NFL DFS Main Slate – Above/Below – Key Plays for Week 5

The main NFL DFS slate features too many viable combinations to count in a lifetime, even when we eliminate several of the lower-end stacks we are left with possibilities galore at several positions. With NFL DFS picks, tips, tricks, touts, shoutouts, tweets, spreadsheets, slams, and sims coming from every direction all week, the purpose of this article is to feature a few plays for which our projections land above or below what appears to be the industry standard for the week, which will identify plays that are potentially over or undervalued by the public.

*note – despite the title of this article and what would probably be a more logical configuration, the “below” category comes first in the following content.

NFL DFS Sunday Main Slate Above/Below – Week 5


Jaleel McLaughlin – Running Back, Denver Broncos – $5,000/$5,700

This situation could change pending the injury status of Broncos running back Javonte Williams who is dealing with a hip injury going into Week 5. Williams practiced in full on Friday after getting hurt in Week 4’s game, he is currently listed as questionable just before sunrise on Sunday morning, but we will have a status update prior to lock. Williams is the primary running back in the Denver backfield, he has drawn 9.5 rush attempts per game on 39% of the team’s snaps as they eased him back into the full share in the season’s first few weeks after he suffered a season-ending injury last year. Williams may be similarly managed this week if he plays at all, but there is no guarantee that the volume falls to backup Jaleel McLaughlin, who was a very popular addition in season-long leagues this week. McLaughlin broke out for 72 yards on seven carries and added another 32 yards and a touchdown on three catches, but in total he played only 16 snaps on offense and ran eight routes, getting out-snapped by veteran Samaje Perine who played 60% of the action in the second half after Williams left the game. If McLaughlin is overly popular, or if Williams plays, we are not prioritizing the 5’7″ 185lbs running back, he may be a dynamo with ability on the field but we are skeptical of a repeat of last week’s performance in a matchup against a Jets’ rush defense that has allowed 4.2 yards per rush attempt this season. McLaughlin is several points behind the industry average in our current projection but that version of the model includes Williams as a participant, the gap will close if Williams is ruled out but that will not force a significant amount of McLaughlin into our builds if he is popular at cheap prices.

Mac Jones – Quarterback, New England Patriots – $5,100/$6,400

It might be best to let the field keep up with the Joneses this week, with both Mac and Daniel Jones (no relation) trending below the industry average in our weekly projections. We are not surprised to see the underperforming New England quarterback in this spot, outside of a good Week 1, Jones has been fairly lousy this season averaging 224.5 yards per game with five touchdowns and four interceptions on 6.1 yards per pass attempt. Jones is the 19th-ranked quarterback for both raw fantasy points and points-pe-dollar value on both sites in our model this week against a New Orleans pass defense that ranks sixth with just 5.6 yards allowed per pass attempt this season. Jones has limited options to work with in the offense, running back Rhamondre Stevenson has been far more limited than what we saw from him last year and the wide receiver corps of Devante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Kendrick Bourne – with Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki at tight end – is low-end at best. Jones projects behind the industry average on both sites in our model, we will be leaving the quarterback to the field this week.

Daniel Jones – Quarterback, New York Giants – $5,800/$7,500

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is a more playable option at the position, he projects behind the industry average in our model but lands 13th for points on both sites, 12th for value on DraftKings and 14th by value on the blue site. Jones has only moderate ability with his arm and some talent for rushing the ball and finding the end zone on the ground, but the Giants offer nothing at the wide receiver position their offensive line has been awful and injured, and they are without star running back Saquon Barkley again this week. Jones is not an overly talented quarterback, we are not big believers, but even if there was enthusiasm in the model he would be dealing with wide receivers like Wan’Dale Robinson, Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, and tight end Darren Waller who has looked like a shadow of himself this season. Jones has averaged just 191.26 yards per game while throwing two touchdowns and six interceptions in the team’s four games, he has looked awful outside of a big Week 2 performance that saw him score on the ground while throwing two touchdowns and completing 26-37 for 321 yards in a shootout against Arizona. Jones was good in that game, he projected far better that week in our model and fortunately came down by several points since his initial outlook when the team was pulling in a higher implied total in Vegas earlier in the week. Jones is easily skippable, but we will probably have a little bit of the quarterback across a full portfolio of lineups.

Lingering Lows

  • Kenny Pickett
  • Gus Edwards
  • Rashid Shaheed
  • Joe Mixon
  • Denver Defense
  • Rhamondre Stevenson
  • Desmond Ridder
  • DeAndre Hopkins


Jalen Hurts – Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles – $8,000/$8,600

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has a lot going for him in the offense with premium skill players at every position, a strong line, and a significant amount of individual talent. Hurts can beat opponents in both the passing game and his ability to get the ball into the end zone on his own, the quarterback has five passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns in the season’s first four games. Hurts rates extremely well in what should be a pass-focused game that has the second-highest available Vegas total at 50, with Philadelphia favored by four on the road. The Rams will almost definitely be working through the air with their premium passing options and the return of standout wide receiver Cooper Kupp, while Philadelphia could turn to D’Andre Swift on the ground they seem likely to keep pace in the air with both AJ Brown and Devonta Smith drawing strong projections. Hurts threw for 319 yards on 37 attempts against Washington in Week 4, he should provide similar potential in Week 5 although the Rams currently rank 10th with 5.9 yards allowed per pass attempt so far this season. Los Angeles sits lower by fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position and this game has significant appeal, particularly where Hurts rates for extremely good value, there are very good skill players on both sides that round out stacks with run-back options to support scoring from both teams. It is worth noting that Hurts is going to be very popular around the industry, while it is difficult to get ahead of the field on him, we do not want to be too far behind the curve on the option and plan to roster a healthy share while getting different from the field in other ways.

David Montgomery – Running Back, Detroit Lions – $6,600/$8,500

The Lions are going to be a popular offense on this slate, their game against the Panthers is a potential pushover spot but they are flashing value in both the passing and rushing game against the weak Carolina defense. While they may come through via the pass, even with lead receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown out for Week 5, we consider the ground game somewhat more appealing, though David Montgomery went from potentially a bit sneaky to overly popular, given the expected absence of timeshare back Jahmyr Gibbs, who was ruled Doubtful on Saturday. With Gibbs out there is clear sailing for Montgomery to see all of the volume in the Detroit backfield, they are 10-point favorites in a game with a 44-point total against a team yielding a 29th-ranked 4.7 yards per rush attempt so far this season, this is not difficult math. Even with his price high and his popularity even higher, Montgomery is a somewhat inescapable chalk running back play in most situations, he is arguably underappreciated around the industry, given his five touchdowns in three games played and 87.33 yards per game with 3.8 yards per rush attempt this season in normal volume. Montgomery is a clear priority at the running back position, he joins Breece Hall and Bijan Robinson as highly-owned but very strong options at the position who all land above the industry average projection in our model this week.

Tyler Boyd – Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals – $4,500/$6,200

The Bengals’ passing game has been a total disappointment early in the season, but most of their troubles can be connected directly to the injured calf of quarterback Joe Burrow. With Burrow somewhat hobbled in the pocket he is unable to create time or escape pressure, and he seems unable to properly deliver the ball downfield in the event that his route-runners have had enough time to develop a deep opportunity. By all accounts, Burrow has looked much better in the team’s practices in the run-up to Week 5 than he has since he hurt the calf in the preseason. Eventually, the injury will heal and this will return to being one of the top passing attacks in football, we are very high on both Burrow and lead wide receiver Ja’Maar Chase this week as well. With second-option Tee Higgins out in Week 5, veteran receiver Tyler Boyd will have an opportunity to get engaged in the season. Boyd has delivered an uninspiring 0.9 yards per route run to this point in the season, posting 29.88 yards per game on 4.25 catches with just a 6.1-yard average depth of target. Boyd plays 85% of the snaps on average and saw a 91% share last week, he ran routes on 64% of those snaps and was targeted on 23% of his routes, which amounted to seven targets. Boyd only managed to haul in four of those passes for a total of 26 yards, he is yet to score a touchdown this season and was similarly inefficient despite seeing both snaps and volume the past two weeks. The receiver caught just five of nine targets in week three, putting up 39 yards, and he managed six catches on eight targets for 52 yards, his season-high, in Week 2. Boyd should step into many of Higgins’ targets, the team’s remaining options are Trenton Irwin, who will be somewhat involved, and Andrei Iosivas, who ran six routes last week and two in week two and who has seen far more snaps on special teams this season. Despite his underwhelming performance, we are ahead of the industry average on Boyd this week and we expect to be above the field.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Cooper Kupp
  • Rashod Bateman
  • Matthew Stafford
  • Jared Goff
  • Tua Tagovailoa
  • De’Von Achane
  • Breece Hall
  • Sam LaPorta
  • Derrick Henry

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