Week 4 DFS Breakdown
By: Nick Zylak
Will Dissly ($3,600) @ Cardinals
Dissly is the top TE on the slate, and he should be used in 100% of cash game lineups…and probably in single entry as well. He’s going to be mega chalk, but this isn’t chalk you want to fade in cash. Nick Vannett was the only TE getting snaps for Seattle, and they traded him to Pittsburgh earlier this week. That alone means Dissly needs to be looked at. But that’s not all he has going for him. He gets the single best TE matchup possible. The Cardinals refuse to cover TE’s, allowing the following performances through three weeks:
TJ Hockenson: 6/131/1
Mark Andrews: 8/112/1
Greg Olsen: 6/75/2
That’s embarrassing, and it’s something we’ll look to target every single week. The real decision point will come in GPP’s. Initial ownership projections indicate he should be around 20% owned. Any time a TE gets over 20%, you can think about fading him. As of right now, I’m leaning towards making this a one lineup week…and if I go that route…then I’d be shocked if he didn’t make the lineup. Other TE’s you could use instead of Will are Howard/Waller/Engram/Kelce. With Engram being my second favorite (Especially as part of a game stack).
Paul Richardson ($3,700) @ Giants
I was going to be all in on McLaurin this week, but with the news that he’s battling through a hamstring injury, I can’t go there. Never fear though, we can just pivot to his teammate in Richardson! Paul saw 8 targets last week, and ranks 2nd in air yards behind McLaurin. Trey Quinn has more targets, and he could see a bump as well, but his routes are so close to the line of scrimmage that his upside is capped. If you really need to save the extra $700 to get to a lineup you like, then I’m ok using him. But Richardson is the preferred option.
All of this is just looking at the targets…but just like Dissly, these two also have an incredible matchup. The Giants might very well have the worst defense in the NFL…giving up the following performances to opposing WR’s through three weeks:
Amari Cooper: 6/106/1
Michael Gallup: 7/158
Randall Cobb: 4/69/1
John Brown: 7/72
Cole Beasley: 4/83
Mike Evans: 8/190/3
Paul and Quinn aren’t the WR talents that McLaurin is, but you don’t need to be all that talented to produce against the Giants. These two should soak up a ton of targets, and have crazy point per dollar upside if they end up in the end zone. They’ll be chalky, but you should probably be playing at least one of them in cash.
James White ($4,900) @ Buffalo
Over the past few seasons, it’s been fairly easy to determine which games set up well for each Patriots RB. There are the Blount/Sony games, and there are the White/Burkhead games. It’s pretty clear that this weekend is a White/Burkhead game. Not only has Sony been a disaster this season, but Devlin (the Pats fullback) is on IR. That means they’ll shift to more 3 WR, or 2 RB sets…which almost never feature Sony. Then you look at the matchup. The Patriots have historically struggled facing Sean McDermott defenses…and Brady in particular has seen some of his worst performances. The Bills are great at stopping outside WR production, and while they’re not elite against the run, again…Sony has been trash. That leaves Edelman/White/Burkhead tasked with producing for the Patriots. Edelman should have his typical Edleman game, and he’s fine in GPP’s, but at $6,500, he’s too expensive for cash or single entry. I’m focusing my Patriots exposure to White and Burkhead. Both of them should see the field a lot, and often times will be on the field together. I’m willing to spend the extra $500 to get up to James White. Brady has complete trust in him, and he’s a better receiver and route runner than Burkhead. Since 2015, James White has the following fantasy point performances against Buffalo: 18.6|11.2|4.9|9|25.4|13.4. Those aren’t elite numbers, but he’s under 5K, and Dion Lewis went off in some of those games. At his price, and given the matchup, I just don’t see many paths to him truly disappointing this week.
Evan Engram ($5,700) | Sterling Shepard ($5,800) | Darius Slayton($3,200) vs Washington
If Evan Engram were a WR, then he’d be 7K. He’s tied with Julio Jones and Odell with 30 targets…gaining 12 more receiving yards than Jones, and 11 fewer than Odell. He also gets to face a Washington defense that ranks 27th in pass defense efficiency, 28th in pass rush efficiency, and is the second worst teams in terms of success rate against 11 personnel (the formation that the Giants run on most plays). TE’s always come with higher variance, which is likely why Engram is priced so low. But the Giants are going to have a good day through the air, and Engram is going to be a big part of their offense.
Basically everything I just said is also true about Shepard as well. I’m comfortable playing either as a one off, but I also really like pairing them with Daniel Jones, and running it back with McLaurin.
The one name you probably didn’t expect to see was Darius Slayton. Now I haven’t build out any rosters yet, so I don’t know if you need the savings…but let’s be honest, the savings is always nice. Slayton was the Giants 5th round selection this year, and he boasts a 95th percentile speed score, a 95th percentile catch radius, and a 79th percentile SPARQ-x score. He’s lightening fast, and the team want’s to use him as a their Will Fuller. He posted a 3/82 stat line last week, on 5 targets and 107 air yards. Those air yards made up a 30% share of the Giants total on the week…and he only played on 44% of their offensive snaps! If you’re confused why you haven’t heard his name yet, well it’s becasue he’s been out with a hamstring injury until last week. He didn’t suffer a setback, and with Tate still suspended, he should see at least half the snaps this week. It’s a bit too thin of a play in cash, even at his price. But it’s a great play as part of a game stack in GPP’s. I’m not always the best at predicting ownership, but I’d be surprised if he was more than 3% owned.
Kenny Stills ($4,200) vs Carolina
The Panthers have been gashed by slot receivers so far this season, and if that happens again this week, then Stills could go off. Hopkis should bounce back soon, but he’s got a touch matchup with Bradberry. Then Fuller is set to explode soon (Given his insane number of air yards, and extremely deep ADOT), but he also has a tough matchup with Donte Jackson. This leaves us with Stills in the slot. Stills overtook Coutee last week, playing in 54% of snaps, and lining up in the slot on 66% of those. He was able to post a 4/89 stat line on 6 targets, ranking first on the team in air yards by a wide margin (39% of the total air yards). The matchup is also great for another reason…pace. As discussed last week, the Panthers are a pace up matchup. As per Pat Thorman, the Panthers operate at the third fastest seconds per snap rate, and their games average the most plays in the league. Carolina should be looking to throw the ball early and often against the Texans pass funnel, and they’re likely to have success in doing so. This game could absolutely turn into a shootout, and we all know the kind of upside Texans players have under those settings.
A quick note on the Texans offense. I know they can be tough to get right at times…with Hopkins/Fuller/Stills/Coutee all capable of posting slate breaking weeks. And although I do like Stills the most, given his price and matchup…the entire passing attack is in play this week…and it’s a great game to stack as well.
Top Game Stacks
There are only four games I’d consider stacking this week. Obviously you should still be pairing your QB with a pass catcher (yes RB’s do count), and it’s never a bad idea to run it back with something on the other side…but when talking about games that could go back and forth…there are four that stand out more than the rest.
Panthers @ Texans
This game is really appealing because of how faced paced it could be, and because of how explosive each of these offenses is. The Panthers are good at limiting big plays, but this entire Texans offense is build of explosive players…and there’s only so much you can do when that’s the case. I discussed above why Stills is my favorite piece of this offense, but a case can be made for stacking Watson ($6,400) with Stills ($4,200) and another pass catcher. I like the idea of playing Watson/Stills/Fuller for a cheap stack, with monster upside if things hit…but I by no means would shy away from any combination involving Stills/Fuller/Hopkins. The TE’s are point chasey, and I don’t like either of their RB’s in fantasy.
On the Panthers side, they have mismatches across the board. CMC ($8,800) is a mismatch against any human, but the Texans have also allowed a decent amount of receptions to Kamara/Fournette/Ekeler. Those are tough opponents, so that could be a large reason for their struggles, but CMC is good enough to win any matchup. Samuel/Moore/Olsen also set up well in this one. The Texans corners are really slow, so that doesn’t exactly set up well with the speedy Samuel and Moore. Samuel ($4,600) may have gotten more targets last week, but that doesn’t mean Moore ($5,600) should be avoided, as both are good plays. Olsen ($4,200) has been crushing so far this season. Although it’s been aided by good matchups, he’s second in air yards to only Kelce among TE’s, so he’s a great play again this week.
Washington @ Giants
This was going to be the top stack of the week, but with the McLaurin injury, I had to bump it down to second. It looks like Keenum ($4,900) should be active, and you can put some nice teams together by playing Keenum/Quinn/Richardson (11.6K on DraftKings). This is the single cheapest team stack you’ll find this season, and possibly ever. If you also take Dissly, then…even if you pick the most expensive defense…the remaining RB|RB|WR|FLEX spots can average $7,750. The one question will be whether or not you even need that this week. CMC is a great RB pick, but there aren’t many stud RB’s in great spots. So the point per dollar upside is crazy, just make sure you actually need to do it.
On the Giants side, I’m probably fading Gallman ($4,600). I just don’t see the point. It’s not like he’s filling in 20 carries and 6 targets. He’s probably only going to get 10-12 carries and a few targets. That’s not worth the ownership at his price. I love all of Jones/Shepard/Engram/Slayton. All of them are reasonably priced, and the matchup at home, against Washington, is one of the best you can ask for. It’s going to come at high ownership, since the other side has so much value, and they just went off last week…but it’s a stack I’d definitely look to have exposure to.
Seahawks @ Cardinals
This is a game that might go overlooked as part of stacks. The Cardinals were popular last week, and although they hit value, they didn’t go off. That could lead to slightly lower ownership on them than there should be. The main intrigue around this game is how the Cardinals play. We all know the offense. They run a ton of short passes, and like to take shots downfield. That’s going to lead to high floor and ceiling games from their skill position players. On defense though, they sell out to stop the run, forcing teams to pass it on them. If they’re successful at that this week, then Wilson ($6,100) and his pass catchers are going to have big games. Nearly all of the passing volume flows through Lockett ($6,300), D.K Metcalf ($4,800), and Will Dissly ($3,600), are all in play. Wilson has been dominant this season when his OC let’s him throw, and they might be forced to air it out this week. As I said above, the Cardinals tend to sell out to stop the run…and if you’re using this stack, then you should be hoping the game turns into a shootout. Because of that, I' probably won’t be using Chris Carson ($5,700).
On the Cardinals side, this matchup is neutral. The Seahawks aren’t a defense to fear, but they do play slow on offense, so the pace up nature of this game is more so an advantage for the Seattle players (They see a bump up, while the Cardinals could see a bump down). With how Arizona operates their offense though, they could all go off at any time. Kirk ($5,100) only had 59 receiving yards last week, but he also had 10 receptions, and he just missed on a deep TD. Fitz ($5,600) gets a few less deep balls, but he makes up for it as their featured weapon in the red zone. Kyler ($6,000) finally showed his rushing upside last week with 69 rushing yards on 8 carries. He’s going to have a 400 total yard and 4 TD game soon.
Kansas City @ Detroit
This is my least favorite of the 4 game stacks, mostly due to the public perception of this game. The game total is up to 54.5, making it the highest scoring game on the week (By 5 points!). People are going to flock to this game, especially with Robinson ($5,200) and Hardman ($5,100) combining for 5 TD’s over the last two weeks. There are plenty of ways to stack this one, so I’m sure you can still find a lower owned stack…I’m just less likely to have a full game stack due to ownership. Kelce ($7,200) is always a great option on his own, since he’s capable of posting a slate breaking score in any matchup, and with Watkins under performing in back to back weeks, I’d rather target him over Robinson and Hardman.
Mahomes ($7,500) is the most interesting part of this stack. Given how good the Lions are at stopping the run, and how stable his production is, he’s the top QB play on the slate. 7.5K might feel expensive, but it’s rare we’ve seen a QB post 30 points consistently. Yes you can use him on his own, although it’s unlikely you’ll win a tournament in doing so. For cash though, it seems like you’ll have plenty of salary to pay up at QB, so there’s a strong case to be made for just taking the 30 points.
On the Lions side, Kerryon Johnson ($5,400) is too cheap for his new role (77% snap share last week). His one target is a bit concerning, but I attribute that to game script more than anything. The fact that they were willing to give him 21 touches in such a difficult matchup is extremely promising, and makes him under priced at 5.4K. Golladay($5,900) is also under priced, at under 6.3K for the first time all year. Jones may have went off last week, but Golladay is still the alpha in Detriot, with 8 more targets, and 100 more air yards on the season. Again, this should be the highest owned game stack on the week, but as long as you differentiate elsewhere, you can still get to a unique build with this stack.
Top Low Owned Plays
Note: I’m surprising even myself with how many of these I’ve hit on
Don’t expect more than half to work out every week
Matt Ryan ($5,900) vs Titans: 5% Owned
Kyle Allen ($5,200) @ Houston: 3% Owned
Darius Slayton ($3,200) vs Washington: 3% Owned
Allen Robinson ($5,600) vs Vikings: 3% Owned
Kenny Stills ($4,200) vs Carolina: 2% Owned
James White ($4,900) @ Buffalo: 4% Owned
Adrian Peterson ($4,300) @ Giants: 3% Owned
Just make the obvious plays a TE