Welcome to Week 4, the one-quarter mark of the NFL season.
In Week 2, we had tremendous success at the wide receiver position with last week being a different story — but still a good week on the whole. I started two variations of last week’s lineups in DFS contests. Out of 100 contestants, I finished 29th and 33rd. This was good enough for a 180% return on investment (ROI). I think some context is important with the picks, so you can understand how we measure the success of the picks for each article.
Our top three quarterbacks were incredible last week, averaging around 26 points each. Fitzpatrick was magic yet again, finishing with 28. We had sub-par performances from our receivers, averaging six points for each. Kelce finished ahead of Kittle, but Kittle’s touchdown called back for a questionable holding call ruined what would’ve been a massive week. Regardless, Kittle and Kelce averaged 14 points and paid off well for their position value. In, the last two weeks now, we’ve had one defense turn up and one fall completely flat. The week gave us a stellar outing from the Bears for 13 points and a despicable letdown, at home, from the Vikings.
The 2018 NFL season has been rough waters for many experts out there. We’ve been fortunate thus far to weather the storm and stay ahead. If you’re keeping up with us, you need not worry. I’ll do my absolute best to stay clear of the rest of the fleet and lead you all to DFS treasures!
Also, I realize I’m a week late on “Talk like a Pirate day,” but I felt the storm unsettling the powers that be in the NFC warranted a nautical theme.
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A look ahead to Week 4
Last week was chaos. I was elated to see the high scoring continue throughout the league. We might not be as fortunate this week, but I’ve identified a few games I believe should produce more fantasy studs.
This week, there’s a lot of value from quarterbacks in the second and third tier. The running back matchups look pretty solid for value as well. This week, I will be going less top-heavy and shifting more towards the second tier across the board. The focus will be on higher-end receivers to carry the team. As always, the prices from FanDuel and DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
It’s time to raise the anchor as we set sail into week 4. Pop a few nausea pills and hold on for another unsettling week in the NFL.
|Colin's Picks For Week 4|
|Matt Ryan (DK-$6,100/FD-$8,100)||Saquan Barkley (DK-$8,100/FD-$8,000)||Odell Beckham Jr. (DK-$8,700/FD-$8,600)||Rob Gronkowski (DK-$7,000/FD-$8,100)||Chargers D (DK-$3,900/FD-$4,400)|
|Eli Manning (DK-$5,600/FD-$7,100)||Giovanni Bernard (DK-$6,300/FD-$6,400)||Keenan Allen (DK-$8,300/FD-$8,100)||David Njoku (DK-$3,200/FD-$5,200)||Seattle (DK-$3,200/FD-$4,400)|
|Andy Dalton (DK-$5,400/FD-$7,400)||Kerryon Johnson (DK-$4,400/FD-$5,700)||Tyler Boyd (DK-$4,600/FD-$5,800)||Tyler Eifert (DK-$3,400/FD-$5,500)||Tampa Bay (DK-$2,400/FD-$3,500)|
Matt Ryan (DK-$6,100/FD-$8,100)
The more I think about Matt Ryan’s past two performances, the more I realize it’s likely a combination of three factors. For one, the absence of Devonta Freeman seems to be more beneficial to Ryan and his receivers, rather than Tevin Coleman. The second factor is the matchups. The Saints allowed Ryan to carve them up for 374 yards and five touchdowns. The third factor is their defense. It’s so incredibly bad, the past two games have required Ryan and the Falcons to push the ball down the field to ensure they can stay ahead in these games.
With Ryan and the Dirty Birds hosting the surprisingly potent Bengals — who are also missing their starting running back — this game is shaping up to be an exciting one. The Bengals are 26th in passing defense against quarterbacks, so scoop up Ryan and ride this wave while you still can.
Eli Manning (DK-$5,600/FD-$7,100)
Despite all the memes about Eli Manning being a dead body at this point in his career, the Saints are in town, so fire up Weekend at Bernie’s on VHS and get themed for this one. Eli’s line hasn’t been very good to this point in the season, but the Saints aren’t getting to the quarterback either, so something has to give. Despite all the sacks last week, Eli is in fact, still alive and still dangerous. He put up 300 yards and a couple touchdowns last week, so I expect nothing less in this one. At $7,100 on FanDuel, Eli is a great value pick this week.
Andy Dalton (DK-$5,400/FD-$7,400)
Dalton has been off to a red-hot start this season. He certainly won’t be cooling down in Week 4 with the Falcons hosting this probable shootout. Disregard the four interceptions last week — if you can — and consider how the Falcons were just humiliated on defense the past week. Next, consider the lack of depth the Falcons have on defense. They’re one injury away from starting a few grocery clerks at multiple positions. I don’t care who your quarterback is, that’s the kind of matchup coaches dream about. Expect the Bengals to go straight at the Falcons in this one. Dalton is a great value this week.
Saquan Barkley (DK-$8,100/FD-$8,000)
The Saints were really bad at stopping the passing attack last week, and every other week thus far. Luckily for them, another team of talented offensive players is in town! Despite the fact running backs have not had big games against the Saints this year, we must consider Saquan Barkley as more than a typical running back. Like Kamara and McCaffrey, Barkley has elite athleticism and catches the ball as polished as most NFL receivers. In this matchup against an offensive juggernaut, the Giants will be looking to keep pace. Expect Barkley to get a lot of work and have a decent shot at multiple touchdowns this week.
Giovanni Bernard (DK-$6,300/FD-$6,400)
The Falcons just allowed 15 receptions to Alvin Kamara and 14 to Christian McCaffrey the week prior. Now, Gio Bernard steps in to assume a larger role in the absence of Joe Mixon. If Bernard leaves this game with less than eight receptions, I’ll be confused. That being said, the game pace in this one should be pretty fast. The Bengals will be attacking the hobbled secondary of the Falcons and looking to exploit the inexperienced backups early and often. Even if the Bengals get out to a decent lead in this one, I still expect Bernard to shoulder much of the load, so Bernard has all the pedigree of a star in this matchup.
Kerryon Johnson (DK-$4,400/FD-$5,700)
Kerryon has a great name for those who like to make easy fantasy team name puns. He’s also among the best running backs in several key categories. This week might be the last time all season you’ll be able to snag Kerryon for cheap, because the game script for Kerryon should follow closely to last week’s positive game script. In this matchup, Dallas will be attempting to control the line and rush the ball down Detroit’s throat because, well, Ezekiel Elliot is a great guy to have to do this.
With the lack of outside weapons and the prospect of challenging the Lions talented corners, the Cowboys game plan seems obvious. The Lions should be afforded many opportunities to find a useful rhythm on offense, as the game tempo is likely to remain calm. Last week, in a positive game script, Johnson carried the ball 16 times for 101 yards. After Blount’s late fumble, more doubt was cast on Blount’s split role going forward. Though Johnson has yet to crack the end zone, his opportunities are increasing each week, and he has a great chance this week to get a lot of carries in a game that should remain close throughout.
Odell Beckham Jr. (DK-$8,700/FD-$8,600)
Beckham has yet to find the end zone in 2018, which seems a little crazy at this point. Alas, the Saints have arrived to make everything better. This might be Beckham’s prime matchup of the season. With the Saints allowing a staggering amount of fantasy points to receivers thus far, I expect the Giants entire team will be firing on all cylinders this week. Expect this one to open up early.
Keenan Allen (DK-$8,300/FD-$8,100)
With the exception of the Week 1 performance we all saw coming, Keenan Allen has been a major letdown the past couple weeks. Following time served as a decoy to free up Mike Williams, Allen has a tasty matchup against a weak 49ers defense. With the emergence of Mike Williams in the offense, Allen will surely garner less defensive attention going forward, thus freeing him up to run crisp routes and play the usual role of “crafty pro playing pickup football with clueless young defenders” he’s so used to playing.
Tyler Boyd (DK-$4,600/FD-$5,800)
If you need a flex because you’ve spent your cash on a few sure bets, Tyler Boyd is an intriguing target this week. In a matchup with a weak Falcons secondary and a point totla over 50, Tyler Boyd enters the game as a potential number one target for Andy Dalton. With AJ Green questionable with a groin injury, nabbing Boyd early in the week should provide amazing value if Green is ruled out. Even if he isn’t, Green will make for a nice decoy as Boyd will surely exploit this shallow secondary. Considering the fact the Falcons have been filling up the stat sheet through the air for the past two weeks, Boyd should get plenty of opportunity in this track meet. Get him while he’s cheap.
Rob Gronkowski (DK-$7,000/FD-$8,100)
It’s very possible the very presence of Josh Gordon will draw the attention of both Xavien Howard and additional help. Is it likely? I’m going to go with 50/50, seeing as how this is Tuesday and not enough is known about Gordon’s availability. Regardless, Gronk will be himself and draw more targets than 90% of other tight ends each week. In a position of uncertainty, this man is still the closest we have to a sure thing.
David Njoku (DK-$3,200/FD-$5,200)
Njoku came to life in the second half with Baker Mayfield at the helm. Mayfield showed a repeated tendency to attack the middle of the field and luckily for Njoku, that’s where he tends to operate. If Mayfield can approach this game with the same level of aggressiveness as the last, Njoku should be in line for a lot of targets.
Tyler Eifert (DK-$3,400/FD-$5,500)
Each week, Eifert gets more and more usage, with Eifert going out for six receptions and 74 yards receiving against the Panthers. This week, he draws the injury-riddled Falcons secondary. CJ Uzomah is not nearly as polished a tight end as Eifert, so we should expect a healthy Eifert to assume the primary role again and continue his quest to return to the upper class of NFL tight ends. This matchup has the ingredients for a shootout. Stack Eifert if you can.
Chargers D (DK-$3,900/FD-$4,400)
It’s a little daunting making your first NFL start. Having to do so while facing a top offense and ball-hawking defense is terrifying. CJ Beathard has his work cut out for him. The Chargers shouldn’t have many issues scoring on the 49ers defense, so the negative game script should put the Chargers secondary in a fine position to sit back and poach all game.
If you’re feeling frisky, this is the team for you. For the past two weeks, I’ve targeted defenses facing the Cardinals. I have to continue the trend this week, as the Cardinals are starting a rookie quarterback in his first game — this opportunity is far too pleasant to pass on. We saw what happened down the stretch last week against the Bears, as the Cardinals frantically threw in Rosen to salvage a stale start from Sam Bradford.
Rosen threw a late interception and didn’t seem all too bothered by it, which leads me to believe this coaching staff should be pressing soon. I’m kidding, none of that reasoning made sense, but I stand by the claim that the staff will be panicking by the third quarter if they find themselves in a hole deeper than the one they’re currently in. Expect Rosen to try out this defense. Even with a lack of weapons on offense, Seattle should be able to control this one.
Tampa Bay (DK-$2,400/FD-$3,500)
Okay, don’t laugh. You’ve read this far, so just hear me out. The Bucs have proved they can move the ball easily. If given adequate time in the pocket, Fitzpatrick can make magic happen. This game will hinge so much on that. If the Bucs can get out to a lead and force the Bears to take to the air, Mitch Trubisky will be in trouble as the franchise quarterback. He’s already had a slew of accuracy issues through the first three weeks.
The Packers were the best offense they faced, and had the game script gone the other direction, the Packers might have won by 40. I expect the Bears to be in an unfamiliar position, playing from behind in this game. If that holds true, I can easily see Trubisky digging the hole deeper. If you’re low on cash, it’s worth a Hail Mary. I see this game either being another squeaker of a victory for the Bears, or a massive defeat.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.