Daily Fantasy Football Week 4: DraftKings Sleepers and Top Value Plays

David Guidera@@DavidGuideraFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2015

Daily Fantasy Football Week 4: DraftKings Sleepers and Top Value Plays

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    Andy Dalton leads the list of values and sleepers DraftKings owners should consider.
    Andy Dalton leads the list of values and sleepers DraftKings owners should consider.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    There are plenty of intriguing names and matchups to ponder as the Week 4 DraftKings sleepers and top value plays are revealed. Donte Moncrief ($5,000), Lance Dunbar ($3,600) and Andy Dalton ($5,900) headline the list of discounted difference-makers allowing daily fantasy football owners luxury picks in other slots.

    Week 4 ushers in October and the first round of byes: the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans.

    The Titans’ absence isn’t a big loss to daily rosters, but Tom Brady, Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will be sorely missed.

    Pepper some of the following names in your lineups this week to make up the difference.

Honorable Mention

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    Taylor is a great value play, but everybody knows it.
    Taylor is a great value play, but everybody knows it.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Fading the public by avoiding commonly owned players is a great way to gain an advantage in DFS, especially in tournaments—otherwise known as GPPs. The following value plays didn’t make the list because although their projections are favorable this week, the advantage of a relatively low salary is diluted by potentially high roster exposure.

    Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

    Reed ($4,500) is the only consistently trustworthy member of Washington’s offense this season, posting 16.4 points per game. DraftKings raised his salary $1,200 as a result, the highest price hike among tight ends in 2015.  

    Reed is still a great value as long as he stays healthy, but the secret is out.

    James Jones, Green Bay Packers

    Jones ($5,300) is the definition of a fantasy zombie, returning from exile in Oakland to tie the injured Davante Adams ($4,700) in team targets with 15. He posted 29.9 points in a Monday night dismantling of the Kansas City Chiefs defense.

    The problem is everybody witnessed this performance, making it among the last impressions from Week 3 as owners prepare their Week 4 lineup.

    Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

    Freeman ($5,200) super-moon eclipsed his $4,600 Week 3 price tag with 45.3 points, a bargain at $101.55 per point.

    Obviously $5,200 is still an attractive number for last week’s top running back, which will not be lost on owners in Week 4. Also, Tevin Coleman’s status for this week is not yet known. If he’s recovered enough from a broken rib to play, the rookie will cut into Freeman’s opportunities.

    Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

    Taylor ($5,800) sneaked into the Bills lineup this offseason and suddenly carries the fourth-highest PPG among available quarterbacks on DraftKings (23.1). Aaron Rodgers ($7,900) is fifth with 22.7.

    As a result, he’s headlining sleeper lists everywhere as a desirable high-floor target, especially with Tom Brady on bye.

Value: Philadelphia Eagles D/ST

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    Defensive end Fletcher Cox leads an opportunistic Philadelphia Eagles defensive unit.
    Defensive end Fletcher Cox leads an opportunistic Philadelphia Eagles defensive unit.Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    DFS is the perfect format for fantasy owners willing to stream a favorable defensive matchup on the cheap rather than fork over the extra cabbage for a stud. The Philadelphia Eagles D/ST ($2,700) ranks as Pro Football Focus’ top projected unit heading into Week 4, hosting a wandering Washington Redskins offense lacking an identity.

    For comparison, the Seattle Seahawks ($3,700) also anticipate a favorable matchup against the declawed Detroit Lions—ranked 25th in total offense—but its well-deserved reputation will cost an extra grand.

    Philadelphia’s offense is suffering through an identity crisis of its own—ranked last in the league in time of possession at 1:48 per drive. It allows the opportunistic Eagles defense more chances to generate turnovers, something it already did eight times this season, tied for third in takeaways with the Buffalo Bills.  

    Philadelphia tied for sixth in takeaways in 2014 with 28, so this trend is nothing new despite the turnover on head coach/general manager Chip Kelly’s roster.

    Too much playing time will eventually erode the health of a defensive unit, a factor already realized with significant injuries to defensive end Cedric Thornton and inside linebacker Kiko Alonso. But it’s too early in the season to be concerned with attrition.

    Don’t forget this Eagles unit features ageless returner Darren Sproles ($4,500), who ran back a punt on the New York Jets in Week 3. The 32-year-old scampered for two touchdowns on punt returns in 2014.

    If wide receiver DeSean Jackson ($5,800) returns to Washington’s lineup this week, it could put a dent in Philadelphia’s total yardage and points allowed. But this D/ST will still gobble up turnovers, something Kirk Cousins ($5,400) and company already committed six times this season.

    Sleeper: The Minnesota Vikings ($2,600) head West to face a sluggish Denver Broncos offense struggling to transition under new head coach Gary Kubiak. The Broncos porous offensive line is the weakest unit on the team, stifling the running game and exposing 39-year-old Peyton Manning to excessive contact.

    The aggressive Vikings defense punished similar quarterbacks Matthew Stafford ($5,700) in Week 2 and Philip Rivers ($6,100) in Week 3. Special teams features the explosive Cordarrelle Patterson ($3,000) on kick return.

Value: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

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    Witten is the leader of Jason Garrett's offense with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant sidelined.
    Witten is the leader of Jason Garrett's offense with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant sidelined.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Jason Witten’s ($4,400) ceiling is sagging with injuries to quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant, but the veteran tight end remained Dallas’ top receiving threat in Week 3, nabbing six receptions for 65 yards against the Atlanta Falcons.

    Witten leads the Cowboys in every major receiving category with 21 receptions on 25 targets for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

    Brandon Weeden ($5,100) played serviceably against the Falcons, and now he faces the shell-shocked New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense ranks 31st in points allowed to tight ends in DraftKings scoring.

    Greg Olsen ($5,400) gashed the Saints for 134 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches last week.

    Witten makes a nice conservative tight end play for cash games, especially with Rob Gronkowski on bye. Daily owners might want to look for higher upside elsewhere when forming GPP lineups, however.

    Sleeper: The Buffalo Bills’ Charles Clay ($3,300) is a great low-priced, high-upside GPP candidate in Week 4, facing the New York Giants’ third-most generous defense in tight end points allowed.

    Clay and Taylor got on the same page for the first time in Week 3, resulting in five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. An encore is certainly possible against the Giants. Clay is projected to score 9.2 this week and leads all tight ends with more than one game on their record with an 84-percent upside rating, according to PFF.

Value: Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts

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    Moncrief is averaging a touchdown per game, leveraging excellent upside against an affordable salary.
    Moncrief is averaging a touchdown per game, leveraging excellent upside against an affordable salary.Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

    Donte Moncrief ($5,000) ranks 15th in PPG among wide receivers on DraftKings with 19.3, placing his 30th-ranked salary among the most palatable in Week 4. The second-year pro leads all Colts receivers with 17 receptions and three receiving touchdowns.  

    Quarterback Andrew Luck ($7,800) and the Colts passing game finally started humming against the Tennessee Titans after stalling in the opening two weeks. The Jacksonville Jaguars provide an opportunity for the Colts passing game to continue to shine, surrendering the 21st-most fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers.

    Moncrief and Luck form an affordable stack for GPPs, boosted by T.Y. Hilton’s ($6,700) return to full strength. The trio makes a potentially potent stack as well, thanks to Moncrief’s discounted rate.  

    Sleeper: Michael Crabtree ($4,600) is enjoying a fantasy resurrection as the Oakland Raiders’ top possession receiver. His team-leading 33 targets are tied for 11th-most in the league among wide receivers.

    The Chicago Bears passing defense, ranked 19th in points allowed to wide receivers, will have its collective hands full trying to contain Amari Cooper ($6,300), leaving Crabtree open to gather up the low-hanging fruit underneath.

Value: Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys

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    Dunbar should repeat his 100-yard receiving day last week against a soft Saints defense.
    Dunbar should repeat his 100-yard receiving day last week against a soft Saints defense.Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys offense reverted to a more conservative approach in Week 3 after losing Bryant and Romo in consecutive weeks. Lance Dunbar ($3,600) contributed by catching all 10 of his targets for a 100-yard tally, while Darren McFadden ($3,600) and Joseph Randle ($5,500) anchored the rushing game.

    Dunbar leads all running backs with 23 targets for 21 receptions and 215 receiving yards on the season.  

    The trend is likely to continue, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones on 105.3 The Fan’s GBag Nation (h/t: Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News).

    "We'll certainly continue to use him this year. I know he's a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. At some point when they do start to bear down on him then it should open it up for other people."

    Trust Dunbar to reward owners with another strong day catching pass out of the backfield against an underwhelming Saints defense.


    Sleeper: Karlos Williams ($3,400) is the next man up in the Bills backfield after NFL Network’s Rand Getlin tweeted LeSean McCoy ($5,600) “is unlikely to play against the Giants this weekend, as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.”

    Williams ran 12 times for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins last week, indicative of the success he should enjoy against the Giants' 28th-ranked defense in running back points allowed.

Value: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Healthy receivers mean a return to 2013's fantasy success for Dalton.
    Healthy receivers mean a return to 2013's fantasy success for Dalton.Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s amazing how much more effective Andy Dalton ($5,900) can be with healthy weapons at his disposal. He finished ninth overall in fantasy scoring—second among quarterbacks—scorching the Baltimore Ravens secondary for 35.32 points in Week 3.

    Now he faces the 31st-ranked Kansas City Chiefs defense that crowned Aaron Rodgers ($7,900) the top-scoring QB last week with 37.92 points. Vegas believes Kansas City won’t recover from a Monday night road loss in time to handle the trip to Cincinnati, predicting a 24.2-18.4 defeat, according to OddsShark.

    If Vegas is confident in the league’s sixth-ranked passing offense, you can be too—especially with as much as a $2,000 discount compared with the elite QBs.

    Dalton currently ranks first with 25.2 PPG, but he was selected on just 2.3 percent of rosters last week. As such, he is a perfect contrarian fit if DFS owners remain bearish on Dalton this week.

    Sleeper: Derek Carr ($5,300) and the upstart Raiders travel to Chicago to take on a tanking Bears team dumping players as the 2015 season quickly sinks into the abyss, according to ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini on Twitter.  

    Carr ranks third with a 60-percent consistency ranking relative to his expected performance, while boasting the eighth-best passer rating (102.4) among quarterbacks who’ve taken at least half of their team’s snaps.  

    The second-year passer could be a low-price difference-maker in cash and GPP formats facing a 20th-ranked defense which already has very little to play for.

    Standard NFL statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference and CBS Sports.com provided standard fantasy stats, unless otherwise noted. Advanced NFL and fantasy numbers courtesy of Pro Football Focus, unless otherwise noted. Fantasy points allowed rankings based on DraftKings scoring, unless otherwise noted.

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