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PrizePicks Week 5 Preview

Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) runs with he ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

PrizePicks describes itself as DFS made easy: Choose two or more players from the board and whether they go OVER or UNDER their projected fantasy score or single stat. The payout increases with each leg added, similar to a parlay bet.

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For the 2021 season, PFF has tasked two of its analysts to go toe-to-toe each week on PrizePicks by making their favorite player prop parlay bets. The loser goes home empty-handed and will donate to the winner’s charity of choice.

It has been a choppy start to the 2021 season for our analysts. Andrew Erickson has gone 2-4-2 on his picks, with three losing weeks and one winning week. Ben Brown has gone 2-5-1, with three losing weeks and one pushed week.

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Nobody was expecting much from Damien Harris against the vaunted Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense because Bowles' defense has shut down every running game they have faced. The opposite is true for Harris’ opponent in Week 5, the Houston Texans.

Houston represents the third-easiest matchup in PFF’s strength of schedule tool because they have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards to running backs this season — an average of 5.0 yards per carry.  The Patriots have the second-biggest advantage of the week in the trenches per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart, so expect Harris to run rampant with the help of a positive game script.

The Patriots' third-year running back has rushed for at least 60 yards in both games in which he has commanded double-digit touches this season, so smash the over on his 59.5-yard rushing prop on PFF’s fantasy projections agree with the play on the over, with his forecasted rushing total pegged at 71 yards. 

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

Trey Lance isn’t even guaranteed to be the starter for Week 5, as Kyle Shanahan has yet to rule out Jimmy Garoppolo. The veteran's MRI revealed a contusion, so he still has a chance to play. And because Lance just has to be active for the bet to be in play, that’s an easy way to hit the under.

Even if Lance does play the entire game, going under the passing yards line is the optimal approach because the 49ers love to run the football. They rank ninth in the league with 27 rushes per game and 19th in passes per game with 38.

With a capable runner under center, I can only imagine they run more, especially since the Cardinals’ run defense is their weakness. Arizona ranks last in yards per carry allowed and 31st in PFF run-defense grade. Conversely, they are strong against the pass, ranking fifth in PFF coverage and first in explosive pass percentage allowed.

Expect the 49ers to deploy operation ground and pound with their rookie quarterback making his first start on the road.

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The Cowboys are feeding Elliott in 2021 because Dak Prescott‘s return has opened up the run game. The franchise back has been right at a 70% snap percentage through four games and is coming off his highest rush attempt percentage since Week 1. Tony Pollard’s usage slipped slightly in Week 4, with Elliott looking like a feature back in this offense. 

The former Buckeye's rushing yardage props haven’t exceeded 67.5 yards in 2021, but after three straight weeks of Elliott going over, a correction was needed. Given the expected game script for the Cowboys on Sunday — they are favored by a touchdown — it’s realistic to project Elliott for at least 15 rush attempts. He would only need 4.8 yards per carry at his rush attempt floor to exceed this number. There are simply far too many scenarios where Elliott finishes over this number to miss out on this bet.

PFF's Player Props Tool leverages PFF's Fantasy Football Projections to reveal betting opportunities within player prop markets.

There is an obvious reason to continue buying into Laviska Shenault despite the 55.5 receiving yards being at least five yards greater than his previous prop numbers. D.J. Chark’s fractured ankle didn’t open up increased usage last week, but that could have been more in-game management than an accurate future projection. Even if Shenault sticks to a 20% target share, the Jaguars' expected game script will allow for more targets at the team level. 

PFF’s fantasy projections have Shenault at 60.8 receiving yards, five yards more than this current number. With Tavon Austin expected to run in the slot, splitting Shenault out wide should increase his aDOT. An uptick in aDOT and target share will result in Shenault easily eclipsing this relatively low total. 

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