Every week of the season, Ricky Sanders will break down NFL GPP tournaments with his core plays, intriguing plays and hot takes. Take home all the money!
Last week was a nice rebound for the NFL GPP article, as Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry were two of the very best pivots off the terrible chalk at the RB position. Twitter was a magical place, seeing all the screenshots that came flowing in, so the goal is to keep the momentum going in a funky Week 4. COVID-19 infections have made it to the NFL, and that means both the Titans/Steelers and Patriots/Chiefs games have been pulled off the board. There are slightly fewer choices this week, and somehow, the choices once again feel endless. Time to make sense of yet another fantasy week:
NFL GPP Core
Russell Wilson – #LetRussCook continues to be a theme in this article since the man is starting to look like the NFL version of superman. Yet again this week, Wilson will match up against a subpar passing defense that has allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game and a 108.2 passer rating to opposing QBs through three games. Meanwhile, Wilson has thrown for at least four TDs in every game so far this year and has added at least 22 yards rushing every game, as well. No wonder he is averaging an NFL-best 36.3 DK fantasy points per game (FPPG) at the QB position, and both his team’s top two running backs (RBs) this week are questionable. If one or both do not play, expect the game plan to get even more pass-heavy, which could lead to more Wilson volume against a bad defense. Any more questions?
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Quite obviously, this is the game I will be focusing on from a game stack perspective, as it is the likeliest game to turn into a back-and-forth aerial attack. While the total in the Browns/Cowboys game is higher, the Browns rank second in the league in run play percentage and the Cowboys feature an RB named Ezekiel Elliott. In other words, there are outs for the game’s passing attacks to underwhelm, while this game does not include those same concerns. No defense has allowed more yards passing through three weeks than the Seahawks, and each QB has thrown for at least 397 yards against them. Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, completed 80-percent of his passes in a blowout victory last week and has combined for five total touchdowns (TDs) over the course of his past two games. In the game against Buffalo, which was a showdown against another top offense, Fitzpatrick was forced to throw the ball 47 times. It would not be surprising for a matchup versus the Seahawks to shape up the same way and for Fitzpatrick to have to put the Dolphins offense on his back. At a sub $5,500 cost on DK, that is hugely valuable.
Alvin Kamara – NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that just because Michael Thomas has been limited in practice does not mean he is playing this week. For Alvin Kamara’s purposes, that is massive news, considering he has been targeted a ridiculous 23 times in the two games without Thomas (and has caught 22 of those targets). Remember, the Lions are the defense Aaron Jones erupted against in Week 2 when he pounded them for 168 yards and two scores on the ground plus 68 yards and a TD through the air. Kamara is a dual-threat back in his own right, and it should be noted the Lions have allowed the third-most yards per carry (YPC) to this point. According to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric, the Lions rank fourth-worst in rushing defense, so Kamara is a legitimate threat to crush this matchup both on the ground and via the air. Even a Latavius Murray troll TD or two is unlikely to slow Kamara down much in this spot, especially if Thomas is out, because the passing volume should be so plentiful. Expect nice efficiency and a multitude of catches from the top projected RB of the week.
Kenyan Drake – One last try for Kenyan Drake this week, as he faces a defense that has been the stone worst versus the rush since the beginning of last season. The workload was there last week, as Drake touched the ball 18 times, but Kyler Murray was the one who finished off one of the drives with a rushing score. Of the team’s 15 rushing attempts in the red zone this year, Drake has received eight of them, which equates to a 53.3-percent market share. Over the span of three games, Drake has not touched the ball less than 18 times in any of them, and now he gets one of the best possible matchups. Eventually, Drake is going to break out of this slump and eclipse 100 yards from scrimmage, like literally every back has done this year versus the Panthers. Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler and Leonard Fournette each managed at least 116 yards from scrimmage and a score versus the Panthers and cumulatively averaged 132.6 yards from scrimmage. Even if Drake falls short of that number, he is cheap, and finding the end zone would cap off a productive performance for a player who dominated down the stretch last season.
Jonathan Taylor – The best under-the-radar play of the week is none other than Jonathan Taylor coming off an extremely disappointing outing as chalk. On the surface, his 40.0-percent snap rate was concerning as well, but it should be noted this game blew out and Taylor touched the ball just once in the fourth quarter. Additionally, the team even benched Philip Rivers down the stretch, who personifies how the Colts treated their starters in this game. However, back in Week 2, in a competitive game environment versus a subpar rushing defense, Taylor carried the ball 26 times for 101 yards and a score and even caught 2-2 targets for nine yards. Thus far, the Bears’ ineptitude versus the run has flown mostly under the radar despite the fact they have allowed 5.0 YPC. Saquon Barkley, Adrian Peterson, Brian Hill and Todd Gurley all averaged at least 5.7 YPC against this defense but, because Barkley got hurt and the other backfields have been committees, no single back has popped off against this defense yet. When all is said and done, this Bears defense is going to be considered one of the rushing defenses in the league, and the Colts offensive line is one of the best in the league. Expect Taylor to revert back to around 70-percent of the snaps and, consequently, smash at single-digit ownership.
Brandin Cooks – On a team with Will Fuller V, who is well-known for being a TD machine playing alongside Deshaun Watson, Brandin Cooks leads the team in target market share. Like Fuller, Cooks is a speedster, which means his upside stretches through the roof when things go right for him…and this week has the potential to be one of those weeks for a variety of reasons. For one, the Vikings rank 23rd in DVOA versus the pass and have already allowed 14 what “Sharp Football Stats” refers to “explosive pass plays.” In fact, they rank dead last in explosive pass play percentage, so they match up extremely poorly versus the explosive receivers of the Texans offense. Cornerback Holton Hill has yielded a whopping 0.40 fantasy points per route this season, which is tied for sixth-most of any corner on the slate. Essentially, this has all the makings of a game Watson is able to make big plays, and Cooks’ matchup makes him a likely recipient of said big plays. Since he also leads the team in volume, he is a fantastic investment.
Tyler Boyd – Only three starting cornerbacks on the main slate have allowed more fantasy points per route run than D.J. Hayden…and he is the one who mans the slot most of the time for the Jaguars. Hayden has allowed opponents to catch 86-percent of their targets against him this year, and Boyd has caught 81-percent of his targets. Strangely, Boyd played the third-most snaps amongst Bengals receivers in Week 3, but he still leads the receiving core in overall snap share (80.6-percent) this season. After a slow Week 1, Boyd has been targeted 21 times over the last two weeks combined, including a team-leading 13 targets in Week 3. Meanwhile, the Jaguars rank dead last in passing DVOA and the Bengals rank second in passing attempts per game. There should be plenty of volume available in a favorable matchup for the team and an especially favorable individual matchup for Boyd. What a perfect setup.
Mike Gesicki – Line movement in this game suggests the sharps believe the Dolphins may hang with the Seahawks in this game which should cause fantasy players’ eyebrows to raise. DeVante Parker is so cheap that he is going to be the logical chalky option from the Dolphins passing game whereas Gesicki is projecting outside the top six in roster percentage at the tight end (TE) position. Gesicki caught an early TD last game and then vanished and that makes sense considering he only played 49.2-percent of the snaps. It was the second straight week in which his snap count dropped and Durham Smythe out-snapped him 42-30. That being said, the team did not need to pass down the stretch, as the game was firmly in hand. Competing with the Seahawks will be a completely different story as their offense is a freaking machine. Consequently, there will be more passing downs for Gesicki, and he should see the field closer to 60-percent of the time, as he had in the first two weeks. At nearly an identical price to the stone chalk at the position (Darren Waller), Gesicki is a great pivot, especially if targeting the Dolphins game stack.
Other Strong Single-Entry GPP Options: Ryan Fitzpatrick/Joe Burrow/Matthew Stafford, Dalvin Cook, Kenny Golladay, Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, Darren Waller (chalky but still a strong play due to expected volume)
Intriguing Plays of the Week
Darrell Henderson – The workhorse back for a team with a 30-plus point implied total is rarely projected for single-digit ownership but Darrell Henderson appears to be an outlier in Week 4. Maybe the masses are still worried about Malcolm Brown eating into his workload, which makes some sense considering they played an even number of snaps last week, but Henderson still dominated the touches (21 to Brown’s seven). Game flow should play to Henderson’s favor here with the Rams being listed as double-digit favorites. If the game plays out as Vegas expects, the team would be more likely to employ a run-heavy scheme if leading the game. Thus far, the Giants have held their own against the run (seventh in rushing DVOA, 3.8 YPC), but the volume, projected ownership and overall context still suggest Henderson possesses serious upside in this spot.
Adam Trautman – Jared Cook has been ruled out this weekend which leaves Adam Trautman as the last man standing at the TE position for the Saints. In recent years, the Lions have struggled versus TEs, but have held their own so far in 2020. That being said, they have faced Dan Arnold, Robert Tonyan and Jimmy Graham, so the story is far from written. Both Tonyan and Graham have already found the end zone versus this defense, and Trautman is literally priced at the minimum on DK. He needs to do minimal to be worthwhile at that price point and has the upside of a TE playing a majority of the snaps in an offense that features a QB with depreciating arm strength that is missing two of its top options.
Gio Bernard – This one is simple: Joe Mixon was added to the injury report on Saturday with a chest injury and the last time a chest injury popped up later it was because Tyrod Taylor’s lung was punctured by a team doctor. There is no indication that this happened to Mixon also but injuries popping up late are never great. If Mixon sits, Bernard is a back capable of catching passes in bunches that should also dominate the rushing workload, and he is insanely cheap across the industry. Facing the Jaguars is simply icing on the cake because this sort of volume would be tough to fade regardless.
QB Pool in 150 Lineup MME Set
Russell Wilson – 18%
Joe Burrow – 17%
Deshaun Watson – 16%
Ryan Fitzpatrick – 14%
Josh Allen – 12%
Matthew Stafford – 10%
Dak Prescott – 8%
Baker Mayfield – 5%
Underweight QB Play of the Week: Jared Goff
Underweight RB Play of the Week: Devin Singletary (only if Zack Moss back)
Underweight WR Play of the Week: DeAndre Hopkins (just too expensive)
Underweight TE Play of the Week: Jimmy Graham
Potential Slate Edges: Jonathan Taylor
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