DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 4
The daily fantasy football games offered on FanDuel and DraftKings have many similarities, but one distinct difference is that DraftKings uses full PPR scoring. Much like you would in season-long leagues, that means we must evaluate players slightly differently on each site. In this space, we'll help you on the DraftKings side of the equation.
Be sure to pay attention to inactives prior to Sunday's games. Similar to late scratches in the NBA, injuries can have a huge impact on playing time, and great values can open up for you at the last minute. At a position like running back, a low-priced backup can suddenly find his way into 15-20 carries in a feature role and crush his value.
Also, be sure to use numberFire's premium tools at your disposal! In particular, the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied team totals, and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's check out the top plays on this week's DraftKings main slate.
Tom Brady ($8,000): I guess Tom Brady has put his poor Week 1 behind him. Since then, he's thrown a combined 825 yards and 8 touchdowns for DraftKings scores of 33.78 and 39.72. He's even been in the perfect DraftKings lineup both weeks despite his lofty price tag. The high salary still makes him more of a tournament play, but with upside like this, there's no reason to shy away. The Carolina Panthers may rank seventh in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play this season, but the New England Patriots are 9.0-point home favorites and have the highest implied total on the board (29.00). Also, despite Cam Newton's poor performance to this point, the Patriots' defense hasn't been that great, so if Carolina can make it a game like the Houston Texans did last week, Brady could be chucking it all afternoon.
Tyrod Taylor ($5,300): You'll often hear about how we should target home favorites in DFS, particularly when it comes to quarterbacks and running backs. This makes perfect sense as those teams are the most likely to win their games, and thus score both more real-life and fantasy points. Of course, there are always exceptions, and in this case, it's running quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor has averaged 8 carries per game for 35.3 yards, giving a nice boost to his floor, and he's had DraftKings scores above 17 points in two of three weeks. His ceiling has been capped to this point because he only attempts 26.3 passes per game, but as Rotoworld's Rich Hribar points out, the Atlanta Falcons have faced 45 passing attempts a game this year. As an 8.0-point road underdog, expect Tyrod to be slinging and running it to try to keep up with the Falcons, giving him an excellent ceiling at his low salary.
Deshaun Watson ($5,100): Similar to Taylor, Deshaun Watson has the rushing ability to add to his fantasy floor, and showed nice upside in a shootout against the Patriots by putting up 25.14 DraftKings points. He now faces a Tennessee Titans team that our metrics rank 26th against the pass and just allowed a previously struggling Russell Wilson to put up 36.52 DraftKings points. Watson may not be Wilson, but we could see a similar script write itself this week, and Will Fuller's return adds another weapon to Watson's arsenal. Also consider Trevor Siemian ($5,200) as another value quarterback at home against a woeful Oakland Raiders pass defense.
Lesean McCoy ($8,400): The Falcons rank 30th against running backs on DraftKings and are dead last against the run by numberFire's metrics. Thus, despite being a road underdog, this looks like a strong spot for Lesean McCoy to bounce back, who's endured some tough matchups against the Denver Broncos and Panthers the last couple weeks. McCoy ranks fourth in touches (66), and is averaging a floor-raising 6.7 targets per game.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,200): The Los Angeles Rams have gotten beat up on the ground over the past two games, allowing a combined 342 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns, and we can throw out Week 1 in which they blew out the Indianapolis Colts. The Dallas Cowboys are 6.0-point home favorite with a 27.00 implied team total, and Ezekiel Elliott is seeing 86% of the snaps and averaging just under 23 touches a game. It doesn't get much better than that.
Bilal Powell ($4,600): Bilal Powell hasn't done a whole lot this season, but if Matt Forte is out on Sunday as expected, then the backfield touches will open up in a big way. When Forte was injured the final four games of last season, Powell averaged 25.8 touches and 138 yards from scrimmage. The Jacksonville Jaguars are an intimidating defense, but they rank 28th against the run by our metrics, so this might be a better spot than you think. Even if the game gets out of hand, Powell will be involved in the pass game. And if he's getting anything close to last year's volume, he'll crush value at this salary.
Demaryius Thomas ($6,300) and Emmanuel Sanders ($6,100): After seeing the Oakland Raiders get shredded by Kirk Cousins last week, you may not be surprised to learn that they're 30th against the pass by our metrics. The Broncos are at home with a 24.5-point implied team total, so it's a good spot to roll out Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, although it will be tough to choose between the two. Sanders is averaging more targets per game thus far (9.7), but Thomas has shown more consistent target totals game-to-game (8, 8, 9). There are quite a few other intriguing wide receivers in this price range, including DeAndre Hopkins ($6,400) and Larry Fitzgerald ($6,100), who are both averaging double-digit targets.
Marqise Lee ($4,500): It's not an exciting name, but Marqise Lee has 19 targets over the last two weeks on the post-Allen Robinson Jaguars, and no one else is even close. That volume is eye-catching at this price, and Lee shouldn't have any trouble hitting double-digit fantasy points against the New York Jets.
Tyrell Williams ($4,400) and Travis Benjamin ($3,900): Target-hog Keenan Allen is obviously in play as well, but Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are cheap ways to attack a weak Philadelphia Eagles secondary that just allowed 284 yards and 3 touchdowns to New York Giants wide receivers in Week 3. According to ESPN's Mike Clay, Jalen Mills has been the most targeted cornerback in the league this season, and both Williams and Benjamin should get their chances against him.
Rob Gronkowski ($6,600): With Zach Ertz now priced only $300 below Rob Gronkowski, if you want to pay up at tight end, you might as well go with the Patriots' leader in targets. Since a tough matchup against Eric Berry in Week 1, Gronkowski has caught 14-of-19 targets for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. Even on a Pats team full of weapons, he's your surest bet to catch one of Brady's scores.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($3,000): Playing in his first game of the season, Austin Seferian-Jenkins exceeded most expectations in Week 3 by playing 76% of the snaps and catching 5-of-6 targets for 31 yards. While the yardage isn't noteworthy, the usage certainly is, and there's chance he could become a big factor on a team sorely lacking weapons. Coming off a preseason with many glowing reviews during training camp, you're not risking much at this price to see if ASJ can start living up to some of that potential.
Jacksonville D/ST ($3,600): We once again saw what this Jaguars defense is capable of in London, as they completely dismantled the Baltimore Ravens on their way to 12.0 DraftKings points. Their defense ranks number-one overall by numberFire's metrics, and they face the Jets this week, who you may have heard aren't very good. Also consider the Cincinnati D/ST ($3,500), which faces a turnover-prone DeShone Kizer and the Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore D/ST ($3,000): The one bright side of that disaster of a London game against the Jaguars is the Baltimore Ravens are at their lowest price since Week 1, and they come home to more familiar territory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger's stark home/road splits are well-documented at this point, and the Steelers even lost to the Chicago Bears on the road last week. This is a good spot to jump back on board with the Ravens defense without breaking the bank.