The injury bug continues to sting the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger and Marshawn Lynch highlight the week 3 injury report. We are already starting to see the waiver wire slim as sleepers are at a premium by this point in the season. Streaming plays is still important so continue to look for favorable matchups on a weekly basis.
Tyrod Taylor, BUF – The Buffalo Bills were largely ignored from a fantasy stand point heading into this season. You’ll notice a heavy contingent of Bills players in this week’s waiver picks. It all starts with quarterback and Tyrod Taylor has been impressive through 3 weeks. It really is hard to believe he is only owned in 38% of leagues. The caution surrounding him is clearly over as he has been let loose to make 59 attempts in his last two games. He’s out scoring guys like Andrew Luck, Eli Manning and Matt Ryan. There really is no reason for fantasy owners not to snatch him up this week.
Derek Carr, OAK – Oakland is 2-1 on the season and while that means little to fantasy owners it should be noted that Derek Carr has had 2 great fantasy days in those victories. Unlike Tyrod Taylor I don’t see Carr being a guy that you’ll roll with the rest of the season. What I do like about Derek Carr heading into week 4 is his matchup with the Chicago Bears. The Bears are 0-3 with little hope of being relevant and have questionable corner backs. Carr is a great streaming option this week and maybe a guy you want to stash if you drafted guys like Matt Stafford or Colin Kaepernick.
Karlos Williams, BUF – LeSean McCoy owners were feeling the frustration before news came out that Shady might grab some pine to get his hamstring healed in week 4. Karlos Williams has a touchdown in each of the first 3 games of the season. Last week he made the most of his 12 attempts with 110 yards. The increased roll plus the news that Shady may be used sparingly makes Williams a no brainer pick up this week. He is only owned in 25% of leagues.
Thomas Rawls, SEA – One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Thomas Rawls stepped up when Marshawn Lynch left the game with a hamstring injury. It’s a wait-and-see situation with Lynch, but if you own Marshawn or could use a plug and play RB in week 4 then Rawls is easy pickings. His matchup with Detroit is favorable and he has clearly beaten out Fred Jackson.
Alfred Blue, HOU – The Texans must have finally realized their quarterback situation is futile. Alfred Blue was given the rock 31 times in week 3 as Houston looked to get some sort of spark going on offense. Blue did not disappoint with 139 yards and a touchdown. Arian Foster will be back soon, but Blue’s performance makes him worth a pickup in case Foster takes another week healing his groin.
Rishard Matthews, MIA – It’s ok if you didn’t hear about Rishard Matthews before the season started. He has come out of nowhere with 262 yards and 3 touchdowns on this young season. He saw 10 targets in week 3 and is clearly going to continue to be involved in the Miami offense. We aren’t talking about an Odell Beckham here, but there are plenty of WR2’s and WR3’s that have disappointed to this point. Matthews is available in 77% of leagues.
Marvin Jones, CIN – Heading into this season I was way up on Marvin Jones. Week 1 was unsettling but Jones has proven that going with your gut is sometimes more important than one week’s worth of stats. In weeks 2 and 3 his role has increased with 13 targets. More important from a fantasy stand point are his two consecutive weeks finding the end zone. He is the #2 receiver in Cincinnati at this point and a strong WR3 option moving forward.
Ted Ginn Jr., CAR – The Panthers have a serious lack of targets this season. Ted Ginn Jr. is the wide receiver that appears to be the best target behind Greg Olson. He has a promising 22 targets through 3 weeks and if that completion percentage can come up he will be dangerous. I like him this week against the Tampa Bay defense and you can stash him on the bench to play match ups as the season goes on.
Charles Clay, BUF – The tight end position is one where it’s rare to find lightening in a bottle. Charles Clay is certainly not going to be a game changer, at least not at this point. I like Clay because the Bills are a hot team right now and he is playing a role. He has two consecutive games with a touchdown and a good matchup against the Giants in week 4.
Chandler Catanzaro, ARI – The Cardinals have a very good defense to this point this season. That has hurt Chandler Catanzaro to this point as he only has 2 field goals on the year. I still like having kickers on an offense that moves the ball over a guy like Robbie Gould, who is accurate but was blanked in week 3. If you are streaming kickers Catanzaro is my pick this week as the Rams present the toughest defensive match up Arizona has seen all season
Indianapolis Colts – Week 4 is a rough week if you are streaming your defenses. Indianapolis is best available mostly due to a favorable match up with the Jaguars. The Colts have a tough start to the season defensively, but they have had some pretty good talent going against them too. They have a lot to prove and a coach’s job in their hands.
The Chicago Bears have shown their cards after starting the season 0-3. Jared Allen was shipped off two days ago, followed by Jonathan Bostic as Rookie GM Ryan Pace sheds ill-fitting pieces left over from the Phil Emery era. These two moves have opened up a TON of cap space for the rebuilding Bears, but I don’t think we have seen the end of the wheeling and dealing.
Rumors surfaced immediately about Matt Forte being on the trading block after the Allen and Bostic news broke. An abundance of sources are being cited left and right; some claiming Forte is definitely on the block, while others are claiming he isn’t. I might not have the sources, but I can look at this from a pure business sense and tell you that it makes sense for the Bears to move Matt Forte.
First, Forte is 29 years old (turning 30 in December) and is in the final year of his contract. His resume boasts five 1000+ rushing seasons and he holds high marks in the passing game. From the Bears point of view they are in total rebuilding mode. It makes no sense for the Bears to invest in Forte when their path to relevance only leads into his declining years.
Second, his contract extension, or lack thereof, was an early sign. I have to hand it to Matt Forte for the way he handled the off season media blitz surround his potential contract extension. He stayed out of it for the most part and didn’t hold out. That doesn’t mean he didn’t vocalize his disappointment. In an Interview with NBC 5’s Mike Adamle, Forte says this about his future, “I’ve come to the realization that this might be my last year here, so I’m gonna make it the best year I can possibly make it. So if I’m a free agent at the end of the year I might have to go somewhere else.”
Lastly, the Bears have no reason not to try to trade Forte before the deadline. From a business standpoint he is worth nothing to them once he explores free agency. Trading him for a draft pick is the best they can do in the position they are in. Ryan Pace has already shown that he is in full-on rebuilding mode and his plan has to include stashing draft picks.
Where does Matt Forte Get Traded?
Dallas Cowboys – This was one of the first teams involved in the trade talks as the rumors swirled. As a Bears fan I like this destination simply because Jerry Jones is most likely to give the most if a bidding war was to take place. Jerry doesn’t like to lose. Looking at their team depth chart, the Cowboys don’t really have a need for Matt Forte. Joseph Randle is running well behind that stout offensive line, Lance Dunbar covers the pass catching role while Darren McFadden subs in for change of pace. They also have Christine Michael in the wings. Not saying a deal couldn’t get done between these two teams, but it would be complicated from the Dallas Cowboys stand point when looking at the running back depth they already have.
Baltimore Ravens – This is a popular pick for a potential Matt Forte trade. Justin Forsett is struggling early this season with only 124 yards through 3 games. There is also no denying that Joe Flacco would benefit from Forte’s pass catching abilities. We also need to discuss the obvious link between Matt Forte and Marc Trestman. Trestman is the offensive coordinator in Baltimore now and must be lobbying to trade for Forte. Forte has had his two most productive seasons when Marc Trestman was running the Bears offense as the head coach.
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers running back woes are very similar to those in Baltimore. Jonathan Stewart has only 170 yards through 3 games. Unlike the Ravens, however, the Panthers are off to a great start this season at 3-0. A Matt Forte trade to Carolina actually makes a lot of sense. Stewart is unproven as a lead back after multiple seasons of splitting time with DeAngelo Williams. Carolina could use Forte’s talents and leadership after the good start. When Kelvin Benjamin went down the Panthers lost a major offensive play maker. Greg Olsen is the lone threat right now with Ted Ginn Jr. being the only other worthwhile target.
Arizona Cardinals- This is my very own dark horse trade destination. Chris Johnson appears to have earned the starting role in Arizona, even after Andre Ellington returns. His game last week against the 49ers was impressive with 110 yards on the ground and 2 TD’s. That being said, I still like Matt Forte in this offense, and the timing seems to make sense. Carson Palmer is playing great despite his age (35) and Larry Fitzgerald is off to a good start with 333 yards and 5 touchdowns despite being 32. My point here is that Arizona’s chance for a Super Bowl is on the clock. Putting Matt Forte in the mix instantly makes them an offensive juggernaut.
Grab’em while they’re hot! Week 5 is getting ready to start and the waiver wire continues to bear fruit. Bye weeks are in full swing this weekend too with Carolina, Miami, Minnesota and the New York Jets all off. My recommendation is to dig deep this week. The season is really starting to take shape and waiver wire gold tends to get slim in the middle of the season.
Jay Cutler, CHI – The Bears are not staging a comeback or anything this year but fantasy value can still be found on losing teams. Jay Cutler came back last week and had his best game of the season despite his bum hamstring. The Andrew Luck and Drew Brees injuries should be a wake-up call to all owners. Stashing a good streaming QB on your bench is valuable and Jay Cutler has yet to really hit his full stride this season. Playmaker Alshon Jeffery should be returning soon too giving him another dynamic player to target. He is only owned in 25% of leagues.
Brian Hoyer, HOU – Houston plays on Thursday and that might be the only reason Brian Hoyer doesn’t replace Ryan Mallett in week 5. Mallett is too inexperienced and immature to handle his poor play and benching properly so I do expect Hoyer to win back the starting position soon. Houston isn’t setting any offensive records but Hoyer does have DeAndre Hopkins to target. Plus, we haven’t really seen the full impact of Arian Foster returning. Foster should open up the field a bit more and Hopkins continues to play very well despite his QB handicap. Hoyer is wide open and only owned in 1% of leagues. He must have a lot of family playing fantasy football.
Duke Johnson Jr., CLE – We knew Duke Johnson Jr. was going to find his way onto the field this season. Though he remains the backup - for now - the Browns have found a way to use him effectively. In his last 2 games Johnson has 15 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. He’ll continue to get some touches too, but his impact in the passing game is obviously a big plus for a guy only owned in 31% of leagues.
Charles Sims, TB – The RBBC approach is starting to take on a bit of a new look this season. Players like Lance Dunbar, Duke Johnson Jr. and now Charles Sims are finding success through the air when they sub in. Sims has 10 receptions for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns. His value is further increased based on the fact that he is the third down back for Doug Martin. I will point out too that I like him in DFS lineups, especially as a FLEX. He is only owned 11% of leagues.
Allen Hurns, JAX – The waiver wire gold is few and far between this late into the season, but I believe Allen Hurns has just that type of value as a WR3. He has made the most of his opportunities early, racking up 13 catches for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hurns narrowly missed making my waiver picks last week and quite honestly I am disappointed in myself. He is still only owned in 19% of leagues. That won’t last long after putting up two consecutive weeks of WR3 numbers.
Willie Snead, NO – A new name that should make his way onto everyone’s radar is Willie Snead. He has overtaken Brandon Coleman as the 3rd wide out in New Orleans. The amount of playtime he is seeing gives him good enough upside to make my picks this week. He also plays in the Saints pass happy offensive system. For now he is a streaming option with high upside. I predict his ceiling will continue to rise as the season moves on. He is only owned in 3% of leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, ATL – Atlanta is rejuvenated under new Head Coach Dan Quinn; especially on the offensive side of the ball. Julio Jones was predicted to dominate, and he has, but Roddy White was a question heading into this season because of his age. Enter Leonard Hankerson to offer the Falcons another option in the passing game. Through the first 4 weeks he has been boom or bust, but is seeing a good number of targets for a guy only owned in 19% of leagues. Whether or not he gains more consistency is still up in the air, but don’t pass up on the number 2 wideout in a top 5 passing yards per game offense.
Gary Barnidge, CLE – After the two weeks the 30 year old Gary Barnidge has had I would be an idiot not to recommend picking him up. He has 12 catches in his last two games for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. The tight end position continues to be a popular streaming position as the talent pool has large gaps between tiers. Injuries are another issue with the TE position; see Jordan Reed (SHOCKER). Barnidge is a bright spot on an otherwise dismal Browns team. His is only taken in 9% of leagues.
Antonio Gates, SD – Injuries are starting to mount up for the San Diego offense with Stevie Johnson exiting in week 4 and Malcom Floyd going through concussion protocol. That is why it surprises me that Antonio Gates is still only owned in 54% of fantasy leagues right now. Gates is finally back after serving his 4 game suspension and will no doubt make an immediate impact. Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have long been a great fantasy marriage. The injuries only boost his ceiling in his week 5 return.
Cairo Santos, KC – Kansas City’s losing streak continued in week 4 but Cairo Santos had a hell of a game. Most kickers are lucky to see half the number of field goals Santos made last week. His 7 field goals were good for 27 fantasy points. Streaming kickers is popular because, well, they’re kickers. Kansas City plays Chicago next week and it’s a favorable matchup for Jamaal Charles. That said, Alex Smith handicaps drives and an improved Bears defense should be good enough to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone.
Robbie Gould, CHI – The only game in which Robbie Gould has yet to put up favorable kicker numbers is the Seattle game where Chicago was shut out. He has 41 points on the season despite that, and is one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL. Jay Cutler is back and Matt Forte hasn’t been traded yet so I like the Bears ability to move the ball against Kansas City next week. Gould is owned in 18% of leagues which is just ridiculous considering his history and the numbers he has put up this season.
New York Giants – If you are heading into week 5 and find yourself in need of a defense then the New York Giants offer a good matchup option. There are two huge advantages to their week 5 matchup. One, San Francisco is traveling across the country. Two, and most important, San Francisco is the worst offense in the league led by an increasing disappointing Colin Kaepernick and coached by an increasingly greasy Jim Tomsula. Coach and Quarterback aside, you can’t ignore the numbers. The Giants have yet to put up big numbers as a D/ST this season, but they are 3 of 4 on the season in maintaining double digit fantasy points.
We had another strong week in week 5. This week will be a lot more difficult. We have several evenly matched games including a few instances in which an undefeated team could taste defeat for the first time. No time to waste, the new week is just around the corner!
Week 6 – HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN ALL CAPS)
14 – GREEN BAY over San Diego – Apparently Aaron Rodgers is human! I can very easily see him doing what he can this week to make us all remember that he is indeed not human.
13 – New England over INDIANAPOLIS – The Pats are playing like they are mad at the world and now they are playing the team that was the cause of it all…and they’re struggling. Bill Belichick could make this turn out to be as ugly as…well…Bill Belichick.
12 – MINNESOTA over Kansas City – It has been a rough start to the season for the Chiefs, and it just got a whole lot worse with another Jamaal Charles injury. It won’t get any easier against a well-rested Adrian Peterson.
11 – NEW YORK JETS over Washington – Kirk Cousins will have to win this game with his arm since the running game is non-existent. That won’t work too well against the Jets secondary.
10 – TENNESSEE over Miami – This game will be hard to watch. Miami is in the middle of an overhaul…not something that should be happening in the middle of the season.
9 – SEATTLE over Carolina – The rough schedule continues for the two-time defending NFC champs as they get another undefeated team. They should be able to hand the Panthers their first loss at home this week.
8 – Denver over CLEVELAND – Call it fantasy football stubbornness, but I think this is the week that Peyton comes out of his funk. That could be bad news for the Browns.
7 – Atlanta over NEW ORLEANS – The week starts off on Thursday in the SuperDome. Devonta Freeman has taken the league by storm and should be able to continue his dominance against the now lowly Saints.
6 – PHILADELPHIA over New York Giants – The battle for the top of the NFC Lease comes to Monday Night. The Eagles might have things figured out on offense. Now they get the national stage to confirm it.
5 – DETROIT over Chicago – Everything seems to be going downhill for the Lions. In order to avoid the cellar of the league, they NEED this game.
4 – Houston over JACKSONVILLE – Blake Bortles had an amazing week last Sunday in Tampa…but that was against Tampa. Arian Foster should have his official return game against the Jags defense. Jacksonville allowed Doug Martin to have a monster game last week, which leads me to this week’s BOLD PREDICTION that ARIAN FOSTER WILL HAVE OVER 250 TOTAL YARDS.
3 – Arizona over Pittsburgh – Welcome back to dominance, Arizona! Big Ben could be back soon, but another week of Michael Vick won’t be enough to beat the Cards.
2 – SAN FRANCISCO over Baltimore – If Jim Harbaugh was still in San Francisco, the Harbaugh Bowl matchup would make this game interesting. But he’s not…so it’s not. The 9ers are at home so there you go.
1 – BUFFALO over Cincinnati – Potentially the game of the week. The Bengals are undefeated for a reason but a trip to Buffalo could very well end that.
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!