5 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 4
In fantasy football, matchups are key to setting any lineup.
This series will take a look at a few matchups that can be exploited for success on the football field and for profit in DFS.
Browns Offense vs. Dallas Defense
For the remainder of the season, the Dallas Cowboys' defense is going to be a friendly fantasy matchup for the opposing team. Dallas’ high-scoring offense (eighth in scoring, first in total yards this season) and porous defense (28th in points allowed, 24th in total yards allowed), in addition to Dallas’ league-high neutral situation pace, per Football Outsiders, means there will be plenty of opportunities for the opposing team to score fantasy points nearly every week.
The Cleveland Browns have the honors this week.
Cleveland’s run game has been fantastic after a slow start in Week 1 against Baltimore, as Nick Chubb ($8,300 on FanDuel) has turned in back-to-back 100-yard, two-touchdown performances and Kareem Hunt ($5,900) has found the end zone three times over the past two weeks. Both backs are in the top-10 in FanDuel points during this two-week stretch and should continue to produce against a Dallas defense that ranks seventh in yards per carry allowed and eighth in FanDuel points allowed to running backs this season.
The Cowboys' secondary is the weaker link, as it ranks 26th in net yards per attempt allowed and bottom-10 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends this season. Baker Mayfield ($7,000) and Jarvis Landry ($5,700) are both solid buy-low options in this plus matchup, but Odell Beckham ($6,600) could really go off.
Beckham ranks just 20th in targets and 38th in FanDuel points among wide receivers in 2020 in large part because Cleveland has had the second-highest run rate in the league, per Sharp Football Stats. But in a matchup that could force Mayfield to air it out, Beckham -- who ranks 12th in air yards -- should be able to feast on a defense that has allowed the second-highest rate of explosive pass plays (15-plus yards) in the league.
Dolphins Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
Similar to the Cowboys, the Seattle Seahawks' defense will be one to target all season long. Seattle’s commitment to early-down passing has resulted in an offensive explosion, as the team has scored the second-most points in the league this season despite ranking 22nd in offensive plays. This has forced a hard hand on the defense, which ranks first in opposing plays, pass attempts and total yards allowed after Week 3. Seattle’s secondary has been poor in terms of efficiency, too, not just volume statistics, as it ranks 23rd in numberFire’s Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play.
After embarrassing the Jacksonville Jaguars on national television last Thursday, the Miami Dolphins have the pleasure of competing against MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,100) stands out as an immediate value. He’s attempted the third-highest rate of aggressive throws into tight windows this season, per Next Gen Stats, and will need to stay aggressive to keep up with Wilson. Seattle’s defense has allowed the second-most FanDuel points to quarterbacks, and Fitzpatrick should see the fantasy opportunities that the Seahawks have allowed through the first three weeks.
DeVante Parker ($6,500) and Preston Williams ($5,500) are smart stacking options, especially considering that Seattle ranks last -- by a mile -- in FanDuel points allowed to wide receivers this year. The gap between the Seahawks and the 31st-ranked Cowboys in FanDuel points allowed to receivers per game is larger than the gap between the 30th-ranked Falcons and third-ranked Raiders (that's a lot!). Seattle has allowed 1,136 yards to receivers this season, and no other team has allowed more than 800.
Small sample size, strength of schedule and negative game scripts are certainly factors, but Seattle’s pass defense is still an obvious liability. The only tough decision here is to decide between Parker and Williams -- or even both.
Texans Offense vs. Vikings Defense
The Houston Texans had arguably the toughest start to the season of any team, as they have faced the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers in the first three weeks, all of which rank top-six of our nERD-based team rankings as well as in the top-12 in schedule-adjusted defense. Fortunately for Houston, it will face the Minnesota Vikings this week, and Minnesota ranks 18th nERD and 30th in D.
In other words, this is the definition of a bounce-back opportunity.
Deshaun Watson ($7,800) ranks just 17th in FanDuel points this season but ranked fifth in each of the previous two years. Minnesota has allowed the 10th-fewest FanDuel points to quarterbacks this season, but the Vikings are susceptible to elite quarterback production as Aaron Rodgers proved when he threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns against the Vikings in Week 1.
Will Fuller ($6,100) is likely to be Watson’s main target against a Vikings defense that ranks bottom-five in yards, touchdowns and FanDuel points to wide receivers this season. Fuller has as high of a ceiling as anyone on the slate on any given week -- especially this Sunday, as Minnesota has allowed the highest rate of explosive pass plays in the league.
David Johnson ($6,700) has drawn the second-highest offensive snap share (90.3%) among all running backs this year and should see ample opportunity and production against the same defense that allowed 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Derrick Henry last week, even if Duke Johnson ($4,700) returns from his ankle injury.
Rams Offense vs. Giants Defense
The 2020 Los Angeles Rams are looking like the 2018 Rams, as LA boasts the second-best offense, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. The Rams are in line to play the New York Giants, a team with the second-worst point differential in the league and one that ranks 23rd in defense.
Jared Goff ($7,500) has used play action on a league-high 50.5% of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus, and ranks third in Passing NEP per drop back. He should continue to perform well against the Giants’ 31st-ranked passing defense, but he’s unlikely to boom in this matchup considering that Los Angeles runs the ball at the highest rate in the league and is a massive 13.0-point home favorites against New York.
Instead, it’s likely to be the Darrell Henderson show. The Giants have a respectable rush defense, ranking seventh in Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards and ninth in ESPN’s run stop win rate, but teams have been able to pummel New York on the ground due to positive game scripts, leaving the Giants ranking bottom-10 in rushing attempts and FanDuel points allowed to running backs this season.
Henderson ($6,400) has played on just 46% of offensive snaps in the past two weeks (he was limited in Week 1 with a hamstring injury) but has seen plenty of opportunity in the Rams' high-powered offense. His weekly touches have increased from 3 to 14 to 21, while Malcolm Brown's ($5,300) have decreased from 21 to 11 to 7, and Cam Akers ($5,400) is unlikely to play with a rib injury.
Henderson has racked up over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the past two weeks and should see one of the biggest workloads of anyone on the slate on Sunday.
Packers Offense vs. Falcons Defense
The Green Bay Packers offense -- tops in the league by our numbers -- against the Atlanta Falcons defense (25th) is arguably the largest mismatch of any game this week. The Monday Night Showdown will feature one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Aaron Rodgers ($8,000) against a defense that seems clueless to its surroundings.
Rodgers has been on fire to start the season, ranking third in passing touchdowns and sixth in FanDuel points, and he should have no trouble against a Falcons defense that has allowed the most FanDuel points to quarterbacks this season.
Davante Adams ($9,000) is in an obvious smash spot against the fourth-worst fantasy defense against receivers, and Aaron Jones ($8,400) will continue to see plenty of volume considering he ranks seventh in touches and second in FanDuel points among all running backs this season.
Any Green Bay player has boom potential this week, but a less popular name to know is tight end Robert Tonyan. He easily leads Packers tight ends in snap share, routes run and targets and will face a Falcons defense that ranks bottom-three in the league in each major statistical category against tight ends, including FanDuel points allowed. Tonyan caught all five of his targets for 50 yards and a touchdown last week and will look to build upon that performance on Monday.
Gus Logue is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Gus Logue also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username GUSL. 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.