Players to Avoid: Week 5

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the fifth week of the NFL season.

Matt Ryan, Falcons, $13,400 – The theme of this article is “fading players who went off last week” because many of them draw polar opposite matchups this go-around. In Week 4, Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and four TDs en route to 39.52 fantasy points. However, Ryan and the suddenly high-powered Falcons offense will now square off against a Broncos defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (QBs) last season and ranks in the bottom five once again this year. Additionally, Tevin Coleman will be limited due to his sickle cell trait and how risky playing with the trait is in high altitude. Even though Ryan literally ranks as QB1 in fantasy this season and is only priced as QB6 in this matchup, it is time to sit him and get ahead of the regression curve.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns, $9,500 – Isaiah Crowell is amidst an awfully productive 2016 campaign where he has scored at least 15.80 fantasy points in 3-4 games. Ever more impressively, he has averaged at least 5.2 yards per carry (YPC) in all four games despite the poor QB play and loaded boxes against him. Nevertheless, the Browns are listed as the largest underdogs of the entire weekend as the Patriots opened as 10.5 point favorites against them. This is just about the worst possible scenario for game flow when projecting Crowell because Duke Johnson Jr. plays on passing downs. If the team gets down early, they will be throwing often and for the most part will need to abandon the running game. Assuming that is the case, Johnson, and not Crowell, is the back to own in this backfield. While the price seems reasonable here, Crowell is nothing more than a trap in Week 5.

Ryan Mathews, Eagles, $9,100 – Following the bye week, Ryan Mathews will return to the Eagles lineup and Coach Doug Pederson says Mathews “will be the number one back.” He then followed up those sentiments by stating Wendell Smallwood has earned a role in this offense as well. The way to beat the Lions is via the air as they have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing QBs including 12 passing TDs. They have been quite stout against opposing running games so why would a team with the red-hot Carson Wentz run into a brick wall when they can air it out successfully? Look for Darren Sproles to be schemed more heavily into the offense this week so both the backs reliant on carries (Mathews, Smallwood) are virtually unusable.

Matt Jones, Redskins, $8,800 – Another guy coming off of his best week of the season is Matt Jones so the natural instinct is to try and ride the hot streak. Ignore those instincts because Jones has been an easy player to predict this season and cloudy skies loom over this upcoming matchup against the Ravens. When facing a bad defense in a game Vegas projects to be close, Jones is serviceable from a fantasy perspective. This week, Jones is an easy fade because he’s facing a defense allowing the third fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs (RBs) and a majority of his value comes from finding the end zone. Since he is rarely ever targeted (six targets through three games), Jones would have to surpass 100 yards rushing and top it off with a TD to provide a significant amount of value for his fantasy owners. Despite the full workload likely headed his way, his Week 5 matchup feels eerily similar to LeGarrette Blount’s Week 4 outlook (Blount finished with 8.80 fantasy points) in the sense that he’s a TD-dependent back in a poor matchup for his skill set.

Julio Jones, Falcons, $18,000 – No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (WRs) than the Broncos so the Falcons passing game is simply worth fading altogether. 90-percent of the time star cornerback Aqib Talib has lined up on the right side of the formation this season while Julio Jones has spread around where he lines up pretty evenly between the right side, slot and left side. Unfortunately for Jones, Chris Harris Jr. is also one of the best corners in the game and the Broncos would be wise to assure one of the two is always guarding Jones. Coming off a 300 yard game, Jones isn’t exactly a secret, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Broncos regularly double cover him. Unlike the Panthers, the Broncos are loaded with upper-echelon players at the position, so expecting a repeat of last week would be foolish. This is the toughest possible matchup a WR could draw so spend up for Antonio Brown instead if looking to roster an elite receiver.

Travis Benjamin, Chargers, $12,300 – For the second consecutive week, Travis Benjamin finished third in snaps amongst the Chargers WR core in Week 4. Here are the snap counts from the last two weeks:

Week 3: Dontrelle Inman 53, Tyrell Williams 52 and Benjamin 44

Week 4: Inman 67, Williams 65 and Benjamin 53

Even so, Benjamin is priced as the most expensive member of the group…that doesn’t make very much sense. During that span, Williams has been targeted 17 times, Inman 15 times and Benjamin 14 times. While there isn’t much disparity in the snaps nor the targets, there isn’t much disparity in the skill sets either. All of them are sort of average talents and therefore the high-probability play is to simply use the ones seeing more opportunity especially since they are cheaper. There is nothing scary about the matchup against the Raiders this week so both Inman and Williams are viable options are reasonable price tags. An overpriced Benjamin can be safely avoided.

Greg Olsen, Panthers, $12,000 – Cam Newton is 50/50 to play this weekend, but regardless of whether he does or not, the leader in fantasy points at the tight end (TE) position is an easy fade (especially in cash games). Literally the only aspect in which the Buccaneers defense rates above average is against the TE position. Opposing TEs have only managed 12 receptions (RECs), 115 yards and zero TDs against this defense in 2016. Maybe most importantly, nearly all of the mid-priced TEs draw favorable matchups this week so there is very little motivation to pay up. As if that weren’t enough, Tom Brady will return this week to likely revamp Rob Gronkowski’s season and Jordan Reed finally began to receive targets at his usual rate in the red zone last week. There are too many viable alternatives to force Olsen into a lineup solely based on name value.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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