4for4 Mailbag Week 9
Welcome to the weekly 4for4 Mailbag, where I answer your questions about all aspects of fantasy football, including redraft leagues, DFS strategy, advice on handling angry football widows, and even some pop culture. Since it will be published on Thursdays throughout the season, I won’t be tackling waiver wire advice, so be sure to check out 4for4’s valuable articles on streaming and the like to aid with your weekly roster decisions.
@darylangler: Big Ben is back. Do I go with Ben or Dak Prescott this week?
JE: On paper and in theory, this should be a no-brainer in favor of starting the veteran, Ben Roethlisberger. However, Dak Prescott’s impressive play thus far this season has sent shock waves through the NFL and the fantasy football world. As the 135th selection in the 2016 draft, the Cowboys were not planning on having the talented rookie on the field Week 1, if at all, this season.
Tony Romo’s glass-like physique had another idea in mind, as he suffered a broken bone in his back during the preseason, propelling Prescott into the starting role, one which he has embraced and excelled in. Sitting as QB12 on the season, the young Dallas signal caller has gained 133.4 fantasy points, with an average of 19.1 per game, while Roethlisberger, who missed Week 7 due to a knee injury has 117.2 PPR points with an average of 19.4 per game.
As close as these two are in numbers, I say we look to their matchups to see who the better play is specifically for Week 9. The Steelers hit the road for Baltimore, where they face a Ravens defense, whose schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) is just 16.0 to the QB position, which ranks 13th, while Dallas gets the Browns in Cleveland, and with that, their cushy aFPA of 22.0, which ranks 31st.
With the way Prescott is playing, his juicy matchup and the fact that he has all his weapons back on the field, it appears that he’s the one you want to roll with this week. Big Ben may go off because it is a divisional game, so please don’t come at me if he does, I just think he may struggle a bit with his bum knee that really didn’t have proper time to heal.
Finphan on Facebook: Can Jay Ajayi possibly put up a third consecutive 200-yard game, translating to another week of huge fantasy points?
JE: Well, the Dolphins bye week came at a very convenient time for the second-year RB after he rushed for a whopping 418 yards in the two games prior to Miami’s week of rest, amassing 33.7 and 28.6 PPR points, respectively. Or perhaps, the bye interrupted what was one of the best streaks of this kid’s young career, and the magic is now gone.
We will find out Sunday, as the Dolphins face a Jets defense that is tough against the run, giving up only 74 yards per game on the ground, and a schedule adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) of just 20.7 to the RB position, 11th best in the league. With Arian Foster hanging up his cleats and out of the way, Ajayi is the clear RB1 on Miami’s roster, with Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake possibly getting some carries. In Week 7 right before the bye, Ajayi saw 29 touches to Foster and Williams’s four each.
I suspect they will work Ajayi like a dog again, at least at the start to continue riding his hot hand, or carry in this instance. Ryan Tannehill has been mediocre at best so if he can’t get much going, it may be the ground game show at Hard Rock Stadium once again on Sunday.
@Mike_Woellert: What are your thoughts on the SF RB situation this week? Will Hyde play or Mike Davis?
JE: As of right now, Hyde still remains in a non-contact jersey at practice, and is still a big fat question mark for Sunday’s showdown versus a horrendous New Orleans Saints run defense. If he does hit the field, 4for4’s own John Paulsen has him ranked as RB9 with a predicted 15.8 PPR points.
In the event that Hyde is still sidelined this weekend, it’s unclear whether Mike Davis will get the starting nod or DuJuan Harris, who led the 49ers RBBC in touches with 13 to Davis’ 7 in Week 7 right before their bye week. I suppose I would keep a close eye on Hyde’s injury status to see if he’s a go, and if not you can roll the dice with Davis or see if anyone grabbed Harris off the waiver wire.
Either way, the Saints rushing defense is among the basement dwellers of the league, giving up an aFPA of 30.6 PPR points to the RB position weekly, which ranks 30th in the league. If you’re in a pinch due to byes like most of us are, there will be RB points scored in this game, it’s just a matter of where they will come from.
DM from MEL: Do you have any specific strategies you use to get your team ready for the playoffs?
JE: I think my strategies are probably similar to most long-time fantasy footballers, but actually implementing them is a whole different story.
One thing I always try to do is to handcuff my RBs -- and even WRs -- in the event of an injury, which we all know too well is a big part of this whole thing. If you are lucky enough to have a stud RB still on your roster -- and I suppose you do if you are thinking about the playoffs -- try to snag his backup off the waiver wire or work out a trade to secure those points. Same thing goes for WRs; look around for the WR3 or WR4 on his team that will get the targets if your guy is sidelined.
Another thing to consider is adding a second or even third defense to allow you to play the matchups down the stretch. Look ahead at the schedule and try to pick up team defenses who have favorable games in the final weeks of the regular season so that you have the flexibility to shoot for the most points possible.
A large chunk of fantasy degenerates go with one solid QB throughout the season, then grab a streamer for their bye week to just get through it. In preparing for the playoffs, if you’re that guy or gal, you may want to grab a second signal caller in case your QB goes down. Trust me, you won’t want what is left on the waiver wire at that point, so planning ahead is key.
As always thanks so much for all your submissions this week. See you all next Thursday for the 4for4 Mailbag!