Fantasy football is less dependent on luck than people realize. Yes, there is most definitely a good amount of luck involved, but strategy is what keeps certain fantasy players competitive almost every year.
The amount of “stud” talent on your roster is directly related to the amount of gambles you should take in your starting lineup. You have those guys (ex: David Johnson, Le'veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean Mccoy, Jordan Howard, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, A.J. Green, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees just to name a few) that are the foundation of your team.
These guys have the highest fantasy point ceilings and highest fantasy point floors. You put them in your lineup and never even think about replacing them. Their value is unmatched, so your goal is to support that value as much as possible. How many you need varies on the number of position slots in your league’s starting lineup, but a good number to shoot for is a minimum of three “stud” players.
So, the best way to construct your fantasy team in a way that supports your “studs” and keeps you competitive is to shy away from players who have low point floors. The appeal to most people is how many points a player can potentially score, but that’s living on the edge. If you are in a standard ESPN PPR league, you want to shoot for players who put up around 8 to 14 points consistently.
Let’s look at two hypothetical players…
Player “A” has a five week stretch where he scores 28, 3, 25, 2 and 4 points
Player “B” has a five week stretch where he scores 10, 14, 11, 8, and 10 points
If you have a good foundation of “stud” players, you will want to select Player “B”. While he doesn’t seem to put up huge numbers, he consistently puts up solid point totals. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Player “A” has put up some monster games, but also puts out some really bad weeks as well. Those bad weeks are the poison to any fantasy team.
Let’s say it is the second week in that above scenario, and your “stud” running back scores 38 points for you…you are thrilled! Your other big name players perform to their averages too, and all you need is for the rest of your guys to not be terrible.
If you have someone like Player “A” above, he would have only posted three points that week. Meanwhile, Player “B” would have scored 14. That could easily be the difference between a fantasy win or loss, especially when you have to fill up four or five roster spots outside of your “stud” guys with Player “A” or Player “B” options.
The bottom line is, stay away from the roller coaster players and start ones that are more consistent. You want to support your top guys as much as possible. There will be some weeks where you may lose, but over the course of the entire season the odds will work in your favor.
Now, onto the sleepers for Week 4!
How did we do last week?
Tarik Cohen – 13 points
Chris Thompson – a HUGE 35 points
Mohamed Sanu – 12 points
David Njoku – 9 points
Carson Wentz – 13 points
Trevor Siemian – 7 points
Philip Rivers – 3 points
Javorius Allen – 7 points
Jermaine Kearse – 7 points
Rashard Higgins – 7 points
Hunter Henry – 0 points
Coby Fleener – 3 points
Week 3 was our worst week by far, getting only four sleepers correct out of twelve. For the season, that puts up at 19 out of 36 overall. However, last week should be more of an anomaly, as it was the first poor showing of the season for many of the players on the “BAD” list.
WEEK 4 SLEEPERS
Trevor Siemian, Denver
He had his first bad showing of the young season last week, but is still averaging 17 fantasy points per game. This week, he will be at home against Oakland who is currently 30th in quarterback fantasy points allowed per game. Averaging 236 yards and two touchdowns each week, Siemian should get back on track against the Raiders.
Jay Cutler, Miami
Owned in just 3.6% of leagues, Cutler is a very intriguing streaming option this week against the Saints and their 31st ranked defense against opposing quarterbacks (They are currently allowing quarterbacks to average 21.7 points a contest against them). It will also be Miami’s first game at home since Hurricane Irma. The atmosphere should be amped up a little more than usual, and the Dolphins are due for a better game after last week’s embarrassing performance. As long as Miami doesn’t get up big early, Cutler could have a big day.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
People are forgetting that he was an MVP candidate just a couple seasons ago. He hasn’t had a great start to the season, but two important things happened last week. First, Dalton actually played pretty well for the first time in three games. Second, it appears as though Joe Mixon has been given the feature running back job for the Bengals.
If the Bengals can lean on Mixon and his talents running the football a little more, is should relieve some of the pressure off of Dalton. Going against Cleveland who is currently 28th defensively against opposing quarterbacks, look for Dalton to have a productive outing.
Chris Carson, Seattle
He is only owned in 69% of leagues and has emerged as the guy in the Seattle backfield. Although the Seattle offensive line is extremely poor, the Seahawks did finally show some signs of life on that side of the ball last week. Carson is averaging 17 touches and 76 yards a game. That type of volume against a weak Colts run defense should provide a solid floor this weekend.
Javorius Allen, Baltimore
It is starting to look more and more like Allen is becoming the guy in the Ravens backfield. Through three games he is averaging 66.6 yards per game on 17.6 touches. Allen will be going against a Steelers team that was just bludgeoned by the Bears running game last week, and has looked weaker than in years past. Given his ability as a receiver as well, Allen should put up starter caliber points this week.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati
GET HIM IN YOUR LINEUPS. Although he is owned in 100% of leagues, he is currently only being started in 38.3%. It looks as though the Bengals have finally handed him the keys to the car, as he had 21 touches for 101 yards last week. He gained some really tough yards on the ground, and showed some of the talent that many were impressed by when he was in college. The Bengals need a spark and some type of identity. Going up against a bad Cleveland run defense, this could be the coming out party for the rookie.
Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta
He is only owned in 49% of leagues, yet he is the 29th highest scoring wide receiver. He is seeing a ton of targets on one of the best offenses in the NFL. Julio Jones is reportedly going to play, but is dealing with an injured back. Buffalo has a good defense, but Jones should attract a lot of that attention. Sanu should see a slight uptick in targets this week. He is a player who consistently has a high floor, and should have a slightly higher ceiling this week as well.
Marqise Lee, Jacksonville
Since taking over for the injured Allen Robinson in Week 2, Lee has averaged 12 points per game and seen 19 targets thrown his way. He is the new #1 for Jacksonville, which should provide him with a decent fantasy floor week to week. The Jaguars will be playing the Jet’s, who are currently 23rd on defense against receivers right now, which should give Lee ample opportunities to make plays.
Devante Parker, Miami
Parker is only starting in 25% of leagues at this moment, yet he is averaging 16.5 fantasy points per game. He is the most talented receiver on the Dolphins and should have numerous chances to make some big plays against the Saints this weekend.
Charles Clay, Buffalo
He is the number six tight end through three games, but is only owned in 40.4% of leagues. Clay has already seen 18 targets so far this season, and is the clear top receiving target for the Bills. He is a little touchdown dependent, but still should be owned and started in every league.
Jared Cook, Oakland
Posting four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown last week, Cook was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise forgettable performance for the Raiders offense. Going against Denver this week, the Broncos secondary should tighten the screws on receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, forcing Derek Carr to go somewhere else with the football. There is a good chance that Cook sees more targets because of that.
Evan Engram, New York Giants
Currently owned in just 23.3% of leagues, Engram is the 7th highest scoring tight end heading into Week 4. Engram has seen 19 targets though the first 3 games and has been extremely consistent week to week. The Giants are going to be passing a lot and Engram has been one of the safer starts at tight end up to this point. It is only a matter of time before he has a breakout game.
Hit up Blake on Twitter @blakegibbs for more picks and tips for your fantasy team.