RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship – Week 4

On to Week 4 of the NFL Season. I’ve had some decent success in the first three weeks (hopefully the same applies to you) and am excited to keep things rolling as we begin hitting bye weeks (my Packers and the Eagles are the only teams off in Week 4).

It is also Week 4 of the RotoWire & FanDuel competition. Here are the rules to the contest for those who don’t know:

  • 10-week competition hosted on FanDuel
  • $10 entry (max five entries each week)
  • Compete against other users and three FanDuel experts (Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper, Kevin Payne
  • Finish above the experts, win an entry in the Week 11 Freeroll with over $5,000 in prizes and RotoWire subscriptions up for grabs
  • Each qualifying week acts as a double-up with the top 250 doubling up their cash
  • This is not a continuous competition, so you can enter every week, and you don’t have to have participated in Week 1 to enter this week’s competition
  • There is no limit on the amount of entries you can win for the championship round, so start racking them up this week if you haven’t already
  • You can sign up for this week’s competition here

RotoWire has a separate expert competition that will run the duration of the public competition. James Seltzer managed to take home the crown in Week 3, amassing 141.00 points on the backs of 24-point efforts from David Johnson (24.6), Christine Michael (24.1) and Mike Evans (24.2). The hero of the week for Seltzer’s squad was actually Minnesota’s defense, which tallied 26 points and was owned in just 1.8 percent of lineups. The week moved him up to second in the overall standings, trailing just Joel Bartilotta (434.00)

You can find the rest of the leaderboard here but the rest of the Top 10 goes as follows:

  1. Joel Bartilota (joelbartilotta) 434.00
  2. James Seltzer (schweppy23) 398.72
  3. Chris Benzine (crispy272001) 393.44
  4. Adam Wolf (rotosomething) 371.22
  5. Shawn Cwalinski (cwalinski) 369.12
  6. Dave Hunter (therolypolboy) 366.28
  7. Anthony Tynan (at325802) 365.02
  8. Andrew Fiorentino (akf1986) 360.36
  9. Derek VanRiper (rotowiredvr) 359.56
  10. Shannon McKeown (rotoshannon) 351.52

Week 4 Value Picks

There are multiple things to consider as we enter Week 4. Not only do bye weeks begin, but there is an expectedly high-scoring game between the Colts and Jaguars in London this week that doesn’t join Sunday’s slate, in addition to Monday’s game being skipped as well. This leaves a total of 12 games to choose from in Week 4.

QB Kirk Cousins ($7600) vs CLE

While Cousins’ first two weeks were less than stellar, he has neared or topped 300 passing yards each week this season. Washington hosts a Cleveland team down to its third-string quarterback (Cody Kessler) once again Sunday so Cousins will be on the field a lot. However, the Redskins are tied for the heaviest-favorite-on-the-slate (-7.5) award, so Cousins may need to do his damage early to ensure value is reached.

RB Jordan Howard ($5,600) vs DET

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Howard surfaced as the expected Bears starting running back thanks to injuries to both Jeremy Langford (ankle) Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring), who are both doubtful for the contest. While the Lions defense may not rank among the worst (20th) against the rush on FanDuel, they do surrender a league-high 5.1 yards per carry. Howard also proved he can catch the ball when he hauled in four of his six targets last week for 47 yards. Unless something drastically changes before Sunday, he should be in line for a workhorse role in the backfield.

RB Mark Ingram ($6,800) at SD

Ingram gives you a middle-of-the-road priced running back in a game that possesses the highest over/under (53.5) on the slate. San Diego’s defense may have allowed just 245 yards rushing over the first three weeks but that was a product of them getting ahead early against both the Chiefs and Jaguars, requiring the opposition to abandon the run game. Running backs average 4.4 yards per tote against them this season and the Saints have enough of a high-powered offense to keep up with a Chargers team down Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and potentially Antonio Gates. Ingram should find plenty of work in a game that figures to have a large number of possessions.

WR Kelvin Benjamin ($7,700) at ATL

Benjamin went without a grab in Week 3 on just one target, which may have played a role in his $7,700 price tag against the Falcons. Benjamin likely saw a lot of Xavier Rhodes in the contest against the Vikings, a cornerback the Falcons can’t match. The Falcons have allowed the fifth-most yards per game (318.7) through the air this season and Benjamin was targeted 21 times in the previous two games for the Panthers. I expect similar results to his first two weeks in this contest at a price that leaves him ninth among receivers.

WR Michael Crabtree ($6,500) at BAL

While the numbers against Baltimore’s defense this season haven’t been impressive, it’s worth mentioning that the Ravens faced the Bills (last in passing yds/gm) and Browns (25th in passing yds/gm) in the first two weeks of the season. With Amari Cooper likely to match up consistently with Jimmy Smith, Crabtree will see plenty of Shareece Wright, who has graded out well below average this season. While he’s second on the depth chart at wide receiver, Crabtree has notched 39.5 points through three weeks this season and could be in line for another strong outing Sunday.

WR Steve Smith ($6,100) vs OAK

While Smith’s point totals on FanDuel this season aren’t overly impressive, he’s escalated his numbers each week thus far. The veteran snatched eight balls on 11 targets for 87 yards in Week 3 against the Jaguars and should have another strong outing in Week 4 against the league’s worst pass defense (344.3) through three weeks this season.

WR Jamison Crowder ($6000) vs CLE

I mentioned above how I like Kirk Cousins as the value quarterback of the week. While he has names like Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to feed, Crowder has been a huge part of the offense through three weeks as well. In addition to scoring in each of the past two contests, he’s drawn 25 targets through three weeks and has tallied 16 grabs. Washington’s slot receiver has seen 44-plus snaps in each of the first three contests and should find cracks in the porous Cleveland defense on Sunday.

High Risk/Reward

WR Mike Evans ($8,000) vs DEN

It may seem crazy to take a Tampa wide receiver against the vaunted Denver defense but Mike Evans is a superior talent to most receivers in the league.The price tag isn’t exactly cheap but you’re getting a receiver that has drawn 32 targets in the past two weeks. The Broncos generally line up Aqib Talib at LCB, Bradley Roby at RCB and Chris Harris in the slot. Fortunately for Evans, he lines up the majority of the time in what will be opposite Roby, giving him a distinct advantage compared to the likes of Vincent Jackson and Adam Humpries. Evans could be in line for another high-volume contest Sunday, paying dividends to the few who select him.


Steer Clear

RB David Johnson ($8,700) vs LA

It’s tough to deny the talent level of Johnson but the Rams present a stout defensive front seven, holding opponent rushers to just 3.4 yards per carry. It’s unlikely Los Angeles will completely shut down the second-year running back but there are better running back options on the board further down the list this week.

WR Amari Cooper ($7,600) at BAL

As I mentioned above in the Crabtree section, Cooper will likely be locked up with the Ravens’ best cornerback (Jimmy Smith) for most of the day. While he’s had plenty of targets (29) through three weeks this season, he’s reached 10 points just once thus far and has justifiably seen a dip in his price. There are other names around the same value that make much more sense for Week 4 daily lineups.