Well, last week was a great week for a lot of our players, but could have been a five figure week if Kenny Golladay had done anything.
Even apart from that, I saw Kyle Allen, Keenan Allen, and Mike Evans carry a lot of my teams to the promised land of made money.
But, I will also acknowledge that part of that success was due to some late breaking news like James White being out which led to playing Rex Burkhead at $3900.
To account for this, I will now be publishing a Friday DFS article that will refine some picks with a mock lineup. This will then be supplemented by my twitter (click on the blue bird in the top right corner of the screen) throughout Saturday and Sunday morning before lock.
Right now, though, we are taking a deep dive into the best plays of this slate for any kind of lineup you might want to play.
With that being said, here is the Week 4 DFS Plays of the Week:
Core Plays - For any lineup, any contest, anywhere
These are the players who have a high probability of paying off their price but also have the high upside to anchor a tournament winning lineup. They should be a part of your GPP and Cash considerations.
Russell Wilson - SEA DK $6100
Last week, Wilson won someone a million dollars by throwing for 400 yards and running in two touchdowns.
That may not be in the cards for us this week as he is now far too on the radar, but it can be a good foundation for us to get him in as many lineups as we can.
For the first tie in over a season, Wilson has been unleashed by his coaching staff and the results are the same as they were way back when. In his past two games, Wilson has thrown for 706 yard 5 TDs and 0 INTs while also running for 73 yards and 2 TDs.
It is no coincidence that these two games come as Seattle’s running back core is either injured or constantly fumbling, and they also happen to be two games where Seattle was trailing. Playing with his worsts secondary ever, Wilson is going to have to be asked to do more as a quarterback.
And what better week than the week he plays Arizona. A fast paced team with little defensive resistance, Russel Wilson is going to have open receivers, lots of plays, and the chance at another huge day.
Christian McCaffrey - CAR DK $8800
The good news, McCaffrey is a great play this week. The bad news: McCaffrey is the only good running back play this week.
Of course I don’t mean that literally, as there are several running backs who could do well and will do well. But as a matter of fact, McCaffrey is the only top end back with a guaranteed workload in a positive situation.
Houston has struggled all season in stopping passes to running backs, giving up seven receptions to both Austin Ekeler and Alvin Kamara. Perhaps the only thing that stopped those backs from piling up more numbers is the fact that Houston’s secondary is even worse at covering wide receivers.
So, with it established that Carolina will be able to target McCaffrey and move the ball, and we know that he will be getting maximum volume (he has the second most carries and third most RB targets in the league), then McCaffrey becomes a high floor high ceiling option.
No matter the flow of this game, he will certainly be touching the ball enough to return value, and if this game shoot out (more on that later) then we could be looking at a double digit target, 100 yard rushing, multi-TD game for the league’s current #1 RB.
Tyler Lockett - SEA DK $6300
After drafting Lockett in as many leagues as I could, Week 1 definitely had me panicked.
Against a Bengals team that Seattle struggled to put away, Lockett had 2 targets and seemed to be playing second fiddle to DK Metcalf.
In the past two weeks, the world has corrected course and the volume that made Lockett so appealing is back. He has double digit targets and catches in each of the past two weeks and Seattle has revealed itself as a sloppy defense that needs to be picked up by an explosive offense.
Now that they have begun to shift their style from a pound the ball team to a let Russell Wilson play team, Lockett has become the center point of the offense.
Heading into Arizona, he prepares to face a team that has no cornerbacks. In fact, I’ll give you a second to try to name an Arizona secondary player of the top of your head…
If we don’t know who is in the secondary, and we know that Lockett is getting elite volume, then we can confidently play Lockett in any lineup.
Darren Waller - OAK DK $5200
OK, so we have a lot to get to in this article and Darren Waller is the most no-brainer play of no-brainer plays (although Will Dissly is coming for the title). Let’s just lay this out as straight-forward as possible.
Waller is second in the NFL in receptions (26), is targeted on 30% of his teams passes, is coming off of a 13 catch day against the Vikings, and leads all tight ends in yards after catch and yards per route run.
Simply put he is a beast.
Indianapolis, on the other hand, has identified themselves as a tight end funnel. With a defense that tries to avoid giving up big plays they have shown that they are soft in the middle of the field. This is especially true if Darius Leonard is out again this week after missing last week where the Colts gave up two touchdowns to Austin Hooper.
Whether or not this was a good matchup, Waller would need to be in our lineups. The fact that Indianapolis forces the ball to the tight end means Waller could be looking at a 15 catch day and his first trip to the end zone.
CASH - Double-ups, 50/50s, Head-to-Heads
These are players with high floors to consider adding to your core plays. Often times in cash it is best to eat the chalk and differentiate elsewhere. Since lineups are safer and more similar in Cash, this allows you to avoid missing out on what big games, but you can still survive a grenade because everyone else will be in the same boat.
Patrick Mahomes - KC DK $7500
As you will see in a moment, our cash team is replete with value this week and so we have the luxury of rostering the only quarterback who you can guarantee 300 yards and 3 TDs for.
And I mean that literally. In three games this year, Mahomes has gone for 378/3, 443/4, and 374/3. Playing him is like printing money as long as you can avoid sacrificing elsewhere.
I could just end this write-up here, but facing Kyler Murray, Phillip Rivers, and Carson Wentz (with no receivers) Detroit is giving up almost three hundred yards per game through the air.
As you will see, our cash lineup is going to involve some ugly names t some great prices, let’s put the prettiest name in fantasy football at the top of our roster.
Wayne Gallman Jr. - NYG DK $4600
The craziest part about playing cash games is having to concede that value sometimes trumps desire and upside. In this section you are about to see three players from the Giants - Washington matchup. Perhaps this means that there is value in a shootout between two bad teams or perhaps this means that the apocalypse is coming.
When it comes to Gallman, every fiber of my being is resisting playing him, but his price, opportunity, and matchup practically require it.
To start with, any running back not named Christian McCaffrey is going to look somewhat gross this week. We are missing studs like Ezekiel Elliot and Alvin Kamara while other great backs have potentially tough matchups, like Dalvin Cook vs. Chicago. By playing a potentially gross starting RB with a price tag under $5000 we are immediately opening ourselves up for more room to play higher end studs at the positions where they exist.
And Gallman isn’t just any under 5k running back, he is the starter on a team that is likely going to be scoring a lot and needing to score a lot in a game where neither side likes to play defense. Currently Elijah Penny is the only other person who could compete for touches, and while this might change if the Giants add someone this week, Gallman is currently staring 15-20 touches right in the face.
So whether you play him because of his price, his touches, or his matchup, Gallman has an undeniable floor and a situation that makes him an essential point to start at with cash lineups.
Terry McLaurin - WAS DK $4500
Full disclosure, I spent a quarter of my FAAB in my season long league getting McLaurin after Week 1, and I consider it a steal.
Through the first three weeks of his NFL career, Mclauring has had 5 catches, 60 yards, and 1 TD in each of them, becoming the only player in NFL history to do so. The only other player to do that this season? Julio Jones.
He is leading his team in receiving and receptions while averaging 8 targets per game and he is about to face team that plays without a secondary.
In the three weeks this season, the Giants have given up the following stat lines:
Week 1: Amari Cooper 6-106-1, Michael Gallup 7-158-0
Week 2: John Brown/Cole Beasley 11-150-0
Week 3: Mike Evans 8-190-3
In each case, the Giants made egregious mistakes that allowed for easy completions or long runs after catch.
The bottom line is that Terry McLaurin is cheap, good, and playing against a team that is consistently getting dominated by opposing wide receivers. Everyone might be on this play, but that doesn’t make it a bad one.
Evan Engram - NYG DK $5700
Another full disclosure, but bought Evan Engram in my league’s fantasy auction for $9 and it is saving my season.
Even with Eli behind center, Engram was a top flight option, but with Danny Dimes taking the helm the sky is the limit (and by that I mean the Giants’ offensive capabilities are the limit).
To this point in the season he has 30 targets, the most for a tight end in the league, and has turned those into 23 catches for 277 yards and 2 TDs.
What’s even scarier is that he is playing for a team that lost its Saquon Barkely last week. Barkely is leaving behind six targets a game, and was operating in the same areas of the field in which Engram is. It is not fair to prescribe all those target to Engram, but it is fair to see he could see even more than the 10 a game he has gotten so far.
Incredibly, after a red hot start, Engram enters Week 4 in an even better position as he has gained a better QB, has less competition for targets, and has a plus matchup. Jam this guy in your lineups.
GPP - Large Field, Guaranteed Prize Pool Tournaments
These are players with higher upside and often are less chalky, but whose flameout potential is higher as well. They make for high risk high reward plays that can tank lineups or push them to the top of the leaderboard.
Somethings to remember:
Stacking games is the most efficient way to win big tournaments, especially when you stack a game that is not one of the highest totals of the week.
Often times building a core and revolving the high risk players around that core is the best way to attack a slate where you are entering multiple lineups .
If you are entering a big number tournament, you have to do something different. A lot of these picks are different in some way from what you might first suspect. They might fail, but you don’t win money by straddling the fence. You win money by turning the fence into a ramp and gunning it in your Ford Mustang.
So with all that in mind, here are stackable, non-core, ramp building players:
Kyle Allen - CAR DK $5200
In the Panthers last five games, only one quarterback has thrown a touchdown: Kyle Allen.
As we have tried to do repeatedly on this site, this is not a referendum on Cam vs. Kyle, but rather a comparison of injured Cam versus healthy Kyle.
After showing out last Week 17, Allen returned to back up duties behind Cam for the first two weeks. In that time Newton proceeded to throw the most uncatchable balls in the league and now appear to be out with a lisfranc (foot fracture) injury.
With Allen returning to the lineup, the Panthers were able to show off their weapons as Christain McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen all had touchdowns.
Now, of course that was against Arizona’s terrible defense, but now the Panthers play the Texans not very good defense. In each week, the Texans secondary has allowed big games to number one wide receivers (Michael Thomas, DJ Chark, Keenan Allen) as well as a bunch of passes to the running back position (as outlined above).
Allen is going to be able to pass and in his two games so far he has shown the ability to capitalize on those opportunities. We don’t know where the Kyle Allen ride is taking us, but this week, we know it’s stopping at the bank.
Justin Jackson - LAC DK $4100
This is one of those plays that’s part logic and part gut. In other words, this is the perfect GPP play.
On the logic side, LA is a huge favorite in Miami and should be in control of this game, banging the running game all day long. With Austin Ekeler as the lead back, he might get the early touches, but there is also a good chance that he spends a lot of time on the bench.
As a first time bell cow, Ekeler has performed beyond the Charger’s wildest dreams, but is also carrying the ball more than ever in his career. For comparison, last season Ekeler had 145 touches in 14 games while this season he already has 57 in 3 games. In other words, it would be wise for the Chargers to find any place they can to rest their number one back.
Adding to that logic is the matchup itself. Twice this season, Miami has allowed 200+ yards rushing, and frequently this has supported more than one running back in fantasy (see:Tony Pollard’s 100 yard game last week).
Finally, Jackson is due for some positive regression heading into this game. He has had a touchdown called back due to penalty in each of the last two weeks. This is something that will throw off the box score watchers who don’t dive deeper into the numbers, as well as maybe even some of the more astute players.
But perhaps most importantly, this just feels like a Justin Jackson game. The Chargers have lost so many people to injury, have been putting so much on Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, and need this win.
With an aging QB, a depleted roster, and the need for rest, Justin Jackson is the player that needs to step up. If he does, we’ll be making money against the Dolphins yet again.
Will Fuller DK $4500
So, this is a play built from a million other plays, which means that it’s somewhat precarious but also that it can truly connect because it comes from a place of belief.
Let me back-up though, Fuller is a viable GPP play any week because he is able to explode for a big game on just a few passes. In fact, this season Fuller is playing 95% of snaps and averaging 14.6 yards per reception. Between those two numbers we know that Fuller is on the field and catching the ball for long gains when he’s thrown to.
But still, Fuller has not broken out. He hasn’t topped 70 yards this season and has yet to score a touchdown. For many, this is a sign that he isn’t going to perform. For us, however, it is a sign, given his opportunity in an offense with an aggressive quarterback, that he is about to post a big game any week.
And now we get to our precarious stack of beliefs that make me think this will be the week. Heading into the game with Carolina, I already have a position staked out at CAR +5 and on the over at 46.5. In other words, I think this will be a close game that could shootout.
Above, I have already touted two Carolina players in Kyle Allen and Christian McCaffrey, and you know you can almost always play DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson. With four players from this game on people’s radars, and our belief it will be high scoring, the best advantage we can get is to have pieces of this game that are under-owned.
Fuller hasn’t had a big game yet, but in a week where his volume is going to come in the form of a shootout, we should put our money in on that game coming Sunday. If it pans out, all of our stacks and bets in this game are going to be cashing.
Will Dissly - SEA DK $3600
Can you tell I like the Seattle passing side this week?
Given Arizona’s pace and lack of secondary, you should too. But this play gets even more enticing when you look at Arizona’s three weeks against tight ends.
So far the Cardinals have given up the following stat lines each week:
Week 1: TJ Hockenson 6-131-1 (he has 2-8-0 in his other two games combined)
Week 2: Mark Andrews 8-112-1 (TE Hayden Hurst also caught a TD)
Week 3: Greg Olsen 6-75-2
It is not a leap to say that Arizona is the worst team in the league at defending Tight Ends.
But this is not just a good matchup, Dissly himself is good. He started off last year as a surprise threat in the Seahawks passing game(4 games 8-156-2 ) before he got injured and missed the rest of the year. This year, he has picked up right where he left off and kept his chemistry with Russell Wilson to the tune of 12-124-3.
And in some late breaking news, Nick Vannett appears to be heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In three week’s Dissly had been splitting routes (53-51) with Vannett while significantly outperforming him. This move should allow Dissly to almost double his routes, thus almost doubling his opportunities to win us money.
My only hope here is that the general public doesn’t have the name recognition on Dissly or the awareness that Arizona is a dumpster fire covering tight ends. If that ends up being the case, it will be a Owl Hive secret for another week, which is enough time to let us cash in.