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2023 NFL Week 4 DFS Lineup Recap: What We Can Learn From Results

In DFS, crafting the perfect lineup is an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of player dynamics, game environments and the unpredictable nature of sports. 

In the following article, we will review two of our lineups to give you insight into how we constructed them and where we went wrong.

Mark Garcia’s Review

Contest: NFL $600K Fantasy Football Millionaire

Entrants: 4,444

I came into this weekend wanting to attack game environments that the field seemed to be overlooking, which served as the starting point for this roster. Justin Fields and Cole Kmet were the optimal quarterback–tight end pairing once last season, and Kmet also had an additional game where he was the second-optimal tight end in a week where Fields was optimal.

Because Kmet likely requires multiple touchdowns to be optimal, the pairing made more sense on paper than one with DJ Moore. That said, I never fully considered including Moore with my Chicago Bears stack, which obviously would have provided 100-plus DK points from just three players this week. That was mistake No. 1.

Mistake No. 2 for this weekend was being overly intrigued by Ja’Marr Chase and Keenan Allen, two players perceived to have very little chance of failure in their respective matchups.

The role we saw from Chase in Week 3 included schemed usage around the line of scrimmage, pre-snap motion and heavy slot usage. The matchup against the Tennessee Titans provided one of the top pass-funnel matchups on the slate. The problem was that coach Zac Taylor has legitimately struggled as an offensive play caller, and the assumptions regarding Chase came from a one-game sample, which did not carry forward to Week 4.

For Allen, the absence of Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams made him the de facto focus of the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense. Still, game environment (and an ill-timed injury to quarterback Justin Herbert) threw the team into full-on coast mode in the second half. Allen put up three receptions and a touchdown in the first half and had exactly zero production in the second. I should have considered that possibility more heavily after the Las Vegas Raiders announced they were starting fifth-round rookie QB Aidan O’Connell.

Mistake No. 3 was to place too much emphasis on coach speak and beat reports out of Denver coming into the week. I felt Marvin Mims would be a focal point in the Denver Broncos’ offense in Week 4, but he ended up playing just 35 percent of the offensive snaps.

The running back stable of D’Andre Swift and Alexander Mattison was a good process because they were coming in with minimal interest from the field and provided avenues to solid GPP scoring as the lead back on good offenses with high team totals.

I typically don’t like playing chalk defenses, but my process throughout the week continued, leading me to the Cleveland Browns. Like the Allen discussion above, I should have considered the unit's increased chance of failure after a fifth-round rookie quarterback was named the Browns’ starter. Cleveland started the game playing well, but an ill-timed turnover led to an easy touchdown for the Baltimore Ravens, which became a trend throughout the contest.

Overall, there were numerous things I need to clean up moving forward from Week 4 after feeling like my process was tight through the first three weeks of the season.

Jordan Vanek’s Lineup

Contest: NFL $600K Power Sweep 3-Entry Max

Entrants: 4,444

This lineup was built according to my preferred process, but injuries took a toll on its potential, and a suboptimal choice among San Francisco 49ers players added to the challenges.

I loved the sub-$7,000 running quarterbacks in Fields and Anthony Richardson, and at the end, I loved Fields' weapons over Richardson’s in their respective matchups; but I made the mistake of not taking two pass catchers with Fields. I still attacked the game for Richardson by playing Puka Nacua, who was a must-play this weekend.

To fix my lineup, a straightforward solution to incorporate Christian McCaffrey while maintaining the Denver-Chicago game stack would have been to replace Derrick Henry, Tee Higgins and George Kittle with McCaffrey, De’Von Achane and Kmet. This adjustment alone could have added a valuable 76.12 points, potentially securing a fourth-place finish in the power squeeze contest. I would have loved to make Achane a mini-stack with Stefon Diggs, but that price tag or options aren’t available with playing McCaffrey.

To deviate from Javonte Williams in this lineup, I'd need to consider adding another Broncos player to maintain the full game stack. Had I opted for Courtland Sutton, that could have yielded an additional 7.8 points, potentially securing the No. 1 spot in the Power Sweep Contest.

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