Deeper, Cheaper, and More Contrarian: Week 5

Deeper, Cheaper, and More Contrarian: Week 5

Welcome to Week 5. We hope to pound out some contrarian gold like we did in Week 4. The upcoming slate is a different animal. … It doesn’t offer lightly owned high-end quarterback plays like Ben Roethlisberger last week. Contrarian quarterback usage this week is not for the faint of heart, as it will carry a higher bust rate. I’ll touch on a couple other positional strategies as we go through my Week 5 Fantasy Aces GPP picks.

Editor’s note:  If you’re new to the 2QB DFS scene and would like to give Fantasy Aces a shot, you can use our referral code to sign-up.


I’m breaking the recommended quarterbacks into two different groups this week:

  1. QBs priced at $6500 or less and less than 5% owned (with some red flags), and
  2. Pricier QBs, less than 10% owned and in great spots.

Before diving into who we’re using, a quick note on one player to avoid. Ben Roethlisberger is both pricy ($7000) and very highly owned (33%). The match-up is nice, but to ante up his salary and share him with a third of the field, he’d need to be Week 5’s QB1 to put us ahead of the curve.

Group 1 – In the Eye of the Storm

Note that Hurricane Matthew could affect playing conditions and player availability in the TEN @ MIA game.

Marcus Mariota – $6000, 0%

Yes, you read that correctly. Zero percent. You’d share Mariota with virtually none of the field, so let’s dive into Mariota’s 2015 season. He played 12 games and was incredibly boom-or-bust. He recorded four games with three to five five all-purpose touchdowns on the boom side, with five games of zero all-purpose touchdowns on the bust side. Here in Week 5, Mariota is coming off two consecutive busts and getting a juicy match-up at Miami, who has been far better at stopping the run than the pass in 2016. A boom game sets you apart from the field and in position for a season changing score.

Stack with Delanie Walker, Demarco Murray, and/or (the super contrarian) Tajae Sharpe.

Ryan Tannehill – $6100, 3%

For some reason or another, the Thursday night clunker at Cincinnati is reflected in his ownership and price far more than his previous pair of QB1 weeks. This game is flying under the radar for its shootout potential. Both defenses are well below average and play more stout against the run than the pass. I fully expect something similar to Tannehill’s average of 353 yards and 2.5 TDs between Weeks 2 and 3.

Stack with Jarvis Landry.

Jameis Winston – $6300, 4%

This is simply a case of a quarterback averaging over 49 attempts per game against a defense that allowed over 500 passing yards last week. However, when compiling my lists, I failed to note Winston plays on Monday night, and I try to find my picks for the Sunday-only slate.  Still, it’s worth noting his DFS potential against Carolina, who could be in a state of disarray.

Stack with Mike Evans and/or Cameron Brate.

Group 2 – Safely Indoors

Aaron Rodgers – $7600, 9%

It still feels odd to write up this quality of player as a contrarian play, yet here we are. With Sam Shields out once again, the Green Bay pass defense will continue to be a sieve. This could be your shootout of the week, and the defense should have Rodgers firing away for the majority of the game.

Stack with Randall Cobb and/or Jordy Nelson

On the other side of the ball, with Eli Manning only 13% owned, he’s not a fade due to ownership and could be a strong stack with any of his three starting wide receivers.

Philip Rivers – $6900, 8%

Averaging 323 yards on 41 attempts across his last two games, expect San Diego’s awful defense, now sans Jason Verrett, to keep Rivers firing away for the duration of Sunday’s game. He’s pricy but the match-up and ownership warrants strong consideration.

Don’t stack.  The best play is naked Rivers, as his wide receiver usage has been sporadic. Antonio Gates will muddy the situation further if he plays.

There are two other quarterbacks who are on the map this week. Matthew Stafford ($6500, 2%) has a tough home match-up in which his offensive coordinator has promised a huge game from Golden Tate. Carson Wentz ($6400, 13%) has the easier match-up in the same game, but much higher exposure.


Lamar Miller – $5000, 3%

While much is made of the strength of Minnesota’s defensive unit, the reality is they’re incredibly good against wide receivers and passing games, but not nearly as good at stopping running backs. Their strength in wide receiver coverage forces more check downs to backs, and Lamar Miller owns one of the few workhorse workloads in the NFL. With so much made of him not finding the end zone, I strongly believe he finds regression this week, especially with Minnesota on a short week. Take the catches and carries for far too cheap.

Isaiah Crowell – $4850, 2%

Four weeks in, Crowell continues to run all over game script concerns. He’s also only played one home game to this point, in which he delivered an 18/133/1 line against a solid Baltimore front. Crowell has been legit good, so take the pricing discount and tiny ownership and run with it.

Devonta Freeman – $4900, 5%

Yes, the match-up at Denver is less than ideal; however, his workload could increase this week. With health concerns, Tevin Coleman should see a drastic reduction in role and leave more carries and catches to Freeman. Atlanta will need to run the ball well to be competitive in this game, so look for him to carry a mammoth workload.

Kenneth Dixon – $3800, 1%

This is probably deeper and more contrarian than we need to go, but Dixon is the rookie I’ve been most excited to see in 2016 and I think his ability already blows Terrance West’s out of the water. The match-up is sweet and the cream could rise to the top much sooner than the community is predicting in Baltimore’s backfield.

Other RBs on the map:

  • Frank Gore – $4700, 5%
  • Todd Gurley – $5400, 7%
  • DeMarco Murray – $5700, 16% (Yes the ownership is not ideal but the workload can’t be ignored, and I’d be remiss to not mention him.)

Full or nearly-full fades due to level of ownership:

  • Jordan Howard at 38%
  • Jerrick McKinnon at 24%

Apologies, dear readers, but it’s 1 AM as I write this, I need to be out the door at 5:30 AM, and I want to make sure this drops before Saturday. The remainder will be abbreviated.


DeSean Jackson – $4700, 2%

D-Jax has perhaps the best individual match-up of the week. He’s in a prime get-right spot after Joe Haden kept him quiet last week. Price and ownership are both in great spots.

AJ Green – $6250, 5%

Green is averaging 11 targets per game, is a top-five talent at the position, and cannot be overlooked in a non-prohibitive match-up.

Sterling Shepard – $4800, 3%

Much has been made of Odell Beckham Jr.’s meltdown this week (Sidenote: OBJ is also a very strong play at only 13% ownership), but it appears Shepard has been lost in the shuffle. Wide receivers have run wild on Green Bay without Sam Shields and Shep is the top contrarian play. Meanwhile, Victor Cruz is only 1% owned and is also a fine GPP option.

Robert Woods – $4250, 3%

Woods has seen eight and 10 targets since Sammy Watkins hit the injured reserve, he just hasn’t found the end zone yet. He’s a nice play on value alone, while also contrarian at 3% ownership.


Like previous weeks, the tight end position doesn’t have any overwhelming chalk. Zach Ertz ($4450) is most owned at 17% and is almost certainly the best value of the week.

The best contrarian play is Delanie Walker ($4650, 2%), whose salary also makes him a value.

Jordan Reed ($5100, 7%) and Greg Olsen ($5000, 14%) are always in play if you have extra salary to spend.

Martellus Bennett ($4200, 12%) should be the prime beneficiary of the Browns’ weak tight end coverage, not Rob Gronkowski.

Kyle Rudolph ($4650, 6%) has real chemistry with Sam Bradford, is the weekly best bet for a Vikings TD, and isn’t owned enough.


  • Houston Texans – $2800, 1%
  • New England Patriots – $3400, 3%
  • Los Angeles Rams – $3250, 4%
  • Philadelphia Eagles – $3250, 2%

As always, run well and tell me your Fantasy Aces GPP stories on Twitter!

TJ Calkins

TJ Calkins owns a small business in steel manufacturing that you've never heard of and is sarcastic to a fault. Whether it's dynasty, DFS, best ball or redraft, he's always finding a way to get his fantasy football fix. You can find him on Twitter @tjcalkins

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