I am hoping that my options for the Week 5 daily fantasy football (DFS) picks is not the start of a trend. Because this COVID-19 is really starting to make me angry. We had one game moved from the Sunday schedule last week and now we have two games that got moved off the slate. And that's in addition to Detroit and Green Bay being on bye. I'm not liking fewer and fewer games to choose from each week one bit. As Blue might say, "Not cool man. Not cool"
The fact that I'm referencing a movie that takes place in South America might just be a subconscious reminder that I need to get away. Of course, I didn't have a great week last week, so I could understand if you want me to go away. Alas, for you and me, I am still here.
I promise to do better this week. With that in mind, here are my Week 5 DFS picks.
Safe Quarterback Week 4 Pick
Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers at Falcons (DK $5900, FD $7100)
This pick is mostly about the matchup. Bridgewater has yet to show us he is a great quarterback, but he is a good quarterback. The Atlanta secondary meanwhile is in absolute shambles. And that might be putting it nicely. Bridgewater is no Aaron Rodgers, but with this matchup, Bridgewater might have one of the highest floors of any quarterback on the slate.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 4 Pick
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers vs. Dolphins (DraftKings $5500, FanDuel $6700)
DFS players by nature try to avoid injury risks. And Garoppolo has been quite the injury risk lately. However, it appears that he will return this weekend.
Despite starting, Jimmy G should be extremely low owned this weekend. He has admittedly done next to nothing so far this year. And most of his performances last year were also rather pedestrian. However, every now and then he puts up a huge game against a weaker secondary. His two games against Arizona last year are a perfect example. In those two games, he threw for nearly 750 yards and eight touchdowns. As mentioned, Arizona did not have a very good secondary last year. But Miami's secondary hasn't exactly been impenetrable this year either. They have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks so far. And San Francisco is getting healthier and healthier. Garoppolo has a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal for the first time since... well, maybe last season's Arizona game! With Garoppolo priced like a WR2 at best, he presents an incredible value this week.
Safe Running Back Week 4 Pick
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs vs. Raiders (DK $6800, FD $7900)
A proficient offense with a team likely to be ahead late in the game? Affirmative. Is the RB performing well? I think 432 combined yards in four weeks qualifies. Good matchup? Given that the Raiders have given up the most fantasy points to RBs this year, I'd say we have that in spades. Sometimes it's just that simple. Not a week to hide from Clyde.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 4 Pick
Duke Johnson, Texans vs. Jaguars (DK $4100, FD $4600)
This might be the most reckless pick I've made in this space all year. But let me lay it out for you.
First off, I think we a "dead cat bounce" this week from the Texans. Teams almost always play better the week after a coach is fired and I don't see the long-overdue dimissal of Bill O'Brien by the Texans being an exception. However, the Texans were also cursed with a brutal schedule in the first month of the season. Jacksonville however is a bottom-10 defense, so I'd fire up most of your Houston players.
One of the possible exceptions however is David Johnson. Johnson looked solid in Week 1, but since then has been "meh" at best. He hasn't caught more than three passes in a game, is averaging just 3.86 yards per carry, and hasn't even had enough volume to garner 80 rushing yards in a game. Now, all of the above can be said for Duke Johnson as well. But first off, Duke did not play Weeks 2 and 3. Moreover, new interim head coach Romeo Crennel has zero loyalty to the former Cardinal. It would come as little surprise to see him involve Duke more heavily in the gameplan especially after he averaged a far stronger 4.8 yards per carry last week.
Even if the former Brown sees only half a dozen or so carries, Jacksonville has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Given that Duke can be had for 20 percent less than David, going with the former Johnson might be a great way to save some Benjamins so you can spend up elsewhere.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 4 Pick
Darius Slayton, Giants at Cowboys (DK $4800, FD $5800)
The Cowboys were giving up a league-worst .65 fantasy points per pass attempt and that was before the Browns embarrassed the Dallas defense last week. I am going to have at least one share of whoever is playing the Cowboys each week until they convince me otherwise. This week that option is Slayton, who is making it a habit of leading the Giants in receiving yards week after week. Of course, it might have something to do with the 29 targets he has seen already this year!
Slayton is still underpriced on both sites and one of my favorite value plays this week.
High Risk/Reward Receiver Week 4 Pick
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers vs. Dolphins (DK $5200, FD $5600)
Perhaps I chose Aiyuk because I wanted an excuse to include this:
Or perhaps I chose Aiyuk because in his last three games he has 16 targets. And he has scored each of his last two games.
Maybe I chose him because I love the thought of pairing him with Jimmy Garoppolo in a mini-stack. Or could it be because the Dolphins have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs this year?
Admittedly, it might just be that at only $5200/$5600, I love the upside value play that Aiyuk presents. The real truth however is it doesn't really matter why I included Aiyuk here. You are going to want him in your lineup this weekend.
Safe Tight End Week 4 Pick
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts at Browns (DK $4200, FD $4900)
Let's start with the matchup. Cleveland has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends so far this season. If that's not enough for you, know that Alie-Cox is coming off his second straight game with a touchdown. The week before that? He only had a measly 111 receiving yards. I'll admit, I was reluctant to accept Alie-Cox as a legitimate weekly TE option. But consider me converted.
High Risk/Reward Tight End Week 4 Pick
Ian Thomas, Panthers at Falcons (DK $4000, FD $4900)
For a more in-depth explanation, please see my Week 5 tight end rankings.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 4 Pick
Steelers vs. Eagles (DK $4000, FD $4400)
The Eagles are giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to DSTs. I can't decide if that is surprising or not. Either way, it's not good. The Steelers should be rested after their bye, even if it was not when they planned to have it. This game might not get ugly quickly, but by the time it's over I suspect you'll be pretty content with having started the Pittsburgh DST this week.
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 4 Pick
Giants at Cowboys (DK $2900, FD $3200)
I was admittedly surprised to find out the G-Men are tied for third in the league in sacks. I'm also not convinced Mike McCarthy is any better of an offensive coach than Jason Garrett was. There also is a very convincing argument so far this year that there is no reason to spend up on defenses. The Giants are definitely cheap enough and I would not be surprised to see them provide one of the better ROIs on DST this week.
— 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.
(Top photo courtesy of colts.com)