Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Davante Adams ($33) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Adams saw 18 targets last week and continues to benefit from so much activity at the goal line (last season he saw 20 targets inside the 10; the next most was 14, and Adams missed multiple games). Week 4 he gets a Pittsburgh defense that’s tough to run against but has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers to open the year. The defense is simply not the same without a healthy T.J. Watt. Suddenly $3 cheaper than Cooper Kupp, Adams is a strong building block this week.
Derrick Henry ($41) @ New York Jets
Henry is an option even while sporting the highest salary by far this week, as he’s getting targeted more than ever and should have a favorable game script with Tennessee more than TD favorites against the Jets. New York has ceded the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season, and Henry has 19 more touches than any other player in football. The Big Dog is absolutely a candidate to be fantasy’s No. 1 player right now and is a strong Week 4 DFS foundational piece.
DK Metcalf ($28) @ San Francisco 49ers
Metcalf should be busy in a matchup in San Francisco with a high over/under (52 points) against a 49ers secondary dealing with a bunch of injuries. Russell Wilson leads the NFL getting 10.4 YPA (with zero picks), and Seattle’s defense isn’t good enough to play the style in which Pete Carroll prefers. While Metcalf led the NFL in end-zone targets over his first two years in the league, Tyler Lockett has just one red-zone target over the first three games this season.
Ezekiel Elliott ($22) vs. Carolina Panthers
Elliott is ceding more work to Tony Pollard than his managers would prefer, but Zeke has averaged 19.0 touches, 106.5 scrimmage yards and scored three touchdowns over two games since Week 1’s tough matchup in Tampa Bay. The Cowboys get another tougher opponent this week against a surprising Carolina defense that’s yielded the fewest yards per play this season, but Dallas is at home and sports one of this week’s highest implied team totals. Elliott has played well this season, will continue to benefit from an offense that should be among the league leaders in scoring, and his salary would be much higher if it wasn’t released before his big game Monday night.
Star to fade
DeAndre Hopkins ($32) @ Los Angeles Rams
Hopkins was quiet last week while playing through a painful rib injury, although admittedly he may be needed more Sunday versus the Rams. With an injury that may linger, a high percentage of “prayer yards” and seeing just 10 targets combined over the last two weeks, DHop has enough concerns to fade at $32. I’d rather roster Stefon Diggs ($30) or Tyreek Hill ($30), who are both also cheaper.
Jimmy Garoppolo ($25) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Garoppolo has no question struggled to open the season, but Kyle Shanahan doesn’t seem interested in turning to Trey Lance at this point, and Jimmy G is intriguing this week down at $25. His roster percentage will likely be low coming off an ugly performance in primetime, and San Francisco is home with one of the highest implied team totals on the entire slate. Seattle’s defense has been middling this season, and while Lance is a threat to steal goal-line action, the lack of any healthy/viable running back in SF right now (and a defense playing worse than expected) should lead to Garoppolo throwing more Sunday.
David Montgomery ($21) vs. Detroit Lions
Montgomery averaged 20 touches over the first two games of the year before last week’s dud, and his tough schedule is about to ease up Sunday. Chicago’s shaky QB situation isn’t ideal, but Montgomery’s salary is low for a back projected to see such a high workload and in a plus matchup against a Lions defense that’s been comically bad in 2021. Boosted by an easy schedule down the stretch last season, Montgomery totaled 824 yards with eight touchdowns over the final six games. Damien Williams has averaged just 2.3 YPC after opting out of last season, so Montgomery should carry the load (although relying on anything Matt Nagy is admittedly risky).
D’Andre Swift ($16) @ Chicago Bears
If Swift didn’t have any carries this season, he’d still be a top-15 RB in PPR leagues. Yahoo DFS is 0.5 PPR, but Swift remains way undervalued at $16 nevertheless. He has the second-most targets among running backs this season and has scored 12 touchdowns over the first 16 games of his NFL career despite having fewer than 150 carries. Chicago’s defense is average, and Swift isn’t even ranked as a top-25 back at this salary.
Green Bay Packers D/ST ($10) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Packers defense isn’t exactly elite, but they’ve allowed just 6.7 YPA to open the year and are somehow the stone minimum this week despite being touchdown home favorites. The Steelers have the fifth-lowest implied team total this week (even Detroit is projected to score more points on the road), as Pittsburgh is dealing with a struggling offensive line, injuries to all their receivers and a quarterback who looks flat-out washed. After getting 5.8 YPA over the second half of last season, Ben Roethlisberger has already taken eight sacks and committed five fumbles/interceptions over the first three games. Big Ben has also played notably worse on the road throughout his career.
Dalton Schultz ($11) vs. Carolina Panthers
Schultz will admittedly likely be a popular choice after blowing up Monday night, as his $11 salary was released before his big performance in primetime. He’s secured 14-of-15 targets on the year, while Blake Jarwin has been given nine looks. Schultz has suddenly been a top-five fantasy tight end this year after Monday’s two-TD game, which is as much of an indictment on the position as it is praise for Schultz. Still, he’s the lead tight end in a highly potent Dallas offense that’s missing Michael Gallup (and Amari Cooper was quiet while playing through his rib injury Monday night), so he’s a huge bargain at this salary.