With all of the top players at your disposal each week in daily fantasy football, it can be tough to decide between guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones when building your lineup. In this weekly article, I’ll take a look at guys on the upper or middle range of salaries at each position (‘”retail prices”), identifying my favorite plays for the week. Make sure to complement these players with “value plays,” and as always be mindful of the different strategies that apply for GPP versus Cash contests.
FanDuel and DraftKings NFL Week 4 Picks: Top QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs and D/ST
Tom Brady (NE, FD: $9,500, DK: $8,000) vs. Carolina Panthers
The Golden Boy has been on fire in the last two weeks. He’s completed 74.3% of his passes (55-74) totaling 825 yards and eight touchdowns. While Carolina was able to shut down Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor in the first two weeks, Drew Brees mustered 220 yards and three TDs in an easy victory for the Saints this past Sunday. The Patriots enter Wednesday with the highest implied point total (28.8) of the weekend, which should lead to another big day for Brady offensively. While a spread of -9 can lead us to think about a potential blow-out, just remember the Patriots have allowed the most points in the NFL through three weeks with 95. Therefore, I think Brady will need another big (fantasy) week to lead the Pats to victory.
Russell Wilson (SEA, FD: $7,900, DK: $7,300) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Fading Wilson this past weekend came back to bite me as he threw for 373 yards and three TDs, so I’m hopping back on the wagon this week against a bad Colts defense. Indy has allowed the third-most passing yards (892) and the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs through two weeks. They are expected to get their top corner back in Vontae Davis, but that one addition won’t provide a complete overhaul in the secondary. The Seahawks’ O-line is still a liability, but the Colts have only tallied six sacks through three games (tied for fifth-fewest). Wilson was great at home all of 2016, averaging 272 passing yards per game and finishing with a 13:3 TD:INT ratio, so we should expect him to perform well once again versus a subpar defense.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL, FD: $8,500, DK: $8,200) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Zeke successfully bounced back against the Cardinals after posting his worst career game in Week 2 with just eight rushing yards on nine attempts. He’ll now welcome the Rams defense to Dallas with open arms. They’ve allowed the second-most rushing yards in the NFL and the most rushing touchdowns (5), leading to the second-most fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. Zeke has averaged a healthy 5.0 yards per carry and 106 rushing yards at home in his career and has racked up eight touchdowns in nine career games in Dallas. This all lines up for Elliott to feast once again this Sunday, so make him a priority when building lineups this weekend.
LeSean McCoy (BUF, FD: $8,300, DK: $8,400) at Atlanta Falcons
It’s been a tough few weeks for McCoy with matchups against the Panthers and Broncos, but he sees a much friendlier fantasy matchup this Sunday against the Falcons. Atlanta has allowed the fourth-most points to opposing backs through three weeks and have allowed opposing backs to catch at least seven passes in every contest. McCoy enters with 20 targets after three games, having caught 18 of those for 127 yards. The Falcons have also been susceptible on the ground, as they’ve allowed 4.5 yards per carry and two rushing TDs in the early going. McCoy should be able to rebound after posting RB29 and RB16 performances in Weeks 2 and 3. Also, ownership should be lower on Shady after a down week.
Leonard Fournette (JAX, FD: $7,700, DK: $6,700) at New York Jets
After allowing just 21 yards to Dolphins’ backs in Week 3, the Jets have still given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. They’ll now face Fournette, who has the third-most rushes in the NFL with 57 through three weeks. The fourth-overall pick has seen plenty of those carries come in fantasy-friendly situations. He’s received 12 carries inside the red zone (T-1st), eight carries inside the 10 (2nd), and six carries inside the five (3rd). Three of those six carries have turned into touchdowns, leaving him tied for second among all NFL running backs. Jacksonville is currently 3.5-point favorites, so Fournette should see plenty of work once again this Sunday, hopefully leading to some more touchdowns along the way.
A.J. Green (CIN, FD: $8,000, DK: $8,600) at Cleveland Browns
We’re still getting a discount for Green on FanDuel this weekend, as he comes in $600 cheaper than on DraftKings. He quieted all doubters last weekend with a 10 catch, 111-yard and one touchdown performance in Lambeau. Green will now face a defense he’s torched for 125+ yards and a touchdown in their last two matchups. Antonio Brown went for 11-182-0 in Week 1 and T.Y. Hilton broke out for 7-153-1 in Week 3, so Green should have no problem racking up catches and yards against the Browns. Cincinnati has scored at least 23 points in their last five matchups against Cleveland, including four games of over 30 points. They should have no problem lighting up the Browns once again this weekend, especially through Green in the passing game.
Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG, FD: $9,100, DK: $8,900) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay got lit up by Case Keenum and the Vikings passing game in Week 3, and now head to New York to face Beckham and the Giants. New York broke out of their offensive slump against the Eagles on Sunday as Eli Manning threw for 366 yards and three TDs and Beckham caught nine of 13 targets for 79 yards and two TDs. The Bucs have now allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers after two games (Week 1 game cancelled), so they’re far from an imposing matchup for Beckham. Starting corner Brent Grimes has a chance to return in Week 4, but that doesn’t necessarily scare me away from Beckham. He’s shown the ability to carve up any opposing defense, and Manning now looks determined to get the ball out quickly, allowing Beckham plenty of opportunities to use his skill in the open field.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU, FD: $7,300, DK: $6,400) vs. Tennessee Titans
Hopkins sees his most favorable matchup of the year after catching seven balls in each of the first three weeks. He’ll face off against a Titans defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Those three weeks follow up the 2016 season where Tennessee finished with the second-most points allowed to the position, so their secondary is still exploitable. Hopkins has had great success against the Titans in his career as well. He’s averaged 102 receiving yards in eight games (just two of eight below 94), the most against any team he’s seen more than once. Hopkins leads the NFL in targets with 45, and is by far the top option in Houston, where the next closest player has 12 targets (Tyler Ervin). Look for this to be the week Hopkins breaks out and finishes as a WR1.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, FD: $6,700, DK: $6,100) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Arizona gets a home date with the division-foe 49ers this Sunday. Fitz showed us his ability to dominate a game by hauling in 13 of 15 targets from Carson Palmer for 149 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. He’ll now face a team he’s had great success against in the last two seasons. The 14-year vet has averaged 103.3 yards receiving on 9.3 catches and a touchdown in their last four matchups. He leads the Cardinals with 33 targets (next closest is Jaron Brown with 21), and should see plenty more against the defense that allowed Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods to catch 12 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3. Fitz should be able to back up his great performance with another one in Week 4, and is still too cheap to ignore on both sites.
Travis Kelce (KC, FD: $7,400, DK: $6,000) vs. Washington Redskins
Kelce will play on Monday Night Football against the Redskins and should be a top option at the tight end position this weekend. Washington has allowed 250 receiving yards to opposing tight ends this season, the most in the league and the only team over 195. Kelce has tallied 144 yards on 14 catches thus far, including an 8-103-1 line in KC’s first home game. He should have no problem racking up the receptions and yards against a defense that struggles against tight ends, so make him a priority if you’re playing contests involving the Monday Night game.
Jimmy Graham (SEA, FD: $6,200, DK: $4,900) vs. Indianapolis Colts
After a quiet two weeks to open the season, Graham caught seven of 11 targets for 72 yards in Week 3. The Seahawks are unsure if Doug Baldwin will play after leaving Sunday’s game with a groin injury, so Graham could very well be the top option in the passing game. Either way, I’m interested in playing Graham, as the Colts have allowed the 12th-most yards to tight ends on the season. Graham also caught all six of his touchdown passes at home in 2016, and while that doesn’t exactly translate over to this season, I still like the fact he’s been a more productive fantasy tight end at home. Feel free to use Graham in your lineups this weekend as he seems to officially be in sync with Russell Wilson.
Jacksonville Jaguars (FD: $5,200, DK: $3,600) at New York Jets
The Jaguars’ goal of constructing an elite defense seems to be complete. Jacksonville leads the NFL with 13 sacks, is in second with eight turnovers forced, and has given up the fourth-fewest points per game with 17. Josh McCown and the Jets haven’t been as inept on offense as anticipated, but their success has come against the Raiders and Dolphins, both teams with below-average defenses. Jacksonville should bring a different talent level to the field this Sunday, so I like their ability to disrupt McCown and cause him to make a few mistakes while piling up some sacks along the way.