For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will be providing free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 5 Thursday Night Football slate featuring the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 5 Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles is healthy heading into this game, with no major injuries. Seattle, on the other hand, is waiting to see if Gerald Everett will miss another game on the COVID reserve list. For the receivers, D’Wayne Eskridge is still in the concussion protocol, and D.K. Metcalf has been a limited participant with a foot injury. Most importantly, Chris Carson has not practiced on the short week and is a game-time decision with a neck issue.
Matthew Stafford suffered his first loss as the Rams starting quarterback last week after Arizona overcame an 11-point deficit. That is not all on Stafford, and Los Angeles has to be thrilled with him running the offense instead of Jared Goff. Stafford is fourth in the NFL with 305.5 yards passing per game and second with 11 touchdowns passing while throwing just two interceptions. Seattle has the 27th-ranked passing DVOA and continues to attempt a bend-don’t-break defensive philosophy.
After missing Week 3 with injured ribs, Darrell Henderson was back and played on 90% of the snaps last week, compared to only 10% for Sony Michel. Michel had just three carries for 11 yards and yet still fumbled on these limited touches. While he will still be in the mix for short yardage and any potential mop-up duty, this looks like Henderson’s show as long as he can manage his rib injury.
Cooper Kupp has been the intended target on 46 of Stafford’s 135 attempts for just over a third of the opportunities. Even though he had his worst performance last week, with just five catches for 65 yards, he had a season-high 13 targets. Keep going back to the well. Both Van Jefferson and Robert Woods had touchdowns last week, and while the former has logged more yards, the latter still has the target edge 25-to-18, and the production will follow soon. DeSean Jackson is still a deep threat at age 34 and is perfectly suited to be a slate breaker in the single-game contests, at least until the inevitable soft-tissue injury strikes.
Tyler Higbee has played every snap through the first two weeks since he is now the lone pass-catching tight end in town. In the last two games this has dipped to a more realistic 75%, with Los Angeles running two-tight-end sets on around 20% of their plays. Johnny Mundt is the only other tight end to take the field, and he has been targeted once. Higbee, on the other hand, is fourth on the team, with 18 targets and at least five-plus in three of his four games.
Even on the road, look to the Rams defense against the horrible Seattle offensive line. Wilson has been sacked 11 times, and Los Angeles has averaged three sacks per game. While the Seahawks have not been able to protect Wilson consistently, they have just one turnover this season. That can easily change, and Los Angeles is due for some regression to the mean themselves, with just four takeaways.
Back in October 2014 Russell Wilson had an all-time performance against the Rams when they were still in St. Louis. Though Seattle lost 28-26, Wilson tallied 313 yards passing and two touchdowns while rushing for 107 and a third score on just seven carries. In the 13 regular-season games against the Rams since that statistical marvel, Wilson has failed to exceed 200 yards passing four times and has topped 255 yards only twice. Even the touchdowns have not been there, with eight games in which he had no more than one touchdown passing.
This should not keep gamers from looking to Wilson as one of the top fantasy options tonight. Though, it is worth keeping in mind that the Rams have consistently held him in check, even with defenses that paled in comparison to their current unit.
Carson (neck) is going to be a game-time decision, and while coach Pete Carroll is always cagey about injuries, it seems like even if Carson can take the field, he will be far from the bell-cow option fantasy gamers were expecting this season. Travis Homer has worked in on close to a quarter of the snaps over the last three weeks with Rashaad Penny on the shelf once again.
Alex Collins was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, though he moved to Baltimore the next season. Though he was productive there in 2017, with 1,160 combined yards, he fell out of favor the next year and spent time off the radar on practice squads before getting a chance for the injury-decimated Seahawks last year. If Carson is inactive, Collins will be wildly popular on both DraftKings ($3,200) and FanDuel ($7,500). If Carson starts, then Collins becomes a tremendous leverage play, and those looking to pounce should play him heavily without Carson in tournament lineups.
Who has the third-most targets for Seattle behind Metcalf (33, 30.3%) and Tyler Lockett (25, 22.3%)? That would be Freddie Swain, who has an even dozen. This should not be a surprise since Wilson is averaging just over 27 attempts per game due to Seattle’s preference for running the ball. The tight ends have combined for 15 targets, while the running backs have seen 14 collectively. While anyone is live for a touchdown since Wilson is content taking what the defense gives him in the red zone, the rest of the time it is the dynamic duo of Metcalf and Lockett getting the vast majority of the looks.
Even if Everett (COVID protocol) plays, Will Dissly is live as an option. It is a long season, and Everett certainly will be featured in some games when he is more comfortable with the offense, but missing most of the last two weeks is not helping the chemistry with Wilson.
Stafford has been sacked three times and has thrown two interceptions. Seattle is averaging just over three combined sacks and turnovers per game while allowing a middle-of-the-pack 25 points per game.
Thursday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 5 Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Matthew Stafford: As enticing as it is to place Kupp at the top of the rankings, DraftKings has bestowed upon him the highest salary of the slate, which leaves no margin for error in main lineups. Look to the volume and matchup for Stafford as he looks to turn the 2-point road favorite status into an actual on-field victory.
- Russell Wilson: Just one touchdown passing in his last three matchups against the Rams should not be held against him. As a side note, since 2012, Seattle is 9-1 in Thursday Night Football games, New England is second with a 9-2 record. That should not drive decisions tonight, and neither should Wilson’s string of subpar performances against Los Angeles.
- Alex Collins: If Carson (neck) is out, this is where Collins lands; if Carson plays, drop Collins to the bottom of this section.
- Cooper Kupp: Clearly the value that is potentially in play with Collins will provide the salary cap flexibility to get to Kupp.
- Robert Woods: This has not been a bad season by any stretch for Woods, who should see his fantasy production course correct as teams focus more on Kupp.
- D.K. Metcalf: Expected to play through the foot issue; he is more consistent that Lockett and can also be a game breaker.
- Darrell Henderson: Appropriate ranking for his lofty $13,000 FanDuel salary; at $8,400 on DraftKings he could slot in for Woods if the extra $800 is available.
- Van Jefferson: Juuuuuust enough opportunity to keep him ahead of the kickers on a point-per-dollar basis in a game where there should be more extra points than field goals.
- Chris Carson: Speculation is that he will not play on the short week since it is a long season ahead. However, as long as he starts, he is still top 10 worthy.
- Tyler Lockett: Mr. Boom/Bust carries a salary that far outpaces his median outcome.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Tyler Higbee: Knocks his salary out of the park if he can find his way to the end zone.
- Gerald Everett: May not clear COVID protocol in time, which will cost him a second straight game.
- Jason Myers: Gets the nod in his third year with Seattle; was a perfect 24 of 24 last season, with 15 from 40-plus yards and two from beyond 50.
- Matt Gay: Only has played in 28 career games; league average accuracy, though a tick above average from 40-plus yards.
- Los Angeles D/ST: This unit has top-tier playmakers in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Will Dissly: Move him up to Everett’s slot if Everett is out again.
- DeSean Jackson: Has that knack for long touchdowns — one of the best ever in the history of the game.
- Sony Michel: Needs an in-game injury to Henderson to be more than a lottery ticket.
- D’Wayne Eskridge: Unlikely to play, though if he clears the concussion protocol, he is at the $200 minimum on DraftKings.
- Johnny Mundt: Will be on the field for around a quarter of the snaps; just one target this year and 13 total in 43 career games. DraftKings only at $400.
- Travis Homer: Moves above the kickers if Carson is out.
- Freddie Swain: Better on FanDuel $6,500; needs to score for the third time this season to justify the $4,600 DraftKings salary. Also returns punts.
- Seattle D/ST: Sadly, there are no fantasy points awarded for the inevitable camera shot on the guy waving the SEA-Fence sign.
- DeeJay Dallas: Moves to the top of this section if Carson is out; also returns kickoffs.
- Jake Hunt, Tutu Atwell and Penny Hart: Special teamers who could see a couple offensive plays, but touches are unlikely.
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