NFL Value Picks – Week 4
As the first round of NFL byes kickoff, 6 teams will be out of action this week. With more limited options in the player pool, there is a greater need to dig deeper for value plays.
There are lots of young players primed for bigger roles that are still priced modestly and look to be solid buy-low candidates. Below are some sleeper picks that could emerge as productive buys in Week 4.
Blake Bortles, JAX @ SD, $5,800 – So much for the redshirt season the Jaguars wanted for the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft. With Chad Henne struggling mightily, Bortles inherited a 30-0 deficit when he was summoned for duty against the Colts last weekend. After Henne threw for only 33 yards in the first half, Bortles entered in the 3rd and finished with 223 yards and 2 garbage-time TDs. Despite being picked off twice, Bortles provides playmaking ability that the Jaguars have desperately lacked at the QB position. His ability to stretch the field, paired with an underrated mobility in the pocket, could really revitalize the Jaguars offense. At 23rd on the QB salary list, he is a $3,500 discount from the top option. In his first career start, he could be a nice play if you’re looking to spend elsewhere.
Steve Smith Sr., CAR @ BAL, $5,600 – After a 13-year career in Carolina, the Panthers cut their 5-time Pro Bowler, who had been a long time face of their franchise. Despite shattering every all-time Panthers receiving record, the front office controversially dropped him. A fan-favorite, the move devastated the Panthers faithful, but no one seemed to take it harder than Smith. Few players in the league play with more outward intensity than Steve Smith, and he’s guaranteed to enter this Week 4 reunion with a huge chip on his shoulder. Emotional motives aside, Smith enters this week with the 7th most receiving yards in the NFL. He has truly emerged as the Ravens’ top option in the passing game, averaging over 10 targets and almost 100 yards per game. All things considered, a monster day looks very realistic.
Marques Colston, NO @ DAL, $4,800 – Critics will be quick to point out that Colston has had a quiet couple weeks posting zero points Week 2, and nearly being blanked again before being bailed out by a 4th quarter TD last week. While there are lots of capable options in the Saints passing attack, New Orleans has also come out of the gates in a noticeable funk that has led to a 1-2 start. The interesting thing about Colston’s career is that despite being statistically absent from some games, he always seems to finish with around 80 catches, 1,000 yards, and 8 TDs. Point being, he is always good for some monster games to reach these lofty regular season totals. In a primetime matchup on Sunday night in Dallas, he is well overdue for a breakout performance. The Cowboys just surrendered 31 points to the Rams, where fill-in QB Austin Davis torched them for 327 yards and 3 scores. At 30th on the WR list, he is an affordable option with upside priced $3,700 less than Calvin Johnson.
Alfred Blue, BUF @ HOU, $4,500 – With former backup RB Ben Tate leaving town to pursue feature-back duties in Cleveland, a void was left in Houston behind Arian Foster. Selecting Blue in the 6th round this year out of LSU, he established himself early as a contributor on special teams. Fast forward to Week 3, and Blue leapfrogged backup Jonathan Grimes to start in place of Foster, who was inactive with hamstring injury. Reportedly, this issue has been nagging Foster for a couple months now and he remains a game-time decision this week who could sit out again. In his first career start, Blue finished with 88 all-purpose yards and Houston seems impressed with his early growth. In Houston this weekend, he could get his first start in front of the home crowd, and is a cheap play hosting the Bills as the 34th priced RB.
Travis Kelce, NE @ KC, $3,700 – The Chiefs selected Kelce in the 3rd round of last year’s draft and he lost his rookie season due to a micro-fracture procedure on his knee. In his sophomore campaign out of Cincinnati, he is off to an impressive start averaging over 16 yards per catch on 10 catches thus far. With Dwayne Bowe as the team’s only real physically imposing receiver, Kelce’s 6’5” presence is a welcomed addition. Given Alex Smith’s reluctance to throw the ball downfield and penchant for check-downs, Kelce is likely to become a favorite target over the middle. At 14th on the TE list, and half the price of Jimmy Graham, he could have a busy night on Monday against New England. His talents are likely to be showcased in his first career primetime event.
5 More to Consider
Cam Newton, CAR @ BAL, $7,100
DeAndre Hopkins, BUF @ HOU, $4,800
Antonio Gates, JAX @ SD, $4,500
Allen Robinson, JAX @ SD, $4,400
Bishop Sankey, TEN @ IND, $4,100