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It was a mixed Week 5 in daily fantasy football as far as my recommendations are concerned as many came through, but I did miss on a couple. However, the lineup building was a different story as I came up short in cashing.
Prior to breaking down the Thursday night game from a daily fantasy perspective, I will recap how I did in the Fantasy Draft $100,000 Run and Gun (Sun Only) tournament from the week before. You can compete against me weekly throughout the season.
I knew I wanted to target the Falcons-Steelers game, but unfortunately, the Falcons offense laid an egg as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones did not come close to putting up the points needed. There was no way that I would be able to overcome their lackluster effort. I was extremely high on Steelers running back James Conner against a Falcons defense that does not care about stopping running backs and he went on to have a monster game. I was expecting a bounce back performance from JuJu Smith-Schuster and even though he scored a touchdown, 13.40 FantasyDraft points is a disappointment.
When it was announced Packers wide receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison would miss Week 5, rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling became a lock and load play at his price. The wide receiver paid off in a big way and wasn’t as high owned as I thought he would be at that price.
I’m still scratching my head over Cardinals running back David Johnson being so highly owned. I wrote about him as a guy to target this week due to his price and the opportunity against a 49ers defense that allows a lot of catches to running backs. Apparently, half of the participants in this tournament thought the same as he was extremely highly owned. Johnson found the end zone twice, but if I knew he would have had that high of ownership he would have been an easy fade.
I still don’t hate my lineup as I look back as Ryan has been one of the hottest quarterbacks this season and came in at under 10 percent ownership. I would sign up all day for that in a game that had a high over/under against a Steelers defense that hasn’t stopped any offense this season.
We move on to Week 6 and hopefully we can identify players that will have low ownership, but the upside we need to compete.
Moving on to the Thursday night contest we have an NFC East showdown as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to New York to play the Giants. The Eagles are three point favorites on the road in a game that has an over/under of 44. The Eagles will be without starting running back Jay Ajayi as he will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Quarterback Carson Wentz continues to find his groove as he returns from his own ACL injury and has now thrown for over 300 yards in back-to-back games. Wentz was also more willing to run in Week 5 as he finished with five rushes for 26 yards. This is key as the Giants have allowed the most rushing yards to quarterbacks through the first five weeks of the season. The Giants rank 22nd against the pass in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders and Wentz’s price is extremely fair as he is the 12th highest quarterback at only $11,300. I probably put Wentz more in the tournament category, but he’s a fringe cash game option and at that price, I have no problem with him being used that way.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is another story as he is graded as the 20th best quarterback according to Pro Football Focus. However, the Eagles secondary has struggled and Manning is only priced at $10,200. Manning finally threw for over 300 yards this past week against the Carolina Panthers, but he is still too inconsistent for my liking. If you want to attack the Eagles secondary, I’m fine with Manning as a tournament option, especially with his low price, but I don’t think he has the enormous ceiling that we need and would focus on other parts of the Giants offense in my lineup.
As mentioned earlier, the Eagles have lost Ajayi for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL and will now look at Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement to handle the backfield duties. The issue is Clement has missed the last two weeks due to an injury himself and Smallwood has yet to finish a game with at least 60 rushing yards. The Giants do struggle against the run as they are ranked 25th in defensive DVOA and Smallwood checks in at an extremely low price of $7,000. Smallwood has also finished each of the last three games with three catches which is appealing on a full point per reception site like FantasyDraft. I’d avoid Clement altogether, but Smallwood could potentially be used in tournaments and a punt option in cash games.
Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley has been everything the team hoped for when they drafted him second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Pro Football Focus has graded Barkley as a top 10 running back through the first five weeks and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield makes him a true three down option that we love to target. The Eagles are solid against the run and Barkley checks in at $14,900 which is the fifth highest at the running back position in Week 6. I would probably pay up a little more for Melvin Gordon or less for James Conner, but opportunity is king as Barkley is receiving every bit of it and that won’t change this week.
I hate to get too excited about a certain match-up as I’m only setting myself up for failure. However, Giants wide out Odell Beckham Jr. has a chance to absolutely smash as he has the best wide receiver match-up this week according to Pro Football Focus. Beckham Jr. will square off against cornerback Jalen Mills who Pro Football Focus has graded as the 99th best cornerback in football. Even with the inconsistencies of the Giants passing offense, Beckham Jr. ranks in the top five in targets, receptions and receiving yards. Beckham Jr. is expensive, but I don’t care as he is the first person I’m locking in my lineups this week and I will build around that.
Teammate Sterling Shepard has been extremely effective since tight end Evan Engram went down with an injury and that should only continue this week against the struggling secondary of the Eagles. If wanting to pay down at receiver, Shepard makes a solid option and a stack of Beckham Jr. and Shepard in tournaments is definitely in play this week.
The Giants defense has struggled this season and they can easily be exploited through the air which puts Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor in play. Jeffery will be playing in his third game and disappointed in Week 5 after making a strong debut the previous week. However, Jeffery has been targeted at least eight times in his first two weeks back and that should continue against the Giants. After back-to-back games with eight catches in the first two weeks for Agholor, the wide receiver hasn’t had more than five catches in the last three weeks and has only scored one touchdown. If I’m choosing one receiver from the Eagles it will be Jeffery as he has the potential to score multiple touchdowns, but my preference this week will be tight end Zach Ertz.
Ertz has played an elite level this season as he ranks number one at the tight end position in targets, receptions and yards. It should be noted that Ertz also ranks in the top 10 in those categories among all receivers. Simply put, he’s been a stud and we need to look at him as a receiver and not just a tight end when we are constructing our lineups. Ertz is the 14th highest priced receiver this week which makes him a hard fade in any format.
The Giants lost Engram to injury as previously mentioned which has made Rhett Ellison the number one option. However, Ellison has yet to catch more than three balls in a game or eclipse 40 yards. The floor is way too low and the ceiling is not high so he can easily be avoided.
The positive for both defenses is their ability to get to the quarterback as they rank in the top 10 in sacks. The Eagles defense is priced as the fifth highest this week so I think that is an easy fade. The Giants defense is cheap, but I don’t see them slowing down the Eagles offense. I expect both teams to put up points which makes it easy for us to avoid these units this week.