NFL DFS Week 4 Picks
Well, if you didn’t roster Mike Evans last week and believed that the metrics far outweighed the eye test, then I solemnly weep for your wallet. It happens. It’s why the NFL is such a wild DFS ride every single week. Great match-up? Fantastic target share numbers and red zone usage? Bah humbug! EYE TEST BABY! Thankfully, the numbers are usually in our favor for the majority of the season as dictated by the law of averages. Most weeks will skew towards the advanced analysis that the great team at DailyRoto have put into the optimizer. Unfortunately for them, I will decipher said analysis improperly and use FAKE DATA to push through my biased picks. I mean, it’s how I got an exorbitant amount of DeSean Jackson shares in Week 1! Humblebrag, I know. Let’s move on to Week 4 already!
NOTE – I am still continuing my Miami Dolphins BAN and will not talk about the game. I am not ready to accept their failures and ineptitude at building a tanking roster. NOPE! Ask me again next week after they defeat the Chargers and I pick every single Dolphin as top plays. It will happen one day, I tell ya!
Fresh off a Blake Bortles-like 450 yard game that was mostly in garbage time, Wilson still showed off his wizardry in the pocket and continued accuracy downfield while escaping the horde of pass rushers coming his way. He possibly could be game script dependent due to the nature of the predominantly run-heavy Seahawks, but the Cardinals’ defense has yet to stop anyone with a pulse and continues to hemorrhage the 3rd most offensive snaps per game. It’s a number that should stay steady until they start to get back some impact players from injuries/suspension (if at all), and Wilson should reap the benefits of such a disastrous defense. If the Seahawks can increase their play-action numbers a little bit (12% PA usage, compared to 30% in ’18), then there’s a good chance for a big Wilson day thanks to his top-tier numbers utilizing the play-action (3rd most TDs/5th most yards on PA’s last season). I’m going bigly on Wilson.
Yeah, it was a big giant OOF for Watson owners last week when he decided that tight end lives matter. He still put up gaudy numbers despite ignoring his stud receivers for most of the game. Now he’ll get a dinged-up Carolina defense that should be without stud DL Kawann short once again. While their metrics may suggest that the Panthers’ pass defense is elite (6th DVOA, 3rd best-graded coverage), getting throttled by the run due to the lack of depth upfront could be a key reason why. Their run defense ranks 27th DVOA and averages the 12th most yards per carry. You’d think that would mean the Texans pound the rock, but they currently roster a corpse at RB in Carlos Hyde while refusing to give touches to Duke Johnson. The Texans prefer to pass the ball at will (65% last week) and a possibly improved run game should mean better looks for Watson against a team giving up the 5th most offensive snaps. It’s a bit of a dicey play with massive upside if the Panthers’ offensive continues to improve under new QB Kyle Allen.
What an impressive debut for Danny Dimes! Yes, it was against a (now?) garbage defense that for some reason repeatedly let Jones scurry his way for multiple touchdowns untouched. The key here is Dimes did most of the damage without stud RB Saquon Barkley in the game due to injury. Barkley is expected to miss a month or so, leaving the entire offense in Jones’ hands. Thankfully, he gets another fairly easy test against the porous Redskins defense. It’s two teams with a high pace (4th and 5th fastest) and horrid defenses (31st and 27th DVOA overall) that should lead to an increase of offensive snaps. The Redskins currently grade as the 5th worst pass rush with the 7th worst pass coverage, similar numbers to the Buccaneers defense that Jones just carved up. He rates as the best QB value on the board, behind only our lord and savior Patrick Mahomes. Jam him in!
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It’s been largely a miserable season for the Super Bowl loser, as all of his numbers have trickled down from last year. A big reason for Goff’s sudden decline has been his play-action numbers, as the Rams have kept a high PA rate (37.4 compared to 35% in ’18) but struggle to produce on said play-actions. Last season, Goff had the most TDs/yards on play-action last year with a stellar line of 15 TDs to only two picks. This season? A miserable 0 TDs and 3 picks on play-actions. Sad! Perhaps this is the week ’18 Goff shows up after watching rookie Daniel Jones light them up last week. As I mentioned earlier, the Bucs defense has graded out considerably worse each week as the season progresses, ranking 9th worst in pass coverage overall. The Rams still run their 11 personnel at a high rate (83% of plays) and employ the 4th highest play-action rate, so the odds of a great Goff week sooner than later are rather good. He’s the perfect candidate for a volatility boost for those reasons. Crank ’em up to a 30 and PRAY!
With several of the elite RBs either not playing on the slate (Kamara), injured (Barkley), or in bad match-ups (Dalvin Cook), CMC once again pops as the best RB play on the board. The guy is getting an absurd amount of volume as the best bell cow in the league and producing elite results that have made him a must-play regardless of price. He’s almost match-up proof due to how often he plays as a receiver (most pass routes ran among RBs, top five in targets/receiving yards, 9th highest YPR/R) while maintaining a high floor for carries (2nd most carries) and red zone usage (50% MS of RZ opportunities, also ranks T1 for most RZ opportunities). Just play him every week until further notice.
While I’m sure others will flock to Wayne Gallman as the obvious value play, I’d rather hitch my wagon to an under-owned dark horse that could end up surprising people with a big day. Lindsay has quietly put up big numbers behind an RBBC in Denver, racking up the 9th most carries, 8th most targets, and 5th highest YPR/R while splitting time with Royce Freeman in routes run (14th for Freeman, 15th for Lindsay). Freeman is expected to play through his injury, which may or may not open up more snaps for Lindsay down the road. Whatever may happen to Lindsay’s snap count is immaterial here, as we’re focused on his efficiency against a Jaguars run defense that ranks 26th DVOA and will not have stud CB Jalen Ramsey on the field to shout at his coach. There’s just something off about the Jaguars’ front (missing Telvin Smith more than we thought?) but it’s a prime spot for Lindsay to take over the game and pad his already abnormally high RZ usage (30% MS, T1 in opportunities). Under-owned, great underrated match-up, banged up backup RB, and has the heart of Joe Flacco? I’m ALL IN!
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Is it finally time? Have the Lions freed the stud RB? All signs point to YES after playing on 77% of the Lions’ offensive snaps last week and giving him 20 carries. Unfortunately, Johnson gained a whopping 38 yards on those carries. Still, it’s the thought that counts! Johnson was used as a clear bell cow while playing on the majority of 3rd downs and finally getting every single goal-line work, something that had long been a sticking issue for Kerryon owners. It’s a nice change for the better regardless of the lack of production. He’ll get a Chiefs defense that’s largely been mediocre and just got ran roughshod by BAL’s RBs (156 yards on 23 carries). The Chiefs currently grade as the worst run defense by PFF and FO, which might explain why Kerryon pops bigly on the projections. Reading the tea leaves left behind by rocket scientist Matt Patricia shows a potential nuclear game for Kerryon if he continues to get 70+% of the snaps. However, it is still the Lions and they could very well end up in a hole early on, forcing them to abandon the run game. Volatility is needed here, and I’ll be notching a big number to adjust for the Mahomes factor. I think 50 is a solid number here.
Gotta stack Russell with somebody! Lockett has been Wilson’s favorite target as of late, racking up his most catches as a Seahawk last week. He’s now up to a 28% market share of the team’s target after receiving just one target Week 1. Safe to say Wilson trusts his best offensive weapon going forward. With 56% of his routes in the slot, Lockett should be plenty of Arizona’s Trumaine Brock and his 135.4 passer rating on his slot coverage. He’s up to 10/229/2 on the season overall, making Lockett a must-play across all sites. He’s well below the elite WRs in terms of pricing but has a similar floor/ceiling. No brainer here.
He’s been one of the few bright spots on a lackluster Rams offense that’s struggling to get back their identity from last season’s SB run. Not only is he leading his team in target share (nearly 30%), Kupp is also blowing away fellow slot receivers in other departments (4th most targets, 5th highest YPR/R, 8th most yards) while only running the 26th most routes among WRs. The guy is a certifiable stud and shows no signs of regression from his ACL injury. He’ll get a Bucs secondary that appears to be over-matched once again and should see the majority of M.J. Stewart’s 59.1 graded coverage. Slam dunk match-up, owns Goff’s trust and heart, and in prime position to beat his price resoundingly.
Scary Terry, indeed. McLaurin’s on the fast track to being a star sooner than later, leading his team in target share and red zone targets. He’s also 7th in the NFL in air yards which is usually a good indicator for a blow-up game if he can get more opportunities. Regardless of the QB situation, Scary Terry should be the intended target against the near bottom-ranked Giants secondary that just allowed a nuclear game to Mike Evans. Clearly the Giants have struggled to contain any deep presence (Cooper and Evans). Sounds right up Terry’s alley! If McLaurin can get more red-zone looks (4 in Week 2, 1 last week) and the Redskins continue to match him up against Baker/Jenkins (combined to give up 30/578/5 in their coverage), then Scary Terry has a real shot to be the best value WR on the slate.
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It was a bummer of a game last week in a plus match-up, but there were some silver linings in the game log. He played his most snaps of the season (up from 64% Week 3 to 74%), making him a near full-time starter and erasing any concerns of his nagging injuries. Brown also has the 3rd most air yards among WRs despite playing nearly half of the snaps versus most of the WRs in the top 10. He’s in a prime spot for a blow-up game if Denzel Ward and the Browns secondary continue to nurse their injuries (leaning towards doubtful for Ward/Greedy Williams). Brown also collected 9 targets last week, keeping his MS/T at a lofty 26% as the team leader in targets. Jackson still needs to work on his accuracy (top 10 in the least catchable passes thrown), but the volume and aggressiveness are still there for the Ravens offense. I believe in Brown’s elite speed and potential uber plus match-up so much that I’m pushing him into a near top 5 value/points with a 15 boost. All aboard!
The guy just continues to be a target hog, leading the Giants in targets and a 24% MS/T. Gets a plus match-up against a bad secondary. Essentially plays as the Giants’ #1 WR with 2nd most routes ran and 5th most in the slot among TEs. Owns the 3rd highest target percentage among TEs. Gets an actual QB that’s willing to throw the ball. What more can you ask for?
It’s actually a tough week to play values at TE (outside of chalk Will Dissly, of course) since all the good players (keyword – GOOD) are all priced to reflect their recent performance. Olsen seems to offer the best value at a solid price just below the elite TE tier. He’s been surprisingly playing at an elite level despite being long in the tooth and battling some injuries. Olsen ranks 3rd in routes run and has the most routes in the slot among TEs. That’s mighty impressive for a 34-year-old TE that many thought was completely washed up. He’s even running at the 6th highest YPR/R, too! Don’t think he’s doing all of this on three-yard hitches and outs! The Texans defense has yet to face an actual TE outside of Jared Cook in Week 1, so this should be a good litmus test to tell us if their TE coverage is elite or not. I’m banking on Olsen continuing his stellar work as possibly the 3rd best TE in the NFL and continuing to see at least 20% of his team’s targets.
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While Jack O’Doyle RULES continues to out-snap Ebron by a fair amount, the Hilton injury may finally give more snaps for Ebron to soak up. His snap count rose to 52% last week, the highest so far this season. He’s also 2nd on the team in MS/T….at 12%. Yes, you read that right. Hilton has been the beneficiary of most Brissett targets, and who do you expect to be the new sheriff in town should Hilton miss Sunday’s game? That’s right! FREE ERIC EBRON! It would also open up more red-zone work for Ebron, who was one of the top tier RZ weapons last season when he got to actually see the field. Chances are against an Oakland 30th DVOA pass defense that’s given up the 7th most yards to TEs, Ebron should be able to find the holes in their soft secondary. Is it worth the risk despite Ebron’s palpable numbers (11 total targets) and lack of full-time snaps? YES! That’s why we have the volatility tool! I’m putting a 10 boost so he’s right under Olsen value-wise and protecting myself with a 50 volatility so it can project both ends of a possible full-time Ebron versus a zero target game. Both very possible scenarios.