After a rough Week 3, the fantasy football world seemingly got back on track in Week 4. I hope you had some solid wins and this column helped you along the way.
That said, some serious oddities in Week 4 will impact how we approach our cash lineups for the remainder of the season. In their Monday episode, Robert Mays from The Athletic Football Show discussed that six teams won a game while totaling more rushing yards than passing or having a near-even split between the two. Those teams included Atlanta (200 rushing yards), Green Bay (199), Las Vegas (212), Philadelphia (210), New York Giants (262), and Tennessee (127).
Absolutely bonkers. We now have to account for the game script on a whole other level. This is no longer just about a team playing from ahead and running the ball out. Those six teams wanted to run the ball effectively. For example, Marcus Mariota only threw the ball 19 times. 19! This is a new trend I’ll be accounting for moving forward.
NFL DFS Week 5
As for this week, the slate is absolutely atrocious. The two matchups I would love to target this week are on Sunday and Monday night, leaving us with slim pickings elsewhere.
My overall approach for this week includes punting at quarterback and running back. The only exception to this is that I’ll have a couple of lineups with either Josh Allen or Jalen Hurts.
At running back, I’m not thrilled about the most expensive options, with one exception discussed later. Christian McCaffrey is lining up against a strong San Francisco defense. Saquon Barkley plays in London this week. I cannot find a compelling story for the Washington vs. Tennessee game. Austin Ekeler goes up against what should be a good Cleveland defense, but they also just gave up 200 rush yards to Atlanta, and the Chargers’ run game looks bad. And the Chicago Bears give up a lot of rushing yards, but with Dalvin Cook banged up a couple of weeks ago, I’m nervous about his workload.
So yeah, not great, Bob.
Instead, I’ll be paying up at receiver, particularly for the likes of Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill.
So who am I targeting instead at quarterback and running back? Read on to find out. Cash is in session.
Rhamondre Stevenson (DraftKings: $5,500 / FanDuel: $6,000)
I used to hate targeting Patriots running backs in fantasy, but lately, things have felt surprisingly predictable. Rhamondre Stevenson is the primary pass-catching back, and Damien Harris is the between-the-tackles player. This week, they go up against the Detroit Lions, everyone’s favorite team to pick on. They are giving up the second-most points to running backs and just got absolutely handled by Rashad Penny.
Honestly, I like both Patriots backs in DFS this week but slightly lean toward Stevenson because of the pass-catching upside. I especially prefer him in DraftKings with the full-PPR scoring and would consider Harris on FanDuel.
Trevor Lawrence (DraftKings: $5,600 / FanDuel: $7,600)
The stats may initially scare folks away from Trevor Lawrence this week, as Houston is Top 10 against quarterbacks through Week 4. But Houston has not played any quarterbacks that scare me from a fantasy perspective. Thus far, they’ve faced off against Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, and an injured Justin Herbert. And while there are plenty of pro bowls and likely future pro bowls between those players, they have not made an impact in fantasy to start the season.
Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence has been a changed player now that Urban Meyer is out of Jacksonville. Additionally, Lawrence is so cheap, particularly on DraftKings, that he can throw two touchdowns and 200 yards and return on value. But this is Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick. He’s going to outperform.
James Robinson (DraftKings: $6,300 / FanDuel: $8,000)
Yes, I’m sticking with James Robinson, even though he had a down week. I believe he bounces back after surviving the monsoon he dealt with last week. Also, Houston gives up the most points to running backs, partly because they faced Austin Ekeler last week. And while I’m not playing Robinson in the same lineup as Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars have a 26 implied point total based on the betting lines. So there’s enough space in there for both players to establish a solid floor for your cash lineups.
Terry McLaurin (DraftKings: $6,200 / FanDuel: $6,500)
Terry McLaurin has been one of the more disappointing receivers to start the season. Despite getting a quarterback upgrade, he seemingly has been nonexistent in this offense. However, I’m ready to roll with him this week. First off, he’s just too damn cheap not to roster, particularly on FanDuel. Secondly, Tennessee is giving up the fourth-most points to receivers, and this is expected to be a close game with a two-point spread. And lastly, Jahan Dotson is not playing this week, reducing the target tree and opening up more opportunities for McLaurin to get fed. And if he doesn’t, we’ll have a serious conversation about his fantasy future.
T.J. Hockenson (DraftKings: $4,900 / FanDuel: $7,000)
I love when the highest-scoring player on the slate was mentioned in this article. Last week, T.J. Hockenson was incredible, scoring over 40 points in DraftKings scoring. But apparently, DraftKings thought this was a fluke and is giving him no respect this week. Comparatively, FanDuel is seemingly overreacting, pricing him up to the most expensive tight end on the slate.
I’m sticking with Hockenson this week against the New England Patriots, who give up the eighth-most points to opposing tight ends. Additionally, Detroit may be without Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift again, forcing them to rely heavily on Hockenson as their No. 1 pass-catcher.
Check the Chalkboard
Nick Chubb (DraftKings: $8,000 / FanDuel: $9,400)
There is one running back I am willing to pay up for this week: Nick Chubb. The Cleveland Browns want to run the ball, as evidenced by their ranking as No. 2 in rushing yards. And Chubb has been absolutely dominant, establishing himself as one of the few certain things at running back this year. The Los Angeles Chargers have continued to struggle against running backs, giving up the third most points this season. With the Chargers only favored by 2.5 points, Cleveland should remain in a neutral game script, allowing Chubb to maintain his typical workload.
Tyler Conklin (DraftKings: $3,700 / FanDuel: $5,300)
One of the biggest surprises this season has been the rise of Tyler Conklin as a moderately reliable tight end. This week he matches up against the Miami Dolphins, who have struggled to defend tight ends. Conklin has averaged over five receptions per game, providing a solid floor at a position where receptions and touchdowns are kings.
Before you set your lineups, be sure to check out Austin and Ryan’s weekly rankings!
Back of the Classroom Studs
Teddy Bridgewater (DraftKings: $5,400 / FanDuel: $6,400)
There’s no easy way to intro this option. I’m honestly sad not to see Tua Tagovailoa playing, and I continue to hope for his safety. There are so many more important things than the fantasy aspect of him remaining in the NFL concussion protocol.
But my role here is to help you win some cash, and with Tua out, Teddy Bridgewater steps in as a viable starter in one of the most quarterback-friendly offenses in the league. Bridgewater has been a serviceable quarterback in the past, serving as a fringe starter and streamer in past seasons. Now he takes over the job with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle as his star receivers. Additionally, the New York Jets give up the 10th-most points to opposing quarterbacks, and this should be a close battle with plenty of passing. Lock in Bridgewater and pay up elsewhere.
Leonard Fournette (DraftKings: $6,900 / FanDuel: $7,800)
The Atlanta Falcons have been surprisingly average against the run this season, but they haven’t faced a team quite the caliber of Tampa Bay. While the Buccaneers have not been stellar running the ball, Leonard Fournette has been a solid option, primarily because of his pass game usage. As a result, I don’t expect Atlanta to keep this game close the way they have recently, which should provide Tampa Bay plenty of opportunity to run this game out. Additionally, A.J. Terrell likely spends some time shadowing Mike Evans, so Tom Brady will need to look elsewhere to move the ball down the field.
Jakobi Meyers (DraftKings: $4,800 / FanDuel: $6,000)
Time to continue picking on the Detroit Lions, who give up the sixth-most points to receivers. With Jakobi Meyers missing a couple of games, he has been priced down to a point where he could simply breathe and return on value. The quarterback situation doesn’t scare me away from Meyers. Plus, worst-case scenario, he is the emergency quarterback, so you could get some surprise pass attempts against a Detroit secondary that doesn’t scare me.
CeeDee Lamb (DraftKings: $7,000 / FanDuel: $7,200)
I continue to love CeeDee Lamb, even with Cooper Rush at quarterback. This week, he goes against the Los Angeles Rams, who give up the second-most points to receivers. Lamb has simply been a target hog, making his way to a consistent lineup lock.
Garrett Wilson (DraftKings: $5,200 / FanDuel: $6,000)
There was a concern that the return of Zach Wilson would mark the conclusion of Garrett Wilson’s solid start to the season. But Wilson continued to target Wilson against the Pittsburgh Steelers, looking towards his name twin on six occasions. Now, they go up against a Miami defense that gives up the fifth most points to receivers. This should also be a close matchup, as Miami is only favored by 3.5 points, so the Jets will need to pass the ball to have any chance at victory.
Dallas Cowboys (DraftKings: $3,500 / FanDuel: $4,100)
I have been loving this Dallas Cowboys defense more than I expected this season. They have clearly developed, particularly up front, so that they don’t need to rely on turnovers the way they did last season. And the great thing about it is that same energy that forced so many turnovers last season still lives in this team. The Los Angeles Rams have struggled to move the ball with everyone not named Cooper Kupp. I’m looking for Dallas to keep the score low while recording some sacks and remaining a turnover threat.
Tennessee Titans (DraftKings: $3,600 / FanDuel: $4,200)
As mentioned earlier, this is a game I simply cannot predict. That is partially due to the chaos that is Carson Wentz. I’m going to embrace that chaos, particularly as Washington has given up plenty of sacks throughout the season. Wentz is also known to throw some ugly interceptions, and I’m counting on this being a low-scoring affair.
Players in Detention
Najee Harris (DraftKings: $6,500 / FanDuel: $6,600)
I am so sad about this one. I thought Najee Harris had the chance to be the No. 1 running back on the season. But that Steelers offense is worse than I could have ever imagined. And they finally started listening to what I wanted all last season. They are lightening Harris’ load and using more of a committee approach. This week, they go up against the Buffalo Bills, who have been lights out this season, even shutting down Derrick Henry. I’m avoiding Harris this week, even in tournament settings where his rostership is likely to be low.
Last week we scored our first overall A in DraftKings on the back of several wins and our highest number of A’s to date. We were also fairly successful on FanDuel, scoring a B, despite abysmal performances from the likes of Michael Pittman and James Robinson.
- A: Scored over three times their price
- B: Scored over two times their price
- C: Matched their price
- F: Scored lower than their price
*Left early due to injury
*Left early due to injury
Looking for the DFS plays with the best possible matchups? Our Weekly Matchup Report gives you that info every Wednesday.