NFL DFS: Week 4 FanDuel Tournament Pivots
In daily fantasy football, it is essential to find value for your lineups. If we want to be able to afford the top dollar names like David Johnson and Antonio Brown, we’ll inevitably need to balance our lineup with less expensive players who provide upside.
There are certain value thresholds that we need from these players in order to cash in, and more importantly, win tournaments and larger leagues.
For FanDuel tournaments, we need our guys to reach 3x their salary (for example, Christine Michael is $7,500 this week and would need to score 22.5 FanDuel points to justify his usage).
If these high-upside plays are also low-owned, we now have an elite GPP tournament play. Each week, we’ll look at who the most popular plays will be and how we can pivot away from them without losing upside.
Here are the top tournament plays for Week 4.
Don’t overlook these quarterbacks:
$7700 | BAL -3.5, 46.5
Joe Flacco will host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, a defense that has allowed 334 passing yards per game and seven total passing touchdowns through three weeks of the season. Take a look at Oakland’s travel schedule over the past two weeks: home game against Atlanta in Week 2, fly to Tennessee in Week 3, fly back to Oakland for practice, fly all the way back to the east coast for the Baltimore matchup on Sunday. That’s a crazy amount of traveling for a defense that already struggles heavily against the pass. Flacco needs just 23.1 FanDuel points to reach value for tournaments — 277 yards and three touchdowns would do the trick.
$6900 | KC +5, 47
The Chiefs-Steelers game has sneaky shootout potential on Sunday night, as the Chiefs may have to play catch up versus a Steelers offense that returns RB Le’Veon Bell. The Chiefs are 5-point underdogs in this matchup and if Vegas is right, Alex Smith will be throwing often in the second half of this game. This Steelers’ defense is soft against the pass too — they’ve allowed 300-plus passing yards in each game this season. When you add in the upside of Alex Smith’s rushing totals (he already has one rushing touchdown this season), there are quite a few routes to Smith achieving tournament value.
$6000 | CHI +3, 48
Brian Hoyer is the cheapest starting quarterback on this week’s slate, so using him in a tournament lineup will give you some flexibility to roster studs at other positions. He’ll be facing off against the Detroit Lions, a fast-paced offense that allows the opposing team to run a ton of offensive plays. Through three weeks this season, the Lions have already allowed 10 passing touchdowns. Vegas thinks this game will be full of points, too, as the total has increased from 46 to 48 points. Hoyer is a turnover-prone quarterback, but he has the ability to get the ball to his playmakers and score fantasy points, which is all we care about.
It’s not the week to go contrarian at running back:
$7600 | SD -4, 53.5
After Danny Woodhead tore his ACL in Week 2, Melvin Gordon played all but eight snaps in the Chargers’ Week 3 matchup with the Colts. Gordon is now being involved in the passing game, catching four passes last week, while dominating red zone work. On Sunday, he’ll face a Saints’ defense that has allowed seven touchdowns to running backs through three weeks. Oh, and that Saints team has to travel all the way to the west coast for this game. There are too many positive factors in this situation to fade Gordon in tournaments.
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$5600 | CHI +3, 48
The theme of the week at running back is “don’t overthink it.” While not supremely talented, Jordan Howard will get at least fifteen touches in a home matchup with the Lions. Jeremy Langford is out four to six weeks with a sprained ankle and Ka’Deem Carey is doubtful with a hamstring injury, leaving Raheem Mostert and recently signed Joique Bell to backup Howard. Given the lack of options, Howard is likely to receive 90 percent of the RB touches for Chicago. Carries, receptions, and red zone work in a high scoring game? Howard is the most likely bet to return tournament value this weekend at just $5600.[wlm_nonmember]
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$8300 | PIT -5, 47
Le’Veon will return to action after sitting out the first three games of the season due to suspension. There may be some concern for Bell’s usage, as he is also returning from a knee injury and running mate DeAngelo Williams averaged 26.7 touches per game in his absence. However, head coach Mike Tomlin has already stated Bell will be the focus of the offense and see his usual workload in Week 4. In the same situation last year when Bell returned from suspension in Week 3, he received 26 touches. As a five-point home favorite with a relatively high game total of 47, Bell has a sky-high ceiling versus the Chiefs.
At wide receiver, look no further than these high-upside guys who project to be less than 5 percent owned:
$6900 | WAS -7.5, 46.5
We already know DeSean Jackson has a great matchup this week, as the Cleveland Browns have allowed six receiving touchdowns to wide receivers in three games this season. But more importantly, Vegas is all over the Redskins’ offense in Week 4. Despite only receiving 38 percent of the spread bets, sharp bettors have pushed the Redskins from 6.5-point favorites to 7.5-point favorites. Thanks to the total moving up to 47 from its opener of 45.5, the Redskins now have the second highest implied team total on the board at 27.25. All the signs point to D-Jax having a huge game on Sunday.
$5500 | CHI +3, 48
Quick, who leads the Bears in targets? OK, maybe the giant “KEVIN WHITE” header gave it away. While he hasn’t produced at an elite level yet, he still surprisingly leads the Bears with 27 targets, seven more than Alshon Jeffery. Because of his lack of surface stats, his FanDuel salary hasn’t caught up to his usage in this offense. For the same reasons Brian Hoyer is a good play above, White is an excellent tournament option this weekend. For a cheap, high upside triple stack, pair Hoyer with both White and Jeffery.
$8500 | ATL +3, 50
Julio Jones caught just one pass on seven targets on Monday night against the Saints’ atrocious defense, so you know DFS players will be reluctant to use him in Week 4. But there are plenty of reasons to ignore your instincts and roster Julio. For one, he’ll be less than five percent owned. For a receiver of his skill level, it’s rare to be that low-owned. Secondly, his team is just a three point underdog in a game with a 50-point total, so there will be plenty of scoring to go around for the Falcons. Lastly, passing games are historically more efficient and see higher fantasy totals in the first matchup of the season with a divisional opponent. Jones is an excellent pivot away from any of the other top-priced wide receivers.
A tight end on an explosive offense at 2 percent owned?
$5800 | DET -3, 48
By now, you should get the sense that the Lions-Bears matchup will be a high scoring affair with plenty of fantasy points. The Lions’ implied team total is 25.25 points and with no real running game to speak of, it’s likely that all of their scoring comes in the form of passing touchdowns. Marvin Jones has been incredible to start the season, but he’s been limited by a hamstring ailment in practice this week. Golden Tate has been maddeningly inefficient, which leaves tight end Eric Ebron as a go-to target in the red zone for Sunday. Nearly three-quarters of the betting action (72 percent) is on the Lions this weekend, so expectations are high for their offense. Ebron represents the best combination of ownership percentage and upside from this receiving group.[/wlm_ismember]
Brian has been playing fantasy football for 16 years and commissioned his first fantasy league at age 12. When he’s not writing about sports, you can find him playing every daily fantasy sport and participating in high stakes fantasy football contests. Brian won more than 1,000 NFL contests on FanDuel last season and has won multiple league championships in the Footballguys Player Championship contest. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Brian usually spends his winters agonizing over Terrapins basketball. When the weather is warmer, Brian is known for his receiving prowess in flag football leagues on the National Mall in Washington, DC.