Week 5 features some big-name fantasy stars in the primetime matchups on Thursday, Sunday and Monday, while the Bears and Buccaneers have the week off. Without Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans and the Bears defense, some of the top go-to options are off the board for this week’s main 12-game DraftKings contest. There are still some great plays, though, across the board at each position and price point. If you find yourself searching for some value at the lower end of the salary spectrum, check out my top value picks for Week 5.
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Kirk Cousins, MIN at PHI, $6,000 – Maybe people forgot because he played last Thursday, but Cousins had a good game against the Rams’ impressive defense. He threw for 422 yards and three touchdowns to total 35.68 DKFP. He has 20-plus DKFP in three of his four games this season and has completed at least 72% of his passes in each of his past three contests. He has some great playmakers in this offense, and he gets a good matchup against the Eagles, who were beaten last week by Marcus Mariota ($6,100) and the previously-stagnant Titans. Cousins does have to go on the road to Philly, but he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 7 of 2017 as a member of the Redskins. He will look for another big game against his former-division foes, and he’ll likely have to throw more with starting RB Dalvin Cook ($5,300) still ailing from a hamstring injury.
Derek Carr, OAK at LAC, $5,200 – Carr went off for a monster game against the Browns in the team’s first win of the season. He threw for a massive 437 yards and four touchdowns to get to 36.6 DKFP. He has thrown for at least 288 yards in each of his four games this season, but he had struggled to get the ball into the end zone. Carr seemed to overcome that problem last week against Cleveland, and he’ll look to continue that success in a good matchup against the Chargers, in what could be a fun, high-scoring matchup that may require Carr to throw a lot of passes against a defense that has allowed the fifth-most DKFP to opposing QBs.
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Philip Lindsay, DEN at NYJ, $4,800 – Lindsay was ejected in the second quarter of Week 3’s matchup against the Ravens, but he returned in Week 4 against the Chiefs and continued to showcase his breakout potential. Lindsay had 12 carries for 69 yards, a touchdown and 15.9 DKFP. He has at least 15 DKFP in each of the three games he wasn’t ejected from, ad he should be able to keep churning against the Jets, who have given up some big plays this season. Lindsay has been getting enough work to make him a good play under $5K this week.
Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. OAK, $4,200 – The Chargers are using Ekeler as a pass-catching back on third downs and giving him a few series to relieve Melvin Gordon III ($8,600) throughout the game. Ekeler has gotten at least 7-14 touches each week and ripped off a 22-yard reception to go with 25 yards on eight carries last week against the 49ers. He finished with 13.6 DKFP and has at least 12 DKFP in three of his past four games. The Raiders are a great matchup for the entire team, and Ekeler has played himself into a big enough role now that he’ll be a solid value play. Other cheap options worth checking out include Aaron Jones ($4,300), Corey Grant ($3,700) and Ito Smith ($3,000) (if Devonta Freeman (knee) remains out).
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
Dede Westbrook, JAX at KC, $4,700 – Westbrook leads the Jaguars in targets, catches and receiving yards after a big Week 4 against the Jets. He totaled 25.1 DKFP by catching 9-of-13 targets for 130 yards, losing a fumble, and adding an 11-yard rush for good measure. He has become the go-to receiver in the offense without Marqise Lee (knee), and he could be even bigger in the coming weeks after the hamstring injury to starting RB Leonard Fournette ($6,200). Westbrook has huge upside against the Chiefs, a struggling secondary that could allow a few big plays. He does have the boom-or-bust nature to his game since the Jaguars spread the targets around, and his success does depend on Blake Bortles ($5,500).
Jordy Nelson, OAK at LAC, $4,500 – Nelson come out of nowhere in Week 3 and caught six passes for 173 yards, a touchdown and 32.3 DKFP. He did come back to earth in Week 4 but still posted 17.8 DKFP but catching five passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. He isn’t one of Carr’s top options, but the veteran showed the last two weeks he offers big-play ability in addition to a steady goal-line option. Nelson gets a good matchup with the Chargers.
Taywan Taylor, TEN at BUF, $4,000 – Taylor stepped up to the team’s second receiver spot after Rishard Matthews forced his release from the Titans. Taylor tied for second on the team with nine targets and converted seven catches for 77 yards and 14.7 DKFP. Taylor was a preseason standout and should get chances to make plays against the Bills in Week 5. Taylor has big-play potential which gives him a high upside, and his usage is trending straight up so far this season.
Christian Kirk, ARI at SF, $3,700 – The Cardinals got the Josh Rosen ($4,700) era underway with a narrow loss to the Seahawks last week, and they’ll look to get their first win of the season as they head to San Francisco. Rosen has some experienced receiving options, but he also has Kirk, who the Cardinals drafted in the second round. Kirk caught 4-of-5 targets for just 28 yards last week, but he has big-play ability and a great matchup against the porous secondary of the 49ers. He’s a risky play, but he’s my top WR play under $4K.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
Vance McDonald, PIT vs. ATL, $3,700 – McDonald got a lot of attention for his Monday Night Football stiff-arm in Week 3. He caught 4-of-5 targets for 112 yards and a touchdown in that game, and he followed that up with 62 more yards while catching all five of his targets in Week 4. McDonald is a physical specimen with elite size and athleticism, so he has a high ceiling if he can distance himself from Jesse James ($3,100) and become Big Ben’s top TE target.
David Njoku, CLE vs. BAL, $3,400 – Njoku and the rest of the Browns’ offense got a boost from new starting QB Baker Mayfield ($5,300), even though they couldn’t quite get a road win in Oakland. Njoku had his best game of the season catching 5-of-7 targets for 52 yards. He still hasn’t found the end zone this season, but he has a great set of skills and should excel now with a QB who is more willing to stretch the field and give his playmakers chances to make plays. Njoku is a key piece of the offense coming into a tough matchup with the Ravens, and I think his usage and potential is high enough to overlook the matchup.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
CIN vs. MIA, $2,700 – The Bengals are 3-1 despite playing three of their four games on the road. They’ll come home and host the Dolphins, who only scored a late garbage-time touchdown on the road last week in New England. Cincinnati had 10.0 DKFP in as a defense in the only home game so far with four sacks and three forced turnovers. The Dolphins have been in the middle of the pack as far as matchups go, but the Bengals definitely have enough playmakers on the defensive side of the ball to make them the best $2.8K play of this week.
CLE vs. BAL, $2,500 – The new Browns will try to show the former Browns how improved their defense is this week in a gritty AFC North showdown. The defense got lit up for 45 points on the road last week but compensated with three sacks and two interceptions to produce 3.0 DKFP. It was their lowest total of the season so far, and they have posted 16.0 and 9.0 DKFP in their two home games. Coming home to face the Ravens should get them fired up and hopefully allow them to keep getting at the QB and keep forcing turnovers.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.