Betting the Spread: NFL Week 5 – We’re Back

by Shervon Fakhimi · Betting & Props

Hey, won’t you look at that: a winning record! That’s right, we finally got on the right side of things last week with a 7-6-2 record! This puts us at a 24-34-2 record on the year against the spread. Still not where we want to be, but the gradual improvement as the season has progressed has been great to see. We got 15 more games to pick and break down this week, and hopefully, that progression continues to climb. Week 5 is here; let’s pick it and break it down!

New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers (-9)

Over/Under: 41

Pick ATS: Green Bay Packers

The New York Giants are running out of receivers. Wan’Dale Robinson has been hurt. Sterling Shepard is out for the season. Kadarius Toney has been hurt and is in the doghouse. Kenny Golladay‘s dust sprained his MCL and is out for a few weeks. Now, Richie James is nursing a sprained ankle. Even Daniel Jones AND Tyrod Taylor sustained injuries last week. Saquon Barkley ran for 146 yards on 31 carries last week. Green Bay possesses the No. 5-worst run defense according to Football Outsiders’ rush DVOA metric. Barkley is the New York Giants’ offense, and he’ll need to produce for the Giants if they have any chance at being competitive. Hammer the RB1 this week.

Saquon Barkley Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Buffalo Bills (-14.5)

Over/Under: 46.5

Pick ATS: Buffalo Bills

So much for easing the rookie in. Kenny Pickett is making his first start against a defense that totally stymied the MVP frontrunner, Lamar Jackson, a week ago. Pickett’s got his work cut out for him. Buffalo ranks as the No. 2-best defense according to Football Outsiders Defensive DVOA metric. They’ve forced more interceptions (7) than allowed passing touchdowns (2). Pickett can run a little and is worth adding as a stash with how great his weapons are around him, but hold off on starting him. It’s going to be most interesting to see how he feeds his cast. Pickett only threw 13 times but the distribution of targets looked much more different than it did in Weeks 1-3. This will be one of the most intriguing storylines in all of Week 5.

Kenny Pickett Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) vs Cleveland Browns

Over/Under: 47

Pick ATS: Los Angeles Chargers

Two top-12 tight ends will be featured prominently in this one. Gerald Everett and David Njoku rank inside the top ten in targets and target share according to Everett also ranks No. 6 in air yards (199) and air yards share (16.9-percent) and No. 9 in average depth of target (7.7 yards) and yards per target (8.1).

Gerald Everett Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Njoku leads all tight ends in target rate (37.1-percent) and yards per route run (3.24). Cleveland has allowed at least 40 yards to every starting tight end they’ve faced this season but Kyle Pitts (though he likely would’ve gotten there too if Arthur Smith unleashed him properly). Darren Waller and Travis Kelce both sailed past that mark. Evan Engram (who had a touchdown get called back against the Chargers in Week 3) and Jordan Akins (who had 33 yards in Week 4) fell shy. This is a good matchup for both tight ends especially with Keenan Allen and Amari Cooper banged up. Njoku rattled off 149 yards in these teams’ previous meeting a year ago. Both are strong starts this week at the weak tight-end position.

David Njoku Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings (-7.5)

Over/Under: 44

Pick ATS: Minnesota Vikings

Don’t worry about Dalvin Cook. Despite yet another injury to his shoulder, Cook played through the pain and handled 22 touches in Minnesota’s Week 4 win across the pond against the New Orleans Saints. He disappointed in Week 2 against the Eagles, as did the entire Vikings team, but he is averaging just under 4.6 yards per carry outside of that game. The Bears are also a prime get-right defense for Cook. They rank No. 24 in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combined for 193 yards on the ground and a touchdown on 33 carries in Week 2 (Jones added 38 yards and a touchdown as a receiver). Dameon Pierce posted a 20-80-1 line in Week 3. Saquon Barkley rattled off 146 yards on 31 carries last week against the Bears. Cook should have a big game this week.

Dalvin Cook Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Detroit Lions (+3) vs New England Patriots

Over/Under: 46

Pick ATS: Detroit Lions

Rhamondre Stevenson is really good and has five targets and four receptions in each of New England’s last two games. Damien Harris ranks No. 19 among running backs in true yards per carry (4.6) and yards created (169). The Lions rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA metric after being rendered doormats by Rashaad Penny (17-151-2) last week. Jakobi Meyers would be a fantastic start as well if he and Mac Jones can return this week, but no matter their status, Stevenson and Harris are set up to both have big weeks.

Damien Harris Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) vs New Orleans Saints

Over/Under: 46.5

Pick ATS: Seattle Seahawks

All hail our lord and savior Geno Smith! Have you seen some of Smith’s efficiency numbers? They are outrageously good.

On top of this, Smith ranks in the top 10 of almost every efficiency and accuracy metric on Here are a few that stick out: Smith ranks No. 6 in adjusted yards per attempt (7.7), No. 1 in accuracy rating (8.3) and true completion percentage (79.7-percent), No. 5 in QBR (72.4), and No. 7 in EPA (+33.3). Almost every stat is yelling that Geno is great, and it’s hard to disagree. He’s a borderline QB1 for the rest of the season and in the same tier of fantasy QBs as Derek Carr, Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins, and Trevor Lawrence.

Geno Smith Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Geno Smith‘s play has to change how we view Seahawks’ skill players for the rest of the season. DK Metcalf is on pace for 149 targets this season! Tyler Lockett? 144. We know Metcalf is one of the best receivers in the NFL. The issue with him during the draft season was could his quarterbacks support him. I was skeptical, but I was wrong. Metcalf should be regarded as a top 12 receiver the rest of the way, with Lockett a top 24 option. Rashaad Penny owns the running back room but still isn’t used in the passing game. He’s a touchdown-dependent RB2 option, but Kenneth Walker should be on all rosters in the event Penny (who is nursing a shoulder injury) misses time. Buy this offense.

Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets (+3.5)

Over/Under: 46

Pick ATS: New York Jets

Elijah Moore has been a disappointment this season. As a big fan of Moore in draft season, I’ve been bit hard by him so far. But he, Garrett Wilson, and even Corey Davis have fantastic matchups this week. The Dolphins’ secondary is dropping like flies. Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, and Keion Crossen all missed practice on Thursday. The Dolphins already ranked No. 31 in pass defense DVOA while Howard was healthy. Garrett Wilson was going to be in lineups no matter what, but Moore, despite his slow fantasy start, and even Corey Davis can all be viable this week.

Elijah Moore Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Also, the Jets don’t fare much better against the pass themselves. They’re No. 29 in pass defense DVOA. This game has very sneaky shootout potential and could make for a boom week from Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle or both.

Tyreek Hill Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Atlanta Falcons (+10) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Over/Under: 46

Pick ATS: Atlanta Falcons

Two rookie running backs were the stars of the waiver wire and both play in this game. Let’s start with Tyler Allgeier. Though Allgeier and Caleb Huntley split carries 10-10 after Cordarrelle Patterson‘s injury last week, Allgeier doubled Huntley in snaps 24-12 and accumulated 17 touches the two weeks prior. Huntley sat on Atlanta’s practice squad. Allgeier was a mega-producer in college. This is evidenced by his 85th-percentile college dominator rating. He’s also a three-down back. This is proven by Allgeier hauling 42 receptions in his last two collegiate seasons. Tampa Bay has a stout front four, but they rank No. 17 in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA. Allgeier is a solid flex option this week who can cement his case to be Atlanta’s featured back with a big week. Get him and start him if you need to.

On the other side, Rachaad White is happening. Tampa Bay decided to split his and Leonard Fournette‘s snaps in Week 4. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because they were trailing big and didn’t want to add extra work onto Fournette’s hefty workload. Maybe Leonard Fournette‘s hamstring is still bugging him. But Tampa has also said they want to keep Fournette at around 60-70-percent of the team’s snaps in a given week. Rachaad White may have just earned himself standalone flex value. The matchup is good (Atlanta is No. 26 in rush defense DVOA), but I’d hold on starting White while Fournette is healthy until we see again White’s workload from last week stabilize.

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) vs Washington Commanders

Over/Under: 43

Pick ATS: Tennessee Titans

Remember how I said the Dolphins-Jets matchup could be a sneaky shootout? This one could be too. The Titans rank No. 26 in pass-defense DVOA. The Commanders? No. 30. It’s a shame Treylon Burks got hurt last week because this looks like it could’ve been a prime breakout game for him if it didn’t happen last week. Fellow rookie Jahan Dotson got hurt last week as well and looks likely to miss this game and possibly next week’s game on a short week. Robert Woods should have a solid game, but I love Terry McLaurin this week and think he has a big game. Your buy-low window on McLaurin is closing.

Terry McLaurin Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5)

Over/Under: 44

Pick ATS: Jacksonville Jaguars

I feel like I’ve written about Travis Etienne in this article every week. I keep chasing the dragon, and every week I’ve been burnt. Well, I’m ready to get hurt again. While I attribute Etienne’s edge in snaps over James Robinson to game script, it is worth noting he out-snapped Robinson last week. Robinson also has struggled outside of his big touchdown runs. According to Joe Dolan of Fantasy Points, Robinson has gained over three yards on only 42.4-percent of his carries. Maybe a changing of the guards is in order?

James Robinson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

I’m not expecting it. But it might not matter. The Texans have been gashed on the ground this season. They rank No. 29 in rush defense DVOA. I think Jacksonville will be ahead, so Robinson should shoulder the majority of carries and have a nice game. But Etienne is averaging 11.25 opportunities per game too and has the capability to break a big one. Both are worth starting. I get Etienne has burned us, but I’m playing him again.

San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) vs Carolina Panthers

Over/Under: 39

Pick ATS: San Francisco 49ers

Baker Mayfield has been bad. Do you want to know how bad? Here’s a mind-blowing stat from Patrick Kerrane of NBC Sports Edge:

Here’s another stat, this time from Graham Barfield of Fantasy Points: 

The 49ers have been the best defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric. Pour one out for DJ Moore. One day we’ll get him a QB. 

D.J. Moore Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Dallas Cowboys (+5.5) vs Los Angeles Rams

Over/Under: 43

Pick ATS: Dallas Cowboys

There are only two surefire startable Los Angeles Rams every week. One of them is Cooper Kupp, who is inevitable. The other is Tyler Higbee. Higbee is No. 1 among tight ends in targets (38), No. 2 in target share (25.5-percent), and No. 5 in target rate (29.7-percent). You could argue that Higbee is solely a volume play, but hey, he’s getting the volume! He has to get volume with the state of the Rams’ offensive line. Allen Robinson might be dust, but surely he will pop at some point. Cam Akers gets the Rams’ carries. Darrell Henderson gets the Rams’ targets out of the backfield. Stafford has eclipsed 10.2 fantasy points only once in four games. Kupp and Higbee. That’s it. Don’t be afraid to play the Cowboys’ defense either.

Tyler Higbee Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) vs Arizona Cardinals

Over/Under: 49.5

Pick ATS: Philadelphia Eagles

The good news: Rondale Moore returned from his hamstring injury! The bad news: he was placed right back on the injury report on Thursday, now with a knee issue. Ugh. We’ll see how that progresses, but the extra good news is that Rondale wasn’t used as a gadget player like he was last year. If AJ Green or Antoine Wesley return, that should move Rondale into the slot full-time. The Eagles’ slot corner Avonte Maddox is currently injured and could miss this game as he did last week. In Week 4, Jamal Agnew scored twice filling in the slot while Christian Kirk played more outside in the aftermath of Zay Jones‘ injury. Hopefully, Moore’s knee issue is minor, but he should be added everywhere he’s available and could be a solid start this week, especially if Maddox can’t go.

Rondale Moore Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens (-3)

Over/Under: 47

Pick ATS: Baltimore Ravens

Rashod Bateman has yet to practice this week with a foot issue. He seems unlikely to play. Sure, Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson get a bump, but Duvernay has exceeded five targets only four times in his career. All I see is more and more and more and more Mark Andrews.

Mark Andrews Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Las Vegas Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)

Over/Under: 51

Pick ATS: Kansas City Chiefs

Skyy Moore. Keep holding him. We finally saw a bump in snaps for Moore as he saw a season-high 28-percent of the team’s snaps in Week 4. Despite hardly playing, Moore has only 10 fewer yards than Mecole Hardman. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has filled the field-stretcher he was brought in to do but still hasn’t busted a big play yet. Even Smith-Schuster is only averaging 56 yards per game, which is good, but not great by any means, and has an average depth of target (9.1) that ranks No. 64 among receivers. I refuse to believe that there won’t be a prime fantasy wide receiver on a Patrick Mahomes-led offense. Skyy Moore just might be the best bet. Keep holding as his playing time rises.