RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 5

Fri Oct 8 11:26am ET
Contributing Writer

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Lawrence has DFS value Week 5

Week 5 brings the last full slate of games before bye weeks kick in. That means we still have a lot of options to wade through in DFS. Let’s try to help narrow down the field by highlighting some players to consider for your entries, as well as a few to possibly avoid.


Josh Allen, BUF at KC ($8,000): There is the potential for plenty of points to be scored when the Bills take on the Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed 31.3 points per game, which is the second most in the NFL. Allen has 10 total touchdowns through four games and has a ton of weapons around him, so expect him to have a big performance as the Bills try to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and company.

Trevor Lawrence, JAX vs. TEN ($5,800): Lawrence had a quiet showing against the Bengals last week, completing 17-of-24 passes for 204 yards and no touchdowns. He did provide some value with his legs, rushing eight times for 36 yards and a score. Overall, he’s off to a rough start with five touchdowns passes and seven interceptions. However, this is a great matchup for him against the Titans, who have allowed the 10th-most passing yards per game in the league. They even had difficulties against Zach Wilson last week, who threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns after combing for zero touchdown passes and six interceptions his previous two games.

Player to Avoid

Jameis Winston, NO at WAS ($5,600): Winston might be an appealing play on the surface given Washington’s defensive struggles. They’ve allowed 10-passing touchdowns, which is tied for the fourth-most in the league. However, Winston might not receive enough opportunities to take advantage of this matchup. He hasn’t attempted more than 23 passes in a game this season, which has contributed to him throwing a total of three touchdowns over the last three games. Throwing for five touchdowns over 20 attempts like he did in Week 1 is not sustainable, so the with the expectation that he remains limited in this matchup, his upside might not actually be that high.

Running Backs

Nick Chubb, CLE at LAC ($6,700): If you’re looking for a running back who contributes in the passing game, you won’t find one in Chubb. He’s received only four targets this season. However, he’s rushed for at least 83 yards in all four games, including 100 yards on 21 carries in Week 4. Also, he has a whopping 18 red-zone carries so far. There’s the potential that he smokes a Chargers team that has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game.

Zack Moss, BUF at KC ($5,300): One of the few teams that has been worse at stopping the run than the Chargers has been the Chiefs, who have allowed the third-most rushing yards per game. That makes Moss an interesting option, especially at his cheap salary. He’s received at least 13 carries and rushed for at last 60 yards back-to-back games and he reached the end zone in Week 4. That could become a more common theme for him given that he has 13 red-zone carries through the three games that he has played.

Player to Avoid

Najee Harris, PIT vs. DEN ($6,900): The good news for Harris is that he has received at least 14 carries in three of four games. The bad news is that his poor offensive line hasn’t left him with many open running lanes. He hasn’t topped 62 yards in a game yet and has rushed for 45 yards or fewer three times. More tough sledding could be ahead against the Broncos, who have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game and just two rushing touchdowns.

Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel, SF at ARI ($7,100): It’s uncertain who will start at quarterback for the 49ers with Jimmy Garoppolo battling a calf injury. Trey Lance certainly looked comfortable throwing to Samuel when he stepped in, though, helping Samuel finish Week 4 with eight catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Samuel has received at least eight targets in all four games and should remain busy as the 49ers try to keep pace with the Cardinals’ explosive offense.

Emmanuel Sanders, BUF at KC ($5,000): Despite having Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley in the fold, the Bills haven’t been shy about looking Sanders’ way. He’s received at least six targets in all four games, helping him catch 16 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. His total of two red-zone targets indicates the Bills might not look his way often when they get in close, but his target share alone means that he could provide value at this salary.

Player to Avoid

Odell Beckham Jr., CLE at LAC ($6,000): Make no mistake about it, the Browns are a run-heavy team. Beckham still managed to receive seven targets in Week 4, but he could only catch two of them for 27 yards. He’s a shell of the player that we remember making sparkling one-handed catches with the Giants, so rolling with him at this salary against a Chargers defense that has only allowed six passing touchdowns this season might be ill-advised.

Tight Ends

Dalton Schultz, DAL vs. NYG ($4,400): There is some potential value to be had at tight end this week. One option to consider is Schultz, who has followed up nicely from a breakout 2020 campaign in which he posted 63 receptions, 615 yards and four touchdowns. He already has three scores this season and has received at least six targets in three of four games. Up next is a matchup against a Giants defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.

Mike Gesicki, MIA at TB ($4,100): Teams often have to throw a lot against the Buccaneers for two reasons. First, they have a stellar run defense. Second, they have to try and keep up with Tom Brady and their offense. That’s contributed to the Bucs allowing the most passing yards per game in the league and the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Gesicki has received at least six targets in three straight games and should remain busy with Will Fuller (finger) out.

Player to Avoid

Robert Tonyan, GB at CIN ($4,300): Despite only receiving 59 targets over 16 games last season, Tonyan managed to produce 11 touchdowns. That rate isn’t sustainable and that’s proven to be the case this season with him reaching the end zone only one time so far. He only has a total of eight catches for 74 yards, so with Schultz and Gesicki filling larger roles with their teams and having similar salaries, taking a chance on Tonyan doesn’t seem necessary.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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Player Notes
DeVante Parker Oct 24 10:33am ET
DeVante Parker

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (shoulder, hamstring) appears to be facing an uphill battle to play in Week 7's game against the Atlanta Falcons, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Parker had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited participant in all three of the team's practice sessions throughout the week. If he is declared active for the game, he could be viewed as a flex option in fantasy leagues, although owners should have alternatives available in the event that he misses this afternoon's contest.

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Jared Goff Oct 24 10:13am ET
Jared Goff

Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff is not in danger of losing his job as the team's starting quarterback to QB David Blough, according to multiple sources.

Fantasy Spin: Goff has only thrown two touchdown passes in his last four games and has not reached the 300-yard passing mark since the season opener. With few offensive playmakers on the roster, he should be avoided in most fantasy leagues.

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John Ross Oct 24 10:10am ET
John Ross

New York Giants wide receiver John Ross (hamstring) is likely to suit up for Sunday's outing against the Panthers. Ross has been dealing with a hamstring issue, although he managed to practice sparingly on Thursday and Friday, which is always a good sign regarding a player's anticipated availability. The former Bengal received an uptick in snaps over the last few weeks. However, with Darius Slayton (hamstring) andEvan Engram (calf) expected to play, andSterling Shepard (hamstring) labeled as a game-time call, Ross should be avoided in all fantasy formats in Week 8.

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Xavien Howard Oct 24 10:03am ET
Xavien Howard

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (shoulder, groin) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Atlanta Falcons. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.

From TheHuddle

Dak Prescott Oct 24 9:53am ET
Dak Prescott

Although Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (calf) is unlikely to participate in a light practice session when the team returns from their bye Monday, Oct. 25, he could resume practicing Wednesday, Oct. 27, according to multiple sources. The team is optimistic that he will be able to start Week 8's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Fantasy Spin: Although Prescott should be started in all fantasy formats when healthy, he makes a somewhat risky option for Week 8 because the Dallas-Minnesota contest will be the Sunday Night Football matchup, which would leave many owners in a bind if he is declared inactive at the last minute. Fantasy owners should check back for frequent updates throughout the week on Prescott's status at practice.

From TheHuddle

Dak Prescott Oct 24 9:50am ET
Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (calf) has been progressing in the right direction after being injured during the Week 6 matchup against the New England Patriots. Prescott spent most of his bye week in the pool, and he should be ready to practice by Wednesday. Nonetheless, fantasy managers should continue to monitor his status and await his official designation ahead of the Week 8 outing in Minnesota.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Oct 24 9:40am ET
Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) is out for Week 7 versus the Panthers. However, while he has a slight chance to make it back for Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs, fantasy managers realistically shouldn't expect him back until Week 9 versus the Oakland Raiders. Nonetheless, until Barkley is ready to return, Devontae Booker will likely continue to handle duties out of the backfield and has plenty of appeal in all formats.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick Oct 24 9:23am ET
Ryan Fitzpatrick

Washington Football Team QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) is still relying on crutches to get around and is not close to returning to action, according to multiple sources. He is expected to undergo an MRI exam in the next few weeks and appears unlikely to return before the team's Week 9 bye on Nov. 7.

Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick's rehab process has not moved as quickly as initially hoped and there is a possibility that he won't return to the field this season. Taylor Heinicke will continue to serve as Washington's No. 1 quarterback in the interim and can be a starting option in two-quarterback fantasy leagues.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Oct 24 9:13am ET
Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will start Week 7's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo had been sidelined recently because of a calf injury but is no longer listed on the team's injury report after logging two limited practice sessions and one full session during the week. Although he won't have to worry about sharing offensive snaps with injured QB Trey Lance (knee) this weekend, Garoppolo is only worthy of being a starting option in two-quarterback fantasy leagues.

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Evan Engram Oct 24 9:03am ET
Evan Engram

New York Giants TE Evan Engram (calf) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Carolina Panthers, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Engram had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing practice Thursday, Oct. 21, and participating in a limited practice session Friday, Oct. 22. If he is declared active for the game, he should be viewed as a low-end TE1 option in deeper fantasy leagues.

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Sterling Shepard Oct 24 9:03am ET
Sterling Shepard

New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring) is considered a game-time decision for Week 7's game against the Carolina Panthers, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Shepard sustained a hamstring injury during practice Thursday, Oct. 21, and was officially designated as questionable after participating in the following day's practice session on a limited basis. If he is declared active, he should be viewed as a WR3 or flex option for fantasy leagues.

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Darius Slayton Oct 24 9:00am ET
Darius Slayton

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring) are likely to play Sunday against the Panthers. ESPN's Adam Schefter notes that the two should be good to go unless they suffer a setback in pre-game warmups. Engram and Slayton have had limited roles so far- but could be pivotal players against Carolina with the Giants already down Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Kadarius Toney (ankle). The Panthers have a stingy pass defense, ranking seventh in pass DVOA, though Engram and Slayton could see enough volume to make an impact this week.

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DeVante Parker Oct 24 9:00am ET
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Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (shoulder, hamstring), listed as questionable, is looking iffy for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Parker seemed to take a step in the right direction, as he was a limited participant at practice after not taking the field for any sessions the previous week. Fellow wideout Preston Williams (groin) is also questionable for the contest. If Parker misses another game, look for rookie Jaylen Waddle, coming off of a 10-catch, 70-yard, two-touchdown game, to command a large number of targets once again in an excellent matchup against Atlanta. Mike Gesicki should also continue to see his fair share of work in the passing game. Both are strong plays Sunday.

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Antonio Gibson Oct 24 8:50am ET
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Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (shin), dealing with a nagging injury, is expected to suit up Sunday against the Packers. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Gibson was dealing with a hairline fracture in his shin earlier in the year, an injury that seemed to pop back up during last week's contest. Bothered by the injury, the star halfback has yet to exceed the 100-yard scrimmage mark since Week 3- though he does have three touchdowns in his last three games played. Gibson remains in starting territory thanks to his talent and a favorable matchup against a Packers defense that ranks 30th in rush DVOA. He will likely continue to be more touchdown-dependent than usual.

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Genard Avery Oct 24 8:43am ET
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Philadelphia Eagles LB Genard Avery was fined $5,111 by the National Football League for getting in the face of Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette late in Week 6's game and taking a critical penalty.

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Sony Michel Oct 24 8:43am ET
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Los Angeles Rams RB Sony Michel (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Sean McVay.

Fantasy Spin: Michel had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. He should see a decent number of offensive snaps this afternoon and can be considered as a flex option in deeper fantasy leagues.

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Rayshawn Jenkins Oct 24 8:43am ET
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Jacksonville Jaguars S Rayshawn Jenkins was fined $10,300 by the National Football League for his actions in Week 6's game against the Miami Dolphins.

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Julio Jones Oct 24 8:33am ET
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There is optimism that Tennessee Titans WR Julio Jones (hamstring) will play in Week 7's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. Despite the favorable matchup against the Kansas City defense, he should be viewed as a risky WR3 or flex option in fantasy leagues.

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Julio Jones Oct 24 8:30am ET
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Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) expressed optimism that he would be ready to play against Kansas City, with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noting that that is the team's expectation. Jones suffered a hamstring injury a few weeks ago, sidelining him for two games- though he aggravated the injury during his team's win over the Bills on Monday night. Still, it seems like Jones, who will take on a Chiefs defense that ranks 31st in pass DVOA, will be out there for a big game Sunday. His recent injury track record makes him a risky play, but it could pay off if Sunday's game becomes high-scoring.

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