4 NFL FanDuel Studs to Target in Week 5

Austin Ekeler finally came through with a massive fantasy performance last week, and he has a plus matchup against Cleveland on Sunday. Which other star players are worth rostering?

Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high-salaried players will take up the majority of your budget, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.

Week 5 has a lot of our favorite fantasy teams off the main slate, but we can still find some top players at each position.

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Projected Points: 25.6

Last week, Josh Allen had a down game. Of course, a down game for Allen was still good enough to be the QB5. In better weather, he'll look to get going in the passing game again on Sunday.

The good thing about Allen, along with most other truly elite fantasy quarterbacks, is that he can get there in two different ways.

In Week 4, he only threw for 213 yards and a touchdown. But his 70 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown salvaged his day. The rushing gives these elite quarterbacks such a high floor and high ceiling that sometimes it's difficult to justify looking at a lower option.

This week, the Buffalo Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in just their second home game this season. The Steelers' defense is not normally one that we like to attack, but they have fallen from the 5th-best passing defense to 11th this season, according to numberFire's metrics. They struggled against Jacoby Brissett and Zach Wilson in the last two games and now have to face one of the top gunslingers in the game.

Buffalo has an implied team total above 30, which is the highest we've seen on a main slate this season. We shouldn't be scared off by the fact that the Bills are 14-point favorites in this game. They have the highest pass rate over expectation in the NFL, and the way they reach this total is through Allen throwing or running in touchdowns.

Allen is projected for over two points more than any other quarterback on the slate. His $9,000 salary might cause a bit of pause because that's a lot for a quarterback. Yet, he actually ranks as our best value at the position due to that high projection.

When you consider that and also his possibility for a ceiling game this week, Allen is certainly worth rostering in tournaments this week.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Projected Points: 15.5

It had been a slow start to the season for Austin Ekeler over the first three weeks, as he hadn't scored a touchdown and his best fantasy game only resulted in 13.9 FanDuel points. He turned that around with a 31.9-point explosion in Week 4, and there are reasons for optimism going forward.

The main reason we love Ekeler in fantasy is his involvement in the passing game. His 30 targets are the most among running backs this season. These targets and his usage around the goal line are what led to his RB2 finish last season and his big game last week.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers are traveling to face the Cleveland Browns. Using running backs against Cleveland has been a fruitful exercise this season. They are 30th in adjusted fantasy points per carry. Perhaps more importantly for Ekeler, they also allow the third-most adjusted fantasy points per target to backs.

This game is one of the higher totals on the main slate, so it is worth trying to get pieces of it in your lineups. Ekeler's projected points are a bit lower than what we'd like for a running back at this salary, but we know he is capable of having huge games, and this one could easily be another one.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

FanDuel Salary: $9,500
Projected Points: 18.6

Cooper Kupp had a season for the ages last year. He won the wide receiver triple crown and the Super Bowl MVP.

This season, Kupp has nearly matched that fantasy output in the first four weeks, and he continues to put up some truly mind-boggling numbers. He already has 42 receptions, 9 more than any other player in the league.

His underlying numbers might be even more staggering. He has seen 36.5% of the team's targets and 44.2% of the air yards. He's been targeted on 50% of his routes, something unheard of for a full-time player. He also leads the league in yards per route run with 3.72.

Kupp's Los Angeles Rams suffered a loss on Monday night without scoring a touchdown, but he was still able to put up 19.2 FanDuel points.

This week, they are back at home against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas' defense has performed well, but that doesn't mean they can slow down Kupp. The Cowboys are 22nd in adjusted fantasy points per target allowed to receivers, and it's unlikely that Trevon Diggs will follow Kupp around the field.

Spending $9,500 on a wide receiver isn't always the best course of action on FanDuel. However, there are some good value wide receivers this week who can allow you to fit in Kupp. Fitting in a player who can break the slate in any week is worth sacrificing at other spots in your lineup.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

FanDuel Salary: $7,000
Projected Points: 8.7

With most of the star tight ends off the slate this week, we have to look to someone new. We finally saw the T.J. Hockenson breakout game that we have been waiting for since he was drafted in the first round in 2019. His usage was good before last week, and he has the chance to be stellar again this week.

The Detroit Lions had several injuries to skill position players, so it was Hockenson's time to shine. He turned 12 targets into 179 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an 80-yard catch that was the longest passing play of the season. Before last week, he still saw a target on 21.1% of his routes, which is a good mark for a tight end. He has also seen five red zone targets this season.

Hockenson will face off against the New England Patriots on the road. The Patriots aren't necessarily a scary matchup for a tight end, as they rank 16th against tight ends in adjusted fantasy points per target. They've also allowed four touchdowns to tight ends in the past three games.

Hockenson's outlook is definitely improved if the Lions are as shorthanded as they were last week. So far, the players who missed the game haven't practiced. That list does include Hockenson himself, but since he played in the last game, it seems like it's just rest.

If Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark are out again, Hockenson should see plenty of targets again, and it would make him stand out at a tight end position that is fairly lackluster this week.

Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.