From stacking Bengals players to continuing to rely on Matt Ryan, if you used this column to help construct your DraftKings lineup, Week 4 should have been a profitable week. Looking to build off of last week’s success, there are plenty of solid choices to take advantage of in Week 5. Some of these options are familiar faces and some are players that will be under-owned.
Before anything, don’t forget to read how DraftKings does their scoring.
Too many amateur daily fantasy players see that they have $50,000 budget to fill a roster and like a puzzle, they try to spend as close to that number as possible. That, unfortunately, is not the best way to go about putting your lineup together. Selecting players is like making a big purchase in your personal life. It isn’t always about buying the most expensive item and it also isn’t about spending as little as humanly possible. When spending money it is really about getting the most out of your investment and seeing how far your dollar will take you. That is precisely how you should view your DraftKings lineup.
What is 3x?
Gridiron 3X is an NFL Daily Fantasy strategy where the goal is to build a lineup that scores 150 points or more. The reason why that number is so important is that 150 points is usually the required score to reach the winning side of a tournament. Once you can begin to see players in fantasy point production rather than DraftKings dollars, you can gain a better sense of the required fantasy output the player needs to archive in order for you to reach your 3X goal and win.
Example: Using an example from last season, Alex Smith, the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs at the time, had a Drafts cost of $5,400. Using the Gridiron 3X method, Alex Smith needed to score 16.2 fantasy points (5.4 x 3=16.2) in order to reach his 3X goal. The best tip I can offer you when using this strategy is to see the dollar amount in decimals. If you remember, Alex Smith threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns against the New England Patriots. That hair-raising start would leave Smith with 34.02 points scored and therefore delivering you a fantastic return on your investment.
So now we have the DraftKings scoring, and we have the Gridiron 3X philosophy explained. With introductions and details now out of the way, here are some names that can deliver you a great return on your investment in week 5.
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Ryan Tannehill ($5,200)
With the exception of last week, Ryan Tannehill has had a solid start to the 2018 season. Up until last week, he had at least two touchdowns per game and was a top 10 quarterback in Week 3. So despite the fact that last week was his fewest yards passing in a game since 2015, I’m suggesting that you buy in on Tannehill this week. Week 5 serves as a nice matchup as the Dolphins head to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team that is allowing the fifth most points to the quarterback position. That ranking also includes the Bengals allowing 300 passing yards or more in three out of their first four games which have led to quarterbacks scoring an average of 27.29 points per game. Not only am I suggesting that you invest in Tannehill this weekend, but I’m also calling for his first 300-yard pass performance since September of 2016. Also, if you’re looking to stack, keep an eye on an honorable mention of mine, Kenny Stills.
Matt Ryan ($6,600)
Sure, this pick may seem obvious and yes, I did nominate Matt Ryan last week as well. That being said though, I absolutely love the Falcons quarterback again this week as the Falcons get ready to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. It has been a far cry from the days of the Steel Curtain defense as this Steelers team is allowing the second most points to the position. Those points allowed have been consistent from week to week as quarterbacks who play against the Steelers this year have finished twelfth in scoring or better. As if that’s not enough, Matt Ryan has been on a roll lately. He has been a top 10 player at his position in each of the last three games and has played much better in the red zone in 2018 than he did in 2017. According to Fantasydata.com, last season, Matt Ryan would finish the season with 70.34 points in the red zone. Inside the red zone so far in 2018, Ryan has already scored 53.38 points. It could very be that Ryan is getting more acclimated to Steve Sarkisian’s offense. It may even be the addition of Calvin Ridley. Whatever the case may be, Ryan’s hot streak and the Steelers poor play is a perfect storm for daily fantasy. Play Matt Ryan without hesitation this week.
Honorable mentions: Cam Newton vs. the Giants, Blake Bortles vs. the Chiefs
Christian McCaffrey ($8,000)
If you want to bet large this week, I’m all about Christian McCaffrey and his matchup against the Giants this weekend. The inclusion of Norv Turner has paid off huge dividends for this second-year back. Even with the Carolina Panthers having a bye last week, McCaffrey is still the number eight running back in DraftKings scoring. What’s more impressive, he’s done that without even scoring a touchdown. Volume is the name of the game for McCaffrey and I fully expect that to bleed into his matchup against the Giants. Last week, Alvin Kamara would take on the Giants and would finish the week as the top scoring running back. It is those sorts of weeks that has the Giants allowing the seventh most points to the running back position this season. Circling back to the beginning of this blurb, the Panthers are going to make sure that McCaffrey has plenty of volume. This is evident when noticing that the second-year back leads the team in both carries and targets. I expect the volume to continue which will make dropping $8,000 on a player a whole lot easier.
Matt Breida ($5,700)
Despite dealing with some injuries in this early season, I like Matt Breida to put up some solid numbers this week against the Cardinals. Arizona has surprisingly played well against the pass as they are just one of two teams to allow fewer than four touchdown passes in 2018. That being said though, they have been a matchup dream for opposing running backs. The Cardinals are the only team in the NFL so far to allow more than five touchdowns to the position and that has resulted in the running back position scoring an average of 38 points per game this season. This is including allowing 100 total yards to both Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson in week 1, as well as a three-touchdown game to Todd Gurley in week 2. I do not foresee this game being a statistical breakout for either quarterback so I expect a game that is dictated by the run. As far as the 49ers backfield, in regards to carries, with only three carries separating the two, it has been a pretty equal share between Breida and Alfred Morris. While the carries may look the same, the yardage does not. Breida currently has 313 yards rushing to Morris’ 167. Between that and CJ Beathard’s knack for checking down to his running back, I’m expecting this to be another big game for the second-year back. If healthy, do not be surprised to see this back turn in a top 10 performance.
Ty Montgomery ($3,800)
As expected, the backfield in Green Bay has been a bit of an enigma. With the numerous injuries at the wide receiver position though, it could be as good of a week as any for Ty Montgomery to shine. As it currently stands, Randall Cobb has been sidelined at practice with a hamstring injury and his Week 5 availability is in serious doubt. Joining him in missing practice is Geronimo Allison who still remains in the concussion protocol. On top of that, Davante Adams has been limited in practice with a calf injury. While Adams is still expected to play, this rash of injuries has the fantasy community throwing out names like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and J’Mon Moore. For me though, this is an opportune time for Montgomery, who was converted from wide receiver to running back, to jump into the fray and handle some of the receiving duties. Montgomery currently leads the backfield in points scored and that, of course, is due to his 11 receptions for 135 yards. I will grant you that this matchup against the Lions is not an ideal one. Head Coach, Matt Patricia currently has his defense allowing the second-fewest points to the wide receiver position. That being said though, they are allowing the fourth most points to the running back position. It is difficult to assume how the Packers may use Montgomery this weekend but I have a gut feeling on Montgomery and I’m calling my shot. If you’re doing some bargain basement shopping to fill your roster, this may be an investment that could pay off.
Honorable mention: TJ Yeldon vs. the Chiefs, Aaron Jones vs. the Lions
Adam Thielen ($7,700)
The start to the 2018 season may not be going as planned for the Minnesota Vikings but for Adam Thielen, the fifth year wideout out of Minnesota State has been putting the pedal to the metal. Headed into week 5, Thielen is the number one wide receiver in DraftKings scoring and is one of just two receivers to have 40 receptions or more. The Eagles defense is notorious for being tough on running backs and I think they will easily be able to handle a Vikings rushing attack that seems nonexistent. The wide receiver position is an entirely different story. Headed into this week, the Eagles are allowing the fourth most points to the position and are just one of three teams to allow over 800 yards receiving. Beyond his opponent though, Thielen’s involvement in this offense has been hard to ignore as he has yet to receive less than 12 targets in a game. I expect that to continue and I also expect Thielen to be at the forefront of the Vikings attack.
Taywan Taylor ($4,000)
Needless to say, following last week, Corey Davis has been a hot topic in fantasy. The Titans pass catcher finally went off to the tune of nine receptions, for 161 yards, and a touchdown. While people are cautiously optimistic on Davis delivering again, I’m keeping a close eye on another pass catcher in Tennessee, Taywan Taylor. The season-ending injury to Delanie Walker left a considerable void in the offense but so too did the departure of Rishard Matthews, who was involved in 50% of snaps so far this year. That void may quietly be filled by Taylor. While Davis was grabbing all of the headlines last week, Taylor would catch seven of nine targets for 77 yards. Opposing the Titans this week is the Buffalo Bills who are nineteenth in points allowed to the position. While some may want to gravitate towards a better matchup, I’m relying on the opportunity to overcome the opponent. If Marcus Mariota can settle into a nice groove, we could start to see some consistent numbers from the pass catchers in Tennessee.
Honorable mention: Jordy Nelson vs. the Chargers, Alshon Jeffery vs. the Vikings, Kenny Stills vs. the Bengals
Ricky Seals-Jones ($2,900)
When talking about tight ends in this weekend’s Cardinals and 49ers matchup, the conversation will likely be centered around second-year pass catcher, George Kittle. Opposing the 49ers though is Ricky Seals-Jones who may be one of the best bargain plays at the position in Week 5. At this point in time, Jones is just outside the top 10 in targets at his position. That being said though, the week to week numbers for the tight end haven’t exactly been jaw-dropping. Last week would mark his only game thus far in which he had over 50 receiving yards, and his lone touchdown came against the Bears in Week 3. This week will be the week in which he puts it all together. Currently, the 49ers are allowing the sixth-most points to the position as well as a league-high four touchdowns. The linebackers for the 49ers will make it difficult for tight ends to really stretch the field but if the Cardinals find themselves within scoring distance, Rosen will lean on his tight end who was tied for third in team targets last week.
Honorable mentions: Jimmy Graham vs. the Lions, Austin Hooper vs. the Steelers
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