DFS Early Look: Week 4

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DFS Early Look: Week 4

Week 3 of the NFL regular season just wrapped up, and that means Week 4 is just around the corner. As my readers likely know, DFS is the best version of fantasy football, and since DraftKings and FanDuel have released their Week 4 prices, it’s time to track down the obvious values and best plays.

Here are the plays that jump out to me for Week 4 DFS:

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (@ BAL)

DraftKings: $8,400 (QB1) | Fanduel: $8,900 (QB1)

The Ravens' secondary allowed Mac Jones to throw for a career-high 321 yards, Tua Tagovailoa to throw for an insane 469 yards and 6 TDs, and Joe Flacco to throw for a season-high 309 yards. Through three weeks, the Ravens are allowing 19% more passing yards than the next-closest team, giving up 353.3 YPG and 30.7 FPG to opposing QBs (2nd-worst).

But, the perfect game environment only presents itself when both the opposing defense is terrible, and the opposing offense can put up points. And Baltimore is leading the way in PPG (33.0) while Lamar Jackson is doing whatever he wants as both a passer and a runner. So, Josh Allen will not only get an ideal matchup with a truly disastrous opposing pass defense, but he’s also facing one of the only offenses that can hang with the Bills, hence this game’s slate-leading 52.0 total.

Over the last two seasons, Josh Allen has played in seven games with a total of 50.0 or higher, averaging an insane 33.9 DraftKings FPG in those contests, and scoring over 30.0 DraftKings points in 86% of those games. Allen is an outstanding play, so expect him to be right there with Lamar Jackson as the highest-owned QB of Week 4.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions (VS. SEA)

DraftKings: $6,100 (RB16) | Fanduel: $7,400 (RB9)

Detroit could be without 32% of their carries, 45% of their rushing yards, and 68% of their backfield routes if D’Andre Swift sits in Week 4. That presumably leaves Williams and Craig Reynolds to handle the majority of backfield duties in Week 4 against a run defense that’s been exploited by opposing RBs this season, allowing 27.0 FPG (6th-most). Given Jamaal Williams has captured 52% of backfield FPG, 24% of backfield routes, and nearly 100% of short-yardage work thus far, we would have to assume he will work as the lead back in a game that should be full of positive gamescript for Detroit as 6.5-point favorites. So, a great matchup, positive gamescript, and a potential bell cow workload for Williams. Case closed, right?

Well, the concern here is that when Swift went down last season, the coaching staff didn’t trust Williams with a full workload, letting him handle just 49% of backfield carries and 18% of backfield routes. But, that was before OC Ben Johnson took over, so we don’t exactly have a great baseline when it comes to backfield expectations sans Swift. Williams obviously has risk attached to him, but he’s going to project as one of the top RB values on DraftKings this week unless the Detroit coaches outright say his role won’t improve without Swift.

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears (@ NYG)

DraftKings: $5,700 (RB24) | Fanduel: $7,200 (RB12)

David Montgomery looks like he is going to miss some time, and based on Week 3 usage, that means Khalil Herbert is likely headed for a bell cow role.

Herbert may not be faced with much positive gamescript as a 3.0-point underdog this week, but I’m not sure that’ll negatively impact his expectation much after he captured 70% of backfield routes without Montgomery in Week 3. And not only is Herbert potentially headed for a bell cow workload, but he’s also been an outstanding talent so far in his career. This season, Herbert ranks as the 6th-highest graded rusher in the NFL (81.7 PFF rushing grade), and last year, he also ranked 6th-best, posting an 84.4 PFF rushing grade. In Herbert’s four career games with 20 or more touches, he averages 19.3 FPG (~RB4). He’s a clear value relative to his salary on both sites, but especially DraftKings.

Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans (VS. LAC)

DraftKings: $5,600 (RB25) | Fanduel: $6,800 (RB16)

Pierce saw great usage in Week 3, much like he did in Week 2. And for Week 4, Pierce draws a Chargers run defense that’s allowing the 7th-most FPG (26.4) to opposing RBs, after allowing the 5th-most FPG (26.3) to opposing RBs last season. While the matchup is great, the concern for Pierce is negative gamescript, given the Texans are 5.5-point underdogs, and Pierce himself has only earned a 30% route share on the season. That should lessen his ownership, but I’d still expect Pierce to be one of the highest-owned RBs of the slate given his stranglehold on the backfield rushing role in a plus matchup.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots (@ GB)

DraftKings: $5,200 (RB32) | Fanduel: $5,900 (RB30)

For just the 4th time ever, and the 2nd time this year, Rhamondre Stevenson out-snapped Damien Harris (41 to 25). And the results were remarkably encouraging, as Stevenson earned 17 opportunities and finished the week as RB7, scoring 20.1 fantasy points. Stevenson profiles as a high-end RB2, or arguably a low-end RB1, for as long as Ty Montgomery remains out. Expect Stevenson to be a popular salary-saving option with the Patriots likely facing a ton of negative gamescript as 10.5-point underdogs.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills (@ BAL)

DraftKings: $8,400 (WR1) | Fanduel: $8,700 (WR1)

I don’t think anybody is going to be surprised to hear that we want to target WRs against Baltimore, with the Ravens giving up a truly insane 56.7 FPG to opposing WRs this season – a mark that’s 14% worse than the No. 2 team, and 58% worse than the No. 16 team. So, this is the definition of a juicy matchup. But it gets better when you see the slate-leading total of 52.0. This isn’t just a great matchup for Diggs — who is leading the NFL in targets (35) and FPG (28.5) — but it’s also the best scoring environment on the slate, and one of just four main slate games with a total over 45.0.

Diggs is going to be the highest-projected WR of the week, and I’d expect him to be a staple in both cash games and tournaments as fantasy gamers will be all over this contest.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington Commanders (@ DAL)

DraftKings: $5,700 (WR22) | Fanduel: $6,200 (WR23)

Curtis Samuel is essentially the (physically) smaller version of Deebo Samuel. Deebo and Curtis are the only WRs with at least eight touches in every game this season, and overall, Curtis Samuel has more touches (30) than every WR in the NFL. With Curtis Samuel seeing 4.6 designed touches per game (2nd-most among WRs), he’s easily the safest WR play on the board in Week 4, given his low-end WR2 salary. And, somewhat unbelievably, the Commanders are actually 3.0-point underdogs to Dallas in Week 4. So not only does Samuel have an elite touch floor, but he should see additional targets in the likely event Washington starts to fall behind. Expect Lil Deebo to be one of the chalkiest WRs of the main slate.

DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers (VS. ARI)

DraftKings: $5,300 (WR25) | Fanduel: $6,100 (WR24)

We are, unfortunately, at a point with Moore where he is either a fantastic buy-low or completely dust. Moore is averaging just 6.0 targets per game, which is a remarkable 50% decline in target volume relative to the last two seasons.

This isn’t necessarily Moore’s fault, as the Carolina offense is completely dysfunctional, averaging 54.3 plays per game (2nd-worst), 27.0 pass attempts per game (3rd-worst), and just 276.3 YPG (3rd-worst).

Things are bad. But, if Moore was a stock, every technical indicator would be screaming “buy.” This is a player who has averaged 14.5 FPG over his last three seasons, and he’s only ever been cheaper than $5,300 on DraftKings twice in his last 34 games. Plus, the Week 4 matchup with Arizona is the perfect opportunity for Moore to finally break out this season, as Arizona grading out as by far the league’s worst pass coverage unit (29.6 PFF coverage grade).

I’m close to giving up on Moore, but I’ll gladly give him one last chance given his rock-bottom salary in an ideal matchup.

Zay Jones, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (@ PHI)

DraftKings: $4,200 (WR49) | Fanduel: $5,900 (WR29)

Jones’ price simply hasn’t caught up to his role. He ranks 27th in targets per game (8.0), and 29th in FPG (14.1), yet is still priced as a high-end WR5 on DraftKings. These things don’t add up. And they especially don’t add up this week, with the Jaguars surely being forced into negative gamescript as 6.5-point underdogs to the Eagles. Jones is easily $1,000 too cheap on DraftKings this week, and he’s going to be a chalky play as a result.

Tyler Conklin, TE, New York Jets (VS. PIT)

DraftKings: $3,600 (TE12) | Fanduel: $5,400 (TE10)

Don’t look now, but Conklin is the TE3 by FPG (12.7), tied for 3rd among TEs in total targets (24), and 1st among all TEs in routes (133). He’s obviously been helped out by the Jets averaging an absurd 52.0 pass attempts per game, but I’m not sure we can expect their pass volume to drop off much as they are 3.5-point underdogs to Pittsburgh this week. Conklin’s 1.05 YPRR gives me little hope he’ll exceed his usage-based expectation, but that might not matter given the volume he’s seeing at his price point. Conklin will likely be the highest-projected TE under $4,000 on DraftKings, and that should make him a popular salary-saving option in all formats.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.

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