Happy Sunday, Razzball Nation! If you’re like me, waking up for Sunday during football season is a morning filled with hope, dreams, optimism. Then you go nuts in your head thinking, “what if the Panthers actually do win?” Then they just shellac the Giants, and I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone. Maybe because I am a fantasy nerd (all people who put “expert” after fantasy in the terminology are kidding themselves – NERDS!!!), I sometimes dream about sports – and typically about vastly skewed numbers. What, T.Y. Hilton got 223 Yards and 4 TDs?! Something like that. So while my Panthers put up a scoreline that I literally couldn’t even subconsciously comprehend, I had a fantasy team in my dynasty league put up the lowest score I’ve ever had in 10+ years. It was like being a few levels deep in Inception. I may never make it out alive! Save me, Leo! Save me!
Here’s to a week where things balance back out to normal, Roddy White getting over a bum ankle, Ray Rice being able to gut it out, and everything else fantasy owners need to right their sinking ships.
Looking back at last week’s picks, Bernard Pierce showed why he’d be a fantasy first-rounder with a starting gig, and that was my only home run. Philip Rivers got a TD but meh and DeAndre Hopkins had a nice PPR 6 for 60. Ugh, the Tyler Eifert call really bummed me out – I saw a big game there – but thanks to Johnathan Franklin, the Bengals O didn’t have win the game. And Miles Austin pulled a hammy, so while not entirely the worst call, his hammy’s are worse than Porky Pig’s. For my benchers, again, felt horrible with the Russell Wilson call and legit put in Rivers over him in that dynasty league. But hey – I was gonna lose either way. I don’t care if you’re mad – I’m calling Trent Richardson a push – that goal-line TD on his first carry from the one was a joke, then he only had 34 additional yards on the ground. MJD was a loss though, he got a TD, good to see him getting back on track even though he was a game-time start. Roddy still struggled with the ankle, and Kyle Rudolph indeed proved he has to get a TD for a nice fantasy day and disappointed. A subpar week for LSD. Here’s who I like in week 4, with their % started in ESPN and Yahoo, respectively (NOTE – these are not always recommendations for 1-for-1 swaps, just guys I like who are understarted and guys I hate overstarted):
Jacquizz Rodgers (12.2%, 23%) As I mentioned in this week’s DraftKings picks, seeing Jacquizz get 18 carries in the first week of Steven Jackson missing time (to Jason Snelling‘s 11) was really encouraging despite Jacquizz getting less love in the passing game. But in what should be a fairly high-scoring affair with the Falcons desperate for a tough road win, I think Jacquizz gets back involved in the passing game along with 10 plus carries. Kinda unreal that Quizz got 53 catches on only 59 targets last year, and even though a lot of those are easy-money checkdowns, there is a nice rapport there with Matt Ryan. I think Jaquizz is a must start flex in PPR.
Jason Avant (0.7%, 2%) While he should be only a deep league option, I think Avant should be looked at as a strong WR3 or flex option in 12+-teamers in what is primed to be a great shootout game. The Eagles going to Mile High has all fantasy owners salivating – the Eagles want to play fast, it will give Peyton Manning even more offensive run, and the Eagles will need junk time. Well, within that junk time should be a lot of Avant checkdowns, as he’s the main safety valve for Michael Vick, and the primary move-the-chains option. Avant is coming off 7 targets in week 2 and 8 last week (including that nice 22-yard TD against the Chiefs) and I think gets it to double-digits in targets in this one.
DeAndre Hopkins (12.6%, 31%) Andre Johnson is going to start, and despite him saying he’ll only be 80%, I think he still commands the majority of Richard Sherman’s coverage and Hopkins gets a lot of targets. I think Seattle wins this one pretty handily, so a lot of looks to Hopkins could be in some late come-back drives. If you’re Seattle, I think you let a rookie in Hopkins beat you before a gimpy AJ.
Santana Moss (4.4%, 10%) Say what you will about the vet, but he’s started the season with three straight double-digit PPR games, and in what is a must-win for the Redskins, I don’t think they absolutely blow out the Raiders in Oakland, but do try and push for big points especially early. Pierre Garcon is the obvious main target, and since the Raiders have trouble against the pass (8th most fantasy points to WR thus far) I see another solid game from Moss if you’re strapped for options in a deeper league.
Coby Fleener (8.8%, 16%) In Fleener’s first week as the official alpha dog TE in Indy, he really disappointed with only 2 targets and 2 nabs for 13. Even though the Colts should spank the Jags as bad as they bump-paddled the Niners last week, I think Fleener gets more involved this time out. We just saw the ghost of Zach Miller get two goalline TDs against the Jags last week, and while I don’t think Fleener necessarily scores twice, I do think he is a big part of the offensive attack up until the Colts are up 40 points.
SON OF A BENCH
Dwayne Bowe (45.3%, 71%) Owners are hopping off the Bowe-wagon, but he’s still started in a few too many leagues for me. Sure the Giants give up tons of points in the passing game, but the Chiefs O is so F – ing conservative, it’s like a Pat Robertson telethon. The Chiefs won’t need to push it, and while I think Bowe does have some nice games down the road, winning is winning and I’m sure he’s happy.
Joique Bell (42.5%, 46%) I like Bell as a player, and think without Reggie Bush he’s a must-start virtually every week, but with Bush back, Bell beckons a bust bersus Bears. Eh, just wanted to try some alliteration there and stretched it… The Bears give up the third-least fantasy points to opposing teams’ backs and I think get the Lions into pass mode. Bell is indeed part of the passing game as well, but I think Bush gets a lot of run with his explosiveness.
Andre Johnson (74.5%, 85%) All reports indicate AJ is going to start this one, which means a lot of Richard Sherman and why I like Hopkins so much above. As I stated with Hopkins, I think if you’re Seattle, you still let a rookie beat you before Andre Johnson even if he is only playing on one leg.
Eddie Royal (32.4%, 37%) The darling of the first two weeks, it was a brutal fall from royalty in week 3. Royal only commanded 2 targets catching them both for 34 last Sunday and I don’t think he’s the answer for moving the ball against the Cowboys this week. I think what we saw in week 3 is closer to reality than weeks 1-2.
Kyle Rudolph (77.6%, 41%) I feel a little dirty – a little red-nosed if you will – going with Rudolph again, but his % started numbers are still astronomically high. Games in London seem to be Grinch-like with their fantasy lines, and Rudolph will need a consistently moving Vikes offense behind band-aid Matt Cassel to get the goal-line targets he needs to get a TD and salvage a fantasy day. I’m avoiding.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck in week 4!