Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity — that’s what fantasy football is all about. Each week I aggregate projections from around the internet and find the best DFS values from a dollar-per-opportunity perspective.
It was another tough week for the picks, but we’re holding our head above water with a 16-14 overall record. Given the tumultuous start to the season I guess I can consider myself lucky. The big hits last week were Deshaun Watson (4.6x) and Tyler Boyd (6.9x). The big misses were Keenan Allen (0.7x) and Dion Lewis (1.6x), while everyone else was hovering right around the cash value mark.
This week I’m going to dig deep and focus on trying not to get too cute. Let’s get to the Week 4 plays!
Deshaun Watson | 37.6 Opp Score | $6,300 DK
I’m going back to the well with Watson, well, because it’s the smart thing to do. The haters will tell you all about his turnovers, but we don’t necessarily care about those in fantasy and especially in DFS. The Texans-Colts matchup has some shootout potential, but if we look past that you see a quarterback who provides a solid floor thanks to his average of 40 rush yards per game. Since there’s no Cam Newton on the slate, Watson has the top opportunity score and with DraftKings’ QB pricing so condensed it doesn’t matter that he’s priced as the QB5 — his $6,300 price tag is easy to stomach.
Andy Dalton | 34.4 Opp Score | $5,400 DK
If you’re looking for a cheap quarterback you will be tempted to play Baker Mayfield and maybe even Josh Allen,1 but Andy Dalton is the easy smash play for me in this range. The easy explanation is that Vegas has the game total at 53.5 points and Dalton is priced as the QB14. However, the matchup against a Falcons defense that has allowed consecutive 300-yard passes is also too good to pass up. Dalton has his full arsenal of weapons at his disposal so don’t be surprised if he continues piling on points. The Game Level Similarity Projections from the Weekly Stat Explorer agree.
Ezekiel Elliott | 32.7 Opp Score | $7,700 DK
You want to talk about let-down games? The Lions are coming off a big, primetime win against the Patriots and now have to travel to Dallas to face the lowly Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott has been an absolute workhorse — he’s been on the field for 93.7 percent of the offensive snaps and seen 92 percent of the team’s non-QB rush attempts — but he’s also been efficient. His 14.3 rushing points above expectation (ruFPOE) ranks third behind only Isaiah Crowell and Matt Breida.
Look for Zeke to get going against a soft Lions run defense as our fantasy streaming app shows below. The Cowboys are favored by three points at home, which sets up well for Elliott’s usage on Sunday and his 13th-ranked $/opp makes him a solid cash game play. I also think his ownership should be held in check due to most players wanting to fit in Alvin Kamara ($9,600) and Saquon Barkley ($8,100) so fire him up in GPPs.
Gio Bernard | 28.8 Opp Score | $6,300 DK
With Joe Mixon out, look for Giovani Bernard to once again handle the bulk of the backfield work for the Bengals. That alone is enough of an argument to play him at his price, but add in the matchup and his value increases immensely. In the past, the Falcons have notoriously been generous to running backs catching the ball out the backfield and this season is no different. In the last two weeks the Falcons have allowed a 15-14-102-0 receiving line to Christian McCaffrey and 20-15-124-0 to Kamara. Those are jaw-dropping numbers. Obviously we know Bernard’s very capable in the passing game, but he’s an underrated runner — his 3.58 yards after contact per attempt ranks fifth overall. Bernard’s fifth-ranked opportunity score is up there with the likes of Elliott and Barkley, but he’s at a discount, making him a great value play.
Dion Lewis | 23.0 Opp Score | $4,400 DK
If you’re looking to save some cash in GPPs, Dion Lewis could put up a big score at a low cost as he’s the top $/opp play on the board. Charles Kleinheksel’s GLSP article outlines why Lewis makes sense over Derrick Henry, which includes this visual from Dave Caban’s Weekly Explorer tool.2
Lewis is one the league’s most elusive backs and should be in for a big workload in the passing game as the Titans are home underdogs against a tough Eagles defense. Lewis has out-snapped Henry this season 113 to 77, but more importantly he’s run 58 routes to Henry’s 21.
Jarvis Landry | 24.7 Opp Score | $7,400 DK
It’s exciting times in Cleveland as they finally have a quarterback who can get the ball to these dynamic weapons on offense. We’ve become accustom to Jarvis Landry being synonymous with a low average depth of target (aDOT), but that’s not the case presently. Even before Baker Mayfield stepped on the field, Landry was being targeted 10+ yards down the field on a regular basis and his 11.7 aDOT ranks 28th out of 57 qualifying wide receivers.3 While his price is creeping up — he’s priced as the WR9 — he still comes with the fourth-highest opportunity score and the ninth-ranked $/opp.
Allen Robinson | 18.8 Opp Score | $5,900 DK
On the surface, this is a great value play for two reasons. First, Allen Robinson has the 14th-ranked $/opp ranking and, second, his 0.70 weighted opportunity score (WOPR) ranks 10th among wide receivers.
If we dig a little deeper, the absence of Anthony Miller may provide an extra boost we weren’t expecting. Miller has been playing 68 percent of his snaps from the slot, perhaps leading to an increase on Robinson’s 32 percent slot rate.4
Sterling Shepard | 18.6 Opp Score | $4,900 DK
Sterling Shepard is one of my favorite plays this week not only because he has the second-ranked $/opp on the slate, but his matchup against P.J. Williams is a dream scenario. The loss of Patrick Robinson will force Williams, who has allowed a 9-8-161-3 receiving line on just 33 coverage snaps, to cover Shepard on the majority of snaps this week. Great value plus great matchup equals great DFS play. That’s just basic math you learn in elementary school.
Eric Ebron | 11.9 Opp Score | $3,600 DK
I’m not straying too far away from Eric Ebron in cash games as he provides the best $/opp value on the board. Ebron benefited greatly last week with Jack Doyle out (no surprise there) — he played 88 percent of the snaps and ran 41 routes with 11 targets. The Colts had him lined up in the slot for 20 snaps and he even saw five snaps split out wide. That kind of usage for his price is a slam-dunk play in DFS and his ownership should be low due to his bad results during #Ebronincash week.
Good luck this week, and remember you can use the DFS Lineup Optimizer that employs the GLSP projections from the Weekly Explorer. You can lock and blacklist players, and if we grab a couple of my top recommendations, you might get the following lineup.