Daily Optimized Lineup: Week Five

George Kritikos


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As part of that experience we at DLF felt it might be of particular interest to our readers to provide them with an optimized lineup that they should be able to plug into a Head to Head or 50/50 game and fully expect to win some money.

This week, I am filling in for the Ghost, providing my week five optimized lineup. Unfortunately, that means that there will be no recap for week four but never despair, my goal remains the same as his: Win you some mone.

With that in mind, let’s take a look!

QuarterbackBen Roethlisberger – $8,300

For the more budget conscious, Roethlisberger’s counterpart Blake Bortles ($6,300) has looked good so far and against a subpar Pittsburgh defense (seven touchdown passes allowed), he is a good play. However, I have been rolling with Roethlisberger, who is playing a Jacksonville team in the bottom for both passing yards and touchdowns and lead the league in opponents quarterback fantasy points. There is a lot to like here as Roethlisberger is throwing to arguably the best receiver in football this year and has one of the most productive running backs right behind him.

Big Ben is throwing at a career high completion rate (68.1%) with two 300 yard games already to his credit. He has always been a low turnover quarterback so the floor here is high. I expect him to finish as a top five quarterback this week and is a mild value as he is priced eighth at the position.

The only risk here is the Steelers building a big lead and riding out the running game. However, the aforementioned Bortles and the battered Steelers’ secondary will likely make this similar to last week’s game against Tampa Bay.

Projected Stat Line – 26 completions for 315 yards and three touchdowns

Running BackRashad Jennings$7,200

I suspect there will be a lot of players looking for a Jennings rebound this week, but it is hard to resist the price and potential workload. After 34 carries two weeks ago, Jennings was preserved by the Giants’ coaching staff and had a lot of Andre Williams mixed in during the week four blowout against Washington. Now, facing Atlanta, not only will Jennings be needed to help keep this game competitive, but he is confronted with a very favorable matchup.

Atlanta leads the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns allowed and is in the bottom five in rushing yards allowed per game (153.5). Couple that with a Giants offense third in the league in rushing attempts and we have ourselves a huge value here. Jennings is currently priced #14 at the position, which obviously is ignoring the upside in this matchup.

Expectations should be high here as Jennings had a long rest from last Thursday’s game and a tantalizing matchup. Bottom line, top ten is easily within reach and should be the floor.

Projected Stat Line – 24 rushes for 95 yards, three receptions for 35 receiving yards, one touchdown

Running BackReggie Bush$7,000

The news of both Theo Riddick and Joique Bell being hurt give Bush an opportunity at a very full workload. That, along with his versatility, will pay dividends in week five. Bush has an opportunity here with all the offensive injuries to be a true focal point in a must-win game for Detroit.

This week, the matchup with Buffalo is pretty neutral here. They are #15 in rushing yards per carry and #19 in rushing yards per game. While they have only allowed one rushing touchdown, they do average seven receptions a game to running backs, a fact that Detroit will surely exploit with Bush.

The price makes him a mid-tier number two back (17th), but his opportunity could push him towards a top ten week. I don’t expect a touchdown here but a safe week with a lot of touches and yards seem to be in store.

Projected Stat Line – 16 rushes for 70 yards, six receptions for 45 yards

Wide ReceiverAntonio Brown$9,000

I tend to be a bargain shopper at other positions and spend a little bigger at wide receiver. With Brown, I’m paying top dollar for a guy who has been nothing short of consistent. When you have had at least five catches for 20 straight weeks, it’s fair to call you a sure thing. With Big Ben rolling on my roster already, his running mate is coming along for the ride.

To put it mildly, Brown is facing the worst pass defense in the league against wide receivers. The Jaguars have allowed 66 receptions (worst), six touchdowns (tied for worst) and 951 yards (worst) to receivers so far this year. What is scary is that the price tag, although tops for receivers, may still be a bargain.

Not only do I expect a great game here, but there is very little downside in this matchup. Expect big things here.

Projected Stat Line – eight receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns

Wide ReceiverKelvin Benjamin $7,100

[inlinead]If you read my work over the summer, you would know I am not a fan of Benjamin’s long-term outlook. However, since Carolina may boast the shallowest receiver group in the league, he has been getting plenty of opportunites in his rookie season. He accounts for roughly a quarter of the Panthers’ pass targets and has had at least five catches, 75 yards and a touchdown in three of the first four weeks of the season. This is a consistency play and Benjamin exemplifies it already.

Looking at the Chicago defense, they are hurting from injury and lack the size to compete with Benjamin. Already, they have allowed six touchdowns to receivers, tied for worst in the league. Add in a pair of sub six foot cornerbacks, one of which is a rookie, and there is a recipe for some jump ball opportunities in the red zone.

Benjamin will be looked to frequently as the Carolina run game is an injury ridden disaster. He could see double digit targets in a game that may require a lot of points to win.

Projected Stat Line – Six receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown

Wide Receiver – Brian Quick – $6,000

Someone had to become the number one receiver in the Rams’ offense but most were not expecting that to be Quick. So far, Quick has had at least 60 yards receiving in each of the first three games and has the game breaking ability to take one to the house at any time. Add in a quarterback in Austin Davis who leads the league in deep ball accuracy and a big play could happen at any time.

Playing against the Philadelphia offense has its advantages; namely, the Philadelphia defense. That quick offensive pace does not give their defense much of a rest and it shows in their pass defense against receivers. Being in the bottom five in receptions, yards and touchdowns allowed to receivers is a combination of a porous secondary and an offense that forces opponents to throw more than usual.

Quick is still trading low on most daily sites and this matchup makes him an easy purchase. He will lead the team in targets and be a safe bet for yards. I also think he sneaks in a touchdown as the Rams will be passing often.

Projected Stat Line – Four receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown

Tight EndZach Ertz$5,400

On the other side of the St. Louis-Philadelphia ledger, I think an investment in Ertz will pay some dividends. His season has been a touch disappointing as the Eagles have inexplicably failed to feature him (under five targets per game). However, he is a game breaker whose only game under 40 yards receiving was in week three while nursing a sore knee.

The Rams have been treacherous for wide receivers this season, barely giving up 100 yards a game on a league low 30 total receptions. Given the Eagles’ proclivity for the pass game, someone will have to catch the ball here and Ertz will have a better matchup than the Philly receivers.

I don’t expect fireworks here from Ertz, but I do think he has a pretty safe floor at a reasonable price.

Projected Stat Line – Four receptions for 60 yards

Kicker – Shaun Suisham – $4,800

I don’t like trying to project kickers because they are so dependent on other players for fantasy relevance. This week, Suisham continues my Steelers trend (or anti-Jaguars trend if you’re a pessimist). He is averaging about ten fantasy points per game and is going up against the league’s most generous team towards kickers. Suisham is no slouch as he is among the league leaders in field goals made with have of his attempts coming from 40+ yards. I expect the Steelers to run away with this game so there may be some late field goals as they try to avoid running up the score too bad.

Projected Stat Line – Three field goals, three extra points

Defense – Detroit Lions – $4,800

I’m not sure if the switch from E.J. Manuel to Kyle Orton improves the Detroit defense’s chances, but I prefer to spend as little as I can on a relatively good matchup. This qualifies. Detroit is first in the league in yards allowed and second in points allowed so they are no slouch. It also tells me that they are severely underpriced as the 22nd highest at the position.

As for Buffalo, they are second to last in passing yards and in the bottom ten in scoring so far this season. That may change with Orton at quarterback, but there is a reason he has been a journeyman and a backup. The pass rush of the Lions and the rust of a new quarterback could make this a rough Sunday for the Buffalo offense.

Projected Stat Line – 10 points against, one interception, three sacks

That’s the team to roll with for this week. I even left you a few extra bucks to do some tinkering with. Good luck to everyone and remember, it’s just a game.