Last week, I didn’t do too bad. Coby Fleener was robbed of a touchdown by John Kuhn, so that hurt, but outside of that, each of my suggestions in Week 4 played from above average to pretty darn good. Steve Smith Sr. was my shining star, a play at $6,100 that ended up scoring the seventh-most fantasy points among wide receivers in Week 4. But enough with the braggadocio, it’s a new week and I’m feeling good; let’s put together the ideal DFS lineup for Week 5.
Week 5 Lineup
QB - Derek Carr at $8,100
The Raiders head home this weekend after winning a close one in Baltimore where Michael Crabtree had quite the day, as did the quarterback who was throwing the ball to him. Oakland has the sixth ranked offense in the NFL and Carr has had an awful lot to do with that success. Carr’s thrown nine touchdowns to just one interception so far this year, and this week he has a great matchup against the San Diego defense: the Chargers are 23rd against opposing quarterbacks and give up 2.3 more fantasy points (FPts) per game than the average NFL pass defense.
RB - Melvin Gordon at $7,700
On the flip side, the Raiders defense has been awful this season, giving up tons of yardage and points to opposing offenses. Oakland has particularly struggled against the run this year and Melvin Gordon, who is in the midst of a breakout season, should be in line for a big day this week. Gordon did have a costly fumble last week that helped fuel New Orleans’ comeback victory, but in terms of fantasy—and that’s all we’re speaking here—Gordon had his best fantasy outing of the season so far in Week 4. As I mentioned earlier, the Raiders have given up a ton of yards on the ground, including 126 rushing yards to Terrance West and Co. last week. Gordon is a little on the pricey side, but he’s worth the investment.
RB - Jerick McKinnon at $6,200
After seeing what McKinnon was able to do on Monday night against a New York Giants defense that has been especially tough against running backs this season, I’m sold on him being an important piece of their offense from week to week. Through the first three weeks of the season, the Giants had not given up more than 17.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs—the league average is 20.6—but the Vikings were able to produce 26.4 fantasy points out of their backfield; McKinnon accounted for 17 of those points, catching three passes for 10 yards and running the ball 18 times for 85 yards and a touchdown.
This week, the Vikings play Houston, a team that has given up the third most rushing touchdowns (5) and the tenth most rushing yards (400) through four weeks. With the Vikings playing at home and the Texans now without J.J. Watt, McKinnon has a strong potential to outplay his price tag.
WR - Emmanuel Sanders at $7,100
Yeah, Trevor Simian is questionable to play this week with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, but if you know anything about me, I love Paxton Lynch. I drafted him in my keeper league with four other quarterbacks already rostered and I still have him. I don’t think I could ever let him go.
Even with those blinders on, let’s look at the facts: Denver is playing an Atlanta defense that is ranked 31st against opposing wide receivers and Lynch threw the ball 24 times last week when he relieved Simian and 11 of those passes were thrown to Sanders for seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Over the past two weeks, Sanders’ production has increased drastically, and a matchup like the one he has this week bodes well for him, regardless of who’s at quarterback.
WR - Antonio Brown at $9,600
Considering we’ve saved some money by choosing some players that are not only cheaper options, but will almost assuredly play above their pay grade, why not spend some coin on the best wide receiver in all of fantasy? What Brown has done so far this year is nothing out of the ordinary for him, but it’s still entirely otherworldly. Only Julio Jones has scored more FPts than AB this year, but it took a 12-catch, 300-yard performance from Jones to supplant Brown for the top spot. Even with that performance, Jones only leads Brown by less than six fantasy points for the top spot. It’s incredible.
This week, Antonio and the Steelers welcome a 21st-ranked Jets defense against opposing wideouts while Julio heads to Denver to play the pass defense that allows the fewest amount of FPts to receivers. The Broncos pass defense, on average, has allowed 11.9 fewer points than the league average of 29.8 FPts to wide receivers. Make the right decision on the right guy and go with Brown.
WR - Steve Smith Sr. at $6,300
Just. Pick. Steve. Smith. Sr.
TE - Zach Ertz at $5,600
It’s getting to the point where this is a running gag, but it’s really anything but a joke. Well, I mean, the Lions defense against tight ends, that’s a joke, but not a very funny one. Ertz is finally healthy after missing Week 2 and 3 with an injury to his ribs. Given the fact that the Lions allow nearly double the amount of fantasy points to tight ends (18.9 FPts) than the league average (9.7), Ertz should get plenty of opportunities to score.
DEF - New England Patriots at $4,800
Belichick and the Patriots have Tom Brady back the week they play the Cleveland Browns. While that should be entertaining in and of itself, what this defense will do to Cleveland will be another sight to behold. The Browns have already given up 11 sacks and four interceptions this season, and with the Patriots coming off an embarrassing loss to a divisional rival like the Bills—where they were shutout and gave up 16 points—you have to think that they will have a pretty productive day.
K - Mike Nugent at $4,600
Nugent has been remarkably good this season, missing only one field goal attempt this season and scoring 10 or more FPts in three of the first four weeks. The Bengals are playing in Dallas this week and you know what that means: dome kicking!