DRAFT Week 4 NFL Picks: Round by Round AnalysisBy Mark Dankenbring | Published: September 28, 2017 at 10:27 am
Weekly contests on playdraft.com feature a new format for DFS players. Instead of a salary-based selection process, DRAFT went back to the basics and implemented a live snake draft format for players. For weekly contests, players must draft 1 QB, 2 RBs, and 2 WRs/TEs. There is only one option with more than six players (10 players), meaning only 30 players are taken off the board in the majority of contests.
With just five rounds to draft and a 30-second pick clock, it’s important to know who you want before the clock starts ticking. Therefore, each week I’ll give you round by round advice, factoring in depth at each position to help you nail each and every pick in your draft. Let’s get started.
DRAFT Week 4 NFL Picks: Round by Round selection of 1 QB, 2 RB, and 2 WR/TE
Rounds 1 and 2
This is a tough week to separate the top dogs from the rest of the field. Eleven of the 16 games currently have totals between 44 and 50, so there aren’t any outlying games to target and load up on heading into the weekend. This seems like a week to target running backs in the early rounds, as the wide receiver/tight end position is really deep without having many must-plays out of the top guys. In the drafts I’ve done thus far, the majority of players taken in the first two rounds were running backs, which I think is a smart move. Let’s take a look at my top RB targets of the weekend.
Ezekiel Elliott is my favorite running back play of the weekend. He gets a home matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, who have already allowed 399 rushing yards and five touchdowns to opposing backs thus far. Zeke has averaged five yards per carry and 106 rushing yards at home in his career, and has scored eight touchdowns in nine games at home. This should be a huge week for Elliott, so I will target him in the first round.
Devonta Freeman is another back I love this weekend. The Falcons are eight-point home favorites against the Bills as of Thursday. Buffalo has been stingy against the run thus far, but we’ve seen Freeman thrive in this offense the last two weeks. He’s seen 45 touches (to Tevin Coleman’s 17) and turned those into 238 total yards and three touchdowns. He’s clearly the dominant back in an explosive Atlanta offense, so I want him in my lineups this weekend as he should see more than 20 touches and has a great chance to land in the end zone for the fifth time this season.
Leonard Fournette should go in the first couple rounds as well. He has a great matchup against the Jets, who have still allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs after holding Miami backs to just 21 yards. Jacksonville is tied for the league lead with 99 rushing attempts through three games, as they’ve seen the most success on the ground this season. 42% of their yardage has come on the ground, the third highest percentage in the league. Fournette should see more than 20 touches for the third time this season (averaging 21.7), giving him a great floor and a high ceiling against a struggling Jets run defense.
Dalvin Cook is another name that should come off the board in the first two rounds. He’ll face a Lions defense that has allowed over four yards per carry and the third most receiving yards to opposing backs. The rookie has seen 61 rushing attempts through three games and showed his ability in the passing game by catching five passes for 72 yards in Week 3. He’s seen 23.7 touches per game, so I like his chances of having a solid week against Detroit, who allowed Devonta Freeman to score 21.3 points on just 24 touches last week.
The last running back I’d target in the first two rounds is LeSean McCoy. There seems to be mixed opinions on his value this week as he’s been drafted all over the board in my drafts thus far. There’s a good chance he’ll be available in the early second round after recent struggles.
I expect this to be a bounce back game for McCoy, as he figures to play a big part in the passing game and should be more efficient running the ball as well. Atlanta has allowed the most points to pass-catching backs since the beginning of last season; McCoy enters the weekend with 20 targets through three games. Atlanta has also allowed 41.5% of their runs to go for five or more yards, the highest percentage in the league. They’ve only faced 53 rushing attempts (third-fewest in the league), but McCoy should find more success than his 30 yards on 26 carries in the last two weeks. His passing game involvement will likely make or break his week, but I like his chances of putting up around 100 scrimmage yards and to get in the end zone (Atlanta has already allowed four touchdowns to opposing backs).
Rounds 3 and 4
Since we took running backs in the first two rounds, let’s focus on the WR/TE position with these two picks. Quarterbacks are lumped pretty tightly this week as well, so round five will offer a decent crop of QBs to choose from.
In almost all of my six-person drafts, there have been plenty of wide receivers that I like in rounds three and four. A.J. Green, Michael Thomas, Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, Odell Beckham Jr., and DeAndre Hopkins are all usually available and have great matchups this weekend.
Green should have another big week after posting a 10-111-1 line in Green Bay. He’ll take on a Cleveland defense that he’s lit up for 125+ yards and a touchdown in their last two games. Tyler Eifert should be out again, leaving a ton of targets available for Green, who saw 13 in Week 3 after Cincinnati installed former QB coach Bill Lazor as the offensive coordinator. Cleveland has also allowed Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton to each go over 150+ receiving yards, so I love Green’s chances of putting up another big week.
The London game features Michael Thomas against a Dolphins defense that’s surrendered 556 passing yards in their two games. Thomas has seen at least eight targets in all three games this season and has racked up 89 and 87 yards in the last two weeks. Pro Football Focus gives him the seventh-best WR-CB matchup of the weekend against Xavien Howard, so Thomas should have no problem finding success across the pond. Miami is second to only the Saints in yards per pass attempt allowed (9.35), so I like Thomas to have another big game in Week 4.
Larry Fitzgerald would be next off my board at WR this week. He’ll square off against a 49ers defense that he’s owned in recent matchups. He’s averaged 103.3 receiving yards on nine catches and has scored four touchdowns in their last four meetings. He’s coming off a 13-149-1 game at home, and should be the focal point of the offense once again with David Johnson sidelined until Week 10. I love Fitz to have a second consecutive big game at home, and think he’s well worth a 3rd or 4th round pick.
Baldwin would be higher up on my list if he wasn’t questionable with a groin injury, but it appears as if he’ll still play in a home matchup with the Colts. He finally seemed to be in rhythm with QB Russell Wilson in Week 3, hauling in 10 of 15 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. Indy has allowed the second most receiving yards to opposing wide receivers through three weeks, as well as three touchdowns, so Baldwin should find room to operate. He also averaged 2.5 more receptions and 36 more yards per game at home last season, making him a great target in CenturyLink Field against the Colts.
There aren’t many weeks I get excited to deploy DeAndre Hopkins, but this is definitely one of them. He gets a home matchup against the Titans, a team he’s put up 102 yards receiving against on average in their eight meetings, his most against any team. It’s his show on offense, as he’s seen 37 targets with the next closest teammate (Tyler Ervin) at 11 on the season. Tennessee has allowed the third-most points to opposing wide receivers so far this season, so I don’t expect them to have much success reigning in a player they’ve struggled against in the past.
The last WR on my target list is Odell Beckham Jr., who is projected with a pretty low output by DRAFT. He’s projected the 25th-most points at the WR/TE position, but I’m much higher on him after he looked closer to 100% in Week 3 against the Eagles. The Giants will face a depleted Buccaneers defense that’s allowed 329.5 passing yards per game through two outings, the second worst mark in the league. Beckham caught nine of his 13 targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns against Philly, so I expect Eli Manning to target him early and often in this one. Brent Grimes may return after missing Week 3 with a shoulder injury, but that doesn’t scare me off from Beckham in a game he should easily see 10+ targets. He’s an insane value as a 4th-round pick this week, so don’t be nervous about the projections and fire him up with confidence.
This is the second week in a row we’ve saved QB until the last round, but I think this is another no-brainer with the depth of options presented to us. In my drafts thus far, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have both been gone by the time I’m selecting, so I’m focusing on Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Matt Ryan as my remaining targets.
Russell Wilson is probably my favorite target of this bunch, as he gets a home date with the Indianapolis Colts. He’s coming off a stellar outing of 373 passing yards and four TDs, as well as rushing for 26 yards. Wilson also has an even 100 yards rushing on the season, third amongst quarterbacks. The Colts will come to town having allowed the third-most passing yards to opposing QBs and the eighth-most points overall. Seattle has a high team total of 27.3, which should come primarily from the arm and legs of Wilson.
Dak Prescott would be next for me, as he’s posted a QB1 week in tough matchups against the Giants, Broncos, and Cardinals. He’ll square off against a Rams defense that allowed Brian Hoyer to pass for 332 passing yards, two touchdowns, and notch a nine-yard rushing TD in Week 3. While Ezekiel Elliott should see plenty of touches, I still like Prescott to have an efficient game and therefore successful fantasy week. He can easily light up the Rams for 200+ yards and a couple touchdowns, which is great production out of a fifth-round pick.
Brees draws the next-best matchup in London against the Dolphins. As I mentioned under Michael Thomas, Miami has allowed 329.5 passing yards per game through two weeks, good for the second-most in the league. We usually favor Brees in his home-dome setting, but he was able to put up 220 yards and three TDs against a much stingier Carolina defense outside in Week 3. He’ll be getting a nice weapon back in Willie Snead, who will be another option over the middle to exploit the Dolphins’ weak linebacker group. Brees should have no trouble topping 275 passing yards and a couple touchdowns, so I love him as an option this week.
My final option at quarterback is Matt Ryan. He would be higher if I wasn’t worried about a blowout of the Bills at home and a clock-killing fourth quarter, but I can see Ryan posting most of his fantasy stats in the first half and just needing to hand it off to Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman with a big lead in the second half. He was unstoppable at home last season, however, averaging 323 passing yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game. Buffalo has been stout against the QB position thus far, though, limiting the position to the second-fewest fantasy points through three weeks. I expect the greatness of Ryan to win out at home, but don’t think his ceiling is as high as some of the quarterbacks mentioned above.
It’s impossible to predict exactly how different drafts will play out, but if you end up with a roster full of players mentioned above, you’ll be in a great spot to finish in the money.