Week 3 is in the books and all I can say is it wasn't pretty. Somehow the Dolphins needed overtime to finish off the hapless Browns last Sunday afternoon. If it wasn't for a 46-yard shank, the last of three missed field goals by freshly acquired Cody Parkey 236 people would have been eliminated from the pool. As it stands 99 were eliminated with the bulk coming from Carolina and Arizona's losses bringing the running total down to 477 survivors.
As we move on to week 4, I feel that this has been the most uncomfortable I've felt picking thus far. The first 3 weeks picks seemed obvious and reflected such in the individual pick breakdown. This week I think we will see some more disparity in picks. Three match-ups stood out to me as options for this week's pick.
The first and probably the most popular pick would be the Redskins over the Browns. On the surface, this feels like a great pick at home and 7.5 point favorites coming off a big win against the Giants. But I believe this could be a trap game. The Browns could very well run a muck of this shoddy Redskins defense. If the Browns can get ahead in this game and establish the run, I have little faith in Kirk Cousins to lead a comeback.
If I had to pick a second team to win this week it would be the Denver Broncos. The Buccaneers just lost a home game to the Los Angeles Rams in which they let up 37 points, to the RAMS! I think that Chris Anderson has a big game and the Broncos win this one easily. The Broncos are looking every bit as good as last years super bowl team and I would argue better on offense.
But I elected to pass on this pick because there was another match-up I liked with the extra benefit of this particular team playing at home. That pick is the Arizona Cardinals. They are the biggest favorites this week by 8.5points against the very Rams I just mentioned. Coming home after a Buffalo beat down to play a division foe they will be looking for some revenge. As long as Todd Gurley doesn't go nuts I think Arizona wins this game easily.
So there is my two cents Cardinals, Broncos, Skins in that order. I think you're good with any of the three but the Browns make me a little nervous. I don't see many opportunities for them to win games this year and this might be the one. Only Detroit goes for broke.
Week 4 is upon us which means one important thing, bye weeks have come! Only two teams on bye this week but they are the Packers and Eagles which both contain some very fantasy relevant players. If you need some fill ins, or just want to improve your teams depth, the below recommendations should be considered to help your team out.
Note: all waiver picks listed here will have only been owned in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues at the time of publication.
Joe Flacco (BAL) - 29% owned - If you are looking for a bye-week fill in at the quarterback position this week, Flacco has an amazing matchup against a Raiders pass defense giving up 340 passing yards per game and the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks through 3 weeks.
Honorable mention: Carson Wentz (PHI) - 20% owned (on bye week 4 but nice matchups weeks 5/6)
Jordan Howard (CHI) - 25% owned - Jeremy Langford was carted off the field in week 3 with what is reported to be a high ankle sprain, which means Howard will be leading the Bears backfield for at least the next 3 weeks and potentially permanently if he performs well enough. The Bears matchups the next 3 weeks are against average to below average rushing defenses in the Lions, Colts and Jaguars. I consider Howard the waiver add of the week.
Orleans Darkwa (NYG) - 3% owned - With Rashad Jennings sitting out, Darkwa split carries with Shane Vereen in week 3 and ended up with 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries as well as a reception for 9 yards. It was reported today that Vereen will now miss the rest of the season with a triceps injury which means Darkwa will be the lead back for however long Jennings remains out. Whenever Jennings returns Darkwa should still hold some minor fantasy relevance.
Terrelle Pryor Sr. (CLE) - 23% owned - Pryor was putting up fantasy points every way imaginable against the Dolphins catching 8 out of 14 targets for 144 yards, rushing 4 times for 21 yards and completing 3 out of 5 passes for 35 yards. I'm expecting these kind of stat lines won't be showing up after Josh McCown and Josh Gordon get back in the lineup, but he's definitely worth an add and start in all formats for week 4.
Steve Smith Sr. (BAL) - 39% owned - Although he didn't make it into the end zone in week 3, Smith caught 8 of 11 targets for 87 yards. He has a great matchup against an Oakland defense giving up the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so you can expect a big game here.
Honorable mention: Cole Beasley (DAL) - 21% owned
Kyle Rudolph (MIN) - 42% owned - Rudolph looks to be a focal point of the Vikings offense this season which is shown by his 166 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 of 26 targets. These stats make him good for second most fantasy points and targets at the tight end position behind only Greg Olsen.
Honorable mention: Cameron Brate (TB) - 2% owned
Washington Redskins (WAS) - 7% owned - Recommending the Redskins as a streaming defense this week since they go up against Cleveland who still will be starting their 3rd string rookie quarterback in Cody Kessler. Look for a few freebie turnovers to come the Redskins way this week.
Taking a look at the player trends over the past few weeks can reveal some surprising things - it's important, though, to temper expectations in some cases and realize that some great (and some awful) performances can be the product of gameflow as much as the talent and/or rising production of a player. But since each player can only be owned by one team at a time in most standard fantasy leagues, you've got to scoop them up before anyone else and make smart decisions as far as when to play a rising (or falling) star. What do you think about these scenarios? Will the players listed below live up to expectations based on recent weeks?
We discuss our thoughts on the below players on this week's podcast:
Trevor Siemian (DEN, QB)
Week 1 vs. CAR – 18/26, 178yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 11.12pts
Week 2 vs. IND – 22/33, 266yds, 0 TD, 1 INT, 12.34pts
Siemian was an underdog from the beginning of the preseason, and had a rough start in 2016, but he lit it up against the Bengals in Week 3 and has constantly improved since the opening game against the Panthers. He is now the 12th highest scoring QB in standard scoring leagues after 3 weeks, can he score 18 points or more this week against the Bucs?
Similar to Siemian, Cousins has increased his effectiveness and gotten better at protecting the football every week so far in 2016. The Redskins go up against the Browns’ lackluster defense in week 4 – can he put up 17 or more points?
Coleman has been more involved in the Falcons’ offense this year and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. He does go up against the Panthers’ defense in week 4, however. Will Coleman be able to continue this burst of productivity and put up 17 or more points?
Riddick was a huge waiver wire add after week 1’s performance, and was hyped up in the fantasy football world after it was revealed that lead back Ameer Abdullah may miss the entire 2016 season. The emergence of Dwayne Washington makes us give pause, however, and his sinking production isn’t helping. Can Riddick step it back up in week against the Bears and score at least 11 points to make himself fantasy relevant once again?
Quincy Enunwa (NYJ, WR)
Week 1 vs. CIN – 7/8, 54yds, 1 TD, 11.40pts
Week 2 @BUF – 6/6, 92yds, 0 TD, 9.20pts
Week 3 @KC – 4/11, 37yds, 0 TD, 3.70pts
Enunwa has been a hot topic this year and since Marshall has been a little hobbled by his knee injury in week 2, it was assumed that Enunwa may be able to step up and provide some fantasy production. Granted week 3 was a terrible one for the Jets’ offense in general, but with Marshall getting healthier once more and Fitzpatrick looking to get back on track in week 4 against Seattle is it possible that Enunwa gets lost in the mix? Will he be able to score at least 8 points among all of the other mouths to feed in that offense?
Jamison Crowder (WAS, WR)
Week 1 vs. PIT – 6/10, 58yds, 0 TD, 5.80pts
Week 2 vs. DAL – 6/8, 39yds, 1 TD, 9.90pts
Week 3 @NYG – 4/7, 78yds, 1 TD, 13.80pts
Crowder looks to be supplanting Pierre Garcon as the starting WR opposite DeSean Jackson. He has been displaying great elusiveness and doing everything that the team asks him to. Going up against the Browns in week 4 should certainly not prove any more difficult than the other teams that he has played so far this year. Will he continue this positive trend and put up at least 10 points this week?
Jimmy Graham (SEA, TE)
Week 1 vs. MIA – 1/1, 11yds, 0 TD, 1.10pts
Week 2 @LA – 3/4, 42yds, 0 TD, 4.20pts
Week 3 vs. SF - 6/9, 100yds, 1 TD, 14.00pts
Graham had a gruesome injury last year (patellar tendon) that many athletes never return from in full-form. Even when he was healthy he was still having some issues gelling with the Seahawks offense and finding his place within it. Amazingly, it looks like he did make a full recovery and was doing Jimmy Graham-like things in week 3 and playing a full complement of snaps. Can Graham keep it up against the Jets in week 4 with a backup QB and score at least 7 points?
Welcome to Statistically (in)Significant, the place to find great stats that probably only matter at the water cooler (or bar). Each week I'll dig through the stats of the week gone by and deliver you some choice conversation starters.
Julio Jones became the 6th player ever to hit the 300-yard mark in a single game, putting up the monster stat line of 12 rec, 300 rec yds, and 1 TD. Everyone who panicked after week three's 16-yard performance can direct their fears elsewhere (Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick come to mind). Jones will be fine going forward, namely because his QB is the best so far in 2016. Matt Ryan currently leads the league in passing yards (1473), passing TD's (11), has only 2 INT's and even has 2-2 pt conversions. His 109.62 fantasy points are 20% higher than the second highest scoring QB, Drew Brees.
The Patriots were shut out for the first time at home since 1993, which predates the Belichick era. The last time the team was shut out was in Miami in 2006. Of course, most people would agree that the lack of points comes from a distinct lack of Tom Brady. Brady's suspension is over now and he'll be eager to get going after leading the league in touchdowns last season. It's time for the Tom Brady Middle Finger tour, you almost feel bad for the Cleveland Browns.
152.5 QB Rating
Ben Roethlisberger put up a 152.5 QB rating against the Kansas City Chiefs, who had been giving up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing QB's. Ben's 300 yards, 5 TD performance will certainly put a dent in those numbers. This is the 8th game of his career where he finished with a QB rating over 150 - he has 3 games with a perfect score of 158.3. The Steelers struggled last week, but with the return of Le'Veon Bell, expect full steam ahead with the best QB-RB-WR punch in the league.
No kicker has put up 20 points yet this season. Mike Nugent and Dustin Hopkins both share the top spot with 19 points. Why bring this up, you ask? Throwing darts at a wall is as good an option as any when it comes to picking a kicker week to week. Nobody is that consistent - AHEM, Stephen Gostkowski and your zero points. Well, this column is called Statistically Insignificant, after all. This stat is pretty useless. The third best kicker this season is only owned in 11% of leagues - there's a stat you can use. Now go pick him up, or throw a dart at the wall, I don't care - it's a kicker!
DeMarco Murray has 77.60 points already this season, helped along by his 5 touchdowns. He's first among non-QB's, and 8th overall among all players. He's got the number 2 guy, Melvin Gordon, beat by 10 points. Stand up if you had these two guys leading the league after 4 weeks, even above the stud WR's. Of course, one person did have them - my opponent this week, damn you ReDraft!
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!