Between the Bankroll and Me: Fanduel Week Four

Falcons Devonta Freeman

Just as is it does every year, the NFL season is flying by. It feels like just yesterday we were beginning our journey on this 2017/18 season, and alas here we are nearly a quarter of the way through it. Week three proved to be a profitable one if you went with a number of plays including Hunt, McCaffrey, Cook, OBJ, Green, Ertz and Jared Cook. But, I didn’t go without a few swings and misses, either, wiffing on Newton and all three of my defensive suggestions. Ultimately, if you’ve stuck to the recommended plays each week, you should be in the green so let’s try to keep things rolling for Fanduel week four.

 

Quarterback 

Tom Brady ($9,500) vs. Carolina

Lately I’ve been getting into some Bruce Lee quotes/philosophies and trying to apply them to everyday life. The chief one I’m trying to implement is his “Be Water” (look it up) quote. To sum it up, water is formless but will become whatever you put it into. As Bruce says, “if you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup”. Yes, he was referring to applying this to fighting, but he also meant it for life. Meaning we should be fluid, adapting to circumstances and not staying stagnant or close-minded. Instead, being open and accepting to what is and what might come.

To bring this back to fantasy football, last week I was dead set on using Matthew Stafford in cash but, while doing some last minute tinkering, I just couldn’t ignore the Vegas love the Pats were getting at nearly a 14-point favorite and almost a 30-point implied total. So, in trying to be more open minded and not stagnant, or, “like water”, this caused me to reconsider and ultimately I decided to pay up for Brady across the board, something I traditionally don’t do. I might have still cashed with Stafford’s 16.5 pts, but I wouldn’t have won nearly as much as I did with Brady and his 35.7 pts and much, much lower ownership. Things haven’t changed this week. The Pats are currently a 9-point favorite, and yet again have a massive implied total of 28.5 pts. I don’t know yet if I’ll be paying up for Brady, but I will remain open and fluid. He’s absolutely worth it.

Russell Wilson ($7,900) vs. Indianapolis

Despite the cash-worthy price tag, Wilson is more of a GPP option for me this week. The matchup is quite lovely, but, despite his performance last week against Tennessee, Wilson – and the Seahawks in general – tend to struggle early in the season and can play down to their opponent (look at what they did against San Francisco in week two). And, even if they do play better, this game shapes up to be a blowout, meaning we could have some bad game script. All that being said, the upside is undeniable…but so is the downside, making him a tournament option only for yours truly.

Dak Prescott ($7,600) vs. LA Rams

Prescott will probably be rather chalky this week, and for good reason. He ticks all the boxes: home favorite, high over/under (46.5) and team total (26.7), and he’s playing the Rams. I’m a tad concerned this could turn into a blowout, thus resulting in a Zeke game (we’ll get to him soon enough), but Prescott’s rushing ability should give us a safe enough floor. The Rams have no answer for however Dallas chooses to attack, and truthfully stacking Dak with Zeke in cash could be the move, as they both could go off.

Trevor Siemian ($7,500) vs. Oakland

Siemian predictably struggled on the road against an underrated Buffalo defense last week, but I absolutely love him to bounce back this week as he returns home to the friendly confines of Sports Authority Field. There he already has two 23-plus point outings, and should have no trouble against a Raider secondary that is currently 28th in Football Outsiders DVOA. He’s also sixth amongst quarterbacks in rushing attempts with 14 and already has a rushing touchdown to his credit, giving us a safer floor and even more upside.

*Note* Quarterbacks are crazy deep this week. Carson Palmer ($7,500) vs. San Francisco, Deshaun Watson ($7,300) vs. Tennessee, and Andy Dalton ($7,100) @ Cleveland are all in prime spots, though I might consider them more for tournaments.

 

Running Back

Devonta Freeman ($8,500) vs. Buffalo

On paper, Freeman is in a tough spot here against Buffalo’s 9th ranked run defense (per DVOA). But, Atlanta is getting so much Vegas love right now (eight-point favorite, 28.5 implied team total) that I just can’t ignore him here. The Falcons offense is a machine, especially at home, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where Freeman doesn’t get a couple scoring chances in this one. He might be my favorite tournament play, as he’s the same price as Ezekiel Elliot (who’ll I’ll mention next), who will likely be the chalk play at running back.

Ezekiel Elliot ($8,500) vs. LA Rams

Yes, Elliot will be chalky but it’s for good reason; he’s playing the Rams, who rank 19th in run defense DVOA, he’s at home, the Cowboys are six-point favorites and have a 27-point implied team total. Dallas should rag doll the Rams in this spot, meaning Zeke should see nothing but positive game script. There is merit to fading him in tournaments, but he’s hard to move away from in cash.

Dalvin Cook ($7,500) vs. Detroit 

I liked Cook for tournaments only last week, just because I wasn’t sure how the offense was going to function with Case Keenum under center. Well, this week I love him for all formats as the Vikings proved they are going to feed him – on the ground and through the air – regardless of who’s under center. I don’t expect Keenum to sling the rock again like he did last week, but Cook is clearly the focal point of the offense. And with 61 carries and 10 receptions on 13 targets, he’s getting a treated like a workhorse.

Chris Carson ($6,600) vs. Indianapolis

Like I stated when discussing Wilson, Seattle is such a big favorite here that I have some concerns this game might become a blowout. Well, that might mean negative game script for Wilson, but it means absolutely awesome script for Carson, who Seattle could use to cruise to victory in this one. No, Carson is not the full time starter, as CJ Prosise is clearly the passing down back, but he is the early down thumper and should be the go to back near the goal line. He has enormous touchdown upside here. The price let’s you take a gamble on him while allowing you to pay up elsewhere.

Christian McCaffrey ($6,400) @ New England

If you’re no stranger to BTBAM (this article, not the band…although you shouldn’t be a stranger to them, either), then you know I love me some Run CMC and have recommended him each week. Up until now, however, it’s strictly been as a tournament play only because we couldn’t bank on the workload. Well, that’s all gone out the window now and the former Stanford standout is in play across all formats. With a banged up receiving core, McCaffrey must now become the focal point of the passing game. Carolina should be playing from behind quite a bit against New England, which plays right into his strength.

Joe Mixon ($5,600) @ Cleveland

In Bill Lazor’s first game as offensive coordinator, he orchestrated a clear shift in how the Bengals are going to deploy their running backs. Mixon finally shaw the bulk of the work with 18 carries and three catches, while Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard combined for 10 carries. It would appear the team has finally realized what most fantasy owners have known for months. If this is truly going to be how the backfield looks from here on out, then Mixon should be in for a monster rest of the season. And it could very well start this week against Cleveland. I’m more inclined to get my exposure to him in tournaments, but the price makes him cash game worthy.

 

Wide Receiver

Odell Beckham Jr. ($9,100) @ Tampa Bay

In OBJ’s first game at full health (or close to it) after coming off that nasty ankle injury in the preseason, he picked up right where he left off, catching nine passes on 13 targets for two scores. He’s clearly back to being his elite self, and this week he gets a banged up secondary that just got roasted by the Vikings. The Giants can’t run the ball and are a road dog. All signs point to them having to lean on their star receiver once again.

Mike Evans ($7,900) vs. New York Giants

Evans predictably struggled last week against the Vikings, and on paper it doesn’t appear to be any easier this week against the G-Men. However, according to Football Outsiders DVOA the Giants haven’t been quite as good as one might assume, ranking 21st against the pass. I don’t think he’s vital in cash games, but Evans makes for an excellent tournament play as a tough perceived matchup and rough last outing will cause him to go way under owned.

Dez Bryant ($7,800) vs. LA Rams

You already know. Dallas is in a peach of a matchup here. They will be highly owned, but it’s going to be hard not to have a piece of this offense, in cash or tournaments.

Keenan Allen ($7,300) vs. Philadelphia

Like he does every year (at least when he’s healthy), Allen is being underrated. Although he only has one score (which surprisingly came against Denver), he quietly ranks fifth in targets with 29. Rivers is feeding his favorite target and he should continue to do so against a secondary that just got toasted by OBJ. The Chargers are a two point favorite at home this week, and have a very nice 25-point implied total. I like Allen for all formats, but I love him for cash as his volume should deliver a safe floor.

Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders ($6,900) vs. Oakland

Choosing between Thomas and Sanders usually proves to be a fool’s errand, so I decided to lump them both together (it’s my article – nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo). Fortunately, it may not matter which one you choose as both should have good days against a weak Oakland secondary. I think Denver goes off here, and a Siemian/Thomas/Sanders stack could be lethal.

Larry Fitzgerald ($6,700) vs. San Francisco

With DJ out and John Brown hurt (yet again), Fitzgerald has to be the focal point of the Arizona offense. And with 34 targets (third in the league), he’s doing just that. He should feast against San Francisco’s 30th ranked pass defense. There’s lots of ways to attack the receiver position this week, but Fitzgerald might just be a lock for cash games.

 

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski ($8,500) vs. Carolina

Not much explanation needed here. He’s Gronk and the Pats are a machine. The price is always going to be high, but that will keep his ownership down. He’s probably not necessary in cash, but he’s always in consideration for tournaments.

Zach Ertz ($6,900) @ LA Chargers

Ertz’s price continues to climb, but he continues to prove to be worth it. With the exception of touchdowns, he’s first among tight ends in receiving yards (245), catches (21) and targets (28). With that type of volume we can’t ignore him, regardless of the matchup.

Cameron Brate ($5,300) vs. New York Giants

Start tight ends against the Giants, that’s the rule. Jason Witten in week one. Eric Ebron in week two. Ertz in week three. All have scored against them. Brate is still playing an important role in the offense, despite the team selecting OJ Howard with the 10th overall pick in the draft. And while it’s probably just a matter of time before Howard gets his, Brate is still a favorite of Jameis Winston’s, especially in the red zone.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($4,800) vs. Jacksonville

Yes, it’s the Jets, and no, it’s not sexy, but with six targets coming right off of a two game suspension, Seferian-Jenkins was immediately plugged in as a vital piece of the Jets offense. Somebody has to catch passes in this offense, and with Jacksonville’s defensive strength coming from the outside, the middle of the field is vulnerable which means ASJ should be able to find room to operate. He’s an excellent cash game punt that will almost certainly deliver a floor of five or six points, allowing you to spend up at other positions.

 

Defense

Seattle ($5,400) vs. Indianapolis

Price and comparable production from cheaper defenses make Seattle avoidable in cash games, but spending up for them could be wise in tournaments. They are a 13-point favorite at home in a game with a low over/under of 41.5. They should have no trouble forcing Jacoby Brissett into multiple turnovers.

Jacksonville ($5,200) @ New York Jets

Despite what they did last week against Miami, the Jets are not a good offense (or even a functional one). Jacksonville boasts one of the most lethal and opportunistic defenses, ranking first in sacks (13), third in interceptions (4) and fourth in fumble recoveries (4). They’ll probably be rather chalky given the matchup, but they might have the highest floor and ceiling. This game also has the lowest over/under on the slate at 38.

Cincinnati ($4,600) @ Cleveland

The Bengals come in to this one as three-point road favorites in a game with just a 41.5 over/under. Though promising, the Browns still struggle on offense, and rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer leads the league with seven interceptions.

 

Kicker

Nick Folk ($4,600) vs. New York Giants

Kicker is tough this week so it might be wise to spend a few extra bucks for someone in a game with a better over/under, but Folk does tick the boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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