Week 4 Daily Fantasy Football: Picking the Optimal Lineup
It’s daily fantasy football lineup time again. We’re entering week four after watching our teams go down in flames for three weeks in a row.
The best way to find success going into a new week, is to reflect on where you went wrong the week prior. Truth be told, we really didn’t make many bad picks. It’s just that we didn’t use Steve Smith, A.J. Green, Devonta Freeman and Joseph Randle. Most of our picks worked out just fine, but not having those ridiculous plays held both of our teams back considerably.
Heading into week four we’re looking at two different teams to try to win big again, one that is balanced with no real risks and one that takes a few chances in order to pay up for some elite players. Let’s get to it:
Note: We’re sticking with DraftKings’ pricing again this week.
Safe and Balanced
QB: Aaron Rodgers – Packers ($7.9k)
He’s the best quarterback in the league and this week he draws a Niners defense that has gotten ripped apart the past two weeks. It doesn’t get much safer than this.
RB: Karlos Williams – Bills ($3.4k)
Williams has a touchdown in every game this year and he’s done that despite not being Buffalo’s starter. Now he’s the guy with LeSean McCoy out with a hammy issue. The value given his role and talent is too much to pass up.
RB: Melvin Gordon – Chargers ($4.9k)
Gordon was a turd last week when I actually liked him, but this week using him is a no-brainer. He’s at home against one of the worst run defenses in the entire league (Browns) and he’s so due for his first NFL score its not even funny. This is a Cleveland defense that has allowed at least one rushing score in every single game. Gordon is going to pay off.
WR: Amari Cooper – Raiders ($6.3k)
Cooper was a little weak in his pro debut but he’s been awesome sauce ever since and I don’t see it stopping in week four when he faces a weak Bears defense. A touchdown and 75-80 yards are in order.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals ($6.5k)
Part of me wants to fade Fitzgerald entirely but five touchdowns in the past two weeks is hard to ignore, while he’s had at least six catches every week this year. He clearly is the man that makes this hot Cardinals offense go, while a home date with a Rams defense he’s routinely dominated in his career just makes sense.
WR: James Jones – Packers ($5.3k)
We’re using A-Rod, so we need a Packers receiver somewhere, right? Randall Cobb is the preferred choice but Jones has scored in every game this year, so he’ll do.
TE: Greg Olsen – Panthers ($5.4k)
Olsen is all Cam Newton HAS. He didn’t see that in week one for some reason, but with 25 targets and two touchdowns through the past two weeks to Olsen, it’s clear he does now. Olsen may not score two touchdowns again, but he’s always a red-zone threat and he’s a lock for 8-10 targets. That should be good for a safe and steady 6 catches and 60 yards. That puts his floor at 12 points, which I’d be fine with.
Flex: T.Y. Hilton – Colts ($6.7k)
Hilton hasn’t been amazing this year and is still searching for his first touchdown of 2015, but he also hasn’t been horrible. I think he finally scores this week, as Indy hosts a still bad Jaguars crew.
DEF: Denver Broncos ($3.3k)
The Arizona Cardinals or Seattle Seahawks might carry the defensive upside, but no one has been more consistent than Denver. They’re delivered in three straight weeks and it’s tough to imagine then falling flat at home against a fairly one-dimensional Vikings squad.
Shoot For the Moon
QB: Colin Kaepernick – 49ers ($5.5k)
Kap has been dreadful in two of three weeks but now he’s at home against a Packers defense he’s torched for like five games in a row. That, and who leads the league in rushing yardage allowed to quarterbacks? You guessed it, the Packers.
RB: Alfred Blue – Texans ($3.9k)
If Arian Foster returns this week, pivot to Thomas Rawls. But if not, Blue is coming off a monster 139 yard and 1-TD day and now gets the Falcons, who give up more production to fantasy running backs than any other team.
RB: Karlos Williams – Bills ($3.4k)
He was so nice I used him twice. Sometimes a value is too good to not use and this week Karlos Williams is that value. LeSean McCoy is out so this explosive rookie is a lock for a major role at home against a weak Giants defense. I already exhausted why I’m using him in the first lineup, but the point is you need to use him in daily fantasy football leagues.
WR: Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants ($9.1k)
ODB rarely bottoms out and after a sluggish week one he’s been awesome the past two weeks. I’m sure Buffalo stifles the Giants early in week four, but they always eventually give up monster production in the passing game. ODB will get his.
WR: Brandin Cooks – Saints ($6.1k)
Cooks finally got going a little bit last week (7 catches, 70+ yards) and had at least 10 fantasy points for the second week in a row. This week he hopefully has Drew Brees back, is at home and gets a Cowboys defense that isn’t very good against the pass. That’s a lot working in his favor.
WR: Julio Jones – Falcons ($9.3k)
He’s Julio Jones, bruh. Houston’s defense can be good and all but he’s at home and has been an absolute machine through three weeks.
TE: Richard Rodgers – Packers ($2.5k)
We’re saving with serious value at running back but we need to take one more dumpster dive. I’d prefer to do that at tight end, where Rodgers is at least a starter with red-zone potential.
Flex: A.J. Green – Bengals ($7.6k)
I prefer a high level WR in the Flex if we can pull it off and we can pull off Green here, which is all kind of fun. He’s amazing as we know, while he’s also fresh off of a 227 yard and 2-TD day. This week he gets the Chiefs, who enter as the league’s worst defense against wide receivers and just got lit up for 3 scores by Randall Cobb (5 overall). It’s gonna get ugly in Cincy.
DEF: Oakland Raiders ($2.6k)
Oh, one more dive into the abyss. I might feel less confident in this if Jay Cutler suits up, but if Jimmy Clausen starts for the second week in a row there is zero reason not to try the Raiders out at least once.
The Contrarian Look
QB: Derek Carr – Raiders ($5.3k)
Carr isn’t a contrarian pick. He’s pretty much the opposite, as a ton of people view him as one of the top sleepers of the week. However, he’s a great value and he helps us get our contrarian squad off on the right foot. You don’t ever want to force a contrarian play that makes absolutely no sense, but you do want to take the necessary steps to open the door to a contrarian-heavy roster that could work.
Dictionary stop: a contrarian play is one that goes against the grain. You zig where others zag, using a player that is unlikely to be highly owned. This entire roster won’t be of the contrarian variety, but most of the options will be.
RB: Carlos Hyde – 49ers ($5.1k)
The first step of our week 4 contrarian roster is fading Karlos Williams. It goes against all logic, but as long as we get two running backs to hit/exceed value, it shouldn’t matter. In his place is the ultimate contrarian back this week, as few will like Hyde with his Niners being serious underdogs to the Packers. He’s at home, though, where he had his best game of the year and he also gets a beatable Packers run defense.
RB: Matt Forte – Bears ($7.1k)
Forte is dancing a fine line here when it comes to the contrarian game, as he’s obviously a freak and has a great matchup, but people are going to want to spend up for guys who are a tad more reliable. They’re also spending one RB spot on Karlos Williams. There is mild contrarian appeal here, but really, Forte is just a great play.
WR: Keenan Allen – Chargers ($7k)
I also don’t trust Keenan Allen, just like you. He was awesome week one, awful week two, and awesome again last week. He probably is bad again this week with Joe Haden all over him. Maybe, but he certainly could be great and everyone will be thinking the former. If you use him and he crushes Haden like Amari Cooper did last week, you’re golden.
WR: Marvin Jones – Bengals ($3.8k)
Jones is super cheap and not that many people are going to take the dive when A.J. Green is obviously so much better and more reliable. He’s a major red-zone factor though and he’s facing that awful Chiefs defense that has let receivers score NINE TIMES in three weeks.
WR: Pierre Garcon – Redskins ($5.3k)
Four reasons why Garcon is a great contrarian play: He’s had 11+ fantasy points every week, he faces a shaky Eagles pass defense, he’s a good value and no one will be using him. Booyah – contrarian play.
TE: Jimmy Graham – Seahawks ($6k)
Graham isn’t a contrarian play at all, but its risky business to go the contrarian route at tight end. Here, just play it safe in most lineups and go with Graham.
Flex: Calvin Johnson – Lions ($7.5k)
Megatron is probably one of the better contrarian plays of the week, because he’s still really good and has a huge role, yet no one is going to use him on the road against Richard Sherman. The reality is Calvin Johnson can still win any matchup and even if the Lions get killed, he can still produce at a high level potentially.
DEF: Philadelphia Eagles ($2.8k)
Kirk Cousins. That is all.
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