Early lineup picks to consider ahead of this week’s NFL action

Whether you’ve played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are trying for the first time, this weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing who I like to build lineups around, stars to fade, underrated games and bargains -bin options to help you build a better team.

Lineup Building Blocks

Cooper Kupp ($40) vs. Dallas Cowboys

Kupp was kept out of the end zone for the first game of the whole season but saw a whopping 19 goals on Monday night. He marks himself out as the safest player in fantasy and somehow sees a significant increase Ziel and Air Yardage are split this season compared to his amazing 2021.

With a struggling LA attack, a now average Rams defense and Allen Robinson done like dinnerKupp on track to record 179 catches — 30 more than the NFL record!

The Cowboys aren’t a particularly cheap matchup, but no player is put in better situations/mismatches than Kupp, and the Rams are home with a healthy team implied total (24 points).

[Play in Yahoo’s Week 5 $250K Sunday Baller DFS contest]

Tom Brady ($28) vs. Atlanta Falcons

Brady matched his previous season’s total with three TD passes last week, with his receivers finally getting close to full strength, and he estimates he’ll be highly motivated on Sunday as he comes back from back-to-back home losses. With a depleted offensive line, Tampa Bay has had major trouble trying to run (fourth-worst EPA/rush), and Brady faces a Falcons defense at home that ranks third-worst in terms of pressure rate and has conceded the 10th-most fantasy points among quarterbacks .

Without Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes on the slate and with Josh Allen Brady may not have to do as much as usual with Buffalo, who is favored by two touchdowns, and is an intriguing DFS option this week.

Rhamondre Stevenson ($22) vs. Detroit Lions

Stevenson impresses in both the underlying stats and the eye test, and he’s sticking with it in a timeshare Damien Harris, he has averaged 17 touches with 10 goals over the past two games. New England is favored at home, no matter who starts this week as quarterback in an extremely favorable matchup against a Lions defense ripped for the league’s worst 5.6 YPC and an NFL-high 10 rushing scores.

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson, 38, has great fantasy potential this week

Rhamondre Stevenson underestimated the potential of fantasy this week. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Detroit has given up more rushing touchdowns this season than the Commanders, Cowboys, Titans, Bengals, Giants, Chiefs, and Patriots combined.

The Lions also ceded the second-most fantasy points to running backs while becoming the ideal Fantasy opponents as Detroit somehow both concedes (35.3) and scores (35.0) the most points in football. But remember: Stevenson will be a hugely popular DFS pick this week.

star to fade

Christian McCaffrey ($37) vs San Francisco 49ers

McCaffrey is playing through a hamstring injury, scored half his fantasy stats during Carolina’s last drive in garbage time last week, and is now getting the worst matchup possible. The 49ers’ defense ranks first in the DVOA while allowing the lowest points per game (11.5), YPC (2.9), and yards per game (3.8) in the NFL. In fact, San Francisco allows for it half a yard less per game than the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens.

The 49ers also gave up the second-least fantasy points for running backs, and McCaffrey has to deal with that by far the worst quarterback game in the league while he was on a Panthers team at the pace to run the fewest games in the last 20 years. Carolina is also the only team not yet 300 yards in a game this season and has the lowest team implied total this week (16.5 points). It will be difficult to justify paying CMC and his second-highest salary among RBs.

Underrated options

Zach Wilson ($23) vs. Miami Dolphins

Wilson retired in the fourth quarter last week during his season debut, and he now gets a pass-funnel Dolphins defense, giving the quarterbacks the third-most fantasy points. Miami’s defense actually ranks in the bottom three on EPA/pass (0.26) but in the top five on EPA/rush (-0.23), so it doesn’t get much more funnel than that.

In addition, the Dolphins have the second-highest YPA (7.8) with a TD:INT ratio of 8:1 and possess the second-lowest pressure rating in football. Wilson remains a huge work-in-progress, but he’s sneakily turned on his head and is laden with guns Garret Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Breece Hall (corner dolphins Xavien Howard is also questionable).

[Week 5 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Breece Hall ($18) vs Miami Dolphins

As illustrated above, Miami is a better matchup for passing than running, but Hall is still undervalued with a salary outside of the top 20 RBs (I suggested trying to trade Najee Harris for Hall right during the week 4 fantasy wrap).

Hall saw the second most red-zone carries/targets of any RB last week while continuing to take New York’s lead back. While the rookie is among the leaders explosive charge rate, Michael Carter is downward. Crucially, Hall saw six goals in his first game with Wilson as quarterback last week and the rookie kind of ran back Leads all pass catchers in the NFL in goals per route run rate. And he’s on a Jets team on average the second most combined games this season.

Hall’s DFS salary does not reflect the imminent explosion.


Khalil Shakir ($10) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jamison Crowder is out with a broken ankle, and Isaiah McKenzie left last week’s game with a concussion, suddenly shaking Shakir could be Buffalo’s seed receiver. With Gabe Davis among the lowest receivers in football in terms of goal percentage while limping through an ankle injury and Jake Kumerow Shakir, who is himself struggling with a high ankle sprain, could have a healthy number of goals to consider a pass-happy Bills offense.

The rookie is a fine athlete and faces a Steelers defense that concedes the sixth most fantasy points at wide receiver and fights the slot. Shakir is particularly tempting at the DFS minimum should McKenzie be forced to miss Week 5.

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