NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 4

With the highest total of the week, Sunday's matchup between the Cowboys and Browns features a number of good targets for your Week 4 lineups.

Before diving into this week's preview, be sure to remember Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Titans players and staff. The players from that game remain in the DraftKings player pool, so it will be up to you to remember not to add them to any lineups.

Update: The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game has been postponed and is expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday. Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this week.

In this DFS preview, I'll focus on the Sunday main slate and group players into two categories based on their DraftKing's salaries: players to build around and value plays.

Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive salaries on the slate.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Players to Build Around

QB Jared Goff, Rams ($6,700) vs. NYG

Jared Goff has been an inconsistent fantasy performer over the years, so there's always some risk in drafting him, but this looks like an ideal matchup to take a chance on the former number-one overall pick. The New York Giants defense has allowed at least 10 yards on 38 percent of pass attempts, the worst rate in the league. The Giants have also allowed at least 15 fantasy points to quarterbacks in all three games this season (even against Mitchell Trubisky).

RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers ($7,100) vs. TB

Through two games, Justin Herbert has thrown the ball 82 times, with Austin Ekeler seeing an 18.3 percent target share. That's a significant upgrade from Week 1 when he saw just one target while paired with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. The Chargers have also been a fairly fast-paced offense over the last two weeks, running the second-most offensive plays in regulation in the league (155 plays). As a 7.5-point underdog against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there's a high probability that Los Angeles is throwing the ball often while trailing, likely leading to another big day for Ekeler.

RB Nick Chubb, Browns ($7,000) vs. DAL

After Nick Chubb was out-touched 17-to-11 by Kareem Hunt in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, it looked like Chubb's value might be game-script dependent this season. After seeing a couple more games, however, it appears that Week 1 performance was an outlier due to the Cleveland Browns being non-competitive for the majority of the day. When the Browns are trailing by 10 points or less, Chubb has seen a 32 percent usage rate -- so unless the Dallas Cowboys are able to run up the score on Cleveland, Chubb should still see his typical workload. Based on ESPN's win-rate metrics, the Cowboys rank 31st in the league in stopping the run, potentially setting Chubb up for a big day.

RB Jonathan Taylor, Colts ($6,600) vs. CHI

Jonathan Taylor was a bit of a disappointment in Week 3, but only because the Indianapolis Colts built such a significant lead over the New York Jets that it allowed Taylor to rest for most of the fourth quarter. As a 2.5-point favorite against the Chicago Bears, this game script is more likely to swing in Taylor's favor, with the Colts, hopefully, nursing a smaller lead in the second half. When the Colts hold a lead of two touchdowns or less, Taylor has a 32 percent usage rate.

WR Stefon Diggs, Bills ($6,800) vs. LV

The Las Vegas Raiders have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, but don't be scared away from this matchup. Las Vegas has faced the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and New Orleans Saints (without Michael Thomas) -- so their secondary hasn't exactly been tested by the game's elite receivers. Diggs will likely draw coverage from Raiders' second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen, who was a liability last season, allowing 11.2 yards per target in coverage. He's improved so far in 2020 (7.2 yards per target), but the Buffalo Bills' passing attack will be his toughest test to date.

Value Plays

QB Drew Brees, Saints ($5,800) vs. DET

After two shaky games to start the season, Drew Brees' salary plummeted from its peak of $7,000 in Week 2. Despite bouncing back with a strong 23.5 fantasy points against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, his cap hit remains extremely low for a quarterback with his track record. This week, Brees draws one of the easiest matchups of his season against a struggling Lions defense. According to Sports Info Solutions, Detroit has forced pressure on just 17.9 percent of opponents' drop backs, the worst rate in the league. Brees has been shaky against pressure this year, but when kept clean, he's been his usual dominant self.

SituationYards
per Attempt
Comp
Pct
TD/INT
Brees vs No Pressure7.774.7%6-0
Brees vs Pressure5.447.1%0-1


QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins ($5,300) vs. SEA

The Seattle Seahawks are allowing 33.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be a notch below the other quarterbacks Seattle has faced (Matt Ryan, Dak Prescott, and Cam Newton), but it's still hard to imagine the Seahawks fixing their defensive struggles simply by taking on a slightly easier opponent. The Miami Dolphins run a fairly aggressive passing attack with Fitzpatrick throwing 10 or more yards downfield on 35 percent of his attempts. That bodes well for his performance against Seattle, which is allowing an absurd 72 percent completion rate against passes at least 10 yards downfield, according to Sports Info Solutions.

RB David Johnson, Texans ($5,600) vs. MIN

Based on ESPN's win-rate metrics, the Houston Texans run block win rate (74 percent) holds the largest advantage over its opponent's run-stop rate in Week 4 (Minnesota Vikings run stop rate: 23 percent). That bodes well for David Johnson in a game that is likely to produce a favorable game script. The Texans are favored by 4.5 points in this matchup, and Johnson has a 44 percent usage rate when Houston holds a lead this season.

WR DeVante Parker, Dolphins ($5,700) vs. SEA

As previously mentioned, the Seahawks are struggling to defend downfield, so it would be wise to pair Fitzpatrick with his favorite downfield weapons. DeVante Parker has a team-high 8 receptions on 10 targets at 10 or more yards downfield, according to Sports Info Solutions. His salary is a little expensive to be considered a "value play" at wide receiver, but a Fitzpatrick-Parker stack ($11,000 combined) is definitely a value for a quarterback and a number-one receiver. This same logic can also be applied to tight end Mike Gesicki ($5,100), who has 6 receptions on 10 targets at 10 or more yards downfield.

WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($5,400) vs. CLE

Slot cornerback Tavierre Thomas has been a weak link in the Browns secondary this season, allowing 13 receptions on 15 targets in coverage for an average of 9.3 yards per target. CeeDee Lamb leads Dallas with 19 targets while lined up in the slot, according to Sports Info Solutions, making him an obvious player to include in some lineups this week.

WR Jarvis Landry, Browns ($5,100) vs. DAL

The Cowboys are allowing 22.4 fantasy points per game to receivers lined up in the slot -- this excludes stats for tight ends or running backs who may shift into the slot -- which ranks as the third-worst in the NFL, according to Sports Info Solutions. Jarvis Landry's 13 targets through three games is a little disappointing, but that number is probably influenced by the Browns leading for much of the last two weeks in wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Football Team. In Week 1 against Baltimore, Landry saw six targets, and a similar workload -- especially considering the Cowboys' defensive struggles -- seems reasonable to expect on Sunday.

WR Hunter Renfrow, Raiders ($4,600) vs. BUF

The Buffalo Bills have a strong defense, but defending the slot has been a relative weakness. According to Sports Info Solutions, Buffalo is giving up 183 yards per game to receivers lined up in the slot (3rd-most in the league) and 9.5 yards per attempt (10th-most). Over the first two weeks, with Henry Ruggs active, Hunter Renfrow saw just five targets -- so be sure to monitor Ruggs' status before rostering Renfrow. However, Renfrow's target share climbed to 23 percent with Ruggs sidelined in Week 3.

TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions ($4,800) vs. NO

The Saints have allowed a league-worst 81.8 fantasy points to tight ends this season. 31.5 of those points came from Darren Waller, but they also allowed 16 points to Robert Tonyan and 13.6 to O.J. Howard. Hockenson's fantasy production hasn't been anything special, but he has tallied at least nine points in each game. We also gained some confidence in his fantasy value after he saw a season-high seven targets in Week 3, despite Kenny Golladay making his season debut.


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