Point/Counterpoint: Week 4 DraftKings Strategies
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.
For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.
So let’s get to Week 4 strategy talk!
Well, week 3 was a rough one! If you were high on the Bills/Dolphins game and paying up for all the stud receivers like us, you were in trouble.
Now let’s break down Week 4 for DraftKings’ main slate! There are a few interesting games with totals over 48 that I like this week. What games are you most interested in stacking up this week?
I’m definitely looking to move on to Week 4 after injuries and disappointing performances railroaded Week 3. There are quite a few games I’m interested in this week, but there is a big x-factor this weekend with Hurricane Ian potentially impacting several games.
At first glance, Buffalo-Baltimore and Jacksonville-Philly are two of the more interesting games on this slate, and both could be dealing with serious weather. Arizona and Carolina wouldn’t be a game I’d stack up, but you do have some big names like Kyler Murray, McCaffrey, and Marquise Brown. I know a lot of times people say don’t worry about the weather, but we saw a regular thunderstorm impact the 49ers-Bears game in week 1, and this could be worse. How much are you going to let the weather impact your line-up building this week?
For me, the issue isn’t necessarily so much that we see these high-scoring games turn into 11-10 games like that Sunday Night Showdown, but rather that they just lower the respective ceilings on all these players. If you are paying $8,200+ for Hurts, Lamar, or Allen, you can’t settle for them having a solid 20-24 point DK day. That’s simply not going to cut it. So I do want to start by looking at other options too, but I’m having trouble finding where.
As for the non-weather games, none of them really jump out at me as ones I need to target or really stack up. There are some pieces from certain games I like, but all the top QBs and QB match-ups are the weather ones. Carson Wentz and the Commanders put up points the first 2 weeks, but a top defense shut them down in week 3. Dallas has similar talent defensively and the Cowboys figure to try to slow the game down. The Lions’ offense was also high flying in the first couple weeks, but it’s possible both D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown will miss this game. Tough to get excited to stack an offense when their two best weapons will be out.
I agree, when you consider that weather could be a factor in some good games, there is not much to get excited about in terms of stacks on this slate. In terms of the potential weather-impacted games, I think we are going to have to wait until the weekend and what the forecast is then. If it’s a total washout in either of those places (Baltimore/Philly), I don’t have much of a desire to stack or play those games. I’ve watched too many of those rain deluge games go way under the total. This is where we need to trust the meteorologists and Vegas. If the total doesn’t go down on these games AND the weather forecast calls for rain but not a ton of rain or wind, then I’m very interested in these games.
As for other games to stack outside of Buffalo/Baltimore and Jacksonville/Philly, it’s tough. If Amon-Ra St. Brown can play, I would have some interest in some Goff/ASB/Seattle stacks. It’s hard to believe three games in and I’m already not interested in an AFC West showdown between the Raiders and Broncos. But so far, it hasn’t been pretty for these two teams. It could be contrarian to play this stack and hope one or both sides have a breakout game. I also think it would be contrarian to play a Chargers stack against the Texans and hope Herbert is having a good day with the pain and their offense plays better. Finally, before I watched the MNF game, I had a little interest in going back to a low-owned Wentz stack. But after watching the Cowboys’ pass rush, I’m nervous as a Washington fan. But as a DFS player, it’s going to take a very creative game plan for Washington to put up points.
Who are your core plays for RB, WR, and TE outside of stacks?
I agree, I think the line movement from Vegas will be very important with these potential weather games. This is definitely a slate where we might need to make some pivots depending on what the forecast looks like late Saturday night.
Before the season started if someone said you could play a low-owned Raiders-Broncos game stack or a Justin Herbert stack versus the Texans I would have jumped at the chance, but both feel risky now. The raw talent is there for both the Broncos and Raiders, but both of those teams have massively underperformed to start the season. I will probably take some shots since the upside is there if one or both of these offenses get right. As for the Chargers, things keep getting worse with the loss of their young left tackle. Maybe Keenan Allen is back this week and Herbert is a little healthier, but things are looking rough in LA right now.
For running back, injuries are going to play a big role in who I like. Jamal Williams looks like a great play if Swift is definitely out and Khalil Herbert could be as well if David Montgomery misses the game. If I’m spending up I do like Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley, and Nick Chubb. Probably won’t look to spend up on two backs though in a single line-up. Outside of the potential injury situations, Dameon Pierce and Breece Hall are both interesting. Pierce is still underpriced, and he faces a Chargers defense that has struggled against the run. They are going to be without Bosa as well. Hall is still splitting work with Michael Carter, but he should see the majority of the carries versus a struggling Steelers run defense.
At wide receiver, I like Michael Pittman Jr. versus a bad Titans secondary. Ceedee Lamb might still have Cooper Rush at QB, but he’s facing a Commanders’ secondary that really hasn’t stopped anyone. I also like the mid $6K – high $5K range. Courtland Sutton, Amari Cooper, Dionate Johnson and Tyler Lockett are all guys that can see 10+ targets. If St. Brown is out I will probably look at D.J. Chark as a cheaper option. Romeo Doubs also could be a core player if Watson is out again.
For TE, wow, it’s tough. A lot of these top ones are in the weather games. For guys like Goedert and Ertz, the price isn’t too bad that I still might play them, but it’s tough to pay up for Andrews if that game is a washout. Darren Waller is also a high-upside play, but the Raiders used Foster Moreau more last week. That might be just noise, but it’s tough to tell. I hope the Browns realized what they have in David Njoku and keep him involved in the offense. I’m guessing though he will be massively owned though at $3,700.
How about you, who are you looking at?
As for core plays outside my game stacks, this is who I’m interested in…
(I’m assuming that Bills/Ravens and Philly/Jacksonville are part of my game stacks for now):
I agree with all the RBs that you mentioned. And I’m fine eating chalk with Khalil Herbert and Jamaal Williams in their respective spots. I’ll also add that I have some interest in both Patriots’ RBs. They both got around 15+ touches last week and I could see the same thing with QB Mac Jones out.
We are back to this week having a lot of stud receivers off the slate. Which maybe is a good thing, because that went very poorly for me last week trying to jam in all the stud WRs. Outside of my game stacks, I agree that mid-range is awesome. You can make a case for a lot of those receivers from 5K-6.6.K. Of course, guys in stacks like Gabe Davis or Devonta Smith are great plays. I like all the other receivers you mentioned. Shocking the total for the Browns game, and it makes me even more interested in Amari Cooper. Also have some interest in McLaurin/Samuel, Lazard, Wilson, and DJ Moore. DJ Moore at that price against the Cardinals, I need to go back to right?
You’re right at TE, not a lot to love. I agree with Goedert and Ertz as core plays. I also will go back to Kyle Pitts and TJ Hockenson. My paydown spots will be Dawson Knox (his price has really dropped after a slow start), Logan Thomas, and Robert Tonyan.
Any major fades for this week? How do you see your line-up construction going? Will it be more balanced this week with a lot of good mid-priced receivers?
I like the Logan Thomas call even though he burned me last week. Hopefully, the Commanders’ offense has some ability to move the football vs the Cowboys’ defense.
The issue for this slate is that every game has some major question marks. What does the return of Zach Wilson mean to the Jets, particularly their pass catchers? Joe Flacco leads the league in passing attempts, which was good for Garrett Wilson. Will the Jets take the same approach with Wilson coming off the injury? I like Wilson’s price and Elijah Moore‘s as well, but will this offense pass enough? Also, is Wilson going to be a downgrade for the pass catchers? It’s kinda the reason why I’m intrigued with Breece Hall at RB, thinking the Jets ease Wilson back into the game.
I also love playing Allen Lazard and do think he’s truly Rodgers’ top option, but this game could be a blowout. The Patriots’ offense is already struggling and Mac Jones is out. Is Brian Hoyer going to keep it close for Aaron Rodgers to keep throwing? I just don’t know what to do with this situation.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do with the Panthers. Their offense is so uninspiring right now. They are giving McCaffrey carries, but they aren’t throwing to him. Moore’s price has dropped, but this offense can’t get him involved. He has had just 6 targets a game, and this last week he managed a meager single catch for 2 yards. Maybe playing Arizona will pace up the game and create some opportunities, but wow the floor is low here.
I see myself being generally more balanced, maybe I do find a way to pay up for two backs. It’s not appealing in general given how the season has gone, but maybe this week that is the play. I also do think there are mid-and-low priced WRs worth grabbing as you said.
As for a full fade, the only guys I’m really off of totally right now are Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey. I know JT had the 30-point game in week 1, but there was an OT quarter involved there. How is Taylor the highest-priced guy on the slate? Taylor is $400 more than Davante Adams and it really doesn’t make sense. Adams has had a similar year to Taylor 30-point game in week 1, and then back-to-back disappointing games. Yet in all three weeks Adams has outscored Taylor. It’s the same story with CMC, he’s more than any other back, WR or TE, yet hasn’t come close to showing he’s worth that price. Back-to-back 100-yard games are nice, but the lack of targets is very troubling. Also with just how limited that offense looks, they just aren’t scoring enough or producing enough plays for McCaffrey to be a real threat for a ceiling game. With all the receivers seeing a price decrease and a lot more reasonable priced backs, I just can’t bring myself to pay for these two.
I think this summarizes our early week 4 strategies:
-If the weather is playable in Baltimore and Philly – stack those games, especially Bills/Ravens.
-Contranain game stacks could be Denver/Vegas and LA Chargers/Houston. We have some interest in the Detroit/Seattle game too.
-There are a lot of question marks for a lot of teams this week.
-Backup running backs may be chalk this week but they are great value for their role, so I’m fine with the chalk for Herbert and Williams.
-The mid-tier of WR is loaded! Paying up for QB and a more balanced build may be more in play this week.
What do you think of these strategies for Week 4 DFS on DraftKings?