For three weeks, the football gawds have been good. Points have rained upon us like manna descending from fantasy heaven. And now, in Week 4, the bye has arrived: Taking their day of rest this weekend will be the Panthers and Redskins.
No Devin Funchess. No Paul Richardson. Haha, no problem. We still have a robust 12-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. ET. Let’s break it down.
For analysis on the smaller slates, consult Chris Raybon’s premium strategy guides (released throughout the week).
In writing this piece, I’ve relied primarily on the FantasyLabs Models. This breakdown is less of a comprehensive analysis of each wide receiver and more of an introduction to this week’s players via our large suite of analytic DFS Tools. We’ll start with four high-priced wide receivers, follow with four pass catchers at the top of our individual Pro Models and finish with the rest of the field’s fantasy-relevant receivers.
For updates on Vegas spreads and over/unders, check out The Action Network Live Odds page.
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Highest-Priced Wide Receivers
This week, four wide receivers find themselves with top-five positional salaries on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
- Michael Thomas: $9,100 DraftKings; $9,000 FanDuel
- Odell Beckham Jr.: $8,700 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
- DeAndre Hopkins: $8,400 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
- Julio Jones: $8,200 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
Michael Thomas: New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at New York Giants, 52 Over/Under
Thomas’ 196 receptions through his first two seasons lead all NFL receivers in history. He’s maintained his aerial dominance through three weeks with 38 catches on an über-efficient 40 targets, which he’s turned into 398 yards and three touchdowns. (The receptions and yards were tops in the NFL through Week 3.) He’s the only player in NFL history to open a season with three straight games of 10+ receptions, Thomas has an outrageous prop of 9.5 receptions in Week 4.
We should expect him to regress at some point. There’s no way that he’ll maintain his position-best 95.0% catch rate. But the Saints are aggressively lining him up across the formation — 58 snaps wide right, 87 wide left and 50 in the slot — and are intent on feeding the ball to their alpha receiver, as evidenced by Thomas’ 0.31 target share, the league’s third-highest mark.
As guest Drew Dinkmeyer said on the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, Thomas is truly in a tier of his own this slate.
Given his usage and efficiency, it’s not a surprise that he enters Week 4 as the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver with 33.3 DraftKings points per game. Thomas’ +13.87 Plus/Minus is almost unfathomable for a player with such a high salary.
Thomas has an intriguing matchup against the Giants. Even though James Bettcher has replaced Steve Spagnuolo as the defensive coordinator, the pass defense is no less of a problem this year than it was in 2017. The Giants rank 24th against the pass with a 22.1% mark in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and No. 1 cornerback Janoris Jenkins — despite having the reputation of a shutdown shadow man — hasn’t had a Pro Football Focus coverage grade of even 70 since 2016, when he made his only Pro Bowl. Thomas (6-foot-3, 212 pounds) has a significant size advantage over Jenkins (5-foot-10, 193 pounds), who this year has allowed 14-215-1 receiving on 20 targets and 108 coverage snaps. Jenkins can’t guard Thomas.
In Weeks 1 and 2, the Giants played the receiving-deficient Jaguars and Cowboys, but in Week 3 the Giants were tagged for 44.5 DraftKings points by the high-upside Texans wide receivers. If Houston could do that with quarterback Deshaun Watson (59.4% completion rate this year), then Thomas has almost unlimited upside with Drew Brees (league-high 80.6%).
- Away (16 games): 19.6 DraftKings points, seven receptions, 86.9 yards, 0.50 touchdowns
- Home (18 games): 17.6 DraftKings points, 6.8 receptions, 77.2 yards, 0.50 touchdowns
Giants-Saints will be a popular game to stack because of the high over/under and dynamic players on both teams. If you roster Thomas in tournaments, use our Lineup Builder to stack him with Brees. Since 2014, No. 1 wide receivers on average have a 0.50 correlation with their quarterbacks. With Brees, Thomas has a 0.74 correlation.
Thomas has position-high median and ceiling projections in our Models and is the No. 1 FanDuel wide receiver in the Koerner Model.
Other Saints receivers:
- Ted Ginn Jr.: $4,600 DraftKings; $6,400 FanDuel
- Cameron Meredith: $3,700 DraftKings; $4,900 FanDuel
- Austin Carr: $3,000 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
Ginn (knee) is dealing with a lingering injury but is probable to play. He’s scored a touchdown in 7 of 20 games with the Saints (including playoffs), averaging 17.2 DraftKings points in those starts. Meredith made his Saints debut last week, running 19 of 25 routes from the slot and turning his one target into an 11-yard touchdown. With Meredith active, Carr played only 13 snaps after seeing 76 in Weeks 1 and 2.
Odell Beckham: New York Giants (+3.5) vs. New Orleans Saints, 52 O/U
UPDATE (9/30): Tight end Evan Engram (knee) has been ruled out.
OBJ has had a silent season so far with “just” 24-271-0 receiving on 34 targets for 19.0 DraftKings points per game and a +1.05 Plus/Minus. He has three red-zone targets. Entering the season, he had a career touchdown rate of 7.6% and a red-zone touchdown rate of 28.8%. Right now, OBJ is treading high-end water: Whenever he finally starts scoring six-pointers, he’ll swim right out of the pool and into the sky. (By the way, when I started typing that last sentence, it made much more sense than it did when I ended.)
In NFL history, no player has more receptions and receiving yards through 50 career games than Beckham’s 337 and 4,695. No wide receiver has more than his 1,100.9 DraftKings points. The touchdowns will eventually come — perhaps as early as this week.
Even though the Saints pass defense finished fifth with a -11.3% DVOA in 2017, it’s allowing a league-high 66.3 DraftKings points per game to wide receivers this season. For reference: The Buccaneers have been the second-most generous team to opposing wideouts, allowing an average of 51.1 points. The extent to which the Saints have been aerially exploited is astounding. They’re easily at the top of the league with 843 yards and nine touchdowns allowed to wide receivers. The second-place marks are 649 and seven. Unbelievable.
The Saints could potentially use second-year cornerback and 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore to shadow OBJ — but that might not work out well for the Saints. So far this year, Lattimore has a poor 61.9 PFF coverage grade and has allowed a 10-175-1 receiving line on 12 targets. When passed the ball, receivers in his coverage have collectively gifted their quarterbacks an outrageous 146.5 passer rating. When he played against Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans in Week 1, Lattimore covered him on 82.8% of Evans’ routes. Lattimore allowed a 4-115-1 performance on four targets. So much for his shadow coverage.
Then again, it might be even better for OBJ if someone else covers him: As a team, the Saints rank 30th with a 50.1 PFF coverage grade. If they were sports journalists, the Saints wouldn’t be able to cover even a high-school football game. They — like my blurbs — are that bad.
Beckham’s 0.30 market share of targets would’ve been a top-three mark last season, and Julio Jones is the only receiver with a bigger market share of air yards than Beckham’s 0.48. The eruption game is coming. If you’re looking to be contrarian but still want to stack the Giants-Saints game, think about pivoting away from Brees and stacking OBJ with quarterback Eli Manning, who will provide a lot of leverage. We’re projecting Manning for low ownership and last week OBJ and Manning were stacked together in just 0.89% of Millionaire Maker lineups.
Even if this game goes under, Beckham could still have a 10-150-2 receiving performance. The Giants haven’t scored 30 points since Week 17 of 2015: They don’t need to score a lot for Beckham to exploit the Saints.
OBJ is the top-rated FanDuel wide receiver in the Levitan Model.
Another Giants receiver:
- Sterling Shepard: $4,900 DraftKings; $6,200 FanDuel
We’re expecting Shepard to be very popular this week. Giants tight end Evan Engram (knee) is doubtful to play, so Shepard will be the primary middle-of-the-field receiver for the Giants. This year, Shepard has run 80 of 119 routes from the slot, where he’s converted 15 targets into 12-124-1 receiving. With his overall 14-152-1 stat line on 18 targets, he leads the Giants with a 120.4 WR Rating. Saints slot corner Patrick Robinson (ankle) was just placed on injured reserve earlier this week, while cornerbacks Ken Crawley and P.J. Williams have amazingly poor PFF coverage grades of 34.8 and 24.9.
For DFS investors who want pass-catching exposure to this game without paying up for Thomas or OBJ, Shepard is likely to be the player of choice.
DeAndre Hopkins: Houston Texans (+1) at Indianapolis Colts, 47 O/U
Hopkins is yet to have a truly big game this year — he’s “just” the fantasy WR18 in PPR scoring — but he’s still very much the receiver he was last year.
Here’s a comparison of his 2018 numbers with those from 2017.
- Targets per game: 10.6 vs. 11.6
- Red-zone targets per game: 1.3 vs. 1.3
- Yards per game: 91.3 vs. 91.9
The primary difference is that last year, Hopkins had 0.87 touchdowns per game and this year he has 0.33. At some point, we’ll see progression. The Texans have opened the season averaging just 19.7 points per game, which is nowhere near the 34.7 they had last year in quarterback Deshaun Watson’s starts. But Hopkins is still getting his usage. Watson doesn’t need to play like the Michael Jordan of fantasy football for Hopkins to put up a big game.
Even though the Texans are road dogs, Hopkins has been almost as productive in that situation (17.3 DraftKings points per game) as he’s been as a home favorite (17.7). Under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, the Colts have the fourth-highest PFF coverage grade at 80.7 through three weeks. It is notable, however, that just last year their pass defense had a league-worst 28.5% DVOA. Hopkins is likely to run most of his routes against cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Nate Hairston. Desir has an 86.1 PFF coverage grade, but before this season, he had never had a mark of even 70. And Hairston is a second-year fifth-rounder with a PFF coverage grade of 56.1.
Nuk has a chance to Nuk.
Another Texans wide receiver:
- Will Fuller: $6,800 DraftKings; $7,600 FanDuel
In Fuller’s six games with Watson, the receiver has averaged 23.2 DraftKings points per game with a high-flying +13.18 Plus/Minus and 100% Consistency Rating on the strength of 4.3 receptions, 82.2 yards receiving (plus 1.5 yards rushing) and 1.5 touchdowns. The sample is small, but Fuller has averaged 10 targets per game this year: Even if/when he regresses, he could still be a big producer. The Colts-Texans game features two teams with top-10 rates of play. If you think this could be a shootout, exposure to Fuller is warranted.
On Sunday morning, I will probably look for action on Fuller’s receiving-yardage prop. The sample is small, but he’s smashed the over in both games this year. To find the best bets in the props market, use our Player Props Tool, which is powered by our industry-leading projections. Since Week 1, the props with a bet quality of 10 have gone 64-36-2, which is good for a 63% win rate. Without question, you should supplement your DFS action with player props.
Julio Jones: Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 53.5 O/U
Jones leads the league with 1,773 yards receiving since the start of the 2017 season, but the DFS market is skittish about him simply because he hasn’t scored a touchdown in his past eight regular-season games. Jones’ touchdown woes are legendary, but since morphing into his top-shelf self in 2014, he’s managed to play as the fantasy WR3, averaging 20.7 DraftKings points across 64 contests despite scoring only 0.36 touchdowns per game. He’s the all-time NFL leader with 95.7 receiving yards per game: Even when he doesn’t score, Jones is good enough to have a top-five week at the position. And in his 19 games with a touchdown since 2014, he’s rocked out with 30.8 PPR points per game.
Jones is almost always a sharp DFS investment. This year, he’s been rostered at significantly higher rates in high-stakes guaranteed price pools. For instance, just last week he led the slate with his 5.69 Volatility Score and 2.03 GPP Grade because of the extent to which high-stakes players valued him relative to low-stakes players.
- $2,120 Luxury Box: 39.10%
- $333 Wildcat: 35.92%
- $20 Millionaire Maker: 29.07%
- $9 Slant: 30.23%
The Falcons infamously struggled in the red zone last year under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and that hurt Jones. But over the past two weeks they’ve been perfect in the red zone, converting all eight of their trips into touchdowns. If the Falcons have indeed found the cure to their long-lasting red-zone illness, that health is bound to animate Jones with new touchdown life at some point.
The Bengals aren’t an unworthy opponent — they rank fifth with an 80.2 PFF coverage grade — but Jones has dusted better cornerbacks than William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick before.
He leads all wide receivers with eight FanDuel Pro Trends.
Other Falcons receivers:
- Calvin Ridley: $4,900 DraftKings; $6,300 FanDuel
- Mohamed Sanu: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,300 FanDuel
Last week, in just his third NFL game, Ridley balled out with a 7-146-3 receiving line on eight targets. In my 2018 post-NFL draft dynasty rookie rankings, I had Ridley at the bottom of the first round, but I was still almost certainly too low on him. He trails Sanu in routes (103 vs. 87) and snaps (163 vs. 122), but they are even in targets (15), and Ridley has the edge on Sanu in big-play ability (203 air yards, 80 yards after the catch vs. 98 and 27).
Ridley won’t finish the year leading the league in receiving touchdowns, but he has 1,000-10 upside as a rookie. Sanu, meanwhile, has just 69 low-upside yards on 15 targets and one rush this year.
Model Wide Receivers
Besides Thomas and Beckham, there are four wide receivers at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
- Jarvis Landry: $7,400 DraftKings; $7,000 FanDuel
- Antonio Callaway: $4,300 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
- Quincy Enunwa: $4,300 DraftKings; $6,100 FanDuel
- Kelvin Benjamin: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,200 FanDuel
Jarvis Landry & Antonio Callaway: Cleveland Browns (+3) at Oakland Raiders, 44.5 O/U
I’m a believer in quarterback Baker Mayfield. Early betting action indicated that Mayfield and the Browns could struggle in Oakland — but I don’t care. Mayfield was a worthy No. 1 overall pick based on his college production and skill set. Last week, without preparing as the starter, he led the Browns to their first win in 20 games, completing 73.9% of his passes at a healthy clip of 8.7 yards per attempt. He immediately clicked with his pass-catching playmakers, giving 14 of his 23 attempts to Landry and Callaway, who (it should be noted) are similar in style of play to Sterling Shepard (slot man) and Dede Westbrook (versatile speedster) — the two receivers Mayfield helped turn into 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown superstars at Oklahoma.
And now Mayfield is facing a Raiders pass defense that ranks 30th with a 26.1% DVOA. Yes, he’s an underdog. Yes, he’s on the road. Do you think that’s going to make Baker air it out any less? This is Hue Jackson’s first #RevengeGame against the Raiders as a head coach: He’s going to let Mayfield do what needs to be done for the Browns to have a shot at winning.
Landry leads the league with a 0.34 target share, and Callaway has a top-10 air-yard share of 0.40 since becoming a starter in Week 2. When Mayfield throws, Landry and Callaway will be the guys who benefit most. Last week, the Raiders allowed Dolphins wide receivers — the DOLPHINS! — to ball out for 70.8 DraftKings points and 12-287-4 receiving on just 16 targets.
What kind of generosity do you think they have in store for Landry and Callaway?
Landry is the No. 1 FanDuel wide receiver in the Bales, CSURAM88, SportsGeek and Freedman Models while Callaway is the top FanDuel option in the Raybon Model.
Another Browns wide receiver:
- Rashard Higgins: $3,400 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
Averaging three receptions and 39 scoreless yards per game, Higgins is the textbook No. 3 wide receiver.
Quincy Enunwa: New York Jets (+7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars, 38.5 O/U
The spread opened at +10, so bettors are buying the Jets. While it’s customarily wise to avoid the Jags, who last year held wide receivers to a league-low 24.4 DraftKings points per game, this situation might be the exception.
This year, fantasy sites have started aggressively pricing players down in tough matchups. On the one hand, that makes sense. On the other hand … that makes no sense: NFL matchups don’t matter (much).
When a guy has a tough matchup, the market naturally “prices” him down by rostering him at a lower rate. There’s no need for the sites to drop his salary when the moving market already makes adjustments.
Regardless, here we are: Enunwa is fifth in the league with a 0.31 target share. He has at least eight targets, four receptions and 50 yards in each game this year — and he’s $1,300 cheaper on DraftKings than he was last week. He has a tough matchup, but — I repeat — NFL matchups don’t matter (much). And his matchup actually isn’t that bad.
The Jags have two of the best cornerbacks in the league in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, but Enunwa has played 94 of 145 snaps and run 65 of 90 routes in the slot, where Ramsey and Bouye have collectively lined up on only 25 of 415 snaps (6.0%) this year. Jags slot corner D.J. Hayden (toe) missed Week 3 and is yet to practice this week. He’s unlikely to play. Running most of his routes against a backup corner in the slot, Enunwa is in consideration for cash games.
Enunwa is tied with Benjamin with a slate-high seven Pro Trends on DraftKings, where he’s the No. 1 receiver in all our Pro Models except for one (SportsGeek).
Other Jets wide receivers.
- Robby Anderson: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
- Jermaine Kearse: $3,300 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel
- Terrelle Pryor: $3,200 DraftKings; $5,100 FanDuel
I’d rather have my soul sucked by dementors than roster any of these three against Ramsey and Bouye.
Kelvin Benjamin: Buffalo Bills (+9.5) at Green Bay Packers, 44 O/U
Benjamin is the No. 1 DraftKings receiver in the SportsGeek Model … but I’m going to disagree with Kevin on this one. I get all the reasons that exist for liking K-Benjy.
- He is tied with Enunwa with a slate-high seven DraftKings Pro Trends.
- He leads the Bills with 15 targets.
- He owns an aggressive 17.4-yard average depth of target (aDOT).
- He has 42.9% of the team’s red-zone targets (sixth-highest mark in league).
- He possesses an advantage over every cornerback at his “listed” size of 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds.
- He is the cheapest No. 1 receiver on the slate.
- He will have an almost nonexistent GPP ownership rate.
Last week, the Bills pulled off the NFL’s biggest upset since 1995, and the spread has significantly moved in their favor since opening at +12. On top of that, the Packers could be without two cornerbacks in Kevin King (groin, questionable) and Davon House (shoulder, IR).
But Benjamin has been so bad to start the year. And, really, he’s been bad ever since arriving in Buffalo. In his 10 games with the Bills (including playoffs), he has massively underwhelmed on a per-game basis.
- DFS statistics: 6.3 DraftKings points, -2.33 Plus/Minus, 30.0% Consistency Rating
- NFL statistics: 4.4 targets, 2.3 receptions, 28.4 yards, 0.2 touchdowns
Benjamin has 279 air yards this year but just 58 yards receiving and six — SIX! — yards after the catch. If not for the fact that Brandon Marshall somehow still has an NFL job, Benjamin would be last in the league with a sluggish 1.4 yards of separation when targeted.
K-Benjy has fallen woefully short of his receiving yardage prop in each of the past three weeks, with totals of just 10, 19 and 29.
He’s a potential punt play, but I’m likelier to bet against him than roster him this weekend.
Another Bills receiver:
- Zay Jones: $3,500 DraftKings; $4,700 FanDuel
The saddest sentence ever written: Through three weeks, Jones leads the Bills with six receptions and 106 scoreless yards.
Wide Receiver Rundown
Here’s a quick look at the remaining fantasy-relevant receivers on the slate.
Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams & Travis Benjamin: Los Angeles Chargers (-10) vs. San Francisco 49ers, 46 O/U
UPDATE (9/30): Allen (knee, tooth) is officially questionable but expected to play.
- Allen: $8,300 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel
- M. Williams: $4,500 DraftKings; $6,300 FanDuel
- T. Williams: $3,700 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
- Benjamin: $3,500 DraftKings; $4,800 FanDuel
The Chargers have a slate-high 28.5-point implied Vegas total, and the 49ers have a league-low PFF coverage grade of 35.7 and a significantly injured secondary: Starting left cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) both seem unlikely to play, and starting free safety Adrian Colbert (hip) is questionable.
Allen (knee) has missed two practices this week and is questionable for Week 4, but it would be surprising if he didn’t play. Big Mike Jr. leads the team with 236 air yards, three touchdowns receiving and 2.28 yards per route (PFF), looking every bit like the Clemson star drafted No. 7 overall in 2017. The Gazelle has played more snaps (145 vs. 118) and run more routes (93 vs. 83) than the other Williams, but Tyrell has trailed Mike as a producer with a 7-78-1 receiving line. Benjamin (knee) has missed the last two games and is an afterthought.
Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin & Adam Humphries: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) at Chicago Bears, 46.5 O/U
- Evans: $7,900 DraftKings; $7,900 FanDuel
- Jackson: $5,700 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel
- Godwin: $4,400 DraftKings; $6,200 FanDuel
- Humphries: $3,200 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
The Bears have a league-best 90.3 PFF coverage grade through three weeks — but the Bucs have a league-high 93.3 passing grade. With air mail quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick jumping out to an NFL-best 141.4 QB Rating on passes of 20+ yards, Evans, Jackson and Godwin all have upside.
Evans has a touchdown in each of the past three games. Jackson has averaged 17.0 DraftKings points in Fitz’s seven games with the Bucs as the primary quarterback over the past two years. Godwin has been almost as good this year on a per-target basis as Evans (136.4 WR Rating vs. 136.2). Humphries is a low-upside slot operator who has almost as many yards after the catch (53) as receiving yards (65).
Davante Adams, Randall Cobb & Geronimo Allison: Green Bay Packers (-9.5) vs. Buffalo Bills, 44 O/U
UPDATE (9/30): Cobb (hamstring) missed the Saturday practice. He is a true game-time decision
- Adams: $7,800 DraftKings; $8,000 FanDuel
- Cobb: $5,100 DraftKings; $6,100 FanDuel
- Allison: $4,700 DraftKings; $5,900 FanDuel
Adams leads the league with 25 receiving touchdowns since 2016. Cobb (hamstring) was added to the injury report in the middle of the week and had a limited practice on Thursday. He’s now legitimately questionable to play. In his 21 healthy games with quarterback Aaron Rodgers since 2016, Cobb has 15.2 DraftKings points per game — but he might not be truly healthy for Week 4. Allison has 12.7 DraftKings points in his 10 career games with 4+ targets.
A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd & John Ross: Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons, 53.5 O/U
- Green: $7,500 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel
- Boyd: $4,600 DraftKings; $5,800 FanDuel
- Ross: $3,300 DraftKings; $4,700 FanDuel
The Bengals opened as +5.5 dogs, but sharp money has moved the spread in their direction. On top of that, the total opened at 48 points, but bettors have driven the over/under up to 53.5. The Falcons defense will be without three key starters in middle linebacker Deion Jones (foot, IR), free safety Keanu Neal (knee, IR) and strong safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles, IR). Green (pelvis) was injured in Week 3 but has been taken off the injury report and will play in Week 4. He leads the league with four receiving touchdowns. Boyd has almost as many yards per route as Green this season (2.33 vs. 2.31). Ross is an upside player with just six scrimmage yards per game.
T.Y. Hilton & Ryan Grant: Indianapolis Colts (-1) vs. Houston Texans, 47 O/U
- Hilton: $7,000 DraftKings; $7,300 FanDuel
- Grant: $4,200 DraftKings; $5,100 FanDuel
Hilton has 10+ targets in every game this year but an aDOT of 7.9 yards. Grant is an utterly nondescript No. 2 receiver getting five targets per game.
Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay & Marvin Jones: Detroit Lions (+3) at Dallas Cowboys, 44 O/U
- Tate: $6,600 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel
- Golladay: $6,500 DraftKings; $5,800 FanDuel
- Jones: $5,200 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel
Under coordinator Rod Marinelli, the Cowboys defense has been a stone-cold disaster without linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring, doubtful). In 39 games with him, Dallas has held opponents to 18.8 points per game. In the 27 games he’s missed or exited early, the Cowboys have allowed an average of 24.3.
Tate is fourth in the league with 93 routes in the slot and has a position-high floor projection on DraftKings. Babytron has plays of 25+ yards in eight of 14 career games and a position-high 99% FanDuel Bargain Rating. Jones has averaged just 5.8 targets across his 14 games with Golladay.
Josh Gordon, Chris Hogan & Phillip Dorsett: New England Patriots (-6.5) vs. Miami Dolphins, 48 O/U
- Gordon: $6,200 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel
- Hogan: $5,800 DraftKings; $6,700 FanDuel
- Dorsett: $4,500 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
The Pats are no longer the No. 1 team in The Action Network Power Rankings, but they’re still good enough to score points against the Dolphins. Since tight end Rob Gronkowski joined the team in 2010, Gillette Stadium has been a points-friendly venue in quarterback Tom Brady’s starts with an A-graded 41-23-0 over/under record, good for a 27.8% return on investment for over bettors (per Bet Labs). But that production might not come via the wide receivers.
Gordon (hamstring) has missed his past two games and was limited in practice this week. He’s questionable and likely to face shadow coverage from emerging cornerback Xavien Howard if he plays. Hogan has no more than five targets in any game this season. Dorsett leads the unit with 1.11 yards per route, but he had zero targets last week.
Allen Robinson & Taylor Gabriel: Chicago Bears (-3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 46.5 O/U
- Robinson: $5,900 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel
- Gabriel: $3,900 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel
A-Rob doesn’t have much production to show for it, but he’s played 94.8% of the offensive snaps and is third in the league with a 0.43 market share of air yards. Gabriel is a scripted player yet to touch the ball in the fourth quarter, but he might get more opportunities this week with rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller (shoulder) out.
Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson & DeVante Parker: Miami Dolphins (+6.5) at New England Patriots, 48 O/U
- Stills: $5,800 DraftKings; $6,400 FanDuel
- Amendola: $4,100 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
- Grant: $3,900 DraftKings; $5,100 FanDuel
- Wilson: $3,700 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel
- Parker: $3,500 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel
Even though Parker (finger) returned last week, Stills played ahead of him and saw more snaps (40 vs. 33), ran more routes (26 vs. 20) and out-produced him (15.1 DraftKings points to 6.0). Amendola is locked in as the team’s middle-of-the-field receiver, leading the team with 95 slot snaps and 11 slot targets. Wilson has averaged 13.9 DraftKings points per game with a +7.50 Plus/Minus and 100.0% Consistency Rating — and he is being used as an all-around offensive weapon, lining up in the backfield, in the slot and out wide and generating points as a receiver, runner and even passer.
Grant (a 2016 Freedman favorite) is a Tyreek Hill-esque talent without an Andy Reid. Grant has run just 35 routes this season, but he leads the team with 14 targets and 3.86 yards per route. He leads the league with 0.97 fantasy points per opportunity. That number will regress, but it’s worth noting that TyFreak was first with 0.71 in 2016 before breaking out in 2017. Parker has a position-high 98% Bargain Rating on DraftKings but is questionable for Sunday (and forever).
Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor & Jordan Matthews: Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Tennessee Titans, 41 O/U
UPDATE (9/30): Jeffery (shoulder, illness) is truly questionable to play.
- Jeffery: $5,700 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel
- Agholor: $5,700 DraftKings; $6,300 FanDuel
- Matthews: $3,600 DraftKings; $4,800 FanDuel
Jeffery (shoulder, illness) is questionable but expected to make his 2018 debut on Sunday. If he plays, Agholor will be a risky DFS play because of his uncertain usage. A bygone slot savant for the Eagles, Matthews returned to the team last week but played just 33 snaps in total and ran only six of his 19 routes in the slot.
Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson & Martavis Bryant: Oakland Raiders (-3) vs. Cleveland Browns, 44.5 O/U
- Cooper: $5,600 DraftKings; $6,600 FanDuel
- Nelson: $4,700 DraftKings; $5,900 FanDuel
- Bryant: $3,400 DraftKings; $5,200 FanDuel
Cooper is first on the team in air yards, but he is tied for second with 18 targets and is a disheartening third with 13 receptions and 142 yards receiving. Quarterback Derek Carr has thrown 17 red-zone targets to seven players — and Cooper isn’t one of them. In Week 3, Nelson had two separate plays of 60+ yards, and he hit more than 20 mph on both of them (per Next Gen Stats). His 6-173-1 receiving performance last week was an old-school, ain’t-dead-yet 2016-caliber Jordy throwdown. Bryant is currently in the NFL; last week he had as many targets as Cooper did.
Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Brandon Marshall & Jaron Brown: Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Arizona Cardinals, 39 O/U
UPDATE (9/30): Baldwin (knees) will play in Week 4.
- Baldwin: $5,500 DraftKings; $7,200 FanDuel
- Lockett: $5,100 DraftKings; $6,800 FanDuel
- Marshall: $4,000 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel
- Brown: $3,700 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
Baldwin (knee) is expected to return to action after missing most of Week 1 and all of Weeks 2 and 3. He averaged 16.0 DraftKings points per game from 2015-17, but will be hard to trust given his injury and the state of the offense. Lockett has a touchdown in each game this year and has emerged as a viable playmaker in Baldwin’s absence. Marshall leads the team with 18 targets but could lose significant snaps with the return of Baldwin. Brown has three targets in each game and the distinction of once being probably the sixth-best wide receiver on the 2012 Clemson Tigers.
Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook & Donte Moncrief: Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5) vs. New York Jets, 38.5 O/U
- Cole: $5,400 DraftKings; $6,200 FanDuel
- Westbrook: $4,400 DraftKings; $5,200 FanDuel
- Moncrief: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel
Cole has averaged 17.3 DraftKings points since emerging as the No. 1 receiver in Week 13 of the 2017 season. Westbrook has run 85.4% of his routes from the slot and leads the team with 107 yards after the catch. He has a great matchup against cornerback Buster Skrine, who has played 92.7% of his defensive snaps in the slot. Skrine is the worst of the starting corners for the Jets with his 54.2 PFF coverage grade. Moncrief is an exceptionally athletic warm body who has turned a team-high 250 air yards into just 64 yards receiving.
Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor & Tajae Sharpe: Tennessee Titans (+3) vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 41 O/U
- Davis: $5,300 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
- Taylor: $4,000 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
- Sharpe: $3,100 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
Davis has double the number of targets (24) of anyone else on the team: Running back Dion Lewis is second with 12. Taylor is slated for (negligibly) more action after Rishard Matthews and his two targets per game quit the team and asked to be released. Sharpe is an unathletic No. 3 receiver on the team that leads the league with a 53.6% rush rate.
Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk & Chad Williams: Arizona Cardinals (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks, 39 O/U
UPDATE (9/30): Fitzgerald (hamstring) is questionable but tentatively expected to play.
- Fitzgerald: $5,000 DraftKings; $6,400 FanDuel
- Kirk: $3,700 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
- Williams: $3,000 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
Fitzgerald (hamstring) is dealing with a lingering injury, but he’s expected to play — and perhaps he could be revitalized by the insertion of first-round rookie quarterback Josh Rosen into the starting lineup. Kirk leads the team with 12 receptions and 121 receiving yards, which says more about the passing attack to this point than him. Williams somehow has one reception on 10 targets.
Marquise Goodwin, Pierre Garcon, Dante Pettis & Trent Taylor: San Francisco 49ers (+10) at Los Angeles Chargers, 46 O/U
- Goodwin: $4,800 DraftKings; $5,500 FanDuel
- Garcon: $4,600 DraftKings; $5,100 FanDuel
- Pettis: $3,800 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
- Taylor: $3,600 DraftKings; $4,500 FanDuel
It doesn’t get sadder than this. In his eight games last year with Garcon (and without ACL’d quarterbacked Jimmy Garoppolo), Goodwin averaged 7.31 DraftKings points per game. Garcon is fourth on the team with 89 receiving yards, trailing a second-year tight end, a Harvard-derived fullback and a rookie punt returner. With the return of Goodwin last week, Pettis played just 36.8% of the offensive snaps and saw zero targets. With Jimmy GQ on IR, Taylor will need to defer his life-long dream of becoming West Coast Julian Edelman.
Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Michael Gallup & Terrance Williams: Dallas Cowboys (-3) vs. Detroit Lions, 44 O/U
- Beasley: $3,900 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel
- Hurns: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
- Austin: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,400 FanDuel
- Thompson: $3,500 DraftKings; $4,700 FanDuel
- Gallup: $3,400 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
- Williams: $3,000 DraftKings; $5,300 FanDuel
The Cowboys are reportedly the most valuable franchise in the world, estimated at $4.8 billion. Third-year quarterback Dak Prescott had one of the best rookie seasons of all time at perhaps the most iconic position in sports — the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. But he’s coming off a subpar sophomore season. The franchise’s history is littered with Hall-of-Fame, All-Pro and multiple-Pro-Bowl wide receivers: Frank Clarke, Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant … and this is the group with which they’ve saddled the quarterback they plan to make one of the league’s richest players in two years. It’s not often, but sometimes I really miss 2014.
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 4 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news blurbs.
Pictured above: Odell Beckham
Photo credit: Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports