Week 4 Review
Whilst Week 4 was damaging to my bank roll, it might have been the column’s strongest week this year. Quarterback was a perfect three out of three with Hurts (QB3), Darnold (QB1) and Ryan (QB5), all smashing their value range. Every week however one group seems to let us down and in Week 4 running backs hurt us badly. My Play of The Week Nyheim Hines was a complete bust with 2.1 points. In hindsight, it was a cute play that went against the expected game script. Jonathan Taylor was more obvious and sometimes I need to stop galaxy-braining things. Both Elijah Mitchell and Sony Michel were contingent on either their fitness or other players’ fitness and as such hopefully you took my advice and didn’t play them, despite things looking favourable on paper. I also advocated for staying away from Chuba Hubbard, unlike many folks and if you followed my advice here you were probably happy. Wide receiver went nicely with Corey Davis scoring 24.1 points at just $5k. Robby Anderson did just about enough at $5.1k to not hurt you and if Baker Mayfield hadn’t had the worst game of his career, perhaps Odell Beckham would also have been a good play. Sadly he fell into the bad plays category. Rounding out with tight end we hit on Noah Fant (TE7), Mike Gesicki (TE5), whilst bargain bin selection Will Dissly failed miserably with just 2.5 points.
Great plays (3x$) – 22 (40%)
Good plays (2x$)- 10 (19%)
Bad plays (below 2x$) – 23 (41%)
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Plenty to like coming into this slate. Lots of tight looking games that could lead to shoot-outs. The top end of QB doesn’t feel as appealing as some weeks, running back looks like another chalk Henry week and the wide receiver feels a bit flat at the top. As for TE it’ll become Waller or cheap for a lot of people. I’m a little behind schedule this week, but I’ll be posting my Stack of The Week by Friday morning, along with my update on the $100 bankroll challenge where I’m getting itchy to be more aggressive.
Daniel Jones @ Dallas Cowboys – $6000 – 52.0 over/under
Daniel Jones looks to be finally showing enough form that questions about his future should quieten down for a while. Through four weeks he’s posted two top-five QB performances on Draftkings. Next up he takes on a Cowboys team that has been involved in several shootouts. We know the Cowboys should be able to put up points on this average NYG defence, and the Giants seem to have enough pieces coming into form, or returning from injuries, to be able to fight back. Surprisingly the Giants boast a joint-seventh highest explosive passing rate in the league and Jones has scored over 21 points in three of his four games this season. Dallas has allowed quarterbacks to rush for an average of 35 yards and score two rushing touchdowns in their last two games. Jones has sneaky upside there, averaging 47 rushing yards and .5 rushing touchdowns per game.
Trey Lance @ Arizona Cardinals – $5700 – 50.0 over/under
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably knew this one was coming. I’ve firmly been a Trey Lance believer for some time now and strongly believed in coming into this season. Whilst it’s clear that he’s not quite as ready as perhaps I’d hoped, there’s no denying his upside. At a bare minimum, Lance should be able to run a bland offence such as the one Jimmy Garoppolo has been doing, but I believe with a week of first-team snaps and a game plan actually tailored to his abilities, we could see some explosive plays in that offence. Out of all QB’s with at least 10 dropbacks, Lance leads the league in fantasy points per dropback at 1.16. No other QB has over .82. Whilst the sample size is small it highlights the approach to the game that Lance has. In just one half last week Lance outscored any performance Garoppolo has had this season. Arizona’s defence has been tougher than expected this season, but I can’t resist playing Lance.
Jared Goff @ Minnesota Vikings – $5300 -49.0 over/under
Scraping down further into the bargain basement we find Jared Goff enjoying a reasonable start to his Detroit career. If we remove week 3’s tough matchup against the Ravens, Goff has thrown for at least two touchdowns in all his games. The Lions offence, whilst hardly deadly, has been pleasantly surprising with the joint-sixth highest explosive passing rate in the league. Minnesota’s defence hasn’t been great against the pass, week 3’s stats were more reflective of Baker Mayfield’s woeful play than the Viking’s defence. In the three previous games, the Vikings allowed an average of 286.3 yards in the passing game and two touchdowns per game. Whilst Goff isn’t the kind of quarterback I prefer to play on Draftkings, he might have one of the steadiest floors of the cheaper options.
Honourable Mentions and notes
Justin Fields @ LV $5200 – Chi dead last explosive pass rate, stat relates mainly to Dalton. LV allowed Lamar 86 rush yards Wk1. Last time we see Fields price so low.
D’Andre Swift @ Minnesota Vikings – $6100 – 49.0 over/under
This week I wrote about how Swift was one of this season’s few success stories to come from the running back dead zone, and there’s some great stuff in there that highlights his strong start to the season. Since Week 2, Swift’s price has dropped by $900 on Draftkings, despite his strong performances. In Week 3 Swift was out-touched by Williams, 14-8, but Swift still out-snapped Williams 72%-31%. Swift also saw five targets to Williams zero. The Minnesota defence has been fairly stingy against running back receptions, allowing the ninth-fewest, but no other offence throws to their backs as often as the 28.8% that Detroit does. In a game that I expect a reasonable DFS upside, Swift seems under-priced.
Damien Harris @ Houston Texans $5500 – 39.5 over/under
Damien Harris faces a Houston Texans defence that will allow many players to pad their stats this season. Even if the defence performs to the top of their ability if your quarterback can’t keep the offence on the field, eventually personnel will tire out. Harris has been what many of us expected so far, a back capable of carrying the workload, if not spectacular. The Patriots o-line hasn’t helped matters, allowing pass rushers into the backfield so often that Harris averages 0.3 yards before contact, ranking 49th in the league. Whilst that’s not great, as you can see below, Harris has enjoyed success racking up forced missed tackles and yards after contact. In Week 3 Harris saw a season-low in rushing attempts of four, however, he ran his highest ever routes per game at 17. The Patriots throw to RB’s at the eighth-highest rate in the league and if Harris can continue to be productive on the ground, whilst adding the pass game role too, he should be able to beat up on this weak Texans defence.
Leonard Fournette v Miami Dolphins – $5200 – 48.0 over/under
I’ve never been in on Leonard Fournette. In 2020 he felt like an obvious fade before the Jaguars eventually cut him. These days though it’s a lot easier to stomach Fournette’s cost and performances. With Ronald Jones still intent on giving away his workload in this backfield, Lenny has seized the opportunity, boasting the league’s 15th highest weighted opportunity share. Fournette now sees the majority of two-minute drill work, and with Giovanni Bernard out in Week 3, Fournette ran a route on 79% of pass plays, whilst also holding 69% of rushing plays. If that pass game usage continues, Fournette could have a nice game against a Miami defence that allows the fifth-most receptions to running backs. No team throws the ball more often than Tampa, who average 44.3 targets per game. Fournette has the second-most touches in the league without a touchdown (59), but I fancy that streak to end this weekend.
Honourable mentions and notes
-Trey Sermon v Ari 5k – 19/89 4.7ypc. Compliment Lance better than Mitchell? 54% snaps 19rushes 0 targets. SF Joint second highest explosive run rate 12%.
-Samaje Perine v GB 4k only RB behind Mixon. 24% snaps 3+1. Huge op. WILL UPDATE IF MIXON MISSES.
-Damien Williams 5.6k @ LV – free square-ish. Pass catching + history of being a starter. 19% of targets allowed by LV are to RB’s.
-James Robinson v TEN 6k (18th wopa) 95% snaps 18+2 – 2+0. Ten 8th fewest targets allowed.
-Chase Edmonds v SF 5900-12th Ranks 3rd at RB for target share. Sw/Nj. Leads league in touches this szn w/o TD 63. Only 5 teams allow more RB R than SF (33). Joint 2nd most explosive run rate in NFL.
Laviska Shenault v Tennessee Titans – $4800 – 48.5 over/under
D.J Chark’s season-ending injury was a real shame to see, but it left a huge opportunity behind for Laviska Shenault. Shenault’s usage so far had been disappointing with his average air yards per target at 4.6. In Week 4 with Chark missing almost the entire game, this jumped to 11.9. That usage is the kind we need if Shenault is to become a great fantasy option. Luckily for him, he faces the Tennessee defence that leads the league in yards allowed to wide receivers with 944, whilst also allowing an average of two wide receiver touchdowns per game. The Titan’s defence also leads the league in receptions of 20+ yards, having allowed an average of three per week. This feels like a good combination for the Jaguars offence, which has the joint-fifth most explosive pass rate in the NFL. For what it’s worth, I also really like Marvin Jones this week at $5700.
Henry Ruggs v Chicago Bears – $5600 – 44.0 over/under
Ruggs isn’t a player I’m often drawn towards, but I have been impressed so far this season with the way Las Vegas is using him. Whenever you see a speedster running vertical routes out of the slot it’s always a good sign. Ruggs has also increased his target share by almost 50% this year, jumping from 10.5% in 2020, to 15.5% currently. Chicago allows 1.8 touchdowns to receivers per game, which ranks joint-second worst in the league. Vegas has been playing unusually aggressive this season with the fourth-most explosive plays per game and averaging the third-most passing targets per game. On a slate where Waller is the standout tight end, it might be a nice way to pivot and gain leverage.
Robby Anderson v Philadelphia Eagles – $5000 – 46.0 over/under
Robby Anderson has become a divisive figure right now. Some people might be advocating for you to drop him, but there’s a lot of bad advice about dropping players on Twitter… In Week 3 Anderson saw 11 targets, sadly they were only worth 5-46. Diving deeper into his usage, Sam Darnold has a QB rating of 19.5 when targeting Anderson in Week 3. That’s bad. I can’t believe that Sam Darnold is going to maintain that form. He and Anderson have a relationship dating back to their New York Jets days. This isn’t a case of two players who’ve never been on the same page. Anderson has run a route on 87% of plays and has a 29.0% share of the team’s air yards. Good things will come if that usage keeps up. Philadelphia’s defence is coming into this game on the back of giving up 50.6 points to Tyreek Hill, and whilst that might be above Anderson’s ceiling, this could be a real diamond of a low ownership play.
Honourable mentions and notes
-K. Toney @ DAL 4k – 25% pass target share.
-Josh Reynolds v Jax 3.3k Only 2 allow more to pos. 892 on 82 AVG? Ten 9th in targets/game with 37.3 (*if Julio/AJ miss)
-Shepard 5.3k @ Dal – only 4 teams allowed more yardage to WR’s. Only 3 allowed more targets. 3rd worst 1.5 TD per game average to WR.
-B. Aiyuk @ ARI 4.5k Ari cover TE well, allowing 93yrds. 712 to WR. Only 5 allow more receptions to pos.
-Ja’maar Chase V GB 5.8k – only 26.3 targets per game ranks 4th worst. BUT 74.3% of CIN target go to wr.
-Marvin Jones v Ten 5.7k – Ten lead league in yards allowed to WR 944. Next nearest is TB 916. Allow 2td per game to wr. Titans vs 20+ yrd throws 12 r’s 481 yrds worst in nfl. Joint-5th most explosive pass rate in NFL.
-Allen Robinson 5.5k @ LV – so cheap… really cheap only 10 teams allowed more targets to WR’s. Only one team fewer targets per game (NO) 25.0-21.3.
There’s plenty of good choices with Kittle, Waller, & Hockenson all on the slate this week. I’m always looking for a cheap option at tight end if I can’t get to the top plays, and before I’ve started building lineups, my gut feeling is that this weekend will be one for paying up at the position.
Dalton Schultz v New York Giants – $4400 – 52.0 over/under
There’s an element of chasing the points here with Schultz averaging almost 22 points per game in the last two weeks, but the Cowboys are using 12 personnel more than in previous years with both Jarwin and Schultz seeing good usage. Schultz has taken the TE1 job from fantasy darling Jarwin, outpacing him in snaps 71.5%-53.9%, receptions 20-9 and target share 17.6%-9.9%. New York allows the 9th most yards to the position and the league-highest average touchdowns to the position with 1.0 per game.
Jonnu Smith @ Houston Texans – $3300 – 39.5 over/under
The Boston TE party hasn’t been too lively so far this season, but nothing cures the blues quite like a matchup with Houston. The Texans allow the fourth-most yards to the position and the fifth-most targets. New England has been known to play slowly at times in recent years, but last week the offence led the league in the rate of play and across four games only three teams averaged more targets per game than the Patriots 39.8. New England probably won’t need to go no-huddle against the Texans, but there are potential opportunities for Jonnu Smith, whose price has reached its second-lowest mark of the season.
Ricky Seals-Jones v Washington – $2500
Deep down in the bargain basement, we find Ricky Seals-Jones who will fill in for Logan Thomas after the former QB turned TE injured his hamstring early in Week 3. When Thomas left the game that allowed Seals-Jones to run a route on 35 of 42 plays (83%). New Orleans defence has played better than their offence this season, but they allow the 7th most receptions to tight ends and if Seals-Jones can manage even a reasonable score, it will make this punt play worthwhile.
I’ll be back for an update over the weekend, depending on injury news. I’ll also have my Stack of The Week on NFLbestball.co.uk/DFS along with my $100 Bankroll challenge. As ever, I’m always happy to chat through lineup questions or general thoughts you have on the slate. If you enjoy my work please give it a shout out on Twitter, it takes far more of my time than I’d like to admit. Let’s go win some money!