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DFS Week 4: Thursday night picks for Bengals-Jaguars

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By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Yahoo has expanded their daily fantasy football options with a single-game option, with a roster construction of one ‘Superstar’ that scores at 1.5 times while the remaining four spots accumulate points at the normal rate. This is half-point PPR scoring and the ‘Superstar’ salary does not change from the Utility. All scoring and rules can be found here.

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The last two No.1 picks in the NFL Draft kick off Week 4 when Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars travel to the Queen City to take on Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams feature strong offensive weapons — and sieves on defense.

It is vital to remember that single-game slates are not simply a “Max salary, play as many big names as possible, and submit” format, especially in larger tournament fields. We need to identify players who can be pieces in their offense’s success, whether in the lead or trailing, as well as the players who could be focal points in a neutral game script. The ability to then take those players and identify which will succeed in the single-game format will put us in a better position to succeed as daily fantasy players.

Vegas Total and Spread

Cincinnati is a 7.5-point home favorite with an over/under of 46 points. The Bengals have an implied team total of 26.75 points, while the Jaguars' implied team total is 19.25 points.

Potential Game Flow Scenarios

The teams with the 18th and 20th ranked defenses based on fantasy points allowed face off to start Week 4. On top of that, both defenses are missing key pieces. Bengals S Jessie Bates is out and CB Chidobe Awuzie is doubtful. Jags DL Roy Robertson-Harris will miss Week 4 while CB C.J. Henderson is now a Carolina Panther.

Both offenses can take advantage of the injuries and roster moves and as we saw in Week 3, the Bengals can excel on both sides of the ball against good defenses. Joe Burrow ($28) will be without Tee Higgins again but will have Ja'Marr Chase ($26) and Tyler Boyd ($19). The Jags are eighth in schedule-adjusted points allowed (aFPA) to wide receivers but allowed Christian Kirk and the husk of A.J. Green to top 100 yards receiving four days ago. The Jags are also okay allowing receptions to the tight end position. Three tight ends have collected four receptions through three weeks, so an appearance from C.J. Uzomah ($10) or Drew Sample ($10) would add a second layer of receiving options in a concentrated offense.

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Joe Mixon ($29) has had at least 19 touches in each game this season, seeing 83.7 percent of rushing attempts, 91.1 percent of rushing yards, and 9.6 percent of targets in the Bengals offense. The ascension of Chase is the flashy story for Cincy but Mixon’s usage has been the most important. The Jaguars' defense has allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in two of three games and ranks 29th in aFPA against running backs. The Bengals have done well in 10 of 12 quarters this season and have done so with a balanced offense. A change from that plan is less likely considering the Jaguars offense has had issues with sustained success.

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28)
Joe Mixon has been a key engine in the Bengals offense. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Trevor Lawrence ($22) has been a turnover machine because the Jags keep playing from behind. His nine turnovers (seven interceptions) are the most in the NFL. Pair that with only one takeaway on defense and you have a 0-3 team.

James Robinson ($18) and Carlos Hyde ($12) get the 20thranked defense in aFPA to running backs. If the Jaguars want to keep this game close and alleviate pressure off Lawrence the RB tandem has to be successful early. Robinson is playing more snaps and seeing more touches than Hyde, but Hyde is seeing a slightly better touch rate (33.9%) than Robinson (33.6). Hyde is more hindrance than help because he is getting torched by Robinson in fantasy points per touch in all formats. It may not matter though, with the Bengals allowing a season-high 61 rushing yards to Dalvin Cook and David Montgomery.

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It is easy to project who Lawrence is throwing to because only three receivers have more than two targets. Marvin Jones ($17), DJ Chark ($15), and Laviska Shenault ($13) are the three receivers to concentrate on; forget the rest. Jacob Hollister ($10) or the newly acquired Dan Arnold ($12) are the next likely players to get a passing target. Hollister saw six targets in his Week 3 Jaguars debut. The Bengals have only allowed three receivers to reach double-digit points in half-PPR formats but that includes a Steelers team without Diontae Johnson and whatever the Bears offense is in 2021.

Close, low-scoring game DFS options

  • Joe Mixon

  • James Robinson, Carlos Hyde

Close, high-scoring game DFS options

  • Joe Burrow

  • Joe Mixon

  • Tyler Boyd, Ja'Marr Chase

  • Trevor Lawrence

  • James Robinson

  • DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault

Blowout for home team DFS options

  • Joe Burrow

  • Joe Mixon

  • Tyler Boyd, Ja'Marr Chase

  • C.J. Uzomah

  • Trevor Lawrence

  • James Robinson

  • DJ Chark, Marvin Jones

Blowout for road team DFS options

  • Trevor Lawrence

  • James Robinson

  • Carlos Hyde

  • DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault

  • Jacob Hollister

  • Joe Burrow

  • Chris Evans

  • Tyler Boyd, Ja'Marr Chase

Cheap/Unique Stacking Option

Traditional stacks such as QB/WR1 or WR2, QB/TE, and RB/DEF are stacks seen used in winning lineups. The obvious choice is not always the winning choice. Below is a cheap stack with at least one unique quality that could break the slate.

James Robinson ($18) and Dan Arnold ($12)

This may be a bit of wish-casting but the now-injured James O’Shaughnessy had an okay correlation with Robinson. The arrival of Arnold will give the Jaguars an upgrade from O’Shaughnessy and a safety valve outlet if/when the Jags fall behind. The Jacksonville running backs and tight ends combined for nine of 22 receptions with Robinson collecting six and Hollister grabbing two. If Arnold is thrown into the fire immediately, he should see close to, if not all, the tight end receptions.

Low-Priced Volatile Plays

Laviska Shenault ($13)

I have no idea what Urban Meyer’s plan is for Shenault but it has been bad so far. Shenault has the lowest average target depth of any non-running back on the team but has the fourth-highest target share. He is the cheapest of the Jaguars receivers and on a short week, a simple, easier plan for Trevor Lawrence would involve more targets for the second-year receiver.

Chris Evans ($10)

Evans has three receptions and zero yards on the ground. In a blowout situation, he would get a chance to play more on a short week given Mixon’s heavy workload through three weeks.

Jacob Hollister ($10)

Dan Arnold has been with the team for three days. Hollister should have a role having been with Jacksonville for the past month.

C.J. Uzomah ($10)

The tight end position has been a wasteland since 2020 but another week without Tee Higgins could equal a handful of targets for Uzomah. He has played at least 70% of snaps in each game.

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Superstar Picks

Joe Mixon ($29)

Volume is king and only Derrick Henry has more touches per game and a better touch rate than Mixon.

Ja'Marr Chase ($26)

Chase has fewer targets per game than Tyler Boyd but has been a magnet for the end zone. Regression will come but on a short week against a shaky secondary is not a week to bet against the Burrow-Chase connection.

Tyler Boyd ($19)

Boyd at Superstar is a way to differentiate from Chase’s expected rostership at the same roster spot.

James Robinson ($18)

Robinson is averaging 14.3 touches despite Week 1’s underutilization. If he did not score in Week 3, Robinson would have still posted double-digit fantasy points in all formats.

Marvin Jones ($17)

Trevor Lawrence may be asked to keep his passes closer to the line of scrimmage, but his favorite target has a 12.1-yard average target depth and leads the team with 0.49 expected touchdowns per game.

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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