Week 4 - Top DFS & DraftKings Picks + WR vs. CB Matchup Column | 2018 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano September 29, 2018

Week 4 - Top DFS & DraftKings Picks + WR vs. CB Matchup Column | 2018 Fantasy Football

Top DraftKings Plays for Week 4

Quarterbacks

Philip Rivers vs. SF ($6,500)

It's not like Richard Sherman scared me whatsoever, but he's out for a couple of weeks, and now the 49ers travel south to LA, without their starting QB in what should be a huge fantasy day for Philip Rivers. He's currently fantasy's QB6, throwing for 8 TDs and averaging over 300 passing yards/game, now he gets a home game versus the 49ers who have allowed the 7th most FPs to opposing QBs. Stafford and Mahomes have each gone over 310+ yards and 3 TDs against SF the last two weeks. 

Baker Mayfield @ OAK ($5,300)

Yes, for $5,300 I will be putting Mayfield into some of my lineups. I totally understand if you want nothing to do with this, Andrew Luck at home against the Texans who haven't been good against QBs is probably a better play, but I'm letting Baker roll here baby. 10 days to get ready for the Raiders. I don't really have much logic other than he's better than at minimum half of the starting QBs in the NFL, and he's basically the least expensive option in a decent if not good matchup. The Raiders are allowing the 3rd most YPA (8.7), a 6:1 TD:INT ratio, their 3 sacks as a defense is the single lowest number of all 32 NFL teams, a Baker Mayfield with time in the pocket is a scary man.

Running Backs

~~ The Gabagool ($7,000-$9,000) ~~

Melvin Gordon vs. SF ($8,300)

Do you know how much T.O.P. the Chargers are going to have against this Jimmy G-less 49er team? All of it. Bodes very well for Gordon. Admittedly, running backs have had a hard time running the ball efficiently against this 49ers defense, but they're getting it done in other ways, allowing 6 catches to Dalvin Cook in Week 1, 14 to Riddick/KJ in Week 2 and allowing multiple rushing scores to Kareem Hunt in Week 3.

Gordon should be heavily involved in both the run and receiving game in this one. I'll take the $1,300 Kamara discount and fire up Gordon.

Ezekiel Elliot vs. DET ($7,700)

In a game where the Cowboys are favored, Zeke is going to be fed early and often against the Lions. After seeing fewer than 20 carries just one time in 2017, Zeke, like DJ hasn't seen as much work on the ground, yet to carry the ball more than 17 times in a game in 2018 but I expect that to change as well come Sunday. 

This Detroit defense ranks dead last in YPC (5.4), runs of 20+ yards (4), runs of 40+ yards, is 31st in rushing yards/game (149.3) and 29th in FO's Run DVOA.

Another reason we're likely seeing less usage in the ground game from Zeke, is his uptick in targets. Zeke's usage in the passing game, while not amounting to much, has been super encouraging in PPR formats. He had a career-high 8 targets on Sunday. He has 18 targets through three games, which puts him on pace for an otherworldly 96 targets. He won't get there, but he's going to crush his career-high 40 targets.

~~ Extra Medium ($5,000-$6,999) ~~

David Johnson vs. SEA ($6,600)

You'll probably never get him at a lower price than this. Over the first three weeks, things haven't been fun as a DJ owner, but he's given you two perfectly fine (18 in Week 1, 16 in Week 3) PPR weeks. He had basically everything working against him in these. He had Sam Bradford at QB, and he's had to play WAS, @LAR and CHI, none of which are easy matchups. I think things are looking up for DJ, as we'll now have Rosen under center, which should at the very least spark some new life in this offense. He also gets arguably the easiest matchup he's had all year, at home against a middle-of-the-pack Seahawks defense. In what will be the rookie's (Rosen) first start so it'd be wise not to have him shoulder too much, leaning on DJ to run the rock against this Seahawk defense that just surrendered 127 yards rushing to Zeke on 16 carries, and was targeted 8 times in this one.

Johnson's yet to see more than 16 touches in a game so far this year, I think that changes on Sunday as they ride him in this home, divisional matchup.

Gio Bernard @ ATL ($6,300)

Gio is a must-start if Mixon is out again. He played in all but 7 snaps for the Bengals on Sunday, getting all 17 running back touches. He's the featured back with Mixon out and gets an Atlanta defense, as I've been saying week over week over week over week, that allows just a million FPs to opposing RBs through the air. Without Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, it will continue. In Week 2 C-Mac caught 14 passes for 102 yards. I told you Kamara was a must-play in Week 3 because of this, Kamara caught 15-of-19 targets 124 yards. That's gotta be a running back record, no? 19 fucking targets Jesus christ.

Anyways, Gio should see a ton of targets in this one, fire him up in all your lineups. 

~~ The Profit Clurb (Under $5,000) ~~

Sony Michel vs. MIA ($4,500)

The Dolphins will travel to Foxborough as 6.5 point dogs, despite being atop their division at 3-0. In a game that Vegas projects to be a great game script for Sony, given Rex Burkhead's sudden departure for I.R, who has taken over as the lead runner here, I expect Michel to have his first big game of the season.

He had his first game action in Week 2, playing in just 21% of their snaps. That number jumped up to 48% in Week 3, despite being in a terrible game script for their "thumper" in their loss to the Lions. The craziest part is this. Michel has been in on a total of 36 snaps so far in 2018. On those 36 snaps, he has 24 carries and 5 targets. That's an opportunity on 29-of-36 (81%) of his snaps. So he's not only their clear lead runner, but 5 targets on 36 snaps aren't bad for someone expected to be minimally involved in the passing game. I know he hasn't been very good with his carries, but he is averaging .17 tackles evaded/attempt which ranks him 14th among a qualified 40 NFL RBs.

Miami is no pushover, but Vegas is usually pretty good with this stuff, and as long as the game script doesn't go Miami up huge, which I highly doubt will happen, Michel should see a ton of work in this one. I think Michel sees upwards of 18-20 touches and finds paydirt for the first time in his professional career on Sunday.

Austin Ekeler vs. SF ($4,200)

Through three weeks, Ekeler sits as fantasy's RB13 in PPR leagues. He's caught 11-of-11 targets and is averaging 8.2 yards per carry on his limited 20 carries. His 4.9 yards after contact is 1st in the NFL among 42 RBs with at least 20 carries. He trails only Dalvin Cook in tackles evaded/attempt.

In Week 4, Ekeler gets a juicy home matchup against the 49ers who just lost Jimmy G. That makes them 10.5 point favorites. If there's ever a game to feel good about playing Ekeler, it's this one. The Chargers should get up big, have most of the T.O.P. and heavily utilize both he and Melvin Gordon. SF is allowing the 4th most receptions/game to RBs (8.7) on the year

Wide Receivers

~~ The Gabagool ($7,000-$9,000) ~~

Michael Thomas @ NYG ($9,100)

At this point, it's nearly impossible to fade Michael Thomas. He has yet to score fewer than 23 PPR FPs through three games. He leads the NFL in receptions, yards and only Green and Ridley have more TDs than him. The way they're using Thomas this year is genius, a ton of routes from the slot, and it's paying off in the stats big time. He'll travel to dirty Jersey to take on a Giants defense that ranks 24th in FO's DVOA. It's just too hard to fade MT at this point.

Jarvis Landry @ OAK ($7,400)

With Gordon gone and Baker Mayfield under center, Landry projects to ball out, starting in Week 4. Landry has been a totally different player since joining the Browns. Listen to these numbers: Over the last three years, here are Landry's aDOT - 2015: 7.4, 2016: 6.8, 2017: 6.3. Now, in 2018, his aDOT is 11.8. His 38% air yard market share on his team is very high. Only 6 WRs in the NFL have a higher share of their team's air yards in 2018. This is great for Landry. The TDs haven't found him yet, but with Baker in, I expect this offense to move much more fluidly down the field.

Landry gets a matchup with a Raiders defense that is allowing the 5th most FPs to WRs, the 3rd highest YPA (8.7), a 6:1 TD:INT ratio, ranks 31st in FO's Pass D DVOA and has 3 sacks on the year, dead last in the NFL. Running from the slot will have Landry up against Leon Hall. Hall is currently PFF's 3rd lowest graded slot CB in the NFL per PFF.

~~ Extra Medium ($5,000-$6,999) ~~

Will Fuller @ IND ($6,800)

This will probably be the only time you see me playing Fuller in DFS. Idk why, does anyone feel like it's just impossible to trust Fuller? I mean maybe it was because he was just labeled so hard as a deep threat guy, and I hate playing those kinds of guys, but I guess it's really time to just be like, zamn, this guy's a good WR huh?

After sitting out in Week 1, Fuller has notched 13 catches in two games, going over the Benjy Franklin mark and scoring a touchdown in both games. The numbers don't lie. It's to the point where it's getting nearly insane. It's actually absurd. In five career games with Deshaun Watson, Fuller has 8 touchdowns. Like what the actual fuck lol.

Anywho, I think this game might turn into a shootout in INDY lowkey. I don't have to tell you that the Colts CBs are not good. Though their pass defense is definitely improved, their CBs can definitely still be taken advantage of. 

Golden Tate @ DAL ($6,600)

Given how good Golly has been, it's very hard to choose Tate over him for $100 more. But, thanks to the play of Byron Jones on the outside for Dallas, their pass defense has been much improved. At least on the outside. The middle of the field is still very much exposed, and will be without Sean Lee indefinitely. Golladay and Jones has been scoring the TDs, but Tate leads the team in targets, in an offense that has attempted more passes than any other team in the NFL (141), 47/game.

~~ The Profit Clurb (Under $5,000) ~~

Sterling Shepard vs. NO ($4,900)

I like the matchup here as well as the fact that Evan Engram will be sidelined for the next 2-4 weeks. Coming off of a 6-catch, 80-yard, touchdown game in Week 3, Shepard should be able to take advantage of more looks over the middle of the field and in the RZ. 

The Giants take on a Saints team allowing a league-high 34.3 PPG, by far and away the highest YPA (11.2) and 337 passing yards/game, and a 10:1 TD:INT ratio. Shepard also gets a huge boost from Patrick Robinson being placed on the I.R. Robinson was their slot CB, and was playing well for them. Now, P.J. Williams will likely take over here, who is one of PFF's worst graded coverage CBs this year per PFF. This game has a 50-point over/under with a project team total of about 24 points for the G-Men - I like Shepard for under $5,000 here. 

I like two other guys here:

Tyler Boyd and Antonio Callaway. If A.J. Green doesn't play or if he does even, Boyd at $4,600 or Callaway for the same reasons as Landry for $4,300 are definitely intriguing here to me. And Mike/Tyrell Williams now that Keenan Allen has missed two straight days of practice.

Tight Ends

I really don't love any of the matchups for the top TEs, outside of Kelce, but the slate I do DK from is Sunday slate, KC plays on MNF, but it you do the full Week 4 slate, Kelce should be an absolute beast - it'll be their toughest test yet, but the Broncos can be attacked via the TE, allowing the 5th most FPs to the position.

Tyler Eifert @ ATL ($3,800)

For the reasons I named in my Waiver Wire video on Tuesday, everything holds steady. ****Green's injury status**** - The Falcons are without Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, coming off a 5-71 game by Ben Watson, Eifert should take advantage in what has shootout potential. He finally got going in Week 3 (6-74) and if Green doesn't suit up, look for Eifert to be even more involved.

Jack Doyle vs. HOU ($3,700)

Prior to Week 3, Doyle led the team, not just TEs, but the entire Colts offense in snaps. He out-snapped Ebron 136-53 in that span, and Doyle had an 18% target market share over the first two weeks, 6th among all NFL tight ends. 

With Doyle out for Week 3, Ebron was in a great spot to blow up, but managed just 5 catches on 11 targets for 33 yards. But, another testament to Luck's continued usage of the TEs, and considering he wasn't the guy throwing the last deep ball in the game on Sunday, Brissett came in, Luck clearly doesn't have full strength in that shoulder and will continue to throw underneath to the TEs. And INCLUDING Week 3, where Doyle didn't play, Doyle has run a total of 81 passing routes in 2018, compared to just 34 for Ebron.

Assuming Doyle is healthy, he's in a great spot to break out in Week 4, against a HOU defense that got killed by Gronk in Week 1 and just allowed a 3-39-1 game against the Giants back-up TE Rhett Ellison.

Welp, that was a giant L given Doyle has been ruled out. Play Eric Ebron or David Njoku.

D/ST 

Any of the top 3 defenses on DK this week I'd play. All three are home and heavy favorites.

JAX vs. NYJ ($4,100): -7.5, 38.5 over/under

LAC vs. SF ($3,900): -10.5, 47.5 over/under

GB vs. BUF ($3,500): -10, 45 over/under

Shadow Coverage 

- Baltimore (Brandon Carr) and New England are the only teams that have shadowed opposing WRs for all three matchups. Carr has been very good against Kelvin Benjamin, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas but has a much tougher matchup this week on the road against Antonio Brown. It probably means an upgrade for JuJu, although Brown is matchup proof.

- Carolina and MIN were the only other teams that shadowed in their previous two games, MIN played on TNF and Carolina is on a bye.

Other Notable WR/CB Matchups

 



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

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