There has been a lot more salary change in 2014 NFL than any other season or sport I remember on FanDuel. It makes it fun to find value in new places every week. And also to guess at how the salary algorithm works.
Joe McKnight was this week's funniest salary hike. From almost not making the team a month ago to carrying the same price tag as DFS stud Pierre Thomas, well that's something. The list of players that you can have for less than his $6400 is impressive (Fred Jackson, Donald Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, to name a few).
FanDuel isn't alone in this either. McKnight's price rose everywhere. Maybe the reasoning is that as soon as you see him in this range, everyone below looks like an amazing value in comparison. Speaking of amazing value, here are the Bargain Bin picks for Week 4. As always, I've tried to dig deep and save you some real money with these guys. They come with my thoughts on if and how to deploy them in your cash game or GPP lineups. Good luck!
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- Ryan Fitzpatrick ($6500): I recommended him last week, and not that I like being redundant, but I'm not going to give you cheap plays I don't believe in just to be unique. The same arguments apply. 13.24, 13.56, and 21.96 are his FD points the first three weeks of the season. Buffalo is a below average passing defense, and Fitzpatrick figures to continue to play it safe and control this game at home. If he goes for 250 PaYds and a TD, he pays off nicely. The potential for more is there.
- Mike Glennon ($5500): This is the bottom of the barrel pick for you. Tampa Bay's offense has been putrid and frankly hard to watch. Glennon's classic game is less than 200 PaYds and 1-2 TDs. For the bare minimum, it's enough to meet value against the Steelers average passing defense. The Bucs figure to be behind, hopefully will have both Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey at their disposal...where the questions come is at WR. Vincent Jackson has been practicing in full with a broken wrist, which sounds bad to me (but I'm not that kind of doctor), and Mike Evans has yet to break out. I think his size and physicality will overcome his slow rookie start, perhaps as soon as this week.
My take: Both of these plays project as pretty safe, low ceiling guys this week. If you're dying to fit pricey WR, RB, or TE (which is fairly gross this week) they should give you the cap space to do so. I don't consider them tournament plays, because I don't see huge games from either.
- Khiry Robinson ($4900): Robinson saw his usage soar in Week 3 with Mark Ingram out from 6-8 carries to 18. Granted, he only gained 69 yards, but the volume is encouraging. That game didn't play out like many expected it to. I expect a much different Saints game this week at home vs Dallas. In Vegas' highest o/u game, against the league's worst run defense so far (per ProFootballFocus), I like both Khiry and Pierre Thomas.
- Donald Brown ($6300): He is the man in San Diego right now. Last week vs the Bills he ran 31 times and caught three passes for 120 total yards. At home vs Jacksonville, that usage could actually go up, and I'm pretty sure he gets in the endzone in what I see as a huge blowout win for the Chargers.
My take: I don't like many cheap RB plays this week, if you couldn't tell. I try to keep these picks in the truly bargain range (less than $6K), but I think Brown still represents a great value at his price. I'll be using him liberally, along with a mix of the two Saints backs in both cash and GPP lineups.
- Stevie Johnson ($5800): With Vernon Davis out last week, Stevie saw a huge increase in usage, catching nine passes in Arizona after just four total receptions in the first two games. I don't know if Davis plays this week or not, but I like Johnson as the 49ers host the Eagles in a high scoring game in which they're the clear favorite.
- Jeremy Kerley ($4800): Yet another usage play. Eric Decker is a good receiver. When he's not 100% on the field he still requires defensive attention, which opened the door to more action for Kerley on MNF. He caught a season high 7/81/1 vs the Bears. The situation should be much the same as the Jets play another home game vs Detroit. Detroit's defense may very well be legit; they've allowed just over 200 yards receiving a game so far, which isn't a ton. But on the Jets, I figure half of those yards go to Kerley for lack of a better option. It's not the best endorsement, but for the price, he's my go to for deep WR value.
My take: With three WR spots on FanDuel, I almost always fill one with a cheap play. The price difference between Antonio Brown/Dez Bryant and Julian Edelman/Michael Crabtree level is probably enough for me to favor Kerley slightly here, but the matchup for SF is too good; I'll have some of both in my lineups this weekend.
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- Larry Donnell ($4900): I give in. I never really wanted to recommend Donnell. But I can't ignore what he's done over the last three weeks, and Eli Manning (gasp) has been serviceable the past two weeks, and...I guess I believe in him a little bit now. For his part, it's the efficiency that stands out: 18/23 for 182 yds and a touchdown. A fumble in Week 3 hurt his fantasy points, but he still caught 6/6 targets vs Houston. While Washington can bring pressure, overall their passing defense is average. Donnell has proven himself a favored and reliable target for Eli in what has to be a better TNF show than last week.
- Ladarius Green ($5000): I must be drunk. Green is a freak athlete type that simply screams "put the ball in my hands". Well, actually we scream it for him. I'm on record betting on Green over Antonio Gates (in FPTs) this week, and since there is so little TE value this week, I'm putting him in here. In the two games he's played he's seen eight targets, hauling in six of them for 88 yds. Not really special numbers-wise. I think that could change this week simply based on the matchup with Jacksonville. I mentioned why above...but specifically for this play, it makes sense to rest the aging and ever hobbled but still maddeningly effective Gates and allow Green to run more routes if the Chargers open up an early lead. All he needs to shine is opportunity.
My take: If you play Brees or Brady, you're paying up for their most reliable target, the TE. I like Martellus Bennett a lot at $6K, and Niles Paul at $5.1K. In fact, I almost ignored my bargain threshold again and wrote Paul up, but didn't want to list two TNF plays. If you're rostering Philip Rivers and sane, Gates is the safer option.
- Oakland Raiders ($4600): The Raiders "host" the Dolphins in London this week. Traditionally, playing in London hasn't skewed scoring in any kind of systematic way, so I treat this as a neutral field, which isn't as good for Oakland. However, these two teams match up well for the OAK D/ST, which is weaker against the run, stronger against the pass. Miami will be riding Lamar Miller in this game, who has averaged 71 RuYds and 17 ReYds with 1TD in 2014. That's not intimidating. On the other hand, Miami's passing game has shown nothing. Ryan Tannehill has thrown 4TDs and 2 INTs on 124 attempts for 624 total PaYds and the Raiders actually do okay against the pass (10th in pass rush and 11th in pass coverage per PFF). Tannehill's completion % is a mere 56%. I expect more defense than offense on both sides of this one, and while I'll usually take the more skilled unit, for the price and matchup, I don't think the Raiders D is a terrible punt.
- Detroit Lions ($4700): Unlike Oakland, Detroit D/ST appears legit. They've allowed the fewest yards of any team so far, 733 (per ESPN Stats). Geno Smith and the Jets can be generous with the ball (-3 TO differential), though Detroit hasn't excelled at the turnover battle, with only three takeaways this season total. The secondary is greatly improved-all four of their top DBs have good PFF grades-which leads me to think that Smith will have to be perfect to avoid the INTs. He rarely is. This is a safe, cheap play.
My take: I haven't had a hard time affording the Chargers D ($5300) on FanDuel this week. They're the clear top option, having the trifecta of skill, home field advantage, and facing the worst offensive opponent. No, Blake Bortles doesn't scare me on the road in his first NFL start. If you don't like SD, consider Miami ($5200), PFF's #1 rated defense vs the aforementioned Raiders. They're on the road, or across the sea as the case may be, but that's essentially their only drawback.