NFL Picks, Plays, and Daily Fantasy: Oct. 4, 2020 (Week Four)

My lead-in this week is very, very short. I would love to have something funny or witty to say here, but other things take precedent.

As we all know, President Trump has tested positive for COVID-19. He was transported to the hospital Friday, and social media is abuzz with everything from well-wishes to people essentially putting him into the ground already.

My message: If you’re in that latter group, stop and re-evaluate yourself.

I lost my grandmother to COVID-19 earlier this year. I’ve been through it. For lack of a better, more eloquent way of putting it, it sucks, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

I’m far from a Trump supporter, as anyone who follows me on Twitter can attest. Rather than cheer the news or hope for his demise, I hope he gets well, and that he and his followers (specifically those who use the word “hoax” to an alarming degree) begin to exercise rationality when it comes to the global pandemic. We all need to look out for each other, and if we’ve descended to the point where we’re celebrating someone’s death without thinking anything of it, that’s as big an issue as the virus itself.

Anyway, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into some week four NFL action. The Chiefs winning outright allowed me to salvage a 2-2 mark last weekend, and I’m now 9-3 on the season. A 75% win rate is nothing to sneeze at, and I’m hoping to keep the success going this Sunday! As a reminder, all point spreads/totals are courtesy of America’s Line, and all daily fantasy costs are courtesy of Draftkings.

PICKS/PLAYS

Bears +3 over Colts

Are we entirely sure the Colts are good? Yes, they’re 2-1, and the offense has put up 84 points through three weeks. However, they’ve faced the Jaguars, the Vikings, and the Jets, all teams with pitiful defenses (more on Jacksonville later).

Here, Indianapolis goes on the road for its stiffest test to this point in the season. It hasn’t been pretty, but the Bears are 3-0 and were rejuvenated by a switch to new quarterback Nick Foles in a comeback win over the Falcons. Chicago will be without Tarik Cohen, but the team still has a fearsome defense, one that should give Philip Rivers and company major headaches.

I thought the initial line (Chicago giving a point and a half) was pretty spot-on. I’m surprised it’s moved so far in this direction, but I’m certainly not complaining. I’ll gladly take the points in a game I think the Bears win outright.

Seahawks -5.5 over Dolphins

I don’t love a west coast team playing an early game, but this seems generous. Russell Wilson has played as well as anyone in the league to this point, and the Seattle offense has carved up every defense it’s faced to this point. Here, they go to Miami, where they face a team that’s by no means offensively-inept, but one that doesn’t seem able to keep up with their opponents this week.

Seattle’s defense is a concern. As good as their offense has been, that unit is a significant question mark. Still, you’re telling me I can get the Seahawks giving less than seven points to a team quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick? That’s too tantalizing to pass up.

Jacksonville/Cincinnati: OVER 49

This may appear to be the least-appealing game of the Sunday slate. Neither of these teams are particularly good. However, they have lots in common, as both have pass-happy quarterbacks and shoddy defenses.

For these reasons, the total seems low to me. Jacksonville is certainly not as bad as they appeared a little more than a week ago, when they were rolled by Miami coming off a short week and a three-point loss to Tennessee. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has scored 53 points in the last two weeks behind rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, who would be putting up even better numbers if his offensive line was not emulating one big turnstile on most pass plays.

I think lots of points will be scored in this game. Give me Burrow and Gardner Minshew marching their teams up and down the field for 60 minutes, and I’ll be a happy bettor.

Philadelphia/San Francisco: UNDER 45

For whatever it’s worth, this was originally going to be “under 53” in New England/Kansas City. However, that total will undoubtedly change significantly following news of Cam Newton’s positive COVID-19 test, which will of course sideline him for this weekend’s game. While America’s Line still shows the 53-point total, I can’t in good conscience back that when nobody will be able to play it.

Instead, I’ll turn to a Sunday night game with two teams that are incredibly banged-up. Philadelphia is almost out of wide receivers and has been playing with a patchwork offensive line since the start of the year, while San Francisco will once again roll with backup quarterback Nick Mullens and won’t have Raheem Mostert. This isn’t the highest total, but this hits me as a 21-17 kind of game, so I’ll roll with the under.

DAILY FANTASY PLAYERS TO WATCH

WR Kenny Golladay, DET ($6,000)
QB Matthew Stafford, DET ($5,900)
TE T.J. Hockenson, DET ($4,800)

This is largely a product of the likely game script. The Saints are 1-2 despite an offense that’s been humming, and I think they’re going to take plenty of shots on the road against Detroit. With that in mind, I think the Lions will be very pass-heavy for most of this game, so several of my lineups will have this mini-stack in them.

Of this trio, I want Golladay most. He may not have been 100% in last week’s win over Arizona, but he still found the end zone in that game. The New Orleans defense hasn’t had a great start to the year, and I think he gets open a fair bit. As one of the premier wide receivers in the game when healthy, I think $6,000 is too low of an investment.

RB Mike Davis, CAR ($5,700)

Davis was a key play for me last week and he responded, turning 21 touches into 91 total yards and a touchdown. He has soft hands and has proven to be an adequate replacement for all-world running back Christian McCaffery, and I once again think he’s undervalued.

Over the past two games, Davis has 16 receptions. You won’t find many backs more involved in their team’s passing game than that, and Carolina’s shown it can move the football effectively. At his price, Davis is once again a prominent fixture in my lineups.

DST Rams ($3,900)

This one’s pretty simple: Who do you like in a matchup between all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald and the Giants offensive line? I don’t think that matchup ends well for Daniel Jones, who has been running for his life every game to this point in the season. I even debated playing “under 48” in this game, simply because I think the New York offense is going to have a big problem moving the ball.

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