NFL Week 5 DFS Cheat Sheet: Five recommended plays for all contests

2RY72WG Detroit Lions' David Montgomery runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

RB David Montgomery (70.8 PFF offense grade), Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers – $8,500 on FanDuel: Detroit is a 10-point home favorite against Carolina.

TE Jonnu Smith (67.1 PFF offense grade), Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans – $5,000 on FanDuel: Atlanta’s No. 1 receiving tight end faces Houston’s dreadful linebacker corps.

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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) lineups require smart matchups analysis and rostership leverage opportunities to succeed. The analysis below details five fantasy assets capable of gaining significant leverage on the field.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

RB David Montgomery, Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers – $8,500 on FanDuel

Montgomery (70.8 PFF offense grade) successfully returned from a Week 2 thigh injury to a Week 4-high 32 rushing attempts. He profiles as a Week 5 RB1-chalk play against Carolina’s accommodating defense.

Update 10/6/23: Detroit No. 2 running back Jahmyr Gibbs (62.1 PFF offense grade) appeared on Friday’s injury report with a hamstring/Limited Participant designation, indicating he suffered a hamstring strain in the week’s final practice. The injury’s severity has yet to be released. Per Doctor of Physical Therapy Adam Hutchison’s Injury Report, running backs average 2.8 games missed with the injury and carry a 10.% re-injury rate with a -24.9% average reduction in fantasy production. Gibbs’ potential absence unlocks increasing passing-game opportunities for Montgomery and although Montgomery’s rostership rate is likely to increase, he should remain a cash-game and GPP-tournament must-use player. Montgomery has a clear path to finishing as Week 5’s overall RB1 with Gibbs limited or absent.

PFF’s ownership projections place Montgomery at an expected 15.5% FanDuel rostership rate, 5.0% under the position’s projected high.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Detroit a 24.0% run-blocking matchup advantage rating, No. 3 on the week. Detroit’s offensive line boasts a No. 5-ranked 74.8 PFF run-blocking grade.

The game script will fall in Montgomery’s favor; Detroit is a 10-point FanDuel home favorite.

Among 31 NFL running backs with at least 35 rushing attempts, the 5-foot-11, 224-pound Montgomery’s 0.28 missed tackles forced per rushing attempt ties for No. 6 and his 11 green zone rushing attempts tie for No. 2, despite Montgomery missing nearly seven quarters worth of playing time this season. His five green zone rushing touchdowns tie for the positional lead among 20 NFL running backs with at least five such attempts. FanDuel users should expect the scoring-position touchdowns to continue; Detroit’s dominant offense grades out at No. 3 among NFL teams with a 79.9 PFF offense grade, signaling frequent trips to Carolina’s green zone.

Carolina’s (47.7 PFF run-defense grade) 5.26-yard average depth of target ranks second-highest among NFL teams and their 9.00-yard defensive-green zone average depth of tackle ranks third-highest.

Montgomery carries multi-touchdown upside in Week 5.

TE Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers – $6,000 on FanDuel

Detroit head coach Dan Campbell can effectively give banged-up No. 1 wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (82.4 PFF receiving grade, Week 2 turf toe/Week 4 abdomen) the night off in an expected cakewalk matchup by running the offense through Montgomery and LaPorta (78.8 PFF offense grade), who trails only Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (78.8 PFF receiving grade) in half-PPR rankings.

PFF’s ownership projections place LaPorta and his affordable $6,000 FanDuel salary at just a 7.9% expected rostership rate. He should be locked into cash-game lineups and used frequently as a GPP-tournament flex-position differentiator.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Detroit an 11.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, tied for No. 10 on the week, ensuring ample time to throw for quarterback Jared Goff (81.0 PFF passing grade).

LaPorta established himself as an elite NFL tight end just four games into his professional career. His 20.8% first-read target rate ranks No. 11 among NFL tight ends with at least 40 first-read receiving snaps and his 2.25 first-read yards per route run (YPRR) ranks No. 2.

PFF’s TE matchup chart gives LaPorta a 33.0% receiving matchup advantage rating against Carolina linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (48.6 PFF tight end-coverage grade), the second-best on the week.

LaPorta’s receiving data among 32 NFL tight ends with at least 85 receiving snaps:
NFL TE Receiving Sam LaPorta
PFF Receiving Grade 78.1 (No. 2)
Target % – YPRR 25.7% (No.3) – 2.30 (No. 1)
Catch % 81.5% (No. 5)
Yards per Reception 11.0 (T-No. 8)
YAC/Rec. 4.9 (T-No. 10)
Missed Tackles Forced 4 (T-No. 4)
15+-Yard Pass Plays 3 (T-No. 5)

Among NFL-team linebacker corps, Carolina linebackers' 88.9% tight end-catch rate allowed ties for No. 23, and their 4.10 yards allowed per tight end-coverage snap rank No. 29.

LaPorta is a high-end FanDuel TE1.

QB Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans – $8,300 on FanDuel

Week 5 provides Richardson (53.9 PFF offense grade) a matchup-based opportunity to surpass his career-high single-game 233-yard passing sum. As detailed in “Fantasy Football Week 5: WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid,” Tennessee’s secondary strives for league-worst status. If Richardson can successfully bring his elite rushing ability to lever against Tennessee’s stout front seven, he has a clear path to a slate-breaking overall QB1 performance.

Richardson’s $8,300 FanDuel salary is $900 short of the positional maximum and PFF’s ownership projections give him just a 5.1% rostership rate, likely attributable to field-related fears over Tennesse’s run defense, making Richardson a convenient cash-game and GPP-tournament differentiator.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Indianapolis a moderate 9.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating.

Tennessee’s offense is in prime position to push the pace on Indianapolis, increasing Richardson’s dropback rate. Also detailed in Fantasy Football Week 5: WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid, Indianapolis’ cornerbacks offer easy pickings for Tennessee's No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (74.5 PFF receiving grade). Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (74.2 PFF passing grade) should experience comfortable pockets; Indianapolis interior defender DeForest Buckner (77.6 PFF pass-rush grade, back injury) is limited to a part-time role, edge rusher Kwity Paye (63.6 PFF pass-rush grade) is in the concussion protocol, edge rusher Tyquan Lewis (55.7 PFF pass-rush grade) suffered a Week 4 knee injury and do-it-all linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53.0 PFF defense grade) suffered a Week 4 groin strain.

Tennessee’s inept secondary (55.7 PFF wide receiver-coverage grade) ranks bottom eight in both wide receiver-catch rate allowed (75.9%, No. 30) and yards allowed per wide receiver-coverage snap (8.02, No. 26) among NFL-team secondaries. The linebacker unit tackles quickly (1.00 yards allowed per tight end-coverage snap, No. 3) but offers a 100.0% tight end-catch rate.

Indianapolis wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (68.4 PFF receiving grade) is a FanDuel WR1 and slot receiver Josh Downs (65.9 PFF receiving grade) garners GPP-flex appeal. Indianapolis’ deep, No. 7-graded (68.6 PFF receiving grade) tight end corps boasts a No. 7-ranked 22.6% target rate and a No. 5-ranked 1.82 YPRR.

Richardson’s No. 10-ranked (among 34 NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks) 43.1% past-the-sticks throwing rate will serve him well.

Tennessee interior defender Teair Tart (55.2 PFF run-defense grade) led his position group (minimum 100 run-defense snaps) in 2022 stops (19), tackles for loss or no gain (18) and average depth of tackle (1.16 yards). He played Weeks 1-4 2023 with groin and knee injuries before picking up a toe injury in Week 4. His potential absence would significantly increase Richardson’s rushing touchdown odds via the interior-run tush-push play implemented by Indianapolis head coach and former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.

Richardson is among one-of-seven NFL quarterbacks with multiple rushing attempts inside the opponent’s five-yard line and his 0.33 missed tackles forced and 1.7 yards after contact per rushing attempt both rank No. 1 on such attempts.

Among 13 NFL quarterbacks with at least 15 rushing attempts, Richardson’s 5.7 yards per rushing attempt ranks No. 4 and his 0.09 missed tackles forced per rushing attempt, 1.4 yards after contact per rushing attempt and 34.8% first-downs-gained or touchdowns-scored rate all rank top 12.

Richardson is a high-end QB1 against Tennessee.

RB Breece Hall, New York Jets @ Denver Broncos – $6,500

New York running back Breece Hall’s (59.1 PFF offense grade) $6,500 FanDuel salary is $2,500 short of the positional maximum and PFF’s ownership projections place Hall at a cash-game and GPP-tournament-friendly 9.2% rostership rate, tied for No. 16 among NFL running backs. He is a FanDuel RB1 against Denver’s scattered defense.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives New York a 3.0% run-blocking matchup advantage rating, No. 7 on the week.

Head coach Robert Saleh affirmed Hall’s (ACL reconstruction) ramp-up period is complete, stating Hall’s workload is now restriction-free. Hall should easily surpass his 2023-high 14 intended touches (Week 3) this week but will likely be forced to earn a true bell-cow role via high-quality play in the coming weeks.

Nos. 2 and 3 running backs Dalvin Cook (51.6 PFF rushing grade, rotational rusher) and Michael Carter (45.4 PFF receiving grade, passing-down specialist) offer little resistance to Hall’s goal though. Among 44 NFL running backs with at least 25 rushing attempts, Cook ranks outside the top 40 in both yards per rushing attempt (2.5) and yards after contact per rushing attempt (2.0). Among 50 NFL running backs with at least 35 receiving snaps, Carter’s 0.79 YPRR rank No. 30 and Hall’s 76.6 PFF pass-blocking grade towers over Carter’s 42.9 PFF pass-blocking grade.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives New York a 13.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, tied for No. 8 on the week. The advantage likely transfers single-digit pass protection snaps to Hall’s receiving snap sum.

Saleh has shown impressive restraint through Hall’s ramp-up period. Despite Hall’s physical limitations, he remains an elite playmaker.

Hall’s rushing data among 44 NFL running backs with at least 25 rushing attempts:


NFL RB Rushing Breece Hall
PFF Rushing Grade 63.7 (No. 33)
YPC 6.5 (No. 2)
MTF/Rush Att. 0.22 (No. 18)
Yards After Contact per Rush Att. 6.2 (No. 2)
10+-Yard Run Play % 12.5% (T-No. 13)
Hall’s receiving data among 50 NFL running backs with at least 35 receiving snaps.


NFL RB Receiving Breece Hall
PFF Receiving Grade 38.4 (No. 50)
Target % – YPRR 19.1% (No. 15) – 1.00 (T-No. 18)
Yards per Reception 8.4 (T-No. 14)
15+-Yard Pass Play % 20.0% (T-No. 5)

Denver’s defensive injury list is long and the unit has a chance to return multiple starters and rotational contributors this week. Regardless, the unit ranks league-worst in a dearth of running back-associated categories and will play at far less than 100.0% health even with players like safety Justin Simmons (47.6 PFF defense grade, hip) and linebacker Josey Jewell (77.3 PFF defense grade, hip) potentially returning to the fold.

Denver’s run defense and running back-coverage data among NFL teams:


NFL Run Defense & RB Coverage Denver Broncos
PFF Run Defense Grade 47.3 (No. 30)
Avg. Depth of Tackle 5.02 (No. 30)
Missed Tackles 38 (No. 32)
Negatively Graded Run-Play % 63.3% (No. 27)
PFF RB-Coverage Grade 54.5 (No. 30)
Catch % 85.2% (T-No. 19)
Yards Allowed per Coverage Snap 7.29 (No. 30)
1st-Down + TD Allowed % 33.3% (T-No. 28)
15+-Yard Pass Plays Allowed % 17.9% (No. 31)

TE Jonnu Smith, Atlanta Falcons vs. Houston Texans – $5,000 on FanDuel

Smith (67.1 PFF offense grade) has overtaken Kyle Pitts (63.2 PFF receiving grade) as the team’s primary pass-catching tight end. He is a high-floor/high-ceiling TE1 against Houston’s welcoming linebacker corps.

Smith’s $5,000 FanDuel salary is $3,789 short of the positional maximum and PFF’s ownership projections place Smith at a GPP-tournament-friendly 1.7% rostership rate. His advantageous matchup grants Smith extreme cash-game contrarian appeal.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Atlanta an 18.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, the fifth best on the week.

FanDuel implies Atlanta to score 21.75 points.

Pitts also carries performance-related concerns following his 2022 knee injury.

Smith’s 25.7% first-read target rate ranks No. 3 among 32 NFL tight ends with at least 50 first-read receiving snaps. Pitts’ 17.8% distantly trails at No. 18.

Smith’s receiving data among 39 NFL tight ends with at least 50 receiving snaps.
NFL TE Receiving Jonnu Smith
PFF Receiving Grade 71.9 (No. 10)
Target % – Targets 22.2% (No. 5) – 20 (T-No. 11)
Contested Catch % 100.0% (T-No. 1)
YPRR – Yards/Reception 1.99 (No. 3) – 11.9 (No. 6)
aDot – YAC/Rec. 7.8 (No. 13) – 5.9 (No. 6)
Missed Tackles Forced 3 (T-No. 9)
15+-Yard Pass Plays 3 (T-No. 5)

Houston linebackers Christian Harris (67.8 PFF coverage grade) and Henry To’oTo’o (66.1 PFF coverage grade) offer Smith little resistance to a fruitful half-PPR outing.

The Texans’ linebacker tight end-coverage data among 49 NFL linebackers with at least 15 tight end-coverage snaps:


NFL LB vs. TE Coverage Christian Harris Henry To’oTo’o
PFF TE-Coverage Grade 61.5 (No. 22) 50.7 (T-No. 33)
Targeted % 31.3% (T-No. 40) 26.3% (T-No. 33)
Catch % Allowed 80.0% (T-No. 22) 100.0% (T-No. 33)
Yards Allowed per Coverage Snap 2.38 (T-No. 40) 1.89 (No. 35)
15+-Yard Pass Plays Allowed % 12.5% (No. 48) 0.0% (T-No. 1)

Smith is a FanDuel TE1 in Week 5.


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