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NFL DFS Showdown Spotlight: Week 4 Sunday Night Football DraftKings & FanDuel Patriots vs. Buccaneers

Eric MacPherson

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For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will be providing free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 4 Sunday Night Football slate featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots.

NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 4 Sunday Night Football

Tonight Tampa Bay will be without Rob Gronkowski, Giovani Bernard and Scotty Miller on offense, thought they do get Antonio Brown back from the COVID reserve. On defense they have recent addition Richard Sherman but will be without Jamel Dean, and Carlton Davis is questionable. New England has several players on both sides of the ball listed as questionable, and James White is on the injured reserve after suffering a hip injury.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 28.25

Quarterback

The stars are aligning tonight for Tom Brady to set the all-time record for yards passing, likely in the first quarter, as he needs just 68 yards to pass Drew Brees. The Patriots have the fourth-best passing DVOA this season. On the flip side, Brady leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns passing and is second with 1,087 yards.

Running Back

Giovani Bernard was active in Week 3, seeing a season-high 10 targets. However, he injured his knee late in the game and will not be taking the field tonight. Leonard Fournette (99) has twice as many snaps as Ronald Jones II (44). This has led to a 14-3 target disparity for Fournette, and he has 24 carries to Jones’ 15. Tampa is only logging 56.3 yards rushing per game which is just ahead of Pittsburgh and 23 yards behind Green Bay.

Wide Receiver

Brown will be returning after missing Week 3 with a positive COVID test. Keep in mind that he was vaccinated, which hopefully means he did not deal with more than mild symptoms. Miller and Rob Gronkowski are out, so things should be focused on Brown, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Each player has a realistic shot at 8 to 10 targets.

Tight End

Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard will be filling in for Gronkowski. Last week Brate saw five targets, though he has just six on the season. Howard, on the other hand, has one in each of the last two games. Both are threats in the red zone, and either could see targets in the middle of the field.

Defense/Special Teams

Tampa Bay will be facing Mac Jones in his fourth career game, and he has 205 snaps under his belt. While the Buccaneers only have three sacks this season, it would not be a surprise for them to match that total tonight and add a couple of takeaways.

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New England Patriots: 21.25

Quarterback

Jones has attempted 120 passes through three games, even with the Patriots preferring to run the ball if possible. Playing from behind does not help the rushing game, and Jones had 51 attempts last weekend against New Orleans. Though he is mobile, he has just six carries for 28 yards. It will be interesting to see how he performs in this bitter rivalry under the bright lights against a top-notch defense.

Running Back

White was playing a key role as the safety valve for Jones, but he was lost early last week with a hip injury and now is on the injured reserve. Damien Harris is the lead option, but with his mediocre pass blocking and receiving skills, it will be hard to trust him. The opportunities will evaporate in conjunction with how many points Tampa Bay puts on the board. Rhamondre Stevenson saw five snaps in Week 1 and has been inactive since. Brandon Bolden stepped into the void last week after White went down, though that was likely because he was the most trusted player who was active, and he out-snapped (33) both Jakob Johnson (nine) and J.J. Taylor (10) combined. Tonight is shaping up to be the most diabolical Belichick backfield in a long time, and it will be interesting to see what unexpected strategy he employs.

Wide Receiver

Jakobi Meyers is playing nearly 95% of the snaps, with Nelson Agholor seeing around 85% and Kendrick Bourne all over the place as the third wide receiver. Bourne’s opportunities will depend on both the score and how coach Belichick decides to protect Jones with an extra tight end.

Tight End

New England brought in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith to bolster both the line and add short-range receiving options. They have covered every snap at the position, with Henry playing 70% of the downs and Smith seeing 50 to 60%. The targets have been consistent for both, with Henry getting 13 total and Smith seeing 16; the high-water mark came last Sunday when they split 12 targets that went to the position.

Defense/Special Teams

This is going to be a terrific chess match between Brady and Belichick. It takes just one lucky break for a return touchdown, though with the way Brady limits sacks and turnovers, it is hard to pin hopes on that outcome.

Check out today's FREE DFS tool of the day

Sunday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy

The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.

Week 4 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings

Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Tom Brady: DraftKings did a tremendous job with the salary, but no one else can be the top option.
  2. Leonard Fournette: Lines up as one of the better point-per-dollar options on both sites and offers savings.
  3. Jakobi Meyers: Best Patriots option given his discount from Jones.
  4. Antonio Brown: Easily the top option on full-PPR as the cheapest of the Tampa trio. FanDuel will be about who finds the end zone.
  5. Nick Folk: Signed last week to replace the injured Quinn Nordin; the $3,400 salary on DraftKings and the $9,500 tag on FanDuel are ridiculous for completely opposite reasons (drop Folk to the top of the Secondary section for FanDuel).
  6. Chris Godwin: Comes with a hefty premium but can clearly cover.
  7. Ryan Succop: On a point-per-dollar basis he needs two field goals to surpass Jones on both sites.
  8. Mac Jones: He is averaging just over 12 fantasy points per game.
  9. Mike Evans: Could break both the game and the DFS slate wide open with a long touchdown or two.
  10. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard: Brate likely to get more opportunities, though on DraftKings Howard is just a fraction of the cost.

Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Tampa Bay D/ST: DraftKings set this salary high at $6,600.
  2. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith: It is not a stretch to swap either with Brate on FanDuel. Howard is an afterthought on FanDuel due to his similar salary and concerns about his opportunity volume.
  3. Damien Harris: Needs to find the end zone.
  4. Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne: Coin flip, though definitely behind Meyers and the tight ends in the pecking order.
  5. Ronald Jones: Tantalizing DraftKings salary of $2,000 has him in play. On FanDuel he is only a multi-entry pivot away from Fournette, who is just $500 more (though Fournette will easily carry double or triple the popularity).

Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks

  1. Brandon Bolden: In play as a dart throw at just $600 on DraftKings in the hopes Belichick turns to him at some point.
  2. Tyler Johnson: If he can get on the field for even 12 snaps, he has touchdown equity with Brady at the helm.
  3. J.J. Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakob Johnson: Behind Bolden, but only barely; listed in order of preference.
  4. New England D/ST: Will be on less than 10% of all rosters.
  5. N’Keal Harry and Gunner Olszewski: Neither has a target yet; Olszewski at least returns punts and kickoffs.

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If you’re interested in other DFS NFL football for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking. Take a look at our inactive player list, NFL depth charts and starting lineups.)

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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