NFL Prime Time Games – Week 4
Thursday Night Football: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Quarterback – The news this week going around the DFS campfire is that Mike Glennon (FDraft $10000, DraftKings – $4500, FanDuel – $6300) apparently hates his wide receivers since just one of his options received targets from him last week, Deonte Thompson 2 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards. While that will likely change this week, it is hard to see him topping 250 yards on the road with the coaching staff looking to play ball control with their running game and short passes. Glennon is averaging 205 passing yards per game with just three touchdowns and three interceptions. Move along.
Running Back – So much of what we do seems to be guesswork for NFL DFS. Of course when we do consider that there are only seventeen regular season games and the opposing team and in-game score will dramatically dictate on the field action and coaching decisions more than any “analysis” truly can.
After being written off, Jordan Howard (FDraft $10900, DraftKings – $5800, FanDuel – $7300) came roaring back onto the scene with a vengeance in Week 3 against the Steelers compiling 23 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns along with 5 targets for 5 receptions and 26 yards. Going forward it makes sense that the Bears will be leaning on their running back duo and the more versatile they can become, the better the upcoming plays can be disguised regardless of down and distance. Howard is in the mix for all formats and slates along with Tarik Cohen (FDraft $10400, DraftKings – $5500, FanDuel – $6000) as both are fairly priced.
Howard should see more touches, though not as many passes as Cohen (11 targets vs 25 through three games). However, Cohen will not be getting more than 6-9 rushing attempts per game. Each should dabble in the other’s area of expertise, just enough to help keep defenses honest.
Wide Receiver – Quick, name two healthy Chicago wide receivers.
Tight End – The price is right for Zach Miller (FDraft $5600, DraftKings – $2800, FanDuel – $4800) however, he is really only an option as an extreme punt play or on the short Thursday/London slate if you are touchdown hunting. Through the first three weeks he has 4, 6 and 1 reception on 6, 9 and 3 targets with the lows coming in Week 3 against the Steelers.
Defense/Special Teams – Future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers does a pretty good job taking care of the ball with just one interception in each of the first three games and a fumble, however, he has been sacked 13 times, which is the second most in the league. On the short slate, most gamers will not go to a defense on the road, but if you can get a couple sacks and of course a return touchdown – giving up 25-30 points does not seem so bad afterall.
Green Bay Packers
Quarterback – On the Thursday/London slate, the decision for our trusted field general will come down to Aaron Rodgers (FDraft $14300, DraftKings – $7600, FanDuel – $9100) at home in Lambeau Field or Drew Brees in London. There are not many bad things to say about Rodgers OTHER than his offensive line is not healthy (both tackles could again miss Thurdsay’s action) and the Bears defensive mantra is to not get beat deep. Otherwise, he projects as a top three signal caller this week from a fantasy perspective.
Running Back – The decision point for contests including the Thursday tilt are going to come down to where we stand on Ty Montgomery (FDraft $14100, DraftKings – $7500, FanDuel – $7400) and it feels like we may have been bailed out more than once:
Week 1: vs SEA 19/54/1 rushing and 4/39/0 receiving on 4 targets
Week 2: at ATL 10/35/1 rushing and 6/75/1 receiving on 7 targets
Week 3: vs CIN (OT) 12/35/0 rushing and 8/15 receiving on 12 targets
Randall Cobb (chest) is a full go, so that means one more target out there for Aaron Rodgers. Chicago is allowing the 104 rushing yards per game to opposing RBs and 6 targets for 4.3 receptions and 29 yards per game through the air. The floor is here, but it would seem that upside is potentially capped – unless Montgomery hits pay dirt for the fourth time this season. Verdict full slate top 5-10 likely result.
Wide Receiver – Outside of the Thursday/London slate there are just so many different ways the Packers offense could go. Gamers do not always see them like they do the New England Patriots, but anyone is capable of multi-touchdown games or being held under 20 yards in decoy duty. Based on a projected production per dollar standpoint I am ranking them Randall Cobb (FDraft $11300, DraftKings – $6000, FanDuel – $6500) who can really rack up the receptions underneath and that looks like the Bears weakness, Jordy Nelson (FDraft $14600, DraftKings – $7700, FanDuel – $8400) who is a red zone threat and doesn’t always need to take the top off the defense to be productive and then former Fresno State star Davante Adams (FDraft $11000, DraftKings – $5900, FanDuel – $7100) who could be in the right place, at the right time for a long score at just about any point in the game.
Tight End – Lest we forget, Martellus Bennett (FDraft $7400, DraftKings – $3700, FanDuel – $5800) did spend three seasons with the Bears and we know things tend to happen in these NFC North rivalry games. Even with that fun narrative in play, Bennett is still a fringe top ten tight end this week and like most of the others, he will be dependent on getting in the end zone to improve that lot.
Defense/Special Teams – From a fantasy perspective, the Packers are a top 5-7 defense this week and they will be the most popular option on the Thursday/London slate. Green Bay has had three sacks in each of their first three games with nary an interception on the season and just one fumble. Opposing quarterback Mike Glennon does have three interceptions, three fumbles and he has been sacked seven times.
London Game: New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins
New Orleans Saints
Quarterback – Those of us that did not play Aaron Rodgers on the Thursday/London slate are feeling very lucky now that he only ended up with 179 yards to go along with his four passing touchdowns. This is the third game for Miami after their season opener was postponed due to Hurricane Irma, so this will be their third straight game on the road. In San Diego they allowed Philip Rivers to rack up 331 yards albeit with only one score and last week they allowed the Jets and Josh McCown to control the entire game through the ground and the air with the veteran signal caller going 18 for 23 with 249 yards and a score. Drew Brees (FDraft $13600, DraftKings – $7200, FanDuel – $8500) is a much better quarterback than either of those other two and he has a better offensive line and receiving options. Brees is definitely going to be in the mix as a top five option this week in all formats.
Running Back – After the quarterback position, things get messy for the Saints from a fantasy perspective because they have so darn many options. The running backs all tend to cancel each other out with Mark Ingram (FDraft $9100, DraftKings – $4600, FanDuel – $6000) being the nominal “starter” but barely seeing a majority of the touches. Alvin Kamara (FDraft $7700, DraftKings – $3900, FanDuel – $5300) is they option you want to look at in the even that we think that New Orleans will be forced into heavy passing situations and that does not appear to be the case this week. Lastly we have Adrian Peterson (FDraft $7000, DraftKings – $3600, FanDuel – $5300) who is a threat in name only – well and a threat of siphoning off opportunities from the other running backs. At some point he will have a great performance, but good luck guessing when that will be without injuries.
This trio is all reasonably priced, but outside of hoping to have a touchdown fall in our laps as we finish up the Thursday/London slate, these guys can be safely ignored for Week 4.
Wide Receivers – One thing to keep in mind is that Willie Snead (FDraft $9900, DraftKings – $5000, FanDuel – $6000) is back after missing the first three games with a suspension. Michael Thomas (FDraft $13700, DraftKings – $7300, FanDuel – $7900) is the only option that is worth considering until we see how the pecking order behind him shakes out and that may be a couple weeks.
Brees definitely will benefit, but we can look to him without pairing him with any of his options this week. For my rankings, I do have Thomas pegged right around the 10-15 spot this week for wide receivers in full-PPR scoring systems and based on word about Snead’s playing time I could see moving this range two spots in the positive direction.
Oh, of course to stay on “brand” for the “revenge” angle I do have to mention that this is one of Ted Ginn’s many former teams.
Tight End – Coby Fleener (FDraft $6700, DraftKings – $3400, FanDuel – $5400) is a DFS afterthought this week, when considering all of the available options for Drew Brees. Miami has been in the bottom third of the league for fantasy points allowed to the opposition, but this is not the time to target them.
Defense/Special Teams – Well, they are facing Jay Cutler, so a pick-six or a sack, strip-fumble is going to be in play.
Quarterback – Even with a matchup against the Saints who are allowing opposing field generals to rack up 284.4 passing yards per game along with 1.7 TDs against 0.6 INTs, can you envision Jay Cutler (FDraft $10900, DraftKings – $5800, FanDuel – $7300) topping 250/2 on the road in London?
Running Back – Friends and Family Alert! Per RotoWorld, Jay Ajayi (FDraft $14000, DraftKings – $7400, FanDuel – $7800) who was born in London will have a couple dozen friends and family in attendance to see him ply his trade in person. The only real question is will that keep him involved in the passing game where he has seen five targets catching four on his way to a whopping 13 yards this season. Last year he saw 35 targets and played the full season. This is our one concern and it is leading me to project him in the RB15-20 range on full-PPR sites, of course a two touchdown day will vault him into top five contention – but we can say that about pretty much everyone in the NFL at any position.
Wide Receiver – Despite my not having a lot of interest in Jay Cutler, I am intrigued by his receivers with Jarvis Landry (FDraft $12300, DraftKings – $6500, FanDuel – $6800) catching my attention on full-PPR sites as we have seen him get 26 targets through the first two games turning them into 19 receptions for 126 yards. Over the last three years he has reached the end zone a grand total of 14 times, so when he does that it is all gravy. In the meantime, enjoy the relatively secure fantasy floor at a very attractive price point.
DeVante Parker (FDraft $12600, DraftKings – $6700, FanDuel – $6500) is nearly the same price as Landry on every site, but he is the “upside” play and the receiver most likely to find his way to the painted grass via a long play or a red zone target.
Tight End – Outside of a Thursday/London slate touchdown gambit, I see no real need to roster Julius Thomas (FDraft $5600, DraftKings – $2900, FanDuel – $4700).
Defense/Special Teams – Drew Brees does a good job of taking care of the ball and he has been sacked just once in each of his three starts this season. Skip the ‘Phins.
Sunday Night Football: Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks
Quarterback – As a life-long Seattle Seahawks fan, I have to say this incarnation of their offensive line is one of the worst in franchise history. It was a positive sign that Coach Pete Carroll has been able to readjust his game plan to be more able to work with the assets he has available. After two horrible performances 14/27 158/0/0 Week 1 in Lambeau Field and 23/39 198/1/0 Week 2 at home against San Francisco, Wilson posted some eye-popping numbers in Nashville going 29/49 373/4/0 against the Titans.
Make no mistake, he is on the move with the pocket breaking down on nearly every play, but it is a testament to his ability to move and make good decisions under pressure that have allowed him to have just one turnover (a fumble against Green Bay) despite being sacked seven times. He also has 100 yards rushing through three games on 21 carries. Wilson is a top five option on full slates and he will be the most popular play on the Sunday/Monday prime time slate at quarterback.
Running Back – Continuing my fandom thoughts, I was completely comfortable with Marshawn Lynch retiring after he chose not to get on the plane with the rest of the team for the near sub-zero playoff game in Minnesota a couple seasons ago. We will always have the “Beast Quake” to keep your name firmly etch in Seahawk lore. That said, I was pretty comfortable with Thomas Rawls as the diamond in the rough, but damn, it looks like he is cooked along with Eddie Lacy as they have posted 17 and 7 snaps combined over the first three weeks of the season. C.J. Prosise is the “passing” back, but he has had just 60 snaps this season, despite the ‘Hawks needing extra protection for their quarterback.
That leaves us with Chris Carson (FDraft $10100, DraftKings – $5400, FanDuel – $6600), the rookie from Oklahoma State who was chosen in the last round of the 2017 Draft, four selections from Mr. Irrelevant. He has seen 26,050 and 41 snaps through the first three games and at his current price point, he is an interesting discount dandy on all slates. Clearly he will not go unnoticed on the Sunday/Monday slate, but he very well may on the full slate.
Wide Receiver – The volume will continue to go to Doug Baldwin (FDraft $13000, DraftKings – $6900, FanDuel – $7600) who is by far the most reliable target for Russell Wilson. This leaves the game-breaking threat duo of Paul Richardson (FDraft $9100, DraftKings – $4600, FanDuel – $5000) and Tyler Lockett (FDraft $8800, DraftKings – $4500, FanDuel – $5700) to divvy up the long-balls which have been mostly split with Richardson targeted 19 times with 8 receptions, 108 yards and two scores ,with Lockett seeing 14 targets, catching 9 for 102 yards.
Tight End – This is actually a decent matchup for Jimmy Graham (FDraft $9200, DraftKings – $4900, FanDuel – $6200) as we saw last week, the Seahawks have realized they need to have Wilson on the move looking to distribute the ball to any open target (hey, just in time for basketball parlance!) in order to keep the Seattle offense from stalling out. Last week Graham saw 11 targets hauling in 7 for 72 yards.
Defense/Special Teams – So far this season, the Indianapolis Colts have allowed 11 sacks, which is the fourth most in the league through three games with Scott Tolzien going down four times in Week 1 and the remainder being tagged to Jacoby Brissett over the last two games. With the “Dome Field” advantage, Brissett is going to hear a wall of sound washing over him when he is under center which will be very unnerving and also keep him from checking into audibles and his line will have a difficult time making pre-snap calls after they are already set. Advantage goes to the Legion of BOOM who are a top play in all formats and slates.
Quarterback – While last week was fun, this is not the week to stay on the Jacoby Brissett (FDraft $10000, DraftKings – $5000, FanDuel – $6700) bandwagon. There will be other times this season when the price and matchup line up, rest assured, we will have our chances.
Running Back – Last week was likely the high-volume mark for Frank Gore (FDraft $7800, DraftKings – $4000, FanDuel – $5900) with 25 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. Gore is an afterthought in the passing game with just four targets on the season for two catches and 10 yards. Former Seahawk Robert Turbin (FDraft $7300, DraftKings – $3700, FanDuel – $4500) may see some work in relief of Gore, but he has been averaging just 21 snaps per game. Marlon Mack has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, so on the Sunday/Monday slate – this twosome is a potential source of salary relief.
Wide Receiver – The matchup against the Seahawks travelling to the Pacific Northwest is a daunting one, but we know that T.Y. Hilton (FDraft $10500, DraftKings – $5300, FanDuel – $7000) is a talented receiving option, but of course Seattle knows that as well. This is a prime-time only play as last week’s 7 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown is unlikely to be replicated and something more in line with 8-10 targets 5-6 catches for 50ish yards is a likely outcome.
Tight End – On the season, Seattle has allowed an average of 6 targets, 3.8 receptions and 42.3 yards to opposing tight-ends. The best hope is that Jack Doyle (FDraft $6600, DraftKings – $3400, FanDuel – $5400) and T.Y. Hilton for that matter are used for lots and lots of short passes in the effort to keep the chains moving 5-6 yards at a time. Boring football to watch, but there is potential in full-PPR formats on the two game slates.
Defense/Special Teams – The Colts are actually in play at their rock bottom price because all it takes is one pick-six for them to “pay off” their salary figure. The one flaw in this theory is that Russell Wilson has had just 45 interceptions through 83 career games and only 26 fumbles.
Monday Night Football: Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterback – Kirk Cousins (FDraft $12300, DraftKings – $6500, FanDuel – $7500) looked very good last Sunday in primetime at home against the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, this game is in Arrowhead Stadium where Kansas City historically holds a sizable home field advantage, buoyed by one of the loudest crowds in the league.
All-in-all the majority of the Washington offense is going to funnel through Cousins so we can consider him with Russell Wilson on the Sunday/Monday contests and he is right there with Jameis Winston in the Monday/Thursday contests, trailing Tom Brady of course. As for the full slates, Cousins is a fringe top ten option that will likely go overlooked and can be played without any of his receiving options.
Running Back – Living in Northern Virginia I drive by the Redskins practice facility in Ashburn quite often. This also means when I dare to turn on the local sports radio in the car, I hear all about how Washington could be a favorite to reach the Super Bowl this season if they would only give Chris Thompson (FDraft $10200, DraftKings – $5200, FanDuel – $5800) 20+ touches a game. The coaching staff has already come out and said they want to keep him in the 10-15 range, because the fourth year back checks in at just 5’9” and 190 lbs with career touch totals of 120 rushing, 103 receiving, 30 kickoff returns and 7 punt returns. This is a long way of saying we need to keep in mind that he is mostly a glorified special teamer/change of pace back who has been on one hell of a run (and he propelled me to my best week of the year on Sunday Night Football so I am a fan!).
Let others chase the points. This is a defense that is allowing just 19 points per game, which is the seventh best figure in the league. A reasonable projection for Thompson is 4-6 rushes for about 15-20 yards and 5-8 targets for 40ish receiving yards.
We must also remember that Rob Kelley (FDraft $8400, DraftKings – $4200, FanDuel – $5500) will likely be back after being on the Week 3 inactive list with a rib injury and Samaje Perine (FDraft $8000, DraftKings – $4100, FanDuel – $5500) is lurking as well (please note he has a hand injury, but is expected to be active).
Wide Receiver – My preference is going to be Jamison Crowder (FDraft $9800, DraftKings – $4900, FanDuel – $6100) because with CB Marcus Peters on the field, Cousins is likely going to have to work the underneath routes. If TE Jordan Reed is out again (game time decision – toe/chest) this helps Crowder’s targets. Terrelle Pryor Sr. (FDraft $10600, DraftKings – $5400, FanDuel – $6800) sort of, well not sort of… he DID burn EVERYONE last week in what we thought was a good spot against the Raiders. He warrants short slate tournament consideration because he most definitely does have touchdown upside.
Tight End – If Jordan Reed (FDraft $10100, DraftKings – $5400, FanDuel – $6700) plays, he won’t have to deal with SS/LB Eric Berry who has been lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles. If Reed misses another game, then Vernon Davis (FDraft $7400, DraftKings – $3700, FanDuel – $5100) becomes a viable discount dandy on both primetime slates.
Defense/Special Teams – Alex Smith does not give up enough sacks or turnovers to warrant selecting the Washington defense on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterback – Alex Smith (FDraft $11900, DraftKings – $6300, FanDuel – $7600) is a safe option, but has just seven TOTAL 300+ passing yard performances through his 146 career games and his passing yards have declined each week (368, 251, 155). Last week Washington kept Derek Carr in check with 118 yards, two interceptions and a score. Smith projects to be just inside the top twenty quarterback this weekend.
Running Back – The spectacular Kareem Hunt (FDraft $16100, DraftKings – $8500, FanDuel – $8900) did it again with a 69 yard touchdown to ice the game for Kansas City with under two minutes to go last Sunday. That gives him six scores 47/401/4 and 9/137/2 which is an amazing per touch rate. Additionally he is averaging just shy of 35 yards per score (69, 53, 2, 3, 78, 4) and he rates out as a top three running back this week. At some point the music will stop and we will be left without a chair, but let’s just kick that can down the road and keep our fingers crossed the magic beans don’t run out just yet.
Wide Receiver – There just is not enough volume (completions and yards) to really support the current prices for the Kansas City receiving corps. Tyreek Hill (FDraft $12700, DraftKings – $6800, FanDuel – $7400) is by far the top option, but unless he scores from 20+ yards out, it is unlikely he will have a big game with DB Josh Norman patrolling the secondary. Short slate tournaments only, but do keep in mind he is returning punts for the Chiefs and is an interesting “double dip” play with their defense.
Tight End – On one side we have a Washington team allowing 7.3 targets, 6.0 receptions and 83.3 yards per game for the seventh most fantasy points allowed VERSUS the sporadic genius of Andy Reid who just can’t seem to get out of his own way with appropriately utilizing TE Travis Kelce (FDraft $11300, DraftKings – $6000, FanDuel – $7400) with any consistency. I am on the side of a big Kelce week, however, his targets have gone from 7 at New England to 10 vs Philadelphia to just one at San Diego last week. There is risk here, but also the potential top scoring player at the position.
Defense/Special Teams – Kirk Cousins has been sacked four times and has two interceptions through the first three games. Kansas City has eleven sacks and four interceptions and a penchant for big plays. They are the top option on the primetime slates and most definitely in the mix for full slate tournament action.
Please reach out to me in Slack or on Twitter @EmacDFS if you have questions or comments.
Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac