For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. FootballGuys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.
Eli Manning (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6800). After an impressive road win in Buffalo last week, Eli Manning and the NY Giants will host the reeling San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. Eli has been solid in his last three starts, throwing for multiple touchdowns in each game, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers, and not relying solely on Odell Beckham. The matchup against the Niners could not be better, as the formerly stout defensive unit is currently hemorrhaging passing yardage at a clip of 9.2 yards per pass attempt (31st in the NFL); their coverage unit is ranked in the bottom 5 (ProFootballFocus) and have given up 30-fantasy point games to both Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald this season, all of which bodes well for Odell Beckham, who is overdue for a big fantasy day. The Giants' running game is a piece-quilt effort that is only picking up 3.5 yards per carry (25th in the NFL), which only adds to the allure of rostering Eli Manning in GPP formats.
Matt Ryan (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6700). Since the advent of the NFL becoming a 'passing league,' the league average ratio of passing touchdowns to rushing touchdowns across the league is about 2:1 (2.12 to 1.0 in 2014), although each team will vary based on composition and respective skill sets. The Falcons enter Week 5 with a wonky passing-to-rushing touchdown ratio of 6:9 due to the inordinate amount of touchdowns that Devonta Freeman has earned over the past few weeks. Last season, only the Cleveland Browns finished the season with a similar ratio of touchdowns and we can look squarely at their dumpster fire situation at QB/WR to explain that scenario; in Atlanta, Matt Ryan has Julio Jones and a balanced offense that will not need to continue to rely as heavily upon the run and will eventually regress to the norm. This week could be one that skews in favor of the passing game because the Redskins are actually very stout against the run, allowing only 78.0 rushing yards per game and a solitary rushing touchdown on the season; perhaps more importantly, Washington's secondary has been suspect at times this season (7 passing touchdowns allowed) and they will be without both starting cornerbacks, Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall, on Sunday. Julio Jones should be in store for all the action he can handle, while Leonard Hankerson and Roddy White pick up decent yardage, as well. The common denominator is Matt Ryan, who has 300-yard, 4-touchdown upside in a home game where Atlanta is slated to score 28 points.
Jay Cutler (Primarily GPP, Salary: $5300). Jay Cutler has no receivers, his implied Vegas team total is 18 points, and he is a still a fantastic GPP play on Sunday. Cutler will face-off against the Kansas City Chiefs, who have allowed at least 21 DraftKings' points to every opposing team's quarterback this season; the Chiefs have allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league (x 11), are in the bottom ten of every major passing defensive category, and will likely be leading this game, all of which indicates that Cutler could be called upon to carry a heavy load on Sunday. Cutler's receiving options are limited, but it's the same receiving corps that allowed him to compile 281 yards and 2 passing touchdowns a week ago against Oakland. A similar statline against an equally poor pass defense is entirely within reason; at close to minimum salary and extremely low ownership, Cutler has all the makings of a winning GPP play.
Carson Palmer (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6600). While everybody else will be looking towards Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady for their cash games this weekend, I think there is reason to spend up at other positions and try to save at quarterback. My first quarterback recommendation for cash games is Carson Palmer, who has scored 20 DraftKings' fantasy points every week this season and his salary has not moved more than $200 from where it is currently stands. Against the Lions this Sunday, Palmer will look to take advantage of their 9.2 passing yards allowed per attempt (30th in the NFL), which is probably the Cardinals' best plan of attack since the Lions are steadfast against the run, yielding only 3.6 yards per carry (5th in the league). If Palmer only does what he has done every game this year, he will achieve cash game value and afford you the ability to roster high-end players like Jamaal Charles and Julio Jones on those same rosters.
Philip Rivers (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6200). After getting embarrassed by Tom Brady and Colin Kaeparnick in the first two weeks of the season, the Steelers' pass defense performed well in the subsequent two weeks; however, those games were against a toothless Rams passing attack and a Ravens team that is missing at least four starting receivers. On Sunday, the Steelers will travel to sunny San Diego and face Philip Rivers, who has eight passing touchdowns this season and leads the league in passing yards through four games. Rivers will also be excited to see the return of a slimmed-down Antonio Gates, who is coming off a four-game suspension for PED's after a resurgent 12-touchdown campaign in 2014. Until we see Melvin Gordon III take the bull by the horns and (literally) run with it, it appears that the Chargers are content to pass the ball to win games; with a team total of 25 points, it would seem that a 250 yard game with multiple passing touchdowns is entirely reasonable for Rivers, which should get him close to cash game value at his reasonable salary.
Tyrod Taylor (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5800). Despite his worst 'on-paper' performance of the season last week agains the Giants, Tyrod Taylor still almost reached value for cash games (he fell two points short). If you were able to watch the game, however, you would have seen that Taylor had two touchdowns (one rushing and one passing) called back due to penalties that would have catapulted his fantasy numbers into the highest-scoring performance of the week (> 30 DK points). The fact is that Taylor will be asked to carry another big load this week because the running back situation in Buffalo is a mess now that both LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams have been announced as inactive; the Bills signed ex-Colt Dan Herron early this week and will rely upon a committee of Herron, Anthony Dixon, and Cierre Wood, none of whom instill fear into the hearts of defenses. Their opponents, the Titans, have performed admirably against the pass this season despite making no major adjustments to their coverage personnel in the off-season; a closer look into the Titans' success argues that it is probably more due to their previous opponents (Buccaneers in Jameis Winston's NFL debut, Johnny Manziel's Browns, and a curiously underperforming Andrew Luck) than any marked improvement over last year. Taylor's salary mandates that he score only 17 fantasy points, which is 200 yards passing, a touchdown, and 50 yards rushing, which is not only possible, but likely given the backfield situation in Buffalo this weekend.
Eddie Lacy (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6700). Eddie Lacy is the 5th highest salaried running back on the slate this week as a 9-point home favorite against the St. Louis Rams. Lacy scored 11 touchdowns in his rookie season and 13 touchdowns last year, but through four games this season, he has only a single touchdown, which is baffling considering the injuries suffered by the wide receiving corps in Green Bay this year. If we are to believe that Eddie Lacy's first two years in the league were a basis for what to expect in 2015, the running back should average about a touchdown per game from this point forward. The Rams have allowed over 30 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season and Lacy, who is now 100% healthy after an ankle scare over Weeks 2 and 3, should see the lion's share of work out of the backfield. The gamescript sets up perfectly for a big game from Lacy and for your GPP rosters because he will be less than 10% owned on DraftKings.
Doug Martin (Primarily GPP, Salary: $4700). Doug Martin is a superb GPP selection this weekend. His matchup looks terrible on paper, which will keep his ownership amazingly low. The Jaguars are 4th in the NFL against the rush (rushing yards per game), allowing a league-best 3.1 yards per carry; however, that stinginess against the run is due to the presence of Paul Posluszny, who is a game-time decision on Sunday with a high ankle sprain suffered last Sunday. Martin never seems to get any positive attention despite getting a lot of volume in the Bucs' backfield (25 touches last week against Carolina); this works well for GPP's because you can bet that you will be one of the less-than-5% of Martin owners in your respective GPP. If Martin were to amass 100 rushing yards with a touchdown, he would finish with a minimum of 19 DraftKings' points, which would be 4x value and put you in position for a top-end finish in most GPP's.
LaGarrette Blount (GPP only, Salary: $4500). Two weeks ago on the RotoGrinders Live Show (in which I appear on Sunday mornings), I suggested LaGarrette Blount as a GPP play against the Jacksonville Jaguars because the gamescript was perfect for his skillset; the Patriots built an early lead and then pounded the ball with Blount, who finished the day with 92 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns, good enough for 28.2 fantasy points and 7x value on his salary. This weekend, we could see a similar dose of Blount against the Cowboys who have given up nearly 100 DraftKings' points over the past two weeks to the Falcons and the Saints; the Patriots have the highest projected team total on the weekend and are 9-point favorites, which means that we might see a lot of Blount in the second half of this game. Most people will be on Dion Lewis in this one because he is the primary back and his floor is higher than Blount on a full-PPR site, but Blount is the better GPP play because of his touchdown upside and likely low-ownership.
Jamaal Charles (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7800). If you have enough salary to roster Le'Veon Bell, by all means, go ahead...but I like Jamaal Charles at a price point $700 lower than Bell. Charles is a great play every week because he is gamescript-irrelevant...if the Chiefs are losing, they throw the ball to him; if the Chiefs are winning, he runs the ball. Either way, Jamaal Charles generally touches the ball 20 times every Sunday and he has not been targeted less than 5 times in the passing game all season. Against the Bears at Arrowhead this weekend, Charles should see a similar workload against a Bears front that is yielding 4.4 yards per carry and 120 rushing yards per game. As 9-point favorites slated to score four touchdowns, the gamescript sets up perfectly for a big fantasy day for Charles. Some might point out that Charcandrick West stole some carries last week, but I think that is a reflection of getting West some reps after missing the first two games with a concussion suffered in the preseason.
Justin Forsett (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $5800). The Cleveland Browns ended 2014 with the worst rush defense in the league and have begun their 2015 campaign with a similar trend, allowing the second most rushing yards per game (141.5) and a hefty 4.8 yards per carry. Enter Justin Forsett, fresh off a 27-carry, 150 rushing yard performance last week against the Steelers on Thursday Night Football. With 10 days between games, Forsett should be ready for a heavy workload against this inferior Browns' defensive front; there were some rumblings about Lorenzo Taliaferro stealing redzone opportunities from Forsett, but Taliaferro is nursing an injury that is keeping him from full practices and this would appear to be a spot where the Ravens do not require his services to punch it into the endzone. Forsett has multiple touchdown upside and his floor is in the neighborhood of 100 all-purpose yards, a touchdown, and a handful of receptions, which would yield more than enough fantasy points for a cash game play on DraftKings.
T.J. Yeldon (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4400). If you are a regular reader of "Tips and Picks," you know that I try to provide selections across a range of price points to help you complete your rosters; this week, I really wanted to recommend Anthony Dixon because of how rostering him opens up opportunity elsewhere, but I simply could not pull the trigger on a player that is entering the game injured and will likely split carries with two other backs. For those reasons, I am offering two running backs at the lower end of the salary scale, who appear to be on the safer side for your cash games: T.J. Yeldon (here) and Todd Gurley (below). Yeldon has been getting bellcow volume in competitive games--he has 52 touches in the only two games where Jacksonville has kept the game within a touchdown of their opponent. This weekend against the Buccaneers, the Jags should be able to do exactly that; the Bucs put the 30th worst rush defense on the field (136.8 rushing yards per game allowed) and have not faced a top-end RB yet this year to skew those numbers falsely upwards (Bishop Sankey, Alfred Blue, Mark Ingram II, and Jonathan Stewart thus far). Yeldon appears to be a lock for 20 touches, which should put him squarely in the territory of 15-20 fantasy points needed to reach value for cash games.
Todd Gurley (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $4300). Earlier this week on the DraftKings' Roundtable, I referenced a statistic (hat tip to @TJHernandez) that stated Jeff Fisher averages 26 rushes per game when he is an underdog of a touchdown or more (versus 24.8 rush attempts per game in the other 36 games). In other words, Jeff Fisher schemes to slow down strong opponents to keep their offenses off the field; if he is able to accomplish that lofty task against the Packers, Todd Gurley could be a great play this weekend. Last week, we finally saw Todd Gurley unleashed and he made up for lost time, running 19 times for 146 yards against an otherwise solid Arizona Cardinals defensive front; this week, Gurley should enter the game against the Packers as the lead back and see similar volume if the Rams can keep the game close. Even if the Rams cannot keep the game close, I think Gurley has a decent floor because he is a special talent and the Packers are giving up a massive 4.8 yards per carry this season.
Demaryius Thomas (Primarily GPP, Salary: $8100). Remember last week when Demaryius Thomas was in this same spot? He's back for all the same reasons. First, he did not catch a touchdown pass last week despite being targeted 12 times. Next, he is one of only three receivers with 50+ targets (DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones are the other two), but is the only one of those receivers with only a single receiving touchdown (Hopkins = 3, Jones = 4), which means that Thomas is overdue for some positive regression. The good news is that Thomas' salary has stayed about the same due to that lack of touchdown scoring and recency bias will keep him somewhat low-owned despite his massive upside. With questions looming in the Denver backfield, Peyton Manning could just take it upon himself to take advantage of FootballOutsiders' 26th ranked pass defense (DVOA metric) and exploit the plus matchup that Demaryius Thomas will enjoy against Neiko Thorpe, who has been beaten in coverage by virtually every receiver who has lined up across from him this season.
Jordan Matthews (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6400). There is no debate that the Eagles' offense has been a disappointment this year; the Birds are averaging only 19.5 points per game (23rd in NFL) after averaging 29.6 points per game (3rd in NFL) just a year ago. The Eagles are still running a lot of plays (2nd in the league total drives @ 51), but they have been unsuccessful in generating much momentum from that pace, as they are dead last in yards per drive (23.41). Last week, however, Sam Bradford showed signs of life when he stretched the field by finding Riley Cooper and Miles Austin on 40+ yard touchdown passes (Brent Celek added a 10-yard TD grab, too). Matthews was the odd man out last week, but he should get plenty of action this week against the league's worst pass coverage unit, the Saints. New Orleans is allowing a league-high 9.8 passing yards per attempt and has not exhibited an ability to shut down any team's passing game. Matthews' fantasy numbers have decreased each week this season, which should dictate that he is low-owned this weekend; his targets, however, are still numerous, all of which makes him attractive for GPP contests on Sunday.
Allen Robinson (Primarily GPP, Salary: $5500). Allen Robinson has been on a hardship tour this Fall. Over the first four weeks of the season, he has lined up across from some of the best coverage cornerbacks in the league including Josh Norman, Charles Tillman, and Vontae Davis, which has kept Robinson from seeing the type of volume he would have otherwise enjoyed as the WR1 in the Jacksonville offense. Allen Hurns has been the beneficiary of the top-tier attention given to Robinson, as Hurns has outscored Robinson 56-16 during those weeks; the one week where Robinson matched up against a non-elite caliber cornerback was against the Dolphins, where Robinson put together a 6/155/2 tagline for 36.5 fantasy points. On Sunday, Robinson will line up across from Tim Jennings or Mike Jenkins, neither of whom will be able to cover this future superstar. This week, recency bias will convince lesser players to stay aboard the Hurns train, but the savvy move will be to roster Robinson at lower ownership and a higher salary; if he has a big day, it will be at less than 5% ownership.
Pierre Garcon (Primarily GPP, Salary: $5300). Target monster tight end, Jordan Reed, remains on the league's concussion protocol entering Sunday, which means that Kirk Cousins will have to reallocate Reed's average of 8.5 weekly targets to other Washington receivers. Jamison Crowder will likely see increased action and the shifty RB Chris Thompson will also get a little extra attention, but Pierre Garcon should be the biggest beneficiary of Reed's absence, as he runs the same types of routes that Reed was running prior to the injury. The matchup here is solid, as the Falcons are allowing the 3rd most passing yards (305.2) per game to opponents and are fresh off a game where they yielded 374 passing yards and 2 touchdowns to the likes of Ryan Mallet and Brian Hoyer. As touchdown underdogs to the Falcons, Garcon should see a dozen targets or more because the Falcons' excellent coverage cornerback, Desmond Trufant, will shut down Ryan Grant on the other side of the field; if Garcon can manage to find paydirt, he will almost assuredly reach GPP value based on the type of volume he should receive with this gamescript.
Marlon Brown (GPP only, Salary: $3000). The Ravens' receiving corps is decimated with injuries; Steve Smith (11.8 targets/game), Michael Campanaro (1.5 targets/game), and Crocket Gillmore (3.2 targets/game) will all miss Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, which means that over 16 targets per game will need to be redistributed to other receivers. Kamar Aiken is the most likely beneficiary (see below), but Marlon Brown will be the WR2 offered at minimum price and is a big redzone target at 6'5" who needs just a few catches and a touchdown to reach value for GPP's. If Joe Haden (questionable as of the writing of this article) is inactive, Brown's fantasy prospects will increase substantially. He will be less than 3% owned in most formats, but offers the type of value that will allow you to grab a high-salaried player at another position.
Julio Jones (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $9200). After three consecutive 30-point performances, Julio Jones finally laid an egg last week with a 7.8-point stinker against Houston. This week should be different, however, when the Redskins come to town. Washington boasts one of the league's best rush defenses, but can be beaten through the air...particularly this week, as both of their starting coverage cornerbacks are already inactive. The replacement CB Will Blackmon, who normally plays out of the slot, will be no match for Julio Jones' skillset and this could get ugly quick, especially if the Redskins are able to slow down Devonta Freeman (which I expect). If you have the salary, this is a good place to spend it. **On Sunday morning, the word out of Atlanta is that Julio Jones 'tweaked' a hamstring earlier this week and could be limited against the Redskins today. The gamescript would appear to favor a blow-out Falcons' win, which might mean that Jones' snaps could be limited if the Falcons jump ahead early; for cash games, I am recommending coming off Julio Jones because the risk is too high. You might want to pivot to a safer player and spend your extra salary on Le'Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, or Rob Gronkowski.**
Keenan Allen (Primarily cash games, Salary: $7200). When you are selecting cash game receivers, you should always be looking for volume and value. Keenan Allen offers both of those things; Allen's salary is reasonable for a receiver who is averaging 11.5 targets per game and is facing a Steelers secondary that has struggled to shut down lesser talented WR1's this season. Stevie Johnson has been announced as inactive, which only means more targets for Allen and Gates; Gates is the bigger redzone target, but Philip Rivers tends to lock onto Allen, which generally results in the quick accumulation of points in full-PPR formats like DraftKings.
Larry Fitzgerald (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $6800). Larry Fitzgerald's salary is finally creeping into a territory where rostering him for your cash games requires more than a moment's thought. At $6800, Fitzgerald needs ~ 20 fantasy points to reach value for cash games this weekend and his average output after four weeks is well north of 25 fantasy points per game. This week, Fitzgerald will line up across from ex-Falcon slot cornerback Josh Wilson, who was released in the off-season and is again quickly working himself out of a job by allowing an opposing QB rating of 114.9 when in coverage this season. The Lions are pretty tough against the run, allowing only 3.6 yards per carry, which means that the running-back-by-committee trio of Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson, and David Johnson might take a backseat to the passing game; in the likely event that happens, Fitzgerald will have no problem dismantling the far less-talented Wilson to get his 20-fantasy point quota.
Kamar Aiken (Primarily cash games, Salary: $3800). As stated in the case of Marlon Brown above, there are an extra 16 targets that will need to be redistributed amongst the receivers playing for the Ravens on Sunday. While I do believe that Justin Forsett will be the biggest beneficiary of the increased opportunity, the Ravens will still need to throw the ball and Kamar Aiken is the most proven receiver remaining in this beleaguered batch of receivers. Last week, Aiken saw 7 targets in his direction, which was enough to finish with a 5/77/1 statline for 18.7 fantasy points; if he manages even half those numbers this weekend against the Browns at home on Sunday, it will be enough to reach cash game value.
Willie Snead IV (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $3000). Last week, I recommended Willie Snead IV as a minimum-priced flyer on RotoGrindersLive (scrub to 1:50:00) and he paid off with a 15-point performance reaching 5x value. This week, Snead makes the "Tips and Picks" column on the basis of what he has done over the past few weeks and how I see that Saints' offense evolving; Brandin Cooks is looking less and less like a WR1 every week, Marques Colston is a shell of his former self, and Brandon Coleman is seeing his offensive snaps drop every week...the only player who is trending in the right direction is Snead, who has seen his snap count increase each week this season while getting a steady supply of targets from Drew Brees each of the past three weeks. None of the Philadelphia cornerbacks is extremely talented, so there is little reason to believe that Snead will see a slow-down this week. At minimum salary, the risk is low for cash games because a 4 catch, 50 yard game will reach value and it will allow you to roster one of the big names ( Rob Gronkowski, Jamaal Charles, Julio Jones) elsewhere on your roster.
Jimmy Graham (Primarily GPP, Salary: $6000). No doubt--the Seahawks' offensive line is atrocious (rated in the bottom three of both rush- and pass-blocking by ProFootballFocus), but the Seahawks are doing themselves no justice by scheming to have Jimmy Graham block for Thomas Rawls or for Jermaine Kearse/Doug Baldwin. Watching Jimmy Graham block is akin to buying a sports car and never taking it above the speed limit--why buy it if you had no intention of using it for its intended purpose?? That, unfortunately, is the reality in Seattle right now and until Pete Carroll decides to make Jimmy Graham a receiving priority, he will remain nothing more than a GPP play with this squad. In fact, Graham's best game this year was only 21.3 points, which still would not reach GPP value based on his current salary...but we've seen his ceiling and it's much higher than 21 points, which is why he should always be considered for GPP lineups.
Antonio Gates (Primarily GPP, Salary: $4200). It is not easy to recommend a 35-year old tight end in any daily fantasy format, but Antonio Gates is coming off a 12-touchdown season before being suspended for four games due to PED violations. It is those PED violations that give me pause with regards to recommending him in this space; now that he is (presumably) not taking PED's will his performance suffer? Likely, but how much? Despite those questions, Gates should be heavily involved in the absence of Stevie Johnson in a game that could be a shootout, so he's worth a flyer in GPP formats.
Owen Daniels (Primarily GPP, Salary: $2700). This one is easy. Pick the tight end who is playing the Oakland Raiders, who have allowed at least 25 DraftKings' points to every TE1 they have faced this season. Daniels is the primary receiving tight end in the Broncos' offense and has caught a touchdown pass in two consecutive games, but he has only been targeted 21 times the entire season, which somewhat tempers excitement about going all-in on his GPP prospects. That said, he is almost at the site minimum and 4x value is only 10 fantasy points, which is entirely reasonable with his workload and this plus matchup.
Rob Gronkowski (Cash and GPP formats, Salary: $7500). No explanation necessary. The best tight end in football on a team with no other redzone receiving option in a game where his team has the highest projected team total on the weekend. Slam dunk if you have the salary to spend.
Jason Witten (Primarily cash format, Salary: $4500). If you cannot afford Gronkowski, you can save about $3000 and drop down to Jason Witten for your cash games. Witten's upside is limited these days because he is not going to accumulate many yards after the catch, but he will be heavily involved in the passing game with the loss of Lance Dunbar for the season and he is probably the Cowboys' biggest redzone receiving option. Witten leads the Cowboys with 7.8 targets per game entering Week 5 and it would not be surprising to see him surpass that number given the likely gamescript, where the Cowboys will be chasing points for most of the game. A 6 reception, 70 yard performance is all that you need to reach value...if he manages to score a touchdown, Witten could be a great TE play for cash games.
Bills (Primarily GPP, Salary: $3400). Outside of last week's surprise loss to the NY Giants, the Bills defense has been solid this season. They shut down the Colts and Dolphins, while (logically) getting pummeled by the Patriots; they are third in the league against the run, but have been soundly beaten by the pass (297.9 passing yards per game; 29th in NFL). They travel to Nashville this weekend to take on the Titans, who have yet to be challenged by a decent defense having played Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. The Titans will not be able to run the ball against this Bills front seven, so the question will be if Marcus Mariota can muster a valid passing attack with his lackluster set of receivers? At a higher price tag, the Bills will be low-owned and have some decent upside, which makes them a viable GPP play in Week 5.
Patriots (Primarily GPP, Salary: $3300). Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for Brandon Weeden. This cannot end well, right? The Cowboys offense is losing a starter (or more) every week and they are running out a rag-tag team of quasi-starters who could easily be stifled despite the home game this weekend; if New England builds an early lead like we expect them to, Weeden would be forced to air the ball out often, which does not play to his skill set and could lead to mistakes that generate defensive touchdowns.
Buccaneers (GPP only, Salary: $2500). The Bucs are a sneaky GPP play this weekend because they are one of the cheapest defenses available and are facing one of the league's worst offenses. The Jaguars have some decent young talent, but Blake Bortles has not yet exhibited an ability to excel at the NFL level; through 18 games, he still has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and his completion percentage is well south of 60%. The Bucs are currently tied for 9th in the league with 9 sacks through four games, but if they can pressure Bortles into throwing the ball into tight spaces and/or rushing him into poor decisions, the precedent has already been set for those decisions to lead to defensive scores.
Broncos (Cash & GPP formats, Salary: $3600). The Broncos will likely appear in this section quite a bit this year. Through four games, they are in the top five of most major defensive categories including sacks, pressures, interceptions, and a slew of others. This week, they travel to Oakland for an AFC West meeting against the young and spunky Raiders, but this defensive unit is unlike anything Derek Carr has faced this season; no QB has received less pressure this season than Carr (22.0% of dropbacks), but that will assuredly change on Sunday against the Broncos. Add in the A-plus coverage that Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree will see and things just do not look good for this upstart Raiders team this weekend.
Ravens (Cash & GPP formats, Salary: $2900). If you cannot afford the Broncos, the Ravens appear to be well-placed for a decent defensive showing against the Browns in Baltimore on Sunday. Dating back to 2008, the Ravens have a 13-1 record against the Browns and have allowed 10 or less points in 50% of those games. Simply put, these AFC North games tend to be low scoring and any time the Browns are starting Josh McCown, it would appear to be a good spot to go the other way with the opposing defense. At $2900, the Ravens represent the best value on the board for cash games.
Chiefs (Cash & GPP formats, Salary: $2800). If you want to diversify away from the Ravens for whatever reason, the Chiefs playing as 9-point favorites in Arrowhead against the struggling Bears could be an option. The Bears have the lowest implied team total on the entire Week 5 slate with 18 points and they will again be without Alshon Jeffery and Breshad Perriman, which means that Jay Cutler will have to put points on the board with the likes of Marquess Wilson, Josh Bellamy, and Cameron Meredith; of course, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett will get their share of the action, but if the Chiefs can manage to contain those two players, it could be a long day for the entire Bears offense.
For last-minute advice, player decisions, and injury news on Sunday morning, tune into the “NFL Gameday” webcast at 11:30 AM (EST) on RotoGrinders Live, where John “tipandpick” Lee, Justin "stlcardinals84" Van Zuiden, and Dean “Dean78904” Shavelson will analyze all NFL games every week. You can find the webcast at: https://rotogrinders.com/live. All other daily fantasy questions can be directed to John’s Twitter page at: https://twitter.com/tipandpick