NFL DFS Main Slate – Above/Below – Key Plays for Week 4

The 12-game main slate features too many viable combinations to count in a lifetime, even when we eliminate several of the lower-end stacks we are left with possibilities galore at several positions. With NFL DFS picks, tips, tricks, touts, shoutouts, tweets, spreadsheets, slams, and sims coming from every direction all week, the purpose of this article is to feature a few plays for which our projections land above or below what appears to be the industry standard for the week, which will identify plays that are potentially over or undervalued by the public.

*note – despite the title of this article and what would probably be a more logical configuration, the “below” category comes first in the following content.

NFL DFS Sunday Main Slate Above/Below – Week 4


Anthony Richardson – Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts – $6,700/$7,600

Forgive us for landing a bit in the nonbelievers camp when it comes to rostering a rookie rush-focused quarterback for DFS purposes in his first game back from a concussion and third overall start of what looks like a bright career. Anthony Richardson has undeniable talent on the football field, his first two games were proof positive that his rushing ability translates to the big stage, but his passing is still a work in progress. In his only full performance in week 1, Richardson threw the ball 37 times, completing 24 of his passes for six yards per pass attempt and a touchdown, while adding 10 carries fo 40 yards and another score. He scored twice on the ground while going 6-10 for 56 yards through the air before exiting with the injury. Richardson has completed most of his passes for short yardage, averaging just 4.9 intended air yards per pass attempt with 2.4 air yards per completion and 5.9 yards per pass attempt on the whole. It remains to be seen if Richardson will be fully unleashed in the rushing game in his first week back, the prized rookie is playing behind a shaky offensive line with question marks of its own, and the last thing the team would want to risk is another bad blow to the head on a somewhat meaningless rushing play. Richardson ranks as one of the more popular quarterbacks, we are two to three points behind the industry average for fantasy point projections for the rookie, and we will surely be below the field on the option despite some intriguing Colts skill players and a viable stack on the other side of this contest.

Joe Mixon – Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals – $6,400/$7,400

Running back Joe Mixon may fall by the wayside somewhat for fantasy purposes this week with a matchup against the quicksand that is a Titans defense that currently leads the NFL with just 2.6 yards allowed per rush attempt. Tennessee ranks well in all aspects of defending the run, but they funnel offenses to the pass where they currently rank 29th with 7.7 yards allowed per pass attempt. Cincinnati is a noteworthy passing attack with several highly capable receivers and a very talented quarterback, but they have been limited by their quarterback’s injury to start the season. After injuring his calf and missing most of the preseason, Joe Burrow has been limited in his pocket mobility and has been rushing to get the ball out to receivers before he has to avoid pressure. The result from the limited mobility in the pocket has been an inability to develop the deep passing game, with Burrow chalking up just 4.7 yards per pass attempt on 6.5 intended air yards per attempt to start the year. That has a chance to change in a big way this week against the exceedingly limited Titans pass defense, Burrow and his three-headed wide receiver corps could have a big day and end up limiting a running back who is a part of the passing game but will be slamming through walls like a gradually tiring Kool-Aid Man when carrying the ball against this defense. Mixon projects several points behind the industry average in our model, though we are closer to his average per-game output of fantasy point scoring over the first three weeks of this season than the industry’s average projection is.

Brian Robinson Jr. – Running Back, Washington Commanders – $5,600/$6,700

Another good running back who is projecting lower in our model than around the industry is Washington’s Brian Robinson Jr. who will be facing a very tough Philadelphia rush defense. The Eagles rank fourth in football with just 3.0 yards allowed per rush attempt so far this season, though their pass defense has slipped somewhat in the first three weeks and lands just 18th with 6.4 yards allowed per pass attempt. Robinson saw 19 carries in week 1 and 18 in week 2 but he slipped to just 10 carries despite rushing for a season-high seven yards per attempt in last week’s loss to Buffalo. The Commanders lost 37-3, but they were somewhat more in the game through the first three quarters, allowing 16 points before coughing up another 21 in the fourth quarter. With limited action in the passing game overall, and zero targets last week, Robinson was very limited later in the game, which had an impact on his fantasy output, a situation that could repeat itself in what should be a pass-happy game. Robinson yields to Antonio Gibson in the passing game, the veteran back received five targets though he turned them into only three catches for seven yards last week as a non-factor. After seeing just 37% of the snaps last week, Robinson now leads the average distribution 51-47% over Gibson, he has produced 4.6 yards per rush attempt on 15.7 carries per game as the clear number one, but his lack of involvement on passing downs and the tough opponent push projections downward in our model. The talented back is projected for only moderate ownership on both sites, but we are less interested than the field and trail the industry average projection by a couple of fantasy points.

Lingering Lows

  • Joshua Kelley – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Deshaun Watson – Cleveland Browns (Q)
  • Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
  • D’Andre Swift – Philadelphia Eagles
  • Dameon Pierce – Houston Texans
  • Elijah Moore – Cleveland Browns

Key Choice: Wide Receiver 1 – Houston Texans

While we are slightly below the industry average on both Tank Dell and Nico Collins in fantasy point projections, the frisky Houston passing game is not entirely uninteresting this week, despite a banged-up offensive line. Houston started the season with 11 targets and what seemed like quick chemistry between rookie quarterback CJ Stroud and top wide receiver Nico Collins. Collins caught six of 11 for 80 yards and he followed that performance with a big Week 2 in which he caught seven of nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Collins has seen 66% of the snaps with a 20% target share over three games but he may have already ceded the top spot to rookie Tank Dell. In Week 2, Dell stepped in and drew 10 targets, catching seven of them for 72 yards and a touchdown, he followed that with another score while hauling in five of seven passes for 145 yards last week in what was Collins’ least productive outing. With Dell surging forward, Collins faded into the wallpaper, drawing just three targets and turning them into a measly 34 yards. Dell has drawn a team-leading target share over the last two weeks with 25% of the looks and a 12.6-yard average depth of target, he is a talented downfield receiver. Collins has drawn a matching 12.6-yard ADOT while putting up 11.3 yards per target on the season to Dell’s 11.95, both receivers have been targeted in the red zone, though Robert Woods leads the wide receiver group with three red zone targets and looms large over the short touchdown situation in this passing attack, which is also true of tight end Dalton Schultz, who has seen three targets of his own in the red zone. Overall, Houston’s passing game will go as far as Stroud takes them, which may only be as far as the limited offensive line allows him to take them. Between the two, we favor Tank Dell in the Houston passing attack, the receiver ranks 33rd by fantasy points but 20th by points per dollar on the DraftKings board and he sits 30th in both categories among wide receivers on FanDuel.


Justin Fields – Quarterback, Chicago Bears – $6,600/$7,200

Our leading play when it comes to fantasy points above the field is technically the next quarterback on this list, who we greatly prefer to the player who will be the biggest factor in winning and losing for us this week. Justin Fields has not been good in 2023. The quarterback has massive talent on the field, he is an elite rusher at his position and he can have his moments throwing the ball, though they have not come so far this season. Fields has attempted just 29 passes per game, completing 58% of them overall and ranking near the bottom of the league in adjusted completion rate. Over three games he has thrown more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3) and he has been limited to just 6.9 intended air yards per pass attempt with six yards per pass attempt overall. He has an additional touchdown on the ground, where a significant chunk of this week’s potential for scoring comes from, but overall he has been limited to mostly scramble-rushing this season as the team has perplexingly gone away from designed runs for the quarterback over the first handful of games. That seems extremely likely to change, but even if it does not Fields will be facing plenty of opportunities against a team that has been atrocious in the defensive game this season. Denver’s overall stats may be somewhat skewed, but small samples are an unfortunate reality of football statistics, and in one of their three games this year this team allowed a score not seen since 1966, giving up 70 points and more than 700 yards to the Dolphins last week. Denver ranks 31st with 5.6 yards allowed per rush attempt and 32nd with 9.1 yards allowed per pass attempt, for a talented rusher of a pass thrower, Fields could be primed for a very big day. In a show-me situation, Fields is gaining a moderate amount of attention around the industry, we are several points ahead of the average projection and enthusiastic but cautious overall about being ahead of the field in owning the play on either site.

Josh Allen – Quarterback, Buffalo Bills – $8,200/$9,000

Bills quarterback Josh Allen is no secret, he will be one of the top three quarterbacks by popularity on either site in a great matchup for scoring against the high-flying Dolphins. Allen is a star at his position and one of the top options on a weekly basis, this week he helms the favored team in a game with a total that outpaces the rest of the slate by more than six points. While Allen is the top projected quarterback in most models around town, we have him roughly three points beyond the industry average with a strong lean toward getting a few additional shares on both sides of a game where stacks will be popular but also worthwhile. Allen threw three interceptions in a shaky Week 1 performance but he righted the ship quickly the following two weeks and at least one of those passes was on an unlucky deflected ball. Overall, the quarterback has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions on 36.67 pass attempts per game for 242.7 yards and 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Allen is capable of delivering the ball downfield, his intended air yards per pass attempt sits at 7.3, though he has completed just four air yards per attempt. Allen adds both rushing ability and the boost of playing with dynamic skill players who can help pad scoring with big plays of their own. The quarterback has a touchdown on the ground this season with four carries per game for 7.4 yards per rush attempt so far on the season. Allen is one half of a high-octane AFC East quarterback duel that may well decide positioning in the postseason somewhere down the line, make no mistake this is a big game despite the early point in the season. The Dolphins rank 13th allowing 6.1 yards per pass attempt so far this season and both teams should be engaged in aerial combat throughout the contest on Sunday, Allen is justifiably high-priced and popular on both sites.

Rhamondre Stevenson – Running Back, New England Patriots — $6,200/$6,400

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson leads New England with a 70% snap share and 15.3 carries per game over the first three contests this season. Stevenson has gained just 2.9 yards per rush attempt and 44.7 yards per game, but he is involved in the passing game as well as the rushing attack, with 4.3 targets and 3.3 receptions per game for 7.7 yards per catch. The running back is gaining a sturdy 2.1 yards per carry before contact but just 0.8 yards after contact to this point, but he has a decent get-right opportunity against a Dallas defense that has not been good scheming against gap rushers this season while ranking 30th allowing 5.3 yards per rush attempt but just 5.0 yards per pass attempt, which ranks fourth in the league. Dallas will allow Stevenson to gain yards and he has upside as a receiver if things take to the air in an effort to keep up with what should be a bounceback week for the Cowboys offense. The running back is our favorite option in the New England offense this week, he is a viable running back in standalone situations and he is a potential option as a bring-back play against stacks of Cowboys. Stevenson ranks fourth by fantasy points in our model on DraftKings and second by points-per-dollar on the site, he sits fifth and first in those categories on the blue site, but he is not pulling noteworthy popularity. To support the narrative of upside to come, it should be remembered that this running back gained 1,040 yards on 210 carries last season, posting 5.0 yards per attempt and five touchdowns, with another score coming through the air where he added a whopping 421 yards on 69 catches from 88 targets. Stevenson is an under-appreciated option on which we plan to be ahead of the field on Sunday.

DJ Moore – Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears – $5,600/$6,100

If we like the Bears quarterback and the overall situation for offense in their game against the Broncos, it would only follow that the team’s top wide receiver and the quarterback’s clear-cut number-one target draws a bit of an above-average projection in our model as well. DJ Moore was brought in to bolster a passing attack that is otherwise comprised of tight end Cole Kmet, and talented but limited-output receivers including Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. Moore has seen 94% of the snaps on average, he played 100% of the snaps on offense last week while drawing 17.9% of the team targets on average, with six last week. Moore has scored just once this season but he got in the end zone seven times in a limited passing attack last year while gaining 888 yards on 63 catches from 118 targets. Moore has upside beyond those numbers, he gained 12.4 yards per reception in 2021 and a whopping 18.1 yards per reception with four touchdowns and 1,193 yards on 66 catches in 2020. Moore has drawn more than 33% of the air yards in the passing game with 1.7 yards per route run over the first three games, against a defense that has gotten torched on both sides of the game he has plenty of potential to find the end zone while posting numerous catches working up and down the gridiron with Justin Fields. We will also have shares of the secondary and tertiary receivers, as well as the tight end, but Moore is clearly the top option in our abundance of Bears stacks. Of course, we have to note that an abundance of bears can frequently be found at a dump… which may be exactly where the Chicago play lands lineups this weekend.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jake Ferguson
  • Jahan Dotson & Terry McLaurin
  • Joe Burrow
  • Brandon Aiyuk
  • DeVonta Smith
  • Marvin Mims Jr.
  • Latavius Murray

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