We had another eventful Week 3 slate in the NFL, setting up the stage for Week 4’s 12-game main slate. Saquon Barkley went down with a serious ankle injury that’ll sideline him for possibly 4-8 weeks, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. We have some contenders playing in the primetime games, as the Packers host the Eagles on TNF, and the Saints host the Cowboys on SNF. Week 4 is also the beginning of the bye week, with the Jets and 49ers off. With all that info to work with, here are the spots that jump out in Week 4.
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Patrick Mahomes, KC at DET ($7,500) — We saw Lamar Jackson ($6,900) and Mahomes go head-to-head on Sunday. While Jackson’s still a very solid fantasy QB, Mahomes is in the top tier by himself. He dropped 30 DKFP for the third consecutive game this season, which is pretty much what you can expect every week, regardless of matchup.
This week’s matchup in Detroit has Mahomes indoors for the first time this season, and facing a defense that ranks 28th in DKFP allowed to QB. Pencil in the usual 300-plus yards and three touchdowns, and consider Mahomes a GPP/cash play, as long as you’re fine with high ownership.
Russell Wilson, SEA at ARI ($6,100) — Wilson feels like my top QB in the early going in Week 4. I would never talk you out of Mahomes, but if you can save $1,400 for a QB with a high floor and massive upside, you do it. Chris Carson ($5,700) is costing himself touches with his fumbling issues, and the RBs behind him are either banged up or not trustworthy.
Wilson was allowed to carry the offense in the Week 3 loss to the Saints, which was huge for his fantasy value — 406 yards and two touchdowns through the air, and another 51 yards and two scores on the ground (44.34 DKFP). Now he’ll face and Arizona defense that ranks 31st in DKFP allowed to QB, and an offense that will look to keep the pace up. This is the perfect storm for Wilson.
Daniel Jones NYG vs. WAS ($5,300) — Is Danny Dimes for real? Tampa may not’ve been the true test, but neither will Washington — which ranks third-worst in DKFP allowed to QB entering MNF against the Bears. In a Russ-esque fashion, Jones also got the 300-yard bonus, passing and running for two touchdowns each way in his NFL debut (39.24 DKFP).
I would look at some of these other cheap QB as safer plays, but it appears Jones has as much upside as all of them. Jones should also benefit from Saquon’s absence, and already brought more out of the weapons around him than we saw earlier in the year. More on those guys later.
Other value options: Matt Ryan ($5,900), Matt Stafford ($5,500), Jacoby Brissett ($5,400), Kyle Allen ($5,200)
Christian McCaffrey, CAR at HOU ($8,800) — Limited options for elite RB targets make it tough not to discuss McCaffrey. He bounced back from a bad game in Week 2, going for 24-153-1 on the ground, and added three receptions for 35 yards (30.8 DKFP) vs. the Cardinals. This is the CMC that should show up most weeks.
The good news is that the big game only brought CMC’s salary up $100, so even as the most expensive RB on the slate, he’s still underpriced. Houston’s fared pretty well against the RB position, but we still saw Alvin Kamara put up a big game in Week 1, without even reaching the end zone. Tough fade in cash games here.
Dalvin Cook, MIN at CHI ($8,300) — Cook continued to prove himself as the most consistent RB in fantasy football land right now, with his salary up $2,300 since the season began. Cook’s rushed for at least 110 yards and a touchdown in each game, scoring no fewer than 27 DKFP. Cook is as solid as it gets in the ground game, and tacks on another few points with his three receptions per game.
The matchup against Chicago will be his toughest yet on the surface, but the Bears haven’t had the same dominance on defense against RBs. Green Bay’s defense appears to be one of the top in the league, and Cook dropped a season-high 31.1 DKFP against them. I’d prefer to pay up for CMC, but Cook not busting on a slate yet makes him a tempting option.
Kerryon Johnson, DET vs. KC ($5,400) — Johnson is coming off a terrible game against the Eagles, although a touchdown saved him from being a complete bust (11.3 DKFP). The important thing to note, is that we’re going to see a lot more Kerryon with C.J. Anderson out of the picture. Johnson saw a noticeable bump in snaps, and it resulted in a career-high 20 carries. The bad news is he managed a pathetic 36 yards, but the workload is a positive sign for his value.
A matchup against the Chiefs will likely mean the Lions are playing from behind, but look for Johnson to get early touches. If the Chiefs do go ahead, Kerryon should remain on the field most plays, and can make a play in the passing game. I’m not in love with the RB value on this slate, but he’ll be a little bit of a pivot off the chalk, which will be Wayne Gallman ($4,600). It’ll be curious to see how the Giants operate their backfield in Week 4.
Other value options: Phillip Lindsay ($5,200), Wayne Gallman ($4,600), Carlos Hyde ($4,300), Justin Jackson ($4,100)
Keenan Allen, LAC at MIA ($7,600) — I would never tell you not to play Julio Jones ($7,800), but the matchup against Tennessee isn’t ideal. I played Julio and Allen in cash last week, which worked out great, but if we have to pick between the two, it’s going to be Allen this week. He’s been the best fantasy WR this season by a pretty large gap, and is averaging 31.2 DKFP.
Allen went for a ridiculous 13-183-2 line (46.6 DKFP) on 17 targets in the losing effort to the Texans in Week 3. He’s now up to 42 targets though three games. Now the Chargers go to Miami as massive favorites, and should have no issues keeping this momentum going. The only downside here is the blowout potential, but that hasn’t stopped WRs from going off in this matchup thus far.
Tyler Lockett, SEA at ARI ($6,300) — Outside of Jones and Allen, I don’t think many of the top WR names are in good spots — which is helpful, because it feels like a week we may have to spend up at RB. Lockett is a good mid-priced play to spend on though, and stack up with Wilson.
After a weird off game in Week 1 (one catch on two targets) that was saved by a touchdown, Wilson has targeted Lockett 26 times the last two weeks. He’s caught 21 of them for 233 yards and a touchdown. Lockett has an ideal matchup in Arizona, and his salary is somehow up only $100.
Sterling Shepard, NYG vs. WAS ($5,800) — Shepard is the other name that pops here, as it’s clear Jones trusts him — turning nine targets into a 7-100-1 line in Tampa, along with two carrier for 21 yards (30.1 DKFP). Shepard played almost every snap in his return from a concussion, and saw a monster 25% target share.
Shepard doesn’t fit into the classic value mold here at this price tag, but if Jones is for real, the WR1 upside is there. Entering Monday night against the Bears, Washington ranks second to last in the NFL in DKFP allowed to WRs — and outside of the TE position, Shepard is the man in this offense now.
Other value options: Larry Fitzgerald ($5,600), Marvin Jones ($5,400), Mecole Hardman ($5,100), Emmanuel Sanders ($4,900), Curtis Samuel ($4,600), Terry McLaurin ($4,500)
Darren Waller, OAK at IND ($5,200) — So I’m tempted to go multiple ways here. Not listing Travis Kelce ($7,200) as the play is more of a compliment to Mahomes. Kelce had a pedestrian 15.9 DKFP against the Ravens, and Detroit ranks top-5 against TEs so far this season. No matter who’s on the field Mahomes is going to spread it around.
Waller stands out because we can just be so positive he’s going to get his touches — after bringing in 13-of-14 targets for 134 yards (and getting a rushing attempt) in Week 3, Waller’s now averaging 18.8 DKFP per game, without a trip to the end zone yet. That should play well against a Colts defense that allowed Austin Hooper ($4,300) to score twice in Week 3.
I also didn’t want to write up Evan Engram ($5,700) here because we’ve been so Giants-heavy thus far. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to consider Engram the top fantasy TE overall right now. With Saquon out, and Danny Dimes in, this offense is going to be slinging it, and Engram and Shepard are the only legit weapons. Engram’s 6-113-1 line (26.3 DKFP) was pretty encouraging ahead of a matchup against Washington.
Will Dissly, SEA at ARI ($3,600) — Speaking of being too heavy on one offense, let’s add Dissly to your Russ-Lockett stack. Wilson’s been finding the TE position the last two weeks, hooking up on 11-of-12 targets for 112 yards and three touchdowns. That’s over 20 DKFP per game in the last two outings, and comes at an extreme discount against the Cardinals — who rank dead last against the TE position. The lack of value at the position also makes it easy to focus here.
Other value options: Vernon Davis ($3,400)
Chargers D/ST at MIA ($3,800) — We’re getting to the point that the defense that faces the Dolphins will be featured here every week. The Chargers haven’t been spectacular on defense this season, but they’ve been solid. Translate that into a matchup with the Dolphins, and your defense has now become elite.
I will say, the Patriots make for a pivot consideration. The 3-0 Bills are about to face their first true test, and this D/ST has scored in double-digit DKFP each week.
Buccaneers D/ST at LAR ($2,100) — It’s hard not to like the Rams to prevail in this matchup, but that doesn’t mean they need to play well. Jared Goff ($6,300) hasn’t been great this season, and had three turnovers against the Browns on SNF. My concern is that the Rams operate much more smoothly at home, but the Tampa defense has been better than advertised, and may be worth considering in a GPP.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.