Two of our fantasy experts — Dylan Fraychineaud and Harris Ahmadzai — have challenged each other to a season-long FanDuel battle. For those that aren’t familiar with the FanDuel, it’s a daily fantasy football site that allows millions of people from across the world duke it out on the virtual gridiron. Typically, each ‘contest’ involves some sort of salary cap, and the players are tasked with building the most optimal fantasy football lineup within the confines of said cap.
Rules are fairly standard — 4-point passing touchdowns, 6-points for a rushing or receiving touchdown, and .5 PPR. Lineups are comprised of 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 3 WR’s, 1 TE, 1 Flex, and a defense/special teams. We’re going to keep a running tally throughout the year of who wins every week, and the winner will receive monetary compensation and ultimate bragging rights.
After a 167.43-147.39 victory in Week 4, the score is now tied at 2-2.
Here’s what they each came up with for Week 5:
QB — ATL Matt Ryan (at PIT) — $8,300
Ryan is currently playing at a level similar to that of his MVP season. Pittsburgh has not yet proved they can stop anybody, and there are no signs that their defense will step it up this week. This game has all the makings of a shootout and I expect Ryan to do his part.
RB — PIT James Conner (vs. ATL) — $7,800; JAC T.J. Yeldon (at KC) — $6,500
Conner hasn’t flashed since his sterling debut in Cleveland to start the year. The Steelers having to play from behind has limited Conner’s numbers and he hasn’t quite shown the ability to be an above-average runner. However, he should have tons of opportunities this week. Conner should be targeted in the passing game due to Atlanta’s pass-rush — a six catch game sounds about right.
Yeldon has done a great job filling in for an injured Leonard Fournette. Yeldon is a weapon in the passing game as well as on the ground, and against a sub-par KC defense Yeldon should have a career day. Yeldon’s speed will be an advantage for Jacksonville’s offense all day.
WR — NYG Sterling Shephard (at CAR) — $6,200; HOU Keke Coutee (vs. DAL) — $5,400; DET Golden Tate (vs. GB) — $7,400
Eli Manning doesn’t appear to like throwing to OBJ. Conversely, Shephard has been targeted like he is Manning’s top option. With the Panthers looking to limit OBJ and Saquon, Shephard should continue to see a lot of balls thrown his way. Shephard has been targeted consistently in the red zone and I believe that trend will continue in Carolina.
Keke, do you love me? Coutee exploded onto the scene in Indianapolis last week. With Will Fuller nursing a hamstring injury, Coutee will be inline for another heavy workload. Due to Dallas’ advantage at the line of scrimmage Deshaun Watson will be forced into many short throws. The main benefactor of that is Coutee.
TE — PHI Zach Ertz (vs. MIN) — $7,500
Something is amiss with Minnesota’s defense. With Carson Wentz back in the fold, Ertz has a good chance to be the top receiving tight end all season. He looked great last week in Tennessee and it is likely the Stanford alum will be heavily involved this week. This week has a 10-catch, 112-yard performance written all over it.
FLEX — ATL Calvin Ridley (at PIT) — $6,800
Ridley has been a monster, period. Piggybacking off my reasoning for taking Matt Ryan, Ridley will have a huge day against a poor Pittsburgh defensive unit. As long as opposing teams focus all of their energy on Julio Jones, Ridley will take advantage of their lack of respect.
DEF — Tennessee Titans (at BUF) — $3,900
The Titans have one of the most talented defensive groups in football. The Bills are one of the least talented offenses in recent memory. Meaning, the Titans will have a great afternoon forcing Josh Allen into multiple mistakes and turnovers. Picking most defenses against the Bills will be a smart choice, but in this instance, the Titans have more talent than most — resulting in a banner day.
QB — HOU Deshaun Watson (vs. DAL) — $7,700
Last year’s breakout star finally showed some glimpses last week. For the first time this season, Watson looked comfortable leading Houston’s offense, and coach Bill O’Brien has given his QB a bit more freedom to be creative outside of the pocket. He leads all quarterbacks in rushing, and shouldn’t slow down against a Dallas team that will be playing without Sean Lee. With the Cowboys attempting to control the clock, expect Houston to try and pour it on, and jump on the Cowboys early.
RB — LAC Melvin Gordon (vs. OAK) — $8,700; TEN Derrick Henry (at BUF) — $5,800
I’m finally off the ‘set Kamara in every FanDuel lineup possible’ phase. With Ingram coming back, Kamara is expected to regress a bit. He’s still firmly a top-5 option, but I can live without paying top dollar for New Orleans’ second-year back this time around. Gordon has been heavily featured in the passing game, and the Raiders have no answers for a Chargers team that should put 30-plus points. Henry is a bit of a homerun swing. The Titans are committed to getting their two backs the ball, and a matchup with Buffalo is the perfect spot for Henry to rack up the carries in an attempt to control the clock.
WR — MIN Adam Thielen (at PHI) — $8,300; CIN Tyler Boyd (vs. MIA) — $6,300; DET Kenny Golladay (vs. GB) — $6,300
Have primarily stayed away from Minnesota players thus far, but both receivers have been on absolute tear. I feel more comfortable going with Thielen. He’s proven that he has the capacity for big performances without the need for touchdowns.
I’ve been on the Tyler Boyd hype train for the past couple of weeks, and it’s doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Dalton loves passing the ball to AJ Green — the only problem is defenses are aware of that trend. Every Cincy drive is almost geared towards getting Green in striking distance of the end zone, but to do that Dalton needs to take what the defenses presents him. When Green is double teamed, Boyd is left one-on-one, where he has been near unstoppable this year. Start him in all your leagues with confidence, he leads the team in targets and is integral to their scheme.
Golladay has a sweet matchup against a Packers team that needs to use its better defensive backs to shadow Marvin Jones Jr. and a white-hot Golden Tate. He’s established a nice floor for himself. Last week, he only managed four targets, but he caught everything thrown his way and manage a respectable 74 yards. The Lions could be down early, and Stafford is more than capable of spreading the wealth to all of his talented wide-outs.
TE — PHI Zach Ertz (vs. MIN) — $7,500
Minnesota’s defense is in shambles, and Carson Wentz looked a lot like his 2017-self last week. Even with Alshon Jeffery back, Ertz remains Wentz’ favorite target. He leads all TE’s in targets, receptions, and yards, but has yet to record a touchdown. He’ll find paydirt against the Vikings.
Flex — NYJ Quincy Enunwa (vs. DEN) — $6,100
Enunwa has emphatically taken over as Sam Darnold’s favorite target early on. His floor is manageable — at least eight targets in all four games — and he’s excellent at running after the catch. The Broncos are travelling to New York after a short week playing in a barnburner against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday. Denver’s defense, albeit stout, could come out a bit flat in a game that’s starting at 11:00 AM in Colorado.
Defense — Cleveland Browns (vs. BAL) — $3,300
I might be the only person that still doesn’t trust the Ravens defense. It was just two weeks ago that Joe Flacco looked absolutely terrible during the first half of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. After the break, Cincy took their foot off the gas, and dropped back seven in coverage on most plays. Flacco got comfortable and almost led an epic-comeback, but the Bengals executed a tried-and-true blueprint for slowing down Flacco — get to him early and often. The Browns actually have a similar looking defense to the Bengals, but are far more talented on the edge with Myles Garrett and Jamie Collins. If Cleveland hits Flacco in the opening quarter, they could feast on the immobile QB.
Sources: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports