Week 4 Monday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS: Top FanDuel & DraftKings Plays
Welcome to this week's showdown breakdown for Monday Night Football, a clash between the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants. The Seahawks are 2-1 and in pursuit of maintaining their winning momentum, while the Giants are reeling at 1-2 and sporting one of the worst point differentials in the league. Adding salt to the wound, the Giants' versatile back Saquon Barkley remains out due to an ankle sprain. At the very least, there are some signs that we could have a high-scoring and highly entertaining final game of Week 4. Let's dive into the nitty-gritty and see how this competitive imbalance can uncover some unique DFS strategies for this single-game slate.
This chart represents the general offensive strategies for each team when the game outcome is still in question (win probability between 20% and 80%). The final two minutes of each half are also excluded. Teams in the upper-right quadrant pass more often and play faster than the average NFL team in neutral game scripts, and conversely, teams in the lower-left quadrant play slower and run more often than the average NFL team.
Seahawks (-1.5, 24.5) @ Giants (+1.5, 23); Over/Under 47.5
The Seahawks, while ranking 15th in pass plays per game, show a tendency to play conservatively once they have the lead. But when the game's tight—just like Vegas predicts this one will be—they tend to go airborne. With a season-plus of quality production from Geno Smith, it’s clear that Seattle has taken the reins off of their quarterback and will continue to let him make more plays downfield than more traditional Pete Carroll offenses.
The Giants, who aren’t always inclined to pass when at full strength, surprisingly find themselves in the upper-right quadrant of the chart above, indicating they are passing more and playing faster than the NFL average when in neutral game scripts. They’ll likely lean even more on the aerial attack without Barkley, especially considering their opponent and the quality of their own defense. Both defense units rank in the bottom 5 in Pass Defense DVOA and yards allowed per pass attempt. Add it all up, and you've got a recipe for a potential shootout.
While there may be 22 people on the field for every play, each play and game is heavily dictated by the performance of each team’s quarterback. While efficiency isn’t everything for quarterbacks, it is the best indicator of future performance, so we use a trio of metrics to suss out top performers at the position compared to lackluster ones. xDrive Success %, or True Drive Success Rate, is a measurement of a QB’s ability to turn drives into scores weighted by sample size. EPA or Expected Points Added, is a measurement of the QB’s contribution, both running and throwing, to the team’s scoring and production vs. the average NFL team. Completion % over Expected (CPOE)represents the accuracy and efficiency of a QB’s passes compared to league expectations.
Geno Smith is putting together yet another season of efficient football despite a lack of ceiling performances from a fantasy perspective. He ranks in the top 10 in passing yards despite ranking 22nd in total air yards. He excels in a clean pocket, boasting a sixth-best completion percentage, and he’s lethal when using play-action, completing passes at a higher rate than anyone else in the NFL. Though he's not a notable runner, averaging a mere seven yards per game on the ground, his per-drive and per-game efficiency metrics are elite enough to consider him a top option in every one-game slate he plays. Smith ranks in the top five for xDrive Success and EPA per game. His fantasy floor is also solid; having dipped below 15 DraftKings points twice in his last 14 starts. Against the Giants' porous pass defense, Smith is arguably the safest play on the slate with considerable upside.
Daniel Jones’ best asset for fantasy remains his running ability. He averages a solid eight rush attempts and 35 rush yards per game, which ranks fourth in the league among quarterbacks. However, his passing metrics are far from inspiring in 2023. Jones finds himself in the bottom 10 for xDrive Success and bottom three for EPA. His adjusted yards per attempt is dead last among starting quarterbacks. His accuracy is unspectacular, with a completion percentage vs. expectation that is essentially league average. To make matters worse, his receivers have dropped eight passes—the most in the league. We’ve seen a downturn in fantasy production compared to previous years as well, as Jones is scoring 4.0 points a game less than 2022, and 1.5 points per game less than 2021. Despite a close spread, Jones will need to put the team on his back, especially without Barkley, or risk seeing his team fall behind by double-digits. All that said, given the Seahawks' struggles in pass defense, he could still be a contrarian play that pays off big.
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