Fantasy Football Week 4 NFL Sunday Game Previews
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills 1 p.m. EST
This is the marquee game of the week with a total of 54. Miami’s offense comes in off a whopping 70-point performance, and that was without stud WR Jaylen Waddle, who will be back this week after clearing concussion protocol. RB Raheem Mostert looks like the back he was in 2019, and QB Tua Tagovailoa and WR Tyreek Hill continue to put up numbers. What wasn’t expected was the coming out party for RB De’Von Achane, who looks electric, giving the Dolphins yet another explosive weapon. I mentioned all the skill players but the Dolphins’ offensive line manhandled the Denver front. I mean they blew them off the ball like it was men vs. children. I don’t think they can move Buffalos’ front like that and would not expect players to be running as freely. I think WR Jaylen Waddle is going to be my favorite Dolphin player in DFS as I think the Bills will try and stop the deep ball to Hill. What I want to see is how the backfield split is going to be between Mostert and Achane. Do Mostert managers try to sell high? I might think about entertaining offers because Achane is just that good and they will keep him on the field.
The Bills let their defense do the talking vs. Washington and just went with the flow offensively. The offense produced nothing spectacular because they didn’t have to. RB James Cook had the majority of the work with 17 touches, but he is not featured in goal-line situations and failed to score. I look for the Bills’ passing game to be on point in this one especially if they get into a shoot-out. Denver was able to move the ball effectively against Miami, they just kept turning the ball over. I think WR Stefon Diggs could have a huge game and WR Gabe Davis will get into the end zone for a third straight week. QB Josh Allen is a must-start in seasonal but is the most expensive QB on the DFS slate. I think we can find better value.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers 1 p.m. EST
This is a battle of 0-3 teams, but the Vikings have to feel the most disappointed as they were expected to compete for the NFC North title. I’m sure the players in Carolina are also disappointed, but the expectations were never there for them to have a big season, so this really is a must-win situation for the Vikings.
The Vikings were able to establish a running game last week with RB Alexander Mattison and should again this week vs. Carolina’s weak run defense. But will it be solely Mattison? Newly acquired RB Cam Akers should take some carries, and I don’t expect RB Ty Chandler to be totally phased out either. You can see what a conundrum the situation is. Mattison could be the featured back and get 70% of the touches and have a huge week, or he could split the backfield. I don’t think Akers will ever take over the backfield, but let’s see what happens. As for the passing game, QB Kirk Cousins is having a tremendous season. Do we pen him in for 250 yards and two TDs minimum? WR Justin Jefferson continues to roll, but this may be the week to expect a little less output. He will not be my receiver of choice in DFS. I think this is a spread-the-ball-around kind of game for the Vikes, and I don’t expect one guy to just blow up. I do think TE T.J. Hockenson will find the end zone, so he will be the Viking player I target most in DFS.
As for the Panthers, QB Andy Dalton makes this offense fantasy viable. Unfortunately for him, QB Bryce Young is a full go at practice and looks to get the start. All isn’t sour grapes, though. The Vikings’ pass defense is very suspect, and maybe Young learned from Dalton last week. Considering his cheap price, he may just be a sneaky DFS option, and we have to like WR Adam Thielen, who gets open and catches passes. Thielen would love nothing more than to score a TD vs. his old team. Don’t forget about WR DJ Chark Jr. either as he was solid last week and should be able to get open. I am going to have one of the Panther receivers in most of my DFS lineups, as I expect one of them to have a good game at a cheap price.
Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears 1 p.m. EST
If you look at last week’s score, one would assume that the Bronco offense was horrendous, but they were able to move the ball effectively. They just turned the ball over three times and really were under pressure to keep up with the Dolphins’ high-flying offense. This week, I expect much better results and will be stacking the offense in DFS against a bad Bear defense. QB Russell Wilson should be able to find receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy early and often, but this has to be the game where Javonte Williams puts up close to 20 fantasy points. I know his numbers haven’t been there, but he looks great physically. They just need to not fall behind and get him the ball. Williams is a buy-low trade candidate for seasonal leagues; we may want to get that done before what I project to be a big Sunday.
The Bears are simply a mess and don’t excel at any one spot offensively. Their line isn’t very good, and QB Justin Fields is not very accurate. WR DJ. .Moore has been a bright spot since Week 2 and is the only receiving option I feel comfortable playing. Since Denver has been gashed on the ground, there is hope for them to run effectively, but they have a split backfield with RB Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson, which makes either hard to start. As for DFS, I may take a stab playing Fields in a lineup or two hoping he is the one running for big yardage. At some point this season, he will have a 100-yard game and a rushing TD, maybe two. I think many will look to the Broncos’ defense, which means I will fade it.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns 1 p.m. EST
The Ravens have to feel snake bit after losing last week to the Colts. They were going in to take a 14-point lead when RB Kenyan Drake fumbled, leading to more volume for RB Melvin Gordon, who had some nice gains. Still, any running back should be avoided against a stellar Browns defense. QB Lamar Jackson was more involved with designed QB runs that led to two touchdowns, but the passing offense is still behind schedule. They are having problems pushing the ball downfield and settling for plays underneath, which is limiting productivity. WR Zay Flowers continues to establish himself as the go-to guy, and he and/or TE Mark Andrews are going to have to have to get it going for any chance of a win here. Start them in seasonal, but I just can’t back them in DFS.
The Browns were able to coast last week thanks to their defense and timely passing game. QB Deshaun Watson looked more comfortable and spread the ball to six different receivers. They will have a step up in competition as Baltimore is significantly better vs. the pass than the Titans. WR Amari Cooper was great as predicted and is really the deep threat. WR Elijah Moore is a DFS option as he continues to get a ton of targets. He is the underneath guy and Baltimore has been content giving up underneath receptions. If he can get into the end zone, he will be in many winning lineups. RB Jerome Ford did not get all the volume, but he did get two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong dipped into his playing time. Going forward, it will be difficult to predict, but the team as a whole should run better this week than they did against a strong Titan run defense last week.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans 1 p.m. EST
The Steelers’ offense just doesn’t have that one player to lean to. WR George Pickens is the most talented player they have, and I definitely could see him having a big game on Sunday. The same goes for TE Pat Freiermuth, as a matter of fact, I will call for the tight end to reach the end zone. WR Calvin Austin did get a bump in targets but only connected on two passes, with one going for a 72-yard touchdown. As for the running game, it has to get going soon if they want to get back to being a playoff contender. The Texans are a team that can be run against, but it’s difficult to trust RB Najee Harris right now. It is so disappointing as I was very high on him entering the season. Nonetheless, he got 19 carries last week, showing that the Steelers are still committed to him over RB Jaylen Warren. He is dirt cheap in DFS, and I am going to play him at some capacity and hope he breaks out.
Do you think the Texans are loving the fact that the Carolina Panthers picked Bryce Young, leaving them with C.J. Stroud? Stroud is having a great start to his professional career, and part of the reason for that is rookie WR Tank Dell, who has 217 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. He really opens up the field. But this week I am expecting WR Nico Collins to be the go-to guy. What’s nice is that you can stack the three nicely at a low price in DFS against a weak Steeler pass defense. You can also have an entire game stack that would be super sneaky. RB Dameon Pierce finally reached the end zone last week, and I’m going to continue to encourage everyone to try and acquire him as another buy-low player. He has the speed and the skills to score from anywhere on the field. He just needs some open lanes. The Texans will be getting back some offensive linemen, and Pierce could be a league winner by season’s end.
Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts 1 p.m. EST
It’s no secret that the Rams want to air out early and often. Matthew Stafford is a gunslinger, and I would expect 40+ passes here. WR Tutu Atwell is starting to shine and his speed is unmatched. WR Puka Nacua is limited in practice again, but he is a must-start with all the targets he gets. TE Tyler Higbee is dealing with an Achilles injury and he could be limited even if he does play. TE Brycen Hopkins could be a cheap DFS punt option as he does have some skills and we know Stafford won’t shy away from him. This figures to be a tough game for RB Kyren Williams, as the Colts are fairly good against the run. He will need to get involved in the passing game to expect a decent performance.
I am still trying to figure out how the Colts pulled that one off in Baltimore. They stuck around and made key plays at the right time. RB Zack Moss carried the load with a whopping 30 carries, which makes him viable every week just on volume alone. QB Anthony Richardson is back in full at practice, and he is a wild card to break any slate. He was on his way to a 40-point performance until he was injured in the first quarter vs. the Texans in Week 2. The Rams are proving to be a bit better on defense than we initially expected, so Richardson’s rushing ability will be needed. The only viable WR option for fantasy is Michael Pittman, as he has been better than his ADP. Look for this to be another one of those sneaky games where a bunch of points will be scored.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints 1 p.m. EST
The Buccaneers’ offense came back down to earth last week against much better competition than what they were used to. QB Baker Mayfield was under constant pressure, and the lack of a running game is glaring. It doesn’t figure to get much better this week as they will take on a Saints team that is very sound defensively and doesn’t have a major weakness. Tampa is going to have to get WR Chris Godwin heavily involved in this game, as CB Marshon Lattimore has a history of limiting WR Mike Evans. Also, they need to get RB Rachaad White more touches in the passing game as they aren’t utilizing his strengths. Look for another struggling week with Godwin being the only real DFS option. The Saints’ defense may find itself in many of my lineups.
The Saints offense took a blow as QB Derek Carr suffered an AC joint sprain to his throwing shoulder, and I do not expect him to play. QB Jameis Winston should take all the reps in practice, and we know he loves to chuck the ball downfield and often to the other team. Regardless, the trio of receivers, Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Rashid Shaheed should see plenty of targets with Thomas being my favorite of the three. RB Alvin Kamara makes his return, but his fantasy value is mostly dependent on the passing game. Unfortunately, Winson does not like to check down to his running backs, so expecting a big game from Kamara is unlikely. Tampas’ defense is worth a look as a pick-six is always on the table facing Winston.
Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles 1 p.m. EST
The Commanders aren’t as bad as they were last week vs. the Bills and I expect a bit better this week even though it is against Philadelphia. RB Brian Robinson is the real deal, but the Philly run defense is out of this world. The Commanders are going to have to stay in this one through the air with receiver Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. We just need QB Sam Howell to forget about last week and to get him some pass protection, which is easier said than done. McLaurin will be the player I roster in DFS, and WR Curtis Samuel may be my sneaky play to get into the end zone.
The Eagles took care of business convincingly last week and are showing that they will again be near the top of the NFC. Even though they have been putting up points, they haven’t been as dominant offensively as they were last year. QB Jalen Hurts is still waiting to have that huge game, and if Washington doesn’t fight back offensively then it is unlikely to happen on Sunday. He will get his 20+ fantasy points though, and receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are always solid DFS options. I do lean towards Smith having the better game, as he will get open underneath. RB D’Andre Swift has rushed for over 300 yards in his last two games, but I would expect another 100-yard game to be difficult here vs. the Commanders, so he becomes a DFS fade. TE Dallas Goedert looks a little bit slow to me and it has shown on the stat sheet.
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans 1 p.m. EST
The Bengals sighed some relief as they stopped the bleeding with a huge win Monday night. They got a great effort from WR Ja’Marr Chase and a solid outing from RB Joe Mixon. In order to beat Tennessee, they will need the passing attack to be dominant as the Titans’ secondary gives up a ton of big plays. Chase and WR Tee Higgins are must-plays, and one of them will go off in DFS. I am still a bit concerned about QB Joe Burrow, it’s apparent that the calf still bothers him as he isn’t stepping into his throws, but maybe he will get closer to 100% this week. Joe Mixon should be avoided this week as the Titans are stingy vs. the run.
The Titan offense has been horrible. The passing game is anemic, and they can’t get RB Derrick Henry going. Some are saying he has lost a step, but I haven’t seen that. I think their problems are all up front as their offensive line can’t push anybody. Don’t be concerned about RB Tyjae Spears’ playing time. Henry is still the feature back of the offense, it’s just about getting the right matchups. You can get him cheap, and he is going to dominate the last half of the season. Unfortunately, the Titans can’t rely on any passing game if they fall behind. QB Ryan Tannehill has regressed, and so has the pass protection. WR DeAndre Hopkins is now not an every-week start unless you don’t have viable options. Don’t worry Hopkins owners, his matchups also improve, but can you wait it out that long? Some fantasy teams who think they need WR help later should consider nabbing him for a playoff push.
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers 1 p.m. EST
Is this the week that RB Josh Jacobs takes over? The Chargers aren’t very good vs. the run, and I would expect them to lean to Jacobs to try and keep the potent Charger offense off the field. 100 yards and a touchdown seem likely, along with some catches out of the backfield. QB Jimmy Garoppolo is in the concussion protocol and if he isn’t able to go then insert QB Brian Hoyer. I think he can be adequate against a very bad Charger pass defense. Hoyer’s DFS price could get us a great value for cheap at very low ownership. We have seen lesser Raider QBs score a ton of fantasy points with WR Davante Adams. WR Jakobi Meyers is also in play as he’s had 16 catches in the two games he has played.
The Charger passing offense could do no wrong against a terrible Viking defense, and I think they should be solid again on Sunday. WR Keenan Allen will see double-digit targets and has a chance to be the top-scoring receiver again. It’s not all peaches and cream, though, as WR Mike Williams was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Receivers Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston will have to step up, with Johnston being my sneaky play for the week. TE Donald Parham Jr. scored two TDs on two catches last week but could see an increased role as TE Gerald Everett found the injury report this week. Another player who is on the injury report is RB Austin Ekeler, who has missed two games in a row. I am expecting him to play this week as he was limited in practice on Wednesday. If he is ready to go then he shoots up my rankings and becomes a top-three back. This is another one of those games you can use a complete game stack in.
New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys 4:25 p.m. EST
The Patriots won ugly in Week 3 as they relied on running the football and solid defense to beat a Jets team that has no passing game. This week I figure they will try to pound the rock once again, but they should find it tough sledding against the Cowboys. There is not one player I would start from the offense, including Rhamondre Stevenson, unless I’m desperate. I am expecting this game to get ugly in a hurry with the Cowboys winning convincingly.
The Cowboys have to be shaking their heads after getting upset by a bad Cardinal team. Not to fear as they should rebound here. I expect a big game from RB Tony Pollard who has been unstoppable. TE Jake Ferguson looks better and better and could be a sneaky DFS option. I think the Patriots will be glad to give up catches to him as they plan for WR CeeDee Lamb. Lamb is a must-start in Seasonal but a player I will avoid in DFS. WR Michael Gallup had a great game, but he might not be needed here as I don’t expect the Cowboys to play from behind. Play the Cowboys’ defense with confidence as they get it done at home.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers 4:25 p.m. EST
Arizona shocked us all with a nice upset over the Cowboys. They got a big game from RB James Conner, and QB Joshua Dobbs was accurate and made key third-down plays when he had to. WR Marquise Brown was solid in a five-catch performance and scored a touchdown. Is this the return of the Cardinals? Can we expect a repeat performance and another big upset? No! This will be an offense that will struggle and be challenged. Conner is almost a must-start, but the 49ers’ defensive front will most likely manhandle the Cardinals. I think the most we can expect is 12 -15 fantasy points. Brown is still viable as a flex as they should be playing from behind and I think he can get six catches for 60 yards. Maybe he can get that late touchdown?
I expect the 49ers to dominate, and it starts with RB Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey should vie for the top-scoring back this week just as long as they don’t get RB Elijah Mitchell too involved. QB Brock Purdy is also a good option, and if for some reason the Cardinals make this a game, he could be a great DFS option. WR Brandon Aiyuk is my receiver of choice, but don’t be surprised if Deebo Samuel or George Kittle have solid games as well. If Aiyuk, who is limited, is out for some reason then Deebo is almost a DFS lock. A 49er stack looks tasty and, of course, their defense should be at the top of your DFS list.