Point/Counterpoint: Week 5 DraftKings Strategies
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.
For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.
So let’s get to Week 5 strategy talk!
We needed a little more of that Lions/Seahawks game for week 4! Can’t believe almost 100 points were scored in that game!
Now let’s break down Week 5 for DraftKings’ main slate! Unlike last week, there are not a lot of games that are exciting to target at first glance.
In fact, currently, only two games are above a 48 total on FanDuel Sportsbook. So do you have interest in the Bucs/Falcons or Cardinals/Eagles since they are the high total games? Any other games that interest you to stack?
Yeah, this week seems filled with some very lopsided games that might not be strong fantasy-wise. Josh Allen is always in play, but with the Steelers’ struggles, this could be another 3-quarter game for Allen. Last time he still paid off, but I wouldn’t bank on that. Same with Kirk Cousins facing the Bears and Justin Herbert vs the Browns.
There are three games that look a bit ugly on paper but could end up being the games to target this week. First, the Lions vs Patriots. We know the firepower on the Lions’ side, as they were without their two best playmakers last week, and put up nearly 50 points. The Patriots’ defense has struggled throughout the year, and the Lions’ defense has given up plenty of big plays. It will be interesting to see who will be starting at QB for the Pats. Either way, I’d probably only target Jared Goff at QB, but maybe run it back with a Patriots back or a cheaper WR.
Next up would be the Tennessee vs Washington game. The Commanders’ offense has been awful the past two games, but they were a fantasy gold mine the first two weeks. After facing two very tough defenses in the Eagles and Cowboys, they now go against a Titans defense that is very exploitable in the secondary and lacks a comparable pass rush. On the flip side, Derrick Henry is very interesting against a Commanders’ defense that has looked really bad this season.
The final game that has some interest is the Texans vs Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence turned the ball over 5 times this past week, but that was in terrible weather vs the Eagles’ defense which might be top 3 in the league. He now should be back home in Jacksonville facing a Texans defense that has been okay but is far more beatable. Lawrence, Kirk, and Robinson are all in play this week. On the Texans’ side Dameon Pierce looks like the real deal and Brandin Cooks has a great target share and has a fantastic match-up vs the Jags’ weaker corners.
How about you, what games do you like? And who do you see as your core QBs?
I’m struggling early in the week and hopefully, more research will give me some clarity! But at this point, I agree with the three-game stacks you mentioned. I have some interest in Cardinals/Eagles and Falcons/Bucs too. I think you brought up great points as to why the Lions/Pats, Commanders/Titans, and Texans/Jaguars games all have some DFS appeal.
For QBs, I still want to do more research before I narrow my core, but at this point, I’m most interested in Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Jared Goff, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Herbert. Do you have any interest in rookie or backup QBs this week for savings like Kenny Pickett, Teddy Bridgewater, and possibly Bailey Zappe? The Lions’ defense has generally been a cheat code to target for QBs to start the season.
Who are your other core plays at RB, WR, and TE?
I think overall Tom Brady is my favorite QB play of the week. The Falcons’ defense is one that I think he can tear up, and hopefully, his receivers keep getting healthier and healthier. Given the price, I think Brady is maybe the best per-dollar play on the slate. Jalen Hurts I imagine will be the highest-owned QB, and I do see this as a good spot vs a terrible Arizona defense. I’m not sure how much I will play him though, as the price is pretty high. After Brady, I am interested in Herbert, Goff, Lawrence, and yes, back to Carson Wentz.
As for the backup/rookie QBs, no I don’t have a lot of interest. I think the Steelers were hoping to wait until after facing the Bills before turning to Kenny Pickett. This could be brutal for the rookie facing a Bills defense that has given Matt Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, and even Lamar Jackson problems. I think Pickett is going to struggle in this game. As for Bridgewater I just struggle to see any sort of real ceiling. He’s got great weapons so maybe they break off some big plays to get him to 300+ and a couple of TDs, but it’s a stretch. Zappe looked alright vs a tough Packers defense, so I could maybe take a shot there vs a bad Lions defense. I worry that New England will still rely more on the running game. This could make getting the bonus or pick-up TDs in the red zone tougher.
I like Derrick Henry at the top for RB, and then I want to target the $6K range for my backs. Jamal Williams is a great play if Swift is out again. I also like Dameon Pierce, Miles Sanders, and James Robinson as good options. Then I like a lot of guys that I want to mix in as well, Devin Singletary, both Patriots backs, Jeff Wilson, and Breece Hall are all guys I want in my line-ups as well.
At WR I do worry about some of the high-priced guys needing to do enough in their games. Both Jefferson and Diggs are fine options, but will those teams be throwing later in the game? I am interested in A.J. Brown and Mike Evans as my core guys with Ceedee Lamb in the mix as well. Though I have some worries about Teddy Bridgewater, I can’t ignore Tyreek Hill. He’s too good and explosive. He will need to pick up some yards after the catch, but I love the match-up. I will also add Chris Olave to my core as well. Love the match-up vs the Seahawks and Michael Thomas might be out again.
As for TE, I will probably spread things out more this week. With some of the biggest names off the slate, there is less worry of trying to get a 25-30 point guy. I also don’t see the need to really punt down in price and risk 5 points or less. Instead, I’ll play some of Hockenson, Ertz, Goedert, Everett, and Higbee. If I do pay down I will go with either Logan Thomas or Dalton Schultz. Not a big fan of Schultz’s match-up, but the talent is a steal for this price.
I agree with all the points you make and love your core plays. I would just add that I’ll be looking at receivers in stacks. So that would include Evans/Godwin, Mike Williams, Terry McLaurin, Christian Kirk, and Lions receivers.
Any major fades this week? And how do you see your lineup construction strategy this week?
I am getting more interested in Terry McLaurin. Not only has Washington needed to get him more involved this season, but both Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson are banged up. One or both might miss this game, which could lead to McLaurin and Logan Thomas seeing a big target bump.
As for any real fades, there aren’t too many. I won’t play Matt Stafford, as right now he doesn’t look right. I know eventually, he will have a couple of 28-35 point games, but I’m not going to target him in a tough match-up versus Dallas’s defense. The other QBs that I’m totally out on are all lower-priced guys who I doubt anyone is going to play.
For running back among higher-priced guys, I’m not going to play CMC or Dalvin Cook. The Panthers’ offense is simply broken right now, McCaffrey is doing everything he can, and he still can’t crack 30 points. Given the price, he’s at we would need him to get 40+ to worry about fading him. As for Cook, I think the match-up is strong, but I feel like he’s still being priced like he has his role under Mike Zimmer. Cook isn’t getting the same level of targets so far and he’s not a lock for red zone usage. He may crack 20 points, but at this price, I think I need a higher ceiling. Right now, it seems like Khalil Herbert and Alvin Kamara are going to be a bit too high-owned that I might try to be underweight on them, but I probably won’t fully fade.
At wide receiver, I’m not interested in playing D.J. Moore and his nice price of $5,200. Moore is a talented WR, but he has 36 total DK points this season in four games, and this match-up is simply awful. The 49ers’ defense has allowed just four total touchdowns this season and only two of those passing. On the flip side in this game, I am not going to pay this price for Deebo. He’s an incredible NFL player, but it’s so tough for him to get there given his lack of total targets, particularly in a game where they likely won’t be pushed. He’s a good floor play, but in tournaments not sure enough of a ceiling is there. Rondale Moore is getting a lot of buzz after the strong snap share in his first game back and a cheap $4,100 price tag, but I have no interest. His targets were just like last season and all near the line of scrimmage. Also, with potentially Marquise Brown being out he will draw even more attention from the Eagles’ very talented defense.
For TE, I don’t have any strong fades. Higbee seems like the super chalky play this week. I will probably be underweight on the field, but I’m not avoiding it. I’m going to stay away from the Pittsburgh offense vs that Bills defense, so I’m out on Pat Freiermuth, but that really is it in terms of guys I have no interest in.
I think overall this is a good week to spend up at QB or go to that mid-range of QBs we like, pay down at RB outside of Derrick Henry, and get some good mid-tier WR. Though I will try to get as much Cooper Kupp that I can fit.
What do you think of these strategies for Week 5 DFS on DraftKings? Who are your main game stacks and core plays?