Well, Week 4 is in the books and I learned a lot about DFS this week. What’s nice is that I still won a few bucks in the process. I am still keeping my bets small, but I have upped the stakes a bit. I also REALLY limited my long-odds formats. It’s just so unlikely to win them, even when you have a good week, that I won’t spend more than $1 for these formats any longer. I did do well in two out of three $25k Quarter Arcade lineups I entered with, but I’m still not cracking the elusive top 10 (where the real money is). I have played in my last ever head-to-head game on Draft Kings, however. Both of my lineups did GREAT, totaling over 150 points, only to be beaten by 2 or 3 points and I lose it all. Quite a blow, when you perform so well. I figure that I might as well just stick to 50/50′s and double ups, so I don’t lose any money to a minuscule margin of defeat.
As you may remember from last week, I went camping this weekend and as a result, it was very difficult to get good info over the course of the weekend. I would check my sources and sometimes they were updating and other times they weren’t (thought I didn’t know it at the time). This only created minimal confusion as I had a lineup with 2 bets placed on it where Ryan Mathews was in, because a week old report about Murray being inactive appeared as news on Sunday morning. Thankfully I already had a few under-performers on this lineup (I’m looking at you, Steve Smith Sr. and Julio Jones) and I’m not sure that I would have had a chance to win here anyways as a result. Well worth it for a great weekend with some old friends.
In general, a lot of the guys who were putting up surprising performances as of late came back down to earth this week. None of these players were more soul crushing to me than Tyrod Taylor. Not only did it limit my fantasy success, but as a Bills fan, it might have ruined my whole week. I’m not going to panic about losing an out of division game, but it was alarming to see how little this offense was able to do without McCoy and Watkins on the field. Especially considering neither player was very productive prior to their injury. Taylor was kind-of the lone bright spot on offense for Buffalo, however, so you can still consider using him. Charles Clay had a big game and Karlos Williams caught a nice TD pass late, but receivers weren’t helping Taylor by coming back to the ball on crossing routes. They let the ball come to them, rather than attack it, and defenders were able to get a hand in there too often. Taylor also had a 30 or so yard scramble for a TD get called back by not one but TWO chop blocks. Neither looked particularly egregious to me, but I’m clearly biased. Another TD pass was called back on a weak flag as well.
In other games this past week, Latavius Murray also was a notable disappointment. I had him in my love list, though I ended up taking him out of every single lineup before Sunday (phew) and he averaged just 3.1 YPC, and failed to eclipse 50 yards in a good match-up. Julio Jones finally had the stat line of a human being, this week. He failed to hit double digit fantasy points and for a guy that costs close to a fifth of your total salary cap, it’s hard to justify trying to use him going forward. Antonio Brown had a dismal outing with Michael Vick and can’t be trusted at the cost he carries until Ben returns. Lastly, Todd Gurley tore the Cardinals run defense apart late in the game and with the match-up being so brutal, it’s hard not to consider him as a great potential value play, while the price catches up to his talent. Seriously, he looked amazing in that game, but I’ll be talking about him more below.
Carson Palmer @ DET $6,600: Palmer and the Cardinals passing attack has been the model of consistency for fantasy owners this season. They are on the road this week, but it’s the Bears they face and last time Palmer was on the road, he had 4 TDs. I plan to continue to ride Plamer until he is valued as a top 5 QB, because that’s how well he is playing.
Sam Bradford vs NO $6,000: Last week we saw the presence of the deep ball in the Eagles offense. Multiple times the receivers were able to get deep and Brent Celek even hauled in a TD pass. New Orleans has a suspect secondary and struggles with the deep ball. Additionally, they are finding their stride on offense so the Eagles may find themselves in a high scoring game, which will benefit all of the Philly offense, for fantasy purposes.
Tyrod Taylor @ TEN $5,800: I almost gave this last spot to Eli, but I’m nothing if I am not a billiever… Seriously though, this isn’t even a homer pick. The Titans were bad enough to get the 2nd overall pick just one season ago and while Mariotta is playing great, it’s fair to say that Rex can throw some looks at him he has never seen before. I think the D gets a few turnovers, which leads to a lot of opportunity for Taylor. Also, if Karlos Williams is out, the slack created by the injured RBs will be picked up by Taylor. He didn’t really hurt ya too much last week AND there were two big scores called back on penalties, so I think you can still trust him.
LeVeon Bell @ SD $8,500: Vick played well enough not to lose the game last week, but the kicker didn’t get the memo. The plan was clear, use Bell. He was on the field for 98% of the offensive snaps. I can’t imagine any other RB in the league touches the ball more this week than Bell. Oh, and did I mention that San Diego is 31st in the NFL for fantasy points allowed against Running Backs?
Devonta Freeman @ ATL $6,300: I would shy away if Coleman is back, but I don’t think he will be. Freeman is setting an unbelievable pace when it comes to rushing TD’s. It’s not all a fluke, either. He seems to really have a nose for the goal line when they are inside the 20 and he certainly won the primary job, even when Coleman does come back. Be careful here, though. TD’s are very difficult to predict as well as re-produce, so wait for the right match-ups to use this guy. Washington might not look like the right match-up, as they allow the LEAST fantasy points to opposing RBs, but that’s more about how bad the running games they have faced are and the fact that teams can CHOOSE how to beat these guys. Atlanta will choose to use Freeman while he is hot.
Justin Forsett vs CLE $5,800: Cleveland is allowing an average of 141.5 yards per game on the ground. Baltimore has a banged up receiving corps and is VERY unlikely to fall behind and be forced to pass. Forsett hasn’t been great, but it sure feels like the perfect storm, coming off the heels of his best game so far this season (5.6 YPC).
Todd Gurley @ GB $4,300: We’ve been waiting to see what he can do and boy, did we. I wouldn’t normally be so big on a guy after his first game in the league… but it was the CARDINALS defense that he carved up. It was VERY impressive. He also showed a high football IQ by dropping short of the goal line after running 50+ yards, to keep the clock rolling and secure the game. I think the gloves are off this week and while the match-up isn’t great, the cost is.
Travis Benjamin @ BAL $4,500: Last week is the first week that Benjamin hasn’t found his way to the end-zone. We’ve seen it in the past with Josh Gordon… the Browns find a way to keep their deep threat relevant, despite their QB. I would have him in every lineup if Manziel was at QB (those two really seemed to click), but the Raves secondary is their biggest weakness and I think with the game in Baltimore, Cleveland is likely to be playing from behind. Duke Johnson might be a decent contrarian pick this week too, for long odds formats.
Jeremy Maclin vs CHI $6,000: His role in this offense has been increasing each week. He has two straight weeks over 140 yards receiving and last week he ahd double digit catches. Hard to believe it, but a KC wide receiver is actually averaging 20 fantasy points per game on the year. Chicago is a secondary that can be beat, and my gut says the Chiefs want to keep getting Maclin involved to take some attention from Charles.
Jordan Matthews vs NO $6,400: See Sam Bradford section.
Keenan Allen vs PIT $7,200: Don’t forget that Draft Kings is a PPR format. This could backfire, as Gates is back and likely to be the main red zone target again right away. Allen has been boom or bust this season, but against a Steelers defense that has it’s weaknesses, I think he is likely to be featured in the passing game and get a really high reception total again.
Owen Daniels @ OAK $2,700: Play the TE that faces the Raiders.
Charles Clay @ TEN $4,100: Clay has been improving in every statistical category in every game this season. He is Taylor’s go-to receiver and with Watkins and McCoy still banged up, Buffalo has to find ways to exploit match-ups with Clay, which they have had little trouble doing thus far.
Bills @ TEN $3,400: Rex Ryan defense vs a rookie QB. If the Bills can stiffen up vs the run this week and minimize penalties, Mariotta will struggle.
Chiefs vs CHI $2,800: They don’t cost much at all, so you won’t mind if they have an exceedingly regular day, but we haven’t really seen BAD Cutler too much this year. KC has as good of a chance as anyone to have a defensive TD this week. Don’t go out of your way to play them, but if you are just a little bit off a significant upgrade at a different position, there is a lot of upside potential here.