- Play daily fantasy? There are plenty of intriguing Week 4 matchups that can give you the most bang for your buck.
Need some help choosing your lineup? Andrew Perloff and Michael Beller give their Week 4 daily fantasy picks.
I have plenty of excuses for my team coming up short last week. I typed in Carson Wentz and it auto-corrected to Carson Palmer. I thought Cameron Artis-Payne was actually two people. I didn’t realize Marvin Jones Jr. and Marvin Jones were the same guy. But really the whole problem was Palmer. No more West Coast players headed East this week.
Philip Rivers ($8,500 FD, $6,900 DK) vs. New Orleans
Rivers couldn’t punch it into the end zone last week against Indy, but how can your resist a QB facing the Saints on a short week and traveling cross-country? This is a great chance for Rivers to get used to his post-Keenan Allen-injury set of weapons.
Alternate: New Orleans’ Drew Brees could get caught up in a shootout. Carolina’s Cam Newton faces a Falcons D that has let up the second-most fantasy points to QBs—although they slowed him down last season in Atlanta. Washington’s Kirk Cousins is a nice value against the Browns. If you’re bargain-shopping, Chicago’s Brian Hoyer faces Detroit’s sub-par pass defense.
LeGarrette Blount ($7,500 FD, $5,000 DK) vs. Buffalo
I assume everyone is playing the Patriots running back, but you have to jump on the NFL’s leading rusher before Tom Brady returns. Who knows what Bill Belichick will do, but I want to be there if Blount hurdles a guy and rips off a long run.
Carlos Hyde ($6,800 FD, $4,200 DK) vs. Dallas
Hyde is benefiting from Chip Kelly’s fast pace -- 103 yards, 2 TDs last week in loss to Seattle. The Niners are a better team at home and will lean on Hyde if they get a lead. They have no other quality skill position players.
Alternate: I’ll try a lineup with the Lions’ Dwayne Washington ($4,400 FanDuel, $3,800 DraftKings) so I can load up elsewhere. Washington can easily become the man in Detroit’s backfield against the iffy Bears. I’d also consider Bears running back Jordan Howard ($5,600 FanDuel, $3,700 DraftKings) for the same reason. And admit it, you’re tempted by Le’Veon Bell at ($8,300 FanDuel, $7,500 DraftKings). But the Steelers may share carries with DeAngelo Williams.
The Patron Saint of Fantasy Scoring is back in our lives this week. Le’Veon Bell will suit up for the first time this season when the Steelers host the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. He’ll likely be the only big-name back making his 2016 debut in that game, and he’ll definitely be the only one worth using in DFS games. There will be a time for Jamaal Charles, but Week 4 isn’t it.
In a seeming twist, however, the high-priced backs are quite attractive this week. How attractive, you ask? You’ll just have to read on to find out. Below are my ideal picks for both DraftKings and FanDuel. I will be playing lineups other than the ones I present below, but these are my go-to lineups for both sites.
Philip Rivers (DK: $6,900, FD: $8,400) vs. New Orleans
The Saints have allowed 927 passing yards and 8.5 yards per attempt, but have somehow limited opposing quarterbacks to three touchdowns this season. Part of that owes to an anomalous Eli Manning performance in Week 2, when he had 368 yards, 8.98 YPA and zero touchdowns, and part to Derek Carr doing all the heavy lifting, but the Oakland run game hogging the glory in Week 1. The Saints can’t stop anyone through the air, and they aren’t going to suddenly change that on Sunday. Despite the losses of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, Philip Rivers still leads the league in red-zone pass attempts. The Saints have little hope of slowing him down, and Drew Brees should be able to keep up on the other side in his first game back in San Diego since leaving for New Orleans after the 2005 season. That will only help Rivers rack up points all afternoon. The over/under in San Diego sits at a healthy 53.5. Rivers the centerpiece of my DFS lineups this week.
Le’Veon Bell (DK: $7,500, FD: $8,300) vs. Kansas City
I know, I know. Way to go out on a limb. You know the beauty of DFS, though? Especially cash games? Sometimes you don’t need to go out on a limb. Let’s start with Bell and Murray, two of my favorite backs this week. I’m not too worried about the Steelers taking it easy on Bell when he makes his 2016 debut on Sunday night. I do expect DeAngelo Williams to be more involved than he was last year. Remember, in 2015, Bell was just coming back from suspension. This year, it’s a suspension, as well as a significant knee injury. Still, Bell is Antonio Brown in the backfield, in that he’s remarkably consistent in a high-powered offense. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have been burned on the ground and through the air by backs this season. Bell returns with a bang on Sunday night.
DeMarco Murray (DK: $6,800, FD: $7,300) at Houston
All Murray has done in his first year with the Titans is lead all backs in PPR scoring through three games. He’s second in standard scoring, trailing only Johnson. This is all despite a Tennessee offense that hasn’t been effective as a whole. The Titans get Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright back this week, and that should help everyone on the offense, even if it takes a sliver of volume away from the run game. The Texans have allowed 4.85 yards per carry to running backs, and just lost J.J. Watt for the season. This has the makings of a sneaky high-scoring game.
David Johnson (DK: $7,800, FD: $8,700) vs. Los Angeles
The Bills pummeled the Cardinals last week, creating a terrible game script for the typical running back. Of course, Johnson isn’t the typical running back. He still ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and caught three passes for 28 yards, posting 23.1 points in standard-scoring leagues. The Cardinals, fresh off an embarrassment on the road, get the Rams at home this Sunday. Remember what they did in Week 2 against an inferior opponent after losing to the Patriots Week 1? Expect more of the same on Sunday.
Dwayne Washington (DK: $3,800, FD: $4,500) at Chicago
Washington is the value play of the week, with heavy volume expected for the rookie in Detroit’s trip to Chicago. He got 10 carries in terrible run circumstances last week, with the Lions trailing the Packers by two scores for nearly the entire game. He’s clearly a better runner than Theo Riddick between the tackles and in short yardage. On top of that, the Lions would be wise to not risk Riddick’s health with too many carries, given how important he is to their passing attack. That should lead to even more looks for Washington in the run game. Chicago’s defensive front is decimated by injury, with Eddie Goldman (ankle), Danny Trevathan (thumb) and Lamarr Houston (knee) all out this week.
DeAndre Hopkins (DK: $8,400, FD: $8,600) vs. Tennessee
The Titans have surrendered a 100-yard receiver in all three of their games this season. Brock Osweiler’s average depth of target ranks second in the league. Bill O’Brien, a noted pass enthusiast, took over play-calling duties this week. In other words, there’s almost no chance the Titans prevent Hopkins from having a big game. We’ve yet to see Hopkins go for one of his signature games, but, anecdotally, we know he’s got three or four in store this season. Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox stick to their respective sides in the Tennessee defense, so the Texans can scheme Hopkins away from the former, who’s the superior player. No matter who’s on him, though, he won’t be slowed on Sunday.
Amari Cooper (DK: $7,600, FD: $7,600) at Baltimore
Corey Coleman burned the Ravens two weeks ago. Allen Robinson scored his first two touchdowns of the season against Baltimore last week, and the only reason he didn’t have a bigger game was because of Blake Bortles’s scattershot arm. Cooper should thrive in this matchup. He has yet to find the end zone, but has 29 targets in three games, and a catch of at least 25 yards in all three contests. It’s just a matter of time before he breaks through with a monster stat line, and given Baltimore’s thus-far stingy run defense, this is a good week to bet on that happening.
Golden Tate (DK: $5,800, FD: $6,200) at Chicago
Tate has been a major disappointment through three games. He has yet to break 100 yards total on the season, has just 13 catches, and has not visited the end zone. Everyone on the Detroit offense is worth a look this week, and with most DFS players likely to favor Marvin Jones, Tate makes a great pivot. Chicago’s banged-up defense isn’t going to be a match for the Lions offensively. Tate should have plenty of room to operate in the middle of the field, with the Bears down at least two starting linebackers. If he doesn’t get anything done against the Bears, it might be time to lose faith.
Cole Beasley (DK: $3,900, FD: $5,200) @ San Francisco
With Dez Bryant likely out because of a knee injury, Beasley becomes even more important to the Dallas offense. He already has 20 receptions this season, making him a great value play in DraftKings’s full PPR format. Beasley has played just 56% of Dallas’s snaps this season, a number he should significantly outpace with Bryant on the sidelines. It wouldn’t be a stretch to expect 14 or 15 targets for the fifth-year receiver, and he’s never a popular play. Beasley can be a real differentiator, and he brings identifiable upside in Week 4.
Hunter Henry (DK: $2,700, FD: $4,500) vs. New Orleans
Henry looked great in his first career start last week, catching five passes for 76 yards. Antonio Gates hasn’t practiced all week because of his hamstring injury, and he reportedly wasn’t close to playing a week ago. That should mean all systems are go for the rookie out of Arkansas. He gives us a nice stack with Philip Rivers, even though the Saints have done a decent job limiting tight ends this year. How much credit they deserve for shutting down Clive Walford, Will Tye, Larry Donnell and Jacob Tamme, especially when they’re surrendering 32 points per game, is up for debate. Henry has a top-five ceiling at a bargain price.
Wil Lutz (FD: $4,500) at San Diego
He’s cheap, he’s tied to a good offense, and his team is playing in what should be a high-scoring game. Moving right along…
New England Patriots (DK: $3,300, FD: $4,500) vs. Buffalo
On the one hand, you’ve got a Bills team coming off a huge home victory, hitting the road without Sammy Watkins, its only true threat in the passing game. On the other, you have Bill Belichick and the Patriots, who have managed to beat the Cardinals and Texans (and Dolphins, but who cares about that?) without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. This is a layup.
QB: Philip Rivers
RB1: David Johnson
RB2: DeMarco Murray
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR2: Jeremy Maclin
WR3: Cole Beasley
TE: Hunter Henry
FLEX: Dwayne Washington
DST: New England Patriots
QB: Philip Rivers
RB1: Le'Veon Bell
RB2: DeMarco Murray
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR2: Amari Cooper
WR3: Golden Tate
TE: Hunter Henry
K: Will Lutz
DST: New England Patriots