Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 4 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus.
We now have somewhat reliable data from weeks 1-3. There are defenses who have been really bad at certain aspects of the game, and we will look to exploit those here in week 4. With that being said, let’s get to it…
NFL DFS Week 4 Top Plays
Steelers (22.25) at Ravens (19.75) Total 42
As I am writing this, I am watching the Bears look absolutely terrible against the Packers. Why do I bring that up? Because the Steelers lost to this same awful Bears team just last week. The Steelers on the road are just a completely different team that I want zero part of except for Leveon Bell because he is matchup proof. The Ravens have a much better defense than the lowly Bears, so I don’t expect a ton of points to be scored in this game.
The Ravens RBs are in a good spot here, but they are sharing carries. West gets the goal line carries while Buck Allen gets most of the other work. If I had to choose, I would take Allen, but I think you can do better.
Top plays: Bell
Panthers (20) at Patriots (29) Total 49
Tom Brady is the goat. He just passed for 5 touchdowns and he is over 40 years old. He is doing everything in his power to win games while his defense is doing everything in its power to lose games. We are going to find out which aspect is more broken, the Pats D or Cam Newton. Cam is playing on a hurt shoulder and he is not good at all through 3 weeks. It is a shame because this is such a good matchup, but I don’t trust Cam. Instead, just rely on him to keep dumping off passes to McCaffrey, especially if Benjamin is limited in any way.
The Pats O is a good tourney play every week because of their 4-5 TD upside. I expect Brady to be one of the most popular QBs this week though. If you want to be different, but still want exposure to this high total, you can play Gillislee in tournaments. If Cam really is hurt as badly as I think he is, the Panthers won’t score many points. This means the Patriots play most of the game with a 2 TD lead, and Gillislee will pound the rock and anytime they get inside the 5-yard line, it is TD time for Gillislee. He will be unowned.
Top plays: Brady, Cooks, Hogan, Gronk, Gillislee (stackable without Gill), McCaffrey
Titans (22.75) at Texans (20.75) Total 43.5
Happy Deshaun Watson week. Side note: if you follow Eliot Crist on Twitter, you have already known it is Watson week. Eliot is a really sharp mind and is the biggest Watson believer. With that said, Watson is one of the top plays on the board this week, not only because of his insanely low price but also because of his playmaking ability. When QBs are able to extend plays with their legs, that is such a huge advantage overall. Cornerbacks aren’t able to cover receivers for long periods of time. Especially WRs with the athletic ability of Fuller and Nuk Hopkins. Not only that, but the Titans have been vulnerable through the air already this season. They just gave up 373 yards and 4 TDs to Russell Wilson who is rarely known for big yardage and big TD games. This is an incredible spot for Watson, and you can load up on Hopkins, Fuller, and Griffin with him.
The Texans have also been vulnerable through the air this year (just gave up 378 yards and 5 TDs to Brady), and this game could be one of the sneakiest shootouts all year. I think this total of 43.5 is too low. You can easily load up on this game and feel great about it. The RBs for Tennessee continue to share carries, and that is not something I want in DFS.
Top plays: Watson, Hopkins, Griffin, Fuller (stackable) Mariota, Matthews, Walker
Detroit (20.75) at Minnesota (22.25) Total 43
I respect both of these defenses enough that I don’t want to load up on this game. However, there are some awesome individual plays from this game. On the Detroit side, Golden Tate is going to eat. Rhodes shadows the outside receiver (Marvin Jones), and he will not cover Tate. Stafford will continuously throw Tate’s way. He will see double-digit targets here and is not overpriced.
On the Minnesota side, I am not falling into the trap of the one game explosion from Keenum and Co. I told you guys last week to not chase the Broncos explosion in Dallas, and this is the same exact situation. There’s a reason Keenum is a lifetime backup QB. He is not good. Don’t chase last game, and the Detroit secondary is much improved from last year, even though it is the same personnel grouping. Who is good on the Vikings though is Dalvin Cook. He is already making a case for being one of the true workhorse RBs in the NFL and he is showing no signs of slowing down. The Lions are 28th in adjusted line yards. They are losing the trenches battle and they are not even bothering to tackle the RB when he gets to the second level as they rank 26th in that aspect. I think 100 yards and a score is a realistic expectation for Cook here.
Top plays: Stafford, Cook
Bills (20.25) at Falcons (28.25) Total 48.5
Happy LeSean McCoy week. All he does is touch the ball. Winning, losing, doesn’t matter. They feed McCoy. It helps that the Bills will be trailing in this one and the Falcons rank near the bottom of the pack vs receiving RBs. We saw Montgomery torch them two weeks ago, and McCoy will do the exact same this week. He saw 7 targets and caught all of them for 48 yards against the Broncos. The Broncos….. Play McCoy. Tyrod Taylor is basically free this week also and like Watson can make things happen with his legs. In a total of 48.5, you can game stack this if you want. ATL is also bad against TE and all Clay does is catch TDs.
I don’t need to tell you to play the Falcons. I should just start copy and paste this every week because they are a top play every week. Top 3 offense in the NFL and nobody can guard Julio.
Top plays: Taylor, McCoy, Clay (stackable) Ryan, Julio, Sanu (stackable)
Rams (21) at Cowboys (27) Total 48
This is my game stack of the week. I am going to load up on this game anyway I can. The Cowboys are ravaged with injuries in the secondary, and Sean Lee is highly questionable. Even when they are healthy, they aren’t very good. On the flip side, the Rams just gave up 40 points to Brian Hoyer. Let that sink in for a minute. Hoyer just dropped a 40 burger on this Rams team and now they face the Dallas offense… Dez has faced a gauntlet (no pun intended) of CBs to start the season (Jenkins, Talib, and Peterson) and he still caught 2 TDs in those 3 weeks. Now he has cake matchups for the rest of the year. For you redraft players, your buy low Dez window is closing now. After this week, you will have to pay a King’s ransom for him.
Watkins and Tavon Austin were full participants in practice and the Rams will be at full strength here in an indoor game where they should be trailing.
Top plays: Goff, Gurley, Kupp, Watkins (stackable and is probably my favorite of the week) Dak, Zeke, Dez, Beasley (stackable)
Bengals (22) at Browns (19) Total 41
This is a really low total, meaning I don’t think we need to look at stacks here. But that doesn’t mean one player can’t explode. The Bengals are finally turning the keys over to Mixon in the backfield, and he looked eerily similar to Leveon Bell last week with his patient running style, explosiveness in space, and pass catching ability. Lazor (the new OC) loves throwing to the RB as well, so Mixon has added PPR value here. Another note about Lazor is he calls run plays at a low clip of around 43% in his years as an OC. Like I said, this means more targets for Mixon but doesn’t mean fewer touches, which is good PPR value. AJ Green should be force-fed again here as well and is a top 5 WR this week.
The Browns offense doesn’t excite me here, but if you play Duke Johnson I won’t hate you for it. He is being utilized all over the field, even as a slot WR and can make things happen in space.
Top Plays: Mixon, Green
Jags (20.5) at Jets (17.5) Total 38
This is such a low total that I want no part of this game either except Fournette. The Jags have committed to involving Fournette as much as possible while excluding Bortles as much as possible. Hurns can catch a TD here and gets a great matchup in the slot, but I would try to limit yourself to only one or two players from this game in the same lineup.
On the other side, Forte is out this week, so it becomes the Bilal Powell show. The only issue is this Jags defense is legit. So legit, that I want to load up on them as my defense this week in the lowest total game of the week. They aren’t going to be as chalky as they should be because people are not paying up for defenses this year. Through weeks 1-3 the high-priced defenses in great spots have been lower owned than they should be. I love the Jags D here.
Top plays: Fournette, Jags D
Giants (20.75) at Bucs (23.75) Total 44.5
This game is a big question mark for me. In weeks 1-2, the Giants Offense looked like the worst in the league. In week 3 they actually showed signs of life. OBJ showed he is actually healthy and can burn defenses. The O Line is still in shambles though. However, the Bucs D ranks dead last with only 1 adjusted sack this year. They are really struggling to get pressure on the QB and they allowed Keenum to sit back and pick them apart last week. If Eli actually has time to operate, the Giants O is actually usable in DFS.
I expect Jenkins to follow Evans around, but Evans rarely gets shut down. Instead, he gets limited when facing better corners. He still opens up the field for the other receivers. I actually really like a Bucs stack here as the Giants have really struggled to defend secondary receivers and TEs.
Top plays: OBJ, Engram, Winston, Brate, Jackson (stackable)
Eagles (23.5) at Chargers (24.5) Total 48
My best value play of the week comes from this game. Tyrell the Gazelle. We have yet to see him explode, but he has all the tools to have a massive game in this spot. He’s a big receiver and runs a 4.4 40 yard dash. Nobody on this Eagles team can cover him and he continues to see targets each and every week. On top of that, he is extremely underpriced on every site. Fire up, Tyrell! I wouldn’t even mind loading up on Rivers, Kennan Allen and Henry also for a full stack. Eagles just gave up points in bunches to the lowly Giants.
On the other side, the Eagles don’t have a run game. Chargers will keep scoring here and force Wentz to throw all game long in a game that Vegas has a 1 point spread. With Verrett out, the Chargers D becomes attackable. Wentz, Jeffrey, Agholor, Ertz is a top stack this week.
Top Plays: Rivers, Williams, Henry, Keenan (stackable) Wentz, Jeffrey, Agholor, Ertz (stackable)
49ers (19) at Cardinals (24,5) Total 44.5
If you watched the Cowboys-Cardinals game you noted one thing: the Cardinals O Line is almost as bad as the Giants O Line. They could not protect Palmer and give him time to throw. Well, lucky for the Cardinals, they face the second worst pass rush in the NFL. The 49ers only have 3 adjusted sacks all season and should allow Palmer to have plenty of time to pick this defense apart. I have said that Palmer hasn’t looked good with the long ball, but he doesn’t need the long ball when he has Larry Fitz. Fitz keeps defying father time, and this game should be no different. With the Cards receivers all nursing injuries except Fitz, and no run game, Fitz will see 10-15 targets every week.
Carlos Hyde is a top play every week because of his opportunity and skill set. He torched Seattle two weeks ago for over 100 yards on only 14 carries. That is the type of player he is, as he can pick up tons of yards in chunks. Other than Hyde, however, I don’t want to mess with anyone else. Garcon will likely see Peterson all afternoon.
Top plays: Fitz, Hyde, Cards D
Raiders (21.5) at Broncos (24.5) Total 46
The Raiders looked awful last week against the Skins and now they have to play in Denver. I want zero pieces of this offense this week.
On the other side, Sanders has an awesome matchup against the big corner Amerson. Amerson does better at defending the bigger receivers, but he has just been bad all around. Sanders is a smaller receiver and has the agility advantage in this matchup and saw a healthy 15 targets last week. The Broncos were playing from behind last week so that attributes to some of the targets, and I expect them to play this game from in front. However, Sanders should still see 8-10 targets and is fairly priced across the industry.
Top plays: Sanders, Broncos D
Colts (14.25) at Seahawks (27.25) Total 41.5
DraftKings decided to remove the SNF game this week from their main slate, so this is for Fanduel only.
Carson is in a great spot here. He is a 14 point home favorite. Prosise is not playing who had seen 11 targets over the last two weeks. Those targets will have to go to someone and it won’t be Rawls or Lacy. Look for Carson to see extra 2-3 targets in this one on top of his heavy ground workload that he will see. This is also a perfect spot for Jimmy Graham. Baldwin is being limited all week in practice and Russ will consistently find Graham this week. The Seahawks won’t need to push Baldwin to the limits as they should win this one comfortably. They will rely on their healthy bodies and defense.
Top plays: Graham, Seahawks D
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