The Hail Mary (NFL HuLo GPP Plays): Week 5
October 3, 2017 | Doug Shain
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The Huddle – Opening Statement (I will try to keep this relatively short most weeks, but this week we’ll go a little longer)
Welcome to the Hail Mary for Week 5. For those of you who read this article last year or any of my stuff on The Fake Hockey and The Fake Baseball you’re going to find this article very familiar. For those of you who are new please allow me to take a moment to explain where I’m coming from and what you’re going to see in this article.
First and foremost I’m mostly a GPP player and that’s who this article is mostly designed to help. I write for players like me – the guy or gal who enters a single bullet in a couple of low limit GPP’s each week; the casual DFS player. This group of players probably makes up a much larger percentage of the DFS community than you think. If you are a cash game player or a high buy-in/high volume/multi-entry GPP player you should still read this because it’ll give you an everyman perspective that you might not get in other articles (there are plenty of those on this site and I urge you to read them as well because they are fantastic).
Be advised that playing a single bullet in a large field GPP is a very volatile game and you’re going to lose more often than you win. That’s a fact and it’s something you have to know before you start playing. Due to the volatility of this game I’m going to try to give you plays that can help you zoom to the top of your GPP leaderboard. These plays are very boom or bust, so please know that going in.
One way that I like to separate from the field is by trying to anticipate ownership rates of certain players. Over the course of the year I’ll get into this more deeply, but just know for now that all things being equal (and even in some cases when it’s not), I’m going to recommend the player that’s going to have a lower ownership rate.
I have some musts when building a GPP lineup. They include:
– It is a must that I get a QB that is going to throw a lot when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I get RB that are guaranteed touches when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that my WR have upside when building my GPP teams.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my TE is elite or is a punt. There is no in between for me with TE.
– When building my GPP teams it is a must that my defense gets to the quarterback.
– It is a must that I take a min-priced kicker when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I include at least some HuLo plays when building my GPP teams.
– It is a must that I remember that chalk is chalk for a reason, and that using chalk isn’t a bad thing.
The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Brian Hoyer (SF) @ IND||Tyrod Taylor (BUF) @ CIN||Cam Newton (CAR) @ DET|
|Eli Manning (NYG) vs LAC||Josh McCown (NYJ) @ CLE||Matthew Stafford (DET) vs CAR|
|Carson Wentz (PHI) vs ARI||Jacoby Brissett (IND) vs SF||Philip Rivers (LAC) @ NYG|
|Jay Cutler (MIA) vs TEN||Blake Bortles (JAX) @ PIT||Jared Goff (LAR) vs SEA|
|Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ DAL||Russell Wilson (SEA) @ LAR||Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs JAX|
|Deshaun Watson (HOU) vs KC||Dak Prescott (DAL) vs GB||Alex Smith (KC) @ HOU|
– Is Brian Hoyer really the chalk play at QB this weekend? Good lord, I think this is what we’ve come to. I mean, I don’t know, I just can’t bring myself to stake my week on a guy who couldn’t get anything done offensively in Week 4. Are we sure that SF isn’t just going to grind the ball out and try to leave Indy with a cheap win? It’s a bad west coast team coming east to play in an early start game. You do know how that usually turns out, right? I don’t think I can go there…If I’m going to stake my week on a low cost, chalky, crappy QB with a good matchup I think it has to be Jay Cutler. At least Cutler is playing at home. At least Cutler has a solid group of WR to throw to. At least Cutler has put up monster, DFS winning fantasy performances more than a small handful of times. At least it’ll be fun to watch Cutler crash and burn, whereas it’ll be sad to watch Hoyer do it. Look, the Titans defense can’t stop anyone through the air. If this isn’t the week where the Dolphins put it together, it’s not going to happen. As much as Jay Cutler DGAF, he does GAF enough to keep collecting his $10 million paycheck (Brian Hoyer is in no danger of losing his job to CJ Beathard, while Matt Moore is a competent backup). Cutler is going to put it together this weekend…I’m totally buying into Deshaun Watson. He should be able to put up QB1 type numbers against an overrated KC defense. If this game was in KC I’d probably stay away but the support from the Houston faithful should put the Chiefs on upset alert. No, we are not going to see another 57 point outburst from the Texans but 200 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, and 3 combined TD’s is still a really good game, and a game that is definitely in the range of outcomes for Watson…Arizona is terrible. They are even worse when playing an early start game on the east coast. My biggest concern with this game is that the Eagles try to establish the run to avoid the Cardinals secondary. I’m not going to buy huge here, especially in a week where he should be widely owned…Aaron Rodgers is always in play.
– People keep doubting Tyrod Taylor, and Tyrod Taylor keeps putting up good numbers. I don’t think Cincy is good at all and the Bills should be competitive in this game. Taylor may not put up elite numbers this weekend but he doesn’t need to at his price. Taylor is yet to have a monster game but he’s not far off either. If he can get into the end zone with a run, then he will go over 20 fantasy points and that’s a good week…Josh McCown revenge game!!! This is a real thing and it should be spectacular. Cleveland is just so bad defensively and the Jets are finally doing a little something on offense. I don’t expect a 300 yard, 4 TD game but can McCown go 250-2? I sure do think he can. His weapons aren’t terrible with Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson on the outside, Austin Seferian-Jenkins down the seam, Jeremy Kerley in the slot, and the duo of Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire in the backfield. That honestly doesn’t sound like a terrible group of pass catchers. Couldn’t you see Anderson getting deep for one? ASJ catching a goal like 50/50 ball? Powell taking a dump off 20 yards for a score? Did I just talk myself into Josh McCown??…I have little interest in Blake Bortles or Russell Wilson (watch out for those Rams). Let them be someone else’s problem…Brissett against the 49ers is a little bit intriguing to me IF you are going to stack him with TY Hilton or Donte Moncrief. I don’t love him as a one off play.
– I really like some of the more potentially underowned QB’s this week. For example, while I think that this is a LeVeon Bell week, so does everyone else. Big Ben at home is usually an outstanding play and if we can get him at a discounted ownership? Geez, that’s kind of hard to pass up. Antonio Brown is chirping a little this week as well, so it wouldn’t shock me if he got fed a little bit. Ben + Brown = DFS glory. I’m not completely all in this play like I normally would because of the Jags wretched run defense but I will have some ownership for sure…Janoris Jenkins is outstanding but the rest of the Giants defense is kind of gross. Philip Rivers has a lot of weapons at his disposal, so if Jenkins takes out Keenan Allen (I think he ends up on Tyrell Williams when all is said and done), then Rivers can just look elsewhere. He’s got the best TE tandem in the league and that should allow him to work around whatever New York throws his way. I don’t love the west coast coming east thing but I’ll eventually get over it and throw together a few Rivers lineups…The SEA defense is overrated this year. Jared Goff is still being slept on. Don’t sleep. Get the Goff. There’s a reason he was the #1 pick last year, and now that he’s got “not Jeff Fisher” coaching him, he’s good to go regardless of most matchups.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Bilal Powell (NYJ) @ CLE||Duke Johnson (CLE) vs NYJ||LeSean McCoy (BUF) @ CIN|
|Carlos Hyde (SF) @ IND||Frank Gore (IND) vs SF||DeMarco Murray (TEN) @ MIA|
|Jay Ajayi (MIA) vs TEN||Wendell Smallwood (PHI) vs ARI||LeGarrette Blount (PHI) vs ARI|
|LeVeon Bell (PIT) vs JAX||Leonard Fournette (JAX) @ PIT||Aaron Jones (GB) @ DAL|
|Alex Collins (BAL) @ OAK||Marshawn Lynch (OAK) vs BAL||Eddie Lacy (SEA) @ LAR|
|Todd Gurley (LAR) vs SEA||Buck Allen (BAL) @ OAK||Andre Ellington (ARI) @ PHI|
|Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) vs GB||Ty Montgomery (GB) @ DAL||Lamar Miller (HOU) vs KC|
|Kareem Hunt (KC) @ HOU|
|JD McKissic (SEA) @ LAR|
– This is going to be a LeVeon Bell week, right? I mean, it has to be against the Jaguars. Jacksonville is one of the worst rush defenses in the league. They just got torn up by Bilal Powell and Eljah McGuire. Bell is back into full form and he’s going to be this way the rest of the year. You can have all the Kareem Hunt you want; for my money Bell is far and away the top player in fantasy for the foreseeable future. I don’t care about his ownership; I need him on my team this weekend. Hell, even if PIT passes, Bell is probably their second best WR so it’s not like his numbers will suffer. All in…I’m kind of upset that Todd Gurley is playing so well because I would love to use him this week as a HuLo play rather than pay up for him in both price and ownership. The Seahawks defense is pretty “meh” and on the road they just don’t’ do it for me. Gurley will continue to be an effective DFS play because he’s clearly the top option for Jared Goff as well as being the top rusher on the team. If we keep seeing games of 6+ targets then it’s going to be tough to keep Gurley out of the top 3 or 4 RB in any given week. I think he’s right back at it this week with a fully and effective workload…Bilal Powell could not have a better matchup to follow up his monster game against Jacksonville. He’s going to be really highly owned (particularly if Matt Forte is out again) but he’s priced well enough to find a way into your lineup. Use those savings to grab a super duper stud like Bell or Gurley; differentiate elsewhere…I’m probably not paying up for Ezekiel Elliott. I know that he’s a great GPP play with some much of the ownership at the top end going to Bell but I’ll deal with the ownership and just use the better player (Bell)…I have approximately 0% trust in Alex Collins and JD McKissic but they will both have a high ownership due to their low prices. People are already posting screen caps of McKissic’s DK price tag with the wide open eye emoji. We don’t know what he is or how he’s going to be used. He got a grand total of 5 touches in Week 4. Hard pass. As for Alex Collins, he’s one fumble away from being back to three snaps a game. Let’s also not let the facts get in the way of a good story, but Buck Allen still outsnapped Collins by a greater than 2:1 ratio (40 to 17).
– Based on the last stat I just threw you, how about giving Buck Allen one more run through the meadow? He’s clearly the top RB on BAL but since he didn’t pop off one big run to overinflate his stats the last two weeks, he’s being overshadowed by Alex Collins. That’s good for us because Allen is still PPR gold (6 targets each of the last three weeks). Oakland is weak against the run and BAL has a real shot to win this game. They are going to go with what works and probably keep things simple. Do you know what’s simple? Dumping it off to the guy who is on the field for more than 50% of the team’s snaps…Frank Gore Revenge Game!! Just throwing it out there…Duke Johnson is the only weapon DeShone Kizer has on the Browns. Look for him to continue to threaten for double digit targets each week while slowly increasing his rushing workload (only 6 carries but 2 rushing TD the last two weeks combined). I’ve said it a bunch of times now; Duke Johnson is the Browns version of David Johnson (just not as good). I love how they use him. He should be in for another great game this weekend.
– I’m not sure if I’m right not having Leonard Fournette as a chalk play but if I am, he could win a GPP. This will be a good barometer of how dialed in the public is to Pittsburgh’s run defense (it’s bad). If Fournette is over 20% owned then we have to adjust our idea of how savvy the public is. If he’s under 20% then it’s business as usual and we still have somewhat of an edge. I’m going to be all over Fournette this week (in some cases playing him over Bell) if I get a sense that he’s not the chalk play at RB…I heard a stat on the radio today that blew my mind: LeGarrette Blount is among the league leaders in making defenders miss tackles. He’s averaging 5.9 YPC on the season and it’s only a matter of time before he goes all Mike Gillislee and falls into the end zone a handful of times in a game. He’s been incredibly efficient this year, and even in a timeshare with Wendell Smallwood he should be productive. Arizona is hot garbage and I think the Eagles will spend a lot of time establishing the run this week…Speaking of Arizona, Andre Ellington is officially the RB to own on that team (finally!). He has a ridiculous 22 targets over the last two weeks. His receiving production alone would make him a WR3 you can count on. I love him as a FLEX play on sites that allow it because the Cardinals are going to have to throw a lot to keep up in this game…Eddie Lacy looked decent after Chris Carson got hurt. Tread lightly, but I think he’s the best RB on the Seahawks at the moment.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Odell Beckham (NYG) vs LAC||Robby Anderson (NYJ) @ CLE||AJ Green (CIN) vs BUF|
|Keenan Allen (LAC) @ NYG||TY Hilton (IND) vs SF||Golden Tate (DET) vs CAR|
|Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ PHI||Pierre Garcon (SF) @ IND||Donte Moncrief (IND) vs SF|
|Antonio Brown (PIT) vs JAX||Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs TEN||Rishard Matthews (TEN) vs MIA|
|Devante Parker (MIA) vs TEN||Terrence Williams (DAL) vs GB||Sterling Shepard (NYG) vs LAC|
|Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ LAR||John Brown (ARI) @ PHI||Nelson Agholor (PHI) vs ARI|
|Dez Bryant (DAL) vs GB||Allen Hurns (JAX) @ PIT||JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) vs JAX|
|Tyreek Hill (KC) @ HOU||Randall Cobb (GB) vs DAL||Marqise Lee (JAX) @ PIT|
|DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs KC||Will Fuller (HOU) vs KC||Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs SEA|
|Mike Wallace (BAL) @ OAK|
|Geronimo Allison (GB) @ DAL|
– I’m all in on the Dolphins passing game in Week 5. That means that I’ll follow the crowd and totally play Devante Parker. Despite the Dolphins looking about as good as the Ravens (terrible), Parker has managed to average 6-77 on 8 targets a game this year. Cutler loves him and I love him too this week. I’ll probably have a number of lineups where I go all the way and stack him with Jarvis Landry (averaging 11 targets per week). I really want to take advantage of this horrific Titans passing defense…I really wish that Antonio Brown would shut his mouth about getting the ball because it’s only going to draw attention to him this week from the casual DFS community. The squeaky wheel really does get the grease and I expect AB to be peppered with targets in Week 5. Even if you’re not playing Roethlisberger, I have no problem with you following the herd and using Brown…I’m not touching OBJ this week. He should play but we don’t know how close he is to being knocked out of the game. I don’t want him to be this week’s Julio Jones…I love targets, so I love DeAndre Hopkins. Deshaun Watson isn’t going to stop throwing, and the emergence of Will Fuller only serves to pull double coverage away from Nuk. He’s going to be one of my favorite upper mid-tier plays in Week 5…Dez, Baldwin, Fitz, and Allen are all fine uppder mid-tier plays but I’ll probably fade all of them. The only one that would interest me a little is Keenan Allen if we can get sure that Jenkins is going to shadow Tyrell Williams on the outside instead of coming into the slot to torment Allen.
– Apparently I have a weird infatuation with the Jets this week (playing CLE will do that). Robby Anderson looked awesome in the preseason but has yet to have the breakout game this season. This week feels like the week that this will happen. Anderson is averaging 6 targets a week but is only catching half of them. He’s had a long reception each of the last two weeks so we know that McCown is looking for him, and looking for him to make a big play. Have I mentioned that he’s playing Cleveland this weekend? That big play is going to come…Will Fuller started the season strong in Week 4. I don’t think he catches 2 TD again in Week 5 but the Chiefs are vulnerable down the field for big plays. They got bit in Week 4 by both Terrelle Pryor and Vernon Davis for catches of over 40 yards. Josh Doctson also had a chance to make a couple of big plays but he and Cousins just couldn’t connect. Will Fuller is the downfield threat for the Texans and you know that Watson is going to take his shots. If they connect, Fuller is a stud. What’s cool about Fuller though is that he’s also an effective red zone weapon so it’s not like HOU forgets about him when they get near the goal line. As you can guess, I like the Texans a lot this week…Pierre Garcon revenge game? Nah, way too many years have passed for that narrative. What we can rely on is the fact the he’s playing on a fast track in Indy against a bad pass defense. I’m not in love with paying for his ownership but you can’t deny that the matchup is awesome…TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief are definitely in play now that Jacoby Brissett is a little more comfortable in the Colts offense. I think this game is a little higher scoring than we expect.
– Ju Ju Smith-Schuster has taken over the slot WR role for the Steelers. He was on the field for more snaps than Martavis Bryant in Week 4 and Roethlisberger is slowly starting to trust him. He’s had at least 4 targets in every game he’s played this year, and has 2 TD on the season already. His price is up a little bit but I’d still consider it a punt to use him. The kid can ball out and I don’t see any reason not to give him a shot if you need to save cap space in Week 5…With Davante Adams not playing this week, it looks like Geronimo Allison is going to get some run again. In fact, Allison has been the only WR on the Packers (who actually play) that has been healthy all season. When all the Packers WR are on the field Allison is basically useless, but if one of them is out then Allison has some value. Let’s wait to hear who is playing, who is hurting, and who is out before we jump too far onto the Allison bandwagon…Nelson Agholor and Sterling Shepard have looked good so far this year. Neither is a player that I’m running to but both have good matchups this week and are worth a look if they are all you can afford at your WR3.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Tyler Kroft (CIN) vs BUF||Delanie Walker (TEN) @ MIA||David Njoku (CLE) vs NYJ|
|Zach Ertz (PHI) vs ARI||Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ) @ CLE||Julius Thomas (MIA) vs TEN|
|Jason Witten (DAL) vs GB||Ed Dickson (CAR) @ DET||Evan Engram (NYG) vs SD|
|Travis Kelce (KC) @ HOU||Hunter Henry (LAC) @ NYG||Antonio Gates (LAC) @ NYG|
– TE is a giant clustermess this week. Kelce and Ertz should be the clear chalk for people looking to pay up but I’m not totally sold on doing this. I can’t tell you not to play them, but I’m surely not running out to grab either one. Although both should be very safe bets to get a healthy workload, I’m not really interested in paying up for TE this weekend. There are just too many value options available (albeit with a much wider range of outcomes) to miss out on two high end RB just for a TE that’s not named Gronk…After his monster performance in Week 4, Tyler Kroft is going to magically pop up into a lot of lineups. The fact that’s missing is that the Browns defense isn’t walking out of that tunnel this weekend. The Bills have been very good defensively all year and should be able to keep Kroft in check…Witten is a reliable TE that saves you some money over Ertz/Kelce but I think his upside is severely lacking. I can go cheaper and better.
– Right now the only TE I am focused on this week is Austin Seferain-Jenkins. He’s facing the Browns so he’s the guy to own in Week 5. So far this year they’ve given up big games to Jesse James, Ben Watson, and Tyler Kroft. That’s not a murder’s row of talent, yet all three had huge games against CLE. This is not a new phenomenon either. Last year the Browns got crushed by TE as well. ASJ is on the verge of a breakout anyway, so this week’s matchup will only help to facilitate that. He’s still very cheap and is definitely someone I will own everywhere. I won’t make the same mistake I did last week where I faded this matchup despite knowing better. I’m all in here…Now, if I’m not going to play ASJ (I totally am), then I’m targeting the TE duo on the Chargers. The Giants have been even worse than the Browns this year against the TE position. The only reason I’m looking at Seferian-Jenkins over Henry and Gates is that his role is much more defined than either of theirs. Then again, it may not matter as the G-Men gave up huge games to both OJ Howard and Cameron Brate in Week 4. I’m a little worried about LAC coming east to play an early game but I’ll forget about that problem quickly as I continue to stare the numbers the Giants are giving up to opposing TE (don’t forget that Witten and Ertz torched them as well)…Ed Dickson won’t ever be a monster but he’s getting a decent number of the looks that went Greg Olsen’s way (4 targets with a 20.7 average gain per catch in Week 4).
– I know that I pick on the Browns a lot against the TE but the Jets aren’t all that good either. Yes, they held Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis in check the last couple of weeks but I’ll take a year and a half of data over two weeks. That data tells me that NYJ is susceptible to big, athletic TE like David Njoku. He’s not seeing a ton of targets, but Njoku is a red zone threat with TD’s in two of his four career games. At his low price, any TD is going to make him a nice value play…The Titans are getting ripped by TE. Last week was the first time all season that they held a TE in check (and good for them for doing that while giving up 57 points). Julius Thomas is due for a breakout game and this is the matchup that could see him do it…Evan Engram continues to impress for the Giants. Eli Manning clearly likes him as he’s been peppered with targets over the last three weeks. With an average of 8.3 targets per game in that time span, Engram is a threat for a big game at any moment. The Chargers are in a bad position defensively so it wouldn’t shock me to see those 8.3 targets turn into something like a 6-70-1 type of game.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Philadelphia Eagles vs ARI||Detroit Lions vs CAR||Buffalo Bills @ CIN|
|Pittsburgh Steelers vs JAX||New York Jets @ CLE||Indianapolis Colts vs SF|
|Oakland Raiders vs BAL||Kansas City Chiefs @ HOU||Los Angeles Rams vs SEA|
|Baltimore Ravens @ OAK||Houston Texans vs KC|
|Miami Dolphins vs TEN|
– There are few plays that are more money than streaming a defense against the Cardinals playing an early game on the East Coast. Carson Palmer is hot garbage in those situations and this week he’s unfortunate enough to play a fast Eagles defense that knows how to get at the QB. Every time I’ve looked up the last few weeks Palmer has been in the grasp of a defensive player and this week should be no different. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Philly get 3+ sacks, 2+ turnover, and give up less than 14 points. The Eagles are my top defense on the week at this moment…The Ravens/Raiders game could be an ugly affair with EJ Manuel under center for the Raiders and the Ravens being one of the worst offenses we’ve seen in the last five years or so. Baltimore may be the better overall defense but this game is in Oakland and that Black Hole could be enough to push the Raiders over the top. I have no problem using either defense…The Jags are on the road for a third straight week, I don’t want to hear how the London game was a home game, and that might entice people to use the Steelers as their DFS defense in Week 5. I am not inclined to do so because PIT is pretty rough on defense and as we already talked about, Leonard Fournette could run all over them. Add in the obligatory Blake Bortles garbage time points and you’ve got a defense that may not turn the Jags over much and who could give up a cheap 20 points. I’ll definitely pass on that.
– If you don’t believe in Deshaun Watson (I do), the Chiefs defense is a pretty solid option to use in Houston…New York has played pretty good defense the last two weeks and this week they face the Browns. While CLE isn’t quite as bad offensively as the Ravens (go figure), they are still really bad and the Jets will have plenty of chances for sacks and turnovers…Do I trust that Cam Newton is back to being a good QB? I think I might but if you don’t then Detroit has looked really good on defense all year. They could be one of the better values on the board this week.
– The Bills are probably the biggest surprise of the first quarter of the season (at least in the positive) and that’s happened mainly because of a stifling defense. Look at what they did to the Falcons last week. Cincy has been one of the more disappointing teams in the league this year offensively and I don’t see them overcoming that against the Bills. Buffalo is probably going to end up being one of my top three defenses on the week…The Colts ended up allowing the Seahawks to blow them out but for the first half of the game they looked like an actual NFL defense. This week they are getting a bad 49ers team that couldn’t score a TD against a bad Arizona team. I’m not saying that Indy is a lock to do well but they have a little bit of upside and a good matchup to boot…Houston has looked very good at home. Kansas City is the only undefeated team left in the league but they are far from perfect. I can see the Texans winning this game, and if they do so it’ll be on the shoulders of their defense. I don’t think anyone is going to use them (surely not on DK) so you definitely win the ownership game if you roster them.
Your feedback is always welcome. If there’s a player you don’t see or would like to talk more about, you can find me on Twitter @bankster17. I’m around all the time for questions, advice, and comments. I answer every single person that sends me a Tweet.