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Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown: Week 4 Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins

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Russell Wilson hasn’t been slowed down by a single opponent yet, and now he heads to sunny Miami to take on a Dolphins squad that just nabbed their first win last week. Can the Dolphins be the first squad to slow the Seahawks aerial attack? For the 2020 NFL season, Matt Savoca will be providing his weekly NFL Fantasy Football Matchups Breakdown column, going through every single game and offensive and defensive matchup, every week of the season. For your viewing convenience, we have broken up the matchups breakdown into several single columns, each one covering a single game. You can find links to every game right here. We have 12 games on tap for Week 4 NFL DFS and NFL Fantasy Football, so let’s dive in into the NFL DFS picks. The entire matchups article will be available in podcast form, every Friday afternoon on the Awesemo Podcast Network. Let’s get into the Seahawks – Dolphins fantasy football matchup and find the best NFL DFS picks for your NFL DFS lineups.

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Seattle Seahawks (30.5) at Miami Dolphins (23.75)– 1 p.m. ET

Seattle Passing Game

The Seahawks are making a case as the best offense in football, and it starts with the superior play of quarterback Russell Wilson. Now at the helm of an offense that is top five in early-down air yards per second and tied for first in true early-down pass rate in neutral game scripts, Wilson ranks No. 1 in composite quarterback efficiency rating and second in both true drive success rate and expected points added per play. After Week 3 against Dallas, where he dropped back to pass 49 times (fifth highest last week), he’s now up to 11th in the NFL in average dropbacks per game. This is an elite passer operating in a deep passing-oriented offense. It’s the most exciting scheme we’ve ever seen Wilson helm, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Standing in the Seahawks way this week is a Dolphins defense that ranks second to last (and worst on the slate) in team coverage grades according to PFF. Instead, Miami relies on an above-average pass rush (they rank 10th as a unit defensive pressure grades via PFF) to disrupt teams’ passing attacks. And they were successful doing just that against the Jaguars in Week 3, recording the third-highest sack totals of any squad last week. The Seahawks rank in the top 15 of offensive lines in terms of time to pressure (they were at the top in Week 3), but Wilson, in an effort to create deep shots down field, has been prone to sacks this season. His sack total of nine is fifth highest among all quarterbacks.

When he does get the ball out, it’s typically going one of two places, to Tyler Lockett, who ranks seventh in the NFL in total targets through three games and fourth in true target share, or D.K. Metcalf, who’s fourth in true air yard share and 18th in raw targets. They both rank in the top 10 in the NFL in true weighted opportunity share and enjoyed monster games against Dallas in Week 3. It’s a golden situation for fantasy gamers, but the issue here is salary. They’re both priced in the top five among wide receivers, which means they’ll need 20-plus points each in order to return value. Even against a middle-of-the-road Miami defense, this is still tough to bet on. Awesemo’s projections are bearish on both this weekend.

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Greg Olsen (31st among tight ends in true weighted opportunity share) and David Moore (135th among wideouts) are the only other weapons to mention in the passing game. They make interesting tournament options, particularly in a stack with Wilson at quarterback.

Seattle Running Game

Chris Carson injured his knee late in Week 3’s victory but appears to be trending towards playing this weekend. He was able to practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, so the assumption is Carson will see his average workload of 30% of Seahawks opportunities. His receiving totals also bolsters his floor more than past seasons, as he ranks 21st at the running back position in true weighted opportunity share. Travis Homer played the most snaps once Carson left, but that likely was due to game script (the Seahawks were in hurry-up mode and needed a score to stay in the game). If Carson is unable to go or reaggravates the injury, the most likely event would be Homer in receiving downs and veteran Carlos Hyde handling the early-down and between-the-tackles work. Hyde has 16 rushes this season compared to Carson’s 16, and he hasn’t caught more than two passes. He’s not trustable in lineups even if Carson sits.


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Miami Passing Game

Ryan Fitzpatrick only needed to drop back to pass 24 times in the Dolphins’ Week 3 victory against the Jaguars. It was the second-lowest total of any starting quarterback in Week 3 (only Philip Rivers dropped back less), and five of those targets were to running back Myles Gaskin. Although the low dropback total can be at least partially attributed to game flow, it’s always very difficult to trust receivers or tight ends who might be dealing with 15 (like last week) to 20 total targets to distribute amongst them. Although Fitzpatrick has a reputation as a gunslinger, he’s been anything but this season, ranking 21st in average depth of target. After ranking top four in the NFL in early down pass rate a season ago, they’re below average in air yards per second and in true early down pass rate in 2020, another indicator of the rather conservative nature of the Dolphins’ pass attack.

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Mike Gesicki leads the receiver corps in targets, true air yard share (second among tight ends), and true weighted opportunity (4th in the NFL.) He’s certainly the first to consider in this passing attack, but he won’t come cheaply this week, he’s priced-up as the sixth highest salary tight end on the slate. At that price, needing a 15-plus point score to return value, Awesemo’s projections are somewhat bearish on Gesicki this week, though he still ranks in the top 10 in raw projections, making him more valuable for tournament play and game stacks that include multiple Seahawks.

Beyond Gesicki, DeVante Parker has emerged as the top option out wide despite battling early-season injuries. He ranks 44th in true weighted opportunity share, but his projection is within the top 20 compared to salary and looks much more lineup-friendly this week. The Seahawks have struggled against secondary receiving options in particular this season, exemplified by monster games in Week 3 by Dallas’ Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson, adding a boost of confidence in Parker for Week 4. Preston Williams (58th in true weighted opportunity share) got in the end zone in Week 3, but he’s been relatively quiet otherwise, cracking 40 yards receiving just once thus far. He’s a tournament-only play as the 46th-highest-priced wide receiver on the slate, as is Isaiah Ford, whose 15% target share ranks makes him the only other player on the Dolphins earning more than 6%. He’s even cheaper access to this likely pass-heavy game, slotting in as the 77th-highest wideout. His projection far outpaces that salary ranking.

Miami Rushing Game

Gaskin has emerged as one of the breakout bellows of the young season. Gaskin ranks in the top 12 among all players in opportunity share through three weeks, ahead of players like Melvin Gordon, Kenyan Drake, Joe Mixon and Jonathan Taylor. With a plethora of receiving work, he’s a solid floor play in lineups this weekend. He’ll continue to get plenty of looks in the passing game even if the Dolphins fall behind early. He’s up to sixth in true weighted opportunity share among running backs and a great value as only the 25th-highest-priced running back this Sunday.

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Prediction: Seahawks 35, Dolphins 21.

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A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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