Week 4 is go time. Armed with three weeks of game data, DFS sharps will confidently push money into the middle of the table. Now is the time to take advantage of a handful of lagging DFS salaries that do not align with this season’s reality.
Quarterbacks like from Andy Dalton to Derek Carr are still be priced as QB2s. The salaries of some of the more productive PPR backs from Shane Vereen to Lance Dunbar remain depressed. Ascending team No. 2 wide receivers in juicy situations from Marvin Jones to Leonard Hankerson remain very affordable.
With larger portions of larger bankrolls being put at risk, more information is required to beat cash games and hit on a high variance tournament lineup.
The following players are noteworthy value plays who could either serve as the cornerstones of an optimal cash lineup or add upside variance to a GPP/tournament roster or both.
The Bargain Brand
Andy Dalton, $5,900
Projected PPR Points: 18.72
Andy Dalton is a bad a quarterback. The Andy Dalton brand is synonymous with mediocrity. No NFL team can win a Super Bowl with Andy Dalton at the helm. The major sports media echo chamber would have you believe this. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton is averaging 25.2 fantasy points per game, top-5 among NFL quarterbacks in 2015. Dalton has clearly benefited from A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Marvin Jones playing together for the first time since 2013, when he posted 18.1 (No. 7) fantasy points per game. Yet, Dalton’s suppressed $5,900 DraftKings’ salary reflects the tarnished Dalton brand.
This week, Andy Dalton faces a Kansas City Chiefs team that was just embarrassed by five Aaron Rodgers touchdown passes and lost Phillip Gaines to a torn ACL. Sean Smith returns from suspension, but he is the only Chiefs cornerback with significant NFL experience. The Kansas City secondary is ill-equipped to slow down Green, Jones, and Sanu. Allowing 29.5 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2015 (albeit Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers were largely responsible), and the Chiefs offer the best possible match-up for a fantasy quarterback.
Take advantage of Andy Dalton’s poor public perception by playing him in a juicy week 4 match-up and use the additional dollars to afford an additional mega-stud like Jamaal Charles or Andy Dalton’s cheat code, A.J. Green.
Baby Bell Cow
Karlos Williams, $3,400
Projected PPR Fantasy Points: 15.64
Buffalo Bills running backs are averaging a robust 25 rushing attempts per game in 2015. 230-pound Karlos Williams leads all NFL running backs with 7.8 yards per attempt and 1.5 fantasy points per touch. There are precious few opportunities through an NFL season to start a fresh new bell cow back right out of the box at something close to DraftKings’ minimum salary. While Damien Williams and James Starks offered hope for a bargain bell cow on DraftKings last week, Lamar Miller and Eddie Lacy were both active, and Williams and Starks never fired. This week is different. Rex Ryan has already declared LeSean McCoy OUT. Karlos Williams cannot misfire.
Karlos Williams possessed an excited prospect profile when he declared for the NFL Draft. A former college defensive back, Williams was converted to running back in 2013 and teamed up with Devonta Freeman in the Seminoles backfield to help Florida State win a National Championship. That season, Williams averaged an astounding 8.0 yards per carry. Sharing a backfield with Dalvin Cook in 2014, Williams’ YPC crashed but he added an important skill to his resume: pass catching. Williams caught 29 passes in 2014 up from a meager eight the year before. Then, at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Williams posted the highest Speed Score (114.2) of any RB in this year’s rookie running back class.
Karlos Williams has been a quick study learning the running back position and his trajectory points to a exceptionally high ceiling depending on his role. Based on Williams’ physical attributes, college resume, and 2015 efficiency, the Bills can comfortably deploy him in all phases of the game in week 4. Fortunately, Buffalo faces a New York Giants defense that is allowing 30.5 PPR fantasy point per game to opposing running backs (+6.66 above league average). Karlos Williams is shaping to be the best-value play of the year this week playable in both cash games and tournaments.
Leonard Hankerson, $3,700.00
Projected PPR Points: 10.17
Leonard Hankerson has averaged 7.0 targets per game through 3 weeks, more than double Roddy White opportunities despite running less routes over that span. A staple in 3-receiver sets playing 65-70-percent of total offensive snaps, Hankerson appears to be usurping Roddy White as the Falcon’s No. 2 WR on the team’s receiver hierarchy.
Who is this Leonard Hankerson guy? Hankerson came into the league as one of the most dominant college receivers in recent memory achieving a 49.6-percent (94th-percentile) College Dominator Rating per PlayerProfiler.com during his time at Miami. Hankerson’s workout metrics, which feature a 108.5 (85th-percentile) Height-adjusted Speed Score, were almost as impressive as his college production. In fact, Leonard Hankerson’s playmaker profile aligns closely with the more heavily touted Sammy Watkins. Hankerson has posted more receptions and yards than Watkins so far this season.
While Houston only allows 27.1 total fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, the embattled ProFootballFocus grades the Texan’s two starting cornerbacks, Jonathan Joseph (+0.2) and Kareem Jackson (-2.1), outside the NFL top-40 in coverage effectiveness. Without starting running back Tevin Coleman, Atlanta will likely throw more than usual in order to sustain drives. The possibility also exists that Houston will opt to bracket Julio Jones, forcing Matt Ryan to target Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson more frequently this week. Houston’s pass defense is worse than most people think, and Leonard Hankerson is better than most people think. Particularly in GPP contests, Hank Time is now.
May the game flow be ever in your favor.