While I'm less busy now for the USFL Week 5 daily fantasy football (DFS) picks than I was last week, I still find myself playing catch-up.
In fact, as of late Wednesday night, I have only entered one lineup. But two things worth mentioning in relation to that. One, I'm definitely starting to notice that the DraftKings algorithm is getting a little more sophisticated. When the season started, if you had an extra $500 when deciding between two players, it was worth spending the extra dough. Now it's a little more subtle. Secondly, as the level of sophistication goes up, I feel even more at ease making my picks. Yet that second point is really just another way to say that I really like my lineup this week!
I have zero Birmingham Stallions in my lineups this week. Not having any members of the sole undefeated team should make one uneasy. Yet I am not. Here is what I am looking at for this week.
USFL Week 5 DraftKings Picks
We start with our weekly reminder that the DraftKings USFL lineups are a little different than their regular NFL lineups. A USFL lineup includes 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 2 FLEX, and a DST. Let’s go through each position and break it down.
I am not going to pretend that Kyle Sloter ($10,800) did not throw three interceptions last week. And if you rode him as I did, it definitely killed any chance of a big win. But he still passed for nearly 400 yards and, most importantly, his team (New Orleans Breakers) won. And dare I say he looked like a QB brimming with confidence during that final TD drive?
He has nearly 500 more passing yards than the next closest quarterback.
I'm going to give Sloter a pass (pun intended) for the three picks and roll with him again this week against New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
And I will roll with a Breakers stack again this week. Shawn Poindexter ($8,200) is a little cheaper than last week and Johnnie Dixon ($8,100) is a little more expensive. But Dixon is well worth it. He is tied with two others for the league lead with three touchdown catches, is tied for second in receptions (18), and is third in targets (30). Meanwhile, New Jersey, the Breakers' opponent this weekend, is allowing the second-most passing yards in the league and is tied for the fewest interceptions. Something tells me Poindexter will see plenty of points this weekend as well.
New Orleans RB Jordan Ellis is so tempting. He's a relatively affordable $8,100 and is the league's leading rusher in both yards and attempts. However, for both of those reasons, I suspect he will be a low-leverage play with high ownership.
Furthermore, the Generals are a pass-funnel team as they are allowing just 67 rushing yards per game, the lowest in the league. No thank you. I'll make the easy pivot to the man right behind Ellis in yards and attempts, Mark Thompson ($7,100) of the Houston Gamblers.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Thompson will help the Gamblers keep the Pittsburgh offense on the sidelines. But even when on the field, the Gamblers DST ($3,900) has been a fantasy monster. They have scored more fantasy points per game than any other DST in the league. I'll be honest, I'm not totally convinced Houston is the top defense in the league.
However, I am convinced that the Maulers are one of the most underwhelming teams, including their offense, in the league. The Gamblers should win this one easily as they continue to rack up the defensive fantasy points.
Surprise, surprise, I'm going with Philadelphia's Bug Howard ($4,100) again. For the third week in a row, he's snagged four passes. He has a solid floor with a nice ceiling at a relatively low price. That's always an easy play.
The other Flex spot took a little more deliberation. But since I have a Breakers stack, I decided I want a Generals "runback" — a player who can rack up the fantasy points in order to keep up with my Breakers stack. And KaVontae Turpin ($7,100) piques my interest.
Turpin scored double-digit fantasy points for the second week in a row and a whopping 19 points at that. What I like about Turpin is he seems to be a weapon whether catching the ball or rushing it. He caught six of seven targets, but also managed four rushing attempts, one of which he punched into the end zone.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.