Welcome to Week 4 of the NFL! The good times keep rolling for rookie quarterbacks and starting running backs are dropping like flies. Additionally, we are seeing almost every quarterback in the league finding fantasy success which means plenty of wide receiver values. Note: Trying something new this week. This post will be fluid and I will be adding more sections up until kickoff on Sunday. Check back often!
Week 3 Studs
Marvin Jones is making the most of his change of scenery, joining the Lions in the offseason. We mentioned that the Lions had a massive void to fill with the Calvin Johnson target gone, but I don’t think anyone expected Jones to explode out of the gate like he has. Jones started with a 4-85 game, followed that with an 8-118 and then capped them both with a 6-205-2 game last week. Even more shocking is the discrepancy between Jones and teammate Golden Tate who was also poised for a breakout year. Tate has hauled in 13 passes for 94 total yards. Jones is clearly Matt Stafford’s favorite target through three games and they should be able to keep the good times rolling against the porous Chicago defense. Stafford and company have shredded the Bears in their last two meetings for 703 yards and seven TDs.
Jameis Winston might be the most quiet fantasy star of the year. Yes, he plays at a position that is extremely deep but he’s scored 26+ DraftKings points in two of three starts this season. Only Matt Stafford and Drew Brees can say the same thing. The concern for him this week (and really for the next two weeks) is the matchup. He’s going to have to face the stout Denver defense, then travel to Carolina before his bye week. Keep Winston in mind for weeks 7-10 where he battles @SF, OAK, ATL and CHI which could be a goldmine of cheap fantasy points.
Week 3 Duds
With the injury to Adrian Peterson, many around the industry flocked to Jerrick McKinnon. Unfortunately for those owners, McKinnon turned in a mere 45 yards against the Carolina defense. Against the Carolina defense. I had to write that again so you can forgive him for the performance and consider him again this week. The good news is that McKinnon saw the bulk of the rushes with 16 compared to Matt Asiata‘s 6. This is a weird matchup that he will have on Monday Night with the New York Giants. On paper, the Giants have allowed just the 4th fewest rushing yards in the league. However, if you look deeper, they haven’t really faced anyone. The three lead-backs they’ve faced have been Ezekiel Elliott (in his first career game), Mark Ingram (who saw nine carries) and Matt Jones. I think a lot of teams would be the 4th best rush defense in the league when facing that trio. I’m buying on McKinnon this week.
The GPP play of the week is likely going to be Deandre Hopkins. The public saw the Texans get embarrassed on National TV and will likely be avoiding that offense like the plague. Hey, I saw it too, but come on..it’s still Deandre Hopkins. Here’s a guy who found the endzone in each of the first two games scoring 16.4 and 27.3 DraftKings points. He’s a target monster, seeing 27 looks through three games. The Texans are going to get the long week to prepare for the Tennessee defense and they are back at home this week. Expect Hopkins to be forgotten, but I still remember a guy with WR1 upside.
Emmanuel Sanders went nuts last week and is cheaper than his teammate Demaryius Thomas which I suspect will drive DT’s ownership down as the masses flock to Sanders. Thomas has battled both quarterback and injury concerns this season, but both of those items look to be in his rearview mirror. Thomas had a classic six catch, 100 yard and a TD performance last week against Cincy and now has 11 catches for 190 yards over his last two games. Expect the good times to continue against the Bucs this week who allow the 4th most fantasy points to opposing WRs.
Tight End is a really weird position this week (what else is new). There’s Gronk who may or may not be 100%, then Jordan “Chalk” Reed right behind him and Greg Olsen who checks in as the third most expensive TE on DraftKings. Those three lead the top tier of salary and I think it’s Olsen who will be overlooked. Reed is so obvious for only $300 more, but it’s Olsen who has scored at least 12 DraftKings points in all three games this season who is the only TE in the league who can boast that stat. Olsen leads all TEs in targets (29) but only two have come inside the redzone. I think that allows plenty of room for improvement because there’s no way Olsen will only see two redzone looks for every 29 total targets for the rest of the season. This week’s matchup with Atlanta is sublime, as they have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing TEs.
DeMarco Murray is an interesting play if not for the matchup alone. It doesn’t get much better for RBs who take on the Houston Texans who are allowing 4.8 yards per carry (third most in the league). They also allowed four rushing TDs which is second most in the league. Murray is coming off his best game of the season, ripping off 114 yards on 16 carries and a TD. The concern is that Derrick Henry will eat into his carries (10 last week), but Murray is still involved in the passing game. Murray’s 14 targets are the second most on the Titans offense and he’s converted on 12 of them. His value increased on full point PPR sites like DraftKings.
Ugh..Maybe Joe Flacco this week? I’m not a huge fan of Flacco or the Ravens in general because they are very hard to predict. They rarely do what you expect them to do and their range of outcomes in extremely volatile. With that being said, it’s hard to look past the Oakland secondary which is beyond porous. Even with only allowing 214 passing yards to Marcus Mariota last week, they still lead the league in passing yards allowed at 404 yards/game. That’s BY FAR the worst in the league. Flacco has been his best at home in his career, where this game will be played. He’s thrown for at least 299 yards in five of his last six home games and the Ravens are not afraid to throw the rock. Flacco has tossed it 40 and 45 times in his last two outings.
Wide Receiver Fliers
If Jay Cutler sit another game out, I might be firing up Kevin White in every single lineup. With Brian Hoyer under center on Sunday Night, we saw White earn 14 targets! Actually, some sites even say he got 15 targets, but either way it was the second most in the entire league behind only Antonio Brown. While he only hauled in six catches, he was all over the field and Hoyer was flinging it in his direction nearly every time he dropped back. White missed all of last season so he’s only played three NFL games and he appears to be getting more comfortable in each. Now he gets the Lions defense which is an awesome matchup and it’s very likely the Bears are trailing for the majority of this game. Hoyer threw 49 (!!!) times last week and could be in-line for another game like that.
Sammie Coates is a real flier and he’s never going to be safe since he doesn’t earn enough targets. What I do see in Coates is a player who gets loose deep in the secondary and we know Big Ben isn’t afraid to go long. Coates is averaging 29 yards per reception which is the most in the league. He’s a dynamic player who can hit value on one play.
How about a mere $4,200 for a guy with 24 targets and a touchdown in each of the last two? Is that something you might be interested in? That guy is Jamison Crowder who leads the Redskins in targets and receptions. More importantly, he’s seen seven redzone targets which is the third most in the league. The matchup for this week…Cleveland, baby.
Our friends over at UF Collective analyze a bunch of data throughout the week in an attempt to predict NFL ownership each week. I really like the work they are doing (and you should check them out), so I’m going to point out a few players who are expected to be underowned.
Let’s start with Tyrell Williams who UF Collective projects to come in under 10% owned. It makes sense with Travis Benjamin being the “#1 receiver” in this Chargers offense, but Williams is coming off nine targets last week and now has 20 for the season. All six of Williams’ catches last week came in the second half and there should be plenty of opportunity for him in this game. A prime matchup with New Orleans, Philip Rivers should be able to sustain multiple receivers from a fantasy standpoint.
Matt Stafford checks in with a projected 6.8% ownership which would be a steal! There are plenty of excellent quarterback options on both sides of Stafford’s salary which will presumably drive his ownership down. Stafford has QB1 upside and has thrown the ball at least 39 times in each game so far this season. He will travel to Chicago to battle the porous Bears defense. It’s interesting to see that Marvin Jones is likely to be one of the highest owned players on the slate, but his own QB will probably be forgotten.
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