Last updated: September 26th at 7:59am ET
Team Totals: Chargers 30, Dolphins 14
As Melvin Gordon has reportedly caved in his holdout and will return to the Chargers before Week 5, Week 4 appears to present Austin Ekeler’s final game of clear lead-back duties in the softest-possible matchup football offers. The tanking Dolphins’ defense has been generous enough that we’ve seen backfields in each game they’ve played field multiple fantasy-viable runners (Mark Ingram/Gus Edwards > Sony Michel/Rex Burkhead/James White > Ezekiel Elliott/Tony Pollard), suggesting Justin Jackson should also get in on the fun as an underrated flex play with low-ownership DFS-tournament appeal. Jackson’s Week 3 box score would’ve looked prettier had he not lost a first-half touchdown to an LG Dan Feeney hold. … In season-long leagues, I wouldn’t race to trade Ekeler. Ekeler’s floor is still a start-able RB2/flex – he was last year’s PPR RB25 despite missing two games, and undoubtedly has earned more trust – and Gordon is no lock to stay healthy after a protracted holdout. … Miami was ethered by Lamar Jackson (QB1), Tom Brady (QB5), and Dak Prescott (QB7) in Weeks 1-3, positioning Philip Rivers as an exciting Week 4 start. Rivers-Keenan Allen DFS stacks are squarely in play with Ekeler or Jackson and the Chargers’ D/ST also in prime spots. Every defense to face the Dolphins so far has banked a top-12 week.
Rivers’ Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Allen 42; Ekeler 20; Mike Williams 15; Travis Benjamin 10; Jackson 8; Dontrelle Inman 6; Virgil Green 3; Lance Kendricks 2. … Fantasy’s No. 1 overall wideout three weeks in, Allen was ranked nearly a half-round above his high-stakes-league ADP in ETR’s Draft Kit. He enters another smash spot in Miami; Allen runs 63% of his routes in the slot (Sports Info Solutions), while the Dolphins permit 16.4 yards per target to slot receivers, most in the league by a whopping 4.5-yard margin. Allen also owns a massive 44% target share against man coverage, while Brian Flores’ Fins play man at the NFL’s third-highest rate. With Hunter Henry (knee) several weeks away from return and Williams (knee) far less than 100%, Allen will continue to vacuum targets and fantasy points from Rivers. … Knee-hobbled Williams is Los Angeles’ likeliest receiver to attract Dolphins top CB Xavien Howard’s coverage; Howard has logged just four snaps in the slot (where Allen primarily roams) all year. Playing hurt and averaging just five targets per game, Williams is a touchdown-dependent WR4/flex option. … Benjamin is off to an abhorrent start with two drops and 17 yards on ten targets, but he is playing 57% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps and is fast enough to get behind Miami’s secondary for a big play.
I don’t expect the week-to-week story for the Dolphins to change anytime soon; you play fantasy D/STs against them, and that’s nearly it. … Kenyan Drake could perhaps be an exception with inclining touch counts (6 > 11 > 15) on inclining playing-time clips (53% > 55% > 66%). Drake has run the 14th-most routes among NFL running backs (63) and offers PPR-specific flex-play usability. … The Dolphins appear to have settled on a firm three-receiver set featuring DeVante Parker and UDFA rookie Preston Williams outside with Jakeem Grant in the slot. They’re all comeback-mode prayers every week with league-worst quarterback play on a team designed specifically not to win. … Checking in on 2018 second-round TE Mike Gesicki; he remains touchdown-less with zero outcomes above 44 yards in his 19-game career.
Score Prediction: Chargers 27, Dolphins 13