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Fantasy Football: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Already Been

By Bo Mitchell

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit each Wednesday for a new column and a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.

Week 3 is the clubhouse leader for crazy fantasy weeks on the young season. The Matthew Stafford-to-Golden Tate touchdown that was nullified at the end of the Lions-Falcons game, precipitating a 10-second run-off cost a lot of owners wins and/or DFS cash (one of whom may or may not have been yours truly). Oh yeah, it also cost Detroit a win. Other than that, and the Jets’ easy win over the Dolphins, the Jaguars’ blowout of the Ravens in London (including three touchdowns from Marcedes Lewis that helped zero fantasy owners), the Saints posting 34 points on a Panthers defense that was allowing 3 per game, the Packers almost losing at home to the Bengals… you get the point. If the league looks hungover this week, you’ll know why.

By the way, don’t bother picking up Lewis. That won’t happen again.

DFS Week 4 Values

For DFS players, we provide the best values at QB/RB/WR/TE on a weekly basis, including pricing from Fanball, DraftKings and FanDuel. Good luck!

QB: Jared Goff at Dallas

Fanball: $6,000

DraftKings: $5,600

FanDuel: $7,200

This is the latest in the season that a Rams quarterback has had a passer rating this high (118.2) since Kurt Warner in 1999, as the NFL Research Twitter account pointed out this week. Maybe the No. 1 overall pick last year is figuring this NFL thing out – something DFS value setters have been slow to figure out (or perhaps believe). The Dallas secondary is ripe for the picking when the opposing quarterback has any time to throw, as shown again on Monday night by the Cardinals. Fortunately for Goff, he’ll have Andrew Whitworth to slow the roll of NFL sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence.

QB: Carson Palmer vs. San Francisco

Fanball: $6,200

DraftKings: $6,100

FanDuel: $7,400

Reports of Palmer’s demise were premature. The “old guy” ranks third in the NFL in passing yards and still displays all kinds of arm talent anytime he has something resembling a clean pocket, which has been rare this season. Palmer has thrown a league-high 46 pass attempts under pressure this season, according to Sportradar. The Niners defense he’ll be hosting this Sunday ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of total pressures (sacks, hurries and knockdowns) with 37, again according to Sportradar, and has the fewest sacks in the league (3.0) amongst teams that have played three games. Palmer’s price should probably be that of a top-10 quarterback this week. News flash: it’s not.

RB: Wendell Smallwood at LA Chargers

Fanball: $4,300

DraftKings: $4,100

FanDuel: $5,300

Smallwood is going to get a second chance to make a big impact in the Eagles’ offense due to the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Darren Sproles. Going forward, Smallwood will be splitting touches primarily with LeGarrette Blount (who’s also very affordable in DFS this week by the way). The injury news on Sproles was not announced until after DFS values were set in stone for Week 4. Lucky for you. Oh, and the Chargers have allowed the most rushing yards to running backs this season, so there’s that.

RB: Chris Carson vs. Indianapolis

Fanball: $5,600

DraftKings: $5,400

FanDuel: $6,600

Carson is dominating the touches in the Seattle backfield and found the end zone for the first time this past Sunday. His volume and soft matchup suggest his price should be several hundred dollars higher this weekend. The Colts defense has not been as awful as you might assume against the run – they haven’t allowed a running back to rush for over 50 yards through three games. However, overall the Indy defense has been really bad, allowing the third-most yards and second-most points per game. All of which sets up nicely for Seattle to get its offense going for the second game in a row with Carson as a focal point.

RB: Joe Mixon at Cleveland

Fanball: $6,700

DraftKings: $5,700

FanDuel: $5,600

Mixon’s 21 touches this past weekend under new Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor could be a sign of things to come – a committee tilting more in favor of the talented rookie. This Sunday’s game against the Browns is the convergence of a nice matchup and a price that won’t be this low much longer. Take advantage, especially of that great value on FanDuel.

WR: Emmanuel Sanders vs. Oakland

Fanball: $6,400

DraftKings: $6,100

FanDuel: $7,300

In general, if you can get a few of these $6,000 receivers (or $7,000-something in FD) into your lineup, you should be able to roster an elite player or two elsewhere. And there are usually several good, affordable players from which to choose in this range. Case in point, Sanders has been a top-20 wideout again this season and is tied for fifth in the league with 29 targets through three weeks. Oakland has allowed a 112 passer rating this season, ranking 30th in the league, which means the frequently targeted Sanders is in line to compile a nice stat line once again.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins vs. Tennessee

Fanball: $8,200

DraftKings: $6,400

FanDuel: $7,300

When I think of volume at wide receiver, I think of Hopkins – who, not surprisingly, is leading the NFL with 37 targets through three games. He has the highest price tag amongst our DFS value plays this week but still isn’t a WR1 in terms of DFS price. He has a matchup to take advantage of this Sunday against a Titans defense that’s allowed five wide receiver touchdowns – including scores to two of the three wideouts who have had double-digit targets against them this season (which you know Hopkins will).

WR: Adam Thielen vs. Detroit

Fanball: $6,100

DraftKings: $5,800

FanDuel: $6,900

Yes, Vikings fans, that’s Thielen ranked second in the league in receiving yards just ahead of Stefon Diggs. Minnesota’s secretly spectacular wide receiver duo hasn’t been acknowledged by the industry yet – well, at least the Thielen half. Thus, his price remains ridiculously low. I could probably list him in this space every week, but what makes him particularly compelling this Sunday is that Lions ace cornerback Darius Slay will primarily play the left side or maybe shadow Diggs to a certain extent. That should leave things open out of the slot for the sure-handed Thielen to have another big day.

WR: Rishard Matthews at Houston

Fanball: $5,900

DraftKings: $4,900

FanDuel: $6,000

Matthews continues to be one of the most underrated and undervalued players in fantasy football. He’s overshadowed by bigger name players in this offense but he consistently produces. To wit, Matthews has gone over 70 yards and/or scored a touchdown in 13 of his last 16 games. Reliable and consistent, yet nobody seems to care other than Marcus Mariota. He’s guaranteed points at bargain bin price again this week against a Texans defense that has allowed four wide receiver touchdowns in three games.

TE: Eric Ebron at Minnesota

Fanball: $4,100

DraftKings: $3,100

FanDuel: $5,300

There’s not an abundance of value available at tight end this week. Given the matchups and injuries, most lineups will probably feature a top-tier tight end. However, if you load up on high-price players elsewhere and totally fade tight end, Ebron might be your best play. Compared to other players at his price point, he’ll see more snaps and more volume than most. In last season’s game at Minnesota, Ebron caught seven passes on eight targets for a team-high 92 yards. In the rematch a few weeks later, he didn’t catch a single pass. That’s the kind of volatility one might expect when digging this deep in the bargain bin.

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013 and is the Fantasy Football Editor at Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Senior NFL Analyst and Director of Content for Fanball, a SportsHub Technologies company. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have homes that smell of rich mahogany.

Follow Maggio @MPLSMaggio
Follow Bo @Bo_Mitchell
Follow John @jtuvey

Follow The Fantasy Football Party @TheFFParty

The post Fantasy Football: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Already Been appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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