Daily Fantasy Football: Chargers’ Philip Rivers remains a strong buy

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The Jaguars are a mess on defense.  It looks like Philip Rivers and his Chargers will be the next daily fantasy football beneficiaries.  Without further ado, here is our immutable staff insight for Week 4 in Daily Fantasy Football.  We’ll try hard not to convinvce you to have 75% Philip Rivers exposure.   FANDUEL Justin Howe, DFS Editor/Content Manager

TOP CHOICES Quarterback Philip Rivers, San Diego v. JAX Tony Romo, Dallas v. NO Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh v. TB Rivers takes on the Jaguars, which makes him a fine fantasy play.  The Jags have coughed up the most passing yardage in football by 20.7/gm, and their eight allowed TDs ties for the league lead.  For those worried that garbage time will sap the Chargers’ passing opportunities, take heed of the fact that six of their seven offensive TDs this year have come via the pass.  Yes, they’re going to lead 24-0 in the second, but it will likely be 2-3 Rivers scoring tosses that put them there … Romo hasn’t yet been Romo, but I’m expecting a breakout by midseason, and a home matchup with the struggling Saints defense looks like a shootout.  QBs are posting 278.3 yards/gm against New Orleans, who has yet to intercept a pass … We all saw what Matt Ryan did to the Buccaneers last Thursday, and note that they also struggled to some degree against Derek Anderson and Austin Davis.  The Steelers broke out of a nasty early-season funk in trouncing the Panthers, so I feel good about Roethlisberger’s chances at 250 and two or more scores.  And he’s relatively cheap. Running Back Matt Forte, Chicago v. GB $8,600 Lamar Miller, Miami @ OAK $6,900 Donald Brown, San Diego v. JAX $6,300 Khiry Robinson, New Orleans @ DAL $4,900 This will be my first foray into Forte this year, and I’m excited: the Packers have allowed the third-most rushing yardage, and Forte posted 179 and 157 scrimmage yards against them last year, with four TDs.  Don’t concern yourself much with his ground struggles in Weeks 2 & 3; both came on the road against solid-to-great run defenses.  Expect an all-purpose bombshell in Chicago … Miller has quietly posted a 5.8 YPC on 37 rushes in what’s looking like a breakout year.  He should have similar success against an injury-riddled Raiders front seven giving up 158.7 yards/gm on the ground (second-worst in the league) and starting end-of-benchers at both ILB spots … On Sunday, Brown posted a line for the ages: his 36 touches totaled all of 89 yards and none went for touchdowns.  But at home against Jacksonville, with Danny Woodhead sidelined for the year, I’m expecting similar usage with much more effectiveness.  He’s almost the entire backfield now; anything shy of 100 scrimmage yards and a score would surprise me, and that’s an awesome price tag for a 30-touch threat … Robinson indeed took over the Mark Ingram role Sunday, and while his line wasn’t big, the usage (18 carries) was encouraging.  In a shootout with the awful Cowboy defense, expect plenty of short TD opportunities to go with 15-20 touches.  In my mind, there’s no better RB value this week. Wide Receiver Julio Jones, Atlanta @ MIN $9,100 Steve Smith, Baltimore v. CAR $6,100 Greg Jennings, Minnesota @ ATL $5,400 Torrey Smith, Baltimore v. CAR $5,000 Jones hasn’t landed below six catches since December 2012 and averages 104 yards/gm over that span.  As I’ve already explained, he’s the top WR in fantasy and I’ll play him pretty much any time I’m spending on a top-dollar wideout … Steve Smith has emerged as Joe Flacco’s security blanket – and that happened before Dennis Pitta was lost for the season.  Smith is often Flacco’s choice on short routes up the seams; his 32 targets are seventh in the league, and he’s tied for the lead in red zone looks.  With Pitta out, I don’t see any of that changing drastically.  The Panther D looks to be regressing; Antonio Brown shredded the Panther defense last week to the tune of a 10-90-2 line, and Smith is used similarly … Teddy Bridgewater is not much of a downfield risk-taker, so in his first start, short, controlled passing will likely be the name of the game.  The veteran route-runner drew six of Bridgewater’s 20 targets (30%) last week and posted a 5-70 overall day.  Expect him to see the ball 8-12 times as a minimum, making him likely to meet or exceed that line and serve as a great, cheap WR3 option … Torrey Smith is a puzzling case.  The ascending talent has been a massive black hole thus far, but this dirt-cheap price tag (he’s going for less than Damaris Johnson and Chris Owusu) makes him an ideal value-based dice roll if you’re loading up elsewhere.  Smith has a breakout coming, and for $5,000, I’m plugging him in as my WR3 in a number of daily leagues. Tight End Zach Ertz, Philadelphia @ SF $5,600 Niles Paul, Washington v. NYG $5,100 Ladarius Green, San Diego v. JAX $5,000 Gronkowski’s snaps have increased each week, and even with his limited play, he’s seeing close to his typical volume.  According to Pro Football Focus, he’s drawing the target on a league-leading 24% of his snaps.  Some week soon, he’ll play close to a full game’s worth of snaps, and when he does he’ll threaten Jimmy Graham as the week’s top TE option.  The Chiefs’ decimated defense will likely afford him a TE1 day even in a limited role … Paul looks to be for real.  He’s posted 68+ yards in all three contests thus far, and has seen 20 targets over the last two.  The former wideout is a versatile player who may just beat out the brittle Jordan Reed for the starting gig down the road.  At the moment, since Reed remains out, Paul is a TE1 and a steal at this price tag … Oh, Ladarius.  Sunday was likely one of Mike McCoy’s patented teases, but don’t be afraid to chase it at this skimpy cost if you’re filling out with studs elsewhere.  Green didn’t stumble into any fluky catches last week; he was heavily targeted and saw two red zone looks, drawing a pass interference in the end zone.  His talent is gargantuan and even half an opportunity puts him on the TE1 gamble level. Kicker Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh v. TB $4,900 Nick Folk, N.Y. Jets v. DET $4,900 These two offenses may be coming around, but they’re still bogging down tremendously in the red zone.  Both these kickers have knocked home every FG this year and come far cheaper than the elite kicking options – whom they’re likely to score right alongside anyway. Defense San Diego v. JAX $5,300 Chicago v. GB $4,900 Washington v. NYG $4,500 The Charger defense, one of the league’s most pleasant surprises thus far, tees off on a rookie QB with no line or running game.  I like Blake Bortles, but this could get ugly … The Bears are a sneaky play against an underachieving Packer offense that has struggled in 10 of its 12 quarters.  The line is a mess, the running game is nonexistent, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t himself.  The Bears are at home in a divisional matchup; I like their potential for the cost … The Giant offense looked strong Sunday, but I’m not buying yet.  The new passing game still isn’t firing, and they’ve been turning the ball over at a dizzying rate dating back to last season.  Washington’s D is in strong position to force another crappy offensive day – and they’re the third-cheapest unit available. EXPERT ROSTER daily fantasy football   I always aim to load my cap with a stud RB, a stud WR, and an upper-tier WR I feel is drastically undervalued, then fill the gaps with underpriced options with moderate upside.  After going all in on the Dallas passing game in a likely shootout with the Saints, then snapping up the best WR in fantasy and a stud RB primed for a huge breakout, I went bargain hunting.  Brown is severely underpriced as he takes on nearly the entire workload against the league’s worst team at home.  With just $5,100 left, I was stunned to see Torrey Smith within my range affordability.  I feel I’m loaded this week with studs and low-cost upside.

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  DRAFT KINGS Andy Getrey, DFS Writer

TOP CHOICES Quarterback Drew Brees, New Orleans @ DAL $9,300 Andrew Luck, Indianapolis v. TEN $9,300 Philip Rivers, San Diego @ JAX $7,700 Luck and Brees have great matchups this week and could very easily be top-five QBs.  Luck will need no “luck” in lighting up the scoreboard against a Tennessee defense that was destroyed last week … Rivers is again proving all his critics wrong and having a fantastic start to the season.  Expect not to cry me a river this week as he tames the Jaguars. Running Back DeMarco Murray, Dallas v. NO $8,300 Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh v. TB $7,400 Knile Davis, Kansas City v. NE $6,200 Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis v. TEN $5,800 I’ve been riding the Murray Train for three weeks and he has not disappointed.  Dallas’ only chance of contending this year is to use him as a bellcow and pray he stays healthy.  Murray’s versatility makes him a dual threat this year, with 130+ combined yards and at least one TD against a bad Saints defense … Speaking of bellcows, Bell is just that. All of the people worried about Blount stealing carries need not worry any longer.  Bell facing Tampa Bay is like hitting the lottery; he could easily be the top back this week, as long as the game doesn’t become a blowout … Davis is the league’s number-one backup and could start on many teams.  Ball control is needed if Kansas City expects to stay close with the Pats … Finally, Bradshaw is my guy again.  Indy trusts him the most at RB and Luck loves dumping off passes to him.  His value could make him the steal of the week. Wide Receiver Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh v. TB $7,800 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia @ SF $6,300 Cordarrelle Paterson, Minnesota v. ATL $5,600 Anquan Boldin, San Francisco v. PHI $5,000 Maclin and Brown will be lighting it up this week and could easily top 100 combined yards, with over 12 targets and a least one TD.  What can “Brown” do for you this week?  Lead you to fantasy gold! … Patterson is all the Vikings have, and they will need to be creative with him to keep them in the game. Expect him to have many touches as a RB and a WR.  Many touches usually equal many fantasy points … Boldin has been one of Colin Kaepernick’s favorite targets. Expect that to continue this week in a very high-scoring game. Tight End Jimmy Graham, New Orleans @ DAL $7,500 Zach Ertz, Philadelphia @ SF $4,000 Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis v. TEN $3,500 Graham is the game’s top TE by a lot, period.  If you can fit him in, fit him in; you can’t go wrong … Ertz is having a great season and Foles likes him a lot. Many points should be scored this week, and I expect at least one TD from him … Allen is having a very nice season, and at his price this week, in a game in which I expect Luck to go crazy, he is another steal.  I see 70+ yards and a TD from him. Defense/Special Teams San Diego v. JAX $3,100 Pittsburgh v. TB $2,900 The Steelers are the top defense this week, and the Chargers are not too far behind them.  With very low value and very weak offensive opponents this Sunday, both are very solid plays. EXPERT ROSTER $50,000 Salary cap QB Philip Rivers $7,700 RB DeMarco Murray $8,300 RB Ahmad Bradshaw $5,800 WR Cordarrelle Patterson $5,600 WR Anquan Boldin $5,000 WR Malcom Floyd $3,600 TE Dwayne Allen $3,500 FLEX Le’Veon Bell $7,400 DST Pittsburgh $2,900 This week, I again found some great value and strong plays at TE (Allen) and WR (Patterson, Floyd, and Boldin).  Finding that value allowed me to stack my lineup with probably the top two RBs for the week in Murray and Bell and a very strong play in Bradshaw.  Rivers has been lighting it up and should be a top-five QB against a very bad Jacksonville team.  I believe the Steelers are a steal this week and will be a top-two defense.  Play this lineup with confidence and expect to be going green with lots of extra vitamin C (cash) in your pockets at the end of the week.

Lead photo: “Philip Rivers” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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