Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.
Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, heading into Week 5:
Carson Wentz, Eagles – You’ve seen those Adidas “anything you can do, I can do better” Gatorade commercials, right? Well, anything Brian Hoyer can do, Carson Wentz can do better including exploiting an extremely friendly matchup against the Lions’ porous pass defense. Heading into Week 4, only the Falcons had allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (QBs) and Hoyer torched them for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns (TDs) with Kevin White banged up. To this point, no QB has graded higher than Wentz according to Pro Football Focus. Let me say that again: no QB has graded higher than Wentz according to Pro Football Focus. It needed to be said twice to display just how incredibly well Wentz has fared in his short tenure as starting QB for the Eagles. As a whole, the Lions’ rank 27th in Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic, meaning only five defenses have allowed opposing offenses to fare better against them as compared to an average outing. Additionally, tight end (TE) Zach Ertz is expected to be back for this game and the Lions have allowed the second most fantasy points to the position. With two solid pass-catching TEs at his disposal, and amidst a stretch of him playing unbelievably, Wentz is one of the safest bets to meet value of any QB on the Week 5 slate (even as a rookie in just his fourth game)!
Jordan Howard, Bears – To signify how drastically Jordan Howard is dominating the touches in the Bears backfield sans Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey, Howard played 63 snaps to just six for Joique Bell in Week 4. At this point, Howard is the definition of a workhorse back and he’ll draw a fantastic matchup against the Colts on Sunday. Last week, T.J. Yeldon managed a respectable 5.1 yards per carry (YPC) and 11.5 yards per catch against them after having not surpassed 4.0 YPC or 7.5 yards per catch in any of his first three games…including a matchup against the Saints who are allowing the most fantasy points per game to the running back (RB) position. Before Langford went down with an ankle injury, he failed to exceed 3.4 YPC in either of his first two games. Meanwhile, Howard’s YPC for the season currently hits at 5.1 and he hasn’t sunk below 4.8 in any of his three games thus far…including a 23 carry, 111 yard performance in Week 4. He’s quite clearly the best back on the team, being targeted in the passing game and receiving all the goal line work. In a matchup against a Colts team making everyone look like a star back, Howard is one of the safest bets for RB2 production on the entire slate (and he’s still incredibly cheap).
Todd Gurley, Rams – For the first time this season, Todd Gurley was targeted more than three times and caught more than one pass this past week. In fact, he caught all five of his targets for 49 yards on top of his 19 carries. If the team is going to keep him involved in the passing game, the sky is the limit for him. Sure he is only averaging 2.6 YPC but only three backs have been given more attempts (ATTs) than Gurley. The team is going to continue to feed the beast and one of these weeks his talent is going to overcome other teams loading the box. Although the Bills have only allowed 3.6 YPC to this point, they have allowed the ninth most receptions (22) and 11th most fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Assuming Gurley remains involved in the passing game (and why wouldn’t he?), this is a solid matchup for him to produce a safe floor due to the receptions (RECs). Both David Johnson and Matt Forte compiled productive outings against this team so expect Gurley to follow in their footsteps.
Julian Edelman, Patriots – With Tom Brady as his QB, Julian Edelman has averaged 6.62 receptions per game over the past three seasons…a span of 39 games. During that stretch, Edelman has stayed healthy for 14-plus games twice and finished with at least 92 RECs in each of those seasons. He is Brady’s move-the-chains option and one Brady trusts (which is quite important). Now, Brady will return for a matchup against the Browns and the last two QBs to face them have went off. Ryan Tannehill threw for 300-plus yards and three TDs in Week 3 and Kirk Cousins torched them for three TDs last week as well. It shouldn’t take Brady long to get acclimated which means targets should be headed Edelman’s way early and often. Although Edelman won’t come cheap, he shouldn’t as Brady’s clear favorite receiver in a dominant offense versus a susceptible defense. He is an elite cash option as per usual with his crony under center once again.
Jordy Nelson, Packers – Like a few of the top QBs in the league, Aaron Rodgers seems to perform better at home and he definitely performs better when Jordy Nelson is on the field. In 2014 with a healthy Nelson, Rodgers threw for 4,381 yards and 38 TDs to just five interceptions (INTs). The following season when Nelson was injured, those numbers depreciated to 3,821 yards, 31 TDs and eight INTs. Furthermore, Rodgers threw for 2,122 yards and 17 TDs in Lambeau Field last year compared to just 1,699 yards and 14 TDs on the road last year after producing even more extreme splits in 2014 (2,334 yards and 25 TDs at home versus 2,047 yards and 13 TDs on the road). The Giants defense is improved but the Packers are listed as 7.0 point favorites at home in a game with a projected 47.0 point over/under. Oh by the way, Nelson has caught at least five passes and scored a TD in every game so far this season. Lock him in if looking for both a high floor and high ceiling.
Eric Ebron, Lions – Despite scoring only one TD so far this season, Eric Ebron currently ranks as TE7 in terms of fantasy points per game and TE6 in terms of total fantasy points. He is locked and loaded as a staple in the new look Lions passing game and a favorite of Matthew Stafford’s in the red zone. Although he has only caught one TD, he has been targeted at least once in the red zone every single week to this point. Also, his 8.4 yards per target rank third among all tight ends (TEs) with at least 20 targets. The Eagles have allowed the absolute fewest fantasy points to opposing TEs to this point but only rank fourth toughest against the position, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Here are the TEs they have faced to this point: Gary Barnidge (with Robert Griffin III under center), Zach Miller and Jesse James. Considering Ebron has been targeted at least five times in each game, and is the tall receiver they look for near the end zone, I don’t think it’s wise to cross him off the list simply due to the matchup. The price tag takes the matchup into consideration; he’s priced as TE13. At this price tag, you almost cannot go wrong, and he is simply the best TE this defense has faced to this point. Expect a normal output from him with the chance for a TD which would prove to be an excellent value at this cost.