DFS 3 and OUT 2017 WEEK 4

By Bob Harris
Bob Harris Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.

I'm in:

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills

Taylor completed 20 of 26 passes for 213 yards, two touchdowns and a 126.0 QB rating -- the fourth best of his 32 games as Buffalo's starter, in last week's win over the Broncos and their notoriously tough pass defense. His 76.9 percent completion rate was his second best since joining the Bills, and 42.3 percent of his passes went for first downs, the fourth-highest rate in his Bills career. Taylor, who was fantasy's No. 8 scoring quarterback last season, has scored four touchdowns in three games and has exactly eight carries in all three outings. While Taylor is averaging around four yards per carry, Berry notes the Falcons are giving up more than 9 yards a scramble. Last week, the Bills found a way to overcome an ineffective running game against a solid Denver defense by calling some downfield passing behind a moving pocket. As the Sports Xchange notes, Taylor's line of vision is much better when he's on the edges rather than in the pocket, and the dual threat of run-pass when he gets outside increases and makes him a more dangerous player. Taylor had three completions of 28 yards or more against the Broncos, and the Bills will need chunk plays because it stands to reason that the Falcons are going to score points, even against what is currently the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense. Worth noting: Taylor ($5300 on DraftKings, $7100 on FanDuel) is cheaper than Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Anderson and Sam Bradford on DraftKings. For real. Trevor Siemian ($5200) and DeShaun Watson ($5100) are better values on DraftKings and will be in some of my lineups as well (along with Blake Bortles, who costs the same). Taylor's FanDuel price is less than all of those QBs. And I like cheap.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Okay, this could just as easily be Tyrell William ($4400 on DraftKings, $6200 on FanDuel), but I prefer Benjamin ($3900 on DraftKings, $5000 on FanDuel). Serving as the Chargers' third receiver, the diminutive speedster has garnered a significant role in the offense, playing 64 percent of the team's offensive snaps while soaking up 13.5 percent of the targets and, according to numberFire.com's JJ Zachariason, a whopping 33 percent of the air yards. Week 3 was Benjamin's best game of the season, as he turned eight targets into five receptions and 105 yards. It was his first 100-yard receiving performance since Week 5 of 2016. Zachariason added that Benjamin has also been one of the league's most efficient wideouts. Williams has been more-heavily targeted over the course of the first three games (18 targets for Williams to 15 for Benjamin), but the speedier Benjamin has been the bigger threat. Meanwhile, ESPN's Mike Clay notes the Eagles have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers and the most to players lined up on the perimeter this season. Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills has been especially generous. Williams and Benjamin move around quite a bit, but both work primarily on the perimeter (although two of Benjamin's catches -- good for 70 yards -- came out of the slot last week). Keenan Allen shouldn't have much trouble against Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson in the slot, but Clay contends Williams and Benjamin get the bigger boost on the outside going up against Rasul Douglas and Mills. Looking for a stack? Add Philip Rivers ($6300 on DraftKings, $7400 on FanDuel) to the mix. As ESPN's Matthew Berry wrote: "The Eagles helped resurrect Eli Manning last week and were a contributing stop on the Alex Smith fantasy superstar tour. Rivers is currently sixth in the NFL in pass attempts, so the volume will be there for him to exploit a Philly defense that has allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns during the past 17 NFL weeks." Jump in. I am.

Andre Ellington

In case you missed it, I like cheap. Mostly. I love paying up at multiple positions in my GPP lineups. That means throwing some darts at bargain-basement prospects to free up cash. So with the Cardinals looking fill a David Johnson-sized hole in their backfield with a combination of their remaining backs, it's worth noting that Ellington had five catches for 59 yards and carried the ball five times for 22 yards in their loss to the Cowboys. Beyond the statistics, it was the way Ellington ($3800 on DraftKings, $4800 on FanDuel) looked, as he zipped around the field with explosion for an offense that badly needs game-changers. Since Johnson went down in the season opener, Kerwynn Williams and Chris Johnson have each gotten a start at running back, but have been ineffective as the top option. Head coach Bruce Arians said Johnson looked “a little rusty” against the Cowboys (a kind assessment) but will stick with him as the starter this week against the 49ers. Nonetheless, Ellington had the most snaps among the running backs against Dallas and Arians said his role will expand moving forward. According to ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss, if Johnson can't get off to a good start, which was the case against Dallas when he had minus-3 yards on six carries in the first quarter, then Arizona will turn to Ellington quickly. Of particular importance is churning out tough yards in the red zone. The Cardinals are 29th in the NFL in touchdown rate inside the 20 at 27.3 percent, a place where the ground game becomes paramount. While he doesn’t have the short-yardage abilities of Johnson, Ellington could still be a nice weapon in the red zone. The Cardinals’ vertical passing game is no longer possible in close quarters, and Ellington’s elusiveness in tight spaces is useful. Meanwhile, the 49ers defense is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season. And yes. This is reachy. And hunchy. But mostly it's cheap.

I'm Out

Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree, WRs, Oakland Raiders

Even though Derek Carr, Cooper ($6000 on DraftKings, $7500 on FanDuel) and Crabtree ($6200 on DraftKings, $7400 on FanDuel)have caused problems to plenty of foes, the Broncos have generally been successful at containing them. This week, Cooper (with a minor knee issue) and Crabtree are battling injuries. Both are expected to play Sunday, but Crabtree took a major shot to the chest late in last week's loss at Washington and did not return to the game. It was sufficient for head coach Jack Del Rio to say he wanted to see "how the week goes" in practice before deciding if Crabtree would play in Denver, where he had his chain snatched by cornerback Aqib Talib in last season's finale. Cooper, meanwhile, has a major case of the dropsies -- his six drops lead the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Remember, Talib battled back issues and was unavailable for the first Broncos-Raiders game last year, which left the Broncos struggling to keep up. In the one game Cooper and Crabtree played when Talib was injured, they combined for 83 yards on eight catches; in the three games they've played together against Chris Harris and Talib, they combined to average 54.3 yards on 7.0 receptions a game. Crabtree had caught 12 passes in 13 targets in Week 1 and 2, and was totally taken out of the game by Josh Norman, who held Crabtree to one catch in Week 3. Look for Talib to attempt something similar. Meanwhile, as Berry noted, in five career games against them, Carr has averaged just 184 passing yards on 5.04 yards per attempt, completing 58 percent of his passes for six TDs and four INTs. In the two games he's played in Denver, he's averaging 146.5 yards per game on just 4.51 yards per attempt. Fact is, even when the Raiders have beaten Denver, Carr has not had huge games a 15-12 win in 2015 came largely because of five sacks by Khalil Mack and last year's win in Oakland was because of the running game. If you're looking for a pivot here, Jared Cook ($3400 on DraftKings, $5500 on FanDuel) might be it again.