, but I will pick the other QB in the match-up instead. Dak Prescott has looked like the ROTY candidate we all wanted to see this year since the 2nd half of the Cardinals game. He's now thrown for 410 yards and 5 TDs since that second half. Those numbers should continue to trend upward as he gets a great match-up against a skewed Green Bay Packers defense. Some may notice that the Packers have given up the 6th fewest fantasy points to the QB position while holding a respectable 15th place in overall DVOA. Here's the thing – they played against Mike Glennon, an uber-efficient Matt Ryan that led to more rushing TDs, and Dandy Andy Dalton that got off to a hot start with 2 TDs then the entire team melted into a discernible puddle of mediocrity. Not to mention their week 1 Game against the Seahawks was the lowest snaps the Seahawks had on offense all year. Plus, Mike Glennon. GLENNON. Ryan and Dalton were able to carve up the Packers' pass defense fairly easily, and it's difficult for me not to see Prescott doing the same thing. The Cowboys have been surprisingly up-tempo this season compared to last, ranking top 10 in pace and trending into the upper 60s in plays per game. The Packers were already sitting at 8th most plays per game, while the Dallas defense is giving up the 4th most plays. That might mean more of the up-tempo Dak we've seen in the past month, similar to the Rams game last week. It also helps that the Packers' secondary is full of holes. FULL OF 'EM! More on that later.
Value Play – Guess who the top two teams in offensive plays per game? The Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. Guess what else? They play against each other! Carson Palmer is my value play of the week for several reasons, as not only do the Cardinals run the most plays on offense, they will be facing a Philly pass D that's continued to get dismantled by opposing QBs (9th most points given up). The Cardinals know they're dreadful at running, so a pass-heavy gameplan will continue to Palmer until David Johnson returns. That's always going to keep Palmer in Value Land, but the match-up against the Eagles is especially enticing. Both teams have been strong against the run and have elected to pass more often in close games outside of a few exceptions. Palmer will get a mostly healthy John Brown as well, playing in 72% of the snaps last week and making an immediate impact. The combo of guaranteed offensive plays, a heavy emphasis on the passing game, and the ineffectiveness of the Eagles secondary simply makes Palmer a fantastic value across all sites.
HOT TAEK – I like brisket. Do you? I bet Jacoby Brissett does too. He should do a commercial for brisket if we're being honest here. Anyway, Mr. Brisket will be my HOT TAAAAAAAEK QB PLAY OF THE WEEK as he faces against the 49ers in what could be a fantasy gold mine. Or a cave-in. The 49ers have given up the most offensive plays per game thus far, while giving up the 11th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. The Colts rank near the bottom in plays per game, but a 49ers team that's been unable to slow down opponents may just be the remedy the Colts' O needed. The running game of the Colts has been stuck in neutral for the past month, likely forcing Mr. Brisket to pass more often against one of the worst graded secondaries in the NFL. Brissett has shown he can actually compete against bad defenses, as he did versus the Browns when he passed for 259 yards and a TD along with two rushing TDs. The 49ers have an emerging front 7 that's beginning to mold into a stout run-stopping unit, increasing the likelihood of a 30+ pass attempt game from Mr. Brisket. Low ownership, surprisingly high upside, great fantasy match-up, and a price that can make a mediocre performance worth it. Sounds like some delicious meat to me.
Top Play – Le'Veon Bell is undoubtedly the best RB play of the week. Not only is he breaking the DailyRoto projections, he just might break the all-time record for RB touches. Bell gets the worst run defense in the NFL that just gave up over 200+ rushing yards to the freakin' Jets! The Jaguars seem intent at funneling the run game as they currently rank as the top pass defense with high marks in fantasy points and yards given up to opposing QBs/WRs. At first, their worst-rated run defense was more of a game-flow situation than the run unit itself, then Powell/McGuire went bananas and flipped the script on the poor Jaguars. Bell now has 104 total touches (!) through 4 weeks, with absurd market shares in RB snaps, RZ opportunities, targets, and well, basically everything else. It's a slam dunk RB play, but if you're feeling uneasy at his price and ownerships then I'll toss out a few more plays to ponder upon. LeSean McCoy has struggled running the ball but continues to be a cog for the Bills passing game. Jordan Matthews is unlikely to play, increasing McCoy's role that could lead to a 10+ target game. Then you've got the RB on the other side of the Bell match-up in Leonard Fournette, facing a similarly terrible run defense with the same kind of usage rate as Bell (3rd most touches among RBs). Those would be my pivots off Bell for ownership reasons, as I'm sure the Gurley Man will still be high owned against the Seahawks. More cowbell!
Value Play – Another ugly week for value RBs. Latavius Murray versus Jerick McKinnon? Aaron Jones vs everyone else? Pick Ellington again and hope he gets 10+ targets again? Nah. I'll go with Duke Johnson, as his role continues to ramp up for the Browns. He's played a ton of snaps at wide receivers, getting targeted an absurd 28 times. Johnson is clearly one of Kizer's preferred receiving options, and it certainly helps that the Browns have elected a more balanced offensive approach as of late. That should help keep the chains moving if the Browns decide to give more carries to both Crowell and Johnson. It's all about volume and opportunities here people! The Jets have been getting eaten alive on the ground, so that balanced approach from the Browns should pay dividends in more ways than we think. I mean, you could gamble on Rawls/Lacy if you'd like, but I'll take my 7+ targets and 15% RZ market share with the 2nd most RZ opportunities.
HOT TAEK – The Miami Dolphins are 2nd DVOA against the run. This confounds me. They've never been great against the run and have been abysmal on offense, yet they're a great run defense unit? No, I don't believe it. My anger over the Dolphins' woeful start has me picking DeMarco Murray as the HOT TAEK RB Play of the week despite a Matt Cassel start and an apparently stout run defense. Murray tore up the Fins last year in a 30-17 beat-down, running wild for 121 yards and adding a 5/16 receiving line. Even if Cassel is the one handing the ball off to Murray, I'm hard-pressed to believe that the Dolphins have any chance at stopping the Titans' exotic smashmouth running game. The Titans could pass it a whole five times for the entire game and it just might work. The combo of Murray + Henry seems inevitable for a combined 200+ rushing yard day. My anger for the Dolphins may be apparent here, but I've been a fan long enough to see between the lines and read the tea leaves. Sometimes that feeling in your gut is more important than what's in your head. Unless it's gas.
Top Play – As I said earlier, Prescott is my choice for the top QB play of the week, and I'll be combining him with Dez Bryant for that Cowboys stack. Bryant's been largely a disappointment this season despite seeing the 5th most targets among WRs, a 28% market share of the team's targets, and 38% RZ target market share. Those are some pretty ridiculous numbers for a guy that's been fairly quiet all season long. That may be due to Bryant's brutal schedule against top-tier cornerbacks. One of Bryant's ongoing issues has been his constant disappearance whenever he's facing a somewhat tough CB match-up. He's by far the worst WR to the roster when facing a negative match-up in the last 3 years, but has been one of the very best when facing a positive match-up. Bryant finally gets a favorable CB match-up against the Packers as he'll be squaring off against both Kevin King and Demarious Randall, two of PFF's worst graded CBs among their peers. It's actually a simple method in rostering Dez over the past few years – Good CB, Bad Dez. Bad CB, Good Dez. If Bryant continues to see the massive volume he's been given thus far, an explosive game will be coming sooner rather than later. I'm banking it'll be against the Packers. Will you join me for the ride?
Value Play – There isn't a value play at WR that immediately sticks out to me, so I'll probably be spreading the wealth among the following WRs: Pierre Garcon, John/Jaron Brown, Jarvis Landry, and Tyrell Williams. The John/Jaron Brown tandem seems to be the best value among the receivers, as they will both get significant playing time on the boundary, taking turns torching poor Jalen Mills and whoever else the Eagles have at cornerback. Still, you're going to either stack the Cardinals or be forced to choose a Brown. Not ideal. Garcon is coming off a tough game, getting shadowed by Patrick Peterson for the majority of the game. That makes him an ideal recency bias play, as he gets a much more favorable match-up against an Indy coverage that's been getting picked apart (24th in pass coverage). The injury to Marquise Goodwin may mean more targets will come Garcon's way as well. Then there's Tyrell. Depending on the shadow coverage of Janoris Jenkins, Tyrell Williams may see Eli Apple on 40% of his routes. Apple has given up 23 catches for 311 yards and 6 TDs in the last 4 games. That's not good, Bob. Of course, Jenkins may end up shadowing Tyrell more often than, making Tyrell an uncertainty. Landry gets to feast upon a Titans secondary that's giving up the most points to opposing receivers and just got completely whipped by Deandre Hopkins. Landry still leads his team in targets with a whopping 30% market share and should still be trending up as the season progresses. Parker has the better match-up of the two Dolphins, but the offensive scheming from the Fins has Landry playing everywhere with ample opportunities to create something from nothing. They're all fine options, as long as you don't put all of your eggs in one basket. I know I certainly did with Manny Sanders. Sob.
HOT TAEK – Wait for it. Just wait. You ready? Yes? No? Maybe? What was the question again? Oh, the answer is Torrey Smith! Yes, that very same Torrey Smith who's been a complete dud all season long while splitting time with Nelson Agholor. Smith is still seeing 70% of the offensive snaps, so it's not like he's being completely phased out. Here's my reasoning behind Smith – Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals have employed shadow coverage on opposing teams' most dangerous receiving options with Patrick Peterson. That's been overwhelmingly in Peterson's favor over the past month, shutting down Garcon, Dez Bryant, Marvin Jones, and T.Y. Hilton. Now he'll be shutting down Alshon Jeffery and his 23% market share of the team's targets. Not only that, Zach Ertz gets a difficult match-up as well. The Cardinals are currently giving up the 4th least points given up to tight ends, continuing the trend from the past season when they were 1st in the same category. Harsh. That's 25% of the targets potentially hampered by a stingy match-up. BUT THERE'S MORE! Nelson Agholor runs 86% of his routes in the slot, which would pit him against Tyrann Matheiu. While Matheiu hasn't been stellar this season as he continues to find his former All-Pro form, it's still been a challenging match-up as the Cardinals tend to keep slot receivers in front of them, limiting big plays. That leaves Torrey Smith with the best match-up among all Eagles' receiving options, facing the Cards' biggest weakness on defense in Justin Bethel. Similar to Eli Apple, Bethel has been the main focus of opposing QBs' targets, surrendering the most touchdowns on the team and largely being ineffective against deep threats. Guess what Torrey Smith is? A deep threat! That was too long-winding of an explanation on why you should use a terrible receiver. I WILL DO BETTER NEXT TIME!
Top Play – Oh, boy. This is a tough TE slate. You got Travis Kelce against a Texans' unit that's been great at limiting TEs over the past 2 season, Ertz against a similar type of defense, and Jimmy Graham who could give you a goose egg at any time. Gross. I'll go with the volume play in Charles Clay, as Jordan Matthews is out for a month which leaves even more targets for Clay to gobble up. Clay was a huge value play last week, going for 100+ receiving yards for the 1st time this season. He may do it again versus the Bengals and their middle-of-the-road TE defense. It's not a slam dunk match-up for Clay, but it's decent enough that warrants a top play designation for Clay. As long as he continues to see the majority of the RZ/end zone targets for the Bills, Clay will always have the chance at scoring a touchdown. That's more than enough to roster a TE these days.
Value Play – The Browns' defense against tight ends has been a complete wasteland, getting shredded every single week for the past 20 games by opposing TEs. You read that right. 20 games! They've been so bad that the Browns have continually been dead last in every statistical metric at defending the TE position. That leaves Austin Seferian-Jenkins as my value play of the week. He's already making a dent in the team's market share, swallowing up 10 targets in the last 2 games. That's good for almost 20% of the team's targets! That might seem low to you, but keep in mind that the Jets are a run-first team. ASJ has played half the snaps of Robby Anderson/Jermaine Kearse, and yet he's already shown a rapport with Josh McCown. You could do worse than a bargain basement priced ASJ facing against the worst TE defense. It's all about volume! TURN IT UP, BABY!
HOT TAEK – Joe Flacco is bad. Very bad. Not very Aaron Rodgers-like. So bad that he's had a game where he threw for less than 30 yards in a complete game. Thirty! Still, the one thing he's always done well is spam the TE. I mean, Flacco's the sole reason that Dennis Pitta had to get multiple hip surgeries. So many targets. So inaccurate. The Raiders rank 11th worst in points given up to opposing TE,s and their DVOA rank matches up with a 24th worst rank. Watson had a slow start to begin the season, but his role has been increasing every week as the safety valve for an ELITE-bad QB as Watson now has seen 18 targets in the last 3 games combined. That's quite the volume we're looking for in a long-shot play, especially at a volatile position. Putting your faith in an unibrow ostrich usually doesn't generate positive results but screw it! Wacco Flacco for the win! FEED BENJAMIN ALL OF YOUR INACCURATE PASSES!
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