Week Four NFL DFS AutoMattek Absolutes
Times have changed in DFS. When I first started writing the AutoMattek Absolutes six years ago, cash games were all anyone wanted to talk about. A majority of players considered themselves cash game grinders and tournaments were secondary to the 50/50’s, head to heads and double-ups.
That is no longer the case. Tournaments are the primary source of discussion and interest for both the casual and serious DFS players. As such, the content has to evolve with time. Throughout the 2019 NFL season, the AutoMattek Absolutes will be a hybrid GPP strategy/individual plays highlight column to help you get prepared for the Sunday main slate of tournaments.
DOUBLE KEY: DeShaun Watson
Patrick Mahomes is going to continue to break every record and laugh in the face of anyone who projected regression for him BUT… no team is good enough to keep Kansas City throwing for four quarters. Even the Baltimore Ravens had to play catch up against the Chiefs (and the lower-ish total in the Ravens game is keeping us from a Lamar Jackson double key). With a slightly reduced price relative to his peers, we are interested heavily in DeShaun Watson this week.
We are going to get good ownership percentages on Watson and all his complimentary weapons due to the explosion of Jerrel Adams and Jordan Akins last week. The public, regardless of how efficient ownership is getting, always is likely to return to what they most recently saw. They haven’t seen Will Fuller explode for a 30 point game in far too long for him to be popular.
The controversial part of this grouping with Watson would be the inclusion of Duke Johnson and Darren Fells. Fells played 39 snaps last week and is a great way to get a few super-unique lineups (and he isn’t likely to make it in very many, if any teams, at his current projection). Duke Johnson played 29 snaps but if we are expecting a good offensive game with the Panthers “bring back” then we would project (in that lineup) more playing time and touches for Johnson than Carlos Hyde.
The reasons for doing the bring back here are obvious. The Panthers offense is concentrated to four players: D.J Moore, Christian McCaffrey, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen. That group has touched the ball on 157 of the Panthers 196 plays. If they are scoring on offense, it is coming from one of those four.
These rules will set up a case where all of your DeShaun Watson lineups have him stacked with his best offensive options but also really improve the ceiling of each individual lineup by including one of the Panthers’ studs. The Panthers plays are all good in their own right due to how concentrated that offense is and but getting the upside of having them with a just average team total that would be positively affected by Houston scoring is a good way to generate unique, high-ceiling lineups.
The Troubling Case Of Chris Carson
Lead running backs this season against Arizona this season have received: 18 touches (Kerryon Johnson), 15 touches (Mark Ingram, but 16 rush attempts for Lamar Jackson), and 28 touches (Christian McCaffrey). The Cardinals are running the fastest pace offense in the NFL while also throwing passes at the highest clip the league has ever seen. That means they are giving up the most possessions to opposing teams as well. Clearly lead running backs should be the stones against them?
Well, unless the lead running back against them is losing touches to C.J Prosise. Rashaad Penny missed last week’s game against the Saints which caused Chris Carson to be fairly chalky despite his fumbling issues. Carson fumbled AGAIN in the Saints game but even more troubling, saw only one target as Prosise had four rushes and five targets. One can pretty reasonably extrapolate that not only was Carson being semi-benched for his fumbling issues but that Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer are looking a different way on passing downs.
However, the fact remains that the team is trying to reassure Carson that he is the guy. Pete Carrol told the media on Monday “”Because we do believe in him, we’re going to continue to show him that. He’s a terrific football player, and we want to make sure and maintain that level of play from him so we’ll work at it, work with him on it.” The fear-based part of my brain makes me want to just avoid this situation entirely but that isn’t really the most logical response. We know that when Seattle is leading, they are going to run the ball as much as possible and that Carson probably would have first dibs on the goalline work especially if Rashaad Penny was to miss another game (which we do not expect).
I think the right answer is that Carson is worth a play at what the projections put him at this week. I am not going to make an effort to bump him significantly or nuke him from player pool because with even a 50-60% market share of the Seahawks backfield work, he is going to be a value.
The New York Football Giants
I never thought that this would be something I would say, but I am pretty excited to play Daniel Jones and the Giants this week. The most expensive Giant is Sterling Shepard at $5,800. The Giants have a 26 point team total at home against a Washington team that gave up QB1 days to Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and (checks notes) Mitch Trubisky? Washington is much worse than New York now that New York has a semblance of quarterback play. The Giants defense is still horrible which should play into the favor of Jones/Giants stacks and bring backs. This game is probably going to end up being sort of chalky which is gross but there are real reasons for it.
The Giants defense is giving up 9.4 net adjusted yards per pass attempt and Washington has conceded nine passing touchdowns in three games. For our stack purposes, Saquon Barkley’s injury provides us some excess value with Wayne Gallman (who had five or more targets in four of his six career starts) but also makes it more likely that we get to see more of Daniel Jones as a rusher. Jones ran for over 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in college. He scored two rushing touchdowns last week, one designed run and one scramble at the end of the game. If he is a legit Konami Code quarterback, his price this week is far too cheap.
The Daniel Jones grouping is pretty simple to me. There are probably reasons to want to play Darius Slayton or Bennie Fowler but the majority of the Giants touch distribution through the air should go to these three players. With the Giants not expected to have a veteran running back added to the mix this week, Gallman should be free to play 75% or more of the snaps for a massive home favorite and get the passing down work. Evan Engram is second amongst all tight ends in fantasy points over expectation (meaning that he is dominant on the targets he gets) and has three straight top-12 tight end weeks.
Washington also offers a few interesting “bring back” plays for the Daniel Jones DOUBLE KEY if you are feeling inclined to gamble. This might work better as a correlated key boost but I tend to play these things a little bit more aggressively in my lineups.
All three of these players would positively correlate to a Daniel Jones/Shepard/Engram smash game as we saw on Monday night. When Washington gets behind, Case Keenum is pretty adequate at helping his guys accrue garbage time stats. You could also throw Paul Richardson in this mix as he probably has more upside than Trey Quinn on any given play but I do like knowing that in most games, 5-50 is a realistic target for Quinn.
I have pretty high hopes for the New York side of this game (Jones/Gallman/Shepard/Engram) and probably won’t run the “bring back” rule in the entire subset of my lineups because I don’t want Washington scoring 12 points to ruin my chances at a bink but do think that it is worthwhile to run in at least half of your MME builds.
Defenses Don’t Matter To Dalvin Cook
My final point of the week is #DefensesDoNotMatter. There is no reason why Dalvin Cook should not be in your MME builds this week. Cook has at least 20 interactions (carries + targets) in every game thus far, is top 10 in the NFL in touches inside the 10-yard line and is unlikely get in a super negative game script. In fact, even IF the Vikings found themselves in a very negative game script, Cook will still be one of the best plays because they do not care what the score is. They are going to keep running the ball.
Every so often in DFS, we get opportunities where a player with a massive projected workload goes under-owned because of fear about a matchup. You will see it sometimes with huge market share wide receivers against “shutdown corners” and quite often with elite running backs when their team total isn’t good and the Viking’s team total is BAD. Right now it is hovering at around 17 points in a game that is under 40 total points at most sportsbooks.
So why am I telling you to play this guy in what is clearly a gross game for fantasy? Well first off, the running back player pool for GPP’s is not great with Ezekiel Elliot and a few other studs removed from the pool. The biggest reason though is that Cook is one of the few actual workhorse running backs in the league and in neutral game-scripts, we would expect him to play around 70-75% of the Vikings snaps and be their primary goalline option. Just this once, I am going to tell you to fade the #math!