The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 4 WEEKEND UPDATE October 3, 2015  |  Doug Shain


Check out our NFL DFS Cheat Sheet!


The Huddle – Opening Statement

Welcome to the Week 4 Hail Mary (NFL DFS) WEEKEND UPDATE. All new thoughts and information will be in bolded italics.

There has been some confusion about my 3 categories of plays (Public, Expert, and HuLo) so I want to clear it up a little. A PUBLIC play is a guy that I think the general public is going to be high on and highly owned no matter the matchup. These are guys that will appeal to a casual fantasy player. An EXPERT play is a guy I think the DFS experts and pros are going to be touting on Twitter and SiriusXM radio and thus will have a bumped up ownership. They will be “sleepers” to the general public, but people “in the know” will play them a lot. A HuLo play is a guy that’s not really being talked about much or someone that I think has a High upside but should have a Low ownership (HuLo).

To be as clear as I can about this, just because a guy is on any of these lists does not mean that I think they are a good play. That’s what the narrative underneath each section is for. I’ll break down my feelings on a lot of these guys in that section. Because I can see where this can cause confusion, I’m going to add a line under each section of the main players I’ll be using in my lineups (My guys) for the WEEKEND UPDATE each week. Hopefully that will make it easier for you to know which guys, out of all the guys I talk about, are the ones I’ll be playing. These lists will not be a ranking, just a collection of players I’ll be using.

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 less 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. Yeah, I was wrong about Dalton being a bad play. I didn’t realize just how bad the KC pass defense was until after the Monday Night game (the FIRST LOOK was written as the game was being played). KC has given up big days to multiple WR each of the first 3 weeks of the year. I think the Cincy passing game could be in for a big week and I’m not fully advocating a Bengals stack (Dalton/Green/Jones) for maximum exposure in at least some of your lineups. For the record, I’m still playing Carr as well in some of my lineups.

– 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’ll admit that the fact that he was limited on Friday scares me a little bit. I’ll probably cool off a little on Luck right now and look more towards Dalton, Ryan, Rodgers, Tyrod, Newton, and Carr for my top QB plays. I’ll have some Luck but not nearly as much as I thought I would. 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’m totally off this game due to the weather concerns. 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.

My guys: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, David Carr, Andrew Luck, Ryan Fitzpatrick.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Adrian Peterson – MIN Latavius Murray – OAK Mark Ingram – NO
LeVeon Bell – PIT Frank Gore – IND Lance Dunbar – DAL
Jamaal Charles – KC Darren Sproles – PHI Melvin Gordon – SD
Devonta Freeman – ATL Thomas Rawls – SEA Carlos Hyde – SF
Chris Johnson – ARI Karlos Williams – BUF Alfred Blue – HOU
Ameer Abdullah – DET Matt Forte – CHI


– Outside of AP, Charles, and Bell there really aren’t any RB 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 TD’s to the Patriots. The Colts would probably like to get Frank Gore (well, the whole offense really) going. I’m not calling for 4 TD’s 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. I really don’t think we’re going to see Lynch on Monday night. I wouldn’t put him in my main lineups on sites that don’t allow a late swap, but as a secondary play with upside I’d be more than happy to take a shot.

– Joique Bell isn’t looking good for Monday Night. If he doesn’t play then Abdullah could be in line for a lot of carries and Twitter will explode. Do you know what would make Twitter explode even more? When Zack Zenner ends up cutting into Abdullah’s carries. I’ll have Abdullah in a league here and there, but he’s not a big target of mine at all.

– 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. Drew Brees starting actually makes me like Ingram even more since defenses can’t key in on the running game anymore. 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.

– Everyone assumes GB is going to hammer the 49ers, but this is a home game for SF with GB coming in off a short week. I saw an interesting stat this morning that said that the last 12 teams to lose by 40 points are 10-2 against the spread the following week. If that’s the case this week then it’s going to be Hyde who keeps them in the game. The Packers are susceptible to the run. A play of Hyde exemplifies HuLo.

– 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. Foster is practicing, although I think in the end he’s going to sit this one out. If that’s the case then this is a great matchup for Blue and his price is right. 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. Well, now we know that Shady is out and I’m all aboard the K-Will train (I’m calling him K-Will). He’s priced well, has a TD in every game this year, and should get a boatload of touches against the Giants. He’ll be WAY highly owned, but I don’t care in this case since I’m going to differentiate in other places.

– Can you see this narrative on Sunday night: “A funny thing happened on the way to the Raiders winning as road favorites; they lost, because they’re not that good.” That’s not too far out of the realm of possibility, is it? If the Raiders lose it’ll be because the Bears’ defense came to play and Matt Forte controlled the clock. I love Martellus Bennett in this game, but the only way Bennett can be effective is if Forte is doing work. I can see Forte’s ownership being really low because of public perception of the Bears and his high price tag. With his talent he’s worth taking a shot on.

– 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.

My guys: Mark Ingram, Karlos Williams, Matt Forte, Melvin Gordon, Frank Gore, Latavius Murray, Alfred Blue, Carlos Hyde.


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
AJ 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 Mathews – PHI
Randall Cobb – GB Bennie Fowler – DEN
Ted Ginn Jr – CAR


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, AJ 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 TD’s already the whole world is going to be on him. I still say fade.

– I’m going to be stacking Bengals WR a lot this week, so fire up AJ Green and Marvin Jones in a very plum matchup against KC.

– There are few WR 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.

– It almost pains me to say this, but with Sammy Watkins out it appears that Percy Harvin is in line to get some deep balls from Tyrod Taylor. I don’t think Buffalo is going to struggle too much with the Giants defense in this one so Harvin could very well be a cheap play worth taking a look at.

– 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 AJ 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 GPP’s. Gimme TY over Moncrief but I like both this week.

– Ted Ginn has 4 receptions in each of the last 2 weeks. The Tampa D is not good. He’s really inexpensive. You could do a lot worse at that price point.

– 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).

My guys: AJ Green, Julio Jones, Marvin Jones, TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief, James Jones, Amari Cooper, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Demaryius Thomas


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Travis Kelce – KC Owen Daniels – DEN Martellus Bennett – CHI
Greg Olsen – CAR Jordan Reed – WSH 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.

– I’m literally only playing 2 TE this week; Charles Clay or Martellus Bennett.

My guys: Martellus Bennett, Charles Clay


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


– 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.

– It kind of hit me the other night like a ton of bricks – “Cleveland is terrible and they’re playing on the road.” This locked in San Diego as a value play for me this week when I want to get away from Green Bay.

My guys: Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers

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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