We are practically at the quarter mark of the 2023 NFL season, and it’s time for bye weeks to limit our DFS player pools. We have the fewest games on the slate of any week so far this season, with four teams getting some rest time. But before we look ahead to some DFS plays for NFL Week 5, I first need to ask a question.
Did Christian McCaffrey save your Week 4 DFS lineups?
If you were like me and decided it was a Cincinnati Bengals bounce-back week, you were likely struggling going into the afternoon games. When this happens, we are pushed to take advantage of the late swap aspect of DFS to give ourselves the best opportunity to make up ground.
Late swap is an underrated aspect of DFS Cash strategy and is more nuanced than one might expect. For example, going into the afternoon games last week, I knew I needed a big game from Christian McCaffrey and Joshua Palmer for me to cash.
But I had to assess how I thought the rest of the field would play their lineups. Would McCaffrey be 80% rostered, so unable to help me make up ground? Should I pivot to someone like Josh Jacobs, who may be lower-rostered but has solid upside?
I ended up sticking with McCaffrey, taking the bet that fewer people played him because of his prohibitive salary and that he had the best upside of anyone yet to play.
Wow, did that work out! With every touchdown, I got closer to the cash line, eventually cashing in my 50/50 lineup, making me profitable for the day.
The lesson? Don’t sit and forget your Cash lineups. Check in about an hour before the afternoon games and identify whether you need to pivot to save your lineup.
If you need late swap advice, always feel free to message us @ClubFantasyFFL or me @Austin_FFL.
Cash is in session.
NFL DFS Week 5
Bijan Robinson (DraftKings: $7,700 / FanDuel: $8,200)
Sometimes, the NFL schedule provides us with a dream matchup. The Houston Texans have allowed the sixth-most points to opposing running backs through Week 4. Bijan Robinson continues to demonstrate why he was worth a top-10 pick, averaging 6.0 yards per carry and nearly five catches per game. Sure, the price is challenging, but we can save money elsewhere, and his production makes it worth it.
Lamar Jackson (DraftKings: $7,800 / FanDuel: $8,400)
I avoided Lamar Jackson in Week 4, buying into the narrative that the Cleveland Browns defense was the truth. But Jackson continued to demonstrate why he was the unanimous MVP in 2019 and showed out, scoring two rushing touchdowns on his way to an impressive win. Now he gets the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have oddly been struggling on defense through four weeks. Additionally, the Steelers’ offense has been putting them in bad situations. That can only mean good things for the Baltimore Ravens. Expect Jackson to maintain his string of solid performances on Sunday.
Joe Mixon (DraftKings: $6,400 / FanDuel: $7,000)
I’m out on the Cincinnati Bengals pass offense until they prove it, but I can still talk myself into Joe Mixon. He has at least 15 touches in every game this season. His pass-game utilization could be better, but he is getting enough targets to warrant a safe floor. Now, it could be easy to overreact and expect Mixon to feast on the Arizona Cardinals as Christian McCaffrey did. It is unlikely Mixon can accomplish such a feat, but the Cardinals have been a good matchup for running backs even before they met McCaffrey. Mixon is a quality option to provide some salary savings in a week where there are many expensive players.
Tyreek Hill (DraftKings: $9,000 / FanDuel: $9,400)
Speaking of expensive players, Tyreek Hill is the most expensive receiver on FanDuel this week and the second most on DraftKings. Hill is coming off a down week against a tough Buffalo Bills defense but is poised to bounce back against the New York Giants. This is simply targeting the best players and finding ways to fit their salary into our lineups. Hill is averaging 10 targets per game. That usage warrants a DFS startup, no matter the salary. He is a lineup lock on a weekly basis. The only question is, how are you going to make room for his salary?
Justin Jefferson (DraftKings: $9,400 / FanDuel: $9,200)
How is Justin Jefferson cheaper on FanDuel than DraftKings? I do not understand. He has been targeted at least 10 times in all but one game this year, where he received nine targets. He has put up over 100 yards every week but one. Now, the Vikings matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. They will need to rely on their number-one receiver to have any chance of taking down Patrick Mahomes. Now, the Chiefs’ defense has been solid this year, but Jefferson should still get enough targets to pay off his salary, particularly on FanDuel, where touchdowns are so valuable.
Check the Chalkboard
David Montgomery (DraftKings: $6,600 / FanDuel: $8,500)
I am so happy to see David Montgomery killing it this year. I’ve been on the hype train for years, and it is paying dividends this year. I am continuing to pick on the Carolina Panthers run defense this year, who are giving up the fourth-most points to running backs this year. Montgomery continues to lead the Lions’ backfield in touches and is getting all of the red zone opportunities. Don’t overthink this one; Montgomery should be in everyone’s Cash lineup.
Calvin Austin (DraftKings: $3,500 / FanDuel: $4,800)
If you had told me we would be looking to Calvin Austin as a DFS play this year, I would’ve assumed he was the only healthy Pittsburgh receiver available. But he is consistently bringing in between five and six targets. His salary is absolutely absurd, allowing us to get frisky elsewhere. Plus, the Baltimore Ravens have only been okay against receivers, and the Steelers will likely play from behind, so Austin should get plenty of opportunities to thrive. Enjoy those salary savings.
Back of the Classroom Studs
C.J. Stroud (DraftKings: $6,000 / FanDuel: $7,200)
C.J. Stroud has been one of the most impressive stories from the beginning of the season. I was very nervous about his opportunity this season because of the wide receiver room in Houston. But through four weeks, he is quickly becoming the offensive rookie of the year favorite and now gets a dream matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons are a middle-of-the-road team against quarterbacks, they are averaging 17 points per game to the position, which is enough to pay off Stroud’s salary. Plus, he is one of the cheaper options at quarterback, enabling me to spend big at running back.
Breece Hall (DraftKings: $5,400 / FanDuel: $6,500)
I have been waiting for this moment for weeks. Robert Saleh has announced that Breece Hall is no longer on a pitch count, and it comes at the perfect time for DFS players. The Jets play the Denver Broncos, who have gotten shredded by opposing running backs. Even if we ignore the week where the Miami Dolphins shot the moon, the Broncos have provided opposing running backs opportunities to bounce back, such as last week when Khalil Herbert finally met the preseason hype. Now, Breece Hall gets the chance to return to his 2022 form and remind us why he was an offensive rookie of the year candidate.
Zay Flowers (DraftKings: $5,500 / FanDuel: $5,900)
Zay Flowers is quickly becoming a staple for our DFS Cash lineups, providing a workable salary paired with solid usage. Flowers’ targets have fluctuated depending on the matchup, basically having lower usage against tough secondaries and vice versa. And surprisingly, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the better matchups for receivers this year, giving up the second most points to the position. Plus, his salary is exactly what we need to fit in the likes of David Montgomery and Bijan Robinson. Lock it in.
Dalton Schultz (DraftKings: $3,400 / FanDuel: $4,900)
We are going to beat up on the Atlanta Falcons until they prove they can defend the middle of the field. Last week, Christian Kirk hit his over, and Evan Engram had a solid outing. Now, it’s time for Dalton Schultz to show out against an improved but vulnerable Falcons defense. They are allowing the fourth-most points to tight ends despite not facing off against any of the elite tight ends. Plus, Schultz’s value is too good to pass on in a week when we need to save money.
Tyler Higbee (DraftKings: $4,100 / FanDuel: $5,300)
Remember when the Philadelphia Eagles defense was an automatic play for streaming tight ends? Somehow, we are back to that world, as they are allowing the third-most points to the position. With the return of Cooper Kupp on the horizon, I’m expecting most of the attention to go towards stopping Kupp and Puca Nacua, which will provide opportunities for Tyler Higbee to get open underneath. Higbee has gotten at least five targets in all but one week this year, which is plenty of volume for a punt play at tight end.
Arizona Cardinals (DraftKings: $2,800 / FanDuel: $3,700)
You could call this an overreaction, going from hyping the Bengals one week to betting against them the next. But let’s be honest: that offensive line has been rough, and Joe Burrow isn’t healthy enough to avoid sacks. Further, the Bengals have lost all of their explosiveness this year, making me less afraid of huge down-the-field touchdown passes. Overall, we need the salary savings, and the Bengals offense needs to prove it before we bet for them again.
Houston Texans (DraftKings: $3,500 / FanDuel: $3,600)
As much as I love Bijan Robinson against the Texans, Desmond Ridder makes me nervous, as does the offensive line. Ridder has gotten away with some turnover-worthy plays but has been prone to put the ball into danger. Further, the Falcons have struggled in pass protection, providing opportunities for the Texans to have a safe floor with sacks. That can lead to turnovers and increased opportunities for Houston to hit their ceiling.
- A: Scored over three times their price
- B: Scored over two times their price
- C: Matched their price
- F: Scored lower than their price
- A: Scored over two times their price
- B: Scored over one and a half times their price
- C: Matched their price
- F: Scored lower than their price