Each week I take a look at every NFL game in an attempt to identify players that can be stacked together to maximize value in GPP play at FanDuel and DraftKings. I examine the spreads and totals for each game as well as the implied totals for each team and blend that with the likeliest script that these games will follow. In doing so, I attempt to find players that can pay dividends for your lineup. In some cases, I will also provide a pivot within the stack to another player and give reasons as to why a pivot might make sense. You can use this information as a guide, and you will have multiple options to help you to sort through the noise while you put lineups together that can offer a degree of security.
FanDuel: Brees ($8,700) + Thomas ($9,000) = $17,700
DraftKings: Brees ($6,600) + Thomas ($9,100) = $15,700
Facing the No. 24 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 13 ranked pass defense allowing 232 yards per game
Game Total - 50
Implied Totals - Saints at 27 points and Giants at 23 points
Game Line - New Orleans Saints -3.5
The New Orleans Saints travel to the Meadowlands to face the New York Giants on Sunday for a potential shootout in Week 4. This game has one of the highest totals of the week at 50 points, and it appears that both teams will put points on the board because both teams are struggling on defense.
The Saints have one of the highest implied total of the week (27), and they are off to a fantastic start to the 2018 season, averaging a shade under 35 points per game. Brees has picked apart defenses as the Saints throw the ball at a very high rate and are comfortable utilizing his arm to move the ball down the field.
The Giants have not faced a passing game as potent as the Saints in 2018 as they have played Jacksonville, Dallas, and Houston. The matchup against Brees will be the stiffest test the Giants have faced this year, and there are a few cracks in the armor.
The Giants have surrendered 10 passing plays of 20+ yards and only 10 teams across the league have allowed more. Also, only one team in the NFL has fewer sacks than the (4) the Giants have registered. The Giants have not been able to apply pressure on the quarterback, and if Brees gets comfortable, he will torch the Giants secondary.
Thomas has been dominant in the season’s first three games. He has seen 40 targets in three games. He has converted 38 of those targets into catches for 398 yards and three scores, and the target volume should stay at a high level in Week 4.
One of the things that can push this stack over the top is the Giants ability to keep pace with the Saints in this game. If the Giants offense can force the Saints to stay aggressive, there is no reason to think that Thomas’ cannot produce numbers this week similar to what we have seen in the first three games, and that makes this stack very worthy in Week 4 for GPP play.
FanDuel: Rivers ($7,800) + Allen ($8,100) = $15,900
DraftKings: Rivers ($6,500) + Allen ($8,300) = $14,800
Facing the No. 29 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 27 ranked pass defense allowing 287.7 yards per game
Game Total - 47.5
Implied Totals - Chargers at 29 points and 49ers at 18.5 points
Game Line - Los Angeles Chargers -10.5
The San Diego Chargers are at home versus the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4, and they are a big favorite over a team that lost its starting quarterback for the season in Week 3. This game has a low total, but the implied number for the Chargers has them a touch over four scores, and that means plenty of opportunities for Rivers to stay on a hot streak to start the 2018 season.
Rivers has thrown for eight scores and one interception to go along with 906 yards in his first three games in 2018. The Chargers offense is potent, and Rivers is playing some of the best football of his career.
Opposing quarterbacks have hit the 49ers for a rating of 104.0, and only seven teams in the NFL have yielded a worse rating. The 49ers have also given up eight scores through the air, and only two teams across the NFL have given up more passing scores.
Interestingly, the 49ers are doing a pretty solid job of allowing 7.1 yards per reception which ranks 18th best in the NFL. However, they have defended 127 passes which are fifth-most in the NFL. Teams have been hitting the 49ers underneath, and that makes Allen a very high-end play in this matchup.
Allen has started the season slowly in 2018 as he has seen 26 targets in three games. He has registered 17 catches for 219 yards and a score this season, but this is a premium matchup for him where he wins on the field.
Allen is an elite route runner, capable of winning anywhere in the route, whether that is in the early, intermediate, or deeper parts of the field. He has a significant edge over 49ers slot corner K’Waun Williams, and the 49ers are going to have a difficult time trying to cover Allen in this game.
Note that Allen missed practice Wednesday and his status is up in the air for Sunday. Monitor his status and ensure that Allen practices this week before he becomes a part of your roster.
UPDATE: Allen is working through a knee injury but he practiced in a limited fashion on Friday. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he thought Allen would be fine to play this weekend, but Allen remains a risk for reinjury. The matchup is outstanding and while there is great upside here, there is also the possibility that Allen sinks your roster if he aggravates his injury and misses significant time in the game.
Pivot: Wide receiver Mike Williams ($6,300 at FanDuel and $4,500 at DraftKings) is a very interesting option in Week 4 facing Bills cornerback Jimmy Ward. Williams is a big, vertical threat but he can also win in the red zone, and he might have an expanded role in store on Sunday. The Chargers should be able to have their way with the 49ers secondary, and Williams has shown the high-quality playmaking he is capable of, and why he was such an early pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
FanDuel: Rodgers ($8,500) + Graham ($6,000) = $14,500
DraftKings: Rodgers ($6,800) + Graham ($4,500) = $11,300
Facing the No. 22 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 18 ranked pass defense allowing 256.7 yards per game
Game Total - 45.5
Implied Totals - Packers at 28 points and Bills at 17.5 points
Game Line - Green Bay Packers -10
The Green Bay Packers bring the Buffalo Bills to Lambeau Field on Sunday for a Week 4 matchup. The Bills stunned the NFL last week with their dismantling of the Vikings, but this week they face Rodgers and one of the best passing attacks in the NFL.
The Packers have the fourth highest implied number in Week 4 as they are forecast to score four touchdowns. Rodgers is one of the game’s elite quarterbacks, and he is a very safe option for DFS play on a regular basis. The Packers struggle to run the football, and the emphasis of their offense lies on the arm of their quarterback.
The 49ers are the league’s No. 23 ranked DVOA pass defense versus the tight end position. They have allowed 18 catches, 213 yards, and a score to start the season and Graham is in a premium spot here. Tight ends see 8.7 attempts per game versus the Bills, and only four teams across the league give up more attempts to the position.
The Bills allow a 6.8-yard average which ranks No. 10 in the NFL, and while they are holding teams down and eliminating plays for big yardage, they are surrendering yardage due to volume. The Bills have defended 120 passes in 2018 which is sixth-most in the NFL. Also, quarterbacks are completing 74.2 percent of passes against the Bills, and only one team in the NFL allows a higher percentage.
Graham has a very intriguing set of skills, and he is a security blanket for Rodgers because of his size and length. He can box out defenders with his long arms and his big body, and he projects very favorably in this matchup where he will be counted on to move the chains. He is also a very difficult assignment in the red zone with his ability to play jump ball against significantly shorter defenders.
Graham is not the first option in the Packers passing attack, but he should see heavy volume in this matchup and is a very worthy option for GPP play in Week 4.
Pivot: Wide receivers Randall Cobb ($6,100 at FanDuel and $5,100 at DraftKings) and Davante Adams ($8,000 at FanDuel and $7,800 at DraftKings) are both very interesting options in this game. Adams may draw Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, and that is a tough matchup, but he scores touchdowns and has earned Rodgers’ trust. Cobb draws a favorable matchup in Bills slot cornerback Taron Johnson, and he can make defenders miss and is capable of taking quick, short throws and turning them into big plays.
UPDATE: Cobb did not practice and is listed as questionable for Week 4 with a hamstring injury, and there is always the risk of a tweak with these kinds of injuries. Graham benefits if Cobb misses this game as he may see an increase in targets and red-zone volume.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
FanDuel: Manning ($7,100) + Beckham Jr. ($8,600) = $15,700
DraftKings: Manning ($5,600) + Beckham Jr. ($8,700) = $14,300
Facing the No. 32 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 30 ranked pass defense allowing 336.7 yards per game
Game Total - 50
Implied Totals - Giants at 23 points and Saints at 27 points
Game Line - New York Giants +3.5
The New York Giants bring the high-octane New Orleans Saints into town for a Week 4 NFC showdown. This game has the potential to be a very high scoring game as both teams have potent offenses and are vulnerable on defense. This game has the third-highest total of the week (50) and is a matchup that has shootout potential.
The Saints defense is currently struggling to defend the pass, and the Giants have the weapons to turn this into a very high-scoring game. Teams have gashed the Saints through the air and are averaging 11.2 yards per attempt which is worst in the NFL.
The Saints have given up 10 scores through the air which is the most in the NFL. Also, they have given up 14 passing plays of 20+ yards which is fifth-worst in the league. The Saints have given up five passing plays of 40+ yards which is the most allowed in the NFL.
The Saints have yielded a quarterback rating of 141.7 which is the highest in the NFL. They have allowed passers to complete 74.2 percent of their passes in 2018 and only one team in the NFL has allowed a higher percentage. It is not difficult to see the Giants have a very big day on Sunday through the air.
Complicating matters is the injury to Saints starting cornerback Patrick Robinson who went to IR with an ankle injury. The Giants face a very vulnerable secondary without one of its starters, and there is nothing but positive for the Giants when it is summed up.
Manning is an aging veteran, but he has a wonderful matchup this week and he should produce at a high level. He has started the season on a good note, and when these teams played in 2015, he threw six touchdown passes in what was an incredibly high scoring game.
Beckham is one of, if not the game’s most explosive receivers, capable of taking advantage of any little opportunity and turning it into a huge play. He is expensive to roster, but his big-play ability makes him worthy of consideration, especially considering how poor the Saints are playing on defense right now.
Beckham has been targeted 34 times in three games, and he has converted 24 into catches for 271 yards, but he has yet to score in 2018. When these teams played in 2015, Beckham scored three times while catching eight passes and accumulating 130 yards. Look for him to get into the end zone this week, and the expectation is that he should be incredibly productive on Sunday.
Pivot: New York Giants receiver Sterling Shepard ($6,200 at FanDuel and $4,900 at DraftKings) is also a very intriguing option playing out of the slot. He is a very nuanced route runner and will be able to exploit the Saints. He is more valuable at DraftKings at such a low cost because of the full point for receptions, and it is not hard to see his path to 4x production in this game.
FanDuel: Flacco ($6,900) + Brown ($6,200) = $13,100
DraftKings: Flacco ($5,400) + Brown ($5,800) = $11,200
Facing the No. 16 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 28 ranked pass defense allowing 288 yards per game
Game Total - 48.5
Implied Totals - Ravens at 22.5 points and Steelers at 26 points
Game Line - Baltimore Ravens +3
The Baltimore Ravens are on the road in Week 4 as they travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC North matchup. This game has a relatively high total, and there is sneaky potential for this game to go over the 48.5-point number because of how each offense is performing.
The Steelers are going to score points as their offense is rolling, but they are also giving up too many points through the air. The Steelers have surrendered 10 passing touchdowns which is tied for worst in the NFL. They have given up 15 passing plays of 20+ yards and only two teams in the league have allowed more.
It is evident that the Steelers potency on offense is forcing the opposition to keep the foot on the gas pedal to stay in games, and the defense is not up to the task. Flacco and the Ravens passing attack will be the beneficiary in this game, but this stack is not without risk.
There is risk because of the low implied number for the Ravens (22.5), but you are banking on the idea that the Ravens will have to throw the ball here to stay in this game. The Ravens are averaging 3.1 yards per carry which is second-worst in the NFL, and only six teams league-wide average fewer yards rushing per game than the 86.7 the Ravens are averaging.
Brown has seen 23 targets through three games and he has converted 12 into catches. He has 222 yards receiving and two touchdowns in 2018. However, Brown is the Ravens big play threat to stretch the field and is a player that can take the top off the defense in a flash.
The Steelers have been gashed through three games in 2018 through big plays in the passing game and Brown could pay off in a very big way should that continue in Week 4.
FanDuel: Mayfield ($6,900) + Landry ($7,000) = $13,900
DraftKings: Mayfield ($5,300) + Landry ($7,400) = $12,700
Facing the No. 31 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 19 ranked pass defense allowing 258 yards per game
Game Total - 45
Implied Totals - Browns at 21 points and Raiders at 24 points
Game Line - Oakland Raiders -2.5
The Cleveland Browns travel across the country to take on the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in an AFC matchup in Week 4. The game has a modest total with each team expected to score around three touchdowns. The Browns get Mayfield in his first NFL start, and with that there are expectations.
Mayfield took the reins from quarterback Tyrod Taylor as Taylor was injured, and for one week, he never looked back. He made some incredibly impressive tight-window throws and was a major catalyst that allowed the Browns to win their first game in a long time. If we are looking for one word to describe Mayfield’s play, it is efficiency.
The Raiders are allowing an 8.7-yard per catch average and only two teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Raiders have allowed 15 passing plays of 20-plus yards and only two teams are worse in this area. Only 10 teams have allowed more touchdown passes than the six the Raiders have allowed. Lastly, the Raiders have a total of three sacks in 2018, and no team has fewer sacks through three weeks this season.
Landry has emerged as the primary, first option in the Browns passing attack. He has 37 targets through three weeks, catching 22 balls for 278 yards but he is still without a score. Landry needs to get into the end zone to be worthy of a play in GPP play, but this matchup is very favorable.
There should be plenty of excitement about what Mayfield starting at quarterback does for Landry from a target perspective. Mayfield is going to challenge defenses in ways that Taylor would not, and that means more catches and opportunity to produce from plays where the ball would not get thrown a short week ago.
The risk comes via the low implied numbers for each team and the possibility that this game could end up a bit of a grind it out type affair. However, there is upside, and the cost to roster Mayfield and Landry is inexpensive enough that it allows you to find the chalk elsewhere.
Leonard Fournette + Jaguars Defense
FanDuel: Fournette ($7,700) Jaguars ($5,200) = $12,900
DraftKings: Fournette ($7,000) Jaguars ($4,100) = $11,100
Facing the No. 4 ranked DVOA rush defense and the No. 12 ranked run defense allowing 102.3 yards per game
Game Total - 38
Implied Totals - Jaguars at 23 points and Jets at 15 points
Game Line - Jacksonville Jaguars -7.5
The Jacksonville Jaguars are at home versus the New York Jets on Sunday for a Week 4 AFC matchup. The Jaguars are a 7.5-point home favorite, but they should get Fournette get back this week, and he should have plenty of opportunity in this matchup.
The Jaguars have playmakers at every level on defense, and they are going to get to rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. Darnold is prone to mistakes (like all rookie quarterbacks), and the Jaguars will pressure him, and this can lead to big plays from the Jaguars defense. The Jaguars defense will be a chalk-type play in Week 4 with the phenomenal matchup, but they will be very highly owned.
The game script looks outstanding for Fournette and the Jaguars defense, and it is not difficult to see the Jaguars ahead in this game and chewing up clock via the rushing attack. Fournette is a big back, and he can wear down the opposition late in games which could lead to a very productive game.
Both sides of this stack have a chance to be extremely productive, and it is an excellent option in Week 4.
UPDATE: Fournette was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and he practiced in full on Friday. He is officially questionable and his status will not be known until warmups tomorrow morning.