Week 4 Advanced Matchups

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Week 4 Advanced Matchups

Before we dig into the action, I want to examine some of the factors that are intrinsically built into the nature of football. It’s likely obvious that roles in the starting lineup are not static. An individual must earn the distinction of being featured by a franchise during training camp and then during each day throughout the season. Yes, a player’s guaranteed salary, cap hit will play a factor. Rather than sitting a struggling player on the pine alongside millions in devoted cash, a front office may ultimately decide that continuing to play a struggling player could allow them to dig themselves out of their poor play in order to improve their trade value.

It’s extremely important to consider that, when we discover a clear vulnerability with the coverage/play of a particular defender, chances are that his team’s staff is keenly aware, as well. When his play reaches a finite level of bad, even when the coaches have exhausted all of their internal options, reaching outside the organization for a replacement is the next course of action. This may all see to be obvious, but it’s still important to understand that what we see on the film from the previous week and what all of the matchup numbers suggest leading up to a game may be completely nullified when the game begins if the staff has made the decision to alter that player’s roles, reduce his involvement, or sit him outright.

How do we defend our hard-earned bankroll dollars from falling prey to an unexpected replacement matchup? At a certain point, everything we may try will fall short of a guarantee. But we can look out for a few factors potentially providing clues that a change is imminent. Those include simply understanding the contract information, monitoring a player’s snaps/usage, and watching out for convenient injuries popping up that were not clearly picked up during the previous game. Even with the extent of the NFLs involvement in injury reporting, teams are still able to take advantage of the injured reserve list to remove a struggling player from the equation. But such a move usually comes with some notice in advance of game time.

All we can do is use the information we have in front of us. And you can trust that I am attempting to track all of these factors each week. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the Week 4 matchups.

Against the Spread Picks (8-9; 3-2 in Week 3)

Tennessee Titans (-8.0) at New York Jets
Carolina Panthers (+4.0) at Dallas Cowboys
Chicago Bears (-3.0) vs. Detroit Lions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5) at New England Patriots
Las Vegas Raiders (+3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

Total Wagers (5-4; 2-1 in Week 3)

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles (Over 54.0)
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (Over 42.0)
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (Under 54.5)
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (Over 51.5)

Moneyline (5-1 in Week 3)

Kansas City Chiefs (-320) at Philadelphia Eagles
Tennessee Titans (-365) at New York Jets
Green Bay Packers (-290) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-280) at New England Patriots
Las Vegas Raiders (+150) at Los Angeles Chargers

Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins

1:00 PM EST

Miami Gardens, Florida

Hard Rock Stadium

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 87℉

Humidity: 59%

Environment: 90℉

Wind: 13 MPH

Wind Gusts: 17 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 35%

Vegas

Betting Line: Dolphins -1.5

Over/Under: 42.5

Moneyline: Dolphins (-130), Colts (+109)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Colts:

QB Carson Wentz (Full Practice - Probable - Ankles)

WR Zach Pascal (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

WR Paris Campbell (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

OT Braden Smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Foot)

OG Quenton Nelson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

DE Kwity Paye (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

ILB Darius Leonard (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle/Illness)

ILB Jordan Glasgow (No Practice - OUT/IR - Concussion)

CB Xavier Rhodes (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

CB Rock Ya-Sin (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB T.J. Carrie (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

S Julian Blackmon (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

S Khari Willis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

Dolphins:

QB Tua Tagovailoa (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ribs)

WR DeVante Parker (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

WR Jakeem Grant Sr. (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

WR Preston Williams (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

OT Jesse Davis (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Raekwon Davis (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

Matchups to Target

Jaylen Waddle, MIA ($4.9K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. Kenny Moore II, IND

Miami co-OCs Eric Studesville and George Godsey are clearly determined to put the ball into Jaylen Waddle’s hands. Even with Will Fuller V finally back on the field, Waddle was peppered with 13 targets at Las Vegas last week. Some of that volume is a result of Jacoby Brissett attacking underneath to take advantage of the Raiders’ Cover 3. So do not get carried away reading into the fact that Waddle only generated 58 yards on 12 receptions. The reception total will very likely regress, but the yardage will rise in its place. The Colts’ defense offers up a much tougher nut to crack. They split their time with top-ten rates of Cover 2 and Cover 3, mixed with top-15 rates of Cover 1 and Cover 6. The Matt Eberflus scheme rotation is the only such example with top-10 combination rates of both Cover 0, 1, and 3 with a single-high safety and Cover 2 and 6 with the middle of the field left open.

Outside of Ja’Marr Chase, Waddle is the only reliable rookie WR this season. Indianapolis normally receives quality coverage from nickelback Kenny Moore II. But his play has not lived up to his reputation. Among 37 qualified inside corners, Moore ranks 32nd with 2.05 yards/coverage snap (YPCS), 34th with 0.52 FPs/coverage snap (FP/CS), 31st with 0.58 air yards/coverage snap (AY/CS), and 25th with a 118.0 targeted passer rating. Indy is surrendering the eighth-most FPG from the slot (27.5), seventh-most to WRs overall (42.9). Waddle has been provided with a team-high 8.3 targets/game, currently standing as one of Brissett’s favored targets. Vegas is only implying the ‘Phins will score 22.5 points, but this game could surprise matching up two fast-paced offenses (fifth-most combined plays/game on the slate), and Miami passes at the league’s fourth-highest rate (69.5%).

Jonathan Taylor, IND ($6.3K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Jerome Baker, MIA

Jonathan Taylor was foolishly drafted in the first round of countless drafts. The thinking was that his late-season rushing production, elite-level receiving volume would power teams to glory. When JT saw seven targets in Week 1, it seemed to indicate that line of thinking would be correct. Then reality came crashing down when he was only targeted once each of the next two games. It’s even possible that, if Indy loses this weekend, the Colts may consider shutting Carson Wentz down in order to lessen the conditional draft capital hit from his acquisition. To make matters even worse, Taylor ceded four-of-five touches when his team was inside the 20 last week.

However, all is not lost on the Taylor front. He may not be the 1A option inside the 20, but he is still clearly the goal line back. He leads all NFL RBs with 2.67 carries/game inside the five. He has simply failed to convert on any of those opportunities. When Taylor has been targeted, he’s averaged 1.63 yards/route run (YPRR, 11th-best). And he’ll be facing a Miami run defense with serious issues. The Dolphins have commissioned the second-most FPG to opposing RBs (32.0). At the rate Miami has bled out FPs to RBs, they will provide Nyheim Hines with the sixth-most pure receiving FPG (13.9), and still leave Taylor with the third-most pure rushing FPG (18.6) toward hitting value at 18.9/16.5 FPs since his salaries have dropped ($400 lower than last week) from his bloated Week 1 numbers.

Matchups to Avoid

Michael Pittman Jr., IND ($5.4K DK | $5.8K FD) vs. Xavien Howard, MIA

It’s not the week for your Michael Pittman Jr. fix. Hunter Renfrow put an absolutely beautiful Whip (In) route on Xavien Howard last week (will post it in the Renfrow MNF write-up), but do not count on seeing Howard giving up many of those. This is not the best of matchups for Carson Wentz, so Indianapolis may rely heavily on the run.

Final notes on Indianapolis

When you are feeling lucky, devote your exposure to Carson Wentz ($5.4K/$6.6K) on matchups where he’s facing Cover 2-heavy defenses. As described above, this is also a nice spot for Nyheim Hines ($4.9K/$5.3K) to do his thing. Nik Needham’s breakout season has endured three weeks as one of the top-five slot corners in the NFL. That could be bad news for Zach Pascal ($4.5K/$5.1K) truthers.

Final notes on Miami

Jacoby Brissett ($5.1K/$6.5K) is one of the better backup QBs around. You just don’t want to be forced to rely on him as your starter. Wait? Another lost season for the Dolphins’ faithful. And a big part of the problem has been Myles Gaskin ($5.3K/$5.5K). His receiving efficiency has disappeared. Knowing that, he is untouchable until further notice. Is Will Fuller V ($4.8K/$5.3K) really hurt again? Expect to see him dealt as soon as he provides a stretch of healthy games. That might be the ultimate fate for DeVante Parker ($5.2K/$5.4K), as well. He’ll see too much of Xavier Rhodes here for my taste. The only other Miami skill worth our time might be Mike Gesicki ($4.0K/$5.4K). He blew up for a 10/86/0 line on 12 targets. He’s clearly one of Brissett’s most trusted targets.

Washington Football Team at Atlanta Falcons

1:00 PM EST

Atlanta, Georgia

Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Retractable Dome)

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 81℉

Humidity: 66%

Environment: 85℉

Wind: 6 MPH

Wind Gusts: 12 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: Retractable Dome

Vegas

Betting Line: Washington -1.5

Over/Under: 48.0

Moneyline: Washington (-125), Falcons (+104)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Washington:

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (No Practice - OUT/IR - Dislocated Hip)

RB Antonio Gibson (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Matt Ioannidis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

Falcons:

WR Russell Gage (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Frank Darby (No Practice - Questionable - Calf)

CB A.J. Terrell (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

Matchups to Target

Terry McLaurin, WAS ($6.9K DK | $7.1K FD) vs. Fabian Moreau, ATL

Fabian Moreau has one of the stranger coverage efficiency profiles around. He’s permitted just under 70% of targets to be completed, but ranks 18th in YPCS, and third in AY/CS (77 qualified outside corners). However, he ranks 39th in FP/CS, and 64th in targeted passer rating. Moreau has clearly benefited from QBs not taking advantage of his side of the field. As a whole, the Falcons are giving up the second-most FPG to receivers on the outside (23.7). With Isaiah Oliver showing out as one of the top-five slot CBs this season, we can expect to see Taylor Heinicke looking toward Terry McLaurin early and often. The last time we saw F1 McLaurin go up against a Cover 2-heavy defense, he submitted an 11/107/1 line on the Giants.

Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL ($4.9K DK | $6.0K FD) vs. Jamin Davis, WAS

I never would’ve predicted recommending Cordarrelle Patterson at any point, let alone in back-to-back weeks. He brought tons of promise when he was drafted out of Tennessee, but his talents never materialized onto the offensive side of the ball. While reinventing himself as a RB took a couple seasons, it seems to finally be paying off. Patterson currently leads all RBs with 1.36 FPs/touch and 3.92 YPRR. He might only see 12 touches/game, but he still leads all RBs in touch rate when he’s on the field. Whereas Washington has limited opposing RBs to the seventh-fewest FPG (16.5), Patterson aligns enough outside of the tackles to take advantage of the Football Team giving the go-ahead to the second-most FPG to opposing WR units.

Final notes on Washington

Taylor Heinicke ($5.9K/$7.4K) falls just short of being a full-on recommendation. It’s very likely that he does enough to hit value, but it’s just too soon to project him as more than floor play. During his young career, Heinicke ranks seventh-best with 0.40 FPs/dropback (FP/Db), ninth-best with a 103.0 passer rating, and with the second-highest TD rate against Cover 2.

What is going on with Antonio Gibson ($6.1K/$7.1K)? His carry rate has declined from 74% to 59% to 48% over the last three weeks. His percentage of team routes has followed a similar path. Yet he’s somehow out-targeting J.D. McKissic ($5.0K/$5.2K) eight-to-nine. What a mess.

Logan Thomas ($4.9K/$5.8K), on the other hand, has been Mr. Consistent. No other TE runs a higher rate of team routes, and he ranks inside the top-10 TEs in several valuable categories. We just want to see that consistent 16% target share spike upwards. It really says a lot that he’s ranked sixth among all TEs in FPG at only 11.6.

Final notes on Atlanta

Everything would seem to point to Matt Ryan ($5.4K/$6.7K) having a solid outing, but he has just not been the same QB this season. Running for his life from the sixth-most QB pressures is certainly not helping. And we thought Mike Davis ($5.1K/$5.4K) would be the sly veteran RB to produce in Atlanta’s offense. All of his arrows are pointing downward. Don’t point the finger at Kyle Pitts ($5.0K/$5.8K) for failing to offer production; Calvin Ridley ($7.0K/$7.2K) is averaging 14.5 FPG on the 10th-most TPG (9.7). HC Arthur Smith, OC Dave Ragone, and Ryan need to go back to the drawing board to alter the approach before it’s too late to salvage the season. Another absence from Russell Gage ($4.3K/$5.0K) this week would provide Olamide Zaccheaus ($4.1K/$4.8K) with another sneaky GPP opportunity.

Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills

1:00 PM EST

Orchard Park, New York

Highmark Stadium

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 69℉

Humidity: 77%

Environment: 66℉

Wind: 14 MPH

Wind Gusts: 21 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 59%

Vegas

Betting Line: Bills -16.0

Over/Under: 47.0

Moneyline: Bills (-1,428), Lions (+819)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Texans:

QB Tyrod Taylor (No Practice - OUT/IR - Not Injury Related)

QB Deshaun Watson (No Practice - OUT - Not Injury Related)

WR Danny Amendola (No Practice - Doubtful - Thigh)

WR Nico Collins (No Practice - OUT/IR - Shoulder)

DT Vincent Taylor (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Terrence Mitchell (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

FS Justin Reid (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

Bills:

WR Gabriel Davis (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Isaiah McKenzie (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Star Lotulelei (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

DE Efe Obada (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

ILB Tremaine Edmunds (Full Practice - Probable - Heat Illness)

CB Levi Wallace (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

CB Dane Jackson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

S Micah Hyde (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

S Jordan Poyer (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

Matchups to Target

Brandin Cooks, HOU ($6.4K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Tre'Davious White, BUF

It’ll be really difficult to trust any Texan if the money is right this week. An astounding 98% of the cash has been placed in favor of Buffalo, pushing the moneyline to the highest I’ve seen in the NFL this season (-1,428). It would be quite amusing to read the thoughts running through the minds of the other 2%. Depending on where you place your bets, if you place a $500 bet on the Bills to win this week, you’ll come away with a cool $32 profit. If the old adage that an NFL team can win on any given Sunday, then perhaps it’s an opportunity to bring home some bacon without betting the farm. I’ll pass. Then we need to consider the weather in Orchard Park. The forecast is only calling for a few showers, but the wind will be in the 14-21 MPH range. That’s the most significant wind we’ve seen thus far.

With Brandin Cooks, we don’t need to trust the Houston offense, we just need to trust that Cooks will not be injured. With the second-highest target rate this season (37%) and seeing the second-most air yards/game (142.3), Cooks is cooking with consistency. Every week I tell myself that I am going to limit all of my main slate recommendations to those in closer to perfect matchups. The Bills distribute the second-fewest FPG to WRs (25.2). And Cooks will need to deal with Tre'Davious White or, even more daunting, Levi Wallace on either perimeter. But Cooks ranks 12th-best with 0.51 FP/Rt and 12th with 2.54 YPRR against Cover 4 over the last three seasons. The Bills feature Cover 4 with the sixth-highest rate. Consider Cooks a high-volume, high-efficiency play on Sunday.

Zack Moss, BUF ($5.3K DK | $6.0K FD) vs. Ravens’ Cover 0 | 6

Just think, three weeks ago, Zack Moss was healthy scratched — in favor of Matt Breida, no less. After two opportunities on the gameday roster, Moss is averaging the eighth-most FPG (17.3). And it appears the Bills’ staff is fully invested in Moss as their goal line back, but also viewing him as an asset in the passing game. Moss is second among RBs with 2.5 carries/game inside the five. How significant is that role? Moss has five carries inside the five compared to 21 total carries. Buffalo is currently favored by over two TDs (16). The Texans allow the 11th-most FPs to RBs (26.3), fueled by the second-most rushing TDs (2). And the weather forecast in Buffalo will encourage positive-script handoffs. Need I say more?

Final notes on Houston

If nothing else, Davis Mills ($4.9K/$6.4K) proved he’s willing to accept what the defense offers without forcing the ball. He also proved capable of feeding Brandin Cooks despite the Carolina defense bruising him up. Good enough for me. Did we really think Mark Ingram II ($4.7K/$5.3K) was a thing? Perhaps Anthony Miller ($3.7K/$5.2K) finds a way to reinvigorate his prospect status. He took the first step last week.

Final notes on Buffalo

Our opportunity to buy cheap on Josh Allen ($8.0K/$8.5K) was last week. He’s one of the easiest fades for me this week. Devin Singletary ($4.8K/$5.7K) may be on the same roster as Zack Moss and is set to face the same defense, he just has a far more difficult path toward hitting value working between the 20s. Stefon Diggs ($7.6K/$8.0K) would be a prime target in this spot if not for the weather. I am still getting a feeling that he may blow up anyway. Hope you listened on Cole Beasley ($5.4K/$5.9K) last week. He’s not in play for me this week with Desmond King II holding down the slot. Speaking of feelings, I have a strong enough one Emmanuel Sanders ($4.9K/$5.8K) will find the end zone such that I only removed him as a target at the last second. He’s the most accomplished of Bills’ WRs vs. Cover 2. You can never count out Gabriel Davis ($3.4K/$4.8K), and Dawson Knox ($3.6K/$5.6K) even found a way to get involved last week.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

1:00 PM EST

Chicago, Illinois

Soldier Field

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 71℉

Humidity: 79%

Environment: 69℉

Wind: 10 MPH

Wind Gusts: 15 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 57%

Vegas

Betting Line: Bears -3.0

Over/Under: 42.0

Moneyline: Bears (-147), Lions (+125)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Lions:

RB D’Andre Swift (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

WR Tyrell Williams (No Practice - OUT/IR - Concussion)

WR Kalif Raymond (Limited Practice - Questionable - Thigh)

DE Michael Brockers (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Trey Flowers (No Practice - Questionable - Shoulder/Knee)

OLB Romeo Okwara (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Julian Okwara (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

CB Jeffrey Okudah (No Practice - OUT/IR - Achilles)

CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (No Practice - OUT/IR - Thigh)

Bears:

WR Andy Dalton (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

WR Darnell Mooney (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

WR Marquise Goodwin (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

OT Larry Borom (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

DT Eddie Goldman (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT Akiem Hicks (No Practice - Questionable - Illness/Knee)

OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

S Tashaun Gipson Sr. (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

D’Andre Swift, DET ($6.2K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. Roquan Smith, CHI

It would be an understatement to say that the Detroit O-line is built for run blocking. The unit provides plenty of push to create run lanes. But they’ve failed on several levels in protecting the pocket for Jared Goff. Detroit’s O-line can be found at the very bottom in QB pressures allowed. And that is not a product of the Lions passing at the fifth-highest rate. The protection has simply been poor. While Goff and T.J. Hockenson failed to show up last week, D’Andre Swift popped to keep the Lions close with the Ravens. He currently ranks fourth with 20.0 overall FPG, first with 13.9 pure receiving FPG, and eighth with 1.07 FPs/touch.

Swift has received Christian McCaffrey-like 20+% target shares in two-of-three games. Only 27 WRs have more targets than Swift (23). Only Alvin Kamara and Najee Harris have higher target shares. Prior to last week, the Chicago run defense had some nice numbers. The Browns did not respect those metrics. While the current numbers for Chicago’s run D are no longer scary, they do not represent the challenge ahead for Detroit. But Swift is not entirely reliant on his ground production to reach profit levels. If you can afford him, Swift stands out from everyone in this matchup.

Matchups to Avoid

Darnell Mooney, CHI ($3.9K DK | $5.2K FD) vs. Bobby Price, DET

Where did Bobby Price come from? After two (career) games as the starter at RCB for Detroit, the 2020 UDFA out of Norfolk State ranks seventh-best with 0.44 YPCS, sixth-best with 0.11 FP/CS, and fifth-best with a 42.4 targeted passer rating. His coverage has been targeted 12 times. The profits of the labor stand as a 4/25/0 line with a pair of pass defenses, one resulting in an INT. Were you wondering what happened to Marquise Brown last week? That would be Price’s handiwork. The early results could indicate that Lions may have found a corner to feature in Aaron Glenn’s defense. Since Price plants his feet on the left sideline, Darnell Mooney will work against him on around half of his routes. Not the best matchup for Mooney to continue his connection with Justin Fields.

Final notes on Detroit

I’ll admit that I’m still a little salty after Jared Goff’s ($5.2K/$7.1K) game manager performance last week. Be that as it may, with Ravens SS Chuck Clark shutting T.J. Hockenson down, Goff simply didn’t have the receiving horses in the stable to do more. And Quintez Cephus ($4.0K/$5.2K) certainly didn’t continue to establish himself as a reliable target. This will be a tough spot for Jamaal Williams ($5.3K/$5.6K). I am not expecting him to do anything resembling what Cleveland’s RB duo accomplished. As for Hockenson ($5.8K/$6.6K), he managed 5/56/1 and 5/84/0 lines against Chicago last season. Both fall short of value at his current pricing. And the Bears have closed down shop on TE production this season.

Final notes on Chicago

It is extremely difficult to play QB in the NFL. That’s why when kids like Justin Harbert and Joe Burrow instantly produce, it causes such a ruckus. Nobody can call what Justin Fields ($5.2K/$6.4K) did last week as anything more than a disaster. He was hesitant to a level that prevented him from using his legs to escape pressure. But he was not the same QB during his previous action against Cincinnati when Andy Dalton was injured. I am expecting that we’ll see the latter version of Fields. And it’s likely a large portion of the population will be off him. The Lions have leased the 10th-most FPG to RBs this season. If Fields can piece it together, David Montgomery ($5.8K/$7.5K) could be a force on Sunday. Oddly enough, Allen Robinson II ($5.8K/$6.4K) has run 45% of his routes from the slot. He stands as the other player who would benefit the most with a strong performance from Fields.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys

1:00 PM EST

Arlington, Texas

AT&T Stadium (Retractable Dome)

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 84℉

Humidity: 50%

Environment: 87℉

Wind: 7 MPH

Wind Gusts: 10 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 25%

Vegas

Betting Line: Cowboys -4.5

Over/Under: 50.5

Moneyline: Cowboys (-209), Panthers (+172)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Panthers:

RB Christian McCaffrey (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

TE Tommy Tremble (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

OT Taylor Moton (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

OT Cameron Erving (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Dennis Daley (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

OG Justin Miller (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OG Pat Elflein (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

DE Morgan Fox (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

DE Yetur Gross-Matos (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB Jaycee Horn (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)

CB Myles Hartsfield (No Practice - OUT/IR - Wrist)

S Juston Burris (No Practice - OUT/IR - Groin)

Cowboys:

WR Amari Cooper (Full Practice - Probable - Ribs)

WR Simi Fehoko (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

WR Michael Gallup (No Practice - OUT/IR - Calf)

OT La’el Collins (No Practice - OUT - Suspension)

OT Ty Nsekhe (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

DE DeMarcus Lawrence (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)

DE Carlos Watkins (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Dorance Armstrong (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

ILB Keanu Neal (No Practice - Questionable - COVID-19)

S Donovan Wilson (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

S Darian Thompson (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Sam Darnold, CAR ($6.0K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Cowboys’ Cover 1 | 2 | 4

It must be very difficult to stomach for fans of the Jets watching Sam Darnold lead the 3-0 Carolina Panthers. And Darnold isn’t simply managing his offense, he’s doing so with a good amount of top-10 QB metrics working in his favor. Darnold ranks 10th with 23.7 FPG while only working with the 18th-most opportunities. He’s averaging 8.3 YPA (11th-highest) and has overcome one of the weakest O-line units by being sacked at the 12th-lowest rate (4.39%). He’s been able to accomplish the feat by using his underrated mobility.

It’ll be some time before we can begin to use Darnold’s coverage history to pull reliable expectations. But we do know Darnold has tossed 15 TDs compared to seven INTs when up against a Cover 1. Dallas is deploying the second-highest Cover 1 rate this season. The Cowboys are granting the seventh-most pure passing FPG (19.2). As long as Darnold manages to avoid the coverage of budding superstar Trevon Diggs, hitting above value set at 18 FPs on both platforms is a realistic expectation.

CeeDee Lamb, DAL ($6.7K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Donte Jackson, CAR

The Panthers took a devastating loss when Jaycee Horn fractured multiple bones in his foot that will force him out of action for 2-3 months. Horn ranked within the top-five at each of the Big 4 corner metrics. It’ll fall on Donte Jackson to fill his shoes on the outside, at least until C.J. Henderson has an opportunity to get settled in Carolina’s system. His first assignment will be no other than CeeDee Lamb. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Jackson is a far cry from Horn’s level of awesome. Jackson ranks 39th in YPCS, 51st in FP/CS, 30th in AY/CS, and 63rd in targeted passer rating. If you’re unfamiliar with Lamb, he was on pace as a top-10 WR until he was only provided with three targets (3/66/0) last week. This matchup will provide Lamb with a get-right opportunity at home.

Matchups to Avoid

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL ($6.5K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Shaq Thompson, CAR

If you ask me, there is far too much talk tossed around about Ezekiel Elliott losing his role to/being outplayed by Tony Pollard ($5.7K/$5.6K). Yes, Pollard played well in Week 2. That was Week 2. Zeke crushed in Week 3. If we’re following that mindset, Elliott should now have everyone silenced. But we know detractors are going to detract at every possible opportunity. To be clear, Pollard is an avoid for every one of the reasons listing Elliott in this spot. Carolina is giving up 45 rushing YPG to opposing teams. They’re only surrendering 2.60 YPC (the lowest), zero runs of 20-plus, and a single rushing TD. It certainly doesn’t help that they are canceling 78.8% of third down conversion attempts (first-overall).

Final notes on Carolina

A golden opportunity has been laid in Chuba Hubbard’s ($5.9K/$6.3K) lap. Unfortunately, it may be best to wait a week to deploy him since Dallas is only coming off 70.3 rushing YPG (sixth-fewest) and zero rushing TDs. That said, the Cowboys have benefitted from facing the Buccaneers and Eagles’ rushing “attacks.” Everything is pointing toward Hubbard receiving the first opportunity, but Royce Freeman ($4.7K/$5.4K) will linger waiting for his turn. D.J. Moore ($6.6K/$7.3K) will run plenty of routes away from the coverage of Trevon Diggs. Nonetheless, tossing somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of his routes in the trash removes him from the must-start category. Perhaps it’ll be Robby Anderson’s ($5.1K/$5.7K) week to do damage across from Anthony Brown. Considering Brown has surrendered an 18/243/2 line this season, Anderson should definitely be on our radar. If Tommy Tremble ($2.5K/$4.8K) is provided with the volume for a big game, it will shock me to the core that he was able to break out before Kyle Pitts.

Final notes on Dallas

Just as when he was heading into a daunting challenge against Tampa Bay in Week 1, this screams the exact type of matchup where Dak Prescott ($6.7K/$7.7K) rubs his A-game into the faces of a top defense. Amari Cooper ($6.0K/$7.6K) will face off with the present CB1 of the Panthers in Rashaan Melvin. And Melvin has done an excellent job limiting his coverage to the 11th-fewest YPCS, seventh-fewest FP/CS, and 22nd-lowest targeted passer rating. So much for Dalton Schultz ($3.4K/$5.0K) standing aside for Blake Jarwin ($3.2K/$4.9K) to reclaim his starting TE job. Schultz has been the superior option, ranking seventh with 2.73 YPRR, and second with a 146.0 targeted passer rating.

Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings

1:00 PM EST

Minneapolis, Minnesota

U.S. Bank Stadium (Dome)

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 69℉

Humidity: 55%

Environment: 69℉

Wind: Dome

Wind Gusts: Dome

Chance of Precipitation: Dome

Vegas

Betting Line: Browns -2.0

Over/Under: 51.5

Moneyline: Browns (-131), Vikings (+110)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Browns:

QB Baker Mayfield (Full Practice - Probable - Non-Throwing Shoulder)

RB/WR Demetric Felton (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

WR Jarvis Landry (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

WR Odell Beckham Jr. (No Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

WR Anthony Schwartz (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OT Jack Conklin (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OT Jedrick Wills Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OT Chris Hubbard (No Practice - Questionable - Triceps)

OG Joel Bitonio (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

OC J.C. Tretter (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Jadeveon Clowney (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

ILB Malcolm Smith (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

ILB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

ILB Sione Takitaki (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

ILB Anthony Walker (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

CB Greg Newsome II (No Practice - OUT - Calf)

Vikings:

RB Dalvin Cook (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (Limited Practice - Questionable - Toe)

TE Tyler Conklin (Limited Practice - Questionable - Lower Body)

LT Christian Darrisaw (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

DE Everson Griffen (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

ILB Eric Kendricks (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

ILB Anthony Barr (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

ILB Nick Vigil (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

CB Patrick Peterson (Full Practice - Probable - Toe)

CB Bashaud Breeland (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

CB Harrison Hand (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

CB Kris Boyd (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

S Xavier Woods (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Odell Beckham Jr., CLE ($5.8K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Bashaud Breeland, MIN

If you were wondering about the identity of Mr. 77 from the group of 77 qualified outside corners in metrics, look no further than Bashaud Breeland. He’s permitted 2.73 YPCS (76th), 0.72 FP/CS (77th), 0.716 AY/CS (58th), and a 157.2 targeted passer rating (75th). How do all of those averages look in combined receiving line form? Try 18/257/4! Breeland is personally handing out more FPG (22.7) than the average of every WR other than Cooper Kupp, Mike Williams, and Tyler Lockett. Odell Beckham Jr. drew a tough matchup from Jaylon Johnson last week in his return from ACL surgery. Throwing together 5/77/0 on nine targets should be considered a win for OBJ.

After a failed attempt at incorporating a Cover 1, the Vikings currently feature a zone mixture of Cover 2 and Cover 6 at top-five rates. Over the last three seasons, Beckham ranks 21st-best with 0.39 FP/Rt against Cover 2. The ninth-highest TD rate is built into that average. He ranks 29th with 0.37 FP/Rt vs. Cover 6 over that time. More importantly, Beckham (mostly) emerged healthy from his first taste of ‘21 action. He did pick up a shoulder ailment, but it’s the knee that we’re worried about. Beckham was provided with 146 air yards last week that lands above any WRs qualified average. We knew OBJ would re-inherit his massive target share (32%), we just wanted to wait for a better coverage draw. This is the matchup we were waiting for some Odell exposure.

Final notes on Cleveland

It’s far from the worst coverage scenario for Baker Mayfield ($6.2K/$7.3K), it just lacks the Cover 1 rate that typically results in Mayfield ending up as a weekly top scorer. Nick Chubb ($7.0K/$8.0K) is pretty much off limits in Cash/Single Entry (SE) at all times at his pricing. He is certainly capable of blowing up, but it’s hard to anticipate the duds. That said, Chubb’s ownership has dipped by 75% since Week 1, so he could offer some sneaky GPP potential in the coming weeks if goes nuclear. The drop in ownership for Chubb directly coincided with the same for Kareem Hunt ($6.0K/$6.4K). But that did not age well for the 98% who faded him last week when Hunt decided to put 27.5 FPs on Chicago.

If you are about as weary as myself waiting for Donovan Peoples-Jones ($3.2K/$5.3K) to… just… do… something to earn your paycheck, we have plenty of company among the 99.7% that avoid him. No Cover 1 plus Patrick Peterson = no DPJ in Week 4. Demetric Felton ($4.3K/$4.6K) is priced on DK as though he is emerging as a top rookie WR. Yes, he scored a TD. Let’s settle down. He ran three Week 2 routes. That number jumped to 11 last week. He’s only priced 25% below Beckham, yet he ran 68% less Week 3 routes. Let’s also not forget that he’ll see coverage from Mackensie Alexander, Minnesota’s best on-paper CB this season. If Eric Kendricks gains clearance for his sore hip, Austin Hooper ($3.7K/$5.2K) is off the radar, and David Njoku ($3.1K/$4.7K) was never on it.

Final notes on Minnesota

It’s been much of the same for Kirk Cousins ($6.4K/$7.5K) this season. Outstanding quarterbacking that’s resulted in 29.0 PPG (eighth-highest), but unable to overcome a defense packing bottom-10 results in run defense, pass defense, and pass rush. And Cousins is producing numbers in matchups his history suggests he shouldn’t be producing numbers. It’s clear he’s turned another efficiency-corner that leaves him in GPP play against all but the upper echelon of defenses. Surviving Cleveland’s pass rush would add another notch to his belt.

With Dalvin Cook ($8.1K/$9.5K) returning to a limited practice on Wednesday, Alexander Mattison ($6.6K/$6.8K) will return to his 5-10% carry share. Cook’s pricing is a head-scratcher on both platforms, forcing us to reach for 18% over his average FPG before we see a profit against a top-five run defense.

Justin Jefferson ($7.3K/$7.8K) was oh-so-close to being added as a matchup to target. Doubts over whether the Vikings’ O-line will stand up to the Browns’ pass rush and JJ’s pricing forced my hand in dropping Jefferson to the final notes. When news broke that 2021 first round zone-phenomenon Greg Newsome II would miss this game with a calf injury, Denzel Ward would immediately be thrust into the fire across from Jefferson. Ward ranks 66th in YPCS, 50th in FP/CS, 34th in AY/CS, and 37th in targeted passer rating. Cleveland uses top-five rates of Cover 3 and Cover 4. Jefferson shreds Cover 3 with 0.55 FP/Rt (fifth-best). But Justin has fallen short of putting up Jefferson-numbers vs. Cover 4.

Will Adam Thielen ($6.8K/$7.5K) ever stop scoring TDs? Even with the TDs over the last two weeks, he’s fallen short of value in games against the zone schemes history suggests he’ll struggle. Greedy Williams is likely to be thrust into the starting lineup in Newsome’s place this week. Williams is a true wildcard as a 2019 second-rounder who missed last season due to a significant groin injury. When you’re trying to squeeze FPs out of every last GPP cap dollar, K.J. Osborn ($3.7K/$5.3K) looks mighty appealing as a DK flex. Just keep in mind he’ll square off with the 2021 version of Troy Hill that has played at a top-10 level. Tyler Conklin ($3.5K/$5.3K) proved last week that writing him off early was a bad idea. I’m writing him off this week due to a poor matchup.

New York Giants at New Orleans Saints

1:00 PM EST

New Orleans, Louisiana

Caesars Superdome (Dome)

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 80℉

Humidity: 73%

Environment: 84℉

Wind: Dome

Wind Gusts: Dome

Chance of Precipitation: Dome

Vegas

Betting Line: Saints -7.5

Over/Under: 42.0

Moneyline: Saints (-352), Giants (+276)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Giants:

RB Saquon Barkley (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

WR Kenny Golladay (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

WR Sterling Shepard (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

WR Darius Slayton (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

WR Kadarius Toney (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle)

TE Evan Engram (Limited Practice - Probable - Calf)

TE Kaden Smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OG Shane Lemieux (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

OC Nick Gates (No Practice - OUT/IR - Lower Leg)

DT Austin Johnson (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

OLB Cam Brown (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

CB Nate Ebner (Limited Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

S Logan Ryan (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

Saints:

WR Tre’Quan Smith (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

OT Terron Armstead (Limited Practice - OUT - Elbow)

OG Calvin Throckmorton (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

OC Erik McCoy (No Practice - Questionable - Calf)

DE David Onyemata (No Practice - OUT - Suspension)

DE Marcus Davenport (No Practice - OUT/IR - Shoulder)

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (Full Practice - Probable - Calf)

OLB Payton Turner (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

ILB Pete Werner (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

ILB Kwon Alexander (No Practice - OUT/IR - Elbow)

CB Marshon Lattimore (Full Practice - Probable - Thumb)

CB P.J. Williams (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

CB Ken Crawley (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

Matchups to Target

Jameis Winston, NO ($5.6K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Giants’ Cover 2

When New Orleans is finally able to field a full defense with David Onyemata (suspension), Marcus Davenport (shoulder), and Ken Crawley (hamstring), this will not be the team offenses will look forward to seeing on the schedule. Onyemata will be ineligible until Week 7. That could be the deadline for Jameis Winston to prove he’s the future at QB for the Saints. As it stands, no defense looks at the schedule in fear of seeing New Orleans up next. Week 4 could be an excellent stepping-stone for Winston.

When Famous Jameis has been on the field to face a Cover 2 over the last three seasons, he’s produced 0.41 FP/Db (fifth-best), a 100.0 passer rating (14th), with a 17% increase in YPA, and the fourth-highest TD rate among 60 qualified QBs. New York is featuring a Cover 2 at the fifth-highest rate. The Giants are allowing the second-highest completion percentage (75%) and 12th-most passing YPG. They are also giving up the 12th-most pure passing FPG to opposing QBs. Winston is still keeping it real with 9.57 air yards/attempt (eighth-highest). And he’s surprisingly supplemented his floor with 4.0 rushing FPG (10th-most). We need 16.8/17.3 from Winston before we see a profit. Realistically attainable numbers under the Caesars Superdome.

Deonte Harris, NO ($3.5K DK | $5.1K FD) vs. Adoree’ Jackson, NYG

For the third straight week, James Bradberry surrendered a passing TD. Short of Bradberry dealing with an unreported injury, his play has fallen off this season. He’s allowing 1.21 YPCS (50th out of 77 qualified outside CBs), 0.39 FP/CS (72nd), a 116.7 targeted passer rating (55th), but he’s still commanding QB respect with 0.354 AY/CS (10th). Deonte Harris will do more of his work opposed by Adoree’ Jackson, but it’s still worth relaying. Jackson, on the other hand, has been better than his running mate with ranks of 21st-32nd-38th-46th across those same metrics.

Making sure it’s understood that the sample size for Harris vs. Cover 2 is small (31 routes), his numbers against are definitely worth broadcasting. On those 31 routes (15% of his career total), Harris has drawn a 26% target share that has resulted in 18% of his receptions, and 35% of career yardage. Harris’ target share increased to 16% last week. With 16 YPT (third-highest) and 19.4 air yards/target (sixth), if Harris is provided with another target boost this week, it could net GPP lineups a solid profit.

Matchups to Avoid

Kenny Golladay, NYG ($5.5K/$5.9K) vs. Bradley Roby, NO

As crazy as it may seem, the Saints made the decision to only use Bradley Roby on two snaps last week in order for Paulson Adebo to add to his experience in a breezy 28-13 victory over the Patriots. We will have no way of knowing what New Orleans’ plan will be prior to each game. If they do the same thing this week, Kenny Golladay will find himself with a far better matchup against Adebo. That is, if Golladay actually decides to suit up with his aching hip. If he does take the field and Roby plays — and I think he will in order to keep him sharp, Golladay will not be worth the price of admission.

Darius Slayton, NYG ($4.2K/$4.9K) vs. Marshon Lattimore, NO

In case anyone had an inkling of interest in exposure to Darius Slayton (hamstring) this week… please stand down. The Saints are using a top-five rate of Cover 1 and top-10 rate of Cover 4. Slayton has done his best work against Cover 1 with 0.51 FP/Rt (23rd-best) over his career. He’s also submitted his worst work when opposed by Cover 4, but that’s the least of his concerns. Slayton will need to collect his numbers against The Juice in Week 4, aka Marshon Lattimore. During Lattimore’s return from thumb surgery, Lattimore shut Nelson Agholor down to a 1/13/0 line on five targets (one pass defended and one INT). Marshon currently leads all CBs with a 31.5 targeted passer rating. Point being that if he suits up, fade Slayton.

Final notes on New York

Daniel Jones ($5.8K/$7.0K) produced value when he wasn’t supposed to against Denver and Washington, then fell short against Atlanta. This is a spot he is guaranteed to flop. Jones’ failure did not prevent Saquon Barkley ($6.7K/$6.9K) from posting his first usable statline of the season. Too bad he will face one of the top-two run defenses in football this week. Sterling Shepard ($5.5K/$6.1K) appears to be on the wrong end of questionable after leaving Week 3 with a hamstring injury. New Orleans permits the fifth-most FPG (27.6) to WRs out of the slot. If Shepard is ruled out, Kadarius Toney ($3.3K/$4.9K) could collect some sneaky sexy GPP value at less than 10% from floor pricing on both platforms. The ghost of Evan Engram ($3.0K/$5.1K) is not an option.

Final notes on New Orleans

We all want Alvin Kamara ($8.4K/$9.0K) exposure every single week. But he is simply not seeing anything close to the targeting levels that would justice his RB3/RB3 pricing. Well, look who decided to join the party! Marquez Callaway ($4.3K/$5.6K) did something of note. Even in his finest performance of the season, he only managed 1.8 FPs over floor value. Meh. The Saints’ TE options are not even worthy of the time it’ll take to discuss why we shouldn’t be rostering them.

Tennessee Titans at New York Jets

1:00 PM EST

East Rutherford, New Jersey

MetLife Stadium

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 74℉

Humidity: 61%

Environment: 73℉

Wind: 8 MPH

Wind Gusts: 10 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 30%

Vegas

Betting Line: Titans -7.0

Over/Under: 44.0

Moneyline: Titans (-338), Jets (+268)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Titans:

WR A.J. Brown (No Practice - Doubtful - Hamstring/Knees)

WR Julio Jones (No Practice - Questionable - Leg)

TE Anthony Firkser (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OT Taylor Lewan (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OT Ty Sambrailo (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

OG Rodger Saffold III (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OC Ben Jones (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Teair Tart (No Practice - Questionable - Elbow)

DT Larrell Murchison (No Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Bud Dupree (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

OLB Derick Roberson (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

ILB Jayon Brown (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

CB Kristian Fulton (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB Caleb Farley (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

CB Chris Jackson (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

S Amani Hooker (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)

Jets:

QB Zach Wilson (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

RB Tevin Coleman (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

WR Jamison Crowder (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

WR Elijah Moore (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

WR Jeff Smith (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

TE Tyler Kroft (No Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

OT Mekhi Becton (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DE John Franklin-Myers (Full Practice - Questionable - Calf)

ILB Jamien Sherwood (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

S Marcus Maye (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)

S Lamarcus Joyner (No Practice - OUT/IR - Triceps)

Matchups to Target

Ryan Tannehill, TEN ($6.3K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Jets’ Cover 1

Penciling in exposure to Ryan Tannehill is a no-brainer whenever he’s set to face a Cover 1 defense. How good is Tannehill against single coverage? In Week 1, Arizona displayed outstanding analytical preparation in limiting the number of Cover 1 looks against Tannehill. Over the next two weeks, the Cardinals increased that Man rate by 45%! The Jets will hope that a starting lineup featuring a pair of rookie CBs (Brandin Echols and Michael Carter II) will contain the Titans alongside ‘20 fifth-rounder Bryce Hall as their premiere corner. The mixture actually worked relatively well up until Week 3 when Teddy Bridgewater completed 76% of his attempts with a healthy 9.4 YPA. The situation, however, has taken a turn for the worse with the news that stud strong safety Marcus Maye will miss Week 4 with an ankle injury.

In addition to throwing 29 TDs compared to nine INTs, Tannehill ranks sixth-best with 0.49 FP/Db when facing a Cover 1 during the last three seasons. But his overall numbers have taken a hit this season due to the health of his WRs. Both A.J. Brown (double knee surgery) and Julio Jones (undisclosed) missed all of training camp and the preseason due to injury, preventing them from developing precious timing within the offense. Brown will miss Week 4 with a hamstring ailment, while Jones is questionable with a “leg” issue. The stage is set for Tannehill to put numbers on the board, the question is who he will have available to catch the ball. If Jones is ruled out, it will be tough to stomach Tannehill exposure without a single quality receiver in his pocket.

Braxton Berrios, NYJ ($3.7K DK | $4.7K FD) vs. Chris Jackson, TEN

The Jets are also dealing with health issues at wideout. Jamison Crowder has yet to play this season due to a groin injury. Elijah Moore ($3.9K/$4.9K) was forced out of Week 3 with a concussion. And Jeff Smith ($3.0K/$4.5K) picked up a concussion of his own. Keep in mind that the offensive production on the NYJ side is going to be limited. Similar to the entire season for the Jets. But Braxton Berrios has actually been a bright spot among the darkness for the Mean Green. He currently leads the Jets with 14 receptions and 150 receiving yards. Rather than feeding the 2018 sixth-rounder, Zach Wilson continues to pump empty targets toward Moore. But health may eliminate Moore from the equation. If Crowder and Moore sit, fire up Berrios as a PPR-friendly, salary-relieving GPP dart.

Matchups to Avoid

Zach Wilson, NYJ ($5.0K DK | $6.4K FD) vs. Titans’ Cover 1

Let’s keep this brief. Zach Wilson currently averages -0.05 FP/Db when facing a Cover 1. Over the last three seasons, no other qualified QB has averaged negative FPs against any coverage shell. The Titans utilize the seventh-highest rate of Cover 1.

Final notes on Tennessee

This could be one of those weeks when Derrick Henry ($8.8K/$10.2K) obliterates everyone’s carefully crafted rosters with numbers that, without them, prevent not only staying above the cash line, but also stand as the checkpoint for GPP prizes. I’d feel extremely good about an A.J. Brown ($6.3K/$6.8K) with Tannehill stack this week. Not in the cards given the injury. Fine, a stack of Tanney-Julio Jones ($6.5K/$6.7K) will have to do. That is, unless he’s also inactive! Tennessee could be stuck with a WR rotation consisting of Chester Rogers ($3.3K/$5.1K), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ($3.2K/$5.3K), Cameron Batson ($3.0K/$4.9K), and Racey McMath ($3.0K/$4.5K). Yikes! While I’m at it, it sure must be nice to be able to throw $1.175 million in guaranteed money at Josh Reynolds ($3.0K/$5.0K) just to sit on the inactive list. That was the case in Week 3, which the coaching staff explained was due to his lack of special teams involvement. Outstanding job with your homework on that free agent signing, Tennessee.

Final notes on New York

It was nice to see Michael Carter ($4.5K/$5.3K) featured with a 69% carry share after Tevin Coleman ($4.4K/$4.8K) was ruled out with an illness. It just sucked he did absolutely nothing with the opportunity. Coleman will be back in the fold this week, returning us back to square one. Corey Davis’ ($5.0K/$5.7K) career is going to be put on ice for as long as it takes Wilson to develop. Even when Wilson is ready to generally produce, he will need to wait another stretch of time while Wilson learns how to attack a Cover 1 — Davis’ specialty. If Moore and Smith are ruled out with their concussions, things could get dicey on the outside. It would seem that Keelan Cole Sr. ($3.0K/$4.5K) would come into considerable playing time but, for the love of Lambeau cheese, activate Denzel Mims ($3.0K/$4.7K)!

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

1:00 PM EST

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lincoln Financial Field

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 83℉

Humidity: 57%

Environment: 84℉

Wind: 6 MPH

Wind Gusts: 9 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 25%

Vegas

Betting Line: Chiefs -7.0

Over/Under: 54.5

Moneyline: Chiefs (-320), Eagles (+255)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Chiefs:

OT Orlando Brown Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)

OT Trey Smith (Full Practice - Probable - Wrist)

OC Austin Blythe (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

DT Derrick Nnadi (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

DT Khalen Saunders (Full Practice - Probable - Glute)

DE Chris Jones (Limited Practice - Questionable - Wrist)

DE Frank Clark (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

DE Mike Danna (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

ILB Anthony Hitchens (Full Practice - Probable - Abdomen)

CB Charvarius Ward (No Practice - Questionable - Quadriceps)

CB L’Jarius Sneed (Full Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

CB Rashad Fenton (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

Eagles:

WR Miles Sanders (Full Practice - Probable - Chest)

WR Boston Scott (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)

TE Zach Ertz (Limited Practice - Questionable - Illness)

OT Lane Johnson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OT Jordan Mailata (No Practice - OUT - Knee)

OG Brandon Brooks (No Practice - OUT/IR - Pectoral)

OG Landon Dickerson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

OG Isaac Seumalo (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)

OC Jason Kelce (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

DT Fletcher Cox (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

DT Hassan Ridgeway (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

DE Brandon Graham (No Practice - OUT/IR - Achilles)

ILB Davion Taylor (Limited Practice - Questionable - Calf)

S Rodney McLeod (Limited Practice - OUT - Knee)

S Marcus Epps (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

S K'Von Wallace (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Shoulder)

Matchups to Target

Travis Kelce, KC ($8.0K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. Eric Wilson, PHI

The Eagles have been the stingiest defense to wideouts this season (22.0 FPG). They are holding entire opposing WR units to an average under 100 receiving yards (98.0) — the only defense to currently achieve that feat. With that in mind, you might understand why Tyreek Hill is not listed as a target. As I explained last week, when Hill is facing off with a considerable challenge, that is the signal to invest our cap dollars in rostering Travis Kelce. Philadelphia combines a top-three rate of Cover 4 with top-10 rates of Cover 2 and Cover 6. With Darius Slay guarding one sideline and Steven Nelson patrolling the other, Philly exerts considerable effort in limiting deep receptions (lowest 20+ rate at 4.7%).

Cutting off the deep stuff is not going to affect Kelce’s game. Zeus eats defenses alive on intermediate targets that he uses as a springboard to utilize his YAC-ability (seventh-best at 7.50). And looking through the historical coverage data is of no use with Kelce; he’s producing top-three numbers against every conceivable scheme. When Hill was contained within the Chargers’ scheme last week, Kelce was provided with his largest target share of the season (31%). DC Jonathan Gannon’s defense is endorsing the sixth-most FPG to TEs (16.3), fifth-most over the last two weeks (17.6).

Jalen Hurts, KC ($6.9K DK | $7.9K FD) vs. Chiefs’ Cover 1 | 0

After rotating through nearly every known coverage scheme last season, Kansas City DC Steve Spagnuolo has concentrated it down to featuring top-five rates of Cover 1 and Cover 0. It’s not even worth the time to attempt to read into Cover 0 numbers. Teams use the all-out blitz scheme at such low rates that we have little to compare across players. To be upfront, this isn’t even the greatest coverage match to Jalen Hurts’ history of success. He’s done far better work against Cover 3. That said, his body of work is small enough that the numbers we have could be an anomaly about to be corrected. After three 2021 games, Hurts has faced a Cover 1 on one-third of his dropbacks. He has responded with 47% of his passing yardage and 40% of his TDs.

For Kansas City, it’s the exact opposite to Philadelphia limiting splash plays in the passing game. The Chiefs have licensed the fifth-highest completion percentage on 20+ (18.5%) and the highest of 40+ receptions (7.69%). KC is also dealing with health issues at cornerback. Charvarius Ward was forced to miss Week 3 with a quadriceps injury. L’Jarius Sneed is also managing a quadriceps ailment of his own and Rashad Fenton is currently in the concussion protocol. All told, the Chiefs are obliging the second-most overall FPG to QBs (25.3), the most pure rushing FPG (8.33). If we’re being honest, fading Hurts appears to be a truly terrible approach.

Final notes on Kansas City

The only game that stood between me and a considerable parlay payout last week was needing Kansas City to defeat Los Angeles. It seemed as though the money was in the bag assuming Patrick Mahomes II ($8.1K/$8.7K) would never permit his Chiefs to fall to 1-2. This is rarified air for Mahomes. It’s pretty safe to assume that he will attack the Eagles with a vengeance this week. A decent, middle-of-the-pack Philadelphia run defense was devastated by the loss of Brandon Graham to an Achilles injury. The following week, Dallas RBs racked up 28 pure rushing FPs on them — 140% of what they permitted the first two weeks combined. If KC forces Philly into playing catch-up, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5.4K/$6.7K) could end up posting a second-consecutive 100-yard total. It may not seem all that contrarian, but I guess Tyreek Hill ($8.0K/$8.2K) could still make for a GPP stab with the mindset that the field will come to the same conclusion on his matchup. I want nothing to do with Mecole Hardman ($4.4K/$5.5K).

Final notes on Philadelphia

It’s pretty much impossible to trust Miles Sanders ($6.4K/$6.5K) after the Eagles provided their RBs with all of three carries last week. If we take a step back to view the numbers for Philadelphia’s WRs, we are hit with a stark reality. A mere 0.4 FPG separates the output from DeVonta Smith ($5.7K/$5.9K) (9.5), Quez Watkins ($3.5K/$5.2K) (9.5), and Jalen Reagor ($4.7K/$5.5K) (9.9). And Dallas Goedert ($4.8K/$6.0K) is right behind those three with 9.1 FPG. Of course, we still need to account for Zach Ertz ($3.5K/$4.7K) (7.4 FPG) sweeping the floor out from under all four of them. It’s a tough sell in exposure to Hurts naked (without a stacked receiver), but that should be the course of action followed in Cash/SE.

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

4:05 PM EST

Inglewood, California

SoFi Stadium (Dome)

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 79℉

Humidity: 46%

Environment: 83℉

Wind: Dome

Wind Gusts: Dome

Chance of Precipitation: Dome

Vegas

Betting Line: Rams -4.0

Over/Under: 55.0

Moneyline: Rams (-221), Cardinals (+182)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Cardinals:

WR DeAndre Hopkins (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

OT Kelvin Beachum (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

OT Justin Murray (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

OG Justin Pugh (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

OLB Devon Kennard (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

CB Byron Murphy Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

CB Marco Wilson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

S Charles Washington (No Practice - OUT/IR - Thigh)

Rams:

RB Darrell Henderson Jr. (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

WR Tutu Atwell (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

TE Jacob Harris (No Practice - Questionable - Hips)

DT A’Shawn Robinson (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

DT Sebastian Joseph-Day (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Leonard Floyd (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

DE Justin Lawler (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hand)

DE Justin Hollins (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

CB Darious Williams (No Practice - Probable - Illness)

Matchups to Target

Christian Kirk, ARI ($5.3K DK | $6.0K FD) vs. Darious Williams, LAR

Another previously quasi-elite CB who has struggled during the early going is Darious Williams. He currently ranks 32nd in YPCS, 42nd in FP/CS, 25th in AY/CS, and 40th in targeted passer rating. He’s nearly allowing more FPG within his coverage (12.85) than the rest of the Rams’ corners combined (12.97). It’s very touch-and-go with the alignment of Los Angeles’ CBs. It certainly seems Jalen Ramsey is free to choose his stations each week. Williams joins Ramsey as the only two of the Rams’ four-CB rotation that works on the inside. And, for reasons I’ll go into detail later, Williams’ inside usage is likely to increase dramatically this week. Under that scenario, Williams will contend his wares across from Christian Kirk.

Despite kicking his game up to another level in conjunction with Kyler Murray’s, decision makers on both DFS platforms have taken a snail's pace toward building that into his pricing. Three games into the season, Kirk is generating 0.644 FP/Rt (seventh-best), 18.0 FPG (16th), 14.1 YPT (seventh), 3.03 YPRR (seventh), and only trails A.J. Green by a single target for the team lead. And Kirk will be in coverage heaven against LARs Cover 4- and Cover 6-heavy rotation. Over the last three seasons, Kirk has run 16% of his total routes against a Cover 4. He’s turned that work into 20% of his receptions, 22% of his yardage, and 21% of his TDs. Against Cover 6 over the same stretch, Kirk has flipped 8% of his total routes into 10% of his yardage, and 14% of his total TDs. Should my assumption prove incorrect that Ramsey will play more on the outside this week, that would present a monumental concern for Kirk. Only time will tell.

Matchups to Avoid

DeAndre Hopkins, ARI ($7.7K DK | $7.6K FD) vs. Jalen Ramsey, LAR

As I detailed in last week’s entry, Jalen Ramsey has been spending more time this season working out of the slot than outside. And that pattern continued last week with Ramsey defending Chris Godwin for much of Los Angeles’ 34-24 victory. That said, this is one of the weeks where I believe Ramsey will have enough motivation to kick back outside.

Then we have words straight from the horse's mouth labeling the rivalry as a thing:

One unfortunate factor working against a Ramsey shadow is Nuk currently dealing with bruised ribs that limited him to a 3/21/0 line last week. But this is one matchup Hopkins is likely to go all out to get healthy in order to hit the ground running. And he knows he’ll need to be at the peak of his game to get the best of Ramsey. Lord Ramsey currently ranks 10th-best in YPCS, ninth in FPCS, 12th in AY/CS, and fourth in targeted passer rating.

Final notes on Arizona

Even though it goes against my inclination, I’ll resist listing Kyler Murray ($7.8K/$8.2K) as being in a matchup to avoid with his play reaching another level this season. But be warned, the Rams have limited opposing QBs to the 11th-fewest pure passing FPG, and that number is inflated a bit after facing the GOAT. Los Angeles has actually been good to RBs with receiving upside, providing them with the 11th-most FPG through the air (12.8). That factor clearly benefits Chase Edmonds ($5.5K/$6.1K), whereas James Conner’s ($5.1K/$5.5K) floor plummets into the basement. It’s pretty surprising that A.J. Green ($4.5K/$5.6K) leads the team in targets. Kirk and Rondale Moore ($4.6K/$5.3K) have been far more efficient with their looks. If Moore wasn’t able to find holes in Jacksonville’s secondary, he’s definitely not going to find them in Los Angeles.’

Final notes on Los Angeles

Matthew Stafford ($7.0K/$7.8K) was everything and more last week against Tampa Bay. It’s truly a pleasure watching him work with a playoff-tested team. You could make an argument that Stafford is heading into a matchup to target on a weekly basis since he doesn’t have a single weakness built into his coverage profile. We still have a ways to go before learning if Darrell Henderson Jr. ($5.6K/$6.0K) will be able to face Arizona. The Cards are more forgiving to RBs on the ground, so the matchup is not as favorable for Sony Michel’s ($5.2K/$5.8K) receiving upside.

If you have the room under the cap, even with the prospect of facing off with Byron Murphy Jr., Cooper Kupp ($7.8K/$8.6K) is the obvious preference. However, from a contrarian standpoint, Robert Woods ($5.3K/$6.2K) is just too good to continue going overlooked, and he will face the lightest of the coverage matchups. We can eliminate DeSean Jackson ($3.8K/$5.4K) and Van Jefferson Jr. ($3.9K/$5.0K) as significant threats to a Woods blow-up from the knowledge that the Cardinals are pushing out the seventh-most FPG from the slot (26.2). This will be a difficult week for Tyler Higbee ($4.6K/$5.9K) to string together back-to-back value performances.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

4:05 PM EST

Santa Clara, California

Levi’s Stadium

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 85℉

Humidity: 32%

Environment: 87℉

Wind: 7 MPH

Wind Gusts: 10 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 0%

Vegas

Betting Line: 49ers -3

Over/Under: 52.0

Moneyline: 49ers (-149), Seahawks (+127)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Seahawks:

RB Rashaad Penny (No Practice - Questionable - Calf)

WR Tyler Lockett (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hip)

WR D’Wayne Eskridge (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

WR Freddie Swain (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

WR Penny Hart (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

TE Gerald Everett (No Practice - Questionable - COVID-19)

OT Jamarco Jones (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OT Brandon Shell (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OG Damien Lewis (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

OC Ethan Pocic (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

DT Kerry Hyder (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

DT Poona Ford (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

DT Bryan Mone (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

CB Sidney Jones IV (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB D.J. Reed (Full Practice - Probable - Foot)

FS Marquise Blair (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

49ers:

RB Trey Sermon (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

RB Elijah Mitchell (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

RB JaMycal Hasty (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

RB Raheem Mostert (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

TE George Kittle (Limited Practice - Questionable - Calf)

DT Javon Kinlaw (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT Kevin Givens (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

DE Arik Armstead (Full Practice - Probable - Adductor)

ILB Dru Greenlaw (No Practice - OUT/IR - Groin)

CB Emmanuel Moseley (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

CB Josh Norman (Limited Practice - Questionable - Chest)

CB Jason Verrett (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

Matchups to Target

Russell Wilson, SEA ($7.1K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. 49ers’ Cover 3

Russell Wilson joined the Seahawks out of the 2012 draft. From 2012-15, Seattle’s Legion of Boom paced the NFL in scoring defense. They managed that impressive accomplishment utilizing a Cover 3. No other defense has used Cover 3 on more snaps or at a higher overall rate than the ‘Hawks since Wilson was drafted. And it should come as zero surprise to learn that it’s Seattle’s high-level base Cover 3 that Wilson has sharpened his teeth against during the entirety of his career. It just so happens that Wilson will face inter-division rival San Francisco in Week 4 that uses the three-deep shell at the league’s fifth-highest rate.

Over the last three seasons against Cover 3, The Professor has averaged 0.49 FP/Rt that only trails Patrick Mahomes’ 0.50 among 59 qualified QBs. Nobody has posted a higher Cover 3 passer rating than Wilson’s 108.9 over the same timeframe, and only three other QBs have a higher increase in YPA than Wilson’s 13.9%. The ‘9ers are granting the fifth-most FPG to opposing QBs this season (23.3). Wilson currently ranks second-best with 0.625 FP/Rt, sixth with 21.3 pure passing FPG, first with a 133.6 passer rating, first with 10.41 YPA, and fourth with 9.71 air yards/attempt. It’s within all of these metrics that have me on Wilson as the QB that I’ll have the highest exposure this weekend.

DK Metcalf, SEA ($7.2K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. Emmanuel Moseley, SF

Short of being new to NFL DFS or hiding under a rock, the constant Seattle head-scratcher is determining if it’ll be DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett that blows up on a weekly basis. These teams met on two occasions last season. Metcalf shredded 5-foot-11 Emmanuel Moseley for 43 FPs in Week 8. When they crossed paths again in Week 17, former DC Robert Saleh had 6-foot-2 Ahkello Witherspoon ready to work across from The Wolverine. Witherspoon managed to limit Metcalf to only 5.1 FPs. For this Sunday, it will not matter who new DC DeMeco Ryans intends to use on Metcalf. Moseley, Josh Norman (6-foot), and ‘21 fifth-rounder Deommodore Lenoir (5-foot-11) leave Metcalf with the clear size advantage at 6-foot-3.

A considerable factor that forces us to decide between Metcalf and Lockett each week is the snail-slow pace of play that ranks dead last (52.3 plays/game). It helps that this version of the Seahawks’ offense is passing on 65% of plays (15th-highest), but it’s rarely enough for both WRs to post totals well in excess above floor value. SF is limiting opposing WR units to 34.9 FPG (12th-fewest), but they are surrendering the sixth-most FPG to receivers stationed on the perimeter (18.0). The fact that the 49ers are permitting the second-highest completion rate of 40+ receptions (5.48%) speaks to the potential in this spot for Seattle. During his career facing Caver 3, Metcalf ranks 14th with 0.50 FP/Rt (Lockett ranks 41st), 12th with 2.51 YPRR (30th for Lockett), and DK has been provided with the 24th-highest target rate at 22.8% (63rd for Lockett).

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF ($5.6K DK | $7.0K FD) vs. Seahawks’ Cover 3

One of the QBs that has fabricated a larger YPA increase against Cover 3 than Wilson the last three seasons is Jimmy Garoppolo (16.1%). Jimmy G ranks 13th vs. Cover 3 over that stretch with 0.42 FP/Rt, ninth with a 99.8 passer rating, and he’s collected 39.2% of his passing yardage (third-highest). Needless to say, following the information in Wilson’s opening paragraph, the Seahawks are fielding the second-highest Cover 3 rate this season. They’ve given the green light to the 14th-most pure passing FPG (17.6), 12th-most over the last two games (19.9). We shouldn’t expect Garoppolo to reinvent the wheel, just that he’ll use his 0.427 FP/Db (14th) to provide our GPP lineups with more than 16.8/17.5 FPG.

Deebo Samuel, SF ($6.5K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Ugo Amadi, SEA

My favorite stack of the weekend is some Russell Wilson-DK Metcalf action. And my favorite runback is Deebo Samuel. Let’s not forget that Jimmy Garoppolo will have something the 49ers lacked in both of their matchups with Seattle last season: Deebo. In two games against the ‘Hawks during his rookie season, Samuel averaged 20 FPG. And, after enduring a poor stylistic matchup last week against Green Bay, Samuel is priced to sell as the WR16/WR21. On only 23% of his career routes, Samuel has manufactured 37% of his total receptions, 35% of his yardage, and 20% of career TDs against Cover 3. It only sweetens the pot that Seattle is giving up the ninth-most FPG (23.6) to receivers working out of the slot.

Final notes on Seattle

Both of these defenses present as a smash spot for one another’s backfields. When you have the cap to spare, Chris Carson ($6.3K/$7.3K) should be at the top of everyone’s wish list. We just need to realize that he’ll be a back rostered among the top-10 at his position. San Francisco will have far more appropriate options (i.e. K'Waun Williams) to defend Tyler Lockett ($7.1K/$7.9K). But there is no guarantee it’ll make a lick of difference if Wilson is simply dead-set on featuring Lockett.

Final notes on San Francisco

At first glance, Trey Sermon ($5.0K/$5.9K) feature debut could be viewed in a negative light since he only averaged 3.1 YPC. But surface numbers never tell the true story. First and foremost, Sermon ended the game with his health intact. Second, Sermon broke through four tackles on only 10 carries. Finally, Trey actually averaged more FPs/touch (0.87) than Elijah Mitchell ($5.4K/$5.6K) did with his previous opportunities (0.70). Seeing it featured this soon is surprising but, when Mitchell does return from his shoulder ailment, A Sermon-Mitchell backfield is the future for the 49ers. If Mitchell needs another week to heal, make sure you lock in some Sermon GPP exposure. I actually also like Brandon Aiyuk ($5.0K/$5.7K) a bit in this spot. He was on the field for 92% of passing plays last week, producing a 4/37/1 line. George Kittle ($5.9K/$6.7K) “finally” put together a solid line (7/92/0). We know he is capable of going ballistic, so rostering him within a few GPP lineups makes plenty of sense.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

4:25 PM EST

Denver, Colorado

Empower Field at Mile High Stadium

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 75℉

Humidity: 18%

Environment: 77℉

Wind: 6 MPH

Wind Gusts: 15 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 2%

Vegas

Betting Line: Broncos -1.0

Over/Under: 45.5

Moneyline: Broncos (-112), Ravens (-109)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Ravens:

QB Lamar Jackson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)

WR Marquise Brown (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle)

OT Ronnie Stanley (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OT Alejandro Villanueva (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT Brandon Williams (Limited Practice - Questionable - Neck)

DE Derek Wolfe (No Practice - Questionable - Back/Hip)

DE Jaylon Ferguson (No Practice - Questionable - Illness)

OLB Pernell McPhee (No Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)

OLB Daelin Hayes (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

CB Tavon Young (Limited Practice - Probable - Knee)

CB Jimmy Smith (Limited Practice - Probable - Ankle)

CB Chris Westry (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

S DeShon Elliott (Limited Practice - Questionable - Quadriceps)

Broncos:

RB Melvin Gordon III (No Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

WR Jerry Jeudy (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

WR Courtland Sutton (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

WR Tim Patrick (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)

WR KJ Hamler (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)

TE Noah Fant (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

OG Graham Glasgow (Full Practice - Probable - Illness)

DT Shamar Stephen (Full Practice - Probable - Back)

DT Mike Purcell (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DE Shelby Harris (Full Practice - Probable - Wrist)

OLB Bradley Chubb (Limited Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

OLB Andre Mintze (No Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

ILB Josey Jewell (No Practice - OUT/IR - Pectoral)

CB Ronald Darby (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Tim Patrick, DEN ($4.9K DK | $6.1K FD) vs. Marlon Humphrey, BAL

Next to James Bradberry, no other CB that has struggled during the early season is as surprising as Marlon Humphrey. With a 13/152/2 season line, Humphrey ranks 52nd in YPCS, 63rd in FP/CS, QBs are not shying away from him with a 35th ranking in AY/CS, and 62nd in targeted passer rating. One possible explanation could be from struggles transitioning to a significant shift from the Cover 1- and Cover 3-heavy scheme rotation from last season to the sixth-highest Cover 6 usage with mid-level rates of Cover 1, 3, and 4 sprinkled in by DC Don Martindale. Another could be from lingering effects from the bank ailment that landed Humphrey on the injury report over the first couple weeks.

For Tim Patrick, after KJ Hamler ($3.4K/$5.2K) was lost for the season with an ACL tear, he and Courtland Sutton are the last men standing from what had the appearances of a deep group early in the season. Patrick will likely be provided with all the volume he can handle until Jerry Jeudy returns in a few weeks. And it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out against a Baltimore defense the eighth-highest FPG to receivers out of the slot, and the sixth-fewest from outside. Patrick has played a bit more out of the slot than Sutton. But that could change in an instant. Patrick is averaging 13.4 YPT (11th-best), a perfect targeted passer rating at 158.3 (tied for the top mark with Tyler Lockett), and he received his highest target share (22%) last week when Hamler left during the first half.

Final notes on Baltimore

No defense has limited opposing QBs to fewer FPG (10.3) than the Broncos. So we can expect that Lamar Jackson ($7.5K/$8.0K) will be facing his stiffest challenge of the early season.

His higher level of play had the arrows pointing in the direction of Ty’Son Williams ($5.2K/$5.7K) receiving the most important carries until he fumbled in Week 2. Now the Baltimore backfield is a total clusterf…, alongside Latavius Murray ($4.7K/$5.3K) and Devonta Freeman ($4.0K/$5.0K).

Marquise Brown ($5.4K/$6.4K) ran into a hungry Bobby Price last week and dropped three passes. Hollywood will square off with Kyle Fuller in the Cover 6 that has haunted his output during his career. If Brown has been haunted by Cover 6, Sammy Watkins’ ($5.1K/$5.5K) immense struggles should be described as lingering demonic forces preventing him from doing much of anything. It’s been a down season for Mark Andrews ($5.3K/$6.5K). Even when he went for 5/109/0 last week, it didn’t provide his typical hit well above value due to failing to find paydirt. He won’t find the sledding toward the end zone any smoother in Denver, since they’ve prevented opposing TEs from scoring a single TD this season.

Final notes on Denver

If this were the ‘20 version of the Ravens featuring a Cover 1, Teddy Bridgewater ($5.7K/$6.8K) would be a solid low-priced QB for some GPP action. It’s not. And Bridgewater will be working against the Cover 6 that he’s failed to connect on a single TD — a pair of INTs — that is built with a 42% decline in his passer rating. If Melvin Gordon III ($5.5K/$6.2K) is unable to take the field due to the sore ribs that have him listed on the injury report, Javonte Williams ($5.0K/$5.9K) would become a somewhat appealing volume play. Patrick is deserving of more of the love, but it could always be Courtland Sutton ($5.7K/$6.3K) that sees the money targets. Noah Fant ($4.3K/$5.7K) could also be the prime beneficiary of the Ravens’ inability to properly defend the slot. But he will need to deal with glove-like coverage from strong safety Chuck Clark.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers

4:25 PM EST

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Lambeau Field

Weather

Game Time Temperature: 70℉

Humidity: 69%

Environment: 68℉

Wind: 8 MPH

Wind Gusts: 13 MPH

Chance of Precipitation: 30%

Vegas

Betting Line: Packers -6.5

Over/Under: 45.5

Moneyline: Packers (-300), Steelers (+241)

Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives

Steelers:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (Full Practice - Probable - Pectoral)

WR Diontae Johnson (Limited Practice - Questionable - Knee)

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (No Practice - Questionable - Ribs)

TE Eric Ebron (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

OT Chukwuma Okorafor (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

DT Carlos Davis (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)

DT Tyson Alualu (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)

DE Alex Highsmith (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

OLB T.J. Watt (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)

ILB Devin Bush (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB Joe Haden (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)

CB Justin Layne (Full Practice - Probable - Achilles)

Packers:

RB Aaron Jones (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

TE Jacob Deguara (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

TE Dominique Dafney (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hip)

OT Elgton Jenkins (No Practice - Questionable - Ankle)

OG Lucas Patrick (Full Practice - Probable - Concussion)

OC Josh Myers (Full Practice - Probable - Finger)

DT Tyler Lancaster (Limited Practice - Questionable - Hamstring)

OLB Za'Darius Smith (No Practice - OUT/IR - Back)

OLB Rashan Gary (Full Practice - Probable - Elbow)

ILB Krys Barnes (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)

CB Eric Stokes (Full Practice - Probable - Quadriceps)

CB Chandon Sullivan (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)

SS Darnell Savage (Full Practice - Probable - Shoulder)

FS Vernon Scott (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)

Matchups to Target

Najee Harris, PIT ($6.8K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. De'Vondre Campbell, GB

After making the mistake of listing him as facing a matchup to avoid last week, Najee Harris has earned his placement as a target this week. As is the case with every target recommendation in this column, it’s the matchup information that lands Harris in this spot. Green Bay has actually improved the quality of its run defense this season. A big portion of that enhancement centers on ranking with the second-lowest missed tackle rate. The Packers are limiting opposing RBs to the 11th-fewest pure rushing FPG (10.0). However, they are supporting the fifth-most FPG to RBs through the air (14.1). That’s a big deal for Harris. It has been odd watching Najee drop five-of-27 targets for a massive 19% drop rate. But Ben Roethlisberger is not going to stop checking down to Harris since… that’s just what the 39-year-old version of Big Ben does in what is hopefully his final NFL season.

Final notes on Pittsburgh

Put about 27 miles between Ben Roethlisberger ($5.5K/$6.8K) and your DFS lineups, just to be safe. If Diontae Johnson ($6.2K/$7.0K) is cleared for Week 4, count on Roethlisberger targeting him on his first 10-15 attempts at a depth between 4-5 yards. Diontae’s presence would also signal that Chase Claypool ($6.1K/$6.5K) will return to his typical seven targets, only three of which will be placed within range of his monster wingspan. Claypool is currently one of the most criminally underutilized, egregiously miscast talents in the NFL. If it’s JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5.6K/$6.0K) that makes his return rather than Diontae, rinse-and-repeat under the exact sequence of opportunities offered to Johnson. Eric Ebron ($3.3K/$4.4K) needs a ticket out of town, and Pat Freiermuth ($3.1K/$5.0K) is graciously offering to fund it.

Final notes on Green Bay

The return of a healthy T.J. Watt would present various challenges, but none of which Aaron Rodgers ($6.8K/$7.6K) would have any difficulty in maneuvering around. To be clear, Aaron Jones ($7.7K/$7.4K) is one of the most exciting RBs in football to watch. But, should he be forced to sit with his ankle injury, my eyes will be glued to the TV checking out how AJ Dillon’s ($4.3K/$5.5K) bruising style is countered by Pittsburgh’s game defense. I am of the mind that Jones would have his hands full with the Steelers’ madman approach to football. But Dillon’s otherworldly combination of size-and-speed might just be the concoction that would hit Pittsburgh where it hurts.

You never need me to inform you that Devante Adams ($7.9K/$8.1K) is squarely in play, nearly matchup proof. Nothing the Steelers will do/bring on Sunday changes Adams’ upside. Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4.3K/$5.2K) is ailing to the point that he is in serious danger of missing Week 4. Freeing up MVS’ reps and target share would provide either Allen Lazard ($3.6K/$5.3K) or Randall Cobb ($3.3K/$4.9K) with the elements that have prevented them from making a difference, and would still allow them to do plenty of their work from the slot in order to take advantage of Pittsburgh's sixth-highest allotment of slot FPG (27.3). However, those available targets could end up gifted toward Robert Tonyan ($4.5K/$5.5K). Bobby Onion will work against a Steel City defense giving up the third-most FPG to TEs this season (19.9), the most over the last two weeks (18.9).

With a dedicated focus on studying game film and a faithful commitment to metrics & analytics, Huber’s specialties include DFS (college and NFL), Devy & Dynasty formats, and second-to-none fantasy analysis of high school prospects.

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