Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s already October and we’re now onto Week 4 in the NFL. While there aren’t any marquee matchups on the schedule, this Fantasy season has already been very unpredictable and I’m sure there will be plenty more twists and turns this weekend.
Let’s take a look at my five biggest Fantasy Football storylines heading into Week 4:
1. The Seattle Rebound?
Sure it came against an awful Bears team, but the Seahawks got their first win of the season 26-0 over Chicago in Week 3. Next up for the Seahawks are the Detroit Lions at home on Monday Night Football. Like the Bears, the Lions are winless. The status of Marshawn Lynch is up in the air. He’s currently listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury that he suffered in the game against Chicago. He’ll be re-evaluated later on in the week, but whether he’s available or not, the Seahawks will be ready to go against the Lions. Kam Chancellor gave Seattle’s defense a much needed boost when he ended his hold-out prior to the Bears game. Seattle will need to play great football to keep up with the red hot Arizona Cardinals. Look for Seattle to get their second win in a row.
2. Aaron’s Dominance
The play of Aaron Rodgers never gets old. He’s coming off a five (!) touchdown performance against the Kansas City Chiefs and regardless of who lines up on offense with him, Rodgers continues to pick apart his opponents. The Packers are sitting atop the NFC Central at 3-0 as they travel down to San Francisco this weekend to take on a 49ers team that is struggling mightily. The Niners gave up 47 points last week to the Cardinals, and if you don’t think that Aaron Rodgers isn’t licking his chops with this matchup, then I have a $20 bill I’ll sell to you for $100. Think about it. On the season, Rodgers is now 67/91 for 771 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Niners’ metal will be tested in this one, but I expect at least another three touchdown performance here by Rodgers.
3. The Bye Weeks Begin
The start of the NFL bye weeks are upon us and the Patriots and Titans are the only teams in the NFL with byes in Week 4. Now’s the time to start eyeing what your team is looking like in the upcoming weeks in regards to byes, especially if your team is getting off to a slow start. You probably cannot afford to give away any matchups. Start planning accordingly before your team gets buried at the bottom of the standings.
As a refresher, here’s the 2015 bye week schedule:
Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots
Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets
Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers
Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks
Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers
Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Shady hurtin’, Karlos capitalizin’
The best running back on the Buffalo Bills is Karlos Williams. No, seriously. I knew that there was some sort of bad juju on LeSean McCoy. The fact that he can’t get over his breakup with the Eagles was the first sign. The second and more alarming sign is that Shady is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. Enter Karlos Williams, rookie running back out of Florida St. University. Williams has scored 1 touchdown in each of his first 3 games of the season and there’s a possibility that McCoy will be forced to miss week 4, due to his injury. Karlos Williams is making the most of the opportunity he’s had this year as he has 24 carries for 186 yards and the 3 aforementioned touchdowns. Shady better get back on the field as soon as possible or Karlos may run away with the starting RB job permanently this year.
5. Desert Storm
I could talk about the Cardinals every week. In fact, I think I do mention them every week. They’re playing outstanding football all around just like the New England Patriots. Larry Fitzgerald is having a throwback year with 5 touchdowns already this season and Carson Palmer is playing the quarterback position so well. Palmer is 56/88 for 803 yards, nine touchdowns and only two interceptions. They’re getting solid contributions from everyone in their run game, with the exception of Andre Ellington and their defense looks very strong again this season. They host a tough Rams team this weekend, but I expect them to hold the Rams off as they march towards 4-0 on the season.
Another potential storyline will be that hurricane thing that could move the Eagles-Redskins game:
First and foremost, I hope that everyone in the path of this hurricane has taken the proper precautions and is safe. I honestly hope this hurricane doesn’t affect us the way the current forecasts are projecting, but if it does, it will surely have an impact on the Eagles-Redskins game this weekend. There’s even talk about postponing the game until Week 8, when both teams have their bye week. I’ll proceed with the thought in mind that the game will take place, but be sure to monitor the situation closely and have some backup options ready to go for the week.
Each week I will present what I think are the juiciest fantasy matchups at each position. I don’t want to keep you guys waiting, so let’s take a look at the juiciest matchups for Week 4:
Russell Wilson (SEA vs DET) – Wilson is 71/101 for 692 yards and four touchdowns on the year. He needs to pick things up for the Seahawks to contend. The Lions present the perfect matchup for him to find his stride.
Andrew Luck (IND vs JAC) – It hasn’t quite turned out to be the year Andrew Luck’s owners had expected coming into the season. He’s 65/116 for 753 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions on the year. Ouch! If Luck is ever going to rebound, it’s this week against the Jaguars. He may not end up having the season he did last year, but he should be able to turn things around.
Philip Rivers (SD vs CLE) – On the year, Rivers is 76/102 for 890 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. He certainly has to fix that TD to INT ratio or it may be a nightmarish season for him. Last week he struggled against the Vikings, but he and the Chargers return home this weekend to play the Browns. Look for Rivers to get things going again this week as I’m expecting at least three touchdowns from him.
Randall Cobb (GB vs SF) – Cobb had a monster three touchdown game against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football last week and things just get juicier for him when he goes up against a 49er team that is really struggling. Cobb clearly benefits the most from the Jordy Nelson injury and I could see Cobb having at least one touchdown a game this year, as long as Aaron Rodgers is throwing to him. I expect big numbers from him again this week.
Antonio Brown (PIT vs BAL) – I know that I like to generally avoid using players that play on Thursday Night Football because of how sloppy games are, but Antonio Brown is going to continue what he’s doing for the past couple of years and that’s feast. The Ravens are 0-3 and if you caught any of the Ravens game last week against the Bengals, you’ll know that A.J. Green torched the Ravens for 200+ receiving yards. Brown is better than Green and I don’t think it matters that Ben Roethlisberger will miss some time. Brown is locked and loaded for another big week.
DeMaryius Thomas (DEN vs MIN) – Great news, Denver fans. The Broncos have realized that their offense and Peyton Manning work best when they operate out of the shotgun formation. Duh! This news greatly benefits DeMaryius Thomas as well. The Broncos host Minnesota this week and I fully expect a gradual increase in productivity out of this offense now. On the Season, Thomas has 268 receptions and only one touchdown, but I think that Thomas is his old self against the Vikings.
Carlos Hyde (SF vs GB) – This is my true hit or miss pick this week. Either the Packers are going to slaughter the 49ers like Arizona did to them last week or the Niners are going to do what’s best for the team and that’s to get Carlos Hyde and the running game involved in the offense. The Green Bay D isn’t great, they just have yet to be challenged. I still think Green Bay wins, but I think that it’s closer than most expect and I think that it’s due to Hyde’s involvement.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT vs BAL) – Bell found the end zone last week in his first week back from suspension. I mentioned earlier that Big Ben will miss some time with an injury and who will that benefit the most? Yep, you got it! Le’Veon Bell will be relied on even more in this offense to take pressure off of backup QB, Mike Vick. For those that took the chance on Bell in your drafts (despite him missing the first two weeks of the season), you gals/guys are about to be rewarded. The Ravens won’t be able to stop him. Let the good times roll!
Matt Forte (CHI vs OAK) – Matt Forte has been dealing with a minor injury and the Bears have been dealing with the fact that their team sucks. For the Bears to be able to get anything going, they need to rely on Forte. I think the Raiders beat them, but I believe that Forte will be back to business as usual this week. Forte only has one touchdown on the season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets two against the Raiders this week. [Editor’s note: Despite Forte’s one touchdown, he’s been a PPR machine so far this season. Take that into account when deciding whether to start or sit him. I’m starting him every week unless he doesn’t play.]
Jordan Reed (WAS vs PHI) – Not to jinx him, but Jordan Reed has not only managed to stay injury free, but he’s playing pretty well so far this year. On the season, Reed has 19 receptions for 241 yards and 1 touchdown. Tight ends generally give the Eagles problems, so I expect a big game for Reed this week (if the game doesn’t get postponed).
Heath Miller (PIT vs BAL) – Funky things happen on Thursday Night Football and I think one of Mike Vick’s favorite targets this week will be Heath Miller. Miller has 116 receiving yards and one touchdown on the year so far, but lock him in for another one this week.
Greg Olsen (CAR vs TB) – Greg Olsen finally broke loose with a monster performance last week. The Panthers play Tampa Bay this week and I expect Olsen to remain a focal point of the Panthers offense going forward. He’s big and quite frankly, other than Cam Newton, there aren’t many good players on the Panthers offense. Look for another productive week out of Olsen.
Matt Bryant (ATL vs HOU) – The Falcons are off to a 3-0 start. Their offense is moving the ball well, which means there will be plenty of opportunity for points for Bryant. They play a Houston team that has a tough defense, so they may be forced to settle for more FG’s this week, which is what I’m banking on.
Brandon McManus (DEN vs Min) – As I mentioned earlier, the Broncos have changed their offensive scheme up a bit, which will allow for more points. McManus is already one of the better kickers in the league, so look for this offensive switch up to benefit him as well. He should have plenty of opportunity for points this week against the Vikings.
Carolina Panthers (vs TB) – Tampa Bay stinks and the Panthers are playing some decent ball right now. I smell a low scoring game here, with the Carolina D putting them over the top.
Denver Broncos (vs MIN) – Denver still has the best D in the league and with the exception of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings haven’t looked all that good so far. Look for the Denver D to keep up their savage ways this week and maintain their rank as top D in the league.
Bust of the Week
A.J. Green (CIN vs KC) – Green had 2 touchdowns and 227 yards receiving last week against the Ravens. How will he follow that performance up this week? I think with a dud. The Bengals face the Chiefs this week, who should be angry after being dominated by the Packers on MNF. Look for the Chiefs to shut down the Bengals this week.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Each week I will give you my value picks for both FanDuel and DraftKings. Please remember that the salaries are a bit different at each site, so you may not see the same guys on each list because of that. Also, at the end of the day, the final decisions are yours to make, but I’m here to guide you through some value picks. Without further hesitation, let’s get into my DFS value picks for Week 4:
Derek Carr (OAK – QB – $7,000) –vs CHI – Carr has put back to back solid games together. Though the Raiders are on the road this week in Chi-Town, at $7K, I’ll be glad to snatch Carr up against an awful Bears team.
Karlos Williams (BUF– RB – $6,300) vs NYG – Word is that Shady may miss this game, meaning Karlos will see a lot of action against the Giants making the $6,300 price tag a steal for Williams.
Stevie Johnson (SD– WR – $5,800) vs CLE – The Chargers play better at home and while Stevie J. had a down week in week 3, look for him to rebound against the Browns.
Tyler Eifert (CIN– TE- $5,700) vs KC – His milk dud of a game last week makes this $5,700 possible. I expect Eifert to come back strong this week against a Chiefs D that will be out for blood. He’ll be one of the lone bright spots for the Bengals this week.
Philadelphia Eagles (DEF – $4,500) vs WAS – I admit that this is a risky pick, should this game not get postponed, but NFC East games are generally wars. I see the Eagles forcing some turnovers and getting some special teams points here. There are more obvious plays at defense, but I’m going to roll the dice with the Birds at $4,500.
Tyrod Taylor (BUF – QB – $5,800) vs NYG – I’m rolling with the hot hand here with Tyrod Taylor. The $5,800 price has my mouth watering. He’ll come back down to earth some point, I just don’t think it’ll happen this week.
Joseph Randle (DAL – RB – $5,500) vs N.O. – Look for the Cowboys to go back to what worked for them last week before they blew the lead to the Falcons. Randle should see a big workload against the Saints.
Donte Moncrief (IND– WR – $5,800) vs JAC – This has blowout written all over it and with Andre Johnson practically invisible, Donte Moncrief has really stepped up to the plate. Moncrief is good value at $5,800.
Jason Witten (DAL – TE – $4,400) vs N.O. – As long as he’s on the field while Dez Bryant is out, expect Witten to get a lot of passes thrown is way and at this price, I’ll take it!
Philadelphia Eagles (DEF – $2,700) vs WAS – To hell with it! I’m riding with Birds here like I did in FanDuel. I must admit that this $2,700 price tag is more appealing to me. Look out D.C., here come the Eagles!
Good luck this week!
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