DFS Core Four Plays and Value Stacks: Week 3
This Week 3 NFL DFS article consists of two parts, the "Core Four" and value stacks. The Core Four are my four favorite plays on the main slate for any game format, regardless of price or projected percent rostered. All four will almost assuredly be in my cash lineup and be an integral part of my GPP core plays (though they probably won't all be in the same GPP lineup).
For the value stacks, I’ll be using our Stack Value Reports to find stacks that can take down a tournament. I like building contrarian stacks around my chalkier core of players because you only have to get one instance correct for it to hit. Though there may be a chalkier player or two within the value stack, I will usually add a piece from the game that makes the stack a bit contrarian.
For example, if we hit on a contrarian quarterback play while having a pass-catcher or two from that same game, the positive correlation of those stacks is technically getting one contrarian play correct despite filling multiple roster slots. I feel this is easier than having a chalkier stack while trying to hit multiple individual low-rostered plays throughout the rest of your lineup. Keep in mind that these are contrarian stacks, so you don’t have to use these stacks in a large percentage of lineups to be overweight on the field. They should be used in tandem with a chalkier core of players.
For up-to-the-minute and Sunday morning updates, be sure to join the 4for4 DFS subscription-only Discord channel.
Core Four Plays
QB Justin Fields ($6,500 FD/$5,200 DK)
Fields rates out as the top value in our model according to John Paulsen's projections. He makes a ton of sense this week in cash when we have a ton of solid options in the mid-range and above at all the other positions. Not having to dip into the punt WR/TE range where you can end up with zero points goes a long way in raising the floor of your lineup. Fields didn't look great last week in his relief of Dalton, but I think things will look a bit different with him preparing as the starting quarterback. One item of note was the Fields ran the ball 10 times in limited action. He has good weapons at his disposal in a true WR1 in Allen Robinson, a deep threat in Darnell Mooney, and a couple of monster end zone target at tight end in Cole Kmet.
WR Cooper Kupp ($7,900 FD/$6,800 DK)
Cooper Kupp is going to remain in the Core Four for a third week in a row because he's that good. It's evident he is Matthew Stafford's favorite target, especially in close. As I mentioned last week, Kupp's weighted opportunity is through the roof. So not only is he getting all the targets, he's getting all the meaningful targets. I'm not into chasing points, meaning I'm not rostering Kupp just because the variance was on his side the first two weeks.
He's getting the requisite goal line targets within his massive usage numbers in this Rams' offense. It's obvious Matthew Stafford has found his go-to target as he's accounted for nearly 40% of the Rams' looks through two weeks. This game between the Rams and Buccaneers has the potential for big points which only helps Kupp's cause. His price didn't increase enough for me to move off him.
WR Marvin Jones Jr. ($6,300FD/$4,900 DK)
The Jaguars are slinging it, probably because they're playing from behind quite a bit, but nonetheless, Urban Meyer is letting Trevor Lawrence rip the ball all over the field. Marvin Jones has played about 90% of snaps through two weeks to go along with 10 targets per game. The game script is in Jones's favor, as the Cardinals should take a stranglehold on this game early, requiring the Jaguars to throw for much of the game. Laviska Shenault is dealing with a should injury, and although it looks like he'll suit up, it's unknown how effective he can be. Jones can push for double-digit targets again this week as the Jaguars frantically try to keep pace with the electric Cardinals' offense. He's just too cheap to pass up.
TE T.J Hockenson. ($6,300FD/$5,200 DK)
Hockenson is basically like slotting in another receiver. The Lions have a matchup with the Ravens that should provide a favorable game script for the trailing Lions. Not only is Hockenson the main red zone option for Goff, but he's the main option overall. Through two weeks the Ravens have faced the two best tight ends in the league in Travis Kelce and Darren Waller and have been absolutely torched. I don't see why this week is going to be any different when they face who I consider to be the third-best tight end in the league currently. If Hockenson was labeled as a wide receiver (which is basically the way he is used), he would be $7,000 on DraftKings after two 20+ point performances. We have to get a piece of him while the price is still a value.
Value Stacks to Target
QB Daniel Jones, Giants($7,400 FD/$5,800 DK)
WR Sterling Shepard, Giants($6,400 FD/$5,900 DK)
WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons($8,100 FD/$7,000 DK)
Daniel Jones is the QB4 in fantasy scoring through two weeks and now gets a Falcons defense to feast on. I like going with the single stack with Daniel Jones for a few reasons this week. There is a lot of chatter that you have to double stack your quarterback in tournaments. While that's certainly a viable strategy, it's not an absolute must. Jones has rushing ability that has led to him racking up 122 yards and two touchdowns through two weeks. It only makes sense to pair him up with his top target. Shepard has played 90+% of the snaps and been targeted about 10 times per game.
The Giants' defense is a perfect get-right spot for the Falcons' offense. Ridley has been getting dogged for not having monster games to start the year, but the usage is there. He has targets of 8 and 10 through two weeks. We saw how an alpha WR1 could exploit the Giants' corners last week when Terry McLaurin smashed for 11/107/1. This stack is the 10th-ranked ceiling play at 75.7 fantasy points in our projections despite being a pretty cheap combo with two players under $6,000 on DraftKings.
QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($7,500 FD/$6,500 DK)
RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers($7,000 FD/$7,200 DK)
WR Mike Williams, Chargers($6,000 FD/$6,400 DK)
WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs($8,700 FD/$8.400 DK)
Herbert was the chalk last week and while he didn't bust per se, he didn't meet expectations. It's a good week to go back to Herbert who threw for 320 yards despite underperforming from a fantasy points perspective. Austin Ekeler regained his role in the passing game against the Cowboys and I think that continues in a fast-paced game with the Chiefs. It's safe to assume that the Chiefs have a good chance to be leading in this game creating a pass-heavy approach for the Chargers. Ekeler's price is pretty reasonable for a high-scoring game especially if he is going to approach 8-10 targets.
Mike Williams makes a better play in tournament stacks than Keenan Allen. You're automatically going to be very unique because Allen is basically an auto-click when stacking up the Chargers. Williams has been the WR1 at least in terms of production through two weeks. They've both been targeted 22 times, but Williams is the preferred red zone and end zone target.
Tacking on Tyreek Hill to this stack is a no-brainer. Sure it can be Kelce, but I always like taking the player who had the off game the previous week. Kelce smashed and Hill underperformed against the Ravens. We all know Hill is usually matchup-proof and has the ability to rip off three-touchdown games in any contest. He's just a week removed from a 15-target 200-yard against the Browns. Hill's ceiling is too much to pass up