In this weekly piece we review a handful of inexpensive daily fantasy options, many of whom also happen to be available on most fantasy football league waiver wires.
Before jumping into the suggestions for Week 5 let’s do a quick victory lap for last week’s streamers. If you played these guys you more than likely picked up a win. Last week, the Weekly Player Profiler Rankings had Joe Flacco as a top-10 fantasy quarterback and he delivered with nearly 300 passing yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for another score while facing the Oakland Raiders. Not far behind was my personal selection, Alex Smith. It took a heavy dose of garbage time on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he got there thanks to a pair of touchdowns.
At wide receiver, the streamer suggestions highlighted the under the radar Dallas receivers in Terrance Williams and Brice Butler, each one scored. As for the running backs, Dwayne Washington (ankle) of the Detroit Lions got hurt, but Orleans Darkwa got one across the stripe for the Giants despite a tough matchup in Minnesota. Finally, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry also found the end zone while compiling four catches for 61 yards.
While these results help to strongly reflect all of the hard work that goes into Player Profiler, it also serves as a very important reminder that the waiver wire is always producing useful options that allow us to avoid having to use players in bad matchups.
Speaking of bad matchups to steer away from, you should absolutely sit Matt Ryan — currently fantasy’s No. 1 player — as he travels to Denver to face the mighty Broncos pass defense. If Cam Newton and Andrew Luck could not exceed 200 passing yards in altitude just how low is the floor for Ryan in this nightmare matchup? I’ll gladly stream Flacco again or pick up Brian Hoyer in favor of Ryan.
Flacco remains in the top 10 of the Player Profiler Player Rankings among quarterbacks staying home for another week to face Washington in a battle of the Beltway. Flacco has attempted 40 or more passes in three consecutive games as the Ravens decide what they have in their backfield. Prior to facing the Cleveland Browns and rookie Cody Kessler last week, Washington had averaged 314 passing yards per game to Ben Roethlisberger, Dak Prescott, and Eli Manning. Flacco lacks explosive playmakers around him, but the volume has been making up for it.
Hoyer is coming off consecutive games in which he’s exceeded 300 passing yards and scored two touchdowns. He’ll guide the Bears to face the Colts, who are returning home after a trip to London. That’s right, no bye week. They also just cut starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie. In that game across the pond, Indy limited Blake Bortles to 207 yards, but saw him throw two touchdowns one week after Phillip Rivers aired out 326 yards. One concern here are the targets for Hoyer. Alshon Jeffery (knee) still doesn’t look right and was limited in both the Wednesday and Thursday practice sessions. Eddie Royal (calf) missed both practices and Zach Miller (ribs) was limited on Thursday. You’ll want to monitor the status of these important cogs, but barring multiple inactives Hoyer should be just fine.
While Flacco and Hoyer are also viable in cash games on DFS sites, Ryan Fitzpatrick is in a nice contrarian spot. On DraftKings, Fitzpatrick is only $100 above the minimum. Back in Week 2, he looked sharp with 24 completions on 34 attempts for 374 yards and earned himself AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Since shedding the all-white uniforms from that Thursday night game against Buffalo, the magic has vanished. Over the last two games, Fitzpatrick has throw nine — yes, nine — interceptions to the Chiefs and Seahawks. The opposing Steelers defense has recorded just one interception over their last three games while allowing an average of 318 passing games. Most sports books have this game posted with the second-highest total of the Sunday slate. A lot of points are projected to be scored and with the Jets on the road chasing an elite offense, Fitzpatrick will likely be pulling the trigger over 40 times for the third consecutive game.
As previously mentioned, Royal has yet to practice due to a calf issue. However, if he’s able to see the field on Friday he enters the streaming conversation for a showdown on the turf in Indy. Royal is currently lighting up the Player Profiler Efficiency metrics: second in both Production Premium and Catch Rate, third in both Target Premium and Fantasy Points per Target. You don’t get to play for nearly a decade at 5’10”, 185 pounds without being a valuable player on the football field.
If Royal is ruled out, or unavailable in your league, there are two drastically different kinds of receivers that could be options. First, Robert Woods. While not an exciting option, the Bills second round pick from 2013 has been targeted 18 times over the last two games. While his road matchup against the Rams is unlikely to provide many fireworks, Woods is developing a fairly decent floor in the absence of Sammy Watkins. You can read more about Woods in the Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Watch.
For those aiming higher, enter Sammie Coates. The Steelers have listed Eli Rogers (toe) as Doubtful, making him likely to miss his second consecutive game. Markus Wheaton managed to score a touchdown on his only target last week against the Chiefs. However, he’s looked terrible since returning from a shoulder injury and had multiple ugly drops against the Eagles two weeks ago. That leaves Coates, who has quietly recorded 50 or more yards in all four games thus far. He’s yet to score despite reeling in five catches of 20 yards or more on just 13 receptions. Both Woods and Coates are very affordable in DFS, although only the latter has tournament upside.
Despite opening the season with a touchdown in three consecutive games, the Raiders remained unwilling to commit to Latavius Murray (toe) as their lead back. While the team seems to be holding out hope that Murray is somehow able to face the Chargers, it’s far more likely that fifth-round rookie DeAndre Washington will get an opportunity to showcase his wares in a starting role. Washington has exceeded 15 or more yards on three of his 23 carries thus far, enough to vault him to seventh among running backs in Breakaway Runs and fifth in Breakaway Rate. The undrafted Jalen Richard will also be a factor, but the priority for fantasy footballers is clearly Washington, who is worth hanging onto beyond this week. In DFS, Jordan Howard and Jerick McKinnon are the shaping up to be the chalk options at running back. In tournaments, Washington provides a similar ceiling to those players. thanks in part to San Diego’s six rushing touchdowns allowed (third-most in the league), yet comes at a significantly reduced price.
I’m not a coach, but I don’t think it’s a good idea give a running back that turns 31 years old in December nearly 60 touches in two games. Yet that’s what the Jets did to begin Matt Forte‘s (knee, ribs) tenure with the team. While the production was great at first, Forte is now struggling and banged up. Thankfully, they also have Bilal Powell and have wisely reintroduced him into the role that made his successful a season ago. Over the last two weeks he’s caught a dozen balls and ran eight times for 56 yards. As previously mentioned, this game against the Steelers figures to be offer plenty of production. Pittsburgh has also struggled with receiving backs lately. Giovani Bernard caught nine passes for 100 yards against them in Week 2 prior to Darren Sproles recording 128 yards and a touchdown on six receptions the following week. While the Steelers did not have this issue last season, it’s likely that the knee injury suffered by speedy linebacker Ryan Shazier has compromised their ability to cover backfield targets. Shazier missed Week 4 and has not practiced as of Thursday. Powell is an ideal PPR streamer and a cheap DFS option in a large tournament has part of a Jets/Steelers game stack.
It seems unlikely that Larry Donnell (concussion) will be available for the Giants in their Sunday night road game against the Packers. That could put a lot of the plate of Will Tye, who was productive at the end of last season. Tye scored three touchdowns in the final four games while averaging 6.1 targets, 4.5 receptions, and 52 yards over the last six. The Giants also have sixth round rookie Jerell Adams, but he’s played more than half of his limited snaps on special teams. The Packers have been favorable to tight ends, and to pass catchers in general. Their stout run defense will keep the Giants throwing the ball frequently.
The demise and exit of Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Tampa Bay created an opportunity that Cameron Brate has now appeared to have seized. Over the last two games he’s been targeted 18 times, although Jameis Winston did throw 58 times in one of those contests. Brate will give you a rooting interest during the Monday night game in Carolina, a team that surrendered touchdowns to both of the Falcons tight ends last week. Back in Week 2, the Panthers gave up a long touchdown to Vance McDonald in addition to seven catches, 70 yards, and a score to Kyle Rudolph in the following game.