While most daily fantasy players are more familiar with the usual salary-cap structure, DraftKings also has tournaments in a pick ’em style: There are no player salaries, and you simply select one player across the eight tiers.
Here’s a breakdown of the pick ’em slate for Week 5 of the NFL season.
>> Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to get the smartest NFL conversation delivered into your inbox each morning.
Tier 1: Elite Passers
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Goff has spent the first four weeks of the NFL season proving that he’s more than the product of a good system. He is tied for the league lead in yards per attempt (10.5) and third-best touchdown rate (8.2%). Goff should continue his success against a Seahawks defense that was middling before the loss of safety Earl Thomas.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
In tournaments, stacking will come down to Pittsburgh’s matchup with Atlanta, which has a 57.5 over/under. The first choice is between Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan. Big Ben is the move with a higher ceiling projection in our Models and colossal home/road splits on his side (per our Trends Tool):
- 26 points per game at home
- 16.4 points per game on the road
Favor Roethlisberger in a shootout at home.
Tier 2: The Next Passers
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton’s lowest score this season was a 17.5-point outing in Week 2. He’s surpassed 20 points every other week. He’s tied for second in passing touchdowns (11) on the back of 39.3 attempts per game, which would be a career-high.
He’s a 6.5-point favorite at home with an implied total of 28. The Bengals are scoring the fourth-most points per game (31.5) under Dalton, and Vegas expects this success to continue.
Play Dalton without hesitation.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Patrick Mahomes is unavailable in Tiers this week, but Bortles is an option. According to our Correlations Dashboard, opposing passers have a .51 correlation. Using the Matchups Tool, we can see that the Kansas City defense has given up two points per drive (the ninth-most in the NFL) and 36.7 yards per drive (most in the NFL).
With Mahomes absent in Tiers, Bortles is a great way to get a proxy to Mahomes exposure.
Tier 3: Elite Flex Plays
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Gordon is having his best season as a receiver, seeing 8.5 targets per game and 15.5 fantasy points per game in the receiving game alone. With the Chargers a 5-point favorite against the Raiders, Gordon should be used frequently in the run game.
Gordon has hit 30 fantasy points in three of his four games, and an early lead on Oakland would see him running often as the Chargers play from ahead. Gordon is a safe play in cash lineups.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown has yet to have a fantastic performance, peaking at 24.3 points. However, he’s still the same old AB. His 52 targets trail only Adam Thielen‘s 56, and his 544 Air Yards rank fifth in the league as well.
Brown’s .60 correlation with Big Ben makes them a great tournament stack.
Tier 4: Chasing Volume
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
In three games, McCaffrey has seen eight red-zone carries, more than half of his 2017 total through 16 games. He’s toting the ball 15.3 times per game as well, which is more than double his 7.3 average from last year.
The league’s next workhorse back has the highest ceiling of any player in Tier 4. If he can convert that volume and red-zone usage into his first score of the year, McCaffrey will be a tournament-winner.
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen’s target-volume is the best in the league, and this week he gets to face an Eagles defense that has allowed the eighth-most points to opposing receivers. Kirk Cousins has also been historically successful against the NFC East, averaging 22.7 DraftKings points per game.
Thielen’s volume and a good matchup make him a lock in cash games.
Tier 5: Stacks Abound
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Having played only on the perimeter this year, Cooks will be covered by Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin, neither of whom ranks inside Pro Football Focus’ top 75 corners.
Despite stellar play from other Rams receivers, Cooks has been unaffected. He owns 32% of the team’s Air Yards and 26% of his team’s targets. On one of the best offenses, Cooks-Goff is a great stack in all formats.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Conner presents another stacking option on Pittsburgh’s offense. While his rushing usage has been inconsistent — peaking at 31 attempts in Week 1 and bottoming out at eight in Week 2 — he’s seen at least five targets in every game. The Falcons have ceded the most targets and receptions to running backs this year and the two years before that.
Conner gets a great matchup but has a -.06 correlation with Brown, making the running back a better pair with JuJu Smith-Schuster in tournaments.
Tier 6: Underpriced Studs
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
The Jaguars defense has been brutal to opposing receivers, but the Chiefs have done the same to defenses. They also have an advantage over the Jags defense: The Chiefs run the ninth-most plays with two tight ends and/or running backs, which the Jags have struggled to defend.
Jags pass D remains bad against 12 personnel & insanely good against 11:
•11: 35% success (#1), 72 rtg
•12: 63% success, 109 rtg
In particular, TEs & RBs abuse them in 12:
•11: 36% success, 65 rtg
•12: 75% success, 125 rtg
First uncovered this last yr: https://t.co/UfjI51N7V0
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 2, 2018
Hill has played 33% of his snaps from the slot. (Read: He’ll avoid Jalen Ramsey for a third of his snaps.) This makes him a potential mismatch for the Jags defense. Hill is a tournament-only play, priced down multiple Tiers due to a stout defense.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson has seen his snap share and touch-total rise in each of the last four weeks. Now that offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is finally giving Johnson a full workload (25 touches in Week 4), Johnson has a floor of touches to fall back on.
He makes a solid cash play or tournament pivot, due to the low ownership he’s seen.
Tier 7: Receivers Galore
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
Cooper has become the quintessential tournament receiver. In the past three years, he has eight 20+ point performances to match his eight sub 5-point performances. Cooper leads the Raiders with 315 Air Yards but has remained unreliable.
The Raiders’ bout with the Chargers features a total that has already risen to 53.5. In a game that Vegas expects to show little defense, Cooper could have another blowup week.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
Boyd currently leads the Bengals with 36 targets to A.J. Green’s 33. Boyd is averaging a 7.7-107.6-.7 stat line over the past three weeks. In a good spot against the Dolphins, Boyd is a safe stack with Dalton.
Tier 8: Low-End Flexes
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Westbrook is emerging as Bortles’ receiver of choice:
- 28 targets (first on the Jaguars)
- 21 receptions (first)
- 294 receiving yards (first)
Westbrook is PFF’s 20th-ranked receiver, and Kansas City has no corner ranked better than 50th to cover him. The Westbrook-Bortles stack is a must in Week 5.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
In the absence of Evan Engram, Shepard has hit 20 fantasy points in back-to-back games. Shepard has run 58.5% of his snaps from the slot, pitting him against PFF’s 79th corner, Captain Munnerlyn, this week.
Until Engram returns, Shepard is a great cash play.
Pictured: Blake Bortles, Dede Westbrook
Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports