(Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire)
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Week 4 in fantasy football is upon us and despite the egg that the Minnesota Vikings laid against the Buffalo Bills, we get a nice matchup between the Vikings and the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.
Prior to breaking down the Thursday night game from a daily fantasy perspective, I will recap how I did in the Fantasy Draft $100,000 Run and Gun (Sun Only) tournament from the week before. You can compete against me weekly throughout the season.
This lineup cashed in my 50/50 contest, but did not in the tournament as I made a few mistakes. I was high on the combination of Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller and even though they came through, the better selection would have been Drew Brees at quarterback at only $100 more. Watson came in at 17 percent ownership where Brees was at 11 percent ownership and put up 14 more points. I loved the Saints-Falcons game evidenced by a couple of players in my lineup, but I should have taken Brees or quarterback Matt Ryan who cost $11,900 and was only four percent owned.
Julio Jones was popular and disappointed as it was his rookie teammate Calvin Ridley who exploded for 43.50 points and came in at two percent ownership. That was the difference as Ridley also was extremely cheap at only $7,300.
I ate the chalk with Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray and Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement and even though they did not play well, I don’t regret it. Clement was cheap so it allowed me to roster the higher priced Alvin Kamara and Jones. As for Murray, I expected the Vikings to blow out the Buffalo Bills and for Murray to touch the ball 20 times. The complete opposite happened so I guessed wrong on how the game flow would go and Murray was a non-factor.
Moving forward, I can live with using higher owned players like Murray and Clement if I feel strongly they will pay off their salary, but having higher owned players in my lineup like Watson and Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt hurt me from differentiating from the rest of the field. I need to recognize the lower owned players in a great game environment and capitalize. I didn’t think Watson would be as highly owned as he was so if I did, an easy pivot would have been to Brees or even Ryan.
Moving on to the Thursday night contest between the Vikings and the Rams, we have the potential of a high scoring game with the over/under set at 50. Depending on the site, the line has moved a couple of points from when it originally opened at 47 points which has a lot to do with Rams cornerback Aqib Talib being ruled out and fellow cornerback Marcus Peters being a game-time decision. The Rams defense will still be talented, but it would be easier for Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Vikings to move the ball and put up points without the top two corners.
Due to the Vikings playing flat, Cousins had to throw 55 times against the Bills which led to 296 passing yards and one touchdown. Cousins also threw an interception and fumbled three times, losing two which limited his fantasy production. If the Vikings come out flat again, I can easily see a similar game script and if Cousins has to throw over 40 times again, the yards may be there, but so will the turnovers. I would rather use a safer option at quarterback in Week 4, especially if I’m paying $11,800.
As for the Rams, Jared Goff has played lights out as he is completing 70.3 percent of his passes for 941 yards and six touchdowns. Goff is expensive as he is priced $12,300, but he could be worth it. The Vikings defense has allowed at least 27 points in the last two games and the Rams offense is operating on another level. Head coach Sean McVay has Goff and company averaging 439.3 yards per game. Goff always seems to go overlooked so he could make an interesting tournament option as he always has massive upside.
There are so many options to choose from at running back that we should avoid any risk. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is still dealing with a hamstring injury and may miss his second consecutive game. Even if he does play, I’m sure he won’t be 100 percent and I don’t want to take on that risk. Cook is an even fade along with teammate Murray. We know the low floor Murray has if the game gets out of hand and even though the secondary of the Rams is hurting, the defensive line is still a force. We just don’t need to take on the risk when building our lineups.
Rams running back Todd Gurley is a different story as he continues to show why he was the number one overall pick in many season-long formats. Gurley has 255 rushing yards, 121 receiving yards and five total touchdowns. The price for Gurley is hefty at $17,700, but the upside is tremendous.
I don’t trust Cousins as my quarterback this week, mainly due to the possibility he turns the ball over multiple times, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think the Vikings can move the ball and put up points through the air. As mentioned before, the over/under has risen and a lot of that has to do with the Rams secondary being banged up.
Adam Thielen leads the NFL in targets which may surprise some, but it makes him an attractive option every week. Teammate Stefon Diggs is tied for 14th in targets so he is also in play. Both players are only separated by $200 so it will be one or the other with my lean to Thielen due to the higher amount of targets. Both wide receivers are in play in cash game or tournament as they are not game flow dependent. There’s potential for the duo to have a huge game with the injuries to the Rams secondary.
The Rams are a well oiled machine and find a way to get all of their skill players involved. Robert Woods has 29 targets, Brandin Cooks has 25 targets and Cooper Kupp comes in third with 21 targets, but all three have been fantasy relevant. Cooks has the most upside, but is also the most expensive. I usually let price dictate who to roster out of the Rams wide receivers and Woods along with Kupp are extremely affordable with both having a top 10 matchup this week according to Pro Football Focus.
The Rams don’t even think the tight end position exists as they have only targeted the position seven times through three games. This is an easy fade.
The Vikings at least use Kyle Rudolph as he has caught 13 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. The matchup isn’t terrible, but as the fourth highest tight end this week, I would rather look elsewhere and target Thielen and Diggs.
Vegas believes this game could be a shoot out as it’s currently one of the highest over/under games of the week. We don’t need to risk using any of the defenses, especially with the Rams being banged up. The Rams defense is one of the best in football and they force turnovers, but they are also the sixth most expensive. I would rather play it safe with another defense and there’s no way I’m using the Vikings after two bad performances in a row and now facing a high-powered offense in the Rams.