After a record breaking Week 3, in Week 4 we saw scores back in the lower range. The DK Millionaire Maker winner had just over 200 points compared to 300+ points in Week 3.
The picks were hit or miss for the most part last week. Few top quarterbacks did well last weekend. Tyrod Taylor came extremely close to notching another touchdown that would have put him over 3x value, but ultimately the Bills couldn’t convert. Rodgers and Carr doubled their salary but didn’t do enough to justify playing them.
At running back, both Gore and Williams tripled their value. Latavius Murray did not. For the second straight week, fading Devonta Freeman cost me big. This was a major mistake on my part, and I paid with my wallet.
Going cheap at running back last week allowed me to pay up for Julio Jones, who had his work week of the year by a large margin. Fitzgerald didn’t exactly light the world up either. I pivoted off Jordan Matthews late due to weather concerns. He didn’t have a big game, but others receiver in the game did, and weather didn’t seem to be much of a factor.
I ended up playing Martellus Bennett across the board after it was announced Cutler would start. Bennett had a huge game, notching a touchdown and 11 catches.
There isn’t much on the injury front from last week. I’ll cover the necessary news with some of our selections below.
Cash Games and Tournaments
In this article, we’ll go position by position in terms of my favorite picks for the week. I also will be mentioning if I like a player more in cash games or tournaments. This is standard daily fantasy lingo and is simple to understand.
Cash games are contests where you have to beat a few other players, such as head-to-head or 50/50 contests. In these games, you only need to beat your opponent or place in the upper half of the field to cash. Cash games could also extend to 3-man contests or triple ups, or even larger contests. In these types of games, we want players who have an excellent floor of points and aren’t necessarily looking for upside (though, it certainly helps).
Tournaments are large field prize pools that consist of hundreds of players to thousands of players. For example, the Week 1 Millionaire Maker has over 500,000 thousand available entries. In large fields, it pays to be more contrarian. For tournaments or GPPs (guaranteed prize pools), we’re looking for players who are lesser-owned and have high upside or ceilings.
In summation, in cash games, we’re looking for high floors and per point value and in tournaments, high ceilings, and low ownership percentages.
Thursday Night Football
The Colts head to Houston to take on the Texans for Thursday Night Football. The game is currently at a pk and the total is 44.5. I normally advocate fading the Thursday slate, but there may be some value depending on status of Vontae Davis.
Davis has become one of the elite cornerbacks in the game. His update would open things up quite a bit more Houston’s passing attack. DeAndre Hopkins may get force fed targets regardless, with Cecil Shorts and Cecil Shorts out, but his matchup would be elite-level if Davis can’t play.
Davis has yet to practice this week and is questionable to suit up. He hasn’t been ruled out as of the writing of this article, however.
Andrew Luck is also facing injury issues coming into this matchup after missing last week’s game. The Colts have been tight-lipped about his status, but he is expected to play. Luck and his receivers, most notably Moncrief and Hilton are tournament options only.
All in all, Hopkins is the only player we should be considering from this game. Arian Foster gets a great matchup, but he’s not quite back to full strength just yet and isn’t expected to see his full workload.
UPDATE: Andrew Luck is out tonight, along with Vontae Davis. This hurts the matchup overall as I expect a lower scoring game centered on the run. The Texans are now -4.5 favorites as well.
Phillip Rivers (FanDuel: $7,500 DraftKings: $6,200)
Rivers is my favorite quarterback play this week across the board. He’s at home and facing a horrible pass defense in Pittsburgh. The total in this one is a modest 45.5 points, but the Chargers are -3 giving them a decent team total of 24.5 points.
The Steelers defense has shown improvement from last year (so far), but they still struggle mightily against the pass. The Chargers have struggled to run the ball this season, mostly due to poor offensive line play, but their passing game has been outstanding.
The Chargers dink and dunk, pass heavy offense shouldn’t have any issues putting up points against Pittsburgh’s soft secondary. Rivers has thrown the ball 30 times or more in 3 out of 4 games this season. He has also thrown for more passing yards than any other quarterback. I expect him to easily triple his salary on Monday Night.
Sam Bradford (FD: $7,500 DK: $6,000)
Don’t look now, but Sam Bradford is becoming a reliable option again. After two miserable performances in Week 2 and 3, he bounced back last week in a big way. The Eagles’ quarterback threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns against the Redskins.
This week, he gets another cake matchup as the Saints come to town. Philadelphia is -4.5 favorites in this game and projected to score 27 points. With the Philly run game struggling and the Saints secondary being one of the worst in the league, this game sets up excellent for Bradford.
Tyrod Taylor (FD: $7,500 DK: $5,800)
We’re going back to the well with Tyrod this week. He was so close to having a huge game last week, but the Bills had several touchdowns called back via penalties. There was also a rumor before the game that he was suffering from an ankle injury. I watched most of this game, and he didn’t seem to be bothered with it, however.
The Bills faced the Titans this week where they are -2.5 according to the oddsmakers. This puts their team total at a low 22 points.
Regardless, Tyrod still has some appeal. It looks like Karlos Williams will miss this game with a concussion, forcing the Bills to go with their third string running back, Boobie Dixon. They may rely on Taylor’s legs a bit more if Dixon can’t get it going on the ground. Rushing production is excellent for quarterbacks.
Sammy Watkins may also return, which will help Tyrod with downfield options that he sorely lacked last season. Taylor probably doesn’t have the upside for tournaments this week, but he’s a fine cash game play as it seems the sites aren’t raising his price.
Jamaal Charles (FD: $9,100 DK: $7,800)
Charles is my favorite running back play of the week by quite a bit. Bell is close, but Charles’ price is just too low. He’s an impossible fade for me in cash games and has plenty of upside for tournaments.
The Chiefs are large -10 favorites against Chicago and have a team total of over 27 points. Charles is easily my favorite play in cash games this week at any position and is a near-lock to score a touchdown against this woeful Bears defense.
Even if the Bears somehow have a lead late, (highly unlikely) he plays in the passing game and will be heavily involved no matter how this game plays out.
Le’Veon Bell (FD: $9,000 DK: $8,500)
If Charles is my 1A, Bell is my 1B this week for running backs. His price is getting up there, but he’s facing a terrible Chargers defense that has given up several big games to running backs. The Steelers are underdogs, and their team total is just over 21 points, but with Vick under center, Bell will be used extensively.
In two games back since his suspension, Bell has scored in both games on the ground and caught seven passes in both contests. He rushed for 129 yards and 5.9 yards per carry against the Ravens last week. The Chargers have a bottom-third rush defense according to just about every advanced statistic, and I expect Bell feast on them come Monday night.
Justin Forsett (FD: $7,200 DK: $5,800)
Forsett had a subpar first three weeks of the season until exploding against Pittsburgh in the second half last Thursday Night. This week, Baltimore welcomes the Browns to town. They are -6.5 favorites in this one and have a solid team total of over 24 points.
Like Bell and Charles, Forsett offers us an excellent floor because of his passing game involvement. This should only increase this week with the absence of the Ravens’ top wide receiver, Steve Smith Sr.
The Ravens usually effective run-blocking offensive line has been a disappointment this year, but the Browns are among the worst in the league at defending the run. Baltimore also expects to have tackle, Eugene Monroe, back this week, which also upgrades Forsett’s matchup.
One drawback with Forsett is that he could lose goal-line work to backup Lorenzo Taliaferro. Although, I’m not sure if this will be the case after his big performance last week, where he barely left the field. Taliaferro did get a red-zone touchdown from about 15 yards out, but this seemed to more of a breather for Forsett rather than a deliberate move to take him out of a red zone package.
Taliaferro has just a season-high of seven carries this year. Forsett is a lock for 20+ touches, but could see closer to 30 depending on passing game involvement and game script.
Julian Edelman (FD: $7,700 DK: $7,000)
Edelman is a DraftKings cash game “king” for me because of the number of targets and receptions he gets every week, along with 1.0 PPR at DK. He’s certainly in play this week across the industry, however, with the Patriots heading to Dallas as -10 favorites.
We can play New England players with reckless abandon this week as they’re projected to score close to 30 points. Blowout potential is something to be considered, but there’s little reason to think Edelman can’t get his before the score gets out of hand.
He has seen a minimum of 10 targets per week and hasn’t had fewer than eight receptions. If Dallas can keep this game close via the run, Edelman will see even more work. Either way, a receiver seeing 10+ reliable targets a week on what is the best offense in the league so far deserves heavy consideration.
Jordan Matthews (FD: $6,800 DK: $6,400)
As I mentioned above last week, the Eagles are projected to score some points this weekend and have a prime matchup against a leaky New Orleans pass defense. Matthews didn’t see much action last week, but the matchup in this game is excellent.
Matthews plays almost exclusively in the slot, where he will be matched up against Brandon Brower or slot cornerback, Damian Swann. They have both received negative grades from Pro Football Focus so far. Most importantly, he will steer clear of cornerback Keenan Lewis, the Saints best cornerback.
Matthews easily has the best matchup on the field, and like Edelman offers a safe floor because he should be targeted heavily in this game.
Willie Snead (FD: $5,300 DK: $3,000)
It’s rare that we get a chance to play a starting receiver at the minimum price on DraftKings, but Willie Snead gives us that opportunity this week. He isn’t a full-time player just yet, but his matchup against a fast-paced offense and the Eagles’ secondary issues make him an interesting play, particularly at DK.
Snead has been ultra-efficient with his opportunities and seems to be one of the few Saints receivers who is getting open. He grabbed six balls for 89 yards last week and was second in snaps at receiver behind Brandin Cooks.
With the Saints projected as underdogs by the oddsmakers, Snead is my favorite value wide receiver of the week.
Rob Gronkowski (FD: $8,400 DK: $7,500)
There’s not much to say about Gronk. If you can fit him in your lineup and find value at other positions, he is well worth a play. He has plenty of upside against Dallas, a team that has major issues defending the middle of the field.
Martellus Bennett (FD: $5,900 DK: $5,000)
Bennett’s price has increased, but with Eddie Royal facing injury concerns and Alshon Jeffery still banged up (though he should play this week) – there’s a good chance he gets peppered with targets once again.
Kansas City’s pass defense has been horrible this year, and the Bears are decisive underdogs. Their team total isn’t quite high enough to like much of their offense, but Bennett is always going to be a top-five tight end play with Cutler under center.
Owen Daniels (FD: $4,900 DK: $2,700)
Daniels is priced up at FanDuel, but he makes for a great salary-saver against the Raiders. Oakland doesn’t even pretend to care about covering tight ends. They have given up a touchdown every week to opposing tight ends so far this season and plenty of yardage to boot. They easily lead the league in this category.
With this game at Oakland, we might see the Raiders put up more of a fight than usual. That should mean more passing for Denver and hopefully some red zone opportunities for Daniels. His price at DraftKings is so cheap that he is a borderline must-play considering the matchup.
Denver Broncos (FD: $5,200 DK: $3,300)
The Broncos defense might as well be an All-Pro unit at this point. They lead the NFL in sacks, have two shutdown cornerbacks in Talib and Harris and have no holes. They’re the main reason Denver is 4-0 this season.
David Carr and the Raiders look much improved this year, but I’m not sure they will be able to move the ball against Denver. Even if they do put up points and play inspired football at home, the Broncos defense has such an excellent floor with the way they create turnovers and get after the quarterback.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FD: $4,000 DK: $2,500)
Few are talking about Tampa Bay this week, but I think they’re a perfectly fine option facing the Jaguars at home. Bortles is as turnover prone as any quarterback in the league and Jacksonville is projected to score just under 20 points for one of the lowest totals on the board.
Baltimore Ravens (FD: $4,500 DK: $2,900)
The Ravens defense clearly wasn’t what it was last season, but the Browns don’t offer much to fear offensively. Their skill players at the wide receiver position don’t worry me, despite Baltimore’s suspect secondary. Baltimore is also a almost a touchdown favorite, and the Browns are projected to score just over 18 points.
Author: Joseph Falchetti (twitter)
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