This series uses the FantasyLabs Tools to analyze the relevant players from the best NFL games of the week. The series does not provide play or fade recommendations. It provides analysis by looking at the dynamics of expected game flow, pace, Vegas lines, and advanced analytics.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers
Over the past three seasons, the Cowboys have been 31st, 31st, and 30th in neutral pace (Football Outsiders), but they have actually sped things up in 2017, ranking squarely in the middle of the pack. Last year, with the additions of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys were the most run-oriented team in the league, ranking first in run/pass ratio and number of running plays. This season, the Cowboys have the 12th-highest percentage of pass plays (60.32 percent) and have not been able to fully deploy that slow-paced, run-heavy style because of massive deficiencies on defense (seventh-most points against).
The Packers have finished outside the top-10 in scoring only once in the Aaron Rodgers era (2015, the Jordy-less season), but they’ve been top-10 in pass/run ratio only twice in the last nine years. They finished second in pass/run ratio in 2017, but it was also the only time the offense hasn’t been top-10 in neutral pace since Jordy Nelson’s breakout in 2011. So far in 2017, the Packers have the third-highest percentage of pass plays (67.69 percent) and have run at a slightly below-average pace.
The over/under sits at 52.5 points — the highest mark on the main slate — and the Cowboys’ implied total of 27.25 trails only the Patriots’ Thursday Night Football mark of 30.25 for the entire week.
The Cowboys have allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns in the NFL through four weeks, and Rodgers is tied for the league-lead (10) in that regard. Half of those touchdowns have gone to Nelson; given the uneven distribution of passing touchdowns elsewhere, they make for a chalky Week 5 stack in a potential shootout. Rodgers has a fantasy points correlation value of 0.46 with Nelson and a 0.58 ownership correlation. One way to differentiate this stack could be to roll it back with Dez Bryant on the other side of the ball. Here are the correlation values for actual fantasy points versus the ownership values (based on positions):
Paying up for Rodgers over Prescott could lead to a more unique lineup construction than Dak-Dez-Jordy. The ownership correlation between Rodgers, Nelson, and Bryant should be lower than traditional stacks — especially given their higher salaries — despite the fact that they have very correlated outcomes.
Aaron Rodgers, QB
With the third-most passing attempts in the league through four weeks, Rodgers offers a massive ceiling. His six red zone passing attempts are fourth-most to start the season; last year he led the league with 7.2 per game. The Cowboys have allowed the ninth-most DraftKings points to quarterbacks this year and haven’t exactly faced amazing ones in Eli Manning, Trevor Siemian, Carson Palmer, and Jared Goff.
Jordy Nelson, WR
Jordy leads the Packers with a 33.3 percent target share inside the 10-yard line. In addition to his touchdown equity, he also carries immense yardage upside with a 35.0 percent target market share of air yards.
Dak Prescott, QB
Dak was a prime regression candidate through two weeks with 45.5 pass attempts per game. In his last two games, he has thrown just 18 and 36 times — much closer in line with his career average of 30.1 attempts per game. His 0.51 fantasy points per drop back is the sixth-highest mark through four weeks, and he has averaged 20.39 DraftKings PPG with a +3.04 Plus/Minus (per our Trends tool).
Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Zeke was back to eating all the invisible cereal in Week 4. Per our Week 5 Market Share Report, he predictably has a stranglehold on this backfield, and his 76 carries is the fourth-most of any running back to start the season.
Dez Bryant, WR
With the sixth-highest target share of air yards (41 percent) in the league, Dez has Jordy-esque upside at a cheaper price. His six targets inside the 10-yard line leads the league, but he has a poor 16.67 catch rate on those plays. That said, if he continues to see this type of usage at the goal line, his efficiency should positively regress.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Seahawks have averaged the second-highest run/pass split in the NFL from 2012-2015. Last season was the only time Darrell Bevell has called plays for a team not in the top-10 in rushing attempts or faster than 26th in neutral pace (18th). To start the season, the Seahawks are 18th in run percentage (42.15 percent) and have run at a comparably average pace to last season.
The Rams, meanwhile, have vastly outperformed expectations to start the year, leading the league with 35.5 points per game (PPG). They’re playing fast this season, ranking second in pace, and they’re led by running back Todd Gurley (so far not Trent Richardson 2.0) and Jared Goff. The latter’s 0.55 fantasy points per drop back is fourth in the NFL (PlayerProfiler) this season.
The over/under sits at 47.0 points — second-highest on the main slate — and the spread favors the Rams at home by two points. Yes, the Rams are favored over the Seahawks — what a time to be alive. Per our Week 5 Vegas Report, no team has hit its implied total in every game, although the Rams are one of five teams to go 3-1.
The Seahawks have massive home/road splits on both sides of the ball dating back to last year. So far the defense has allowed an average quarterback rating (94.2) on the road versus the fifth-lowest (58.3) at home. On the offensive side, the Russell Wilson–Doug Baldwin stack usually carries significant ownership. Pivoting to Goff-Cooper Kupp could make sense, especially given Seattle’s propensity to funnel targets to the middle of the field.
Goff has a fantasy points correlation value of 0.41 with Kupp and a 0.46 ownership correlation (based on positions). Another way to differentiate this stack could be to roll it back with the Seattle running game in a fantastic matchup. Keep an eye on our News feed, as either Thomas Rawls or Eddie Lacy could carry a ton of value against a Rams defense that has allowed the most DraftKings points to the running back position this year. Here are the positional correlation values for actual fantasy points versus the ownership values:
The actual points correlation values are still positive with Goff and Rawls/Lacy, but opposing running backs provide an even lower ownership correlation than an opponent’s WR1 (0.25), WR2 (0.21), or TE1 (0.21). After lineups lock, visit our DFS Contests Dashboard and use our Stack Seeker tool to identify the top contrarian stack of the week.
Jared Goff, QB
In his rookie season, Goff was 0-7 as a starter, completing only 54.6 percent of his passes, posting an unspeakably-low 4.3 AY/A, and finishing with a pathetic 47.5 quarterback rating under pressure (Pro Football Focus). He attempted just 2.4 passes per game over 20 yards. Four games into the season, Goff has been fantastic with the third-highest QBR in the league. That said, the matchup doesn’t get much tougher: Seattle has allowed the sixth-fewest DraftKings points to the position in 2017.
Todd Gurley, RB
Gurley is averaging 6.2 targets per game and is game script-independent at this point. He has five carries of 15 or more yards to start the season — second-most in the league — and gets a Seahawks team that has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards per game this season (114).
Cooper Kupp, WR
With a low average depth of target (7.4 yards), Kupp still has PPR appeal as one of Goff’s favorite targets. In three of four games this season, he has six or more targets.
Russell Wilson, QB
Dating back to the start of last season, Wilson has a -1.97 DraftKings Plus/Minus and 36.4 percent Consistency Rating on the road. The Rams are tied for the third-most sacks through four weeks, and the Seattle offensive line play has continued to be questionable at best.
Doug Baldwin, WR
Active but clearly limited, Baldwin posted a 3-35-0 stat line in Week 4 with unfavorable game script in the second half. He should be much healthier going into his matchup with the Rams, who have allowed the 10th-most receiving yards to the position through four weeks.
Thomas Rawls/Eddie Lacy, RB
The Rams just allowed 139 total yards to Elliott last week, but it’s entirely possible this poor offensive line will continue to limit the upside of this running game even if one player emerges with a usable projected workload.
Good luck, and be sure to read our positional breakdowns later in the week!
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned, as well as keep you up to date with our NFL Week 5 Injury Dashboard. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading NFL News feed: