NFL Week 4 features a 12-game main slate starting at 1 p.m. ET.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
There is a clear top trio at quarterback this week, with Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Jalen Hurts separated by just $200 on DraftKings. While all three quarterbacks have been phenomenal to start the year, Jackson gets the nod for me.
He’s coming off back-to-back games with at least 43.42 DraftKings points, which is simply absurd. Jackson has always been a threat with his legs, and he’s currently leading the league with an average of 9.3 yards per attempt. However, he’s also shown development as a passer. He currently leads the league with 10 touchdown passes, as does his average of 9.8 adjusted yards per attempt.
Jackson could have a field day against a Bills’ defense that is extremely banged up. They were without their entire starting secondary last week vs. the Dolphins, and they could be equally thin this week. It goes without saying that facing Jackson with backup cornerbacks is not a recipe for success.
This game also stands out as the best of the week from a fantasy perspective, leading the slate with a 51.0 total. Finally, Jackson is projected for slightly less ownership than both Allen and Hurts, which is always appealing.
While I love Jackson in tournaments, it seems like a great week to spend down at the position in cash games. There are a few strong options to choose from, but Geno Smith is my favorite.
For starters, Smith has been pretty darn good this season. He currently ranks eighth at the position in Pro Football Focus grade, and he’s coming off a season-high 22.9 DraftKings points last week vs. the Falcons. Pete Carroll said he was going to allow Geno to throw more in that contest, and Smith dialed up 44 pass attempts. After years of wasting Russell Wilson, it appears as though Carroll is ready to join the 21st century.
Smith also benefits from an excellent matchup vs. the Lions. They’ve played at the third-fastest neutral pace this season, and they rank merely 22nd in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA. Overall, Smith owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +6.0 on DraftKings, which is the third-highest mark at the position.
He leads all quarterbacks in projected Plus/Minus per THE BLITZ by a wide margin, making him an outstanding option.
Marcus Mariota is another excellent value option. The Browns have struggled defensively this season, and there’s a chance that they’ll be without Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney this week. That would give Mariota plenty of time in the pocket to take advantage of an underrated group of pass-catchers. The Falcons offense has also been frisky to start the year, scoring at least 26 points in all three games.
Mitch Trubisky hasn’t had the best start to his year, and fans are eagerly awaiting the debut of first-round pick Kenny Pickett. However, they’re going to have to wait a bit longer, and Trubisky is in a potential smash spot this week vs. the Jets. They’ve been the worst pass defense in football in terms of DVOA, and Trubisky is basically free at $5,100 on DraftKings.
Even though I prefer Jackson, Allen and Hurts are obviously in play. Matt Martin breaks down both stud passers in this week’s Quarterback Breakdown.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Jonathan Taylor had a fantastic start to his season, racking up 30.5 DraftKings points in Week 1 vs. the Texans. However, he’s been pretty quiet since then. He scored just 7.3 DraftKings points in Week 2’s blowout vs. the Jaguars, and he mustered just 12.1 DraftKings points in Week 3 vs. the Chiefs.
That’s caused his salary to drop more than -$1,000 over the past two weeks, and he’s priced at just $8,800 for vs. the Titans. That has historically been too cheap for Taylor, who has averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.60 with a comparable salary (per the Trends tool).
The Titans also represent a tremendous matchup. They have been absolutely shredded by opposing running backs to start the year, allowing 5.8 yards per carry. Taylor also has the potential to be in a positive game script with the Colts listed as 3.5-point home favorites. Overall, this seems like the perfect spot for Taylor to bounce back.
Two running backs stand out above the rest from a value perspective: Jamaal Williams and Khalil Herbert.
Let’s start with Williams. He’s provided plenty of fantasy value to begin with this season, scoring four touchdowns through the first three weeks. That said, he’s been stuck in a timeshare with D’Andre Swift. Swift has the edge in snaps and has handled virtually all of the receiving work out of the backfield, but he is not expected to suit up vs. the Seahawks.
That opens to door for Williams to serve as a true three-down workhorse. If he can add a few more carries and catches to his already excellent touchdown-scoring upside, he has the potential for a big week. The Seahawks have also been an excellent matchup for running backs to start the year, giving Williams an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.9.
Herbert is another backup who will be thrust into a larger role than usual. He came on in relief of David Montgomery last week and put together a massive stat line: 20 carries, 157 yards, and two touchdowns. With Montgomery out of the lineup this week vs. the Giants, the coast is clear for Herbert to take on another full workload. The Giants also rank 28th in rush defense DVOA, so it’s a phenomenal spot.
Both players are simply way too cheap on DraftKings, where each owns a Bargain Rating of at least 92%. Even on FanDuel, both players grade out among the leaders at the position in projected Plus/Minus per THE BLITZ.
Who the heck is going to catch the ball for the Giants this week? They’re missing virtually their entire receiving corps, so Saquon Barkley is one possibility. He has elite pass-catching skills out of the backfield, and he remains one of the league leaders in terms of opportunities per game. He provides a bit of a discount compared to Taylor and Christian McCaffrey, but there’s not much to separate those three players at the moment.
Najee Harris has yet to put together a monster game, but his workload remains encouraging. He had at least 15 carries and three targets for the second-straight week, and he managed to find the end zone last week vs. the Browns. The Jets have been good against the run to start the year, but Harris is underpriced across the industry.
Aaron Jones warrants some consideration on FanDuel, where he owns a 96% Bargain Rating. He’ll take the field as a massive home favorite vs. the Patriots, which is a spot he has historically thrived in. Jones has played 17 games as a home favorite of at least a touchdown, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +9.44 in those contests.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Wide receiver is missing some of the usual top names this week – namely Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson – so the top of the position isn’t quite as appealing as normal. However, Diontae Johnson stands out as an underpriced stud at just $6,000.
It hasn’t mattered whose been throwing the ball for the Steelers recently, Johnson is typically getting the ball. He’s had at least 10 targets in all three games this series, and his 32.7% target market share is the sixth-highest mark in the league.
Johnson has also been doing a bit more work downfield this season. Most of his targets have been in the short or intermediate areas to start his career, but he’s racked up 41.2% of the Steelers’ air yards this season. That’s good for the ninth-highest mark in the league.
He should be able to do some serious damage with that many opportunities against a weak Jets secondary.
Mack Hollins chalk week is in full effect. Hunter Renfrow missed last week’s contest with a concussion, and Hollins stepped into his role beautifully. He racked up 10 targets, which he turned into eight catches for 158 yards a touchdown. His advanced stats also look good, particularly his 96% route participation.
Hollins will face a much stiffer test this week vs. the Broncos, who have been elite defensively to start the year. Still, $4,200 is simply too cheap for a player who figures to be as involved as Hollins. He ranks second in the ETR projections in projected Plus/Minus.
Swift isn’t the only member of the Lions who’s going to miss this game. Amon-Ra St. Brown has also been ruled out, which is going to open up tons of targets for the rest of the roster. Swift and St. Brown have combined for 41.7% of the team’s targets this year, so guys like Josh Reynolds and D.J. Chark should see a sizable boost in value.
With the Giants so thin at receiver, someone is going to have to step up. Richie James looks like the top option. He’s racked up 17 targets through the first three games, and he’s already posted two games with double-digit DraftKings points. That kind of production would be more than acceptable at just $4,000.
Brandin Cooks is due to break out eventually. He remains the Texans’ unquestioned top pass-catcher, racking up 29 targets through the first three weeks. He also leads the team in air yards, and he’s had three targets inside the red zone. The Chargers pass defense was lit up by the Jaguars in Week 3, so it’s a decent matchup for Cooks as well.
Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf both have some appeal this week for the Seahawks. Lockett has a slight edge in terms of targets, but Metcalf remains an elite big play threat. Stacking both players with Smith is very doable in what should be one of the best fantasy games of the week.
Drake London has wasted little time making an impact as a rookie. He’s racked up 32.9% of the Falcons’ targets through the first three weeks, which is the fifth-highest mark in the league. That said, his $6,300 salary on FanDuel makes him just the 20th-most expensive player at the position on the main slate.
It’s tough to pass up that kind of discrepancy.
NFL DFS Tight End Picks
There is no question about who the best tight end in fantasy is. Mark Andrews has grabbed that title securely given his elite start to the year. No player has secured a higher percentage of his team’s targets this season, which is insanely valuable for a tight end. He’s posted a 36.5% target share, and no one else at the position is above 24%. He also leads the position in air yards, and he’s put together back-to-back monster games.
It’s hard not to love him this week against the Bills’ banged-up secondary. The Bills also play zone at one of the highest rates in the league, and Andrews has been targeted even more against zone coverage than he has been in general. There’s plenty of value on this slate, so paying up for Andrews is very appealing in all formats.
The only reason Andrews isn’t the slam dunk choice at tight end this week is that T.J. Hockenson might be the best pure value on the slate. He’s -$3,000 cheaper than Andrews on DraftKings, and he has the potential to step into a massive role with Swift and St. Brown sidelined. He already ranks tied for second on the team in target market share, so he should be busy vs. the Seahawks.
Seattle has also been exploitable for tight ends this season. They rank 31st in DVOA vs. the position, giving Hockenson an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.6 on DraftKings.
Bottom line: It’s going to be tough to avoid him in cash games.
Another week, another Kyle Pitts writeup. Believe me, I’m as tired of writing about him as you are of reading about him, but he remains a strong buy-low candidate. He had a mini-breakout last week, catching five passes for 87 yards, but he still ranks second at the position in fantasy points below expectation per PFF. He ranks second among tight ends in terms of air yards, so the breakout is coming eventually.
David Njoku is currently questionable, but he had a huge game on Thursday night football. He turned 10 targets into nine catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, and Njoku has always been an elite producer in limited opportunities. The opportunities have been there for Njoku to start the year, so there should be more big games coming in the future. He’s too cheap on DraftKings at $3,700, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Hollins is going to garner most of the attention for the Raiders this week, making the rest of the roster excellent GPP pivots. That includes Darren Waller, who ranks fourth among tight ends in expected fantasy points per game. Like Pitts, he’s underperformed those expectations to start the year, but he has a track record of being a proven fantasy producer.
There’s a clear-cut starting point for DraftKings cash games this week. Herbert and Williams are slam-dunk options, providing an elite combination of upside and value.
I’m also going to be hard-pressed to avoid Hollins following his breakout game. He’s not as big of a lock – you can go with Reynolds or James instead – but I like the idea of paying down for one of the value options.
That allows you to easily fit your preferred stud running back in the flex spot. I prefer Taylor given the matchup vs. the Titans and the fact that he’s a home favorite, but Barkley is a fine alternative.
We can round out our receiver corps with two of those options in the $6k range. I think Johnson is the clear top choice for cash games, with guys like London, Lockett, and Cooks vying for the second slot.
There’s more than enough left over to go with Geno at QB and Hockenson at TE, and you can even spend up a bit more than usual on defense. There are some alterative lineup constructions worth exploring – pivoting from Taylor to someone like Harris gives you the flexibility to move up to Andrews or three $6k receivers – but I want to take advantage of the strong pool of value receivers.
You don’t need to get quite as cute on FanDuel. The big difference is that Williams and Herbert have been priced much more appropriately, so they don’t stand out as nearly the same values. For example, Harris is actually cheaper than both players. That gives Najee the edge over both players, and you can easily pair him with Barkley and Taylor.
There’s also no need for a value option at WR3. Using Geno and a cheap defense gives us enough flexibility to add in Davante Adams, who is massively underpriced at just $7,900.