NFL

Daily Fantasy Football: Sannes' Situations to Monitor in Week 4

Mike Davis got big volume in Week 3 and showed a path to a big game in NFL DFS. Which other situations are worth monitoring on the Week 4 main slate?

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.

Location is to real estate as upside is to DFS in 2020.

Sure, you'd love to have a toilet, sturdy floors, and a roof that doesn't leak acid. But if it's a beachfront-location that's walking distance from the office, maybe peeing outside isn't so bad.

For NFL DFS, having a floor is good. If you can find it, that's a valuable asset.

It just doesn't really matter if they don't have the requisite upside.

With scoring up and bookmakers pushing totals through the roof, it's clear old norms just won't cut it anymore. And it's not as if upside wasn't a thing in the past.

Across all 17 perfect FanDuel lineups last year, here's the minimum score for a player at each position who made the cut.

Position Minimum Perfect Lineup Score
QB 28.1
RB 22.0
WR 18.7
TE 15.0
DST 16.0


That was last year, when the average NFL team scored 22.8 points per game. It's up to 25.5 through three weeks this year. As games get higher-scoring, so do the fantasy totals tied to them.

Even if we take last year's marks as a guideline, it's clear players we utilize are going to need a whole lotta juice to pay off. At running back, 22.0 points is 100 yards rushing, 4 receptions, 40 yards receiving, and a touchdown. That's doable, but it's not something every player can achieve. Our job is to decide if a game like that is within a player's range of outcomes.

That's going to be a guiding light for us as we run through various situations impacting Sunday's main NFL DFS slate. It's especially key on a slate with several big injuries and evolving roles across the league.

Mid-Range Running Backs

The top end of this slate is pretty tasty at running back. Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook have elite workloads, and they're in projected tight, high-scoring games. We want as much of that as we can handle.

Ideally, we'd want to jam in all three. That's going to leave things thin elsewhere, and with the higher-end quarterbacks looking spicy, as well, it's even a bit tougher. As such, we may want to lock in two of those studs and dip down to the mid-range with our third running back.

Thankfully, we're not short on options there. We just have to decide which of these backs stands out most.

Specifically, let's look at the running backs with salaries lower than $7,000. We've got good options down there; we just have to decide if they fit our upside-focused process.

The easiest paths to upside for lower-salaried backs are getting volume in tight, high-scoring games. Last year, 21 running backs made the perfect lineup with a salary under $7,000. Of those 21, 12 (57.1%) came from games with a spread of less than five points, and 11 (52.4%) came from games with a total of 46 or higher. That's compared to 50.4% of all games with a tight spread and 47.3% of games holding a total of 46 or higher. It doesn't seem like a gap, but we should take every edge we can get.

As for the volume, a lot of it came via the air. This group of perfect running backs actually averaged more receiving yards per game (44.3) than their higher-salaried counterparts (43.9) when they made perfect lineup appearances. Only one of the 21 low-salaried perfect RBs managed to make the cut without multiple catches.

So, we want high-scoring, tight games, and we want some work in the passing game. Which of the running backs fit this criteria?

The table below shows each of the viable running backs in this range along with their most relevant per-game workload and the bookmaker info around their game. "Most relevant sample" means what they've done in similar situations in the past. For example, Mike Davis' most relevant sample would be the one game he has played without Christian McCaffrey, and Devin Singletary's is the games he has played alongside Zack Moss given that Moss was back at practice on Wednesday. "Adjusted opportunities" is carries plus two-times the player's target total as targets are worth twice as much as carries in a half-PPR scoring setting like FanDuel's.

Player Salary Carries Targets Adj. Opp. Spread Total
Austin Ekeler $6,900 15.7 5.3 26.3 +7 43
Joe Mixon $6,800 17.3 3.0 23.3 -3 49.5
David Johnson $6,700 11.7 3.7 19.0 -3.5 53.5
James Robinson $6,600 14.3 3.7 21.7 +3 49.5
Mark Ingram $6,500 8.7 1.3 11.3 -14 45.5
Darrell Henderson $6,400 20.0 3.0 26.0 -13 48.5
Mike Davis $6,300 13.0 9.0 31.0 +3 51.5
Devin Singletary $6,000 9.5 5.0 19.5 -3 52.5


Based on this, Davis grades out as someone worthy of being in our core.

Sure, it's just one game. But we also saw Davis get eight targets the game before that even though McCaffrey played the first three quarters. Davis is going to get passing-game work, and he's in a projected tight, high-scoring game. That's a profile we can feel really good about. With his 19.1-point effort last week, we also know he's got the juice to fit our upside discussion.

Joe Mixon and James Robinson are squaring off, and both have decent profiles. Mixon's due for an uptick soon, too, as he is yet to hit paydirt this year despite all the work he has gotten. He doesn't grade out quite as well as Davis, but he can fit right behind him.

As for Robinson, the past two weeks have helped solidify him as a viable DFS target. Even with the Jacksonville Jaguars losing both games -- in non-competitive fashion in Week 3 -- Robinson stayed on the field, logging four and six targets, respectively. He's not as established as Mixon, and he's on the road, which is enough to have us put Mixon ahead of him. But Robinson does check a lot of the boxes we're looking for.

David Johnson is in a game we should be looking to target, and his rushing volume figures to go up with the Houston Texans finally not facing either a juggernaut or an elite defense. The problem is that Duke Johnson was back at practice Wednesday after missing the past two games. We don't have a relevant sample on the tandem DJs, and David wasn't necessarily swimming in targets to begin with. This likely relegates David to a spot where he's in play just for stacks of that game.

The concerns around Austin Ekeler and Darrell Henderson are both related to the bookmaker info on their games; it's just for very different reasons.

Ekeler's not in just a non-shootout. His game has the lowest total on the entire slate. The Los Angeles Chargers' implied total is second-lowest. Ekeler's targets have risen back up with Justin Herbert at quarterback, and his odds of getting you 15 points are decent. It's just hard for him to have a desirable ceiling in this type of game environment, pushing him down our list.

Henderson is in the traditional script in which we target running backs: as big home favorites. The Los Angeles Rams are also tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the highest implied total on the slate. This should be a dream matchup.

Things have changed, though, as games have become higher-scoring. As mentioned, we now want our running backs in tight, high-scoring games where they'll get passing volume throughout. Only 6 of 45 running backs (13.3%) in last year's perfect lineups were in games with spreads of more than 7.5 points. That's compared to 20.7% of games overall that fit in that range.

If Cam Akers does, indeed, sit again, Henderson definitely works. He'll likely have a good floor with how effective he has been and with the script setting up so favorably. It just seems like the odds of him being that "must-have" player for the slate go down in a non-competitive game. Henderson likely slots in third on this list behind Davis and Mixon, with the potential back-and-forth natures of their games giving them the edge.

We'll touch on more running backs near this range later on -- Kenyan Drake, David Montgomery, Ronald Jones and Myles Gaskin are just outside this window -- but at least with Davis and Mixon, we know we've got players we can turn to when we want to save salary in that third spot.

The Banged-Up Bucs

We've known since Monday that Chris Godwin would likely miss this week's game. It's starting to look like he might not be alone on the inactive list.

That's going to make things tough on Tom Brady.

Not only are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers short-handed, but they're facing a rock-solid Chargers defense. Even with the projected target bump for Mike Evans, his true upside takes a dent because it's hard to see this game shooting out.

The one guy who could shine through as being an option is Ronald Jones. Before Leonard Fournette was really involved in Week 1, Jones racked up 17 carries an 3 targets -- 23 adjusted opportunities -- in a negative game script. That's enough of a workload to be in play at $5,600.

If Fournette winds up sitting, Jones goes on the map. However, his volume is likely to be similar to Henderson's, and Henderson has flashed immense talent and is in a better matchup. So although this does makes Jones more appealing, there are likely better spots we can attack in a similar salary range.

Myles Gaskin Continues to Rise

Unlike Bucs-Chargers, we're going to want to stack the Seattle Seahawks against the Miami Dolphins. That pushes Myles Gaskin's appeal even higher than it would have been based on his role alone.

The first two weeks of the year, Gaskin had the passing-game volume. He had 14.5% of the targets and was playing more than 60% of the snaps. That gave the baseline for him to be interesting.

Then -- when the Dolphins finally got a win -- Gaskin turned closer to a bellcow role. He finished with 22 carries and 5 targets, good for 32 adjusted opportunities. It brings his season-long mark up to 23.3 adjusted opportunities per game. That ranks seventh among all backs on the main slate. Nobody else with a salary of $6,000 or lower has topped 21.

Gaskin's still going to lose work at the goal line to Jordan Howard, and that hurts his appeal relative to the players in the $6,000 range who may not have that concern. However, Gaskin did get four carries inside the 10-yard line last week, and three of those were inside the five. Touchdowns aren't totally off the table for him. We just have to accept that he could get vultured.

Gaskin is not a cash-game option because it's hard to say for sure that his role will stick. We should rank guys like Drake and Mixon ahead of him because we have a better grasp of what kind of work they'll get.

But in game stacks, Gaskin is fully on the table. His $5,400 salary helps offset Russell Wilson's lofty tag of $9,000, and Wilson is among the best quarterbacks available. Not only did Gaskin show his own path to upside last week, but he makes it easier to access the upside of Wilson, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf.

If you don't want to deal with the Howard headache, you've got other bring-back options on the Dolphins. Mike Gesicki is averaging 2.3 deep targets per game (at least 16 yards downfield) and is an upper-echelon tight-end play at $5,700. DeVante Parker has gotten over his hamstring strain in time to face a defense that has gotten torched by wide receivers. You can also consider Ryan Fitzpatrick at $7,100 thanks to the matchup and his rushing upside. But when filtering through the game stacks, it's wise to include Gaskin at times.

Michael Thomas' Return

Thanks to a pair of limited practices to open the week, it seems likely that Michael Thomas returns from a two-week absence on Sunday. That's a bonus for all the major players within this one if he's at full health.

We've spent the past two weeks dragging Drew Brees and his arm strength. With his average depth of target (aDOT) at 4.6 -- the lowest in the league by almost a yard and a half -- this makes sense. But we have to make sure we're not overreacting to a guy who has been playing without one of the best players in the league.

If you want to argue in favor of Brees, you can just look back to last year. There, Brees' aDOT was a still-low 6.4, but he managed to score at least 25 FanDuel points in 3 of 10 games, including a 40.1-point performance. He showed that requisite upside.

Other numbers are a bit more concerning, though. In Week 1 -- when Thomas played 80.9% of the snaps -- Brees' aDOT was also 4.6 yards, and he turned his 30 attempts into just 160 yards. That was against a much tougher defense, but that 1.8-yard dip in aDOT is non-negligible.

Basically, what you need for Brees to go off is multiple times where Thomas and Kamara turn dumpoffs into long touchdowns. That can happen, as we saw with Kamara last week. It's just hard to put all your eggs in that one basket. As such, Brees should sit below guys like Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Dak Prescott, and some of the lower-salaried options (like Fitzpatrick and those we'll discuss later) are above him, too.

As for Thomas himself, it'll be tough to use him given the allure of the high-salaried backs on the slate. If we were assured he'd be his full self, it might be a different discussion. But with how delectable those backs are, it's not a bad idea to take more of a wait-and-see approach outside of game stacks.

We just have to make sure Thomas returning doesn't hurt Kamara's appeal. Thankfully, it doesn't.

Because Emmanuel Sanders hasn't had a big role to open the season, we can look back at last year's numbers to get a read on projected volume for Kamara playing alongside Thomas. In the five games Kamara played before sustaining his knee injury in 2019, he averaged 15.0 carries and 6.2 targets per game, amounting to 27.4 adjusted opportunities. That's below his mark this year of 31.0, but it's not a huge dip. Add in the team's increased touchdown potential with an extra playmaker in the fold, and we can still hold Kamara in super high regard even with a potential target reduction.

The other big benefactors here are on the other sideline in Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay.

Adding another elite offensive player into the fold increases the odds this game winds up shooting out. That benefits the Saints, but it would also generate big volume for the Detroit Lions. The more points the Saints score, the more the Lions need to put on the board to keep pace. Thomas playing would increase the odds of a shootout, and that seems to be the way this is trending.

Helping matters is that the New Orleans Saints' defense hasn't looked all that stout through three weeks. They're 19th against the pass, according to numberFire's metrics. It doesn't help that they had to face Aaron Rodgers in his revenge tour, but Derek Carr also put up decent numbers on them. Now that Golladay's back, Stafford is at least on that level.

In Stafford's first game back, he averaged 0.28 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back. NEP is numberFire's metric that tracks the expected points added or subtracted across the course of a season, and it includes deductions for expected points lost on sacks, incompletions, and interceptions. The league-average mark is 0.15, and Stafford was at 0.06 in the first two games. Golladay's return is a game-changer for this offense.

Golladay also seemed healthy as he garnered a team-leading seven targets, two of which were deep. Marshon Lattimore hasn't been as much of a shut-down corner of late, freeing us up to stack Golladay and Stafford in this game.

You could also stack Stafford with T.J. Hockenson, who has been putting together a quietly consistent season. Hockenson has at least 50 receiving yards in each game thus far, and he was tied with Golladay for the team lead in targets last week. The Saints got torched by Darren Waller in Week 2 and let up a good amount of production to the Green Bay Packers' tight ends last week. Hockenson is a solid both in game stacks and as a stand-alone play.

Questions Around DeAndre Hopkins

It could be just maintenance. But DeAndre Hopkins has missed practice the past two days.

Ruh roh.

Hopkins has a whopping 35.9% of the team's targets this season. Taking that out of an offense is going to change things pretty dramatically, both from a usage and an efficiency perspective.

Luckily for us, if Hopkins were to miss, it'd just put the team back into the same personnel it had most of last year. The one question mark would be Christian Kirk, who missed last week's game but has been limited in practice for Week 4.

The biggest benefactor if Hopkins were to miss might weirdly be Kenyan Drake. Drake has been limited to just five total targets the entire season, and Chase Edmonds has been stealing some routes off of Drake's plate.

But after joining the team last year, Drake averaged 4.4 targets per game, accounting for 14.1% of the team's total looks. He might still lose some routes to Edmonds, but if he's more likely to get targeted in the routes he is running, that's a bonus.

We can also justify Drake even if Hopkins does play thanks to the matchup. The Carolina Panthers got torched by running backs last year and are outside the top 20 in both Rushing Success Rate (the percentage of rushes that increase the team's expected points for the drive) and Rushing NEP per carry allowed to opposing backs. Drake's at 21.3 adjusted opportunities per game even with the limited targets, so any bump in his passing-game work paired with a plus matchup would make him a high-quality DFS play.

As for the rest of the offense, things would be muddled without Hopkins. Kirk would likely be the top option, as long as he can get in a full practice by Friday. In Week 1 -- Kirk's lone full game -- he led the team with three deep targets and ran the second most routes on the team, according to Pro Football Focus. He also led the team in air yards in Week 2 despite sustaining an injury. You'll want to avoid him in cash games, but it would make Kirk interesting for tournaments.

As for Kyler Murray, losing Hopkins would be a legitimate downgrade. Murray has averaged 0.60 Passing NEP per attempt while targeting Hopkins; it's just 0.03 to everybody else. If Hopkins plays, Murray's arguably the top quarterback on the slate. If not, Murray does get bumped down behind at least Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott, though he'd still be in play thanks to his rushing volume. The top stacking partner with Murray would likely be Drake.

The Panthers Without Christian McCaffrey

The other side of that game is also lacking a high-volume player as the Panthers move to their second game without McCaffrey. We already discussed why Davis is a solid running back play. The wide receivers are drool-worthy, too.

McCaffrey has essentially missed the past five quarters. Almost all of the volume in that time has been concentrated between three players.

Past 5 Quarters Total Targets Deep Targets RZ Targets
Mike Davis 35.6% 0.0% 45.5%
Robby Anderson 22.2% 28.6% 27.3%
DJ Moore 20.0% 57.1% 0.0%


That number for Davis is likely inflated because of the quality of the Chargers' cornerbacks. DJ Moore and Robby Anderson are in play even before accounting for that.

Moore hasn't scored a touchdown yet this year, but he's getting high-leverage targets. Moore is averaging 3.3 deep targets per game, which amounts to 52.6% of the team's deep looks. He's at 25.5% of the overall targets, as well, which means he's going to have a good floor. We've seen that floor on display as he has at least 50 receiving yards in each game. We shouldn't be surprised if his ceiling shows up on Sunday, as well. Moore's the preferred receiver here and one of the best options on the slate at $6,800.

Anderson's a notch below that, but he's someone we can consider even outside of just game stacks. He has 23.5% of the overall targets and 21.1% of the deep targets, and we know he can convert on long balls. He's had 100 yards twice this year, so it's hard to say no, even if he does rank behind Moore and Davis on this team.

As for Teddy Bridgewater, we haven't seen the ceiling yet. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Ceilings in DFS for quarterbacks come via rushing and touchdowns. The rushing won't be there with Bridgewater, so we can cross that off.

The tuddies could be, though. With McCaffrey out last week, Bridgewater attempted six passes in the red zone and two inside the 10-yard line. That was up from three and one, respectively, the first two games combined. The Panthers' implied total is decent at 24, and this game has shootout potential. We should put Bridgewater below the quarterbacks in the $8,000 range, but if you want to skimp at the position, Bridgewater is at least on the map in the same tier as Fitzpatrick and Stafford.

Hunting for Volume in Cleveland

Similar to the Hopkins situation, we don't know the deal yet with Kareem Hunt. Hunt has missed practice the past few days, putting his status in doubt for Week 4.

If he sits, it'll be a big bump to Nick Chubb.

Chubb's lack of passing-game work has been a killer to his fantasy appeal. Here are his usage splits with and without Hunt since the start of last year.

Since Start of 2019 Carries Targets Adj. Opp.
Chubb Without Hunt 19.3 4.0 27.3
Chubb With Hunt 17.7 1.8 21.4


That's a massive gap. Chubb has still had more than 23 FanDuel points each of the past two weeks because he's #goodatfootball, but both his floor and his ceiling would get a kick in the pants if Hunt were to sit.

Chubb's workload without Hunt was still lesser than that of Elliott and Kamara, so they would still sit at the top of our list. However, it's pretty similar to what we can expect out of Cook. Cook's matchup is elite, but Chubb will be right there alongside him if Hunt does, indeed, sit out.

If Hunt does play, then we'll likely have to hold our noses and go back to Odell Beckham when looking at game stacks, assuming he's able to go after he was limited in Thursday's practice with a back issue. Beckham's overall volume has been down this year due to the team's rush-heavy nature. But once you adjust for that, he has 28.2% of the team's overall targets and 40.0% of the deep targets. The Cowboys' offense could force Cleveland to open things up, which would make Beckham at $6,600 ideal for lineups where you roll out Elliott, Prescott, or any of the receivers.

If Beckham is out, the Browns' offense on the whole becomes harder to trust. Jarvis Landry reportedly is not yet back to full health after offseason hip surgery, and having both him and Beckham banged up would make it difficult for them to keep pace with such a potent offense. The lone benefactor of OBJ sitting would be Elliott as it would increase his projected rushing volume.

Dalton Schultz's Established Role

That, of course, is not to say that only Elliott and the receivers are in play. Dalton Schultz can also get us some low-salaried exposure to this game, as well.

Schultz has played two full games since Blake Jarwin's season-ending injury. Here's the Cowboys' target distribution in that time.

Past 2 Games Total Targets Deep Targets RZ Targets
Amari Cooper 20.4% 23.5% 0.0%
Ezekiel Elliott 18.5% 0.0% 16.7%
Dalton Schultz 15.5% 5.9% 33.3%
CeeDee Lamb 14.6% 17.7% 16.7%
Michael Gallup 13.6% 29.4% 0.0%


Those target shares look pretty spread out. And that would be a concern if the Cowboys weren't passing at a high rate and with high efficiency. That could come back to earth this week as they have been in negative scripts the past two games. Still, Schultz's role has been solid.

The more desirable plays within this offense will still be the receivers. And if Beckham is out, the passing offense becomes even a bit shakier as the odds the Cowboys build a lead early go up. But if you want low-salary exposure to the Cowboys while filling tight end, Schultz can be an outlet.

Here We Go Again With Will Fuller

Sunday's slate was shaping up to be a big one for Will Fuller. He was set to face a Minnesota Vikings secondary that has already let up 96 or more receiving yards four times this year.

Then the Texans' injury report came out Thursday.

Goody.

It's only one practice session, and we'll often see veterans get a bit of rest on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We shouldn't catastrophize yet.

But this might be the worst thing to ever happen.

If Fuller is removed from the injury report on Friday, then all is well with the world, and we can go back to loving him in tournaments.

If he plays through a questionable tag, then you can still give him a swing in tournaments as long as your risk tolerance is high enough. Fuller played through a hamstring in Week 2 and was still on the field for 63% of the snaps. He wasn't targeted, but a 63% snap rate against the Vikings is more likely to pay dividends than a 63% snap rate against the Baltimore Ravens.

The more desirable play, though, might be to target Brandin Cooks or Jordan Akins. Both provide salary relief at $5,300 and $4,900, respectively, and they led the team in targets in Week 2. Cooks is at 19.8% of the targets for the year, so his role has been solid even when Fuller has been healthy, and Akins fills a rough position.

Those two would be in play if Fuller were to sit, as well. Normally, we can downgrade entire offenses when a key cog is out. However, when Deshaun Watson is the quarterback, and they're going up against such a youthful secondary, we can accept the added target volume and plug them in.

Watson, himself, would be a tougher sell if Fuller has to sit. Efficiency matters more at quarterback than with pass-catchers, so the loss of a high-quality receiver impacts him quite a bit. Fuller's injury situation will be one of the bigger issues to track as we get closer to Sunday.

Justin Jefferson's Expanded Role

If Fuller can't go, it increases the expected rushing volume for Cook. He's the optimal bring-back option on the Vikings' team no matter what. But the lower-salaried option is Justin Jefferson.

Jefferson opened training camp on the COVID list, which put him behind Bisi Johnson as the Vikings' second receiver. Last week was his coming out party, though, as Jefferson played 78.5% of the snaps and turned 9 targets into 175 yards and a touchdown. Yowza.

That immediately puts Jefferson on the map as a way to get lower-salaried access to a potential shootout. We just have to note that there's still some shakiness here.

The main issue is that the Vikings simply refuse to throw the football. Kirk Cousins hasn't exceeded 27 attempts in a game this year despite starting the year 0-3. Even if we assume the Texans grab a lead, we can't just pencil in 35 drop backs for this offense.

In that situation, Jefferson must be a target hog in order to pay off. We've seen Adam Thielen do that, but even Thielen has issues consistently producing in this iteration of the offense. Pop games happen, but reliable, predictable output is a different discussion.

Given the total in this game, Jefferson's big outing last week, and his salary, he's likely to be on a hefty number of lineups this weekend. That might make it wise to us to just focus on Cook -- who has more bankable volume -- or pivot to Thielen instead. Jefferson clearly has the upside we so desperately seek, so we'll be back here at some point. This weekend just might not be the optimal time.

The Bengals' Voluminous Passing Game

Jefferson in a Zac Taylor-led offense would be a different discussion. Dude loves to chuck it, and his pass-catchers reap the rewards. With the lackluster Jacksonville Jaguars defense next on the schedule, it's good to dig in deeper on this passing game.

For the Bengals, their most relevant sample is the past two games. Tee Higgins was playing behind John Ross in Week 1 before seeing his snaps spike in Week 2. In that two-game stretch, here's where the targets have gone.

Past 2 Games Total Targets Deep Targets RZ Targets
Tyler Boyd 20.8% 21.1% 10.0%
AJ Green 18.8% 26.3% 10.0%
Tee Higgins 14.9% 36.8% 20.0%
Drew Sample 9.9% 0.0% 20.0%


It's worth remembering that 20.8% of the targets for Tyler Boyd is 20.8% of a whole lotta overall targets. He's actually averaging 10.5 targets per game in that time, which is a juicy number. As long as they keep heaving it, we can boogie.

Boyd, specifically, moves the needle here because he has actually converted his volume into production. Boyd has 72 and 125 receiving yards the past two weeks, respectively. His down production in Week 1 is understandable with Chris Harris on the other side. At $6,000, Boyd is a quality pivot off of Michael Gallup and Fuller, if Fuller winds up being healthy.

Speaking of Gallup, that's likely a good comp for Higgins. He's likely -- for now -- to have a low floor because he doesn't have a meaty overall share. However, with such a high percentage of his looks being high-leverage ones, he'll have the ability for weekly pop-offs. If you think Higgins will be popular, you should try to find the salary to get up to Boyd. But we'll want to be in on Higgins in the spots where he goes overlooked.

The volume is good for Joe Burrow, too. He hasn't posted good efficiency numbers yet, but the Jaguars are dead last against the pass through three weeks, according to numberFire's metrics. Burrow also adds rushing juice with 5.3 attempts per game in his first three outings. Among the low-salaried quarterbacks, he's in the same tier as Stafford and Fitzpatrick, even if he checks in just behind those two.

Forcing the Patriots to Throw

When things have gone their way, the New England Patriots have kept things on the ground this year. They're 31st in pass rate above expectation, according to Michael Leone of Establish the Run. They've had fewer than 170 passing yards twice already in three games.

They just might not have that option on Sunday.

The Patriots are facing the Kansas City Chiefs as seven-point road underdogs. We just saw the Chiefs tear up the Baltimore Ravens' defense on Monday night. They're going to put up points on the Patriots, and it's why Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tyreek Hill are both solid tournament options. With the Patriots likely needing to pass, we can get some mini game stacks here, as well.

Although the Patriots haven't thrown much this year, when they have, they've funneled targets to Julian Edelman and N'Keal Harry. Here's the team's target breakdown through Week 3.

First 3 GamesTotal TargetsDeep TargetsRZ Targets
Julian Edelman26.7%80.0%20.0%
N'Keal Harry24.4%0.0%40.0%


The 80.0% deep target share for Edelman is on just five total targets. Not only have they rarely thrown, but they've kept it short when they have. But at least we know where the ball is going.

When the Patriots had to air it out to keep up with the Seahawks in Week 2, Harry had 12 targets, and Edelman had 11. Harry's lack of downfield work is annoying, and it's why those 12 targets led to just 72 yards. But that type of volume can put him in play at $5,300, as long as you're cognizant of his limitations.

Upside isn't really an issue for Edelman thanks to the downfield looks. He scored 21.9 FanDuel points in that Seahawks game despite not scoring a touchdown. His $6,400 salary isn't all that much higher than Harry's, and it makes Edelman the optimal bring-back piece in lineups with Edwards-Helaire and Hill.

The increased passing volume could be a good thing for Cam Newton, but this still might be a good time to look elsewhere. Last week -- the team's first game with center David Andrews on injured reserve -- Newton finished with -0.09 Passing NEP per drop back. That was against a much softer pass defense than the one he'll see this week. With so many enticing quarterback options available, we can afford to be lower on Newton despite his hot start to the season.

The Raiders' Injuries Hurt the Bills' Offense

Upside is no concern to Josh Allen. His combination of rushing volume with new-found passing efficiency makes him a force with both a high floor and a high ceiling.

That ceiling just gets knocked down a peg with the Las Vegas Raiders limping into this game.

The Raiders will play here without the services of rookies Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Not only does that hurt the passing offense, but it also increases the odds they keep things on the ground with Josh Jacobs. Rush attempts drain the clock and limit volume for opposing quarterbacks.

Allen is at his best in games where the Buffalo Bills have to push the entire game. This might not be one of those contests. Allen's floor will still be great because if they win more easily, he'll play a big role in it. It's more of the ceiling that gets knocked down. Given the lack of similar concerns for Wilson, Prescott, and Murray, we can afford to take a break from Allen for just this week and then get back on board in the near future.

BDN Rises

It's a new day in Chicago, everyone. The Nick Foles era has begun.

It's just not the most exciting game for him to take the reins.

This game between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts has the second-lowest total on the board at 43.5, one of just two games on the slate with a total lower than 45. That's a knock against the upside of both these teams.

The Bears and Colts are both ranked 20th or lower in situation-neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders, likely contributing to that low total. Both teams have boasted top-10 defenses through the first three weeks, as well. This just isn't a great spot to attack for DFS.

If not for the sluggish nature of this game, Allen Robinson and Jonathan Taylor would certainly be intriguing. Robinson had six targets from Foles in Week 3, two of which were deep. Taylor's in a get-right spot after being a victim of circumstance in a blowout last week. It's just hard to get to their salaries -- $7,000 and $7,500, respectively -- with this game being less interesting than most others.

The one exception could be David Montgomery, largely due to his low salary. Montgomery seems primed to step into a larger role with Tarik Cohen out for the year with a torn ACL. Montgomery has averaged 20.3 adjusted opportunities per game even with Cohen playing. If he can squeeze out additional targets, then his path to a 20-point game becomes a bit clearer. Montgomery's just $5,800 and grades out similarly to Ronald Jones but beneath guys like Mike Davis and Darrell Henderson.