Hello Razzball! This is the first in a series of weekly articles written by yours truly that will be looking into each of the week’s match-ups and picking out one player I Love and one player that I Hate from each game. Before I get into this week’s picks, I’ll give some background into how I make my picks. The first thing I look at is the Vegas betting lines, specifically the point spread and the over/under totals. These are two huge factors when making picks, especially for daily fantasy sites. If I’m ever debating between two similarly rated players for my Flex position, checking out the point totals could be a deciding factor for me. Of course, between now and kickoff, some of the lines could change by a few points, so it is important to check these again later in the week after some injury situations are cleared up. I’m also going to try and avoid making the obvious picks, as those won’t help anybody. Now, onto the picks!
Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, (Thursday Night Football)
I Love: In this week’s Thursday night showdown, we’ve got Michael Vick in prime time going up against Joe Flacco. In three games this season, Pittsburgh’s defense has given up 6 touchdowns through the air and none on the ground, making Joe Flacco a decent streaming option for Tom Brady owner’s this week.
I Hate: The Ravens’ defense against tight ends has been excellent on the year, allowing only thirty yards total through three games. Heath Miller is nowhere near the talent of Tyler Eifert, who was held to zero catches last Sunday. If you’re streaming tight ends, look elsewhere.
New York Jets vs. Miami (in London)
I Love: Miami’s defense gave up three passing touchdowns last week against the Bills in Week 3, and I think the Jets could possibly take advantage of that with Eric Decker hopeful to return. If Brandon Marshall is matched up against Brent Grimes, expect Decker to be force-fed targets.
I Hate: The Jets have only given up one touchdown on the ground this year, last week against the Eagles. Despite allowing over 100 yards on the ground to Ryan Mathews, expect Lamar Miller (averaging 35 yards per game) to continue his disappointing start against this terrific run defense.
Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
I Love: Indy is a large favorite this week, at home against the Jaguars. The Jaguars run defense had actually been playing respectably well before getting torched by the combination of Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount last week, however, I anticipate Frank Gore having another Top-8 running back week. Give me the running back on a heavy favorite at home every single time.
I Hate: On the other side of the coin, I’m not expecting much production from TJ Yeldon this week. You expect the Jags to abandon the run early and I could definitely see him struggle to get 15 carries. Look elsewhere for your RB2.
Atlanta vs. Houston
I Love: This pick could change depending on how a few injury situations shake out, but as of this writing, Alfred Blue looks like an intriguing flex option this week if Arian Foster is not 100% healthy. Atlanta has already given up 6 rushing touchdowns this week and looked terrible last week against the Cowboys. Blue was the clear lead back last week, with 31 carries, and seems like a safe play for at least 8-10 points in standard leagues this Sunday.
I Hate: Houston has only given up 1 touchdown through the air this year, so owners looking to capitalize on Leonard Hankerson‘s emergence as the WR2 in Atlanta might want to wait another week to get him in lineups.
Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
I Love: The Buccaneers defense has been pretty ugly on the ground this year, most recently getting demolished by Alfred Blue. I believe this is the game that Jonathan Stewart owners are finally happy with their RB2.
I Hate: With Carolina hopefully getting stud linebacker Luke Kuechly back from a concussion, try and avoid playing Doug Martin in your flex spot this week. He’s been thoroughly mediocre and I wouldn’t expect this to be the week that changes.
Buffalo vs. New York Giants
I Love: The Giants have given up over 300 yards passing each week this year, and Tyrod Taylor has improved in each game this year. I think he can be trusted as a mid-level QB1 this week, especially if he throws in 40 yards on the ground as he’s done twice this year.
I Hate: As of this writing, LeSean McCoy may end up splitting carries with Karlos Williams. Williams looked good last week against the Dolphins, getting 110 yards on just 12 carries. It’s possible Rex Ryan leans more on Williams and lets McCoy’s hamstring heal up, McCoy owners should look for injury updates as the week goes on.
Oakland vs. Chicago
I Love: Chicago has looked pitiful so far, and are not expected to do well possibly missing both Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery. If they’re down both, expect the Raiders to be able to run the ball all day against the Bears. Latavius Murray is moving closer and closer to my personal Top 10 running backs as the year goes on.
I Hate: Michael Crabtree reminded us last week that he is still, in fact, Michael Crabtree. Crabtree only caught 4 of his 9 targets in Week 3 after going 9-111 with a touchdown in Week 2. He’s been getting quite a few targets but I expect Amari Cooper to benefit most from the Bears defense this week.
Philadelphia vs. Washington
I Love: If the Eagles are still missing linebackers Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks, tight end Jordan Reed will have a monstrous game against the Eagles. He’s had a great start to the year and is a fine TE1 while he’s on the field.
I Hate: Assuming DeMarco Murray‘s healthy for this game, I would be nervous playing him this week. Everyone knows how bad he’s been so far and Washington’s rush defense has been one of the best units in the league.
Cincinnati vs. Kansas City
I Hate: Jeremy Maclin has had a mediocre start to the year, and though Steve Smith torched the Bengals last week, I don’t expect Maclin to get anywhere near 17 targets. He’s a lower end WR3 this week.
San Diego vs. Cleveland
I Love: Keenan Allen has had a strange season, with yardage totals so far of 166, 16 and 133. The Joe Haden mirage will continue crashing down as Allen should have another monster PPR game and should be started with confidence. Being huge favorites only helps solidify this pick.
I Hate: In case it still needs to be said, Isaiah Crowell cannot be trusted as anything more than a 4th running back. He had an easy match-up on paper in Week 2 against the previously ranked 31st run defense and managed a 3.6 yards per carry on 10 attempts. Avoid unless extremely desperate.
Green Bay vs. San Francisco
I Love: Green Bay is the huge favorite on the road with the biggest over/under of the week, you don’t need me to tell you to start your Packers. Aaron Rodgers could probably make me look like an athlete out there. I think the high point total helps out the opposing QB, however. Colin Kaepernick definitely won’t throw 4 picks against this defense, and should be able to chip in a couple of points on the ground as well.
I Hate: On a similar note, Carlos Hyde should be facing a pretty identical game script as Week 3, down by a large margin. I wouldn’t count on a ton of carries for Hyde this week, and he doesn’t seem to be too involved in the passing game either. He’s a lower end RB2 this week.
Denver vs. Minnesota
I Love: This is another tough match-up to choose from, but Emmanuel Sanders has been having another great year with 35 targets on the year already. Keenan Allen had a great game and with Xavier Rhodes banged up, the Vikings should have trouble containing Sanders all game.
I Hate: The Broncos still haven’t given up a touchdown to a receiver yet and I don’t think this changes after going from the duo of Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson to Mike Wallace. Avoid this bum at all costs.
Arizona vs. St Louis
I Love: Arizona is proving to be one of the most dynamic offenses in football. Even after losing their starting running back in the first game, averaging 42 points so far. I’m starting Carson Palmer over a lot of quarterbacks this week.
I Hate: Even after scoring 28 points in Week 3, I still am not comfortable starting Chris Johnson. With reports of Ellington returning and Palmer playing like a man possessed, I don’t trust the workload will be there for him. It’s entirely possible he is the third most talented running back on that team with everyone healthy. Not to mention the Rams holding Le’Veon Bell to a mere 3 yards per carry.
New Orleans vs. Dallas (Sunday Night Football)
I Love: Even with Joseph Randle scoring three times, I think Lance Dunbar could be a sneaky PPR play this week. It is obvious with Brandon Weeden at quarterback that they need to utilize a pass-catching running back and Dunbar was excellent in Week 3, bringing in 10 catches for 100 yards.
I Hate: As I foreshadowed a little bit, I think some owners could be trying to chase fantasy points this week playing Joseph Randle. He had almost all of his production in the first half and the Falcons really shut him down in the second half. New Orleans’ run defense is not extraordinary by any means, but I wouldn’t automatically lock Joey Randle into my lineup.
Seattle vs. Detroit (Monday Night Football)
I Love: It’s been a bit of a rough start for Jimmy Graham owners but I think his Week 4 numbers will be more in line with what he did last week against the Bears, where he hauled in 7 of 8 targets for 83 and a touchdown. The Lions have given up a touchdown to the tight ends every week so far, and that should continue.
I Hate: As much as I love Ameer Abdullah this year, I wouldn’t touch him this week. Huge underdogs on the road is not usually the formula for a great game.
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