My thinking: This one comes down to Jacksonville having one of the best defensive units in the NFL and Kansas City having one of the worst defensive units in the NFL. Going up against the Jacksonville defense will be the toughest matchup for Patrick Mahomes up to this point in his young career. Conversely, Blake Bortles, while a rather ordinary quarterback (who’s actually been playing well recently), has an excellent opportunity to air it out against a Kansas City defense that has allowed an average of 329 passing yards per game in 2018 (which ranks 31st in the NFL). On the flip side, the Jacksonville defense is allowing a league-low 164 passing yards per game this season and will make it difficult for Mahomes to air it out like he has done so well this season. Also, don’t be surprised if Kansas City comes out flat while looking ahead to its primetime road game next Sunday night against New England. If you’re asking me who I’d rather have for the rest of the season, it’s Mahomes by a mile. However, in this matchup, Bortles has a good chance of totaling more fantasy points than Mahomes does.
My thinking: When you look at the Green Bay and Detroit passing defense numbers, both units have, on paper, played well the first four weeks of the season. Green Bay ranks seventh in the NFL allowing 219 passing yards per game, and Detroit ranks second in the NFL allowing just 172 passing yards per game. Pretty good, right? Well, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the Green Bay defense has faced Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith and Josh Allen in the first four weeks of the season. Except for Cousins, those other quarterbacks aren’t exactly above-average passing quarterbacks. The Detroit defense, on the other hand, has faced Sam Darnold, Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady (who combined for 339 passing yards in Weeks 2 and 3 against Detroit) and Dak Prescott. It’s fair to say those four quarterbacks are similar to what Green Bay has faced or that they did not perform up to their usual standard in their game against Detroit. My point is, neither defense in this matchup has been tested so far this year, but that’s about to change this week considering both of these teams have high-powered offenses. Expect a high-scoring affair that will result in Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford putting on a clinic through the air.
Christian McCaffrey will have more than 200 total yards and two touchdowns against the New York Giants this week.
My thinking: What’s not to like about Christian McCaffrey? He is the primary ball-carrier on a run-oriented (for the most part) Carolina team. He is an incredible receiver out of the backfield, which in points per reception (PPR) leagues equates to high floor/high ceiling fantasy numbers on a week-to-week basis. Carolina leads the NFL with an average of 166 rushing yards per game (in three games). Carolina is third in the NFL with an average of 5.5 yards per rushing attempt and is hosting a hapless New York Giants run defense this week, which means the second-year running back out of Stanford is in for another monster week.
The Giants have allowed an average of 126 rushing yards per game in their first four games, which ranks 29th in the NFL. They’ve also allowed an average of 4.8 yards per rushing attempt (26th in the NFL). In all fairness, though, the Giants have had to go up against some of the best running backs in the NFL these first four weeks. In Week 1 against Jacksonville, Leonard Fournette was averaging 4.6 yards per carry on nine rushing attempts before he left the game with an injury (sigh). In Week 2 it was Lamar Miller (OK, he’s not that good), and in Weeks 3 and 4 they had to deal with Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara. In case you’ve been living like Brendan Fraser (in an emergency bunker) in the 1999 film “Blast from the Past,” those two running backs are kind of good. Still, though, the Giants are not a sound defensive team, which means McCaffrey is primed to put up elite RB1 fantasy numbers again this week.