Week 4 NFL DFS Draft Kings Preview
By Rocco Minsk Week 3 is in the books and the cash lines among the games were surprisingly low as many of the highly owned players flopped. Big cash games had a cash line as low as 112, down from 145 the week before as there was no chalky eruptions like there was the week prior. Significant injuries from this week that can change values include Darren Sproles and Kelvin Benjamin. Due to an unfortunate Draft Kings change, the injury to Doug Baldwin will not have any impact on the main Sunday slate as DK has removed the Sunday night game from the offering. Personally, I find this move to be not in the general playing public’s best interests and subtracting one game from the Sunday schedule will make it harder to formulate a unique lineup, especially when bye weeks cut two more games off the slate. Then we will be talking about 10 game slates from weeks 5-12. In any event, enough with my whining, here are my picks and pans for NFL Week 4
Tom Brady ($8,000) If you are going to pay up for a QB, it does not pay to go half way. Of course, Brady is always at risk of having a Gillislee TD vulture week like he did in Week 1, but this Patriots defense has proven to be so bad that Brady seems to be throwing more this year.
Deshaun Watson ($5,100) The rookie is rapidly gaining confidence every week. His legs seem to be establishing a floor under his performance. While he may not rise to Michael Vick levels, it would not be surprising to see him averaging 40 YPG on the ground which means he would start with 4 DFS points. Tennessee has been vulnerable to the pass as it was utterly dissected by Russell Wilson last week.
Todd Gurley ($7,800) Where I admit surprise this year is at how involved Gurley is in the passing game. Sean McVay did not have a true three down back in Washington and he is taking advantage of Gurley’s abundant talents. Gurley’s valuation still has a way to go to catch up to his performance and the C.J. Anderson showed that the Cowboys can be run on.
Christian McCaffrey ($6,800) Last week was the manifestation of what the upside scenario was for McCaffery when he was drafted. The Panthers were behind and minus their top two receiving options and the rookie just cleaned up. Fast forward a week and the Panthers will be required to throw even more against the Patriots and it seems that Kelvin Benjamin will be out a while. Expect another 8 or 9 catches from McCaffrey this week.
Wendell Smallwood ($4,100) My heart goes out to Darren Sproles – a classy veteran in his last season suffering two injuries on one play. The Eagles have gone with a committee and the strong side of that committee is usually the back who catches the passes, which should be Smallwood. While I do not predict a bust out, I don’t think that 12 DK points are out of the question, which would be decent value for the price.
A.J. Green ($8,600) Andy Dalton showed some signs of life last week with the switch to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and with few other targets to throw to, Green was the recipient of the largesse, Last week, the Browns defense made Jacoby Brissett look like Joe Montana so this may be the week where the Bengals put everything together and in that event, you want to own the high option from that offense.
Stefon Diggs ($7,100) Diggs will not score two touchdowns every week as he has for two of the first three weeks, but the Vikings have been looking like an offensive juggernaut for much of the season. Pair it with a Lions defense that is 22nd in the league against the pass and you have a decent mid-level receiver.
DeAndre Hopkins ($6,400) Hopkins has clearly not made the most of his targets this year. He has seen a steady diet (although his targets have dropped in each of the past three weeks). The scoring difficulty with Hopkins is that he has failed to reach the end zone, but the Titans were gashed by Doug Baldwin last week and don’t have the firepower in their secondary to shut down the elite receiver.
Sterling Shepard ($5,000) The Giants should just abandon the pretense of the run game and just play flag football for the duration since they just can’t run and block. Eli Manning took the gloves off last week and there were more than enough throw to go around to feed three receivers. Add that to the fact that the Bucs have no pass defense of which to speak and that makes Shepard a compelling value this week.
Rishard Matthews ($4,900) There were questions going into the season about how the Titans could feed three receivers with a ground based attack. The Titans are still run heavy, but Matthews has emerged as a target with a reliable scoring floor. He saw 10 targets last game and Corey Davis is banged up and Eric Decker has yet to establish a rapport with Mariota. The Titans may be throwing more on the road so Matthews looks good in this spot.
Charles Clay ($3,700) Clay has emerged as the top target in the passing game as Taylor does not throw much to his wide receivers. While his price is under $4,000, Clay is a compelling value. He does not come out of the game when the Bills are behind, as they figure to be here, but instead runs downfield patterns. I cannot support the rostering of any of the top TEs other than Gronk, so may as well go value on TEs. Next week, Clay’s pricing will start to inch up.
Evan Engram ($3,000) See above – the Giants will be a pass heavy offense since they cannot establish the run. Engram should see 6 targets per game which should translate to a 4 catch 40 yard line with a 30% chance for a TD. 8 to 14 points is a sound return for a cheaper priced TE.
Broncos ($3,300) DFS players are notorious for amnesia and last week’s loss in Buffalo combined with the Raiders coming to town may depress ownership of this unit. Derek Carr was a turnover gift last week and Michael Crabtree will be banged up for the game. Nobody can run on the Broncos which should force Carr back to pass at least 40 times which will cause the sacks and INTs to add some points.
Jets ($2,600) I had the thought last week to punt defense and start the Jets. Unfortunately, it was just a thought. The Jets are at home and one week does not absolve Blake Bortles from being a turnover machine. I am not saying that this defense will repeat its shutdown from last week, just that it will return value for a cheap option
Carson Palmer ($6,100) Some may be tempted to go with Palmer based on the matchup against the 49ers, but this offense is not the same without David Johnson. In addition, the Cardinals WRs are banged up and Palmer is not the QB that he was.
Leveon Bell ($8,700) His price is going to have to come down to match the level of performance. Be it his holdout or the general Steelers offensive dysfunction, but Bell is not an elite RB currently and should not be owned while he is still priced as one.
Mike Evans ($7,400) While his price is relatively low for a top WR, have we mentioned that Janoris Jenkins is really good at football? While not quite Revis Island, I would still hesitate to start a number one receiver playing the Giants – it has not ended well.
Kyle Rudolph ($4,100) The emergence of Thielen and Diggs have resulted in fewer targets for Rudolph. If faced with a choice of Rudolph at this price or one of the bevy of TE options priced between $3,000 and $3,700, I cannot justify the rostering of Rudolph.