DFS Roundtable: Multi-Touchdown Bonanza

Which wide receiver(s) or tight end(s) do you see as being set up best for Week 4 multi-touchdown eruptions?

Which wide receiver(s) or tight end(s) do you see as being set up best for Week 4 multi-touchdown eruptions? Feel free to discuss the usual suspects (Odell Beckham Jr Jr., for example) or a less popular option you're especially keen on (is it Austin Hooper Week?)

James Brimacombe: A.J. Green is the first name that comes to my mind this week when thinking about a multi-touchdown performance. Cleveland is coming off a game in which they allowed T.Y. Hilton to collect a 7-153-1 stat line, and Green himself just had a 10-111-1 game against the Packers. It is always hard to predict someone to score multiple touchdowns, as I look more at the opportunity and the amount of volume that player will be seeing. I believe Green is in line for 10+ targets this week as the Bengals will be looking for their first win of the year, and even if this game gets out of hand, I believe they’ll continue to pile up the points. 

To help me identify these types of players, I like to look for situations, someone who had a bad game the week before (or weeks before), matchups, whether Vegas predicts a close game or a high-scoring game, and most importantly, if a star player has yet to find the end zone. If they haven’t, I like to target them early in the season. For example, this week I also really like Demaryius Thomas to get his first touchdown of the year.

Justin Bonnema: Over the last two games, 6 receivers have 21+ targets. Only two of them have not found the end zone: DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones. For Jones, that plays right into his career narrative of being allergic to the end zone. I think he gets off the schneid this week against Buffalo. The Bills have been tough against opposing wideouts this year, but that's more a reflection of competition than competence. They faced Josh McCown's Jets and Cam Newton's Panthers over the first two games, which, if you've watched even a little bit of football, you know have been two terrible offenses. Last week, Trevor Siemian exposed the Bills' secondary by connecting with Thomas 6 times for 98 yards and Emmanuel Sanders 7 times for 75. (And I agree with James that Thomas finds his first touchdown of the season this week against Oakland.) Long story short: Jones breaks the drought scores twice at home this week.

Hopkins is a little harder to project. The Texans are content to run in the red zone, which limits his touchdown outlook. And Deshaun Watson is always a threat to score with his legs. But Hopkins has game-changing ability and can score from anywhere on the field. I think he embarrasses the Titans secondary this week and potentially finds pay dirt twice. 

From a purely contrarian angle, while everyone is on Odell Beckham Jr Jr, allow me to filter some love to Brandon Marshall. He and Manning finally connected last week 8 times on 11 attempts. Sterling Shepard was the benefit of a pair of touchdowns in that game; this week I think it's Marshall. The Buccaneers have been getting pummeled by wide receivers this season, allowing the most points per game to the position, and their defensive front will likely be without key pass-rushers. Give me a Giants road upset on the backs of multiple touchdowns from Marshall.

Jason Wood: I feel it's still too early to really trust defensive matchup data, but three weeks when combined with what we already know of a team's defensive roster and prior accomplishments is better than nothing. To that end, I am more focused on which players have defined offensive roles (target share, potency of the overall offense) and then let my defensive analysis break any ties. 

In terms Week Four candidates for multiple touchdowns, I'll offer a few thoughts:

Dez Bryant - Bryant has been targeted 6 times from within the 10-yard line, yet has only 1 catch and a single touchdown in that zone. Bryant is healthy and Dak Prescott woke up last week; Bryant will start scoring more frequently. The Rams made the 49ers look explosive, so I can see Bryant getting right this week.

Paul Richardson Jr - Richardson has three targets from inside the 10 already, and has caught 2 touchdowns. A lot of people think of Richardson as a vertical threat, but the Seahawks have shown a willingness to trust him in tight quarters and on the goal line. With Doug Baldwin banged up, Richardson could be a focal point for Russell Wilson against a terrible Colts team.

Amari Cooper - I'm worried about Cooper's chances of becoming the elite player we all hoped he would become, but this week is an intriguing setup. The Broncos are perceived as an impregnable defense, yet they've given up seven passing touchdowns through three games (second-most in the NFL). Meanwhile, Cooper has been targeted 5 times from within the 10-yard line already. With Michael Crabtree's status up in the air, Cooper could be a GPP difference-maker. His ownership should be low because of the Broncos' defensive reputation and Cooper's own inconsistencies.

Danny Tuccitto: My method here is to identify players that a) rank in the top quartile of True Touchdowns per Route Run (TDPRR), and b) don't have as many touchdowns as they "should" at the moment.

At tight end, this procedure reveals two players: Hunter Henry and Ed Dickson. What's most surprising about Henry's boom-or-bust start to the season is that his boom game didn't include a touchdown reception. In the Sunday Main slate on DraftKings, he has the No. 2 True TDPRR and is facing an Eagles pass defense that surrendered a touchdown to Travis Kelce on the road two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Dickson has the 10th-highest TDPRR among tight ends in the slate, and he faces a Patriots pass defense that's given up a tight end touchdown each of the past two weeks.

At wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas, Devin Funchess, and Julio Jones have yet to score a touchdown this season despite having TDPRRs that rank 6th, 7th, and 14th, respectively, in the Sunday main slate.

Justin Howe: I love Jason’s group, and I’m glad someone mentioned Bryant. Simply put, 6 dark zone (within 10 yards of the end zone) targets over 3 games is something to howl at the moon over; last year’s season-long leader (Jordy Nelson) had 15 over 16 games. Clearly, Bryant is at the forefront of the Cowboys’ plans near the goal line. And his bullheaded touchdown in Week 3 displayed just how important the end zone is to the guy. After all, he boasts an astounding 14.6% career touchdown-per-reception rate. That’s significantly better than Calvin Johnson’s, for crying out loud.

But I’ll respectfully disagree with the board on Demaryius Thomas, who’s never been much of a touchdown scorer, in favor of teammate Emmanuel Sanders. Since the start of last season, Sanders has been markedly better near the goal line, with more opportunity and a much better touchdown rate.

And I’ll also throw a hat into the ring for Rob Gronkowski, who’s finally affordable enough to force into any kind of DFS lineup. Gronkowski is Gronkowski, and his touchdown-making ability needs no introduction. And it’s carried nicely into 2017: he’s already drawn 3 targets from inside the 10-yard line and 6 deep targets. Few can boast his nose for the end zone, and he’s a weekly threat to produce multiple touchdowns.

Chris Feery: I’m leaning toward the aforementioned A.J. Green and Julio Jones for multiple-touchdown upside this week. Green is going to see a ton of targets against a poor Browns team, and we can naturally assume that some will be of the red zone variety. As Bonnema mentioned, it’s time for Jones to get off the schnied for end zone trips. The Falcons are one of the highest projected scoring teams of the week, and I’m expecting Jones to do some damage against the Bills.

I like Jason’s call of Paul Richardson Jr as well, and we should be keeping a close eye on the injury reports for that one. If signs point to Doug Baldwin being good enough to give it a go, I’ll look his way for the potential for multiple scores in what should be a blowout against the Colts. To add another name to the list, I’ll be looking at Larry Fitzgerald against the 49ers. Carson Palmer looked a lot better in Week 3, and Fitzgerald finally broke through with the kind of game we’ve all been anticipating since David Johnson went down to injury. The connection could pick up right where it left off against a 49ers team that is no stranger to giving up points.