featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy Football Picks for Week 4 - FanDuel, DraftKings, Draftday, and Draftster

Week 3 is in the books, and it was great times here at DFSR central. While Brees, Graham, and McCoy were a dumpster, we thankfully nailed pretty much everything else and were able to escape with a decent week, all thing considered. The great thing about daily fantasy football is living to fight another day! So here we are - on to week 4!

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Drew Brees - FD 9200 DK 9300 DD 16450 DFSTR 9000
What's that saying about fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on.. something. I forget what I was talking about. Oh! Drew Brees! Love the guy! Love him. To be honest, darling reader, I know you're feeling thrice bitten and four times shy on Brees at this point, but hear me out. New Orleans is currently sitting at a 24.8% offensive DVOA versus a 15.9% DVOA from 2013. Layman's terms - they're doing just fine on offense. For whatever reason, this isn't converting to huge fantasy games, but I believe that this will be the day! Dallas was horrendous against the pass last year, and even gave up some big plays to the Rams. This is the week! I swear it.

Matt Ryan - FD 8700 DK 8300 DD 14900 DFSTR 7700
I regret not recommending Matty Ice last week, but hey! We're living for another day, right? Ryan did his best Peyton Manning impression against the hapless Bucs last Thursday, and given a long week to prepare for the Vikings, I'm expected more of the same in week 4. His connection with Jones is special, but I also loved how he was able to spread the ball around as well. Minnesota was horrendous against the pass last year, and have played so many weird games this year that it's really hard to pin down if anything has changed. It sure looks like the Falcons will win easily, and Ryan will have his hands all over it. I gotta say, I also loved that he was throwing bombs to Jones even with the game in hand.

Philip Rivers - FD 8400 DK 7700 DD 13350 DFSTR 7100
After a tough opening week, Rivers has had 2 impressive weeks against two tough defenses (Buffalo & Seattle - both of whom are top 5 defenses per DVOA). Jacksonville has looked horrendous in every phase of the game, and has given up huge offensive performances every time they've stepped on the field this season. I don't see why it should be so different for Rivers and the bolts, whose 68.1% completion percentage is showing that last seasons gains are probably just who he is at this point.

Colin Kaepernick - FD 8100 DK 7600 DD 13450 DFSTR 7500
We're still waiting for a break out game from Kaepernick, and our projection system seems to think that this is the week. The Eagles have been back at their characteristic fast-paced routine, and it's allowed for some huge games to opposing offenses this year (including making Chad Henne-Allen Hurns look like the nice Montana-Rice). You have to love that Kaepernick had 13 carries last game, and one has to think that the Niners will try and use this game to get their offense back on track after an embarrassing showing against Arizona.

Ben Roethlisberger - FD 7700 DK 6900 DD 12000 DFSTR 7100
Big Ben seems to have found a real rhythm with Antonio Brown, and the emergence of Markus Wheaton as a credible threat in the passing game to go with Leveon Bell's pass catching abilities has the Steelers looking like a real offense (in spite of their week 2 disappearance against the Ravens). On the docket for this week? That same Bucs team that nearly caused Thursday night football to be canceled for all time. If you didn't watch, here's the cliffs: The Bucs are abysmal when it comes to defending the pass. I don't think Roethlisberger will recreate Matty Ice's line, but don't be shocked if he puts together a nice game of his own.


Running Backs

Rashad Jennings - FD 7300 DK 6500 DD 12450 DFSTR 5000
Our projection system simply loves Jennings, and it basically comes down to opportunity. I don't think anyone expected Jennings to shoulder this amount of the load. And while it might not last all season, his 34 carries against the Texans showed that the Giants consider Andre Williams to be a clear back up, not a guy threatening for a significant portion of the workload. To be honest,
I'm a little wary of picking against the Redskins run defense after they bottled up McCoy in week 3, but as you'll recall from our eBook, running value comes as much from opportunity as it does opponent. And it isn't like the Skins were Gods against the run last year. I'm loving him at these prices.

DeMarco Murray - FD 9000 DK 8300 DD 15300 DFSTR 6200
Murray has vaulted himself into a top 5 fantasy running back, and while you're paying for it, you're pretty much getting what you pay for. Averaging 27.5 touches per game, Murray is getting a ton of opportunity, and making the most of it. New Orleans has allowed some decent games to inferior backs this season, and Murray should give them a serious run for their money.

Matt Forte - FD 8600 DK 7800 DD 14150 DFSTR 7500
I'm a little concerned about Forte's effectiveness in the running game, but he's still catching a ton of balls out of the backfield, which gives him huge value in either full PPR or half PPR formats. The Packers bottled up Detroit's fine tandem of backs pretty well, but neither of those two is in Forte's league. And unlike, say, Eddie Lacy, Forte continues to get all of his team's carries. He's faced some excellent defenses so far this year, and even if his touches and YPC haven't been exactly where you were expecting, there's some chance these are Forte's lowest prices of the season.

Donald Brown - FD 6300 DK 5400 DD 10200 DFSTR 3500
With Woodhead and Matthews both out, Brown saw a ridiculous 36 touches last week against the Bills. While it'd be awfully tough for him to continue at that pace, he doesn't need to to pay off these bargain prices. I can't say I'm a huge believer in Brown's talent, but in a game that should be an easy win for San Diego, it's hard to imagine Brown not getting 20+ touches and the requisite scoring opportunities.

Lorenzo Taliaferro - FD 5300 DK 4600 DD 7500 DFSTR 3000
Taliaferro looked terrific, even as I was ripping my Justin Forsett lineup cards to shreds. One thing is for sure, the Ravens are going to use Forsett as the third down/change of pace back, and Taliaferro is going to get the lion's share of the run against the Panthers. While that's not exactly a great match-up, you can get Taliaferro for next to nothing, and he'll absolutely have a ton of upside just based on his getting carries in the red zone.


Wide Receivers

Julio Jones - FD 9100 DK 8300 DD 14450 DFSTR 7300
Well, we gave him to you last week and he put up gratuitous fantasy points against the Bucs. While he'll have a tough match-up in Cortez Allen, Jones is just one of those guys that you'd need to see Revis lining up in order to be be swayed at all. With 33 targets through 3 weeks of NFL action and Roddy White's injury, Jones is as safe a bet as any to put up a monster while also having a pretty high floor.

Michael Crabtree - FD 7000 DK 6400 DD 11450 DFSTR 5900
It looks for all the world like Crabtree is finally healthy, and the best news for us is that his week 1 rust-game has kept his price down where he's super affordable. After converting 11 targets into 10 catches for 80 yards and a score last week, I think Crabtree will see even more action in a fast paced game with the Eagles. The thing I liked best about last week was the rushing attempt. No chance the 49ers let one of their best assets do something out of the ordinary unless he was feeling 100%. Could be a huge game for him.

Jordy Nelson - FD 8300 DK 7200 DD 12850 DFSTR
No one was more disappointed at Nelson's week 3 no show than this guy, but the fact remains that Nelson still has been targeted the most time of any player in football this season. The Bears gave up 300+ yards to Geno Smith last week, and Rodgers should be able to find his favorite receiver significantly more frequently against the Bears.

Brandin Cooks - FD 6200 DK 5300 DD 10350 DFSTR 4700
It's apparent from Cooks' 10 targets last game that Brees has found a guy that he feels very comfortable looking for. And I almost hate to say it, but it's clear that Cooks has moved significantly past Colston when it comes to being in Brees' consciousness. Drawing the Cowboys is a terrific match-up for Cooks, who could wind up with a salary 15% higher than his current salary by season's end.

Mike Wallace - FD 6500 DK 6000 DD 11300 DFSTR 5500
Wallace also is up near the top of the target charts, catching Tannehill's attention 31 times this season. Critics will point to the fact that Wallace has only converted 17 of those into catches, but smart people will then respond by showing that Wallace has had an incredibly tough draw of opposing CBs (including Revis) this season. The Raiders have actually been somewhat stingy against the pass this year (mostly because: who needs to pass against the Raiders?), but Tannehill will be looking Wallace's way first and best.

Rueben Randle - FD 5300 DK 4100 DD 8550 DFSTR 4900
Our cheap WR recommendations worked out pretty well last week, so we're here to offer you a little Rueben Randle surprise for week 4. Randle was targeted 10 times last game (4 more than second place finisher Victor Cruz), and he's been getting red zone looks as well. The Redskins just lost the "best" member of their defensive backfield in Deangelo Hall, and it could be a very solid day for Giants receivers.

Also considered: Markus Wheaton, Pierre Garcon, Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson


Tight Ends

Tight ends are interesting for me this week, because our projection system likes two guys as a cut above the rest for very different reasons.

First, it likes..

Jimmy Graham - FD 8200 DK 7500 DD 14750 DFSTR 6800
Like Brees, Graham has topped our list every week at his position. Unlike Brees, Graham has at least delivered 1 transcendent performance. It's hard to imagine it happening every week, but the Cowboys were the third most generous team to opposing passing offenses last season, and Graham should obviously be a distinct beneficiary of that trend. Say what you want about his consistency, but his 31 targets this season mean he is unlikely to repeat his current season "floor" any time soon. Love Graham in all formats, to be honest.

Martellus Bennett - FD 6000 DK 5700 DD 10100 DFSTR 4000
Now, here's a guy our projection system gave you last week even in advance of his huge 2 touchdown performance that may or may not have saved me a couple thousand dollars during week 3. The two things you love about Bennett are the overall targets, and in particular, the red zone targets. With Marshall struggling with injuries, it's clear that Bennett is next on the pecking order (even ahead of Jeffery). He's a cheap option that obviously has the chance to go off at any time.

Niles Paul - FD 5100 DK 5400 DD 8900 DFSTR
Our projection system has a tough time figuring out Paul since he came out of nowhere, but I'm here to alert you to the fact that he's legit. Even with Garcon and Jackson's big game, Paul still scored 9 targets which he converted into 6 catches and 68 yards. Cousins looks for Paul for 1st downs, which is also a great indicator that he'll want to track Paul down in the end zone at some point. As long as Jordan Reed is out, w should all be Paul buyers.

Also considered
To be clear, I like the three guys above better, but Gronkowski is taking more snaps in New England and could have had another touchdown last week had it not been called back. It's weird to think that Gronk is kind of a boring play at this point, but he's always a week away from having the best fantasy game from his position.



My weekly note on kickers:

Frankly, ranking kickers is sort of beneath me. So what I'm going to do, instead of give you a long and drawn out explanation for each, is give you a little insight into our kicker strategy, and give your our top plays on a points per dollar basis.

Here's brass tacks: I rarely stack a kicker with my offensive players because that limits their collective upside. I try to take kickers in good weather in games where they are a favorite with high totals. When pressed, I'll just whatever money I have left on a kicker that looks decent. Cool? Here's who our system likes:

Mason Crosby 5000 on FD
Nick Folk 4900 on FD
Blair Walsh 5200 on FD
Shayne Graham 4500 on FD


Defense & Special Teams

San Diego Chargers
After watching the mediocre Colts D look like the '85 Bears against the Jags, I can't help but considering just streaming whoever is playing against them. That's pretty much what's going on with this selection - the idea that the Jags will likely fall apart once again.

Detroit Lions
After watching what the Lions did against an excellent Packers' offense last week, I'm dying to know what they can put together against Geno Smith and the Jets. The front 7 should be plenty good enough to contain the running backs, and is Geno Smith really going to dice them in the short passing game? Methinks not.

Washington Redskins
The Giants showed a lot more zip last week than I expected, but given that they held LeSean McCoy to something like 0 yards per carry, the Redskins should be able to prevent Rashad Jennings from rushing for 175 yards or whatever. The main thing plaguing them is the secondary, but from an upside perspective, Eli seems about as likely as anyone to collapse in a given game this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers
I'm not sure if we can put the Bucs in the same category as the Jags just yet, but they're darned close. The performance against a mediocre Falcons defense was a crime against humanity, and the Steelers have as likely a chance as anyone to embarrass the Bucs for another big game in terms of points allowed to opposing defenses.

Also considered: Carolina Panthers, New York Giants


Give a follow on Twitter @dailyfantasysr and @dougnorrie.

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Thanks, and good luck!


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