Each week I plan to give you what I feel are the best FanDuel plays at each position, as well as the plays that I am staying away from. My DFS methodology is a little different than the typical player. I don’t make separate cash and tournament lineups. I simply make the best possible lineup that I can, period. I feel like it distracts me too much to make different lineups for different contest types. I end up splitting up plays I really like for the sake of qualifying a guy as cash or tourney. Therefore, I put together the best lineup I can with the best plays, and that’s what you will see reflected in this article. Finally, I will mention that I am not a mass entry player. I typically enter 1 to 2 lineups per week across the board.
Week 4 NFL FanDuel Plays
In Week 2 I was all over Cam Newton ($9,300) and it paid off. Last week, I was 100% off of him and he struggled. Let’s continue the trend. This week, I think he should feast against the Atlanta Falcons defense. This game is expected to be close, and the over/under has been bet up to 50 1/2 points since it opened at 46. Newton is worth it this week if you can afford him. Read on below and I’ll help you figure out how to fit him in.
One other quarterback who I will be invested in is Matthew Stafford ($8,300). Stafford has thrown the ball 39, 40, and 41 times in Weeks 1, 2, and 3, respectively. We know he’s going to throw the ball. He’s currently sitting at 6th in the NFL in pass attempts and has a higher completion percentage than anyone else in the top 15. He’s having an exceptional start to the season. Stafford’s eyes had to be huge when he looked down at the schedule and saw the Chicago Bears in Week 4. He has a great chance to be the top scoring quarterback this week, while being the 6th most expensive.
I’m hoping that the defense versus position keeps the masses away from Stafford. If you look at the numbers, the Bears have only given up 214 passing yards per game and only 4 touchdowns through 3 games. However, that came against two rookies (Wentz and Prescott), and Brock Osweiler. While all three have been fairly efficient to start the season, they do not have the arm or moxy at this point in their career that Stafford brings. I feel most confident plugging Stafford in my QB slot and moving on.
The last quarterback that i’m giving a serious look to is Kirk Cousins ($7,600). This isn’t a sexy play by any means, but Cousins has a great matchup and his lowest yardage total through three weeks is 296, with a high of 364. He’s only thrown 3 touchdowns, but I expect that to improve. If he would start looking at Jordan Reed in the red zone it would help. The other important factor with Cousins is his opponent, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have given up 7 passing touchdowns in three weeks and just a tick under 300 yards per game. Cousins should have a safe floor this week with a little upside to go with it.
If I could play one player in both RB roster spots this week I would, and that player would be Le’Veon Bell ($8,300). He has been chomping at the bit for Week 4. He’s fully rested. and Coach Mike Tomlin said that he will be used a lot this week. Much like his teammate Antonio Brown, he has the highest upside at his position nearly every week. I’m hoping people either go up to David Johnson or save a few dollars and go down to the Elliott, Anderson, Gurley, and Gordon tier, taking a wait and see approach with Bell. That’s a mistake in my opinion. I will have my fair share of Bell and then some.
I’m going to go back to the well on Melvin Gordon ($7,600). His yardage was mediocre last week, but he found the end zone and ended up with a respectable day. This was our first chance since Danny Woodhead got injured to see Gordon handle the full workload. What was exciting to see was the 7 targets he received in Week 3 after only 3 total in the first two weeks. His matchup against the New Orleans Saints this week is fantasy gold. If you didn’t watch Monday Night Football, you may not know the degree of fantasy gold to which I allude. The Saints allowed the Atlanta Falcons split backfield of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to gash them all night. They ended up with 26 carries for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns. Oh and they also caught 8 balls for 102 yards and another touchdown. Now, I don’t expect Gordon to soak up all of that production, but I do expect over 100 total yards and a touchdown or two.
Lastly, if you need some savings, you may consider Dwayne Washington ($4,500) in the same game. Washington was a better runner than Theo Riddick in Week 3, despite facing the best rush defense in the league by a mile so far. Lions reporter Michael Rothstein mentioned that it wouldn’t be surprising for Washington to get more work this week. Seeing as he had 10 carries last week, if that number goes up towards the 15+ mark, I’m interested at minimum price. Especially playing the team who has given up the 3rd most yards per game on the ground so far.
My top receiver just about every week is going to be Antonio Brown ($9,400). Except when he was in my “Stay Away” plays for Week 2 and had a whopping 4 catches for 39 yards. But that was an anomaly, as historically, the Bengals have his number. He’s the best play at the position. In Week 3 we learned that even if his team is horrible, he can still give us a solid fantasy day. The Steelers scored 3 points, but Brown recorded 12 catches on 18 targets for 140 yards. If you have the salary, play him. If you choose not to this week, I think you can get away with your WR1 being significantly cheaper, while still having a ton of upside.
Kelvin Benjamin ($7,700) had 0 catches for 0 yards on 1 target in Week 3. No one saw that coming, but I think the biggest takeaway from that game was that the Minnesota Vikings defense is legit. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and I’m going to be all over Benjamin this week. A lot of people will shy away after that abysmal performance last week, making him an excellent low owned play. A matchup against the Atlanta Falcons is all he needs to get back on track. They’ve given up the 4th most yards per game through the air and are tied for the most passing touchdowns with 10 against. I think we throw out Week 3 like it didn’t happen and move on. Benjamin is the number one target of the best fantasy quarterback. I will be surprised if he doesn’t get at least double-digit targets in Week 4.
Marvin Jones Jr. ($7,600) I probably look like a total homer right now, seeing as I’m a diehard Lions fan, but I assure you that that’s not what is behind my Lions picks – Trust me. I think last year I played Lions about 0.1% of the time. The offense this year is different and there is going to be fantasy goodness to go around week to week. Marvin Jones is still priced in the second tier of receivers, despite being the number one fantasy receiver through Week 3. That’s one of the reasons I mentioned that I don’t think you have to pay up for your WR1 this week. There are WR1’s available in this price range with Benjamin and Jones, Jr.
DeSean Jackson ($6,900)/Jamison Crowder($6,000) – I like Cousins, so I’m interested in stacking him with his WR’s. I like Crowder more, but I would rather play him on Draftkings, where he gets a full 1 point per reception and he’s really cheap. I rarely ever play Jackson, but he’s in a good matchup and has been productive so far. His home run ability makes him an excellent option.
The guy I like even farther down the salary chart is Michael Thomas ($5,300). If Willie Snead is out again, Thomas becomes an excellent value play. He saw 11 targets on Monday night and scored his first career touchdown. If Snead can’t go, I expect 10 targets again for Thomas in the highest over/under game of the week. You don’t find that at this price.
If I’m playing Cam Newton, I will have Greg Olsen($7,900). Typically I don’t like to pay up at tight end. However, since there are savings available at WR this week, I’m okay going here to pair with Newton. If you watched Monday Night Football in Week 3, then you saw that the Falcons are susceptible to tight ends over the middle. They made Coby Fleener, who had struggled the first couple of weeks, look like Gronk. Olsen is much more talented than Fleener and he should have a beast week.
If I decide to pay down, I’ll be going all the way to the minimum and rostering Hunter Henry ($4,500). Henry filled in for Antonio Gates last week and looked okay. He played every snap, saw 5 targets, and had 5 catches for 76 yards. He’s an excellent value at the bare minimum facing the Saints defense.
Defense for me is simple this week. Because I think there are places where you don’t have to spend all the way up, my preference is to pay up for the Arizona Cardinals ($5,300). If I need the extra salary, I’m comfortable playing the New England Patriots ($4,500).
My kicker this week is Dustin Hopkins ($4,500). He is minimum priced and has more fantasy points than anyone other kicker in the league. He is 11-for-11 on the season and I expect the Redskins to have plenty of opportunities for him against the Browns. It’s also a plus that the Redskins continue to stall in the red zone. He is mispriced and I will have 100% Hopkins to take advantage.
Week 2 Stay Aways
The quarterback that I’m most likely to stay away from that other people will want to roster is Drew Brees ($8,600). It shouldn’t be a secret anymore that Brees just isn’t as good on the road. We have many years of data to tell us that. To start this season, that trend has continued. The San Diego Chargers have given up the third most yards per game through the air, but that is deceiving – They have the most pass attempts against. More opportunity usually means more production. The Chargers have an above average secondary, anchored by Jason Verrett. What the yardage totals don’t show you is that they have only given up 5 touchdown passes through 3 games, and have 4 interceptions. It’s Drew Brees, and his upside is immense, but I feel good staying away in this situation.
There are only a couple of situations at running back this week that I want to avoid. That doesn’t mean that I’m playing every player, I just could see a case for most of them. I guess you could say that I will be staying away from Devonta Freeman ($7,200) and Tevin Coleman ($6,100). Perhaps some Monday Night Football watchers will be excited about them after that game. It’s still a split backfield, and that MNF game was fluky.
The next running back I’m staying away from is Jordan Howard ($5,600). Will I be surprised if Jordan Howard has a good game against a suspect Detroit Lions defense? No. However, I also wouldn’t be surprised if he ends with a single digit fantasy day. I’m not willing to risk it at this price, when I can just pay up and get solid production or pay down over $1,000 and get the guy opposite of him in this game. I will note that I will probably be playing Howard on Draftkings, where he is priced much lower. Personally, I just want to stay away from him on Fanduel, because there is a chance he’s fairly popular and he’s just not priced low enough for me to take a chance on him.
What do we make of Terrell Pryor ($7,000)? Last week I recommended against him and it back-fired. At his FanDuel price, I don’t think it was the wrong call. I also didn’t know until just before the game that he would be given some snaps at quarterback, which increased my interest. I still didn’t roster him on FanDuel, but on Draftkings where he was near the minimum, I did put him on my roster. I still don’t trust this offense, regardless of how things looked last week. The Dolphins had no clue how Pryor would be used last week, so they couldn’t really plan against it.
With a week to prepare and an actual film to watch, I think the Redskins will come in with a better defensive scheme to limit Pryor. Josh Norman could shut Pryor down if the Redskins choose to have Norman shadow him. After that, there’s nothing on this offense. Just slow down Isaiah Crowell and let Cody Kessler make mistakes. While the masses can’t wait to roster Pryor this week, let us all remember that he still plays for the Browns, and they’re down to a third string quarterback. This price is ridiculous. Just spend a few more dollars for guys like Jones Jr. or Benjamin.
There might be some people who look back to Demaryius Thomas ($7,900) and Emmanuel Sanders ($6,900) after their blow ups in Week 3. I would hesitate to go there. Last week was the ceiling, and while there may be a few more of these weeks by years end, they will be few and far between. They had 226 yards and 0 touchdowns combined through the first two weeks. We’ll see a lot more games like the first two weeks than what we saw last week. This is still a run first offense with a rookie quarterback.
Good luck this week, and let me know if you have any questions by contacting me on twitter Follow @mrclutchdfs
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