FanDuel NFL Week 4: In-Depth Player Pool With Expert Analysis
That was fun! We have now put together back-to-back winning FanDuel weeks. We had several wins that at times were in the contention for taking down a single-entry and were as high as reaching as the top 600 lineups in the Sunday Million tournament. There was no huge win, but several victories that made for a profitable week.
The best FanDuel lineup last week was our Seattle stack of Seattle QB Russell Wilson with WR Tyler Lockett. It was the one I was most confident in and played in the $50 single entry tournament. It scored 170.8 points for 93rd place and a returned $200. The stack of QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins was my second most confident stack and was entered into a $25 single-entry. It scored 161.8 points for 405th place to win $60. The Buffalo stack of QB Josh Allen with WR Cole Beasley was our second-highest score at 164.24 points and was finished in 27th place in a small $5 single-entry for $15. We also had winning lineups with 154.46 points and 147.28 points. Finally, a $25 four pick entry on PrizePicks hit for a $250 return.
Let’s keep it going.
For the second week in a row, the Main Slate for FanDuel is loaded with value RBs who are likely to touch the ball about 20 times and are in good matchups. We have the most success with high priced QBs because they have performed well. We will continue with that approach this week. However, I am skipping over a few of the upper-end options because they do not have a high volume WR in a favorable CB matchup.
I started to go down the road of stacking QB Dak Prescott (DAL, $8,200) with WR CeeDee Lamb (DAL, $5,600), and QB Josh Allen (BUF, $8 600) with WR Zay Jones (LV, $4,500) because those stacks provided the best CB matchups. However, I don’t think that is wise due to the abundance of RB options in the range. The difference in cost between a Lamb and Jones to one of the RBs is anywhere from one to two thousand, but will likely provide a minimum of 10 more touches.
Target % Chart
TJ Hernandez, the Director of DFS at 4for4, Tweeted out this target % chart earlier in the week. What we want to do is find the place on the Venn Diagram where we are using WRs who see a high volume of their team’s targets and are also in very favorable CB matchups.
There are two highly targeted WRs of elite QBs who have terrific CB matchups: Tyler Lockett (SEA, $7,500) and Marquise Brown (BAL, $6,300). My higher-priced single-entry tournaments will include QB/WR stacks with those two. Additionally, I will be playing KC Patrick Mahomes (K.C., $8,700) because his entire receiving corps has good matchups.
There are also two highly targeted WRs of mid-range QBs who have outstanding CB matchups: Adam Thielen (MIN, $7,100) and Odell Beckham (CLE, $6,600). I’m also adding Tyler Boyd (CIN, $6,000), who may only have a 19.1% target rate on the season, but has 21 targets in the last two games.
The lower price of the QB/WR stacks for Minnesota, Cleveland, and Cincinnati games will allow for at least one upper-end RB in those lineup builds.
Hernandez is an excellent source of free insightful, and useful information. Follow TJ Hernandez on Twitter: @TJHernandez.
Importance of Single-Entry
We dream of winning the top FanDuel prize of $1,000,0000 on any given Sunday. In pursuit of that dream, we must also be mindful that it’s a long shot, and payouts in the big tournament are so top-heavy that it does not adequately reward good lineups that on not the highest performing. That’s why it’s essential the majority of money spent on tournaments are on single-entries. I enter my FanDuel lineups into both the Sunday Million tournament and a single-entry with the most costly of my entries with the lineups I have the greatest confidence in. If the most expensive single-entry at least cashes, that at a minimum I should break even for the day.
Here is an example of what the same lineup was paying out after the morning game. One was entered into the Sunday Million tournament for $4.44 and the other into a Single-Entry for $5.
Research, The Mikes
As regular readers of my column, you will not only see my research of stats but the analysis of some of the best experts in the industry (If you can’t beat them, join and credit them). Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros and Mike Woellert of 4for4 are quoted frequently.
Tagliere’s weekly column, The Primer, is the most compressive look at Fantasy Football. It’s typically about 20,000 words and had well thought out information on every fantasy-relevant (and not so relevant) player. Tagliere takes into account defensive injures, schemes, matchups, and historical numbers. I admire Tagliere’s work. This article is somewhat modeled after The Primer, but reduced to only the players I’m using.
Woellert is an expert at WR vs. CB matchups. He continually finds low owned undervalued players that have huge weeks. When spending up at WR, it’s great to know they are in advantageous situations. As the season progresses, patterns emerge, and it becomes clear which CBs should be exploited. Our goal will be to play W.R.s covered by CBs, who average near or above 2.0 fantasy points per target.
While my articles give you free exposure to a sliver of the information, at FantasyPros and 4for4, I would recommend subscribing to help with your research.
Week 4 FanDuel Player Pool
Lamar Jackson (BAL, ($9,600) is coming off a disappointing performance against the Chiefs. He completed 15 of 28 passes for just 97 yards and 1 TD. He also rushed nine times for 83 yards. His fantasy score was paltry 14.18 points and marked the second week in a row Jackson put up a sub-20 performance (17.56, week 2 vs. Hou). Nevertheless, he is the top projected QB this week against Washington by both Tagliere and 4for4 rankings. Washington has been pretty decent against QBs as they are right in the middle of the pack, allowing 19.83 fantasy points a game. Kyler Murray (AIR, $8,400), another elite running QB, did rack up 32.1 fantasy points against Washington in Week 2, and the defense has lost two key players since then. DE Chase Young suffered a soft tissue injury last week. That is a big blow to the pass rush. DL Matthew Ioannidis went on IR with a torn bicep. The duty of covering WR Marquise Brown will be placed upon CB Ronald Darby, who allowed nearly 18 yards a catch and 2.2 fantasy points per target last season. Look for a big bounce week for both Jackson and Brown.
Russell Wilson (SEA, $9,000) completed 27 of 40 passes for 315 yards and five TDs against the Cowboys to score 36.8 fantasy points. He has now scored over 30 fantasy points in each of the first three games. His lowest performance was 31.78 was in Week 1 against the Falcons. Wilson has benefited from having some great matchups to start the season, but that doesn’t change this week against the Dolphins. Miami has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points a game to QBs this season at 23.13. It’s hard to guarantee another performance of north of 30 points because that might be game script dependent, but north of 25 is very reasonable.
Patrick Mahomes II (K.C., $8,700) proved that sometime good defenses can’t do a darn thing to contain a phenomenal offensive talent as he threw for four TDs and put up a 40-Burger in fantasy points against the Ravens on Monday night. Mahomes’ fantasy performance has increased each week (20.4, 27.5, and 40.0), and Mahomes indicated that HC Andy Reid is expanding the playbook for him each week. This week Mahomes is facing a Patriots team that he had a lot of success in previous games. “In three career games against them, he’s posted 310 passing yards per game to go along with eight touchdowns and three interceptions,” wrote Tagliere. “Despite facing the second-fewest pass attempts in the league, the Patriots rank 13th against fantasy quarterbacks. They’ve allowed a healthy 8.22 yards per attempt and 7.8 percent touchdown-rate. That’s quite a bit different than the 5.99 yards per attempt and 2.3 percent touchdown-rate they allowed last year. That’s what’ll happen when you lose a handful of starters. Knowing that Russell Wilson and Derek Carr combined for 549 yards and seven touchdowns over the last two weeks should give you the confidence to start Mahomes as a high-end QB1.”
Joe Burrow (CIN, 7,400) has faced three top-10 pass defenses but still has managed to average 20.7 fantasy points a game. This week he faces the Jaguars, who have allowed a fourth-worst 22.76 fantasy points a game to QBs. Burrow could easily have a 3x to 4x performance.
Baker Mayfield (CLE, $7,000) has yet to have a good fantasy performance this season (10.86, 16.26, and 14.34). The scenario is there for him to do it this week against the Cowboys. Dallas has allowed a league-worst nine passing TDs and allowed a third-worst 25.27 fantasy points a game to QBs. The game has the highest over/under projection at 56 points, with Dallas favored by 4.5. That’s a predictive game script of Cleveland scoring three TDs and throwing the ball late.
Kirk Cousins (MIN, $6,800) completed 16 of his 27 pass attempts for 251 yards and three TDs with two interceptions against the Titans. His fantasy score of 22.76 was a big bounce back from his la week performance 1.52 points against an excellent Colts defense. It also marked the second time in three weeks that he reached what would be an excess of a 3X performance based on his week’s price as he scored 22.76 points against the Packers in Week 1. Cousins has an excellent chance of being in the 20 point range again this week as faces a Houston defense that is middle of the road against the pass and has allowed 19.06 points per game.
Tyreek Hill (K.C., $8,00), Sammy Watkins ($5,600), and Demarcus Robinson ($4,900) are all viable options against the Patriots. Watkins has the best CB matchup against Stephon Gilmore, who has allowed a 66.7% catch rate and 2.19 fantasy points per target. Robinson should be covered by CB J.C. Jackson, who has allowed a 76.9% catch rate and 2.00 fantasy points per target. Hill has a decent matchup against CB Jonathan Jones, who has allowed a respectable 57.9% catch rate and 1.57 fantasy point per target. With Hill, as we saw on Monday night, the matchup often doesn’t matter that much anyway.
Tyler Lockett (SEA, $7,500) was one of the things we certainly got correct last week. We wrote: “He has the best matchup of the Seahawks WRs in Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis. Through the first two games, Lewis has allowed an 83.3% catch rate and 2.38 fantasy points per target.” Lockett exploited the matchup and caught nine of 13 targets for 100 yards and three TDs. The matchup isn’t as great this week against Dolphins slot CB Jamal Perry but is again exploitable. Perry has allowed an 80% catch rate and 1.70 fantasy points per target.
Adam Thielen (MIN, $7,100) has seen one of the highest target shares of any WR at 26.9%. Thielen should be covered by Houston CB Bradley Roby, who has allowed a respectable 50% catch rate, but a high 1,82 fantasy point per target. Last season, Roby allowed a 55.2% catch rate and a decent 1.52 fantasy points per target, which may mean Roby’s numbers a slightly inflated early in the season. I have the least confidence in the Minnesota stack.
Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE, $6,600) has seen a 28.2% target rate and should be covered by CB Trevon Diggs, who has allowed a 65.0% catch rate and 2.01 fantasy points per target. “It appears the Browns’ offensive line has improved and limited pressure from Washington last week—granted Chase Young left early, but they are stout up front,” wrote Woellert. “If Baker gets time, he could hit Beckham for some big plays against Trevon Diggs. Diggs is allowing 10.6 yards per target and 16.3 yards per reception, resulting in two fantasy points per target.”
DeVante Parker (MIA, $6,500) is an excellent option if you want an opposing WR against a Seattle stack. Parker should be covered by CB Shaquill Griffin who has been bulled by opposing offenses. “Even though Griffin was able to record an INT, he still had a rough day at the office last week,” wrote Woellert. “Griffin was picked on to the tune of 12 targets and allowed 151 yards. Parker has 13 targets over the last two weeks and should match up on Griggin for most of his routes this week. Griffin is the second-most targeted CB and is allowing nearly 2.5 fantasy points per target.”
Marquise Brown (BAL, $6,300) frequently appears as the best value stack with QB Lamar Jackson on 4for4. The duo cost $15,900, as is projected to create a 2.35X return. Brown has a particularly good matchup against CB Ronald Darby. “Brown’s targets have been consistent this season—averaging six per game—but he’s just missed out on some big plays with Lamar Jackson, including two against KC. Brown has an average depth of target of 13.5 while Ronald Darby is yielding 13.4 yards per target. If Brown can get loose, Darby is allowing 61.5% of balls thrown his way to be caught; he could be in for a big day. Even though he has to allow a TD, Darby is allowing nearly two fantasy points per target.”
Will Fuller (HOU, $6,100) has a great C.B. matchup to exploit as he will likely be covered by Vikings C.B. Holton Hill, who has allowed a 70.6% catch rate and 2.16 fantasy points per target. I will play Fuller as an opposing WR in the Minnesota stack. “Houston’s implied total is 28.75, so I’m making the assumption that Fuller is going to heavily involved in the game plan,” wrote Woellert. “After receiving no targets in Week 2, saw five and hit paydirt with K-Dirt—hitting you with a Ford Fairlane reference there—with a TD Hill has been targeted by opposing QBs on 17% of their throws and is allowing 15.8 yards per catch and 2.2 fantasy points per target.”
Tyler Boyd (CIN, $6,000) is not stacked part of a QB stack, but we wanted to have exposure to him. Boyd has one of the best CB matchups on the slate. He should be covered by Jaguars CB D.J. Hayden who has allowed a 100% catch rate and 2.97 fantasy point per target. Yes, please, and may I have some more! “Boyd has 21 targets over his last two games, converting 17 into catches,” wrote Woellert. “The Jaguars, as a defense, have allowed six scores to the opposing slot receivers.”
Jarvis Landry (CLE, $5,700) has the best C.B. matchup up the Browns W.R.s. Landry should be covered by CB Trevon Diggs, who has allowed a 77.8% catch rate and a very high 2.56 fantasy points per target. Landry has only had a 16.7% target share. We hope that goes up this week with the matchup, and Beckham and Landry can combine for closer to 50% total team share as opposed to the 44.9% that have had over three weeks. “Landry’s targets have been all over the place this season, wrote Woellert. “After seeing six in Week 1, he’s received just seven over the last two games. Kareem Hunt has siphoned targets away, as he has a higher target/snap rate this season. I think Baker tosses out some quick hitches and check-downs to neutralize Aldon Smith in an effort to get the ball out quickly. Lewis allowed a TD in Week 1, and Landry can squeeze through the second level.”
Keelan Cole (JAC, $5,600) has the best CB matchup of any of the Jaguars WRs to have an opposing WR in a Cincinnati stack. Cole should be covered by Bengals CB Mackensie Alexander, who has allowed a 75% catch rate and 2.38 fantasy points per target.
Mark Andrews (BAL, $7,400) has had to quiet fantasy weeks (3.4 and 3.7) after starting the season by scoring 20.3 points against Cleveland. There is a good chance Andrews returns to his old self against Washington, which has allowed a fifth-most 17.43 fantasy points game to TEs. “Washington has already allowed three tight end touchdowns on the year, as well as a 100-yard performance to Dallas Goedert back in Week 1, wrote Tagliere. “That was before their pass-rush took a giant hit, which should allow Andrews more time to find space in the secondary.”
T.J. Hockenson (DET, $5,400) appears to be flying under the radar. He has started the season with three consistent performances, hard to find in the TE position. Here are his stats through three weeks: Week 1 caught five of five for 56 yards and a TD to score 14.1 points, grabbed four of four for 62 yards to score 8.2 points, and four of seven for 53 yards to score 7.3 points. Hockenson has a significant role in the Lions offense. Now here is where it gets exciting for this week. Hockenson faces the Saints appear to take on the part the Cardinals did last year against TEs. Through the first three weeks, New Orleans has allowed the most targets (38), receptions, (29), yards (290), and TDs (4) to allow a league-worst 27.33 fantasy points a game to the position. We know the Saints are likely to score plenty of points against the Lions, the perfect game script for Hockenson. I’ll have high exposure to him this week, and at his price, you can afford to pay up for some studs.
Alvin Kamara (NO, $8,800) has thoroughly carried the Saints offense with teammate star WR Michael Thomas ($8,800) out with an ankle injury. Kamara started the season with a very respectable fantasy performance against Bucs when he scored 21.2 points. Over the next two weeks, he has brought his fantasy average up to a whopping 31.1 points a game with 33.9 and 38.2 performance. The 38.2 performance came Sunday night against the Packers when rushed just six times for 58 yards but caught 13 of 14 targets for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Kamara faces the Lions that have allowed a seventh-worst 28.80 fantasy points a game to RBs.
Dalvin Cook (MIN, $8,700) had his best performance of the season, racking up 199 total yards against the Titans. Cook rushed 22 times for 181 yards and 1 TD and caught two of five targets for 18 yards to score 24.9 fantasy points. Cook has a primo matchup against the Texans, who have allowed the most rushing yards 502. The second-worst is the Bengals at 466. The Texans have also surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points a game at 31.40.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (K.C., $7,400) continues to see a heavy workload. He is facing the Patriots, who have been middle of the road against the run at 23.23 fantasy points allowed per game, but they have allowed opposing offenses to run a ton of plays. Edwards-Helarie’s volume in a high scoring offense makes him a solid play. “Through three weeks, Edwards-Helaire is operating as a full-fledged workhorse in what is likely the best offense in the league,” wrote Tagliere. “He’s totaled 66 of the 86 touches available to running backs, which amounts to 76.7 percent. He’s only scored one touchdown to this point, but don’t worry; better days are coming. The Patriots have been consistent in the production allowed over the first three games, as Myles Gaskin, Chris Carson, and Josh Jacobs all averaged in between 4.24 and 4.44 yards per carrying. We haven’t seen a whole lot of production, though, as teams have run an average of just 58.0 plays per game against them, which is the third-lowest number in the league. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have run an average of 70.0 plays per game. Something’s got to give. There were just 11 running backs who totaled more than 13 touches against the Patriots last year, and nine of them totaled at least 10.3 PPR points, though just three of them finished as a top-12 running back. Knowing how much Edwards-Helaire is being used in the passing game the last two weeks (14 targets), he needs to be in lineups as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 in a game they’re projected for 30.5 points.”
Kenyan Drake (Air, $7,000) may be flying a bit under the radar this week because he only has one TD on the season, and it came in Week 1 against the 49ers. Drake is getting the touches (19,22, and19) to breakthrough for a big game. Week 4 could be Drake’s week as he faces the Panthers who have allowed a league-high seven rushing TDs and second-worst 42.83 fantasy points a game to RBs.
Austin Ekeler (LAC, $6,900) carried the ball 12 times for 59 yards and caught all 11 of his targets for 80 yards to score 25.8 fantasy points against the Panthers. Ekeler has now scored more points each week than he did the week prior (9.2, 16.8, and 25.8). This improvement is both because HC Anthony Lynn said he would get Ekeler the ball more after Week 1, and he is an excellent safety valve for rookie QB Justin Herbert. Despite his improved performance, Ekeler’s price dropped $600 this week. That must be due to matchup as the Bucks have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards at only a 150. However, where they have been vulnerable is against pass-catching RBs. Tampa Bay has allowed the third-most receptions to RBs at 24 at the fourth-most receiving yards at 211. The air is where Ekeler thrives; this is a much better matchup than it may seem at first glance.
David Johnson (HOU, $6,700) gets his first plus matchup of the season against the Vikings, tied with the Lions for allowing the seventh-most 28.80 fantasy points a game to RBs. Johnson’s best performance of the year came in Weel1 against the Chiefs when he had 11 carries for 77 yards and a TD, and caught three of four targets to score 18.4 points. In Week 2, he scored just six points against the Ravens, and then 11.6 vs. the Steelers last week, but those are two tougher run defenses. Johnson has seen 15 or 16 total touches in each game this season, and that should be enough to get him near or over 20 fantasy points this week.
James Robinson (JAC, $6,600) appears to be an emerging star and is still relatively cheap. Robinson took advantage of a great matchup against the Titans in Week 2 to rush for 102 yards and a TD on 16 carries and catch three of four targets for 18 yards to score 19.8 fantasy points. He improved upon his fantasy production last week in another great matchup against the Dolphins when turned 11 carries into 46 yards and two TDs and caught all six of his targets for 86 yards to score 27.9 points. Robinson faced the Bengals, who have allowed a sixth-worst 29.83 fantasy points a game to RBs.
Mike Davis (CAR $6,300) attempted to fill the shoes of RB Christian McCaffrey (ankle, IR) last week against the Chargers and had an excellent game against a good defense. Davis had 13 carries for 46 yards and caught eight of nine targets for another 45 yards and a TD for 19.1 fantasy points. This week Davis faces a Cardinals defense that is middle of the pack against the run, allowing 27.93 fantasy points a game to the position. The exciting part about this matchup is Arizona has only allowed 13 receptions to RBs, but they have gone for 202 yards and a league-high two TDs. It’s within reach for Davis to have 100 yards receiving a TD in this game and approach a 4X return.
Devin Singletary (BUF, $6.000) hasn’t had a monster game this season, but his fantasy production has increased each week (7.8, 8.6, and 14.1 points). His best performance came against the Rams last week when Singletary rushed 13 times for 71 yards and caught four of five targets for 50 yards. If he had scored a TD, it would’ve been north of 20 point day. Singletary has an excellent opportunity to reach and exceed this week against the Raiders, who have allowed a league-worst 43.97 fantasy points a game to RBs. Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (NE, $5,600) came out of nowhere last week against Las Vegas to score three TDs (two rushing, one receiving) in route to scoring 31.3 fantasy points on just 13 (six rushes, seven catches) total touches. Singletary may get some competition for touches this week if teammate Zach Moss ($5,100, toe) returns to action. Even if Moss does play, Singletary is still a great value at his price. There is also nothing wrong with playing both Singletary and Moss for a low total of $11,100.
Take a Side
There isn’t an exact science in what a winning FanDuel lineup looks likes. However, they should tell a logical story, and certain elements are frequent.
When building a lineup, I’ll try to check off most of the criteria:
1) QB stacked with a WR: This allows for a double score when the two connect.
2) Opposing WRs: A recent analysis of big tournaments winners found a high percentage were constructed with two WRs in the same game from both teams. This combination makes sense because high scoring shootouts allow for opportunity on both sides of the ball. Based on matchups, some of our builds incorporate this.
3) RB stacked with Defense: There is a strong correlation between an RB performing well with their team’s defense. That’s something to factor in when choosing a reason, but in reality, it’s often the perceived best available defense with money left from the build that gets plugged in.
Six Builds, Ordered by Confidence
Mix It Up: Don’t wholly copy these FanDuel lineups as I will be using them. Instead, use this article as research and use the players to build your unique winning lineup.
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Follow Dan on Twitter @sandiegosports.