DFS Three And Out 2021 week 4
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one (and sometimes three) I'm not.
Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers ($5,900 on DraftKings; $6,300 on FanDuel)
If you think I'm not willing to dish out the obvious. ... When Christian McCaffrey went down last season, Mike Davis immediately leapt into the featured role. Don't expect that to change with McCaffrey hurt again this season. Head coach Matt Rhule clarified Wednesday that Hubbard would get the start and the offense would have the same outlook as it did with CMC in the backfield. While Royce Freeman is also in the mix, Hubbard, a 6-foot, 210-pound fourth-round rookie out of Oklahoma State, offers the potential to carry a significant load in the rushing game and pop some big gains. Against the Texans, he had 52 yards on 11 carries (4.73 yards per carry) and added three catches for 27 yards. Based on that performance, anticipated workload and what Yahoo! Sports characterized it, "he'll get plenty of opportunities against the good-but-not-great Cowboys defense" -- and the opportunities will come at a very reasonable price.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers ($5,000 on DraftKings; $5,700 on FanDuel)
Look. I'm not going to lie to you. I love Aiyuk. I overdrafted him in redraft leagues based on last year's super-strong showing. In case you missed it, Aiyuk came close to breaking Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's rookie mark of 927 receiving yards set back in 1985. Aiyuk fell a little short, but made up for it with seven scores (five receiving and two rushing) -- and he did so while appearing in just 12 games. In Weeks 7-15 last, Aiyuk played six games and averaged over 20 fantasy points. That was the third-most among wideouts, behind Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams. Aiyuk scored 17-plus points in every game and he led all wideouts in average targets per contest (11.5) in that time. Fast forward to this year. After what appeared to be a two-week stint in Kyle Shanahan's doghouse, Aiyuk re-emerged last week. As FantasyPros' Kyle Yates notes, he ran a healthy 39 receiving routes and drew a 15 percent. He also hauled in a touchdown. So at the very least, it appears he's back in the mix. That said, it's reasonable to believe others might be slow to buy in without another strong performance. Against a Seattle secondary that's currently giving up the 13th most fantasy points to opposing WRs, and with Deebo Samuel playing well enough to interest opposing coordinators, I'm diving head-first back into the Aiyuk pool.
Pat Freiermuth, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers ($3,100 on DraftKings; $5,000 on FanDuel)
It wouldn't be a Three and Out without me chasing a bargain-basement tight end that I believe has a chance to pop. So here we have this week's candidate. As Zeidenfeld notes, "Freiermuth is a dart throw at a low price on both sides." Zeidenfeld went on to note that he hasn't run as many routes this season as Eric Ebron, but his target percentage on routes run vastly eclipses Ebron's. Also, Freiermuth has an 11-6 advantage over Ebron in terms of red zone routes run and, in Week 3, he easily paid off his low price tag by finding the end zone. We also have a good matchup this week, with opponents having scored touchdowns on all 10 trips to the red zone against the Packers. But wait! It gets better. As ESPN's Eric Moody reminded his readers, the Steelers' top three wideouts (Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster) are dealing with injuries, so Ben Roethlisberger might need another reliable receiving option outside of Najee Harris. Moody further noted that Big Ben has only 13 pass attempts of 20-plus yards this season, and he has completed just three of them. Also, in case I didn't mention it: He's cheap.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals ($7,700 on DraftKings; $7,600 on FanDuel)
Kenny Golladay, WR, New York Giants ($5,500 on DraftKings; $5,900 on FanDuel)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans ($6,400 on DraftKings; $6,900 on FanDuel)
I try to avoid picking players dealing with injuries in this spot each week. It seems like the easy way out. So I'm throwing in some extras this week. ... Hopkins played through his rib issue last week and returned to the practice field Thursday, so I'm going to pretend -- for the purposes of this exposition -- he's going to be playing in this one. As ESPN's Mike Clay notes Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey has yet to shadow this season, but his 2020 deployment suggests he'll shadow Hopkins this weekend. "Hopkins is too good to bench," Clay wrote, "but his underwhelming start to the season and this very tough matchup makes him a name to avoid in DFS. ..." The same goes for Golladay, who should play despite a lingering hip issue. He should also be well-positioned to rack up targets with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both all but certain to miss this one with hamstring injurie. The problem is likely shadow coverage from Marshon Lattimore. Also, as ESPN's Matthew Berry contends, Golladay's failure to establish chemistry with Daniel Jones will be an issue. Per Berry, on deep balls this season, Jones is 3-for-6 for 49 yards and zero touchdowns to Golladay; 11-for-14 for 328 yards and two touchdowns to everyone not named Golladay. ... Now how about a healthy option I'm not looking to roll with? Cooks is the pick -- or non-pick. The reason? Well, there's more than one. First of all, I don't have a great level of trust in Davis Mills yet. But even that wasn't an issue, Bills shutdown corner Tre'Davious White would be. Per Clay, White is a near-lock to shadow Cooks this weekend. Much like Aiyuk, I love Cooks. Sadly, I'll be looking other directions this week.