Daily Fantasy Football Week 4: Predicting DraftKings Top Performers and Busts

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2015

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

As the NFL season continues to quickly move along, we are starting to get a better understanding of the players and teams. This should help make daily fantasy football slightly easier to predict.

While there will obviously be plenty of surprises throughout the year, it helps to know which squads can't defend the pass or run, and which players will get an opportunity to exploit them. With this in mind, here is an early look at predictions for Week 4.


Best and Worst QB Picks
Top Picks
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersSF$7,900
Andrew LuckIndianapolis ColtsJAX$7,800
Tyrod TaylorBuffalo BillsNYG$5,800
Derek CarrOakland RaidersCHI$5,300
Russell WilsonSeattle SeahawksDET$7,100
Eli ManningNew York GiantsBUF$7,000
Matthew StaffordDetroit LionsSEA$5,700
*via DraftKings

The top quarterbacks in the game will finally get a chance to truly show what they can do in some juicy Week 4 matchups. Andrew Luck should have an opportunity to make up for some early-season struggles, but this might be the time to splurge on Aaron Rodgers.

Colin Kaepernick may have stolen headlines with his awful game Sunday, but the San Francisco 49ers defense was just as bad, as noted by Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group:

After Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer torched this unit in consecutive weeks, Rodgers has a chance to really put up some crazy numbers.

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Tyrod Taylor will be a popular pick at his price, but his performance is hard to deny at this point. After an efficient Week 1, the Buffalo Bills quarterback now has six passing touchdowns in the last two weeks. With his incredible 75.5 completion percentage, it's starting to seem like this preseason star is for real.

Meanwhile, Derek Carr continues to prove himself as one of the top young passers in the league and will face a suspect Chicago Bears defense.

Russell Wilson is always a threat thanks to his rushing ability, but fantasy competitors might want to stay away while the Seattle Seahawks offense continues to struggle. The offense has only produced four total touchdowns in three games this year, while the poor offensive line play is setting everyone back. The addition of Jimmy Graham helps, but there are better options on the board.

Despite coming off a very good showing on Thursday night, Eli Manning should be avoided against a solid Buffalo Bills defense. The veteran is likely to be under pressure all night long, which could lead to a few turnovers. Even with a wide assortment of weapons, don't get suckered into the overpriced passer.

Running Back

Best and Worst RB Picks
Top Picks
Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsDEN$7,800
Latavius MurrayOakland RaidersCHI$6,300
Carlos HydeSan Francisco 49ersGB$5,100
Frank GoreIndianapolis ColtsJAX$4,700
Lance DunbarDallas CowboysNO$3,600
Thomas RawlsSeattle SeahawksDET$3,000
Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksDET$7,200
Jeremy HillCincinnati BengalsKC$6,500
C.J. AndersonDenver BroncosMIN$5,900
Devonta FreemanAtlanta FalconsHOU$5,200
Matt JonesWashington RedskinsPHI$4,500
*via DraftKings

It has become clear Adrian Peterson is still the dominant force he always was, especially after his 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week. No matter what the matchup, he will always be a solid choice in daily fantasy.

The next two choices are players who are certain to get a lot of touches on a weekly basis. Latavius Murray finally lived up to the preseason hype with 139 rushing yards on 26 carries against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3, and he can certainly put up similar numbers in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears.

Carlos Hyde hasn't been able to match his opening-week numbers, but you shouldn't be concerned. He had 15 carries in a 40-point loss in which the 49ers ran only 50 plays, which means there is a good chance for 20-25 touches in most other weeks with better circumstances.

Lance Dunbar showed plenty of value in points-per-reception scoring even with Brandon Weeden throwing the ball, while Thomas Rawls could be an extremely useful option if Marshawn Lynch is forced to miss more time with his calf injury. ESPN.com's Sheil Kapadia broke down just how well the rookie performed when he got a chance Sunday:

That said, Lynch might be a good player to avoid even if he is active next week. He showed how fluky his injury can be and it is simply not worth the risk. 

Jeremy Hill is also watching his stock fall quickly after rushing for 21 yards on 12 carries. The second-year player has obvious talent, but with just 123 rushing yards in three games and as many lost fumbles (two) as touchdowns, the one-dimensional runner is not worth the pickup.

As for Devonta Freeman, I understand he either made you or cost you a lot of money in Week 3 with his three touchdowns and 193 yards from scrimmage. However, it's tough to imagine he will come close to these stats again, or even matching his 35 touches.

So far this season the Houston Texans have held Jamaal Charles, Jonathan Stewart and Doug Martin to fewer than four yards per carry, so look for Freeman to come back to earth while everyone else chases last week's stats.

Jim Mone/Associated Press

Wide Receiver

Best and Worst WR Picks
Top Picks
Julio JonesAtlanta FalconsHOU$9,300
Randall CobbGreen Bay PackersSF$7,400
Jordan MatthewsPhiladelphia EaglesWAS$6,600
Allen RobinsonJacksonville JaguarsIND$5,500
Eddie RoyalChicago BearsOAK$3,700
Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsSEA$7,500
Brandin CooksNew Orleans SaintsDAL$6,100
Sammy WatkinsBuffalo BillsNYG$5,600
Andre JohnsonIndianapolis ColtsJAX$4,500
*via DraftKings

It seems like you can't go wrong putting Julio Jones in your lineup. While Antonio Brown will have to deal with an adjustment at quarterback, Jones should remain just as strong as a dominant force who is worth spending any amount of money on at DraftKings.

Jordan Matthews had a down game while being shadowed by Darrelle Revis, but he certainly isn't competing for targets, as noted by Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

There should be more free space against the Washington Redskins in Week 4 and the sheer volume could lead to a strong day.

Allen Robinson only caught four of his nine targets in Week 3, but it's clear he is also a major part of his offense. Against a depleted Colts secondary, he could have a few big plays.

The Bears were pitiful offensively Sunday in a shutout against the Seahawks, but you have to imagine there will be some improvement next week against the Raiders. Theoretically there almost has to be a slight upgrade, which makes Eddie Royal a nice potentially cheap option.

On the other hand, Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions will have to face that same Seattle defense next week. After looking rough offensively so far this season, the entire team might be one to avoid in Week 4.

Finally, it seems smart to stay away from Sammy Watkins until he proves to have a more consistent role in the Bills offense. He caught only one pass Sunday with two total targets, giving him just 13 total looks all season. There were 11 different players with at least this many targets on Sunday alone.

Watkins, and Andre Johnson, simply aren't getting the touches necessary to guarantee a strong fantasy showing.

Note: All prices and fantasy scoring info courtesy of DraftKings. Unless otherwise noted, all stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

DraftKings is giving away over $10 million in Week 4 of the NFL season. Use this knowledge to help you win some of that cash. The biggest first-place prize ever at $2 million will be awarded. Play now for free at DraftKings.com.

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