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One-Week Fantasy

FanDuel Must Plays: Week 5

by Spencer Limbach
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

NFL Game Week #5 is upon us, so let’s take a moment to review what we’ve learned through the first fourth of the season:


1)     The Jaguars defense is bad, ranking dead last in pass yards allowed and 25th in run defense (more on that later).


2)     Week-to-week variance is real. LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles backers can attest. Learning how to embrace it and plan accordingly (diversify lineups) is the key to success on FanDuel.


3)     Tom Brady has fallen from fantasy relevance. He and Eli Manning have seemingly switched roles, minus the copious amount of interceptions. Still, it’s safe to say their respective fantasy stocks are heading in different directions.


Assessing these developments and using them to your advantage highlights the beauty of one-week fantasy football on FanDuel. You can target the discombobulated Jaguars defense all you want this week, avoid LeSean McCoy (until he turns it around), and skim right over Tom Brady’s name to select one of 20 or so better options. Speaking of those better options, let’s get into breaking down the cream of the crop on FanDuel this week, citing the “must plays” in terms of matchup potential, expected supply, and price point.


As I mention every time, some of these picks may seem obvious, but that’s essentially what this article is trying to shed light upon. Outlining these “must plays” should give you a nice starting point for constructing head-to-head and 50/50 style lineups, while it may be beneficial to work in some underrated sleepers for the larger tournaments.


So with that, let’s dive right in:


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PLATINUM ($10,000-$8,500)


Top-dollar options who will justify their hefty price tag.  


MUST PLAY:  DeMarco Murray (RB) - DAL - $9,000


If you haven’t climbed aboard the DeMarco Murray runaway train yet, don’t worry: there’s still time (while he’s healthy). As I noted in previous weeks, this isn’t the same Cowboys offense we’ve been accustomed to (for better or worse) over the years. They are committed to running the ball, even in the face of a substantial deficit. Murray has cashed in those opportunities for a league-best 134 rush yards per game, and Houston poses a non-threatening matchup, ranking 24th in run defense.


BORDERLINE:  Ben Roethlisberger (QB) - PIT - $8,300


Big Ben represents one of the safest QB preferences this week, given the exceptionally favorable matchup against Jacksonville. The Jaguars have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QB’s this season, so a second straight 300+ yard 2+ TD game from Roethlisberger seems entirely possible. The concern comes in the form of the Steelers potentially building a big lead and dismissing the passing game in the second half. However, if Pittsburgh gets out to a healthy lead, Big Ben will likely be a big part of it.


GOLD $8,500-$7,000


Players priced in the “second-tier”, but could easily boast top flight numbers.


MUST PLAY:  Rashad Jennings (RB) - NYG - $7,200


Jennings is probably my favorite “per dollar” RB of the week. His 20 carries per game vaults him into “workhorse” status, which should translate to a rewarding fantasy performance against Atlanta’s 28th ranked rushing defense. The unassuming tandem of Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata gashed the Falcons for a combined 213 yards (5.6 ypc) and 3 TD’s last week. Classifying this matchup as favorable would be a significant understatement.

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BORDERLINE:  Kelvin Benjamin (WR) - CAR - $7,100


This may be the lowest we see Benjamin’s salary for the rest of the season. The rookie is seemingly getting better as the weeks go along, exemplified by 13 catches 191 yards and 2 TD’s in the past two games. The Bears’ secondary was exploited by Green Bay, allowing 100+ yards and 2 touchdowns apiece to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. I’m expecting Benjamin, as Cam Newton’s favorite receiver (25% of CAR team targets) to take advantage of that susceptibility.


SILVER $7,000-$5,500


Mid-range picks with favorable prices and situations.


BORDERLINE: Andre Ellington (RB) - ARI - $6,800


Ellington undoubtedly carries a fair amount of risk, but you can’t deny the upside for this fairly economical salary. The Broncos rank towards the middle of the pack in rushing defense, and Arizona’s top playmaker should see 15+ carries to build up a respectable fantasy line. Even if the Cardinals fall behind early, Ellington’s presence in the passing game is enough to bolster a serviceable numbers alone.


BORDERLINEBrian Quick (WR) - STL - $6,000


Quick is easily the top receiving option for St. Louis, hauling in 16 receptions on 22 targets this season (20% of team total). The Rams will require his services more than ever this weekend, trying to keep pace with the high-octane Eagles offense. Philadelphia has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing receivers, elevating Quick as a strong WR3 for your lineups.



The best of the bargain bin.

MUST PLAY:  Travis Kelce (TE) - KC - $5,300


The Chiefs seem adamant to get Kelce more involved in the passing game, represented by an 8 reception, 93 yard, 1 TD game last Monday. The 49ers pose a much tougher matchup (2nd in limiting TE’s), but Kelce still has the ability to be a top 10 TE this week, creating some nice value given he stands as the 17th priciest option of the position.


BORDERLINE:   Rueben Randle (WR) - NYG - $5,400


If you are looking to save even more cap space at receiver, Reuben Randle makes for another potential WR3 filler. The improved QB play from Eli Manning certainly helps Randle’s prospects, and 20 targets in the past two games shows promise as well. On top of that, Atlanta has the 29th ranked pass defense, so it would be wise to consider Eli’s most targeted WR in the past two weeks.




Kicker, Defense, and a few honorable mentions.


KICKER:  Shaun Suisham - PIT - $4,800


I typically like to pair my kicker with a strong QB from the same team, and this Pittsburgh combination certainly qualifies against Jacksonville. The Steelers should be able to move the ball without much problem, creating many opportunities for the 5th ranked fantasy kicker so far this season.


DEFENSE:  Detroit Lions - $4,800


Going back to the well again, the Lions profile very favorably in a home matchup against Buffalo. They have proven themselves as a top-ten defense so far this season, making them by far the best “per dollar” pick on the board.


BEST OF THE REST:  Drew Brees (QB) – NO, Eli Manning (QB) - NYG, Le'Veon Bell (RB) - PIT, Khiry Robinson (RB) – NO, Andre Johnson (WR) - HOU, Heath Miller (TE) - PIT

Spencer Limbach

Spencer Limbach is a multi-sport daily fantasy specialist for NBC Sports Edge. He can be found on twitter @Spencer_JL.