After three weeks, NFL fantasy players are coming to grips with mistaken expectations, changed roles, and injury adjustments. Most times, DFS prices are not matching the potential of improved fantasy players. Here are a few worth looking at this week.
Carson Palmer at quarterback
Many DFS players look for bargains in every position so they can afford the top quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. If there was ever a week to consider saving on the quarterback and taking a fantasy stud elsewhere, this is it.
The play of the week is probably Carson Palmer in Arizona. He is averaging over 300 yards per game despite a rough first week. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says Palmer looks better than he has in years. Against Dallas, he showed accuracy and range despite constant harassment by the Cowboys’ rush. He showed great pocket awareness and could throw long while moving around.
This week, he faces the San Francisco 49ers. That means he will have a lot more time to pick out his receivers. The running game has ground to a halt in Arizona. Look for Palmer to put up over 300 yards and multiple touchdowns at a much lower price than Brady or Rodgers.
If your risk tolerance is higher on quarterbacks, consider Trevor Siemian. He had an off week in Buffalo in Week 3, but he returns to the friendly confines of Denver where he averages over 23 standard NFL fantasy points and has a much better matchup in the Oakland Raiders.
The bargain of the week could be a rookie. Deshaun Watson had a good showing against the Patriots last week. This week he faces the Tennessee Titans, who have a better pass rush, but thanks to a suspect secondary, still give up over 20 points per week to quarterbacks. Watson is priced like a rookie passer and could prove to be a steal this week.
RB: Wendell Smallwood, Chris Carson
Wendell Smallwood will take over for Darren Sproles in Philadelphia. As the pass-catching back, he should be in on the majority of snaps in what is shaping up to be a high-scoring affair with the Chargers. Smallwood led the Eagles in snaps and touches last week after Sproles went down.
Smallwood is still priced like a borderline flex option but will get RB-1 opportunities this week for the Eagles. Snap him up at the bargain price.
Chris Carson’s price is inching up, but so is his value. With Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls all but disappearing from the Seattle game plan, Carson’s main competition for snaps comes from CJ Prosise, who sat out practice again today with a bad ankle. This might give Carson even more playing time against Indianapolis. The Colts are not awful against the run, but with the number of touches expected, Carson should be a fair bet to produce for your DFS team.
If you want to spend a little more, the Miami Dolphins changed their game plan last week when the Jets defense stopped Jay Ajayi early. It may have been partly due to Ajayi’s ankle woes, but the point is the Jacksonville Jaguars will not stop pounding the Jets’ defense with Leonard Fournette. He has found the end zone every week so far and will eventually do so again. The Jets will yield more rushing yards to the Jaguar’s workhorse as the game goes on, making him a good play.
On the other side of the ball, Matt Forte’s injured toe kept him out of practice all week and the Jets signed another running back. This seems to indicate the Jets expect him to miss the game. Bilal Powell’s price is bottom-of-the-barrel. If he is the premier back- and you can never tell with the Jets- he could be the sneaky sleeper of the week.
WR: Devin Funchess, Larry Fitzgerald
When a receiver burns me badly, I rarely go right back to him. However, the fact remains that Devin Funchess saw ten targets last week. With Kelvin Benjamin likely to miss Sunday’s game against the Patriots’ generous defense, Benjamin is almost a mandatory play. Hopefully, he will catch more than 40% of his targets this time and reward his owners. His price is still a WR-2 level making him a good value if he comes through.
The bargain of the week is in Arizona. In fact, if you can stack Larry Fitzgerald with Carson Palmer, you have a superb starting point. Fitzgerald is priced low for a WR-1. He showed last week he still can get after the ball and get up the field. He has a much lesser opponent in the 49ers and he may have less competition for targets as fellow wide receivers JJ Nelson, John Brown and tight end Jermaine Gresham are all limited in practice due to injuries.
If you want to spend a little more, Keenan Allen will be the beneficiary of Phillip Rivers’ comeback performance this week. The Chargers quarterback will do his best to erase any memory of last week’s scoreless, two-interception effort in Kansas City by attacking the injury-riddled Eagles’ secondary.
If you need a low-ball salary to fill your roster, there are several second and third-tier wide receivers who could get significant targets in Week 4. Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker from Miami, Sterling Shepard from the Giants, Minnesota’s Adam Thielen, and Seattle’s Paul Richardson are still bargain-priced.
TE: Cameron Brate
After last week’s tight end experience, it’s hard to pick the bargain. But Cameron Brate goes against the NY Giants this week who have given up at least 9.9 NFL fantasy points and a touchdown to tight ends each game this season. The Giants have been talking all week about stopping the run at all cost. That cost may be additional tight end releases.
Denver’s defense is top-ranked, but their Achilles heel has been tight ends. Jared Cook becomes a potential value. Charles Clay has been the target of over 25% of quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s passes this season and is also worth a play.
Arizona faces a must-win at home against a rebuilding offense in San Francisco. They shut down Ezekiel Elliott last week for most of the game. They should shut down the lone threat of the 49ers in Carlos Hyde, forcing the passing game to throw against their potent secondary.
New York is getting healthier this week and faces a desperation game in Tampa. They feel they need to win a game for the offense. I have a hunch they will put the clamps on the Buccaneer rushing game and come up with turnovers this week.
Cincinnati is being called the bargain of the week on many sites. I am not so sure that the Bengals won’t suffer a letdown after last week’s good showing against Green Bay. But I am about the only person saying so, therefore, I mention them to you.
Kicker: Matt Bryant
Either of the kickers in Atlanta this week (Matt Bryant and Buffalo’s Stephen Hauschka) is worth a play as are Oakland’s Giorgio Tavecchio and Denver’s Brandon McManus who will play at Mile High. Both games offer good kicking conditions and potential for points.
That’s it for now. Keep checking the injury updates right up to game time. You never know when an opportunity will present itself to someone with a really low DFS price.
If you have a question about DFS or any NFL fantasy football topic, send it us at [email protected]. We’ll answer questions every Wednesday in our mailbag or in our weekly DFS article on Friday.
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