Targeting Games for Week 4 DFS Matchups

by Chase Vernon · Strategy

Each week there is some emotion derived from the results of our process. The DFS Week 4 Matchups will prove to be no different. Week 3 was a roller coaster and we almost knocked it out of the park. We had the right games, and most of the right players. Lets hope we can be so lucky yet again as we explore these upcoming matchups. 

Before we do, let’s see what we took from Week 3.

Week 3 Matchups We Attacked

Seahawks @ Vikings

Loved to see it. If you went heavy on the Cousins-Jefferson stack, you were in contention. Suppose you ran it back with D.K. Metcalf, you were almost guaranteed a payout, and if you decided to go D’Andre Swift over Alexander Mattison, you could then opt to play Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp and win big-time cash. This one goes down in the win column.

What I Learned: Mattison wasn’t a loss if you played him. His roster rate was double digits but he still performed. The Seahawks are far worse without Jarran Reed. You can now rely on any running back to achieve. Not just pass catchers. 

Buccaneers @ Rams

This victory might be even sweeter. This was the third-highest scoring matchup on the slate. Out of the nine players mentioned, seven cashed in. The two who didn’t: Rob Gronkowski and Robert Woods. Although Van Jefferson arguably paid off his price, he wasn’t good enough in tournaments. 

It doesn’t make much sense to me. The Buccaneers allow explosive passing plays. So why wasn’t he able to see any deep targ… O wait. 

Desean Jackson DFS Week 4 matchup

Desean Jackson Destroys the Bucs

Because Desean Jackson destroyed the Bucs secondary while doubling his routes run on the season. Right process, wrong player.  

Ross Cockrell Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

What I Learned: It’s not new, as I was touting it in the Week 3 piece, but it’s more to confirm my suspicions. Attack Ross Cockrell. Sean Murphy-Bunting was bad as I was constantly targeting matchups against him in the slot. Cockrell is far worse. 

Ravens @ Lions

Three for three this week. Well, not so fast. Unfortunately, I will have to take an L on this. However, not because of flawed process. It was due to Marquise Brown dropping not one or two passes, but three (!) which should have resulted in touchdowns. If those two passes were complete, we would be looking at approximately 20 more points while hitting the 300-yard bonus and finishing as the QB2 behind Josh Allen

Meanwhile, Brown would be sitting with north of 38 fantasy points, and I’d be a millionaire. However, he dropped them, and dropping balls is part of the game (insert crying Jordan meme).  

T.J. Hockenson wasn’t great, but he helped you in the tournaments if you didn’t start him. His roster percentages were north of 15-percent. As for Jared Goff, he disappointed, but I was only touting him if you were trying to pay low as a better option than Justin Fields.

What I Learned: Jackson trusts his arm when he has time in the pocket. When he plays good defenses, he relies on his legs more often versus bad defenses, it’s more with his arm. Whether it’s because of game plan or personal choice has yet to be determined. 


Games to Target in DFS Week 4 Matchups

Cardinals @ Rams

Weather: Dome

Over/Under: 55

Fact to Know: Since 2017, the Rams have hung at least 30 on the Cardinals in seven straight games, all of which they won, until Week 17 when John Wolford was at quarterback. The Rams still won by 11 and only have one of those weeks where the Cardinals were within single-digit points. This isn’t a “Rams are dominant” stat as much as it is “the Cardinals could be hungry for a win.” However, take it how you will.

Players to Target in DFS Week 4 Matchup

After Matthew Stafford started the season at $6,200, he finally made the $7,000 jump. He now sits just $800 behind Kyler Murray. The unique part about these two is they are very comparable throughout three games this season, outside of the rushing upside.

Both have had relatively easy schedules thus far. Both have hit the 300-yard bonus threshold twice. Red Zone Attempts, Deep Ball Attempts, Accuracy Rating, Protection Rate, Completion Percentages (whether pressured, attempting a deep ball, or in the red zone) all very similar. I’ve never noticed two quarterbacks so closely measured who play two completely different styles. 

The most significant difference between the two, aside from the rushing touchdowns, is Murray takes a lot more risk while playing. He has 12 (No. 1 among qualified quarterbacks) Money Throws while tallying four (No. 21) Danger Plays and four (No. 23) Interceptable Passes. Stafford sits at four (No. 9) Money Throws, two (No. 27) Danger Play, and two (No. 18) Interceptable Passes.  

So which route is the better choice? Pay up for Murray or save the $800 with Stafford? 

The short answer is “Yes.” You should take shots with both in your lineup. With the injury to DeAndre Hopkins, Murray had his worst game of the season but was still able to accumulate 22.54 points. Albeit against a bad Jaguars secondary. However, he had seven rushing attempts in this contest. It appears as if the Jags contained him, but two were quarterback sneaks (both successful), and two were broken plays, not scrambles. Without Hopkins, Murray could again rely more on his legs in a competitive contest. 

So why even play Stafford? 

The answer is surrounded by the Arizona secondary and lack of a rushing attack. Sure, Dalvin Cook and James Robinson had good games against the Cardinals and they still haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer. However, they did let Kirk Cousins ring up three touchdowns on only 32 passes in Week 2. Assuming the Rams will have to pass, Stafford with three touchdowns will pay off his cost. So the issue becomes: is there upside? 

The answer lies in how often Stafford will use Tyler Higbee and Darrell Henderson in the passing game, if Henderson plays. 

It’s tough to know what we have in either team because their schedules have been so rudimentary. Maybe this game is a trap game for DFS. However, the amount of points each one of these teams can put up makes it an enticing matchup to chase. 

As for the skill position players, Byron Murphy has been elite in the slot for his second straight year. He will line up against Cooper Kupp, who is arguably the best wide receiver thus far this season. However, Kupp’s primary matchups have been against Marqui Christian, Kenny Moore, and Ross Cockrell. Murphy could be the toughest one yet, and although I still think Kupp will get schemed open, be cautious chasing those points. 

Kupp projects to be rostered in over 20-percent of lineups, so it would be more advantageous to fade and go with Robert Woods in this matchup. Woods is still getting a 20.4-percent (No. 38) Target Share with four (No. 11) Red Zone Targets. He has three (No. 6) drops on the season, which would put him on pace for more than he’s had in his entire career. His 5.6-percent (No. 84) Contested Catch Rate is also a career-low. Don’t expect either to continue. 

As for the Cardinals pass catchers, Rondale Moore shouldn’t have another down week, but I do expect Christian Kirk to get shut down. 

In Week 3, I discussed how Jalen Ramsey has been playing a non-traditional slot role. He lines up like a shortstop with no one on base. Most slot receivers have subpar Average Target Distances. Kirk at 13.2 (No. 24) has the highest of anyone with over a 40.0-percent Slot Rate. Quez Watkins is the only player within three yards. This should allow Ramsey to adequately cover Kirk while also being able to jump routes. However, Moore should have a field day with Hopkins dealing with injuries, a tough defense to run against, and a potential shootout happening in Los Angeles.

Maxx Williams should also benefit from this Game Script. The Rams have allowed the most targets, second-most receptions, and the fourth-most yards to the tight end. The tight ends they’ve played:

In Week 2, Williams was sprinkled with seven targets for seven receptions accumulating 94 yards; I expect a similar stat line. Also, keep in mind 18.2-percent of those targets have come inside the red zone. 

Chiefs @ Eagles 

Weather: 75f Partly Cloudy

Over/Under: 54

Fact to Know: Week 3 was the first time Jalen Hurts has played an entire game and held to under five yards per carry. 68.7-percent of his passing yards, 91.4-percent of his rushing yards, and both of his touchdowns came in the second half.  

Bonus: Patrick Mahomes has averaged 3.4 touchdowns per game over the first three weeks since 2018 while averaging just one in the fourth. 

Players to Target for Week 4 DFS Matchups

Lamar Jackson gave the Chiefs fits in an epic Week 2 battle. Not only did he put up 239 and a touchdown in the air, he also racked up 107 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The efficiency was primarily caused by a balanced attack, giving the running backs 25 total attempts and putting Jackson in advantageous situations. Not the case for Jalen Hurts in Week 3.

Jackson had five or fewer yards to go on 40-percent of his runs against the Chiefs; Hurts only saw 22-percent. Jackson had 55.6-percent of his third downs come with six yards or less to go, only one of four being longer than eight yards. Hurts had 50-percent with six yards or less, and five (!) of six were longer than eight yards. In other words, Hurts was set up to fail in Week 3, and if the Eagles have any chance of beating the Chiefs, they have to get him in better third down situations by running the ball on first and second with a running back. 

Miles Sanders‘ usage was ridiculous after seeing 11 yards per touch. Using Sanders is a critical part of this offense. He has 3.63 (No.12) Yards Created Per Touch while only seeing 30 (No. 30) carries and eight (No. 21) receptions. This is with a struggling offensive line. Imagine where his three (No. 3) Breakaway Runs would be if he saw a more significant opportunity. 

Week 4 against the Chiefs is the perfect time for him to get it.

The Chiefs have allowed the sixth-highest explosive run rate and a 10.31 (No. 30) DOCE Score. They have allowed double-digit fantasy points to four different running backs, with Latavius Murray getting 9.6 on just nine carries. Sanders’ price screams contrarian. We should see him rostered in less than 2-percent of tournaments. 

As for the Eagles receivers, the Chiefs have allowed teams to catch balls underneath. Devonta Smith has been miscast , seeing a 14.7 (No. 16) Average Target Distance, only hauling in 52.4-percent (No. 82) Catch Rate. Comparatively, he has 83 (No. 54) Completed Air Yards on 11 receptions, suggesting he does better getting open closer to the line of scrimmage (although he did have success against a lowly Falcons secondary). This could be a solid game for Smith, but not a DFS play.

Pivot to downfield targets in Quez Watkins or Jalen Reagor. The Chiefs are allowing the third-highest explosive pass play rate, and after seeing chunk plays allowed to Anthony Schwartz and Marquise Brown, these two receivers should see plenty of opportunities.

Dallas Goedert is in play, but the Chiefs have been much more stout as of late against the tight end. They have also only allowed three red zone targets to the tight end on the year. Play sparingly.

As for the Chiefs side, Patrick Mahomes should have no problem picking apart this defense. My hesitancy comes in whether or not the Eagles can keep this competitive. In addition, can the Eagles get pressure on Mahomes who has a 36.8-percent (No. 26) Pressured Completion Percentage and has suffered from a 31.3-percent (No. 25) Deep Ball Completion Percentage? The Eagles have been solid against the deep ball, only allowing a 3-percent (No. 1) explosive pass play rate. Although it could be attributed to the teams they played. 

Tyreek Hill can be mixed in, but I’m chasing Travis Kelce hard. Philadelphia has allowed 20 receptions on 25 targets for 170 yards and two touchdowns to the tight end position. The Eagles did well against George Kittle in Week 2, but Kittle hasn’t been as much of a factor thus far. Look for Kelce to break the 100-yard bonus with a touchdown against the Eagles.  

Baltimore @ Denver

Weather: 78f Clear
Over/Under: 45.5

Stat to Know: The Broncos are on top of almost every statistical category for defense (aside from pressure rate), but injuries are piling up on both defense and offense. The over/under might not be considering the injuries. 

Players to Target in DFS Week 4 Matchups

Lamar Jackson is now the cheapest we have seen all season, and rightfully so. Although he’s been winning football games, he’s only given you a week winner once. We mentioned how Week 3 should have been different, so I’m hopping back onto the train against a beat-up defense who is seventh against the quarterback.

Although they are seventh, they should be first.

Daniel Jones, Trevor Lawrence, and Zach Wilson are three of the most putrid quarterbacks in the NFL. Although Jones is a top 10 fantasy QB currently, he did so against a struggling Washington team and an Atlanta defense at the bottom of the league. Look for Jackson to tear this team up in a great contrarian DFS Week 4 matchup.

It’s tough to see who you should roll out there with Jackson. These teams facing the Broncos have been so brutal, it’s difficult to lean in one direction or another. This could be an excellent opportunity to roll out Jackson solo and not take the risk. However, after Brown’s implosion last week, he will be eager to prove himself, so he will make it into some of my lineups. Marvin Jones, who plays a somewhat similar role to Brown, snatched six receptions on 11 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown. Brown might not see 11, but a seven to eight reception game for 100 yards and a touchdown is very well in play. 

As for the Broncos weapons, teams have been using their running backs as pass-catching threats against the Ravens. Then when they get inside the five, they pound the rock.

The Ravens have allowed four touchdowns on six carries inside at the goal line.

Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon have a 115 combined receiving yards, with 102 coming in the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Williams has three carries at the goal line (No. 3), and Gordon has two (No. 7). After Williams’s fumble at the goal line, I’m slightly leaning Gordon, but I will have plenty of shares of both in my lineups. My one fear is the return of Mike Boone to ruin all things holy in this matchup. Hopefully, that’s not the case.

If you’re picking a shootout in this matchup, Bridgewater is a steal. He’s already returned value in two of three weeks, and all three weeks they have pulverized teams by double-digit points. This could be the second four-touchdown game we have seen in his career and I’m here for it. He will have to use his running backs to do so. The injuries are mounting up, and it looks like Diontae Spencer is now the third receiver in this offense.

More two-tight end sets could be the result, with Albert Okwuegbunam seeing some opportunities. The Ravens shut T.J. Hockenson down in Week 3 but struggled against the elites in Weeks 1 and 2. Both Okwuegbunam and Noah Fant are intriguing options, but to cycle back, the primary beneficiaries are the running backs.