FantasyDraft Week 5 DFS Plays: Running Backs and Defenses

Rich Holman previews DFS plays at Running Back and Defense on FantasyDraft for Week 5.

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Welcome to Week 5 of the football season. I’ll be providing you with some DFS content, covering Running Backs and Defenses. We’ll take a look at some potential cash-game plays as well as some pivots that could be used in tournaments. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out in the comments section below.


Running Backs

Cash Game Options:

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL ($15,600) vs. GBP

Maybe I’m a fool to think this, but I think there might be a chance we get Ezekiel Elliott at reasonably low ownership this week due to recency bias. The Cowboys offense looked inept on Sunday Night Football against the Saints in a game that saw Elliott carry the ball 18 times for just 35 yards. However, if you go way back in your memory to the Thursday night game, we saw the Eagles run the ball 33 times for 176 yards and two scores against the Packers. The Packers have a decent pass defense, but a run defense that has allowed 142 yards per game seventh-worst in the league. This should be Elliott’s breakout game, where he reminds us that he’s one of the best in the league.


David Johnson, ARI ($14,100) at CIN

David Johnson continues to put up RB1 numbers in spite of the Cardinals’ offensive woes. Through four weeks, Johnson has the second most targets among running backs with 28. The Cardinals should be without Christian Kirk here, which means the targets should be more concentrated on Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. The Bengals have allowed 30.7 fantasy points per week to the running back position, second only to the Dolphins. Outside of his Week 2 matchup with the Ravens in which he missed part of the game with a wrist injury, Johnson has put up 25.7, 18.5, and 21.9 FantasyDraft points.


Joe Mixon, CIN ($11,400) vs. ARI

With the Cardinals in town, we’ll get to see two of the worst offenses in football in a pace-up spot. The good news is, both teams’ defenses are equally as terrible. The Cardinals have allowed 146 yards on the ground per game, good for fifth-worst in the league. In their Week 4 loss to the Steelers, Joe Mixon played a season-high 61% of the snaps and tied his Week 2 high of five targets in a game. Even more encouraging is the Bengals trailed that entire game, so even in catchup mode, Mixon was still on the field over Giovani Bernard. I really like this spot for Mixon when we factor in workload with price and matchup.


Tournament Options:

Dalvin Cook, MIN ($16,000) at NYG

Through four weeks, only the 49ers have a higher run percentage than the Vikings and Dalvin Cook has taken advantage, scoring the third-most PPR points this year. Game script-wise I expect the Vikings defense to dominate the Giants, leaving Kurt Cousins with the job of putting the ball in Cook’s stomach 25 times. Cook provides a logical pivot down from Christian McCaffrey.


Aaron Jones, GBP ($11,000) at DAL

With Jamaal Williams expected to be out, HC Matt LaFleur will finally be forced into giving Aaron Jones a full workload. Following Williams exit after a vicious late hit, Jones received 13 of the 14 running back carries and received a season-high seven targets. Jones struggled on the ground against a very good Eagles run defense, but should have more success against the Cowboys. While the Cowboys currently rank 12th in yards per game allowed to running backs, they’ve faced Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins in three of their first four games.


David Montgomery, CHI ($10,100) at OAK

Don’t you laugh! David Montgomery has had a 67% and 69% snap share over the last two weeks. He also has 77% of the running back carries in that time and eight targets, which is good for a 12% target share. The Raiders run defense has done a decent job stopping the run, or at least appear to have. In their Week 3 matchup with the Vikings, Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison shredded the Raiders for 168 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 4, the Raiders were up 21-10 against the Colts, who were then forced to abandon the rush. With Chase Daniel at quarterback, I expect the Bears to rely on their defense and Montgomery to control the game.



Cash Game Option:

Philadelphia Eagles ($6,500) vs. NYJ

The Patriots ($7,300) are in another complete smash spot if you’re willing to pay up at defense. There are actually a handful of defenses I like in the Eagles price range, including the Bears ($6,400) and Vikings ($6,300), but with the Eagles in their friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field, I’m rolling them out in my cash game lineup. With Sam Darnold expected to be out, the Eagles will get a matchup against Luke Falk. In 47 pass attempts this year, Falk has a 5.7 aDOT. The Eagles secondary struggles have been on deep passes, but with Falk being sacked seven times in two games, he’s hardly had any time to get the ball downfield. The Eagles pass rush has been disappointing so far this year, producing just three sacks over the first four weeks of the season, but I expect that number to at least double this week.


Tournament Option:

Carolina Panthers ($5,000) vs. JAC

The Carolina Panthers are tied with the Patriots for the league lead in sacks, with both teams taking the quarterback down 18 times. Jaguars quarterback, Garner Minshew, has been limited during the team’s first two practices this week with a knee injury that he sustained in their Week 4 matchup with the Broncos. If Minshew starts, his scrambling ability would be limited by that knee injury, or if he’s out, the Panthers will get to tee off against Joshua Dobbs, who has just 12 career pass attempts in the NFL.


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