Heading into Week 4, we can all agree on one thing: Josh Allen looks absolutely amazing in shorts. He is fully trusting the process the Bills and Sean McDermott have been preaching. The Titans currently have zero healthy QB’s, but that won’t stop them from being tied for the division lead in the AFC South. Dallas still stinks at throwing the ball to the point where they should be looking at QB’s in the upcoming draft. Also, the Cowboys have 4 TD’s on the entire season. So there’s that. Let’s get into some of the important games this weekend for fantasy.
Starting with the game as a whole, I think you could justify starting 10 different players in this one as it’s sure to be a shootout.
For Cincy, I absolutely love Andy Dalton this week. I have no faith in the Atlanta defense to do anything to slow down his weapons of AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, and Tyler Eifert in the passing game. All three of those should be started. The reason I think all of these guys will get their fair share is because while Green leads the team in target %, he’s only seeing 22% of all targets coming in, which means two things: First is that the ball is being spread around quite a bit. Second is that they are throwing a lot in Cincy. Dalton is averaging around 290 yards and 2.8 TD’s per game. As bullish as I am about the main weapons for Cincy, I’m fading the idea of playing John Ross in this one. He’s just not seen the efficiency in targets over the first three weeks to make me confident enough to start him. Joe Mixon is close to returning, but game script in this one has me believing that they’re gonna be throwing it all the time, so Giovanni Bernard is a risky flex play at best.
Atlanta has been pretty secretive about the health of Devonta Freeman this week, but I’m not expecting him back for this one. It’s another week where Matt Ryan should continue to how top-5 QB numbers, leading Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to be obvious plays. Julio still is receiving 33% of all targets in Atlanta, but Ridley has seen an uptick in targets the past two weeks, indicating that Matt Ryan is more comfortable throwing the ball his way. You can start Tevin Coleman in this matchup, but keep expectations limited as again, I think this game is going to be an aerial assault across the board.
So starting in Cleveland, let’s just state right away that Baker Mayfield should absolutely be on the radars for those of you playing DFS. The Raiders rank dead last in QB pressures and sacks this year, so Mayfield should have plenty of time to find his two favorite targets in Jarvis Landry and Antonio Calloway. Landry currently, through 3 weeks, has 40% of all targets in Cleveland. That is the highest in the league. You’re going to be starting Carlos Hyde because he sees a majority of the carries in the backfield. I’m fading David Njoku this week because I want to see how Baker targets him after a week of practice. Cleveland D/ST could be #1 this week with a Jon Gruden Raiders team that can’t seem to do much right on their offensive line.
For the Raiders, yikes. The safest play this week is probably Marshawn Lynch and even then he’s really touchdown dependent. Jordy Nelson had a big beginning of the game last week as Derek Carr clearly trusts him more than Amari Cooper (at this point, you should all know that I think Cooper isn’t even worth rostering in standard or PPR leagues). I’m fading Carr this week as from what was mentioned above, the Raiders do not sport the best OL in the NFL and the Browns have one of the best DL’s in the game. I’m expecting Cleveland to control the line of scrimmage enough to really hinder any fantasy value out of the Raiders. Good luck Chucky!
Now this game has a lot of fantasy tidbits. Let’s start with the seafood where I actually like their chances to pull off an upset here. Ryan Tannehill is 10-1 in his last 11 games that he has played a full 60 minutes. Miami spreads the ball around more than any other team in the NFL Jakeem Grant leads the team in target share with just 18%, meaning that Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson should be excellent plays for you this week. The reason I like Stills and Wilson over Danny Amendola is mostly matchup-related. Adam Gase is no slouch at crafting an offense. He knows that the Pats are hilariously slow on defense and speed guys like Stills and Wilson should thrive in this matchup. Grant is also worth owning in deeper leagues, as his speed is something that is sure to be featured more in the weeks to come. I think Kenyan Drake is still the lead back here, but he has the ceiling this week of a middling RB2.
The Patriots have your big guns going in this one that are worth starting. You’re going to play TB12 Tom Brady just because you can. You are starting Rob Gronkowski because you had to use a second round pick on him and you don’t sit your second round pick just on matchup. So now we get into the only other 3 question marks this offense has. Sony Michel is considered the lead back with Rex Burkhead now on IR, but anyone who has made the deal with the devil and rostered a Patriots RB knows damn well that James White is the back you actually want on a consistent basis, especially in PPR leagues. Michel has RB2 upside, but game script should involve a lot of passing, which is more in the repertoire of White. The biggest wildcard here is whether Josh Gordon looks remotely ok or even dresses. You can play Chris Hogan because he’s by far their best WR, but man I’d be lying if I said I’m confident in Gordon playing.
Josh Allen (as noted above) looks amazing in shorts and was dynamic in the passing and running game against the Vikings in Week 3. I’ve been calling him to MB and Viz for at least a month now “White Cam Newton” and to be honest, I think it’s only going to get more accurate as time goes on. I obviously don’t know if he has a repeat performance in him (39 rushing yards and 2 TD’s with 196 passing and 1 TD) but I do know that Brian Daboll schemed up one hell of a plan last week. I can see a scenario where Daboll has to keep his foot on the gas for 4 full quarters as Aaron Rodgers is still playing QB on the other side of the ball. LeSean McCoy has said he is ready to play, and I’m curious to see how they will utilize him. I’m guessing that he’ll have more receiving yards than he will have rushing yards, making him a monster in PPR formats. At the WR position, Kelvin Benjamin has looked downright dreadful this year with a multitude of drops on easily catchable balls. That being said, he’s still the target leader for this team and I can see Allen getting a little stubborn and trying to make sure his “WR1” gets his share of touches.
Green Bay still has Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback, so you’ll be starting Randall Cobb and Devonte Adams with a sneaky flex start of Geronimo Allison in deeper leagues. Adams leads the team in target share with 23%, so look for him to see 8-10 targets in this one. The Packers have a multitude of RB’s and I frankly don’t think you can confidently start any of them. Jamaal Williams is the safest option for them, Ty Montgomery is more of a WR than he is an RB, and Aaron Jones is the biggest ceiling/lowest floor of the grouping. It should also be noted that Jimmy Graham popped up on the injury report this week (Drink!) and he’ll have Tremaine Edmunds covering him, which is physically not a good matchup for Graham.
That”s it for me this week. Post any questions or concerns you have and I’ll try to get some answers as soon as I can!