Contrarian Plays: Week Four

Matt Price


Editor’s Note: Love those daily contests? Make sure you enter the exclusive DLF Football Championship for week four.

Week three went much better for some of our picks than week two did. Let’s take a look and do a quick review before we move on to the the selections for week four.

What Worked

Third time’s the charm for us and Frank Gore. The veteran was running well against two of the toughest defenses in the league the first two weeks of the season and that finally showed up in the box score against the Titans in week three. Gore gave us 86 yards rushing, eight yards receiving and two touchdowns – that was good for 21.4 points and just over 3x value on his salary.

As expected, the Patriots blew out the Jaguars which gave Jacksonville’s passing offense a great comeback style game script and Allen Hurns a long touchdown reception. He only finished with two catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on the day but that was enough to pay off his $5,100 salary. It could have been an even bigger day.

James Jones returned value big time for us on Monday night with seven receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. At $5,700 and a lower ownership percentage than Davante Adams, Jones was an absolute steal.

The punt play of the week paid off in spades. Gary Barnidge confirmed our suspicions that we should be playing every tight end against the Oakland Raiders as he put up six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. He would have had a second one as well but Josh McCown missed him in the end zone. For our $4,500 we got 16.5 points and over 3.5x return on our investment.

What Didn’t Work

[inlinead]Nick Foles foiled us by becoming the only quarterback this season to not finish as a top 5 quarterback against the Steelers. Andrew Luck turned it on late to end up with a decent stat line but it wasn’t enough to pay off his $9,000 price tag.

C.J. Anderson is officially dead to us until we see him do something on the field. This was a great spot for him to shut up all the naysayers but it just didn’t work out. Ameer Abdullah is playing well and was one of the few bright spots for the Lions this week. For whatever reason, the Lions are content to keep running Joique Bell to the tune of 1.1 yards per carry instead of giving more work to the talented rookie.

John Brown is still playing really well but it doesn’t matter. It’s clear as day now that Larry Fitzgerald is Palmer’s go-to receiver. Unfortunately for us, Brown did drop a touchdown pass in this one which would have landed him in the “what worked” section above. As long as his price remains low Brown will remain a nice contrarian play. It’s coming for him and we want him in our lineups when it does.

Once Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury, it was pretty much curtains for our Darrius Heyward-Bey pick. It was a strange game all around so it may not have paid off anyway, but once Michael Vick came in all hope was lost. We will have to wait and see what this does to the production of the Steelers offense as a whole but for an ancillary piece like DHB, this pretty much spells the end until the return of Big Ben.

The Browns DST checked all the boxes for a good play but the Raiders had other plans. Derek Carr played one of his best games as a pro and killed any shot the Browns defense had to put up real points.

Let’s get into week four.


Derek Carr – $7,000

I generally like my quarterbacks playing at home when possible but Carr’s matchup this week at Chicago is just too good to pass up. He has put together two very good games in a row and that should continue this week. Stack him with Amari Cooper and you have my favorite budget stack of the week.

Philip Rivers – $7,400

After tough road losses in back-to-back weeks, the Chargers come home in week four to host the reeling Cleveland Browns. Rivers and company are going to be angry and chomping at the bit in a must win game for them. If they lose against the Browns, they will be in a serious hole in the AFC West. I don’t think that happens. Rivers should bounce back nicely this week at home against a team that just gave up 314 yards and two touchdowns to the aforementioned Derek Carr. No one is going to be talking about this game which should push ownership way down.

Running Back

Danny Woodhead – $6,100

Woodhead is priced as the 37th running back this week on FanDuel but it seems pretty clear to me that the offense looks better with him than with the rookie Melvin Gordon and he costs $700 less. Cleveland is coming to San Diego in week four after getting shredded by Latavius Murray. Woodhead is a good bet for four to six receptions and should have a scoring opportunity as well. After a couple of down weeks, the crowd should be off of the Chargers running game despite being home favorites.

Jeremy Hill – $6,700

The last two weeks have not been kind to Hill owners, but look for him to get back on track this week against a Kansas City team that allowed a gimpy Eddie Lacy 4.6 yards per carry and is playing on a short week. Giovani Bernard has been garnering most of the attention lately, creating a unique opportunity to buy them both for the same price. Receptions are less valuable on FanDuel so because of Hill’s touchdown upside, he makes for the better play as the 21st priced running back.

Wide Receiver

Rishard Matthews – $6,400

The Miami offense hasn’t been what we thought they might be but Matthews has stepped up in a big way and is currently the 12th overall fantasy wide receiver in PPR leagues. This week, the Jets come to town and that means Revis Island for the number one wide receiver. Historically, the receiver not lining up against Darrelle Revis, has been productive. Mathews is $800 cheaper than Jarvis Landry in week four and should see a decent number of targets.

Phillip Dorsett – $5,400

The Colts offense played well enough in the second half against the Titans last week to at least show that they can succeed against lesser teams – they get another one of those this week at home against the Jaguars. It’s clear to anyone who watches football that Andre Johnson is running on fumes – that means Dorsett should be able to secure targets as the Colts WR3. Look for him to get deep for another touchdown this week against Jacksonville and pay off his 51st ranked salary

Mike Evans – $7,500

Talent plus opportunity creates fantasy production and Evans is about to show up in a big way. Jameis Winston targeted the second year receiver SEVENTEEN times in week three. He has a tough matchup this week against Carolina, but Evans is one of those behemoths who are basically matchup proof and has a quarterback who isn’t afraid to let him go up and make a play on a ball. Evans has two touchdown upside against the Panthers in week four.

Tight End

Kyle Rudolph – $5,000

You can do a lot worse than Rudolph as the 19th priced tight end this week. The Vikings have a tough matchup against the Denver Broncos and Rudolph may be their best chance to move the ball and their best weapon in the redzone. The Denver run defense is stout and if Peterson has a tough time the Vikings will have to look to the air. Chris Harris and Aqib Talib are two of the best cornerbacks in the league and should have no problem shutting down Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson. To me, this points to Rudolph as the primary target in the passing game for the Vikings in week four.


San Diego – $4,400

A home favorite in a game with a must win kind of atmosphere against a Josh McCown-led offense. This unit should be far less owned than the likes of Seattle, Denver, Carolina, Arizona and Buffalo in week four.


matt price