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Fantasy football and betting primer for Week 4

Your one-stop shop for NFL fantasy football, DFS and betting advice for Week 4.

Alvin Kamara #7 of the New Orleans Saints against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Welcome to Week 4 of the fantasy football season. There are quite a few injuries to navigate this week, so we’ll need to take a look at the most impactful when setting our lineups. Then I’ll give you my favorite DK individual plays at each position. And I’ll wrap it all up with my favorite wagers for this Sunday.

I’m not going to go into detail about the Covid-19 troubles other than to say, GET YOUR STEELERS AND TITANS OUT OF YOUR LINEUPS! And, have alternatives ready for the Chiefs-Patriots game.

I’ll also be answering start/sit questions in our War Room starting two hours before early game kickoffs. Do give a click if you’re reading this between 11 am - 1pm EST Sunday morningish.

Fantasy Relevant Injuries

Quarterback

Cam Newton is out with Covid-19. Even if they play, he won’t be on the field. Jarrett Stidham has some deep 2QB league appeal if they end up playing, but it’s not worth the headache.

Nick Mullens will get the start against the Dolphins. He’s inconsistent, but has had upside games in the past that were fantasy relevant. If you’re hurting from all the Covid troubles, he’s a useful play this week.

Running Back

Joe Mixon is questionable after a late addition to the injury report with a chest injury. As of now it looks like he will play, but if he can’t, Giovani Bernard has some fantasy value.

Chris Carson is a game-time decision, but all signs point to him playing.

Raheem Mostert is out while Tevin Coleman is out and on I.R. We should see a similar mix between Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson against the Eagles. Both can be considered flex plays.

Cam Akers is out, which helps Darrell Henderson secure touches against the Giants. Henderson looks like a must start this week.

Duke Johnson will play this week, likely cutting into David Johnson’s touches. Johnson remains a flex play, but his upside isn’t quite the same.

Kareem Hunt is questionable with a groin injury. All signs point to him playing, but groin injuries do have a chance of resurfacing in game.

Zack Moss is questionable with a toe injury. He was able to get in limited work in practice this week, and looks like he’ll suit up. Keep an eye on this one, as Devin Singletary gets a decent bump if Moss can’t go.

Leonard Fournette is out. Ronald Jones should see a boost in work, making him a safer start against the Chargers.

Wide Receiver

DeAndre Hopkins didn’t practice this week, but did tweet out this gif of himself:

Coach Kliff Kingsbury said he’d let Hopkins make the decision if he would play or not, so it looks like he’ll at least give it a try. He’s not going to get his usual No. 1 fantasy receiver ranking from me, but I’d still play him as long as he starts against the Panthers.

Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are both questionable to play on Monday night, but are trending toward starting. Ridley appears to be iffier after just getting one limited practice in on Friday. Have an alternative ready, but go ahead and pencil these two in for a high flying matchup against the Packers.

Chris Godwin is out with a hamstring injury while Scotty Miller was able to get in a full practice on Friday. Miller likely gets the biggest bump with Godwin out.

Michael Thomas returned to practice this week, but is out. Alvin Kamara will again be a huge part of the offense, while Tre’Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders have deeper league appeal.

Terry McLaurin is questionable to play against the Ravens with a thigh injury. There hasn’t been much discussion about this injury among Washington beat writers. It looks like it’s something he might be able to play through, but we’ll just have to see what happens. If he can’t go, I wouldn’t play any Washington receivers against the Ravens.

Deebo Samuel will return this week, but he could see limited snaps his first week back. If you are hurting at the position, give him a shot, but he’s not set up for his upside just yet.

Henry Ruggs is doubtful to play while Bryan Edwards in on I.R. Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller should see a ton of targets against the Bills.

The Eagles pass catchers are hurting still, with DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen Reagor, Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffery all out. Zach Ertz should see a lot of work in a matchup with the 49ers, while Greg Ward has some PPR appeal.

D.J. Chark was taken off the injury report and will play as usual. He’s not an automatic start right now, but his upside is worth getting on your team.

Tight Ends

George Kittle will return this week and is an auto-start.

Jared Cook is out with a groin injury and rookie Adam Trautman will start in his place. Trautman has some streaming appeal this week with Michael Thomas out as well.

Favorite DK plays

QBs:

Russell Wilson, $7,800 — Wilson has truly been unleashed by the coaching staff this season and I don’t see any reason to stay away from him this week against a poor Dolphins defense.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,400 — Seattle’s pass defense has allowed 8.5 yards per pass attempt and have given up the second most DK points to quarterbacks on the season. Fitzpatrick looked awful Week 1, but has been playing well the last two weeks.

RBs:

Kenyan Drake, $6,000 — Drake didn’t come through for us last week, but his usage remains great and the Cardinals receivers are banged up. The Panthers have allowed a rushing touchdown in 16 straight games.

Alvin Kamara, $8,000 — Michael Thomas is out, so Kamara is going to get a bunch of work yet again. He will be heavily rostered, but at his price and floor, I don’t see passing on him this week.

WRs:

DeVante Parker, $5,700 — Parker had been dealing with a hamstring injury, but he played full snaps last week and caught a touchdown. The Seahawks have been getting dismantled by wide receivers this season and will be without Jamal Adams.

Adam Thielen, $6,600 — This looks like a good spot for Thielen coming off Justin Jefferson’s huge game last week. The Texans pass defense is below average and they will need to be more cognizant of Jefferson than the Titans were last week, giving Thielen a good shot at a big game.

Hunter Renfrow, $4,600 — Renfrow is coming off a good game against the Patriots and now gets a Bills defense that was shredded by the Rams and slot man Cooper Kupp last week. The Bills have allowed the seventh-most DK points to wide receivers this season and with Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards out, Renfrow should be a solid target for Carr.

TEs:

T.J. Hockenson, $4,800 — The Saints have been torched by tight ends this season, allowing the most DK points, receptions, yards and touchdowns to the position. Hockenson’s snap count continues to rise and he is due for a breakout.

Darren Waller, $5,200 — Waller was shut down by Belichick last week, but he has been one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends going for a while now. This matchup against the Bills should give him plenty of targets, with their two starting receivers out.

D/ST:

Buccaneers, $3,400 — Tampa Bay is getting after the quarterback and shutting down the run, ranking second overall in defensive DVOA. This week they get a rookie in Justin Herbert, who has looked good, but fumbled twice and threw an interception against a weak Panthers defense last week. Herbert will be going from the 32nd ranked team in adjusted sack rate to the fourth ranked team.

Favorite wagers

Last week I managed another 3-1 record against the spread, moving me up to 6-2 on the season. Let’s see if there’s any luck left in the old bag of picks.

Colts (-3) at Bears — The Colts haven’t had to play their starters much in the fourth quarter of the last two games and Philip Rivers hasn’t played particularly well. But he’s getting it done as a game manager and the Bears keep winning somehow. Nick Foles has earned his nickname, but he’s also looked mediocre when trying to be consistent.

Bills (-3.5) at RaidersJosh Allen has been torching teams and the Raiders remain mediocre despite beating the Saints. Las Vegas is hurting on their offensive line and at receiver, with Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards out. The lack of a deep threat and Derek Carr’s propensity to throw short is going to allow the Bills to shorten the field.

Buccaneers (-7) vs. Chargers — I like what I’ve seen from Justin Herbert, but he’s got a much tougher matchup this week. As I noted in my Buccaneer’s D/ST pick, the Bucs defense is tough, but I saved this tidbit for this blurb — the Chargers o-line is decimated. Both Bryan Buluga and Trai Turner are out and they weren’t exactly tearing up defenses before. Add in Mike Williams not playing, and they’ve lost their strongest deep threat as well.

Cowboys (-4) vs. Browns — The Cowboys have been my Achilles heel so far this season, so I may be barking up the wrong tree again. But, the Cowboys offense is too good not to want a piece of. Maybe that means I should just stick with the overs, but I just don’t trust the Browns to come into Dallas and outscore this team. The Cowboys look like they’ll also get Tyron Smith back on the line, which would be a huge boost.

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