It’s time for another TGIF edition of Deep Sleepers and DFS Bargains. I made good on three of my picks last week. I hope you were paying attention and jumped on Jordan Howard and Jack Doyle before everyone else! Let’s see who emerges in Week 4.
To review … all of these players are owned in less than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks, but that’s why they’re so cheap and available! I’d never advocate taking all of these guys, but rather utilizing them if a manager were in a pinch at a position or aiming to build a “stars and scrubs” sort of DFS lineup.
Dwayne Washington, RB, Detroit Lions ($10)
A converted wide receiver, Washington is a size/speed prospect with big-play ability. With Ameer Abdullah likely shelved for the season (foot), he also figures to be the Lions’ primary rusher. While he split carries with Theo Riddick (each RB totaled 10 totes a piece) last Sunday, the rookie was the more effective option, averaging nearly three more YPC than the vet.
In Week 4, Washington will face a Bears defense that is allowing over 140 rushing yards per contest. Admittedly, Detroit is a pass-first operation, but there’s still room for Washington to produce, as the Lions are averaging nearly 24 rushing attempts per outing. With Riddick likely to be featured more in the passing game, Washington could easily see upwards of 15 touches on Sunday. He’s a low-end RB2, but if able to reach the second level of the defense, Washington could take it to the house for major yardage … and points.
Alfred Morris, RB, Dallas Cowboys ($14)
Predicting goal-line plunge points is always risky business. But given the current running back landscape, folks are starved for options. Morris may not be the Cowboys’ RB1, but he has vultured TDs away from Ezekiel Elliott in back-to-back weeks.
In Week 2, the former Redskins’ TD seemed to be an opportunity for Morris to get a little revenge against his old team while also teaching Elliott a lesson about ball security. This past Sunday, however, Morris’ TD raised eyebrows, indicating a potential pattern. Less than two weeks ago there were murmurs Alf would see an increased role. While the job clearly belongs to Zeke, it is possible the Dallas brass views the elder power rusher as their goal-line gremlin, which could keep Zeke (a first-round investment) fresher longer.
Traveling to Santa Clara, the matchup is a healthy one for both RBs. Since their Week 1 stymying of Todd Gurley, the 49ers have allowed 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks as well as two ground scores to Christine Michael last Sunday. According to Football Outsiders, San Francisco’s rushing defense is middle of the pack against power success (runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown), which bodes will for Morris’ chances of snagging six.
With Dez Bryant expected to sit, this game projects to be especially run heavy. Given Dak Prescott’s mobility and subsequent ability to open running lanes, both Zeke and Alf should get theirs. Zeke remains a top-five play, but Morris offers sneaky boom or bust appeal for desperate fantasy managers.
Steve Smith Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens ($16)
Leading the Ravens’ receiving corps in targets (24), Smith has steadily shaken off rust and improved his production. Last week was the 37-year-old’s best outing of 2016, as he caught 8 of 11 balls for 87 yards. Those numbers placed him among the top-25 fantasy producers at the position for the week.
This Sunday, Smith faces a Raiders squad that has given up the most fantasy points to wideouts. Over their past three outings the Raiders have allowed five TDs and an average of over 220 receiving yards per contest to opposing WRs. Given his opportunities and the ultra-plus matchup, Smith is solid WR3/Flex option who remains readily available (53% owned) in Yahoo leagues.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars ($11)
The Jags’ second-round pick from 2014, Lee’s career has been nearly halted due to a slew of injuries. As recently as August, the USC product struggled with a hamstring ailment, keeping him well behind Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns on the team’s depth chart. A dynamic talent with impressive burst and stylish after the catch ability, Lee’s targets have steadily grown over the past three weeks.
Since Week 1, Lee’s snaps have increased 14 percent, going from 50 percent to 64 percent this past Sunday. Additionally, the Albino Tiger has garnered seven targets in back-to-back weeks, out-producing Hurns on the same number of looks in Week 3. On an offense that’s called the fourth-most passing plays in the league so far this season and with Julius Thomas banged up (elbow), the opportunities should continue to be there for Lee. He’s a sneaky flex facing a Colts defense that’s allowed the seventh-most receiving yards since the start of the season.
Zach Miller, TE, Chicago Bears ($16)
Injuries kept Miller off the field for years until late in 2015 after, finally healthy, he emerged in Week 9. Scoring five TDs over the last nine weeks of the season, Miller stood in for Martellus Bennett and became one of the year’s hottest waiver wire adds. He’s back on the radar after reeling in 8 of 9 targets for 78 yards and two TDs this past Sunday evening.
Week 3’s most productive fantasy TE, Miller’s targets have increased with Brian Hoyer under center. With Alshon Jeffery battling through more soft tissue issues, the surprisingly athletic TE figures to benefit from another healthy dose of looks. Additionally, he’ll be facing a Lions defense that has struggled to cover the middle, giving up the most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Still available in nearly 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, Miller is a solid TE1 in Week 4.
Follow Liz on Twitter @LizLoza_FF.