FanDuel Picks: Week 4 Edition
**NOTE – FanDuel has eliminated the Monday Night Football game from their main slate tournaments. Therefore, I won’t be writing about any players in the Monday night game from here on out.**
Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: New England Patriots blowing out the Buffalo Bills
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Kirk Cousins vs CLE, $7,600
Kirk Cousins is 2nd in the NFL in passing yards. He’s had no trouble in that department. However, unlike last year, the pass TDs have been hard to come by. I believe that changes at home this week against a Browns defense giving up the 9th most passing yards and 4th most passing TDs this season.
Cam Newton vs ATL, $9,300
Cam Newton struggled last week against the Vikings who currently rank 6th best in total defense (calculated by yards per game allowed). That won’t be the case this week as Newton gets a Falcons defense that ranks 30th in that same category. The Falcons are tied for the most pass TDs allowed this season as well.
Philip Rivers vs NO, $8,500
Despite losing multiple weapons due to injury, Philip Rivers continues to play good football. He has yet to throw an interception this season and ranks in the top half of the league in both passing yards and pass TDs. Now, he gets a historically bad Saints defense at home without their top cornerback Delvin Breaux who is out due to injury. The Saints are one of only two defenses without an interception yet this season and have given up the 8th most passing yards.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Plays
Joe Flacco vs OAK, $7,700
NARRATIVE STREET ALERT: Joe Flacco’s wife just gave birth to their fourth child. She is Flacco’s first daughter so you know he’s going to ball out for her.
What!? You want actual analysis!? OK, fine. Flacco has a great matchup at home against a Raiders defense that has given up the most passing yards in the NFL through the first three weeks of the season.
Trevor Siemian vs TB, $7,400
The Buccaneers have a pretty solid run defense. However, their pass defense isn’t as stout as they have given up the 13th most passing yards so far this season. In a similar situation last week, head coach Gary Kubiak decided to attack the Bengals secondary by having Trevor Siemian throw more than he had the previous two weeks. Siemian turned his 35 pass attempts into 312 yards and 4 TDs.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Le’Veon Bell vs KC, $8,300
Le’Veon Bell touched the ball 26 times in his return from suspension last season. There are no volume concerns here. Bell will get plenty of carries and will be utilized heavily in the passing game as well. A dynamic dual-threat playmaker in one of the best offenses in the NFL, Bell is definitely somebody I will be rostering this weekend. Bell racked up 2,215 total yards and 11 TDs back in 2014 and will start to add to his season totals this weekend against a Chiefs defense giving up the 8th most rushing yards this year.
Melvin Gordon vs NO, $7,600
New Orleans gave up the 2nd most rushing yards last season and are giving up the most rushing yards in the league so far this season. They just gave up a combined 296 total yards last week to Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Melvin Gordon has a dream matchup at home and is in a great spot to take advantage as he received 20 touches last week and handled 91% of the Chargers RB touches.
LeGarrette Blount vs BUF, $7,500
Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels have made their gameplan without Tom Brady very evident through the first three weeks. Run, run, and run some more. LeGarrette Blount leads the NFL in rush attempts and rushing yards and is tied for the league lead in rush TDs as well. With Brady out one more week, I don’t expect things to change. Blount gets a Bills defense still without DT Marcell Dareus, first and second round picks DE Shaq Lawson and LB Reggie Ragland, and DE IK Enemkpali. Missing all of those pieces in the front 7, it’s no surprise the Bills are tied for the 3rd most rush TDs allowed this season.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Plays
Charles Sims vs DEN, $6,500
Understandably so, the Broncos have a reputation for having a phenomenal defense. However, they’ve given up the 6th most rushing yards this season. With Doug Martin out, Charles Sims handled 76% of the Buccaneers touches last week. He’s a dual-threat RB and proved that by rushing for a TD and also catching 6 passes. He will command the majority of the touches for a second straight game this weekend.
Jordan Howard vs DET, $5,600
Bears expect RB Jeremy Langford to be sidelined 4-6 weeks with sprained ankle, per source. https://t.co/atPptt0dTT
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 26, 2016
With Jeremy Langford out, fire up Jordan Howard who has looked good in limited work this season. Howard was the only other RB to handle the ball last week and also caught 4 passes. He gets a Lions defense that has given up the 12th most rushing yards this year.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Antonio Brown vs KC, $9,400
It’s going to be very tempting to fade the high priced WRs this week. Those considering rostering Steelers will remember their horrible showing last week against the Eagles and most will gravitate towards Le’Veon Bell in his first game back. This is just your friendly reminder that even with the Steelers only scoring 3 points last Sunday, Antonio Brown still dropped 12 for 140. He’s the best WR in football and I suspect Marcus Peters will be learning a thing or two in prime time this week.
Emmanuel Sanders vs TB, $6,900
Emmanuel Sanders outperformed Demaryius Thomas for the majority of last season. This year, the data is starting to support that. Sanders has seen 9 more targets and has out targeted Thomas in every game through three weeks. The Buccaneers have given up the 13th most passing yards and 4th most passing TDs so far this year. Look for Sanders to build on his 9 catches for 117 yards and 2 TDs performance from a week ago.
Jeremy Maclin vs PIT, $6,900
Jeremy Maclin had to face stud CB Jason Verrett in Week 1, play at Houston in Week 2, and then was destroyed by game-script in Week 3 thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 6 interceptions. This will be the first week Maclin is unlocked for fantasy purposes. On the road playing in Pittsburgh, Alex Smith is going to be forced to throw the ball early and often whether he wants to or not. Maclin will take advantage against a Steelers secondary giving up the 2nd most passing yards through three weeks.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Steve Smith vs OAK, $6,100
Steve Smith’s target share has been above 25% in two of three games to begin 2016. He’s currently averaging 8.67 targets a game. It looked like he was getting back in the groove last week, as he saw 11 targets and caught 8 balls for 87 yards. He should be able to keep the momentum going as he has a phenomenal matchup this week against a Raiders defense allowing the most pass yards in the NFL so far this season.
Kevin White vs DET, $5,500
The Bears are missing their starting RB, Alshon Jeffery is banged up right now and playing at less than 100%, and Brian Hoyer showed he can perform for fantasy purposes last week and just might be better for this offense than Jay Cutler. All of those factors are in the favor of Kevin White, who currently leads the Bears in targets. With Darius Slay likely covering Jeffery for the majority of the game, White should see a lot of Nevin Lawson in coverage who Pro Football Focus has ranked as their 91st best CB this year and was their 104th ranked CB last year. Look for White to build off of his 14 target game from a week ago as long as Hoyer remains the starting QB.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Jordan Reed vs CLE, $7,500
The Kirk Cousins/Jordan Reed combo is my favorite stack of the week. Reed is third in the NFL in TE targets and he gets a Browns defense giving up the 9th most passing yards this season.
The NFL's leaders in red zone targets heading into Monday night:
Jordy Nelson and Jamison Crowder with eight.
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) September 26, 2016
I’m not buying all of these red zone targets for Jamison Crowder and I expect him to start coming back down to earth a little bit this week. Look for Washington to put an emphasis on getting Reed the ball in scoring position starting this week as he was extremely successful in that area last year. Washington loves to line Reed up out wide and move him all over the field. I suspect a quick slant end zone target coming and I have all the confidence in the world Reed will come down with it for a TD.
Greg Olsen vs ATL, $7,900
Greg Olsen leads all TEs in targets and has a dream matchup against a Falcons defense giving up the 4th most passing yards and tied for the most pass TDs given up so far this season. The Falcons have allowed 4 TDs to TEs through three games and I expect Olsen to add to that total on Sunday.
Dennis Pitta vs OAK, $5,400
Dennis Pitta is 4th in TE targets so far this season. He’s basically done everything but reach the end zone. That could all change this week against a Raiders defense that has given up the most passing yards so far this season.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Plays
Zach Miller vs DET, $5,000
Zach Miller saw 9 targets in his first game with Brian Hoyer last week and turned them into 8 for 78 and 2 TDs. Hoyer seems to love throwing the ball his way so make sure Hoyer will get another start before locking Miller into your lineup. Still, Miller gets a Lions defense that gave up the most (12) pass TDs to TEs last season and that has already given up 5 TDs to TEs so far this season.
Hunter Henry vs NO, $4,500
Antonio Gates is looking extremely iffy for a second straight week. If he misses another game, Hunter Henry will see more action. In his first game with significant playing time last week, Henry caught all 5 of his targets for 76 yards and he now gets a Saints defense giving up the 8th most passing yards so far this season.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Justin Tucker vs OAK, $5,100
Justin Tucker has made the third most field goals in the NFL so far this season and has connected on all 9 of his attempts. The Ravens are going to be able to move the ball on Oakland’s struggling defense which will result in field goals and extra points.
Dustin Hopkins vs CLE, $4,500
Dustin Hopkins has made the second most field goals so far this season. Just like Tucker, he has yet to miss on the year as well. Washington is going to put up points on the Browns defense. Period.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Kicker Play
Josh Lambo vs NO, $4,500
Josh Lambo will benefit from a home matchup against a historically bad Saints defense this week. There are plenty of field goal and extra point opportunities coming.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Arizona Cardinals vs LA, $5,300
The Cardinals are tied for 8th in sacks (9) and tied for 2nd in INTs (5). After a poor showing on the road in Buffalo last week, look for the Cardinals to right the ship at home against a Rams offense ranked dead last in total yards so far this season.
New England Patriots vs BUF, $4,500
New England is at home in this one and should dominate on both sides of the ball. The Bills offense currently ranks 30th in total yards so far this season and the injury to Sammy Watkins isnt helping out at all.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Defense Play
Baltimore Ravens vs OAK, $4,400
Elvis Dumervil quietly returns this week to a defense already tied for 8th in sacks (9) and tied for 2nd in INTs (5) so far this season.
Washington Redskins vs CLE, $4,600
Hue Jackson seems to be working wonders in Cleveland right now. He certainly seems to be utilizing Terrelle Pryor in all of the right ways. However, the jury is still out on Cody Kessler and a pick-6 is still very much in play here. Washington is also tied for 13th in sacks (7) so far this season.