Last week threw a wrench into many fantasy owners' plans, but this game that we love has many peaks and valleys along the way to fantasy riches and glory. Staying the course in some cases may be the best situation, but I tend to find that allowing yourself a little bit of flexibility in your lineup choices can make all of the difference. It's not very often these days that conservatively managed and played fantasy teams take home the Gold. With that in mind, don't be afraid to pull out a Trevor Siemian or Jay Cutler start this week - or forgive Jacquizz Rodgers of his poor performance in week 3 and give him a spin. I'm also digging a bounce back game from Ted Ginn and Tyrell Williams. Whatever you do, make sure to be paying attention this week for targets that you can buy low: Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram, DeVante Parker, Martavis Bryant, and Travis Kelce are all good candidates. But mostly, make sure to enjoy watching the games - that's what it's all about, after all. :)
It's the end of another exciting week of football which means it's time to put your claims in for available free agents in your fantasy league to strengthen your team. I'll be going over who I think are the top five picks for you to target this week so don't miss out on them. Good luck!
Note: %owned is based on Yahoo! leagues at the time of publication.
5) Devin Funchess (CAR) - 20% owned - With Carolina losing Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin most likely sitting out this week that doesn't leave them many passing options. Funchess isn't great, but he should end up seeing double digit targets against the Patriots, making him a viable WR3.
4) Jacksonville DST (MIA) - 43% owned - Jacksonville is the second best fantasy defense through three weeks and they look to stay hot playing against the New York Jets this week. Look for another strong performance.
3) Duke Johnson Jr. (CLE) - 51% owned - Johnson only has value in PPR formats given his primary role playing out of the slot, but if you are in a PPR league and he's available you should go after him. He'll continue to produce enough for FLEX value or to use as an upcoming bye-week replacement.
2) Jamaal Charles (DEN) - 33% owned - Charles is playing second fiddle to C.J. Anderson in the Denver backfield but his production per touch has been amazing, running at 5.1 yards per clip. I expect there to be a more even timeshare of carries as we move further along into the season so you should look to grab Charles now before that happens.
1) Wendell Smallwood (PHI) - 6% owned - Smallwood should be the biggest beneficiary of Darren Sproles' season ending injury by taking on passing down work and splitting early down carries with LeGarrette Blount. He is a must grab this week in all formats but particularly in PPR.
Every year I like to take some time to remind everyone of a little clause that is in almost all season-long confidence pools.
That exception is that the lowest score of the season is removed from your total points in a last-ditch effort to give you a little boost. I usually write about this when we have a bad week.
Didn’t really think I would be writing about it in the first quarter of the season though! Is what it is though, and luckily, for the most part, everyone had a bad week.
That’s why they play the game, and that’s why the game is great!
Week 4 – HERE WE GO!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – SEATTLE over Indianapolis – The Colts looked impressive for the first time this season last week … … … against the Browns … … … against the Browns.
15 – GREEN BAY over Chicago – The week kicks off with the biggest rivalry in the game. The Bears looked good last week, but they don’t have the defense to contain an Aaron Rodgers air assault.
14 – NEW ENGLAND over Carolina – How big of a nose dive have the Panthers and Cam Newton taken? A game in Foxboro isn’t exactly the best way to fix their problems.
13 – ATLANTA over Buffalo – The Falcons look primed to make a return to the Super Bowl this year. A home game against Buffalo won’t slow them down a bit.
12 – DALLAS over Los Angeles Rams – Dak Prescott won the game for the ‘Boys last week, now it’s Zeke’s turn. My BOLD PREDICTION for this week is that EZEKIAL ELLIOT WILL HAVE HIS BREAKOUT GAME WITH OVER 150 YARDS RUSHING.
11 – ARIZONA over San Francisco – The 49ers looked impressive last week. But even with how impressive they looked they could beat the Rams. Good luck on the road against the Cardinals.
10 – KANSAS CITY over Washington – Boy the Chiefs are good!
9 – TAMPA BAY over New York Giants – Why would you have confidence in the Giants? Put 11 guys on Beckham and let the rest of the Giants’ offense beat you and your gold.
8 – MINNESOTA over Detroit – The NFC North is going to be a bit of a barn-burner this year. A win here will go a long way for these two teams. Lucky for the Vikings they are the home team this week.
7 – HOUSTON over Tennessee – DeShaun Watson is for real. He showed that he could maintain himself and almost beat Tom Brady on the road. It was a perfect warmup for a big early season divisional matchup this week.
6 – MIAMI over New Orleans – It feels weird to put a team that was just dominated by the Jets to win this week. Call it the “because they’re the home team” win of the week.
5 – BALTIMORE over Pittsburgh – Big Ben is hard to stop when the Steelers have a home game. On the road…eh…not so much.
4 – DENVER over Oakland – This hurts me to say, but after their performance last Sunday night, it’s hard to have confidence in the Raiders in such a pivotal road game.
3 – Philadelphia over LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – Carson Wentz is on the verge of being a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback. Going across the country to get a big win will help persuade voters (I hate fan voting!)
2 – CLEVELAND over Cincinnati – When you think the Browns are going to win a game, they should ALWAYS be on the one point line. That is unless…
1 – NEW YORK JETS over Jacksonville – …you also think that the Jets are going to win in the same week.
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.
27 Fantasy Points
Greg Zuerlein was an offensive force to be reckoned with on Sunday. He's personally responsible for 23 of his team's 35 points after making 7 field goals and another 2 extra points. His 27 fantasy points make him the 8th highest scorer for the week. It was a hell of a week for kickers, with 7 of them scoring 15 or more points - all of them in the top 42 players of the week. Of these 7 kickers, only Stephen Gostkowski is owned in a significant number of leagues. Young GZ is next, owned in 38% of Yahoo leagues. Looks like there will be a lot of kicker swaps coming up this week.
DeShaun Watson, the rookie QB who apparently couldn't start over Tom Savage week 1, tied a rookie record with 5 touchdowns. Four passing and one rushing TD from Watson lead the way for the Texans, as they scored a franchise record 57 points. Watson has had growing pains, throwing 3 INT's in the last 2 games, however he is clearly getting better with each game. Can we finally put to bed the thought that a bad veteran QB is a better option than putting a rookie or otherwise still-developing QB out there? Indy has figured this out, and it seems like Chicago might join the party this week and start Mitch Trubisky.
Le'Veon Bell looks like he's back to his old self, which is fitting since in the past couple of years he hasn't played until Week 4 anyways. Anyways, that's no way to talk about a guy who won me a couple of fantasy matches this week. Let's get back to the old tradition of gushing about him, shall we? Bell's 35 carries were the second highest in his career, as were the 39 touches. The 144 rush yards are tied for 6th highest total in his career in the regular season. His 30.6 total fantasy points are easily his highest total since we celebrated Le'Veon Bell Week last year.
1 Out of the Top 20
There is only one WR in the top 20 players, Jordy Nelson, and he didn't even play on Sunday. By contrast, there were 7 RB's in the top 20, and yes, we're counting Greg Zuerlein in the top players. Didn't you hear me earlier? This was a good week for RB's, but really it was a down week for higher end WR's. None of them reached 20 points this week in standard scoring, and a couple of the top 5 WR's, Devin Funchess and Will Fuller, both are owned in less than 32% of Yahoo leagues. That's definitely a waiver wire tip for you guys.
146.0 Passer Rating
Andy Dalton's week 4 quarterback rating lead the league, as he went 25 for 30 for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Since the Bengals got a new OC, Dalton's completion percentage is way up, his touchdowns are way up (from 0 to 6) and his INT's are way down (from 4 to 0). It's been a large swing for the Bengals this season, who can finally feel good after getting a very convincing win last week. In comparison, the team that intercepted Dalton on the way to getting a shutout in week 1, the Ravens - yes, the very same Ravens - have yet to recover from getting pantsed by the Jaguars in London just a week ago. The Ravens looked awful again against a Steelers team that has looked very good, but also lost to Mike Glennon, a guy who is about to get benched. Maybe the only consistent thing we can find in the AFC north is that the Browns are still 0-4. The Browns losing is like comfort food to unstable Ravens, Steelers and Bengals fans.
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!