Daily Fantasy Football Bargains, Best Buys and Busts: Week 4
The NFL season is well underway, which means the daily fantasy season soldiers on. Even if your season-long fantasy teams are 0-3 and you're playing the guy with Larry Donnell this week, you can still make some money and earn back some pride playing one-week games on various DFS sites.
So let's take a look at some players to target - and avoid - in daily fantasy football this weekend.
These players will be broken up into three categories. The first - Great Values - are pretty obvious. They're undervalued players who will allow you to spend more elsewhere. The next is Worth the Cost, which includes players who are more than worth a large chunk of your budget. The final category is Not Worth It, which includes high-cost players who aren't worth their price tag, and shouldn't be in most of your lineups this week.
Keep in mind that these players may or may not be used in our weekly optimal lineups. To see who the algorithms are selecting on the week, check out our optimal lineup section, and don't forget to use our custom optimal lineup tool.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers - With news that Ladarius Green has been limited by a hamstring injury and may not play this Sunday, Antonio Gates' excellent matchup against the Jaguars (who are the worst defense in the league, according to our Defensive Net Expected Points) got even better.
Jacksonville has given up a big day to every tight end it has faced this year, including allowing solid performances from both Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener last week. So whether or not Green gets to start against the Jags, you want Gates in your lineup, especially on DraftKings, where he's only $4,400.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings - Bridgewater, the highly touted rookie, will get his first start this week, and it couldn't come against a better opponent. The Vikings host the Falcons, who were the worst passing defense a year ago and struggle to get any pass rush from their front-seven.
The Falcons rank 11th in our pass defense rankings this year, but that's due to a blowout loss to the Bengals and a blowout win against the Bucs. This game should be more competitive, and Teddy will have all the time and targets he needs to return value on any DFS site.
Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans - There are a lot of people who will tell you that Bishop Sankey is on the verge of overtaking Shonn Greene and earning the top spot on the Titans running back depth chart. And while that may be true, Greene is still a threat to score touchdowns, as he's the trusted red zone back.
Of the eight carries given to tailbacks in the red zone this year for the Titans, seven have gone to Greene. That includes Week 3 against the Bengals, when Sankey performed well, yet Greene still saw two touches inside the red zone, including a score. He's still dirt cheap in daily fantasy, and has a matchup with the third-worst defense in our data (the Colts).
Worth the Cost
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints - You really shouldn't need an explanation for this one, but I'll provide one anyway. Jimmy Graham is playing the Cowboys, who have been torched by Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook (who dropped an easy touchdown) so far this year.
The Saints are on the verge of regressing back to the mean and resuming their dominance on offense, and a game against Dallas could be the perfect launching pad. You may not win any cash games or tournaments this week if you're not rolling with Graham. He could have that big of a day.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the worst pass defense of any team in the NFL so far, and have looked absolutely lost in the secondary. Their tackling has been horrible, and they can't rush the passer, either, so there's really not much going for Lovie Smith's team.
This week, they face the uber-consistent Antonio Brown, who has a ridiculous streak of 19 games with at least five catches. Look for that to continue this weekend, with a likely score as well.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears - Matt Forte and the Bears face the Green Bay Packers this weekend, who allowed a nice day on the ground to Marshawn Lynch, and a solid dual-threat day to Reggie Bush last week. Their efforts in stopping the run have earned the Packers the worst Defensive Rushing NEP so far this year.
The Bears never hesitate to get Forte involved, so he's a very safe option at the running back spot in what should be a high-scoring game. (Yes, we said this last week about Lions/Packers. Even Vegas was blindsided by that one. I don't think we'll see an encore.)
Not Worth It
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts - The Tennessee Titans are on the schedule for Andrew Luck and the Colts this weekend, which means the Stanford product will be going up against the sixth-best pass defense in our metrics.
Add in the heavy favorites tag slapped on the Colts, and this is a situation where Luck may not need to pass often, and when he does, he's playing into the strength of the opposing defense. Look for Pep Hamilton to call a boring, conservative game as Indy strolls to a win, but forsakes Luck's fantasy owners along the way.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans - Even if he plays, Arian Foster is a risky option this weekend, as he faces a Buffalo defense that ranks seventh in run defense in our metrics.
I would even avoid his backups, as guys like Khiry Robinson, Donald Brown and the aforementioned Shonn Greene are all cheap and have better matchups this week. The Texans do run a ton, but this week that may be to their detriment, and not provide much fantasy relevance.
Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs - The Patriots have the best overall defense so far this year, according to our metrics, which means playing any Kansas City offensive player is nothing short of a massive gamble. That especially applies to the running backs.
If Jamaal Charles is active, he'll likely still split the work with Knile Davis, and they'll both be running into a brick wall defense with a shaky offensive line. Should Charles sit out (which we probably won't know until Monday), Davis is still a risky play, as his cost has skyrocketed across the industry. It's best to just avoid this backfield altogether.