The Fantasy Football Party posts a values analysis every week at ZoneCoverage.com to help you set winning DFS lineups for the podcast listener league and all the other great games at FantasyDraft.com — our exclusive DFS partner for 2018!
Heads up! In case you didn’t notice, the bye weeks have started. So if you are rostering any Panthers or Redskins, get them out of your season-long league lineups.
Now then, let’s run through some (non-Panthers or Redskins) players at each position who stand out in one way or another for DFS use by using the modeling tool at FantasyLabs.com. All scoring projections/rankings are from their cash model for Week 4. (editor’s note: Get half off a trial membership at FantasyLabs with the code 50OFF!)
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Cincinnati — $11,400
Ryan’s DFS price reflects his body of work over a number of recent games, not just last week’s obscene point explosion. If the Falcons’ offensive might has actually been recaptured, Ryan won’t be this cheap for many more weeks. However, it appears he has a new touchdown toy in rookie Calvin Ridley so we’re saying there’s a chance we’ll see the MVP-esque numbers more frequently.
Nobody’s forecasting a repeat of Ryan’s 374-yard, four-touchdown performance this week, but the Bengals rank in the bottom third of the league in pass defense this season, having allowed 270 passing yards per game.
Carson Wentz, Eagles at Tennessee — $10,900
Wentz returned to action last week against the Colts and looked just fine. His mobility was good and he completed 68 percent of his passes. That’s a solid first step toward bigger games ahead, especially once he gets Alshon Jeffery and some of his running back weapons back in the huddle… which will be soon.
Since his first game back was merely nice, his DFS price remains very affordable for those on a budget with studs at other positions. The Tennessee defense he faces this week bolstered its numbers with last week’s game against an ineffective Blake Bortles, but allowed two touchdown passes in each of its first two games this season (to Ryan Tannehill and Deshaun Watson).
Javorius Allen, Ravens at Pittsburgh — $8,000
Buck was featured in this exact same spot last week and he went out and scored two more touchdowns. You’re welcome. Oh, and then his price slipped another $500 on FantasyDraft. Wait, what? Not surprisingly, Allen is the No. 1 value at running back at FantasyLabs for cash game models. He was also the hottest running back pickup in fantasy football this week and is still barely owned in more than 50 percent of ESPN leagues at this writing (hint, hint).
He won’t be available in your league for long and his DFS price won’t continue to be this low for long either. The Steelers defense he faces this week is allowing 30 points per game — fifth-worst in the league — and Allen is a goal-line vulture of the highest order. This feels like easy pickings.
Marshawn Lynch, Raiders vs. Cleveland — $9,400
FantasyLabs loves “Beastmode” again this week. He seems to be a favorite of theirs. Anyway, I seldom, if ever, argue with their DFS value assessment and I won’t here. Lynch’s price dropped by $900 from last week to this week on FantasyDraft, which is usually a good indicator of value opportunity. I like the Browns defense, but they have been just average against the run this season, ranking 16th in run defense.
Meanwhile, all Marshawn does is score a touchdown every week – one in each game this season. He’s the only Raider with a rushing touchdown this season so it’s not like there’s any doubt who’s getting the ball at the stripe.
Giovani Bernard, Bengals at Atlanta — $11,500
As we said last week, whenever Gio gets an opportunity at extra touches he produces. That was the case again last week when he totaled 86 yards from scrimmage, five receptions and a rushing touchdown. That looked nice in your DFS PPR-scoring lineup, huh? The Atlanta defense he takes on this week has allowed the most receptions to running backs by a wide margin – 36, which is eight more than the next defense.
The Falcons’ D has also allowed the second-most receiving yards to running backs. Even when Bernard isn’t the primary ball-carrier, he gets it done in the receiving game, so this sets up nicely. He’s nursing a thigh injury but has been practicing this week so I suspect he plays his normal share of snaps.
Cooper Kupp, Rams vs. Minnesota — $9,900
You might want to look away, Vikings fans. Chances are good that Xavier Rhodes will be handling the speedier Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks in coverage on Thursday. That will leave Kupp coverage to either the hobbled Trae Waynes (nursing an ankle injury) or, more likely, rookie Mike Hughes. Those are the matchups you want to attempt to exploit when facing this usually stout Vikes defense.
Kupp is Jared Goff’s favorite red-zone target – has been since the start of last season and continues to be. Kupp has two receiving scores this season and the likelihood of more red-zone targets on Thursday night feels high.
Quincy Enunwa, Jets at Jacksonville — $8,500
Sometimes you have to look beyond the ugly match-up. Nobody really loves this Jaguars match-up for Enunwa, but his DFS price also reflects that – to the point that his cost might have been a bit overcorrected this week. He will cost almost $2,000 less (!) than last week on FantasyDraft.
That’s a giant savings on a guy who has more targets and receptions than his next two teammates combined and will be playing in a game where the script suggests the Jets will be passing to come from behind.
Antonio Callaway, Browns at Oakland — $8,900
Among Browns receivers, Jarvis Landry is probably even a better value this week but I’m opting to highlight his lesser-known wingman, who costs more than $4,000 less on FantasyDraft. Callaway is an explosive play waiting to happen and the Raiders defense is allowing the second-most yards per reception to wide receivers this season. That math is pretty simple, making Callaway an alluring play in both cash games and tournaments in Week 4.
Jimmy Graham, Packers vs. Buffalo — $8,400
Graham’s price tag was north of $10,000 to start the season, but has dipped a few thousand bucks in the weeks since. Don’t pay much attention to the fact that he’s missing practices with a knee injury during the week. That’s kind of his deal. He shows up on Sunday.
Over the past two weeks, Rodgers has targeted Graham 15 times for 11 receptions and 140 yards. The connection is starting to develop, and Jimmy’s first Lambeau Leap could be on the horizon this Sunday against a Bills defense that at least allowed Vikings tight end, Kyle Rudolph, to score last week.
Jared Cook, Raiders vs. Cleveland — $8,000
Cook’s price dropped $300 from last week, but his value to fantasy owners should not wane. He leads the Raiders in targets, receptions and yards receiving; and while he has not scored yet, he is getting looks in the red zone. He already has six receptions of more than 20 yards, which is pretty impressive for a tight end through three games. That’s Gronk-like, but he will cost you a whopping $5,200 less to roster than Gronkowski will on FantasyDraft this weekend.
Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo — $7,000
Let’s try this again. You undoubtedly remember way back to last week when everyone and their brother made extra room for the Vikings defense in their DFS lineups at home against the hapless Bills. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. Lightning won’t strike twice in a row, will it?
The prediction here is that the Packers offense under the leadership of Aaron Rodgers will manage to sustain drives more often and give the Bills longer fields to work with than the bumbling Vikes did last Sunday. That realistic view might sting here on a Minnesota sports site like this, but you have to admit it’s probably right. This will keep the Packers defense fresh and ready to pounce on any mistakes by the Bills still-untested rookie quarterback.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. NY Jets — $7,300
Sometimes it can be the most expensive defense and still be a good value. This is one of those times. Jacksonville’s mighty defense at home against a rookie quarterback is an absolute play no matter how you want to slice it.
There is an endless trove of additional data plus incredible tools for modeling, lineup building and more at FantasyLabs.com. If you play DFS, FantasyLabs will make you a better player. Use the code 50OFF to get half off a trial membership.
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