Opportunity Is Still King: Top Plays and Stacks for Week 4 AAF DFS
Welcome RotoViz readers to the wonderful world of AAF daily fantasy sports! Each week I’ll be running through some of the top plays, stacks to target, and a few punts to consider when building DFS lineups at Fanball. Let’s dive into Week 4.
Target Running Backs with Volume
Over the first few weeks, few teams have decided to utilize bell-cow backs, relying on a heavy rotation at the position. The backs that are sparingly used remain tough to rely on as a source for fantasy points, with inconsistent volume and touchdown upside. Unfortunately, that means if we want to get those heavy-hitter backs with rushing, receiving, and red zone work, we’re forced to pay up.
Birmingham’s Trent Richardson ($7,600) continues to be the league’s heavy-lifter in terms of running back touches (72.6 percent) and snaps (69.4 percent). He’s a workhorse in the red zone, seeing 18 touches in 24 red zone snaps. He now has six touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions to his name through the first three weeks. Lock his name in and move on.
Ja’Quan Gardner ($7,000) leads the AAF with 281 rushing yards while posting a ridiculous 8.0 yards per attempt. He’s coming off the heels of back-to-back productive outings, culminating in him having nearly 100 rushing yards on the next-closest back (Zac Stacy, 188). An 83-yard scamper by Gardner will surely increase the yards per carry, but he is also seeing regular work in the receiving game, garnering multiple targets in each outing. Terrell Watson remains a red-zone threat to steal touches where he’s out-snapped Gardner 16-to-4 inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. That being said, Gardner showed last week that he’s a threat to take any touch to the house. He’s had 16 and 14 touches the past two weeks, racking up 26.1 and 24.3 fantasy points, respectively. If opting for a game theory fade on Richardson, Gardner is a great leverage play at a similar price point.
Following Week 3’s performance, HC Steve Spurrier said that D’Ernest Johnson ($5,500) played well enough to keep the starting gig heading into Week 4. He ran for 79 yards and a touchdown last week on 13 carries, while most importantly seeing late snaps to stave off Zach Mettenberger’s attempt to get Memphis their first win. Johnson saw a season-high three targets last week and has become Orlando’s primary red zone back. He has seen five snaps in the red zone while all other backs have combined for one.
Chase the Targets at Wide Receiver
The perennial RotoViz moniker, targets are the lifeblood of fantasy, applies to the AAF just as much as the NFL.
San Antonio’s Mekale McKay ($6,300) continues to be the lifeblood of the Commanders’ passing attack. McKay leads the AAF in targets with 27 through the first three weeks while sporting a league-leading 25 percent target market share. McKay is just one of five receivers to have seen at least five or more targets in every game so far and only Quinton Patton has surpassed McKay in Air Yards (386 to 371). McKay draws a tough outing against Birmingham’s stationary corners, with RCB Jamar Summers erasing half the field as a potential defensive MVP candidate.
— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) February 26, 2019
One positive for McKay and this passing attack is that these are two offenses that lead the AAF in plays per game, leading to plenty of pass volume.
Orlando’s Charles Johnson ($7,200) continues to be priced up as the top wideout. He leads all receivers in receiving yards (305) while sporting a healthy 18.2 fantasy points per game. Johnson draws Salt Lake this week, who has been torched by Rashad Ross in their two meetings, giving up a combined 11-154-3 stat line. Johnson has better size and speed than Ross, with arguably the AAF’s best quarterback throwing to him. He’s going to be tough to fade this week.
If you’re looking for a slate-breaking play this week at wide receiver, Quinton Patton ($6,500) squares off against a San Antonio defense that has allowed 37 and 31 points over the past two weeks while getting torched through the air. They’ve allowed a combined 586 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and 67.9 percent of the pass attempts they’ve faced to be completed during that span. Patton leads the league in Air Yards (386) and market share of Air Yards (45 percent), making him a big play waiting to happen in this matchup.
Stacks to Target
Garrett Gilbert ($7,100), Charles Johnson ($7,200), and Jalin Marshall ($5,600)
Gilbert continues to pace the quarterback position almost uniformly across the board as the AAF’s top passer. He’s now scored at least 22 fantasy points in each matchup so far and draws a favorable matchup against Salt Lake this week. The Stallions are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing signal callers, providing the potential for a double-stack here with Gilbert’s top-two pass catchers. Johnson (mentioned above) and teammate Marshall make for a great one-two punch at receiver. Marshall had a quiet Week 3 (1-15-0 on three targets), but trails only Patton in aDOT (16.0). Gilbert connecting on a few deep shots with Marshall in addition to the regular volume Johnson sees could make this a tournament-winning stack with people scared off by the high price tags.
John Wolford ($5,700) and Rashad Ross ($6,900)
Following a disappointing outing in Week 3, Fanball lowered Wolford’s price substantially down to the QB6. Despite a lackluster 9.78 fantasy points in Week 3, Wolford still ranks second among all quarterbacks in fantasy points to date, thanks to a league-leading seven passing touchdowns supplemented with a healthy 8.2 yards per attempt (second to only Gilbert, 10.2). They now face an Atlanta squad that has allowed a league-high 92 points through the first three weeks. The league average if you exclude ATL is down at 54.3. Wolford is in for a terrific bounce-back spot here against a pass defense that Gilbert shredded for 27.6 fantasy points in Week 1. Pairing Wolford with his top receiving option in Ross is an effective way to stack this passing attack. Ross ranks top-five in just about every receiving category to date, while leading the AAF with four touchdowns. He has scored at least once in every game so far.
Punts ($5K and below)
Vegas has this Atlanta/Arizona matchup with the highest spread of the week at 13.5. If Jhurrell Pressley ($5,000) isn’t in your player pool, you might want to start over and reconsider. Pressley hasn’t had exceptional fantasy outings to date, but he’s third in the league in carries (40) and should be due for natural positive regression in the touchdown department where he has yet to score. Pressley’s price has gone down in two consecutive weeks, presenting him as a unique punt option where we can say with confidence that he’ll see volume if Vegas has this game anywhere close to how they project. With four targets to his name last week, he carries receiving upside in addition to leading the Hotshots in goal-line work. If fading the Wolford/Ross stack above, Pressley is a great way to gain leverage in hopes that Arizona scores through the ground and not through the air.
If you caught any of the San Antonio game last week, one player that really stood out amidst a 31-11 drubbing was running back Trey Williams ($4,100). Playing in his first AAF game, Williams routinely picked up big yardage for the Commanders, finishing with a 7-75-0 rushing stat line and catching both of his targets for 13 receiving yards. Five of his seven runs went for at least five yards, including a monster 30-yard run right after halftime:
Former Texas A&M RB Trey Williams excelled in his AAF debut, picking up big yardage nearly every time he touched the ball. Should be slated for an uptick in work this week and will likely be the last time we see him under $5K on Fanball. pic.twitter.com/lSk14npLnc
— Tyler Buecher (@TylerBuecher) February 28, 2019
A repeat performance like last week and it won’t be long until Williams reaches the $5K-plus range.
James Quick ($3,600) saw heavy involvement within the Atlanta passing attack last week as they tried to climb back into their game with Birmingham. He saw a whopping eight targets and the second-most Air Yards (71) on his squad. It was his first game seeing any passing volume his way, and he saw a massive portion of it, tying Seantavius Jones for a team-high 16.7 percent target share. Punts this low certainly carry risk — especially with Quick and his one-game sample — but it’s difficult to fade potential eight-target volume at this price point in a game where Atlanta is projected to be trailing as massive dogs (+13.5).