Did I not promise sunnier fantasy days were ahead last week around this time? After claiming so, my best bet of the Chiefs over the Buccaneers hit last week. And if you tailed my daily fantasy (DFS) picks, you also did very well, as I would consider every one of them successful with the exception of my high-leverage TE. Will I be as good with my Week 5 best bets and DFS recommendations?
Let's check the magic 8-ball. Give it a good shake here... and it says... "Signs point toward yes." I'll take it!
Because I know success isn't permanent. But I also knew what I considered an inferior start would be quickly turned around and it did. I hate to use the phrase, "Trust the Process," but I just did.
As a reminder, in addition to my best bet, I will give you "safe picks" and "high leverage" picks. Those more or less equate to "cash game" picks and GPP picks for those familiar with what those are.
As usual, however, we start with our "best bet" of the week.
Week 5's Best Bet: DK's Raiders vs. Chiefs Prop —Travis Kelce & Davante Adams Combined 200+ Rec Yard and 2+ TDs (+450)
I absolutely slam-dunked last week's bet. And if I felt like being boring, I'd suggest the Lions (+3) at the Patriots. The books are essentially telling us that on a neutral field, these teams are equal. I don't think they are. The Lions should be closer to one-point underdogs not three. That's sort of the "safe" bet of the week, but let's go with something a little more exciting.
Throw in the fact that this bet is separate from the main slate and it also gives us an additional game to discuss!
I give our featured best bet this week at least a 25 percent chance to hit and at +450, there is some value to be had by making this bet. For starters, the books have this game as the highest over/under of the week at nearly 52 points. We should expect to see at least six touchdowns total between these two teams on "Monday Night Football." They admittedly could be DST or rushing touchdowns, but I think we see at least five touchdown passes between these two teams.
The Raiders are allowing almost two TD passes a game (1.8) while the Chiefs are tied for a league-worst 2.5 allowed per contest. Both teams are also scoring a similar combined rate of TDs through the air per game. Having established the high likelihood of some aerial scores, the question that remains is can Adams and Kelce be the players to reel them in?
Right now, Adams has more than half (47) of the Raiders' total WR targets (91). And it's not just the long ball, as Adams has a third of his team's red-zone targets as well. Kelce also is seeing a similar percentage of his team's action inside the 20. He is not quite at the same percentage (34 of 117 non-RB targets) of targets as Adams, but we know Patrick Mahomes often looks Kelce's way, especially in the red zone.
Kelce has scored a TD in nearly half of his games and has three in four games this year. I think we've established the relatively high probability of both players scoring at least 2 TDs combined. But what about the yardage?
Kelce is averaging a little more than 80 yards per game while Adams is averaging about 72 per game. But I think we've already established that these teams' secondaries can be exploited and are worse than "average." The Raiders are allowing the 11th-most passing yards per game (253.8). Kansas City is even more generous at 263.8 (27th overall).
That's a combined total of nearly 520 yards per game just via the pass. Given these two players' lion shares of their offenses, do I think they can combine to see at least 38 percent of the likely yardage? Sure. And at better than four-to-one, I'll gladly take this bet!
But now let's look at some of the games on the main slate for DFS purposes.
Safe Quarterback Week 5 Pick
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (DK $8200, FD $9000)
Is there any quarterback in the NFL you'd least like to bet against than Allen right now? Despite a slow start last week, Allen made the plays when it mattered and was able to lead the Bills over the Ravens for a last-second victory.
Despite last week's below-average game, Allen still has a 10:3 TD-to-INT ratio, 1,227 passing yards, and a 101 QB rating. And let's not forget the nearly 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground he already has this season.
I think Pittsburgh is in for a long day at the office on Sunday.
High-Leverage Quarterback Week 5 Pick
Jameis Winston, New Orleans vs. Seattle Seahawks (DK $5500, FD $7300)
Winston's injury status alone (he's listed as Doubtful) is going to keep his ownership down, if not non-existent. And the Saints have already said that Andy Dalton will start, so this is a low-risk pivot. But it should be pointed out that the Seahawks are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
But considering the obvious risk, Trevor Lawrence (DK $5600, FD $7600) also makes for a nice high-leverage pick.
Safe Running Back Week 5 Pick
Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (DK $5500, FD $6500)
Wilson is one of my favorite RB picks this week. He is a little on the chalky side, but that is why I'm locking him into every non-GPP lineup I have.
First off, he's pretty affordable, making him a great value. He could easily put up the kind of points that players $2K more costly and above could put up. Secondly, he's notched double-digit fantasy points three straight weeks. Do you think Carolina, who just got run over for 132 rushing yards by the Arizona Cardinals, is going to stop Wilson? Bet on Wilson making it four weeks in a row with double-digit fantasy points.
High-Leverage Running Back Week 5 Pick
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons (DK $6900, FD $6700)
I suspect that Fournette's ownership will be much lower this week. You and I rushed for three more total yards than Fournette did last week, and Rachaad White punched in a TD to go along with his five catches. I understand why White was one of the more popular pick-ups this week, but I wouldn't let that scare you off Fournette.
First off, last week quickly turned into a negative game script for Tampa Bay while facing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Let's simply say that I am not worried about the Falcons going up quickly and early on the Bucs. And that aside, it is worth noting that Fournette caught a TD pass last week.
I'd bank on Lombardi Lenny notching double-digit fantasy points this week, and he has 30-point upside potential as well.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 5 Pick
Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (DK $6600, FD $7600)
Kirk is having an amazing year and few even realize it. He had his worst game of the season last week, but still managed to see nine targets, which he turned into two catches for a respectable 60 yards.
And that was against Philadelphia, who is looking like one of the most complete teams right now, including on the defensive side. At the other end of the scale is the Houston Texans.
Kirk could have a quiet game as Jacksonville decides to pound the ball against the Texans' suspect defense. But the 60 yards that Kirk had last week is still his floor and my guess is he easily gives us at least a dozen fantasy points this week.
High-Leverage Wide Receiver Week 5 Pick
Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders vs. Tennessee Titans (DK $6200, FD $6500)
Sometimes certain players own certain players. Such is the case with the way Trevon Diggs shut McLaurin down last week. McLaurin was limited to just one catch and six yards while covered by Diggs. But let's not bury McLaurin just yet, as there are some quarterback questions. Carson Wentz has a fair share of detractors, so McLaurin is likely to be pretty ignored. But that presents us with an opportunity.
McLaurin has 27 targets through four weeks and with Jahan Dotson out, he should see plenty more this week. We know McLaurin is capable of a huge week. And with Tennessee allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs this year, I see a big game coming for McLaurin.
Safe Tight End Week 5 Pick
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (DK $4700, FD $6100)
With both Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews (as well as Darren Waller) playing in games outside the main slate, selecting a TE became a very affordable option this week.
And Goedert probably has the highest floor of any main slate TE, given that Arizona is allowing the second most fantasy points to TEs this season.
High-Leverage Tight End Week 5 Pick
John Bates, Washington Redskins vs. Tennessee Titans, (DK $2600, FD $4400)
So I originally had Logan Thomas in this spot, but after the news hit that he did not practice on Friday and is considered questionable for Sunday, Bates became an even more attractive option.
Bates has been relatively quiet in his young pro career, but he's been getting more involved in the game plan lately, including seeing six targets last week.
Bates is definitely a bit of a "Hail Mary" play, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him score against Tennessee, the team that is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to TEs this season. If he scores, he will easily give us a profit, but with such a low price tag Bates doesn't have to do much to give us a profit. And it allows us to spend up elsewhere.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 5 Pick
Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (DK, $4100, FD $5000)
And maybe one place we spend up is on a DST. In GPPs things get a little interesting, but the BIlls are such an obvious cash game play this week. With 13 sacks and seven interceptions already this season, they are scoring more fantasy points than any other DST not named Philadelphia.
And while the Eagles have a bit of a tough matchup on the road against Arizona, the Bills are hosting the Steelers. Pittsburgh has thrown more INTs than all but two teams. I understand the fan base being excited about Kenny Pickett, especially as the long-term answer. But he's still a rookie and will be making his first career NFL start. This is not the week to back him.
High-Leverage Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 5 Pick
Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (DK $2800, FD $4700)
When you are giving up both the most points as well as the most yards in the league, you're generally not going to be a very popular DST pick. But yeesh, the Patriots have fallen from their offensive heights of yesteryear.
They were scoring the eighth-fewest points in the league and that was before Bailey Zappe was making his first career start at QB. New England is absolutely stuck in neutral (if not park) on offense right now and the Lions DST makes for a sneaky GPP play.
Other Cheap(er) Options I'm Considering In My GPP Entries:
QB: Cooper Rush, Zach Wilson
RB: Rashaad Penny, Brian Robinson Jr. (if he plays obviously), Mark Ingram (if Alvin Kamara is out)