The story line of Week 5 was, of course, injuries. It was the story of my NFL Sunday FanDuel Sunday Million lineup too, as Carlos Hyde, Jordy Nelson, and DeVante Parker were all banged up and entirely ineffective on Sunday. Carson Wentz had the best game of his career, but his efforts to get the ball past Patrick Peterson to Alshon Jeffery were futile. All in all, it left me with a week to forget. First or last. I trust my Week 6 NFL FanDuel Sunday Million pivot plays will be better, cause they can’t be worse.
Here’s a look at the winning lineup and my picks from Week 5. Then this week’s top pivots.
Week 5 FanDuel Sunday Million Winning Lineup
Total Points: 201.24
Dak Prescott: $7,700 salary; 30.74 points; 14% owned
Leonard Fournette: $7,600 salary; 30.9 points; 8.5% owned
Melvin Gordon: $7,100 salary; 31.3 points; 8.7% owned
Antonio Brown: $8,800 salary; 20.7 points; 17.2% owned
Jordy Nelson: $8,600 salary; 9.4 points; 34.4% owned
Michael Crabtree: $6,900 salary; 17.2 points; 2% owned
Ed Dickson: $4,700 salary; 20 points; 0.4% owned
Harrison Butker: $4,500 salary; 21 points; 8% owned
Miami Dolphins: $4,100 salary; 20 points; 7.6% owned
Week 3 Picks
Carson Wentz: 28.26 points; 3.1% owned
Carlos Hyde: 2.3 points; 12.6% owned
Alshon Jeffery: 4.6 points; 2.7% owned
Ben Watson: 1.2 points; 0.8% owned
Chalk: Tom Brady ($9,500), Drew Brees ($8,000)
Why: Pretty obvious picks here. Tom Brady could easily put up 4 touchdowns in the first half against the Jets. Brees gets the Lions at home in the week’s highest over/under (51).
Stafford has been pretty disappointing from a fantasy perspective this season, but Detroit’s schedule has been brutal through the first five weeks of 2017. Fortunately, the Lions have their best matchup yet on Sunday, traveling to face a Saints defense that’s allowing the sixth highest passer rating to opposing quarterbacks.
Stafford suffered injuries to his thigh and ankle in Week 5, but there is arguably no one tougher in this league than the former No. 1 pick. He hasn’t missed a game since 2010 and will play Sunday, but injury concerns and his $8,500 salary will scare most people away. Buy.
Cousins won’t be under 5% owned on Sunday, but he’ll go overlooked in favor of guys like Brady, Brees, Deshaun Watson and maybe even Matt Ryan.
Coming off a bye, look for Cousins to continue building off encouraging performances in Weeks 3 and 4, where he threw for a combined 585 yards and five touchdowns. San Francisco is in the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed, and they’ll be traveling to D.C. for a 1 PM eastern start.
CHALK: Leonard Fournette ($8,600); Todd Gurley ($8,400)
Why: Matched up against one another, Fournette and Gurley each have the luxury of drawing a league-worst rush defense in Week 6. Fournette is coming off his best game of 2017, while Gurley is coming off his worst, but both should be very popular on Sunday. Same for Melvin Gordon. It’s probably worth paying up for the chalk at running back in Week 6.
Again, it’s probably worth playing chalk at running back on Sunday, but Lamar Miller looks to have a new spring in his step over the past few weeks. Maybe it’s from Bill O’Brien’s public call out after Week 3, or more likely Deshaun Watson’s influence on Houston’s offense has spilled over to Miller.
Either way, the Texans’ lead back is averaging nearly 4.5 yards per carry over his last two games. And while Cleveland’s run defense looks scary on paper, it hasn’t faced an elite running back since Le’Veon Bell coming off an off-season hold out in Week 1. Miller’s ownership will be below 7% on Sunday, making him a great differentiation option amongst all the chalk.
Martin reestablished himself as Tampa Bay’s lead back last Thursday, rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. It was against New England, though, so Martin will have a tougher test against the Cardinals in Week 6.
Martin will be overlooked in fantasy circles this week, but his on-field usage is going to continue increase. If he can maintain anything close to the 5.7 yards per carry he averaged in Week 5 he’ll be extremely valuable on Sunday.
CHALK: Antonio Brown ($9,200), DeAndre Hopkins ($8,000)
Why: Hopkins looks like the 2015 version of himself with the emergence of Deshaun Watson, hauling in four touchdowns and 24 catches in his last two games. Houston hosts the Browns in Week 6. Brown has exceeded 20 FanDuel points in 3 of 5 games this year, and he drew 19 targets last week. Even with Ben Roethlisberger struggling, Kansas City’s defense is just not good enough to scare people away this year.
Chris Hogan has earned WR1 status in New England, despite the assumption that Cooks would assume the role entering the year. But New England’s week to week unpredictability is well documented, and there should be plenty of touches to go around against the Jets this weekend.
Cooks has taken some time to settle in, but the Patriots have drawn tough matchups in each of their past three contests, including the Panthers and Texans. And despite his relatively low catch total (18), Cooks is fifth in the NFL in receiving yards. In fact, according to Pro Football Reference, he’s on pace to become just the fifth NFL player in 50 years to amass over 1,200 yards on less than 60 catches. Something’s gotta give. A gamble that could pay off nicely.
Pryor has burned enough fantasy owners this year (myself included) to deserve being temporarily black listed from most season-long and DFS lineups. But Pryor was brought to D.C. to be a No. 1 receiver, and he’s better than he’s showed so far in 2017.
Coming off it’s bye, Washington hosts a San Francisco defense that has just looked exhausted in recent weeks, particularly in a Week 5 overtime loss at Indianapolis. I’m done with Pryor if he lets me down again on Sunday, but he’ll be no more than 6-7% owned, and he’s worth the gamble in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million.
CHALK: Rob Gronkowski ($8,000), Jordan Reed ($6,500)
Why: Both of these guys are listed as questionable going into Thursday, but Gronk and Reed are each fully expected to suit up in Week 6. With such ugly options below them, it might be worth it to pay up at tight end. And I almost never do.
This pick may be more chalky than I want to admit, but tight end is just so ugly on Sunday with Kelce and Reed banged up, and Ertz and Graham unavailable.
Henry drew eight targets in San Diego’s lone win of the season on Sunday. It took five weeks, until the Chargers’ playoff hopes were basically gone, before they got Henry involved in the passing game. They deserve to be 1-4.
Either way, look for Henry to build off modest 42 yard performance in Week 5 and score for the third straight week in Oakland.
Fleener has gone dark for New Orleans’ past two games after finding the end zone in Weeks 1 and 2. But his cold streak is as much a product of New Orleans’ recent matchups as anything else.
On Sunday, the opponent will not be a problem, with the Lions visiting New Orleans having allowed the fourth most passing yards in the NFL. You can’t count on Fleener to do much more than catch a handful of passes, but if he scores a touchdown he’ll be hugely valuable with a single-digit ownership percentage on Sunday.