NFL DFS Picks Week 4
It’s Week 4, and we’ve got our first COVID-19 incident of the season, with multiple Tennessee Titans testing positive and the game between the Steelers and Titans already postponed and rescheduled for Week 7. So far things seem to be contained, as no one on the Minnesota Vikings (Tennessee’s Week 3 opponent) has tested positive and the game between the Texans and Vikings is still on for Sunday. That said, testing is ongoing, and should there be any new developments, be prepared to pivot on Sunday morning. I’ll also note that we’re seeing increased instances of mid-week injuries popping up, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s largely due to the limited media access at facilities and I’m inclined to believe that’s a trend we’ll continue to see throughout the season.
Every week this article breaks down a handful of players at each position to consider for your FanDuel or DraftKings cash and tournament lineups. While some of the plays may be on the safer side, you’ll also find some high risk-high reward options if you want to swing for the fences. Remember, even in tournaments there’s often no need to get super-weird and roster a lineup full of contrarian plays. Instead, look to build a strong core with upside and then identify a player or two that you think most of the field will be off and has a chance to have a big day.
Fanduel: $7,800 | DraftKings: $6600 (Cash or GPP)
Watson’s price is a bit depressed after back-to-back matchups against very good Pittsburgh and Baltimore defenses in the past two weeks. And after what we saw on Monday night in Baltimore, there’s a case to be made that Kansas City is considerably better on that side of the ball than we assumed coming into the season. The good news for Watson is that the Minnesota Vikings defense has been the complete opposite, having given up 102 total points through their first twelve quarters of football this season, which helps explain a Vegas implied team total approaching 30 points as we head into the weekend.
Without question, the dumpster fire starts at the cornerback position, where not only was Minnesota thin, to begin with, but they now face a series of injuries that could leave them down multiple players on Sunday. As it is, the depth chart features four rookies behind starters Holton Hill and Mike Hughes, and only rookie Jeff Gladney has managed to allow fewer than two fantasy points per target among the group. Adding insult to injury, Minnesota’s Week 3 opponent was Tennessee, which means per the NFL COVID-19 protocols, the team wasn’t allowed into their practice facility until Thursday. That’s likely bad news for such a banged up and inexperienced secondary.
Fanduel: $7,000 | DraftKings: $5800 (GPPs)
On the season, the Browns are passing on just 47.3% of their offensive snaps, pounding the running game with the combo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. While they should have success on the ground again this week, where Dallas has really given it up is through the air, allowing 25.61 FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks and 41.2 to wide receivers, good for third and second-worst respectively. The challenge for Cleveland will be slowing down the Cowboys passing attack, which seems highly unlikely for a defense whose only real success this season came against Dwayne Haskins and one of the league’s worst offenses last week. That should force Baker to throw more, which could be a good thing against this defense. We also know that with Mayfield it could end horribly, which is what makes him a GPP play.
Others to Consider
Jared Goff (GPPs): Nick Mullens and the 49ers second-string offense just torched the Giants at home for 343 passing yards and a score. The week before that they helped Mitch Trubisky hang onto his job. The only concern will be how early Los Angeles takes its foot off the gas against a very bad Giants team.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (GPPs): As we’ve seen in the past, Fitzpatrick can certainly implode in a good spot, but Seattle has surrendered nearly 30 FanDuel points per game through three weeks, which is the highest on the slate by over four points. This game is in Miami, where Fitzmagic has posted more than 24 FanDuel points in each of the last two games, and despite being touchdown underdogs, the Dolphins still have a Vegas implied total of 24 points. Fitzmagic was also mentioned in our Week 4 Fantasy Sleepers article.
Kirk Cousins (GPPs): Cousins is the cheap side of the Vikings-Texans quarterback play. As noted above, it’s a game with a small spread and a big Vegas projected total. Minnesota’s strategy for the past couple seasons has hinged on a strong defense, running the football, and largely using Cousins to keep defenses honest. If the first three weeks are any indication, Minnesota may find itself needing to lean more heavily on Cousins’s arm this season and the Week 2 debacle versus the Colts has his price severely depressed and it’s worth noting that in the other two games he notched 22.76 and 21.44 FanDuel points.
Fanduel: $8,800 | DraftKings: $8000 (Cash or GPPs)
Even if Michael Thomas returns this week, he’s unlikely to be a hundred percent. With that in mind, the Saints offense should continue to flow largely through Kamara, who has seen a combined 19 carries and 23 targets in the two weeks since Thomas went down. In each of those games, the Saints have trailed by two scores for much of the second half, which has inflated the target total and depressed his carries. More importantly, Kamara posted 33.2 and 38.9 FanDuel points in those two games respectively. If you were firing up Christian McCaffrey at $10,000 the first couple weeks of the season and you’re not playing Kamara at $8,800, you may want to reconsider your methodology.
Fanduel: $6,600 | DraftKings: $6,500 (Cash or GPPs)
No one expected the level of production we’ve seen from Robinson so far, but hey, it’s 2020, where nothing is a surprise anymore. What is a surprise is that Robinson’s price continues to languish, which makes the case for rostering him this week pretty simple.
Through three weeks the undrafted rookie free agent is averaging nearly 15 carries and better than three targets per game and has amassed nearly 340 total yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he’s received 75% of the running back opportunity share in Jacksonville. That’s a bell-cow workload. Robinson and the Jags draw a Bengals defense this week that has allowed 28.33 FanDuel points per game this season (5th worst) and he’s priced as just the twelfth most expensive running back on the slate.
Others to Consider
Ezekiel Elliott (Cash or GPPs): I hate the price tag, but it’s difficult to argue with Elliott’s spot against a defense that yielded 38 and 30 respectively to the Ravens and Bengals to open the season. Dwayne Haskins and company made this team look significantly better on that side of the ball than they really are, which explains why Dallas’s Vegas implied total is over 30 points.
Dalvin Cook (Cash or GPPs): The Texans are allowing 29.57 FanDuel points per game to the running back position, which fourth-worst in the league. Even in a blowout loss to Indianapolis in Week 2, Cook still managed to be productive with 16.1 FanDuel points, and he logged at least 21 Fanduel points in the other two games. For now, his workload seems locked in and this game has just a 4.5 point spread and the second-highest total on the slate at 54.5.
Darrell Henderson $6,400 (GPPs): Henderson has been the beneficiary of a banged-up Rams backfield and his production the last two weeks looks to have catapulted him to the top of the depth chart. Even with Malcolm Brown back in the mix this week, Henderson still likely sees 15-20 touches and the low end of that spectrum was enough for him to net 19.1 FanDuel points against Philadelphia two weeks ago. Also, the Giants haven’t contained a running back since the first half of Week 1.
Mike Davis (GPPs): With CMC on the shelf, Davis looks like he’s going to threaten 20 touches each week, with a huge role in the passing game-16 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets in what basically amounts to six quarters of football. Arizona should push the pace of the game and help Davis continue to see plenty of touches.
J.K. Dobbins (GPPs): Baltimore should roll over a bad Washington team, and if Dwayne Haskins tosses a couple more interceptions like we saw from him last week, he might earn himself an early hook. Washington’s strongest unit, the defensive line, suffered multiple injuries against Cleveland last week and that will soften things up for Jackson and the Ravens running backs. Dobbins has the talent to post a nice stat line at a bargain price tag should he see a lot of second-half run in a blowout.
Fanduel: $7,500 | DraftKings: $7000 (Cash or GPPs)
He was my top WR play last week and if you were on that then it paid off, but we shouldn’t expect another three-touchdown game. He’s still here mostly because he represents very good value. He was too cheap last week and that remains the case ahead of a date with Miami. Pete Carroll has shown no signs he’s going to take the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hands, but for guys like Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, it probably comes down whether or not the Dolphins can stay in this ballgame. Much of that hinges on the guy below and the top two Seattle wideouts here make a great correlation play with the Miami pass catchers.
Fanduel: $6,500 | DraftKings: $5700 (GPPs)
DeVante Parker leads all Miami wideouts in both targets and receptions and doesn’t look like he’s ceding the WR1 role in the Miami offense back to Preston Williams anytime soon. That said, he’s still a Dolphins wideout and it’s not exactly an exciting offense so let’s take a look at this week’s opponent.
One overlooked aspect of Russell Wilson’s hot start is that teams have had to throw early and often against the Seattle defense. To say the secondary hasn’t been up to the task is an understatement. Since the start of the season, the Seahawks have surrendered an absurd 60.53 FanDuel points to wide receivers, while Dallas has allowed the second-most at just 41.2. The Seahawks transgressions include 100-yard games to Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley-including two touchdowns, Julian Edelman, Michael Gallup-also a touchdown, Russell Gage, and my personal favorite, Cedrick Wilson, who also had two touchdowns. Four more wide receivers, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb, all logged at least five receptions and 65 receiving yards. We’ve played three games. Three!
Fanduel: $6,100 | DraftKings: $5,900 (GPPs)
I mentioned above that the Vikings corners have been atrocious to this point, and the primary beneficiary here should be Fuller. Brandin Cooks simply hasn’t found his stride yet and while both Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills are involved as well, none has the same type of upside as Fuller. While Bill O’Brien seems intent on having Watson spread the ball around, this team is 0-3 and Minnesota represents a real opportunity to turn things around. At some point, Houston is going to have to consistently get the ball into the hands of it’s best playmakers. You can’t touch him in cash, but this looks like a prime spot for a Fuller explosion.
Fanduel: $5,300 | DraftKings: $4,000 (GPPs)
Last week’s matchup with Las Vegas let the Patriots be conservative and keep the ball largely on the ground (38 carries), or in the short passing game (15 of Newton’s 28 targets went to running backs and tight ends). This week they travel to Kansas City and aren’t likely to have that luxury. Patrick (see what I did there “Mama” Mahomes) Mahomes absolutely dismantled a Ravens defense considered one of the best in the league on Monday night, and this has all the makings of the epic Seahawks-Pats shootout we saw in Week 2. Harry drew a dozen targets in that game, catching eight of them for 72 yards. A similar stat line where he finds the end zone seems very much in play here since I expect New England to have to put the ball in the air.
Others to consider
Mike Evans (GPPs): Chris Godwin is out and ScottyMiller still isn’t practicing. Sure, Tom Brady may lean heavily on the tight ends, but Evans still has to figure prominently in the mix and his red-zone usage is hard to ignore.
Allen Robinson (GPPs): Nick Foles has been in the league long enough to understand getting the ball to your best playmakers is probably a good idea, and Robinson is certainly that for Chicago. Foles showed plenty of affinity for the tight ends in relief of Trubisky last week, and the injury to Tarik Cohen should also further concentrate targets. While the Colts pass defense looks good on paper, they did allow a very efficient passing game and three touchdowns to Gardner Minshew in Week 1 before “shutting down” Kirk Cousins and Sam Darnold. While Foles is far from a world-beater, the Indy secondary is far from tested at this point.
Darius Slayton (GPPs): I had him above last week and he posted a pedestrian three receptions for 53 yards on seven targets. This week’s matchup against the Rams secondary is arguably worse, but that stat line paced the Giants pass catchers last week so the workload is there, Jason Garrett and Daniel Jones just need to figure out how to make something happen.
Brandin Cooks (GPPs): He hasn’t looked great so far, but with Will Fuller popping up on the injury report on Thursday and Cooks supposedly putting the quad injury that has slowed his start in Houston behind him, the price is right. He’s $100 cheaper than teammate and slot receiver Randall Cobb. I could see going the Cobb route in PPR formats, but I far prefer rolling the dice on the upside of Cooks.
Zach Pascal (GPPs): Pascal is a tournaments-only play as salary relief, but someone has to catch footballs in Indianapolis. Both Parris Campbell and now Michael Pittman are headed for long-term absences, which pushes Pascal into the WR2 role for the Colts. He draws a tasty matchup with Buster Skrine this week, has been productive at times when he’s gotten the opportunity and has some red zone appeal.
Isaiah Ford (Cash-punt or GPPs): Ford is a bit of a dart throw for tournaments, but as noted above Seattle has been shredded by several WR2s and WR3s. Ford is playing almost 60% of snaps and is running nearly exclusively out of the slot. Both Edelman and Gage posted 100-yard games in that role versus the Seahawks defense. The game script should be there and the opportunities should follow.
Fanduel: $6,700 | DraftKings: $5,200 (Cash or GPPs)
Monitor the news, but it looks like Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards will both sit this one out. That would leave the Raiders with a brutal top three wideout set of Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow, and Zay Jones, which means Waller is going to see as many targets as he can handle. In Weeks 1 and 2, Waller saw eight and sixteen targets respectively, before Bill Belichick schemed to take him away last week. With the Bills, aggressive passing attack facing a mediocre Raiders secondary and Las Vegas’s thin receiver corps, ten or more targets seems like a virtual lock. While the Bills have historically been strong in defending the tight end position, they’re just two weeks removed from surrendering an 8-120-1 stat line to Mike Gesicki and through three weeks have allowed the ninth-most most FanDuel points to tight ends.
Fanduel: $4,900 | DraftKings: $4,300 (Cash or GPPs)
Schultz assumed the starter’s role after Blake Jarwin was lost for the season in Week 1. All he’s done in those two games is catch 13 of 16 targets for 136 yards and a touchdown. Up until last week, it seemed like Michael Gallup might be the odd man out in the Cowboys passing attack, but now he, CeeDee Lamb, and Cedrick Wilson have all posted a 100-yard receiving game, as has Amari Cooper, who also has a pair of 80+ yard efforts to go along with Schultz’s Week 2 line of 9-88-1. This is all a long way of saying that Dak Prescott is spreading the ball around, and picking the right receiver from week to week is starting to feel like a game of whack-a-mole. The good news is that the Cowboys defense can’t seem to stop anyone so we’re looking at an offense that needs to be highly productive each week. Schultz is the most inexpensive way to get exposure and leads Dallas in red-zone targets through three weeks.
Others to consider
Mike Gesicki (Cash or GPPs): I talked at length above about how bad the Seattle pass defense has been to this point. While wide receiver production has certainly trumped what we’ve seen out of the tight end position, Gesicki leads all Dolphins pass- catchers in targets.
Mo Alie-Cox (GPPs): It’s not surprising that it’s this season where Alie-Cox seems to be figuring it out with Philip Rivers under center given Rivers’ track record with tight ends. And even Jack Doyle’s return last week didn’t seem to cut into his production. With all the Colts injuries at the wide receiver position, we might see him get called on even more.
Rob Gronkowski (GPPs): I don’t mind Gronk with a hobbled Scotty Miller and Chris Godwin already ruled out. That said, I do have concerns he winds up over-owned after leading the Bucs in targets and receptions last week. If that’s going to be the case, taking a shot on O.J. Howard as a pivot in larger field tournaments isn’t a bad idea.
Baltimore Ravens & Los Angeles Rams (GPPs)
The story for both of these defenses is largely the same, in that it’s two of the league’s better defensive units facing two of the league’s most inept and turnover-prone offenses. If Terry McLaurin is ruled out for Washington it probably gives the edge to the Ravens, but in either case, there is slate-breaking upside.
Kansas City Chiefs (Cash or GPPs):
We just saw the Chiefs defense neutralize Lamar Jackson and the Ravens on Monday night, and New England doesn’t have nearly that level of talent at the offensive skill positions. If it all falls on Cam Newton to keep the Pats in this game then things could get ugly in a hurry.
Good luck this week!