DFS Three And Out 2019 week 5

By Bob Harris
Bob Harris
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.

I'm In:

Auden Tate, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

As FootballDiehards.com's very own Kyle Dvorchak preaches on the regular, you need some "free squares" to build a great roster. This week, Tate is my free square -- albeit freer on DraftKings ($3,500) than FanDuel ($5,300). Of course, the key to the "Dvorchak Free Square" is a cheap player with a viable role. Tate checked that box even before John Ross went on injured reserve earlier this week. No, Tate doesn't boast Ross-like speed (a shortcoming Tate shares with most of the world), but he has something else you can't coach: Size. Tate's 6-5, 228-pound frame affords him a great advantage on contested passes. And the role? Tate has been on the field for 89 percent and 93 percent of the Bengals' offensive snaps in Weeks 3 and 4 while drawing a 21.9 percent target share (with 16 total looks over those two games). That's not a role; that's a significant role. So how about the matchup? According to FantasyPro's Mike Tagliere, Tate will see a mix of rookie Byron Murphy and Chris Jones in coverage. The 5-11, 190-pound Murphy might struggle in this one. Bottom line? As ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld put it, "There's no need to overthink this one. Tate's playing time and opportunity are there and his bargain-basement price allows us to jam in the studs." Also, you know I won't talk anybody out of playing any tight end going up against the Cardinals, not even if that tight end is Tyler Eifert. Feel free if you're so inclined. The price ($4,600 on FanDuel; $3,300 on DraftKings) there is certainly right.

Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders

Don't look now, but Waller has 33 catches and 320 yards, good for first and third in the NFL among tight ends, respectively. Even more impressive, those 33 catches have come on 37 targets. That's a very good catch rate (I said in Captain Obvious voice). In fact, Waller's 33 catches tied Antonio Gates (2007) for most by tight end in first four games of season. Beyond that, Waller has run a route on 112 of 140 of Derek Carr's dropbacks this season -- which, as Zeidenfeld characterized it, "is absolute rarified air for a tight end." In addition, the Bears are tied for 13th in the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to the tight end position per game (12 points per in PPR leagues). Potential bonus? It's early in the week, but Terrell Williams is a key part of Oakland's passing game, having caught a touchdown pass in each of the Raiders' first four games. He's yet to practice this week due to a foot injury. If he is out -- or even limited, look for Waller ($6,400 on FanDuel; $5,000 on DraftKings) to become even more of a target for Carr in London.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

I know. Christian McCaffery ($9,100 on FanDuel; $8,700 on DraftKings) is the guy everybody is paying up for in the DFS. But coming off a lousy game (18 carries for 35 yards with the game's only touchdown in New Orleans last weekend), Elliott ($8,800 on FanDuel; $8,300 on DraftKings) is going to be out to regain his mojo. Meanwhile, as ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky put it, "Elliott is the last person the Green Bay Packers want to see right now. ..." Not after they let Dalvin Cook break off a 75-yard touchdown run in Week 2 against the Vikings and the Broncos' Phillip Lindsay score twice on the ground in Week 3 and the Eagles pile up more yards on the ground (176) than they gained through the air (air) last Thursday. They have allowed 5.04 yards per run -- worse than all but three teams through Sunday's games -- and no team in the league has given up as many yards on the ground (529) as the Packers have the past three weeks. So yeah. It's a pretty solid matchup. Concerns? As NFL.com points out, the Packers' D has been particularly putrid on runs to the left side of the field, allowing 6.2 yards per rush that way -- 2.0 more than runs right -- per Next Gen Stats (second-most in the NFL). The Cowboys generally dominate running left, but with Tyron Smith out, we'll see how well Zeke can take advantage of that side of the Green Bay run D. Dallas averages 5.3 yards per rush to the left with Smith on the field since 2016 (582 rushes). The average dips to 4.3 yards per rush to the left without Smith over that same timeframe (153 rushes). So there's that. But whichever way Zeke runs, it should be a lot Sunday as the Cowboys look to bounce back from their first loss of the season. In three games against the Packers, including playoffs, he eclipsed the 100-yard mark each time. He has 79 carries (a minimum of 21 touches) for 398 yards in those three games combined. That's an average of 5.04 yards per carry -- or exactly what the Packers' defense has allowed to date in 2019.

I'm Out

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Sometimes, the major DFS sites are slow to catch up with shifting roles and changing circumstances. And clearly, nobody should be overreacting to anything that happens in September. Unless part of that something is a reliable commodity like Ben Roethlisberger going down and being replaced by a second-year signal caller like Mason Rudolph. I'm sure Rudolph will evolve and mature over the course of the season. I'm also sure there will be games where the Steelers' current inability/unwillingness to throw deep balls will change. They've talked about it. Heck, they talked about it heading into this past Monday night's game against the Bengals. But instead of going deep, Rudolph focused on short passes to the running backs (he only threw five passes beyond 10 yards in this one). When he was actually throwing, that is. Because the Wildcat, with Jaylen Samuels taking direct snaps from center, became a thing. Sure, it might be a short-lived thing. Or it might not. Either way, the fact that Diontae Johnson was Pittsburgh's most-productive wide receiver -- and only deep threat on Rudolph's radar -- on Monday night is a concern. Especially for Smith-Schuster, whose current price ($7,300 on FanDuel; $6,400 on DraftKings) does not match his current circumstance. I'm going to avoid this one until I see some signs the turnaround is here. Or it's coming. Or not.