Week 4 DFS Lessons Learned


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Week 4 DFS Lessons Learned

I’m starting to think I will never get all my DFS picks right.

If you exclude the RBs, it was another solid week, but unfortunately, I can’t exclude the RBs. I’ve always found the RB position the hardest one to project, and it’s for a variety of reasons. We saw many of them on display with some of my bad RB calls, like:

Kenyan Drake — I knew there was risk, potentially a lot of risk, but I saw a potential blowup game with 100+ yards and 1-2 TDs against such a bad run defense, and I had to go there. But the predicted game script didn’t work out. Drake’s lack of action in the passing game was a concern going in, but he did have 5 targets and 5 catches in their first three games. But Drake had 0 targets in Week 4, so you don’t need me to tell you we now officially hate The Drake. But what we really hate is his lack of work in the passing game and Kyler Murray vulturing TDs. It took an amazing matchup for me to back him and it worked out horribly, so needless to say he’s dead to me for DFS.

David Johnson — One mistake I made was not being concerned with the return of Duke Johnson, or at least his removal from the injury report. But David did still get a very strong 19 opportunities against a weak defense at home. He actually should have scored late on a pitch from DeShaun Watson (not a lock, but probably 75% he scores), but David failed to haul in the ball. There’s a reason I didn’t like David at all for redraft this summer, but I was trying to be proactive this week in a good matchup after being impressed by Johnson the week before. But he just can’t be used right now in DFS, especially with Duke involved.

David Montgomery — WTF. This guy is trending to “anti-gurrite” status already because it seems like he always lets you down when he’s looking good going into a matchup. Obviously, volume didn’t help (he played 85% of the snaps). The Bears are not reliable enough of an offense right now to back Montgomery, who got only 16 opportunities and 13 touches. I did not like the matchup for either the passing games, so I thought this one would be close, both accurate positions, but it still didn’t matter because the Bears don’t know what they’re doing and they abandoned the run.

Jonathan Taylor — Taylor’s not without blame, but his usage has been terrible, and their usage of their RBs this year suggests they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They did win the game, but Taylor’s a volume back who’s not getting enough volume. I can understand only 13 carries in Week 3 in an easy win, but 17 carries in a close game, while solid, can be improved upon. Back in Week 2, Taylor wasn’t great, but he grinded his way to 101/1 rushing on 26 carries. To give Jordan Wilkins 10 touches on his 12 snaps in a close game isn’t exactly a good example of playing your best players to try to win. I don’t know what it is, actually. I’m going to advise to trade for him tomorrow, but it’s time to pull back in terms of DFS. Of course, he could go off at the drop of a hat, but I think their coaches are pretty clueless, so for now I’m not using Taylor for DFS.

Also, I did miss out on Joe Mixon’s big game, but I think anyone who backed him strongly did so simply because of his huge role, which he’s had all year; and also because the Bengals were favored to win, since Mixon usually does a lot better in victories. But between the fact that the Jags were actually great against the run the first three weeks, that his OL was killing him, and because he was added to the injury report late in the week, the fact that his team was favored to win didn’t move the needle enough for me. But I’ll certainly pay attention to their spreads and point totals more now.

Note: If Clyde Edwards-Helaire has a big game tonight, that’ll help my Week 4 DFS RB recommendations.

Those RBs were the lowlights of my Week 4 RB recommendations, plus Josh Jacobs, who played 50 snaps (68%) but still did get 18 touches and 19 opportunities. He just had no room to run and they played THREE other backs, who totaled 25 snaps, so they were on the field half of the time Jacobs was, which is not ideal. I’m going to give myself a timeout from recommending Jacobs for a couple of weeks to see how he does.

On the positive end, I did love Dalvin Cook again and I know people were helped by our RB2 ranking this week and aggressive projection. I did also bite the bullet on Ronald Jones, and he did come through (barely). But I mentioned Ke’Shawn Vaughn potentially raining on Rojo’s parade, and he almost did. But it’s hard to argue with his 29 opportunities, his 26 touches, and 18.8 PPR points at $4700 on DK. Jones was 4X his salary, so that was a win.

At QB, while he’s annoying with his 206 yards passing, Matthew Stafford did deliver 4X on his $5900 DK salary with 23.3 points, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, as underwhelming as he was, also was 4X his salary with 23.3 points at $5400 on DK, so those two were wins. Baker Mayfield, though, was a loss. I still can’t believe that almost 90 points were scored in his game and that the Browns scored six TDs, yet Baker still threw it only 30 times and failed to deliver strong returns on his $5800 salary. It just goes to show, even when it looks like a low-volume QB might have to throw it 35+ times, it’s never a lock. But I can live with listing Baker last week given the final score of the game and their six offensive TDs.

I also did selectively list two studs I was okay with in Dak Prescott and Josh Allen, who were both great again. Easy calls, sure, but I didn’t list Russell Wilson!

Note: If Matt Ryan has a solid 20+ point game tonight, that’ll help my Week 4 QB calls. It’ll really help them if he goes for 25+

It was a much better week at WR, with solid calls on DeVante Parker (21 points at $5700 on DK), Will Fuller (22.8 points at $5900 on DK), Jarvis Landry (15.3 points at $5700 on DK), and Emmanuel Sanders (15.3 points at $4800 on DK).

I also tried some low-end guys at WR with poor results, so I probably won’t be doing that again. In the cases of Greg Ward, Preston Williams, and Hunter Refroe, you got (very little) of what you paid (very little) for.

Pending Julio Jones tonight, I did have all good calls for my expensive WR recommendations with DK Metcalf and especially Mike Evans and Amari Cooper getting it done.

At TE, I was on the right track generally with Darren Waller and TJ Hockenson featured, although the Lions are driving me nuts with Hockenson, who was open for a TD before he scored, but Stafford missed him.

The best call was the one and only expensive TE I wrote up, that being George Kittle. I was sensing a huge game, and I wrote that, and we got it.

The worst call was the only bad call at TE: Mike Gesicki. I felt he had the potential to go HAM in a shootout against a depleted defense. He did have a ball thrown to him right at the goal line, but it was swatted away. I didn’t give Gesicki preseason love and regretted it 2-3 weeks ago. Now I don’t regret it. Right now he can’t be counted on. There’s upside, for sure, but also crushing downside.

I also actually listed Robert Tonyan for tonight’s game, so we’ll see how that goes. But I feel pretty good that it will work out.

If my MNF players all come through, then I’ll view Week 4’s article as a success, but it might be a lot to ask, looking for big games from Matt Ryan, Clyde Edwards-Hellaire, Julio Jones, and Bobby Tonyon. Then again, it does seem doable.

But man, I gotta be more careful with these RBs because they are treacherous.

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.