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START: Aaron Rodgers ($8200) – Rodgers is coming off of a disappointing week vs. the Lions. He threw for 162 yards and one touchdown. So far this season, Rodgers has had one bad game and one good game. If history repeats itself, he should have another good game. But, starting him for that reason alone wouldn’t make sense. In 12 games against the Bears, Rodgers had 2,831 yards, 21 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. The Bears are allowing 233 passing yards per game and have allowed just three touchdowns this season. Then again, they’ve played Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel in two of those three games. If you see below, both Drew Breen and Matt Ryan are more expensive and both are playing on the road. They tend to play below their standards on the road. Rodgers too will be away from home, but he’s had good results in Soldier Field. In six games at Chicago, Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. A bounce back game is inevitable and he’s just the right price if you’re looking for a high-end quarterback.
I’d start him over: Drew Brees $9300, Matt Ryan $8300, and Matthew Stafford $8000
SIT: Matt Ryan ($8300) – It’s not easy considering passing on Ryan after the numbers he had last week. However, that was at home and against the Bucs. In week two on the road, he threw 231 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Granted, that was against a tough Bengals defense, but if you look at the numbers, the Vikings have been a much better passing defense than the Bengals this season. The Vikings have allowed 676 passing yards and just three touchdowns in the first three weeks. They’ve faced both Tom Brady and Drew Brees, so it’s not like the matchups have been that easy. Another interesting stat I found was that of Ryan’s 80 career interceptions, 51 of them have been in road games. Let’s face it, he is almost unstoppable at home, but on the road he’s a vulnerable quarterback. As tempting as it may be to start him, for the price you’re getting is not a good deal.
I’d rather start: Jay Cutler $8200, Nick Foles $8000, and Philip Rivers $7700.
START: Tony Romo ($6700) – Romo finally threw for multiple touchdowns this season last week against the Rams. This week, he faces the Saints defense that has allowed the 4th most passing yards this season. It’ll be tough for the Cowboys defense to hold the Saints offense to little points, so a shootout is very likely to occur. The over/under on this game is 54, which is the highest of the week. Once Romo plays to his capabilities, it’s unlikely you’ll find him under $7000. Keep in mind, Romo has been playing at below 100 percent and is getting better each week. He has yet to throw for 300 yards this season and hasn’t had back-to-back games with more than one passing touchdown, but that’s about to change this week. This is a great bargain. His ceiling is higher than the quarterbacks I listed below, and the price is better in one instance.
I’d start him over: Cam Newton $7100, Joe Flacco $6400, and Tom Brady $6300.
SIT: Cam Newton ($7100) – Newton has been decent this season. Not spectacular, nor terrible, just decent. This week he faces the Ravens defense that has allowed many passing yards but just two touchdowns in three games. Newton didn’t play in Week one, but in the last two weeks he’s thrown for 531 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn’t been able to get much going on the ground either, with only 26 rushing yards. It’s obvious that he’s not the same runner he was in previous seasons. I’m not saying he won’t ever be, but right now, he’s no producing the numbers for a price tag of $7100. If you’re looking for a versatile quarterback that can rush in for a touchdown, pay the extra $500 and take Kaepernick. The Panthers will play at Baltimore and versus a stingy defense. It’s better to roll with someone else this week.
I’d rather start: Colin Kaepernick $7600, Ben Roethlisberger $6900, and Tony Romo $6700
SNEAKY START: Blake Bortles ($5800) – Jaguars fans must be excited that Bortles is getting the start over Chad Henne. He’s the better quarterback of the two and gives the team the best chance at winning. He will head to the west coast to take on the Chargers defense that have allowed the 9th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year. They are allowing 20 fantasy points per games to opposing quarterbacks. The Jags defense is bad and will likely fall behind early this game. That only means that Bortles will likely be passing a lot. If you’re firing at a GPP and are looking to spend as little as possible on a quarterback, this low risk investment can pay off big.
START: Matt Forte ($7800) – If you’re looking to spend the big bucks on a running back, Forte should be who you put your money on. He’s facing a division rival that he has a good history against. In 11 career games, Forte has 1,153 total yards, 47 receptions, and five touchdowns. This week the Bears will be at home. Of his five touchdowns against the Packers, four of them were in home games. After a big Week 1 performance, he has struggled in his last two games. In fact, the only thing keeping him relevant is his 11 catches in the last two games. Then again, he’s faced the No. 3 and No. 7 ranked defense in the previous two weeks. The Packers are ranked 30th against the run. They are allowing 156.3 rushing yards per game and they are tied for most allowed rushing touchdown this season (5). Forte hasn’t scored a touchdown this season, but should get back on track after two rough weeks. Keep in mind, in the first week his price was $8300. This week he is $500 cheaper, there are six running backs on bye, and has a favorable matchup. This is great value for those looking for a high-end running back, so make sure you take it advantage of it.
I’d start him over: Demarco Murray $8300, Arian Foster $7500, and Jamal Charles $7400.
SIT: Arian Foster ($7500) – Arian Foster did not play last week, but did rush for 241 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games. At this time, it’s unsure if Foster is a game-time decision, but even if he does play, try to steer away from him. There are several reasons why you should: Despite a great start to the season, he is not 100 percent healthy, dealing with a hamstring injury that can easily get re-aggravated; second, considering the situation, the price is not worth it. Backs like Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy are cheaper than Foster this week, and both have the same ceiling, if not higher ceilings and higher floors as well; lastly, the Texans take on the Buffalo Bills defense that has yet allowed a rushing touchdown. The Bills defense is allowing just 83 rushing yards per game. In daily leagues you should not be interested in a player that may or may not play a complete game when you have plenty of players available to choose from.
I’d rather start: Le’Veon Bell $7400, LeSean McCoy $7000, and Lamar Miller $6200.
START: Eddie Lacy ($5600) – Lacy is one of the better values of this week. This is the cheapest he has been all season. He has started off this season very slow. Lacy has carried the ball 36 times for 113 yards. He also has six catches for 38 yards, but has yet to score a touchdown. The Packers will head to Chicago to take on the Bears defense which is allowing 144.7 rushing yards per game and has allowed two rushing touchdowns. Lacy played well against the Bears last season. He rushed for 216 yards and scored two touchdowns in two games against them. Lacy has had some tough matchups early in the season, so that would explain some of the struggles. In fact, he’s faced the 1st, 2nd, and 5th ranked rushing defenses. He now looks ahead at a much more favorable schedule, and it begins this week. This could be the most inexpensive price that we see Lacy at for a while.
I’d start him over: Darren Sproles $6000, Bobby Rainey $5800, and C.J. Spiller $5600
SIT: Reggie Bush ($6100) – Talk about a huge price increase! It could be because of his performance last week or the shortage of backs this week because of injuries and/or bye weeks. However, it’s a bit too expensive, if you ask me. Let’s look at the numbers here and see if this makes sense. Prior to Week 3, Bush had 15 carries for 41 yards and eight receptions for 55 yards in the first two weeks. In the third week against the Packers, he finally found the end zone and had the best game of this season. He finished the day with 99 total yards, one touchdown, and six receptions. This week Bush heads to the big apple to face the No. 1 rush defense in the Jets. The Jets are one of four teams that have not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. They are allowing just 55 rushing yards per game, talk about stingy. They held Matt Forte to 33 rushing yards and Eddie Lacy to 43 rushing yards. Don’t overreact because of last week’s game.
I’d rather start: Ahmad Bradshaw $5800, Donald Brown $5400, and Shane Vereen $5000
SNEAKY START: Matt Asiata ($4500) – This is a good bargain, especially when so many backs are on bye. Asiata has been the Vikings No. 1 running back since Adrian Peterson’s suspension. He has 170 total yards, one touchdown, and eight receptions in two games. Since becoming a starter he’s averaging 15.25 fantasy points per game on Draft Kings. Some fear the Vikings will fall behind early, but even if that happens, Asiata is involved in the passing game as well. With rookie Teddy Bridgewater getting his first NFL start, Asiata is in for a heavy workload this week. He can be used as a wild card in your lineups.
START: Calvin Johnson ($8500) – Let’s try this again! Last week, Calvin was one of our starts, and he did not do as well as we anticipated. This week he has yet another great matchup. This week’s matchup is actually better. The Lions head to the east coast to take on the Jets. Above you read how well this Jets defense plays against the run, but against the pass, they’re not as good. They’ve allowed the second most receiving touchdowns this season (7). Calvin has 19 receptions, 329 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. The good thing about him is that his floor is the highest of anyone at his position. So far this year, in his worst performance he scored 14.2 fantasy points. He hasn’t found the end zone since week one, there’s a strong chance that changes this week.
I’d start him over: all receivers
SIT: Kelvin Benjamin ($5800) – If you look at the list of receivers this week, there’s a couple of players that may be worth paying for. When you look at some of those prices and compare them to Benjamin’s, he becomes less attractive. He has his hands full this week as Jimmy Smith of the Ravens will likely be covering him all day. The Ravens are tied for first for the fewest receiving touchdowns allowed this season (2). They do however, give up plenty of yards. The Panthers offense is currently one dimensional as Cam Newton is not fully healthy and can’t use his legs as well as he has in the past. In addition, they are depleted at the running back position. Essentially this offense doesn’t pose much of a threat to a solid Ravens defense who is playing at home. The floor is too low this week for Benjamin compared to some other receivers out there with better matchups.
I’d rather start: Michael Crabtree $6400, Mike Wallace $6000, and Cordarrelle Patterson $5600
START: Keenan Allen ($5300) – This is another prime example of a player that is struggling and now being offered at a cheaper price. Once again, if you look at the matchups, Allen has faced some tough corners this season. Through three week, he has 12 catches for 109 yards and zero touchdowns. In Week 4, there should be no excuses as the Chargers take on the Jaguars defense which ranks last against the pass. The Jaguars have allowed the most receiving yards (1,000) and the most receiving touchdowns (8). If there’s a week that Allen should bounce back, this is it. So why not take him at a discounted price? He is $1500 cheaper than he was in the first week of the season. This is great value and there’s no reason not to take advantage of it.
I’d start him over: Roddy White $5600, Kendall Wright $5300, and T.Y. Hilton $5300
SIT: Eric Decker ($5600) – Much like Arian Foster, Decker’s status for Week 4 is in question, but even with that he’s priced pretty high. Assuming he does suit up and play, how confident are we that he remains in the game the entire time. Last week he started the game, but was unable to finish it as he re-tweaked his hamstring injury. The Jets face a Lions defense that has been unexpectedly solid this season. They’ve allowed just three touchdowns in three games, and are allowing 202 receiving yards per game (which is the fifth fewest). Decker has been a serviceable option in PPR formats this season, but the risk you’re taking if you start him is not worth the reward. There are receivers such as the ones listed below, along with other guys like Golden Tate, DeAndre Hopkins, and Sammy Watkins who are much cheaper and have more upside this week. Spend your money wisely, and not on Decker.
I’d rather start: Brandin Cooks $5300, Keenan Allen $5300, and Terrence Williams $4800
SNEAKY START: Allen Robinson ($4400) – The Jaguars named rookie quarterback Blake Bortles as their starter for Week 4. Most may think that this could decrease the value of their receiver, but that’s not the case here. Bortles is clearly the best quarterback in the Jags roster. What’s even better news is that he looked at Robinson’s way eight times when he stepped in for Chad Henne in Week 3. Basically, the new quarterback has chemistry with Robinson. If you’re looking for a cheap receiver with upside, Robinson should be one of your options.
START: Jimmy Graham ($7500) – There is always that one matchup you look at and say to yourself, I have to put this player in all my lineups. This week, that’s how I feel about Graham. In the first two weeks the Cowboys defense gave up three receiving touchdowns, all of those were to tight ends. Last week, Jared Cook dropped a touchdown pass, but teammate Lance Kendricks caught one. That’s three consecutive weeks that the Cowboys defense allows a touchdown to an opposing tight end. There’s no reason whatsoever that would make me think that this streak comes to an end this week. Graham is off to another good start with 24 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Put aside $7500 from your salary and pay this man. You won’t be disappointed.
I’d start him over: All tight ends.
SIT: Greg Olsen ($5800) – Olsen has been one of the more consistent tight ends this season. However, this week, he’s the second highest salary in the tight end position. If you noticed I’m trying to stay shy from Panthers players this week and it’s not so much that the Ravens defense is stout, but more because of how transparent the Panthers offense has become, and how much easier it will be to focus on the two big threats. The Ravens have allowed just two receiving touchdowns this season and zero to tight ends. Martellus Bennett and other tight ends like the ones below are much better options this week, and are cheaper. I have a feeling this Panthers and Ravens game is going to be a defensive battle.
I’d rather start: Rob Gronkowski $5700, Delanie Walker $4900, and Antonio Gates $4400
SNEAKY START: Dwyane Allen ($3500) – If you’re setting up your lineups and are looking for a cheap tight end that can have a big game, Allen is that guy. Now, you must keep in mind that as easy as he can get into the end zone, he’s also had one game this season where he laid the big goose egg. So it can be a bit risky of a start. The good thing is that he’s cheap. He’s scored in two of three games this season. The Titans have allowed three receiving touchdowns, one of those to a tight end. If you build a solid foundation and have little money to spend on a tight end, Allen could be a low-risk, high-reward option.
I’ve provided you with low-risk, high-reward players for each position. If you’re drafting a lineup that’s top heavy in salaries and need to find some cheap players to plug in, then my sneaky starts can be useful.