After researching the NFL player pool at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end each week over the past few seasons, I will go on a new path for the daily games in 2021. I continue to produce projections, and this baseline will be used to identify possible values at each position during the season.
In the daily games, we see each week players with low salaries post difference-maker scores. The key to winning is mixing a core of studs with some undervalued options that post impact scores for their price point.
Depending on the format, the goal is to find players that will score three or four times their salary to have a shot at GPP (grand prize pool).
Top Tier: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills ($8,500/$8,000)
After struggling to find his rhythm over the first two weeks (270/1 and 179/2 – 5.3 yards per pass attempt), Allen marched up and down the field vs. Washington in Week 3 (387 combined yards with five scores). He completed 74.4 percent of his passes, with four plays gaining over 20 yards (8.3 yards per pass attempt).
The Texans have risk against the run (4.2 yards per carry and six rushing touchdowns – three by quarterbacks), and they’ve allowed over 300 yards passing in two matchups. The Bills’ defense played well over the first three weeks (75 rushing yards and 194 passing yards allowed per game).
Buffalo should dominate the time of possession while breaking out to a big early lead. Their wideouts have already delivered two dominating games (23/221/1 and 23/277/2). Allen’s only downside is a one-sided game. I have him projected for 369 combined yards with another five touchdowns.
More: Russell Wilson – 30.26, Dak Prescott – 29.76
Value: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers ($5,600/$7,000)
Over the first three games, Garoppolo has been on the field for 188 of 195 plays (96.4 percent). His completion rate (67.4) and yards per pass attempt (8.0) grade well, but he threw only 55 times over his first two starts.
Seattle struggled vs. the run in Week 2 (40/212/3) while quarterbacks averaged 307 passing yards per game with five scores. The Seahawks’ defense was on the field for over 38 minutes, leading to quarterbacks attempting 38.7 passes per game.
Brandon Aiyuk showed a spark in Week 3 (4/37/1), and Deebo Samuel flashed his explosiveness in Week 1 (9/189/1). The key for Garoppolo in this matchup is the health of George Kittle (calf issue). SI Sportsbook posted an over/under of 52 in this contest, pointing to a wide-open game.
More: Mac Jones – 23.11, Justin Fields – 22.59
Top Tier: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints ($8,400/$9,000)
An early lead helped Kamara to touch the ball a season-high (27 times). He gained 118 combined yards with a score and three catches. After three games, he only has 10 catches on 14 targets, which is well below his previous career resume (5.4 catches for 47 yards and 0.25 touchdowns per game) with Drew Brees behind center. Kamara has yet to gain over 20 yards on any play while averaging only 3.4 yards per rush (5.0 in his career) and 6.2 yards per catch (8.7 in his career).
The Giants allowed 499 combined yards with two touchdowns and seven catches over the first three weeks.
Sports Illustrated has Kamara projected for 157 combined yards with two touchdowns and six catches against the Giants.
More: Derrick Henry – 33.38
Value: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears ($5,800/$7,500)
The switch to Justin Fields at quarterback over the past two games has led to Chicago gaining only 353 combined yards against the Bengals and Browns. In addition, Montgomery struggled to make plays in the run game (30/95 – 3.2 yards per rush) over this span with five catches for 39 yards. The Bears had him on the field for 80.9 percent of their plays over the previous two weeks.
Running backs gained 356 combined yards with six touchdowns and nine catches vs. the Lions. The Packers’ running backs gained 149 yards in their only road game with four scores and seven catches.
Montgomery looks to be on a path for 115 combined yards with a touchdown and four catches while only one big run to fill his salary bucket.
More: Zack Moss – 17.57, D’Andre Swift – 20.50
Top Tier: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills ($7,600/$8,000)
After three weeks of action, Diggs sits 24th in wide receiver scoring (44.10 fantasy points) with no impact games (9/69, 4/60/1, and 6/62). Despite his slow start, the Bills have looked his way 29 times. He has one catch over 20 yards (41 yards) compared to 40 over 20 yards and 13 over 40 yards in 2019 and 2020.
Wide receivers have 34 catches for 476 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans, with three wideouts having success (3/86/1, 5/77/1, and 8/126).
Josh Allen should get his top wide receiver rolling this week, setting up a special day. However, Diggs needs to get out of the gate quickly as the second half of the game could feature many runs by the Bills if they build a big lead.
Top Tier: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers ($6,800/$7,100)
Despite ranking third in wide receiver scoring (21/258/1) in PPR leagues while averaging 11 targets per game, Allen has played second fiddle to Mike Williams (8/82/1, 7/91/1, and 7/122/2) over the first three weeks. Last year, Allen played well at home (69/701/4), highlighted by four games (13/132/1, 10/125, 9/103/1, and 16/145/1), with the third output coming against the Raiders.
Las Vegas faced two below-par passing offenses (Baltimore and Miami), helping them to a league-average ranking (17th) vs. wideouts (48/507/1). Diontae Johnson (9/105) and Marquise Brown (6/69/1) had the most success.
Both teams should move the ball well in this matchup, setting up plenty of chances for Allen.
More: Davante Adams – 28.08, Calvin Ridley – 27.70
Value: Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,900/$7,400)
The spotlight of a Thursday night game should shine brightly on Chase, and I expect him to rise to the occasion. The Bengals ruled Tee Higgins out again for this game, giving Cincy’s top two wideouts a two-way split for the bulk of targets. Over his first three games, Chase has 11 catches for 220 yards and four touchdowns on only 16 targets. His lack of chances falls on game flow and score. Joe Burrow only has 75 passing attempts over three weeks compared to his 2020 average (40.4).
The Jaguars struggled in all three games against quarterbacks (3311/2, 329/2, and 335/1), with wide receivers doing plenty of damage (44/654/2). Jacksonville allows 14.9 yards per catch to wideouts, with each opponent having success (HOU – 13/200/1, DEN – 14/216/1, and ARI – 17/238).
I see a winning play on his over in catches (4.5) and receiving yards (67.5) in the betting market. I have Chase projected for seven catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Value: Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots ($5,200/$5,700)
After two quiet games (6/44 and 4/38), Meyers found himself on the bench on many rosters in the season-long games in Week 3. A chaser game vs. the Saints led to him seeing the most targets (14) of the year. He finished with nine catches for 94 yards. Despite gaining only 9.3 yards per catch, Meyers does have three catches over 20 yards. Over 32 career games, he has yet to score a touchdown.
Tampa plays well vs. the run, and Tom Brady should score on the Patriots’ defense. They’ve allowed a league-high in catches (63), receiving yards (871), and touchdowns (9).
Meyers should be active in this matchup while Mac Jones posts the best game of his young career.
More: Tyler Boyd – 21.94, Corey Davis – 19.91
Top Tier: Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders ($7,100/$7,500)
The Steelers and Dolphins held Waller in check over the past two weeks (5/65 and 5/54) after busting out in Week 1 with a dominating game (10/105/1 on 19 targets). He dusted the Chargers in 2020 at home (9/150/1) after a short outing at home (5/22/1).
Tight ends have 19 catches for 207 yards and two scores on 24 targets against the Chargers. Most of the damage came against Logan Thomas (3/30/1) and Travis Kelce (7/104).
Waller should regain his stride in this matchup with a touchdown well within reach.
More: Travis Kelce – 23.54, George Kittle – 17.30
Value: Adam Trautman, New Orleans ($2,900/$4,300)
Three games into the season, Trautman only has three catches for 18 yards while being shut out in back-to-back games. He came into 2021 as an upside breakout option at tight end, but an August ankle injury put the start of his season in doubt. Trautman saw 82% of offensive snaps in Week 1 and Week 3, while a chaser game led to only 52 percent of the snaps against the Panthers. Over his 18 NFL games, Trautman has 18 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown on 23 targets.
The Giants allowed a touchdown each week to the tight end, leading to 21 catches for 191 yards and three scores. All three touchdowns allowed to tight ends came from TE2 options (Albert Okwuegbunam, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Lee Smith) on their team.
I expect Trautman to show a pulse this week, along with the Saints’ passing game.
More: Noah Fant – 14.75, Jared Cook – 12.11
My Week 4 projections are up with a second update coming Saturday in the morning after all practices close Friday night.
More Fantasy Week 4 Coverage:
- Rankings & Stat Projections
- Waiver Wire Report
- Touches, Targets, Volume & Regression Index
- QB Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
- RB Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
- WR Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
- TE Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Senior analyst Shawn Childs is a multi-sport, high-stakes fantasy legend with lifetime earnings in the high six-figures. He has been providing in-depth, analytical break downs for years all while helping his subscribers to countless titles and winnings across season-long & DFS. An inaugural inductee of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn can teach you how to prep like a champ!