The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 4 FIRST LOOK September 30, 2015  |  Doug Shain


Check out our NFL DFS Cheat Sheet!


The Huddle – Opening Statement

Melvin Gordon was supposed to have a big game this past week. I was sure of it. I had him on a couple of teams and I was so excited to watch him lead me victory. Of course, Gordon had under 5 points and killed ALMOST ALL of my teams. Wait, didn’t I just say I had him on a few teams? Then how did he kill almost all my teams? Well, that’s the thing, he was on a lot more teams than I thought.

I set a lot of my lineups throughout the week, so I’m able to pay attention to who I have in my lineups and to make sure I diversify. Unfortunately, I also get a little wide eyed on Sunday mornings and set a ton of teams across about 10 sites. When I do that I just start clicking away and forget to really pay attention to that need to diversify. That’s really foolish. It’s hard to stay disciplined, but if I had just used Latavius Murray (another guy I loved) in more spots and Melvin Gordon in fewer spots then I would have increased my winnings. In my head that’s exactly what I was doing, but in reality I just kept clicking Gordon. Hopefully this week we’ll all pay a little more attention to that. Melvin Gordon does have a good matchup though…click, click, click.

To take a look at how I rank the players and a lists of my “musts” when building a GPP lineup, click here. Best of luck this week!


The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week

I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player (I’m trying to keep this relatively short going forward).


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Aaron Rodgers – GB Carson Palmer – ARI Sam Bradford – PHI
Matt Ryan – ATL Andy Dalton – CIN Joe Flacco – BAL
Cam Newton – CAR Derek Carr – OAK Kirk Cousins – WSH
Tyrod Taylor – BUF Blake Bortles – JAX
Michael Vick – PIT Andrew Luck – IND
Peyton Manning – DEN   Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ


– The one name that’s going to really stand out on the Public list is Michael Vick. I don’t think he’s a particularly good play, but with his game on Thursday night I think a lot of people are going to play him “just in case.” This is a great opportunity for you to grab a guy like Rodgers, Ryan, Luck, or Newton at a much lower than expected ownership rate. I generally don’t play offensive players on Thursday games, but if you insist on playing a Thursday QB I think your best bet is to go with Flacco. I’ll be rolling out those other 4 bigger names on a lot of my teams.

– I think you’re going to hear a lot of noise this week about Palmer, Dalton, and Carr (I’ve moved Tyrod Taylor to a public play with his recent run of success). I like all three but if I’m going to go with one of them it’ll be Carr against a weak Bears D. It’s not that I don’t think Palmer and Dalton are bad plays but both face better defenses than does Carr.

– One of my top plays this week is Andrew Luck. His numbers have been uninspiring but he gets the Jags this week and should have no problem handling them. Normally I’d be concerned about a blowout and a lighter work load but I can see the Colts wanting to build Luck’s confidence with a big game. I think it’s still too soon to jump off the Eagles bandwagon. Bradford didn’t look great last week but that was against the Jets. The Redskins are a different animal and Chip’s going to want to get this offense in gear. I also will go back to Ryan Fitzpatrick a little this week as he faces a Miami defense that’s given up big games each of the first 3 weeks of the season. The price is low enough that you don’t need a huge game to make it worth your while.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Adrian Peterson – MIN Latavius Murray – OAK Mark Ingram – NO
LeVeon Bell – PIT Frank Gore – IND Karlos Williams – BUF
Jamaal Charles – KC Darren Sproles – PHI Melvin Gordon – SD
Devonta Freeman – ATL Thomas Rawls – SEA Jeremy Hill – CIN
Chris Johnson – ARI Alfred Blue – HOU
  Lance Dunbar – DAL


– Outside of AP, Charles, and Bell there really aren’t any RBs I trust on a week to week basis. There’s no way I’m trusting guys like Lynch, Forte, Shady, Hill, or DeMarco at this point. My biggest concern this week is that AP is playing a Denver defense that should be able to shut him down, Bell is on Thursday without Big Ben, and Charles goes to a tough-on-the-run Cincy. Ouch! Of those 3 I’m most likely to play Charles, but I think this is the week to maybe save a little on RB and load up at your other positions.

– I’m going to probably fade both Freeman and CJ?K this week as their ownership levels will probably exceed the performance. I’d rather take a shot with some under the radar plays.

– Jacksonville just gave up 4 rushing TDs to the Patriots. The Colts would probably like to get Frank Gore (well, the whole offense really) going. I’m not calling for 4 TDs, but 80+ yards and a TD is well within reach. I’m less sold on some of the other Expert plays in Latavius (I think OAK throws) and Sproles (I don’t get it with him; he’s too unreliable). Thomas Rawls is an interesting play if Lynch sits since he clearly is the backup ahead of Fred Jackson. The problem is that the Seahawks play on Monday night so this is the ultimate high risk, high reward play.

– My favorite RB play this week is Mark Ingram. He’s played well so far this year and this week is facing a Dallas team that just gave up a huge game to Freeman. The price is right to have him as a base and still load up at WR. I’m also going to go back to the well with Melvin Gordon. His matchup and price are both outstanding. Sometimes it’s the week after we predict a breakout that it actually happens, so I’m optimistic that we’ve got it right this time with Gordon.

– Injuries will play a big role in my decision of whether or not to play Alfred Blue and/or Karlos Williams. Blue played excellently last week and should get the bulk of carries against Atlanta if Foster is once again on the bench. Williams is actually the player I’m more excited out of these two, but he’s got Shady McCoy in his way. Rex Ryan has already said that he’d consider resting McCoy for a game if he had to and if that happens I’m going to have a lots and lots of Williams this week. He looks explosive and Buffalo clearly loves the kid.

– Lance Dunbar continues to be PPR gold and is a worthwhile play as long as he’s getting targets and his price stays down. He’s been a TD away from a huge score each of these past 3 weeks.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Odell Beckham – NYG DeAndre Hopkins – HOU Rishard Matthews – MIA
Antonio Brown – PIT Keenan Allen – SD TY Hilton – IND
Julio Jones – ATL Donte Moncrief – IND Brandin Cooks – NO
A.J. Green – CIN Amari Cooper – OAK Allen Robinson – JAX
Larry Fitzgerald – ARI Leonard Hankerson – ATL Percy Harvin – BUF
Travis Benjamin – CLE James Jones – GB Marvin Jones – CIN
Demaryius Thomas – DEN Jordan Matthews – PHI
Randall Cobb – GB Bennie Fowler – DEN


Until I see what Mike Vick can do at QB there’s no way I’m paying top dollar for Antonio Brown (his price is actually down a little on some of the smaller sites, so he’s in play there). If I’m paying up at WR it’s going to be for Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Odell Beckham. All 3 have pretty good matchups, but even if they didn’t I’d say they are pretty much matchup-proof at this point anyway. I love Fitz, but I’m starting to be concerned about his ownership. He’s creeping closer to a range where I’d rather just look elsewhere. I’m still not buying into Travis Benjamin, but with 5 TDs already the whole world is going to be on him. I still say fade.

– There are few WRs that are safer right now than DeAndre Hopkins. He’s almost like a poor man’s Antonio Brown. There are just so many targets going his way that his floor is pretty much 5/65 each week. That’s pretty valuable in a PPR. I’m also starting to see Keenan Allen in the same light. He had a monster week last week which will raise his ownership, but I still like him as a cheaper-than-elite WR that can put up elite numbers. Everyone is talking about how Hankerson is WR2-A now on the Falcons. Whatever; I only want Julio if I’m getting a pass catcher on ATL. Amari Cooper is a stud and he’s going to be a very Public play soon. Get him now while his ownership and price will still be reasonable because he’s going to torch the Bears.

– I give up, play James Jones.

– Rishard Matthews has had either a TD or 100 yards in all the games he’s played this year. He’s not safe, but he’s got a ton of upside and Tannehill loves him. He’s a guy that’s still a little under the radar that I want to get on my team. The matchup against the Jets is bad this week, but even in a bad matchup guys can get numbers. With all the hype on A.J. Green’s big game against Baltimore it would seem that Marvin Jones is lost in the shuffle. That’s awesome because he’s been pretty good and at times Dalton locks onto him. I love the upside for the price. Another guy I really like is Jordan Matthews. Even in a bad matchup against the Jets he was able to get 6 receptions (the only 6 by any Eagles WR…Bradford loves him). Bortles loves to throw deep, the Colts have a bad pass defense, and ARob can go long. He’s a boom or bust play but that’s a chance you should be taking in deep field GPPs. Gimme T.Y. Hilton over Moncrief, but I like both this week.

– Speaking of deep, how about Bennie Fowler for the Broncos? Peyton clearly likes him because he was on the field more last week than both Andre Caldwell and Cody Latimer and he was creeping up on Jordan Norwood. If he can somehow jump into that WR3 role for the Broncos he’ll have a ton of value. He’s not even available on FD, but he’s only $3k on DK if you’re feeling froggy (his 9 points there this past week was 3x value).


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Travis Kelce – KC Owen Daniels – DEN Martellus Bennett – CHI
Greg Olsen – CAR Charles Clay – BUF
Jimmy Graham – SEA


– With Gronk on a bye we actually have a little free for all at TE this week. The Public is going to go back to Graham after his big week and I can’t blame them. As a matter of fact, all 3 of the Public plays had a nice Week 3 and all are pretty safe.

– I’m going to save a few bucks this week and have Martellus Bennett in all of my lineups. He’s facing the Oakland Raiders this week. This is the same Raiders team that has given up top 5 weeks to Tyler Eifert, Crockett Gilmore, and Gary Barnridge. GARY BARNRIDGE!! Yeah, I’m all in on Martellus Bennett.

– If you’re afraid of Bennett’s ownership levels then a nice pivot is Charles Clay. He’s a favorite target of Tyrod Taylor and should be good for 4 catches this week for pretty cheap.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Denver Broncos Carolina Panthers Oakland Raiders
Seattle Seahawks New York Jets Indianapolis Colts
Arizona Cardinals Green Bay Packers


– Each of the Public defenses are great plays this week but should see a fairly high ownership percentage. I’m actually not against going with any of them because you don’t want your defense to be the reason you didn’t cash in a GPP. I’d much rather lose because of a bad QB play than a bad defensive play.

– Green Bay against SF is probably my top play of the week. I’ve been saying it for 4 years; but Colin Kaepernick is not an NFL QB. How he gets a free pass and Tebow didn’t is beyond me (ignore the part in last week’s article where I said Kaep might amount to something; I was wrong). If you want to pivot off all the big plays the Jets should have a good game against a struggling Dolphins’ offense in London.

– We all agree that Chicago is bad. If they’re as bad as Cleveland (I think they might be) then the Oakland defense is a viable play. They put up nice stats against the Browns last week and I think they can do the same to the Bears this week. This is getting very cute with your defense, but if you can stomach losing a GPP because you played Oakland, then it’s worth taking a shot to win one because you played Oakland.

Don’t forget to come back on Saturday for the Weekend Update edition of The Hail Mary where I push the 3000 word threshold.

Check out the Fake Football Cheat Sheets for my sample lineups. I do the Fantasy Aces section, but the process of selecting the lineups is the same on all the sites.

Follow me on Twitter @bankster17 and good luck with your Hail Mary!

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