Week 4 Daily Fantasy Football: Matchups to Avoid and Exploit
Another week of daily fantasy football goodness is upon us, as Thursday Night Football and week four are just around the corner. Week three offered up a long list of eyebrow raiser – especially when it comes to basic logic.
One great example is a game between the Buccaneers and Rams, which had a projected low Total from Vegas and was supposed to be a defensive battle or a Buccaneers blowout win. Instead, the Rams blew up and won a 37-32 shootout.
That game (and matchup) made zero sense, yet that’s how it went down. It was the exact opposite for a clash between the Chargers and Colts – a game with a super high Total that barely topped the 40-point threshold.
Of course, these are perfect example of how DFS NFL just doesn’t always go the way you want it to. Other prime examples of “the hell?” moments this past week were the Steelers getting completely shut down, Trevor Siemian torching the Bengals and basically no one else besides Marvin Jones doing anything fantasy-wise out of Detroit’s passing game.
Luckily, the madness only went so far, as several of our calls worked out. We were on the Saints/Falcons game, Aaron Rodgers and Melvin Gordon as plays, given their matchups. We were also against A.J. Green (0 scores), Odell Beckham Jr. (0 scores) and Latavius Murray (38 total yards) and for the most part, you weren’t terribly upset if you faded those guys in daily fantasy football leagues. We also didn’t love Eagles tight ends against Pittsburgh, and despite Philly pouring on 34 points, their tight ends combined for just five catches and under 80 yards and no touchdowns.
It was a solid week overall, but week four in daily fantasy football is coming fast. Let’s look over the matchups to avoid and exploit this week:
Matchups to Avoid
Jets Passing Game vs. Seattle Seahawks
It’s hard for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York passing game to be much worse than they were last week, but a battle with the Seahawks may challenge that theory. Seattle’s defense has been the only constant force for the Seahawks this year, as they’ve been 3rd against quarterbacks and 1st against wide receivers through the first three weeks. This isn’t a spot to get cute or contrarian. This is a spot to fade Jets offensive players.
Derek Carr vs. Baltimore Ravens
Carr has been really solid for most of 2016, but he was spare against the first decent defense he faced last week and he could be in trouble against the Ravens in week four. Baltimore has picked off five passes in the last two weeks and overall has 9 sacks and no more than 20 points allowed in any game on the year.
Carr can go nuts in any setting, but this Baltimore defense is starting to see pretty legit. They’re also 5th against fantasy quarterbacks and 10th against wide receivers, so this just doesn’t feel like a matchup worth investing much stock in.
Lamar Miller vs Tennessee Titans
The one good thing about Lamar Miller is he’s gotten well over 20 touches in every single game this year. His talent and role are awesome and he always possesses upside, but this week brings a less than ideal matchup with the Titans.
Not only is this a divisional matchup that could be ugly, but the Titans also work running backs pretty good (5th on the year). For all of his efforts, Miller also hasn’t scored yet in 2016. Considering Tennessee has allowed just one rushing score on the year, it’s tough to assume he gets it this week.
Mike Evans vs. Denver Broncos
Denver’s defense is about as elite as they come and the numbers don’t lie, showing that the Broncos rank 3rd overall against the wide receiver position. After stifling T.Y. Hilton in week two and keeping A.J. Green from scoring in week three, it’s a safe bet they’re not going to get roasted by Mike Evans in week four.
Rob Gronkowski vs. Buffalo Bills
Anyone who tried Gronk out last week knows the pain of having a decoy tight end with a bad quarterback throwing him passes. Gronkowski still isn’t 100%, Jacoby Brissett may still be under center and the Bills tend to stifle tight ends.
To be more specific, Buffalo is the number two defense against tight ends in fantasy football, having given up just seven catches for 31 yards and no scores on the year. They haven’t faced a Gronkowski yet, but considering his health and surrounding talent, this isn’t a spot for a leap of faith.
Matchups to Exploit
Cam Newton vs. Atlanta Falcons
Newton knows the Falcons and has torched them in the past, but he’s especially attractive this week for two huge reasons: Carolina badly needs a win at 1-2 and the Falcons have yet to stop anyone through the air.
Atlanta has given up nearly 30 points on average on the year (per game) and has especially given up monster production to quarterbacks. We know how deadly Newton can be, but throw in the Falcons’ 31st rank against quarterbacks through the first three games, and he just may be the top quarterback play of week four.
Melvin Gordon vs. New Orleans Saints
We knew the Saints defense was bad already, but giving up nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns to the running back position in week three is inexcusable. Chances are they don’t fix their glaring issues ahead of week four, where Melvin Gordon will naturally be licking his chops.
Even when he’s not running well, Gordon offers value due to an enhanced role and an uncanny ability to suddenly find the end-zone after scoring zero times as a rookie. Gordon should be in for a score or two this week, while solid yardage doesn’t feel like a reach, either.
Mike Wallace vs. Oakland Raiders
If there is one thing Oakland can’t defend right now, it’s speed. Wallace still has it in spades and has been very active down the field for the Ravens so far in 2016. He’s sure to burn the Raiders at least once, likely giving himself a solid shot at a score and 75+ yards. That puts him in play against a promising matchup.
Redskins Passing Game vs. Cleveland Browns
If Kirk Cousins can’t really get things going on a high level this week, it’s possible he never will in 2016. Cousins has taken baby steps through the first three weeks, but the Browns are a cakewalk matchup on paper after allowing Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill to all put up solid numbers.
Cousins is plenty capable with a solid supporting cast, plus the Browns rank 31st against wide receivers. Cousins should be able to get the ball out early and with the speed he has down the field, should get more big plays than he’s seen for much of 2016 to this point. Naturally, that puts DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed in play for week four.
Zach Miller vs. Detroit Lions
After a quiet first two weeks, Chicago tight end Zach Miller exploded on Sunday Night Football with a ridiculous 8-78-2 line. He won’t score twice every single week, but week four offers a lot of upside with a date against a Lions defense that can’t stop tight ends.
Detroit mostly got burned by the position in week one, but failed to stop Delanie Walker in week two and gave up a score to the plodding Richard Rodgers last week. They’re ranking dead last against the position through three weeks and Brian Hoyer’s connection with Miller can’t help matters.
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