Weekly lineup winners for Week 4
Is it time to load up on Chargers as they prepare for a home showdown with the Jaguars? Our Dave Richard shares his strategies and lineups for Week 4.
Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week long $350,000 Fantasy Football contest for Week 4. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts Sunday, September 28th at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now to join Dave.
There's no shame in not finishing in first, but finishing in 15,710th out of 40,229 doesn't evoke a lot of pride.
For the third week in a row I couldn't crack the Top 20 percent (much less 10 percent) of FanDuel's $350,000 guaranteed tournament. In fact, this was my worst performance of the season, barely making the Top 40 percent. Am I not taking enough chances with my lineups? Am I too reliant on big-name players? Is it just bad luck? Perhaps it's a mix of all three.
Once again, we learned from those who finished in the Top 10 that picking the best quarterback is imperative. That was Andrew Luck in Week 3 -- nine of the Top 10 finishers had him. Having the top receiver also is a big deal, or in this case, the top tight end. Martellus Bennett was on eight of the Top 10 best teams in the tourney, giving them big advantages over the rest of the field. It's also worth noting that both Luck and Bennett were started by less than 10 percent of FanDuelers.
Another lesson learned was that if you pick a well-known, big-name stud player, he better come through. My lineup featured Drew Brees, Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham. Each one was started on at least 23 percent of teams, and each one had mediocre totals. Clearly that's a bad combination.
So armed with this knowledge, we try again this week in FanDuel's $350,000 guaranteed tournament with just a $10 entry fee. First place gets $30,000 and 6,764th place gets $25. Let's get a piece.
As usual, we'll first fill the lineup with bottom-of-the-barrel choices at running back, receiver, tight end, kicker and defense while aiming to pick the best quarterback we can. Then we'll upgrade at each position until we're comfortable.
The first draft of my team is:
QB: Philip Rivers ($8,400)
RB: Justin Forsett ($5,400)
RB: Khiry Robinson ($4,900)
WR: Allen Robinson ($5,100)
WR: Malcom Floyd ($4,700)
WR: Denarius Moore ($4,500)
TE: Jeff Cumberland ($4,500)
K: Shayne Graham ($4,500)
DST: Lions ($4,700)
Remaining salary: $13,300
We've got a lot of money to spend.
Why Philip Rivers when Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Drew Brees all have good looking matchups? It's a great value. Rivers has six touchdowns on the year and the Jaguars have allowed five scores. On average, only the Eagles have allowed as many passing touchdowns per game (which makes Colin Kaepernick at $8,100 an intriguing option). But the Chargers' run game isn't exactly in great shape, which should mean that Rivers keeps throwing. He attempted just 25 passes last week and still ended up with some nice stats. Can Rivers throw three touchdowns as part of a blowout win? That's what makes me hesitate to call him a "lock", but the price tag is right and there are so many other quarterbacks that will get taken that I actually think Rivers gets overlooked by comparison to others.
Because there were so many running backs I liked, I opted to load up at receiver first and then go value picking at running back. The 49ers, Buccaneers, Eagles and Jets are among the most generous to receivers through three weeks. The Bucs matchup at Pittsburgh is poor for them but good for the Steelers. Antonio Brown's price isn't as high as others so I put him in my lineup. Brandon Marshall should rebound after not doing much of anything in Week 3 and even though he's expensive, I like his opportunity against the Packers. And the matchup isn't exactly perfect but I can't pass up Steve Smith taking on his old team. He's played too big a role for the Ravens so far this season to be totally passed up. The Panthers know he's coming and yet they shouldn't be able to control him for four quarters, plus the Ravens should have to throw a little bit.
I almost went with: Randall Cobb
($8,100), DeAndre Hopkins ($6,400)
Best wide receiver bargains: Michael Crabtree ($7,000), Vincent Jackson ($6,800), Jordan Matthews ($6,600), Mike Wallace ($6,500), Steve Smith ($6,100)
No team has been gashed by tight ends as badly as the Jaguars, and here they are playing at the Chargers in Week 4. It's ridiculous that Antonio Gates is priced at $5,800 -- $100 less than Jason Witten! Gates is going to be a popular pick, but with Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski sure to take a big portion of the FanDuel population's attention, it might not be too bad.
So with $3,300 freed up to upgrade from Khiry Robinson and Justin Forsett, we dig into the running backs. When I checked them out initially there were many that I liked, but now I've cuffed myself into spending only so much, so I can't afford huge upgrades. If we're playing the matchups we'll be fine -- the Falcons are allowing the most rushing touchdowns per game to running backs, the Jaguars are allowing the most rushing yards and both are ranked in the bottom three in Fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Texans also have allowed a goal-line touchdown in every game and at least 4.8 yards per carry against offenses not named "Raiders." I don't know how many people will start Matt Asiata, Donald Brown or Fred Jackson ($6,300 each) but they're mighty appealing. Unfortunately for my team, I've already committed to two Chargers and it could be a mistake to load up on them ... or is it? Loading up on Colts, Redskins and Eagles through the first three weeks of the season worked out and Brown should be the only back in action for much of the game for San Diego. As for Jackson versus Asiata, I think Jackson could get more work and catch more passes and has the better chance to score.
I almost went with: Eddie Lacy
($8,000), Lamar Miller ($6,900)
Best running back bargains: Matt Asiata ($6,300), Stevan Ridley ($6,100), Ahmad Bradshaw ($6,100), Bishop Sankey ($5,700), Khiry Robinson ($4,900).
There are a lot of points expected in the Saints-Cowboys game and it's indoors, so Shayne Graham at $4,500 is a gift from FanDuel heaven. By comparison, Dan Bailey of the Cowboys is going for $1,000 more!
On defense, the Lions are one of the better units in the league and the Jets have succumbed to some pretty lousy defenses of late. With Geno Smith starting and potentially on the way out with a couple of turnovers, I suspect the Lions will sack him a bunch and take advantage of an offense that could be real thin at receiver. The Jets are averaging 20.7 points per game and the Lions are allowing 15.0 points per game.
Best defense bargains: Indianapolis ($5,400), Atlanta ($4,700), Oakland ($4,600)
My winning lineup
QB: Philip Rivers ($8,400)
RB: Donald Brown ($6,300)
RB: Fred Jackson ($6,300)
WR: Antonio Brown ($8,400)
WR: Brandon Marshall ($8,500)
WR: Steve Smith ($6,100)
TE: Antonio Gates ($5,800)
K: Shayne Graham ($4,500)
DST: Lions ($4,700)
Remaining salary: $1,000
How did I do? Think you can do better? Take me on in my weekly FanDuel challenge for just $5.
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