NFL DFS Busts: Week 4
Last week in the NFL was a surprising week. Green Bay was on the ropes and had to win in overtime against Cincinnati after being 10 point favorites at Lambeau Field, Case Keenum looked like Brett Favre as he dissected the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense for 369 passing yards, Tom Brady and the Patriots almost lost to the Texans, Detroit lost to Atlanta in heartbreaking fashion after a disappointing fantasy performance from both sides, and the Oakland Raiders were decimated at the hands of the Washington Redskins on Monday night. Some other surprises that happened last week, were not surprises to you if you read last week’s DFS Busts article.
Last Week’s Bold Bust Calls
- Cam Newton – 17/26, 167 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT – Newton was again pitiful and continued his recent trend of poor showings and his career-long trend of underperforming against New Orleans.
- LeSean McCoy – 14 carries, 21 yards, 7 catches 48 yards Shady looked fairly healthy and stuck it out throughout the game, but as I expected, was unable to string much together against the stingy Denver defense that ranks 1st against the run so far this season.
- A.J. Green – 10 catches, 111 yards, 1 TD – Green found the end zone early and while he wasn’t an absolute game changer he wound up having his best fantasy day of 2017. Two out of three ain’t bad.
DFS Busts Week 4
**Disclaimer: The takes within this article are my opinion only, they will not always represent the opinion of all staff here at Gridiron Experts.
Dez Bryant, WR
Dallas Cowboys (FD: 7,800 – DK: 6,500)
- Opponent: vs LAR
- DAL Implied Total: 26.75
- Gridiron Experts Week 4 Pos Rank: 9th
Let’s face it, Dez Bryant has been a bit of a disappointment thus far in 2017. He has finished as a 1.0 point per dollar or less player in two of the first three weeks even with scoring a touchdown in two of the three games.
To Dez’s credit, the Cowboys schedule has been a tough one for the number one wideout as he has squared off against Janoris Jenkins, Aqib Talib, and Patrick Peterson in the first three weeks. Many have circled the Cowboys week four matchup against the Rams as the breakout game for Bryant this season. While that sure sounds good, it may not be a sure thing.
Former NFL wide receiver Greg Jennings came out and said that he is officially “off of the Dez Bryant train” on Colin Cowherd’s radio show on Tuesday.
“The reason why I’ve completely jumped off the Dez Bryant train, if you will, is simply his suddenness is not present. I don’t see him being sudden off the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t create separation.” Jennings said. “And he doesn’t even use release moves off the line.”
If there is anybody that would know about release moves off the line, creating separation, and the little things that make an NFL receiver good it would be Jennings. The now-turned analyst was known as one of the best pure route runners in the league during his 9-year NFL career.
He wasn’t the only former NFL wideout to recently call out Bryant, former Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter also had some things to say.
“He’s getting one-on-one, not Cover 2, not bracket coverage like the elite receivers get, what A.J. Green gets, what AB (Antonio Brown) gets in Pittsburgh, what Julio Jones gets,” Carter said on Fox Sports. “I’m going to tell you what was shocking to me was the first week of the season when I watched him play against Janoris Jenkins and then at night I watched Julio Jones, and it looked like Dez was running in quicksand, and Julio Jones was running on a treadmill.”
We should take Jennings’ and Carter’s critiques seriously and when we look at this week’s game against the Rams maybe we shouldn’t be eager to play Bryant.
- Since Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015, he has played 25 games, caught 92 balls, for 1,311 yards, and 13 TD. In his 25 games prior to the extension, he caught 139 balls, for 1,984 yards, and 23 TD.
- The Rams are 11th against the pass this season only allowing 204.7 ypg
- The Rams are converting on 25% of pressures on the quarterback this year, the best in the NFL.
- Pro Football Focus gives the Cowboys offensive line a 4% matchup downgrade in pass protection this week, Dak could be under duress often in this game.
- Bryant will see some Trumaine Johnson coverage but will see Nickell Robey-Coleman for the majority of this one, a matchup that is an 18% downgrade for Bryant according to Pro Football Focus.
- Johnson and Coleman have both only allowed .22 fantasy points per route this season, which is tied for 12th least this season.
As much as the Cowboys hope Bryant has a breakout game, the odds of it actually happening are fewer than it may have looked like initially.[the_ad id=”65749″][the_ad id=”66090″]
Alex Smith, QB
Kansas City Chiefs (FD: 7,600 – DK: 6,900)
- Opponent: vs WSH
- KC Implied Total: 28
- Gridiron Experts Week 4 Pos Rank: 17th
Alex Smith broke onto the 2017 fantasy scene with a bang in his week one performance against the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Smith threw four touchdowns and racked up 368 passing yards.
Believe it or not, he is actually the USA Today’s favorite to win the MVP after week three. The Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons are the NFL’s only undefeated teams, Smith has thrown seven touchdowns and has yet to throw a pick. He currently carries an impressive 77.4% completion rate and 132.7 passer rating, so it makes sense that he is the current front-runner.
As fun as this has been, the Smith fairytale may be on its way to a close. He has thrown for fewer passing yards in each of the last two weeks (251, 155) and become more of the traditional game manager that we are used to seeing.
The Washington Redskins are riding high right now after taking it to the Chiefs divisional opponent and AFC Super Bowl favorite Oakland on Sunday Night. The Skins held the Raiders high potent offense to only 2.7 yards per play and only 128 total yards of offense. While, we should mostly consider this game an outlier it is worth noting that the Skins were able to control the ball more, establish the run, and keep the Raiders offense off the field and out of sync. If they can slow down an offense like Oakland’s they have the ability to do the same to Kansas City this week.
- The most impressive part of Washington is their pass rush, they are pressuring the quarterback on 7.2% of snaps, 2nd most in the NFL this season.
- Pro Football Focus gives Kansas City’s offensive line a 35% matchup downgrade this week
- Smith has the NFL’s highest sack percentage this season at 12%, so he could be on his back often in this one.
- Washington ranks 12th against the pass, allowing 213.7 ypg
- Smith is 27th in the league in air yards per attempt at 5.81, so even though he attacked downfield in week one, he has returned to his old ways already this season.
- Smith is tied for 28th in third-down completions that go for a first down.
- Smith’s only real target at WR is Tyreke Hill and the Redskins are 3rd in fantasy points allowed to WR this season
- They are 5th in fantasy points allowed to QB this season
The Redskins have a lot to play for as they have only beaten the Chiefs once in team history and have never won at Arrowhead Stadium. After a giant win last week the Redskins should be exuding confidence. Beyond all of that, this game should be incredibly slow paced. The Redskins rank fourth-slowest (31 seconds per snap) and hardly ever no-huddle (2.6 percent). The Chiefs average the second-fewest plays per game (55.7) and have taken only two no-huddle snaps this season. Yikes. Unless it’s Kareem Hunt, I’d stay away from this one.[the_ad id=”73965″][the_ad id=”63198″]
Matt Ryan, QB
Atlanta Falcons (FD: 8,000 – DK: 7,400)
- Opponent: vs BUF
- ATL Implied Total: 26.25
- Gridiron Experts Week 4 Pos Rank: 5th
What? How in the world could the reigning, defending MVP wind up on a bust list? Well, it’s simple. The defense he is playing against is for real and quite honestly without a goaline stand and a 10-second run off the Falcons would be 1-2 this season and this call may be taken much differently.
Matt Ryan threw three interceptions last week against the Lions, one of which was housed for a pick six and somehow the Falcons still won the game. In fact, the Falcons are only the 4th team in 124 games to win a game with a -3 in turnover margin and -1 returned touchdown margin since 2011. So they were lucky to come away with a win in more ways than one.
Ryan carries a 68.8 completion % this season, so he hasn’t been bad by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just that his raw numbers haven’t been MVP like thus far. However, this call is much less about Ryan’s play than it is about how good I think the Bills defense is playing right now.
Being a football coach, I like to go back and watch game film to analyze what is really going on. I went back and watched the film of Buffalo’s game last week against Denver, and it is obvious that this defense is for real. They look fast and explosive, and their pass rush was impressive as Simien was under duress for most of the game. He was held to 24/40 passing after he has looked like John Elway in the first two weeks of the season.[the_ad id=”73518″][the_ad id=”69556″]
Throughout the entire game, the Bills defense had only one poor drive. CJ Anderson hit them with a 32-yard run and two penalties ensued after that, which led to a 13-yard touchdown run. If you take away the bad drive they only gave up a total of 79 yards on the ground. Not to mention, they may get Marcell Darius back, as he would bolster an already potent defensive line that includes Jerry Huges, Kyle Williams, and Shaq Lawson.
“They are aggressive,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “Very aggressive front four. The linebackers are very good against the run. That’s something that we’ve seen from Carolina. They have some of the best in the league. I think that carry over in the same.”
Not only did he praise their run defense he also praised their secondary. “I think their defense has done a good job,” Ryan said Wednesday. “The secondary has been stout. The defense, in general, hasn’t given up many points and has played really well in the first three weeks.”
- Atlanta’s offensive line is at an 18% disadvantage this week when passing but a 15% advantage when running the ball according to Pro Football Focus
- Buffalo’s defense averages only 1.62 yards gained before contact which is currently 9th best in the NFL
- The Bills have not allowed a passing touchdown yet this season
- The Bills’ defense ranks sixth in yards allowed (278.3), ninth against the pass (203.0) and seventh against the run (75.3).
- Julio Jones is dealing with a back injury if he is somehow unable to go, it would be a major blow to this offense
This will undoubtedly be the Falcons biggest test of the season and after hitting some bumps in the road against the Bears and Lions, it shouldn’t be that far-fetched to believe that a good defense could cause some problems for Atlanta this week.