Thursday, 01 October 2015 00:00

Episode 93: Daily Fantasy Week 4

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On Friday's edition of the Daily Fantasy podcast for Week 4, we help optimize your lineup for cash and tournament contests like always. We also have co-host Scott Sergent do an embarrassing thing since he lost the Ryan Fitzpatrick/Nick Foles bet. That, plus bad fantasy advice.

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Stud option (cash games)

Quarterback — Aaron Rodgers @ San Francisco 

Current value: $7,900

Why he's a good cash option: Rodgers is the hottest quarterback in the league right now and he's making it look easy. He's the highest value quarterback on Draftkings this week and for good reason — the Packers are favored by more than 6 points against a San Francisco team that got blown out the week before against Arizona. There's an emotional angle to this game as Rodgers was passed up by his hometown team in the 2006 NFL Draft for No.1 overall pick Alex Smith, not that it's expected to play a role, but it is something to think about. 

On the 49ers side, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is coming off the worst performance by any signal caller this season. The team lacks playmakers on both sides of the ball and their offensive line has given up eight sacks through three games. On defense, the 49ers are giving up 284 pass yards per game on average, which ranks 27th in the NFL. This is a slam dunk option for Week 4. Use Rodgers in a 50/50 and you should be golden.

Bargain option (cash game)

Running back — Karlos Williams vs. New York Giants

Current value: $3,400

Why he's a good cash play: Williams will be the starter this week since LeSean McCoy is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Vegas currently has Buffalo favored by 6.5 points against a Giants team that's giving up an average of 18 points per game to running backs. Williams combined for 55 snaps last week with McCoy, which lends itself for to 34 additional snaps to be had with McCoy out.

Quick math for a projection

The Bills run the ball 32.3 times per game on average, which ranks No. 4 overall in the NFL. Williams should see close to 20 carries in this game. This is his big opportunity, McCoy saw 42 and 49 snaps in Weeks 1 and 2 and it's likely Williams sees a similar amount. Williams has also been utilized inside the red zone so goal line carries should be available to him as well. It's very likely he scores more than 4X his cash value.

McCoy, although he's been banged up, carried the ball 43 times over the first three weeks, with his most coming in Week 1 when he carried it 17 times. The Bills are one of the best teams against the run in the NFL, so their defense will mitigate the amount of carries Williams will need if they keep to their average. You could be looking at 27.3 rushing attempts in this one for Buffalo. Since McCoy accounted for roughly 44% of the total carries, expect Williams to replace those attempts and come close to about 12 attempts for this game. Now, it'll be more likely in the 12-16 carry range but that's his ballpark. Now, the Giants give up about 3.4 yards per attempt for RBs and McCoy averaged about 3.4 yards per attempt. So, if you take his total projected carries and factor in his yards per carry average and the yards allowed by the defense he's facing, you get about 40.8 yards. Now, he'll also have touchdown upside so his projection should be about 7 points with a ceiling around 10-12 and a floor at around 3-4. He's nearly guaranteed to give you some level of production.

Stud option (cash game)

Wide receiver — Randall Cobb @ San Francisco 49ers

Current value: $7,400

Why we think he's a good cash option: Cobb has become Rodgers' go-to man in the red zone. While James Jones has been equally reliable, Cobb has been the most targeted wideout with 28 through 3 weeks and has caught at least five passes in the first three games of the season. There isn't any cornerback on San Francisco likely to slow Cobb's progress and we like Cobb for the same reasons as Rodgers in Week 4. It's a boring pick, but consistency is what we aim for in cash games. We'd even go with James Jones along with Cobb in this optimal lineup as well. Jones is valued at $5,300.

Stud option (cash game)

Wide receiver — Keenan Allen vs. Cleveland Browns

Current value: $7,000

Why we think he's a good cash option: Gets home-field, his team is favored against Cleveland by over 6 points, his 18 targets last week were a team high. Allen is the most potent wide receiver on this team, has a favorable matchup and plays with a good quarterback in Philip Rivers. You should try and get him in your lineup at all costs this week.

Stud option (cash game)

Jordan Matthews @ Washington Redskins

Current value: $6,600

Why he's a good cash option: The Redskins are banged up in the secondary with De'Angelo Hall out and Chris Culliver questionable after injuring his knee in practice on Wednesday. With at least six catches in all three games so far, Matthews continues to produce in an offense that has underperformed in 2015. This is a big game since one team will be dealt a second division loss and fall to 1-3 on the season. Expect Matthews to turn in another steady performance and catch anywhere from 6-12 passes for close to 100 yards. He's the rock of the receiving core. 

Bargain option (cash game)

Lance Dunbar @ New Orleans Saints

Current value: $3,600

Why we think he's a good cash option: Dunbar drew a team-high 10 targets last week against Atlanta in what became a shootout affair that resulted in 100 receiving yards for the four-year running back. In daily leagues that award .5 points per reception, Dunbar is great value with 21 catches over his first three games. Quarterback Brandon Weeden will continue to look his way with Dez Bryant out and there's a possibility this game could also turn into a shootout with Drew Brees back. We still won't completely count on it, since New Orleans isn't the high-octane offense they used to be, but there's still plenty of upside to this matchup given Dunbar's current situation. 

Bargain option (cash game)

Tight end — Charles Clay vs. New York Giants

Current value: $3,300

Why he's a good cash option: Targets, targets, targets and a good matchup. Clay ranks second on his team with 16 through 3 weeks, trailing only Percy Harvin. Keep an eye on Sammy Watkins injury status. If he can't go, we could see Clay record up to 10 targets. Also, the Giants surrender 13.3 fantasy points to tight ends on average, good for fourth worst in the league. The Bills are expected to beat the Giants at home and the over/under sits at 45. We'd like this to be more of a high-scoring affair to benefit Clay but there's not a lot of high over/unders this week unfortunately. So go with the team at home that has a reliable tight end and is favored by over 6 points to eliminate risk.

Bargain option (tournament)

Flex — Phillip Dorsett vs. Jacksonville

Current value: $3,300

Why he's a good tournament option: Dorsett brings potential Donte Moncrief value without the Moncrief price. The Colts are playing at home (No.2/3 wide receivers fare better at home more often than not). Indianapolis is currently favored by more than 9 points and the over/under is at 46. So we're looking at three potential touchdown opportunities. The one problem with Dorsett is he hasn't been getting enough snaps. Fellow wideout Andre Johnson still dwarfs him in that category 41:15. But despite more snaps, Dorsett was the third most-targeted wide receiver on the team last week and Johnson saw just one target, his lowest of the season. It's looking more and more like Johnson is past his prime and Dorsett will be given more opportunity to emerge. Now, you probably don't want to hear about potential since we're talking about cash lineups here and you want a sure thing, but this is a good matchup with a potential high value receiver. Ok, you want more of a sure thing? Lets find one.

Flex — Leonard Hankerson vs. Houston

Current value: $3,700

Why he's a good cash option: Hankerson has slowly been pushing former star Roddy White out of the No. 2 wideout role in Atlanta and has several things in his favor for Week 4. He drew three red-zone targets over the last two weeks, plays at home in a game where his team is favored and should get a good game script as Houston's offense struggles to sustain drives. Whether or not Arian Foster plays could swing this game more in Houston's favor, but we expect Atlanta to dominate the time of possession category in this game, which should lead to more opportunities for Hankerson.

Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis

Current value: $3,400

Why they're a good cash option: The Cardinals have home-field advantage, are favored by 6 points and get dealt a Rams team still finding their identity after easing in rookie running back Todd Gurley last week. Gurley ended up with just 9 yards on 6 carries behind a Rams struggling offensive line, and the team remains inconsistent after scoring just 16 points in their last three games. Quarterback Nick Foles is prone to holding the ball for too long which can result in sacks and errant throws. Cardinals are coming off a 4-interception game against Colin Kaepernick and their offense continues to hum behind veteran Carson Palmer. This should be a quality cash start.

Bad fantasy advice

Hurricane approaching Washington D.C. will force so much wind that Sam Bradford will actually accidentally throw a pass over 20 yards even though he meant to throw to a quick drag route over the middle. He will end up having the best fantasy performance of the season because of mother nature.

View original image here.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 04:29
George Banko

George Banko started talking about fantasy football shortly after graduating college. He started as an intern at FFChamps.com before working as a staff writer for Fantasy Knuckleheads. He currently contributes to the Fantasy Hot Read podcast, which is available on itunes. He also educated himself on player evaluation and is a graduate of The Scouting Academy in 2015, which is an online course run by former NFL Scout Dan Hatman. He started Fantasy Football Helpers as a blog in 2011 and converted it to a full-scale website in 2014. Read more.

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We believe Fantasy Football success comes down to two things — opportunity and talent. You will have Fantasy Football mastered once you understand how good a player is and how good of an opportunity he has to gain yards and score touchdowns. The thing is, you'll never master Fantasy Football. But you can get pretty darn good at it when you have even a slightly better understanding of opportunity and talent than the average Joe. That's what Fantasy Football Helpers is dedicated to doing.

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