Week 4 was an excellent showing for the Spike Week crowd on the main slate, so let’s keep that rolling into week 5. This week Underdog decided to spice things up by creating the Thunday Kerfuffle, which is a mix of Thursday Night Football and the London showdown slate from last week. The contest has a $10 price point (up from $5 last week), 5,652 entries and $10k top prize (the original). It is the same format as the Main Slate contest but with only 4 drafters instead of 6. For this week, we get the Colts traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos (-3.5) with a 42-point o/u on Thursday and the Giants traveling to Green Bay to face the Packers (-8) with a 40.5 o/u on Sunday Morning.
Let’s dig in.
Draft Strategy for Week 5 Thursday Night Football and Sunday London Game – Colts @ Broncos and Giants @ Packers
There are so many ways to get unique on this slate. We have 3 underperforming teams – Broncos, Colts, Packers and one exceeding expectations – Giants. On top of that, all four teams pass at below expected rates, making these games slower-paced in nature. The biggest culprit will be the Giants who rank 5th worst in PROE followed by the Colts, Packers and then Broncos. All teams rank in the bottom 13 for PROE.
Luckily for us, there is a clear 1.01 in Saquon Barkley. Due to the slow-paced nature of these games and the fact that all teams will rely on their run games, Barkley barring injury, is a near lock for 20+ touches due to his involvement in both the running and passing games. He is back to 2019 levels and we should be trying to secure him in as many lineups as possible. After Barkley, we are seeing drafters picking quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson primarily due to projection and name-value. Both have severely underperformed with only Russ’ week 4 topping 18 points. Next drafters pivot to the top two WR options in either Courtland Sutton or Michael Pittman. Pittman is the clear #1 in the Colts receiving room, however he is coming off a poor showing and gets a expected tough matchup with Patrick Surtain II. Sutton on the other hand has been the #1 option for Russ this season (no less than 9 points a game), however the Colts defense has been tough on opponents and he should see Stephon Gillmore in coverage. Both are priorities if given the chance.
Drafters then pivot to the next grouping of Aaron Jones, Melvin Gordon, Romeo Doubs, Allen Lazard and Jerry Jeudy. All of these players have huge ceiling outcomes but come with some concerns. Aaron Jones is one of the most explosive players in the NFL but splits time with AJ Dillon. You are playing TD-roulette with those two. Melvin Gordon on the other hand, just lost his batterymate, Javonte Williams, to a season-ending ACL tear. He is expected to get an increased workload but due to his fumbling issues (4 in 4 games), there are concerns that Mike Boone or recently-signed Latavius Murray eat into his playtime. Romeo Doubs is a rookie starting to show promise in the offense/ He played on 96% of snaps last week and was a collision with the ground away from back to back explosive weeks. He is starting to gain the trust from Aaron Rodgers and we should expect to see him involved Sunday Morning. Allen Lazard was the projected WR1 for the Packers going into the year and has been involved (primarily around the goal line). He also played on 96% of snaps and has Rodger’s trust. He currently has a 14.5 ypr showing his involvement down the field, but is currently dealing with an ankle injury. Lastly, Jerry Jeudy should be an integral part of the Bronco’s gameplan but like the rest of his career has been hobbled by injuries. His reduction in price is due to his lackluster performance while fighting through a rib injury, now that he is fully healthy, he should be a priority grab.
After those handful of picks (mixed in with the quarterbacks), you can really start to get unique. The Colts’ RB room is a projection with Jonathan Taylor out and the Giants’ receiving core is a complete mystery. Nyheim Hines is expected to see an increased role, but how many touches do we really expect a scat-back to receive? He only has 5 10+ carry games in 69 career starts.There should be a rotation behind him consisting of Phillip Lindsay and Deon Jackson. People will gravitate toward Lindsay at the end of drafts as we have seen him do it before (when he was a Bronco), however, they decided to keep Jackson on the active roster over him to start the season (which is most likely due to Special Teams contributions). Jackson is the best bet behind Hines to see involvement around the goal line due to his size combo (6’ 218 lbs, Lindsay – 5’8” 190). As for the Giants, the have had their fair share of injuries. Sterling Shepard is out for the year, Kenny Golladay is doubtful for the game, and Kadrarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson have both missed multiple games already this season. The only staples to their receiving core has David Sills V, who has bounced on and off their practice squad for the last 3 year, and former 49er, Richie James. Neither of which inspire much confidence outside of the fact they have been on the field. James, Toney and Robinson are on the injury report for this week and dissecting who may be healthy may be the skeleton key to the slate. Another differentiator may be Darius Slayton who has been buried on the depth chart. He has thrived in the NFL in the past and if given the chance could be the primary target earner.
In regards to the quarterbacks, my play is typically the wait-and-see approach. If I was going to take on earlier, it would be Russ followed by Rodgers but due to their team philosophies, they are not priority adds. I typically try to grab Daniel Jones over Matt Ryan due to his rushing floor. However, I am typically punting the position to try and capitalize on a shallow skill-position player pool.
Top Plays for Drafts
- Saquon Barkley – The Saquon of old is back.
- Courtland Sutton – WR1 for Russ.
- Jerry Jeudy – Finally healthy and has all the talent in the world.
- Russell Wilson – With a healthy receiving core and Javonte out, could they turn more pass-heavy and Let Russ Cook?
- Romeo Doubs – Becoming Rodgers favorite target. His deep ball shot last week makes him enticing.
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Alec Pierce – He is being drafted about 70-75% of the time. Has shown deep-play ability
- Parris Campbell – The Colts may go more pass-heavy with JT out. He could become a target monster in the slot for Matt Ryan
- Deon Jackson – Potential free goal-line option.
- Christian Watson – Blazing fast rookie who could see his role expand.
- Kadarius Toney – Free in drafts and the best talent on the Giants.
- Wan’Dale Robinson – Also free in drafts and could return to a sizable workload.