Week 4 of the NFL season is upon us and with it comes another opportunity to beat your friends and strangers alike in daily fantasy football. The Fanball format calls for a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX WR/TE, FLEX RB/WR/TE, D/ST lineup with a $55,000 salary cap. The players below can fit into lineups regardless of strategy, as they all offer strong value relative to price.
Eli Manning, NYG at TB ($6,900): With New York's running game almost certain to struggle once again, the responsibility of digging the Giants out of their 0-3 hole will fall almost solely on Manning's shoulders. Fortunately for the veteran quarterback, he gets an ideal Week 4 matchup against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed 329.5 passing yards per game despite facing Mike Glennon and Case Keenum. Even the biggest Manning hater would admit he has a far superior combination of ability and receiving threats compared to either of the two aforementioned signal callers, and he'll get no shortage of opportunities to dissect this defense after being asked to throw 39 times per game so far.
Carson Palmer, ARI vs. SF ($6,200): Volume could be an issue for Palmer if his team gets up big in this one, but Arizona's inability to get much going on the ground since David Johnson injured his wrist in the opener suggests the veteran quarterback will have to stay busy if the offense wants to move the ball effectively. He's topped 300 yards in consecutive weeks even while working without Johnson and John Brown (quad), taking advantage of arguably the league's deepest group of wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson. Another strong performance should be in the cards against a San Francisco secondary that got burned for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns by Jared Goff last week.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR at NE ($7,000): With tight end Greg Olsen (foot) sidelined and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee) likely to sit as well, McCaffrey's the most trusted target left for quarterback Cam Newton. Given the high-scoring nature of New England's first three games, there should be some explosive plays from both sides in this one. With plenty of volume likely to come his way in both the running and passing game, McCaffrey's the best bet to lead a much less diverse Panthers offense in touches and yards as it tries to keep pace with a Patriots unit that's teeming with playmakers.
Andre Ellington, ARI vs. SF ($3,300): Ellington was easily the most dangerous option in Arizona's backfield during last week's loss to Dallas, finishing second only to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in receiving yards with 59 on five catches while gaining a team-high 22 rushing yards on only five carries. With Chris Johnson picking up just 17 yards on his 12 totes, it's possible the two see a more even split against a 49ers defense that allows 124.3 yards per game on the ground. Assuming Arizona jumps out to a lead over winless San Francisco as expected, Ellington would benefit from a more run-heavy gameplan while simultaneously contributing as a receiver out of the backfield.
Wendell Smallwood, PHI at LAC ($4,300): Smallwood played more snaps than nominal starter LeGarrette Blount last week and should remain a key cog in Philadelphia's offense this week. While Blount is still the favorite for goal-line work, Smallwood's superior receiving ability makes him the better bet to soak up the pass-catching duties left behind in the wake of Darren Sproles' season-ending broken arm and torn ACL in one play. Both running backs should thrive against a Chargers front that allows 146.7 yards per game on the ground, but Smallwood is the superior PPR play.
A.J. Green, CIN at CLE ($8,800): Green thrived in the first game under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, almost leading his team to an upset of the Packers at Lambeau Field with 10 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. He should find similar road success this week against a pitiful Browns secondary that just surrendered 153 yards and a touchdown to Indianapolis' T.Y. Hilton. Given how impotent the rest of Cincinnati's offense has looked, there's little risk of the Bengals pulling away and abandoning the passing game in this meeting of winless rivals.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs. TEN ($8,200): Cornerback play is the weakness of Tennessee's defense, as evidenced by the team's 275.0 passing yards allowed per game. Hopkins will have no shortage of chances to exploit that weakness, as the crown jewel of Houston's passing game has already been targeted 37 times through three weeks. No. 1 receivers Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns and Doug Baldwin all found paydirt against this defense, so it wouldn't be wise to bet against Hopkins getting into the end zone as well.
Paul Richardson, SEA vs. IND ($4,000): Richardson has scored touchdowns in consecutive weeks and has a great chance of pushing that streak to three on Sunday Night Football against a Colts defense that's tied for 10th when it comes to defending the run but a dismal 29th with 283.7 passing yards allowed per game. His stock would rise even further if Doug Baldwin does not suit up after exiting last week's loss to Tennessee with a strained groin. The 2014 second-rounder won't be this cheap for much longer if his promising early season trajectory manifests itself into a true breakout campaign, so don't wait until it's too late to grab him from a value perspective.
Travis Kelce, KC vs. WAS ($7,000): In each of Washington's first three games, the leading receiver on the opposing team ended up being the tight end. Kelce is among the league's elites at the position and will be itching to showcase his skills in this favorable Monday Night Football matchup after being held to one yard last week. Most eyes will be on exciting new threats Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, but it wouldn't be surprising to see old reliable Kelce steal the show.
Jared Cook, OAK at DEN ($4,300): Cook is emerging as the third consistent receiving weapon for Derek Carr alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, but his price is a fraction of theirs even though this matchup plays right into the tight end's hands. Denver's stout pass defense has been terrific at shutting down wide receivers, but the team's linebackers struggle in coverage. Tight ends have averaged eight catches for 68 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos the last two weeks, and Cook has the ability to match or even surpass those numbers after catching 13 balls through three weeks and finding the end zone last Sunday.
New York Jets, NYJ vs. JAC ($2,900): With the team's quarterback carousel sucking the life out of the offense in recent years, Jets fans have gotten used to saving most of their support for the defense. They had plenty to cheer about in last week's home opener, as New York had a shutout going until the Dolphins scored a meaningless touchdown on the game's final play. Similar results can be expected in this next home matchup with a Floridian foe, as Jacksonville employs a similar gameplan to Miami, but features a significantly less dangerous passing game led by the mistake-prone Blake Bortles. Tied for the seventh-cheapest defense at $2,900, this unit should hold its own while allowing owners to maximize spending at other positions.
Cincinnati Bengals, CIN at CLE ($3,100): Cleveland looked competent on offense in the second half last week, but a lot of that likely had to do with Indianapolis dialing down the defensive intensity after leading 28-7 at the break. Cincinnati has a lot more talent on the defensive side of the ball than the Colts, especially with emotional leader and tackling machine Vontaze Burfict due to make his season debut after sitting the first three games due to suspension. Despite its middling price, this unit has the combination of personnel and favorable matchup necessary to finish near the top in fantasy scoring this week.