Week 4 Daily Fantasy Football Preview: Sleepers, Busts and More
Another week of daily fantasy football action has come and gone, making you either one week richer or one week poorer. As we always say, which studs and sleepers you roll with will define your week, and the best way to figure out who to use is to first consider all of your options and then start picking which players will be left out of your DFS lineups.
It’s never an easy process, but injuries, bad matchups and bad pricing can often make the picture clear up in a hurry. That was the case at times in week three, as we hit big with sleepers like Jimmy Graham, the Ravens defense, Drew Brees and Melvin Gordon, while wisely avoiding A.J. Green, Jeremy Langford and Gary Barnidge.
There is more work to be done with week four of the daily fantasy football season upon us. Join us as we take a look at our favorite sleepers, top chalk, top contrarian plays and the big names we plan on avoiding:
Week 4 DFS Sleepers
- Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys ($5.8k)
- Jordan Howard, RB, Bears ($3.7k)
- Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins ($4.2k)
- Coby Fleener, TE, Saints ($3.2k)
- Ravens Defense ($2.4k)
Prescott really feels like he’s inching towards a blow up game. Not having Dez Bryant on hand (hairline fracture) could be an issue, but then again, perhaps it spreads things out and allows Prescott to really operate on another level. That’ll be the hope at this cheap price, when he takes on a bad Niners defense in week four.
Howard is also looking like a fine week 4 daily fantasy football sleeper, seeing as regular Bears starting running back Jeremy Langford is on the shelf for a month due to a high ankle sprain.
In the first 2 weeks, Jeremy Langford saw 77.4% of the Bears RB carries. With Langford out, Carey doubtful, Jordan Howard should eat.
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) September 30, 2016
Howard shows good patience and has a nice burst, but some may be off of him because he’s a rookie, unproven and on a bad team. The talent, role and price make him a fine sleeper play, though.
Crowder has quietly been one of the more reliable DFS receivers in 2016, having seen at least 7 targets and registered at least 11 fantasy points in every single game this year. In week four he should be as active as ever against the Browns, who can’t cover anyone – let alone shifty slot receivers.
Fleener did go nuts last week, but we’re running low on true tight end sleepers and he remains super cheap at DraftKings. He might not crush like he did a week ago, but he seems like a safe play with upside against a so-so Chargers defense in a must-win game.
Baltimore’s defense could very well have their hands full against Derek Carr and the Raiders, but there’s a lot to love about them beyond their amazingly cheap price tag. For one, they’ve been great, are at home and get pass rusher Elvis Dumervil back. Sure, it could go all of the wrong, but at this low price, the risk is minimal.
- Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins ($6.5k)
- Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers ($7.5k)
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Titans ($8.4k)
- Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers ($6k)
- Broncos Defense ($3.7k)
This week’s chalk plays are easy calls and make tons of sense. Cam Newton should be highly owned, but coming off of two solid outings, Kirk Cousins getting a date with a bad Browns defense at home has to take the cake. Unless he’s regressed beyond repair, he should go nuts in week four.
I’m not totally convinced paying up for Le’Veon Bell is exactly “smart” this week, seeing as it’ll be his first game back from suspension, he ended last year with a knee injury and the Chiefs are pretty strong defensively.
Mike Tomlin has no concerns about Le'Veon Bell's conditioning after a three-game suspension https://t.co/XLgd0MHgAJ
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 27, 2016
That being said, he’s a stud talent, playing at home and Mike Tomlin says he’ll see “a lot” of playing time. You have to think half of your GPP won’t want to risk missing out on him wrecking the DFS community.
Nuk should be very playable this week, as he and the entire Texans offense will badly want to make up for laying a rotten egg last week. Hopkins is probably too good to be awful two weeks in a row, but a decent date with the Titans doesn’t hurt. He’s also fairly priced as one of three truly elite WRs on the docket.
Olsen is as safe as it gets, as he’s put up 12+ fantasy points every week and in week four gets the hated Falcons. After Carolina stunk up the joint last week, there’s just no believing they go into Atlanta and crater again. That might not necessarily stop them from dropping to 1-3, but their offense should most certainly get back on track. Expect Olsen to be a big reason why.
Denver’s defense feels like the only safe defensive unit this week, in a week where they kind of isn’t one. The Broncos are down a pass rusher, yet have at least 3 sacks in every game this year. They also haven’t let anyone pass the 20-point threshold and their worst DFS outing came in week one (6 pts). They’ll be rock solid this week against a turnover-happy Jameis Winston.
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks ($6.6k)
- Todd Gurley, RB, Rams ($6.7k)
- Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets ($7k)
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots ($6.5k)
- Bills Defense ($2.6k)
Wilson has bad ailments going into week four, as he’s dealing with a sprained ankle and sprained knee. He is so far from 100% it’s not even funny, plus the guy hasn’t topped 14 fantasy points in a game yet this year. Of course, that’s precisely why you might want to take a stab at him at a discount price against a struggling Jets pass defense.
Gurley finally showed signs of life in week three, which is why we can give him a go on the road against a tough Arizona defense.
Some guys just have more talent than anyone else like Todd Gurley pic.twitter.com/vR317FjIXf
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 27, 2016
The Cardinals will badly want to avoid a 1-3 start, but they just got shredded by LeSean McCoy and there is a strong argument that Gurley could see his best DFS outing of the year here.
Marshall can’t really be trusted, but considering he’s banged up, facing Richard Sherman and hasn’t made any noise in 2016, you can safely assume people will be off of him. Eric Decker is out this week, too, so he’ll at least be targeted like crazy. That doesn’t mean he’ll flourish, but if he does and you use him, you might have a huge advantage in week four.
The Gronk was a serious decoy in week three and it left a lot of us risk-takers bummed out on a high level. He should be healthier this week, though, and suddenly looks way too cheap if he’s a full go.
On the other side, what if Gronk is still a decoy and the Pats’ quarterback situation finally comes back to bite them? All of that could be enough reason to take a shot on the Bills, who cost very little and looked excellent in week three.
Players to Avoid
- Derek Carr, QB, Raiders ($6.7k)
- Lamar Miller, RB, Texans ($7k)
- Julio Jones, WR, Falcons ($9.2k)
- Delanie Walker, TE, Titans ($5k)
- Saints Defense ($2k)
Derek Carr is a friendly DFS face most weeks, but matchup with a solid Ravens defense in Baltimore could spell trouble. Carr can go nuts against any matchup, but he was pretty spare last week (12 fantasy points) and this just doesn’t feel like the best spot to use him.
Miller could go nuts with ease here, but Tennessee has been awesome against running backs all year and in general has been fairly tough defensively. Miller has touched the ball well over 20 times every week, so he’ll probably get his touches and yardage, but the matchup and the fact that he’s yet to score as a Texan has us steering clear.
Julio Jones is the most expensive wide receiver not named Antonio Brown this week, but there is reason to refrain from digging into your pockets to pay up for him. He hasn’t been 100% healthy in 2016, for one, plus he was a decoy in week three and now gets a Panthers defense that has performed well against the pass. He could easily crush, but it’s a steep price to pay for a guy with several things working against him.
Walker is nicked up and looks like a shaky play this week after sitting out of week three. You can toss Antonio Gates in here, too, as two very talented tight ends who are going to be very tough to trust even if they do play.
New Orleans has been brutally bad on defense this year, getting absolutely torched twice at home. This week they head to San Diego, where the Chargers have a solid runner in Melvin Gordon and a passer in Philip Rivers who can slay any defensive dragon. The Saints are the minimum and actually did perform well in their only road game, but they’re not to be trusted.
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