Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 5 | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Projections | PFF

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Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 5

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) catches a pass during warmups before their game against the Cleveland Browns at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 of the NFL season is here, and so is the weekly look at the top smash, upgrade and fade plays for fantasy football. I'll integrate NFL totals, spreads, implied points and proprietary PFF matchup data each week, looking for players who score highly or poorly across all metrics.


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We will also look at the projected DFS rostership for additional context for building tournament lineups.

KEY:

  • SOS: PFF's Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.
  • OL Pass Block Advantage (OL PBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (pass-blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • OL Run Block Advantage (OL RBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (run-blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • WR/CB Matchup Advantage (WR/CB MU): wide receiver versus cornerback matchup; derived from the WR/CB Matchup tool (matchup advantage grade — the higher the grade, the better the matchup for the receiver, and vice versa).
  • TE Matchup Advantage (TE MU): tight end versus linebackers and safeties; derived from the TE Matchup tool (matchup advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the tight end, and vice versa).
  • Projected PPR Points (PPR Proj)

QUARTERBACKS

For quarterbacks, we are looking for big point totals and implied points. The spread doesn't matter as much for pass-heavy teams, but we are looking for trailing scripts that could cause run-heavy offenses to throw more than usual.

Smashes

For the first time in 2021, none of the quarterbacks on the slate meet enough criteria to land on the smash list. We have plenty of options with great game environments (game totals and implied totals) like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, but none also check the matchup columns.

From a DFS standpoint, I will be under the field on Murray, who many will spend up to get with Allen, Mahomes and Jackson playing on Sunday and Monday night. He is already projecting around 15% rostership on DraftKings, and that could continue to steam.

Upgrades
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR Proj
Dak Prescott NYG 52.0 -7.0 29.50 4.9 1 21.2
Kirk Cousins DET 49.5 -9.5 29.50 10.0 -5 21.4
Matt Ryan NYJ 46.0 -3.0 24.50 7.1 -20 19.4
Trevor Lawrence TEN 48.5 4.5 22.00 4.8 11 16.3

Even the upgrades aren't as substantial as we have seen in the past weeks.

Prescott was closest to making the smash list, but his average QB SOS and OL PBA held him back. The Cowboys have also shown a willingness to lean on the run in non-trailing scripts and are 7-point favorites at home against the Giants. To smash, we need the Giants to make this a game.

Cousins would have made the smash list, but as a 9.5 favorite against the Lions, we could see plenty of rushing. The Vikings fun the ball 54% of plays when they lead by 4 or more (12th). For Cousins to succeed, we need hyper-efficiency or a competitive game from Detroit — which they have provided a few times this season.

  • Second-best implied points and sixth-highest game total
  • The No. 1 QB SOS and an average OL PBA

The Vikings' quarterback is currently hovering around the 10% mark in projected rostership, which feels low given how often folks will likely try to jam Jefferson and Thielen into builds. I typically fade the Shanahan/Kubiak-scheme quarterbacks when it is over 5% in tournaments.

Related content for you: Week 5 WR/CB mismatches and shadow coverages to leverage in DFS & fantasy football leagues via Ian Hartitz

Ryan pushed the ball downfield for the first time in 2021 last weekend and finished as the QB3, reminding us of what Arthur Smith's passing attack looked like in Tennessee.

  • 11th-best implied points with an average game total
  • Second-best QB SOS but a below-average OL PBA

Consider Ryan an upgrade rather than a near smash, but he won't be on the main slate with this game occurring early on Sunday in London.

Lawrence's involvement on the ground has been growing over the past two games, and he gets a slight upgrade against the Titans in Week 5.

  • Below-average implied points with the seventh-best game total
  • Seventh-best QB SOS and third-highest OL PBA
Fades

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