Week 4 NFL FanDuel Late Afternoon Slate Breakdown

With two rookie quarterbacks are making their first career starts on Sunday afternoon, which players should you target and which should you avoid in your FanDuel lineup?

Following an uninspiring Week 3 slate that had only three games, with one that stood out above the rest as a potential shootout, Week 4 is shaping up as the polar opposite.

The Week 4 slate includes four games with a bevy of high-priced players in blowup spots and intriguing storylines abound. Rookie quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen will be making the first starts of their careers, while the San Francisco 49ers will be looking to move on with C.J. Beathard following the season-ending injury to Jimmy Garoppolo. Meanwhile, the highest scoring game of the slate may come in New York, as Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints travel north to take on Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Matchup (Implied Team Total) Game Total
New Orleans Saints (26.75) at New York Giants (23.25) 50
San Francisco 49ers (18) at Los Angeles Chargers (28.5) 46.5
Cleveland Browns (21) at Oakland Raiders (24) 45
Seattle Seahawks (21) at Arizona Cardinals (18) 39

There are a number of different lineup constructions we can pursue this week, from Giants-Saints game stacks, to stacking the Chargers against an inferior 49ers defense, or even the Browns in hopes that Mayfield truly raises the play of that offense against an 0-3 Raiders team. Regardless of how you stack your team, it's important to remember how critical correlation plays are on short slates. Whether it's a full game stack with five-plus players to a running back-defense correlation, these combinations are a great way to benefit from game script and produce a unique lineup to climb the tournament leaderboards.

Among the tournaments available on the slate this week are the $400,000 NFL Rush which costs $6.66 to play and pays out $100,000 to first. The $50,000 NFL Bomb costs $33 to play and pays out $6,000 to whomever bests the 1,782-entry field. For single entry fans, the $5 NFL Spike has a $35,000 prize pool and pays out $4,000 to the winner.

Now, let's break down the top plays and fades at each position.


Lock: Philip Rivers ($7,800) - There are a number of solid quarterback plays on this slate at varying price points. But Rivers, the second-most expensive at the position, will be leading the team with the highest-projected team total (28.5) against a 49ers pass defense that ranks as the 4th-worst in the league, per numberFire metrics. The Niners have allowed multiple touchdown passes in each game and have yet to record an interception. Rivers has started the season hot, averaging 302 passing yards per game with 8 touchdowns.

Fade: Josh Rosen ($6,500) - Rosen is likely to be an upgrade over Sam Bradford, who mustered just 2 touchdown passes over 3 games while throwing 4 interceptions, but there's no reason to plug him into DFS lineups just yet. In a somewhat surprising move, the Cardinals inserted Rosen into the lineup in the final moments of their Week 3 loss to Chicago. Rosen completed 4 of 7 passes for 36 yards, but also threw the game-ending interception. In his first career start, Rosen will be facing a Seahawks pass defense rated as the league's sixth-best, according to numberFire metrics. The Seahawks defense has also forced 8 turnovers through 3 weeks, which is the 8th-most in the league. With the Cardinals implied team total sitting at a lowly 18 points, most of the offense is worth avoiding this week, including Rosen.

Sleeper: Eli Manning ($7,100) - Manning is the fifth-most expensive quarterback and with names like Mayfield, Brees, Wilson, and Rivers on the slate, Manning may end up being one of the lowest-owned options. Manning was much improved in Week 3, throwing for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Giants beat the Houston Texans 27-22. Now back at home, he faces a Saints pass defense that ranks as the league's worst per numberFire metrics. The Saints defense has been flamed for 10 passing touchdowns through 3 weeks and have trouble pressuring the quarterback. They rank 25th in sacks (6) and 27th in quarterback hits (13).

Running Back

Lock: Alvin Kamara ($9,100) - This will be Kamara's final game before Mark Ingram re-joins him in the Saints backfield. While it remains to be seen how the Saints will divvy up the touches once Ingram returns, Kamara has carried a heavy workload in Ingram's absence. Through 3 weeks, Kamara is seeing more than 22 touches per game and now faces a Giants defense allowing the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Kamara hasn't scored a touchdown in the last 2 weeks after his 3 touchdown outburst in Week 1, but he's seen 25 red zone touches on the season, most among all running backs. In a projected high-scoring game with his usage, Kamara is the top play on the slate.

Fade: Marshawn Lynch ($6,400) - Lynch has scored a touchdown in each of the first 3 games, which has made up for the fact that he has yet to top 65 yards rushing in a game. Splitting time with Doug Martin and Jalen Richard, Lynch has played just 51.18% of the Raiders offensive snaps and he's only accounted for just over 50% of all Raider running back touches. On the other side, the Browns rush defense has been the 6th-best through 3 weeks. A largely game-script dependent running back, should Mayfield and the Browns jump out to a lead early, Lynch will struggle to have a productive game.

Sleeper: Carlos Hyde ($6,800) - Going from avoiding one running back in a game to starting another, Hyde may go overlooked on this slate with so many attractive high-priced options at the position. The Raiders run defense has been the 3rd-worst through 3 weeks and Hyde has been dominating touches in the Browns backfield. Hyde has 61 carries through 3 weeks, which is only 1 fewer than league-leader Todd Gurley. He has also accounted for 56.25% of the Browns red zone touches, scoring once in each game. Mayfield and the Browns' pass catchers are almost certain to be popular options on this slate, but don't forget Hyde, who has been the centerpiece of the offense through 3 games.

Wide Receivers

Lock: Michael Thomas ($9,000) - The start of the season for Thomas has been unprecedented, with his 38 catches and 398 yards. Thomas' 40 targets are 3rd-most among all receivers, but he's caught an incredible 95% of those, so he's producing efficiently with high volume. Against a Giants defense that just coughed up a combined 11 receptions, 187 yards, and 1 touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where the Giants slow Thomas, whose 20.94% market share of his team's targets is 2nd-best among all wide receivers. As the two most expensive players on the slate, it can be difficult to fit Kamara and Thomas in the same lineup, but they are two of the best plays on the slate.

Fade: Larry Fitzgerald ($6,400) - Fitzgerald has seen just 17 targets through 3 weeks, and he's only managed 12 receptions for 113 yards. With Rosen under center, the Cardinals' offense should improve, but the Seahawks defense pose a stiff test in Week 4. Improving over the course of the season, the Seahawks have been the league's 9th-best defense, according to numberFire metrics with the 6th-best passing defense, as we noted above. Since we're unsure how often Rosen will look to Fitzgerald, and with the Cardinals carrying one of the lowest implied point totals, Fitzgerald is a fade this week.

Sleeper: Antonio Callaway ($4,500) - With so many high-priced options we're looking to fit into lineups, we need to clear up some salary and Callaway could be the best way to do so. Over the past 2 weeks, Callaway has played 80.6% and 89.6% of the snaps, respectively, which is the 2nd-most among Browns' receivers. He has also seen 14 targets over the past two weeks, trailing only Jarvis Landry (22), and he has the most air yards (253) on the team over that span. We expect Mayfield to rejuvenate this Browns offense, and in a matchup with a Raiders pass defense that numberFire ranks as the 8th-worst, Callaway makes for a great play at minimum-salary.

Tight Ends

Lock: Jared Cook ($5,400) - It's been a rough start to the season for Derek Carr as he's thrown more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (2), but Cook has emerged as the clear top option in that passing game. Through 3 weeks, Cook leads the Raiders in targets (22), receptions (18), and receiving yards (260). Although he's yet to find the end zone, Cook has drawn 41.67% of the Raiders red zone targets, and he should once again be heavily targeted by Carr in Week 4.

Fade: Will Dissly ($5,300) - It proved to be a mistake to chase Dissly's hot early season start in Week 3, as he had only 1 catch on 3 targets for 4 yards. Dissly continued to split time with Nick Vannett, and their playing time was nearly equal in Week 3. After Dissly played 71.2% of snaps in Week 2, he played only 56.5% of the snaps in Week 3, a near-even split with Vannett, who played 50.7% of the snaps. Also splitting targets near evenly on the season -- Dissly has 13 to Vannett's 12 -- this platoon has little upside.

Sleeper: Benjamin Watson ($5,200) - David Njoku is certainly in play here, but he could be highly owned with Mayfield starting, not necessarily making him a "sleeper." Since we're looking for cheap pieces to this Giants-Saints game and its slate-leading over/under, we'll touch on Watson instead. Now in his age-37 season, Watson has seen 15 targets through 3 weeks, notching 12 receptions for 134 yards. He's yet to find the end zone, but he has played 71.7% of the Saints' snaps and is 4th on the teams in targets behind Thomas, Kamara, and Ted Ginn Jr.

Blair Ames is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Blair Ames also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Bames31. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.