We have officially completed the first month of football with three left to go. If you have a winning record then congratulations for starting out well. Most of us though need to make some roster moves in the next couple of weeks to fill in for injured players, cover bye weeks or upgrade at certain positions. Whatever the reason, now is the time you want to make moves to acquire good players or to move those that are playing well but will underperform later on.
Players to trade for now include Odell Beckham Jr., Lamar Miller, and Alshon Jeffery. These are players that have not found the end zone yet but are still playing well. Owners might be looking to move them because they are frustrated with the lack of scores and they could go at a much cheaper price.
Players to trade away include Matt Forte, LeGarrette Blount, Terrelle Pryor and Christine Michael. Players like these have started the season well but team situation and playing time might change in the future. These are players that are fresh on owners minds so you can use them now before they start to struggle or situation changes.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Julio Jones– 12 receptions for 300 yards and 1 touchdown. Jones is just the 6th person in NFL history to have 300 or more yards receiving in a game. The last person to have over 300 yards in a game was Calvin Johnson who had the second most yards in a game with 329 back in 2013.
Matt Ryan– 503 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, 1 interception. You cant have a 300-yard Julio Jones game without Ryan racking up the yards. Ryan became the 19th player in NFL history to throw for over 500 yards. Ryan now has over 330 passing yards in 3 of 4 games this season while averaging 2.75 touchdowns per game.
Michael Crabtree– 7 receptions for 88 yards and 3 touchdowns. Crabtree is off to a hot start and has now seen double-digit targets in the last two games. While I don’t expect him to score three touchdowns this week, he does have a great matchup that will get him over 100 yards receiving.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
DeAndre Hopkins – 1 reception for 4 yards. While Julio Jones ran up and down the field for 300 yards, Hopkins didn’t even get 5 yards on the day. He saw 6 targets but he was a non-factor all game. The Titans defense did a good job of taking Hopkins out of the game.
Odell Beckham Jr.- 3 catches for 23. Just like the Titans, the Vikings did what they had to do to limit Beckham all game. 23 yards is the lowest he’s had in his career. For owners that are starting to panic because Beckham hasn’t scored yet this season, his stats through 4 games are almost identical to last season with the exception of 2 touchdowns.
Rob Gronkowski– 1 receptions for 11 yards. After going in drafts in the first or second round, Gronkowski was shut down for the first two games of the season. In his first game back, he saw just one target leading people to believe that he would see more targets the following week. He saw just 2 targets all game. Maybe a return of Tom Brady can get him into the end zone for the first time this year.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Philip Rivers against the Raiders. This is going to be one of the highest scoring games this week. Vegas has this game at 52.5 combined points. Both teams have given up a bunch of points this year with the Raiders being a little more generous as they have allowed the most passing yards in the league with 325.5 yards per game. They have also given up 8 touchdowns on the season.
Derek Carr against the Chargers. The other side of the field is going to have to put up points to keep up in this game and I expect the Raiders to have just as big of a day. Latavius Murray has been ruled out so they will throw the ball a little more. The Chargers are 27th in the league in passing yards allowed with 289.5 passing yards per game and 7 touchdowns. Start just about everyone.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Carson Wentz against the Lions. The rookie has stepped in and played well this season. While he has won the games he’s started so far, he isn’t a fantasy star just yet. He is currently averaging 18.3 fantasy points per game which puts him just outside of the top 15 fantasy quarterbacks. This week, he will face a Lions defense that is 2nd in the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks allowing 24.3 points per game while allowing 3 touchdowns on average per game.
Good running back matchups this week:
Devante Freeman against the Broncos. No that isn’t a typo. As you will read later on in the matchup for Matt Ryan, Freeman will be the key to the Falcons offense this week. While the Broncos hold the #2 passing defense, teams have had success running the ball against them. They are allowing 113.8 rushing yards per game (21st) with 5 touchdowns on the ground. Tevin Coleman might not play in this game due to a blood disorder which will make Freeman the bell cow for the Falcons. There is some risk however if the Falcons fall behind but Freeman can catch passes out of the backfield which will keep him on the field.
DeMarco Murray against the Dolphins. Through 4 weeks, Murray is the number one fantasy running back averaging 26.8 fantasy points per game with only 3 rushing touchdowns. This week he faces a Dolphins team that has given up 123 and a score to LeGarrette Blount in Week 2 and 148 total yards to Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell in Week 3. They are 29th in rushing defense allowing 129.8 rushing yards per game but have only allowed 2 touchdowns rushing so far.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Bilal Powell against the Steelers. Powell has yet to score this season but has been used more on offense over the past two games. He has scored 13 fantasy points in back to back games and will be more involved this week. The Jets are going to be without Eric Decker and they’ll want to limit the turnovers that Ryan Fitzpatrick has had recently. The Jets also are not going to overwork Matt Forte because he won’t last the season if they don’t limit his touches. The Steelers are averaging 20 fantasy points to running backs this season but could give that up to Powell alone. If you look at the rushing defense for the Steelers they have held running backs to 78.2 rushing yards per game which shows that they are allowing more points to receiving backs.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Matthew Stafford against the Eagles. Is the Eagles defense that good? They enter this week as the #7 pass defense allowing 203.3 passing yards per game and have yet to give up a passing touchdown. They are holding fantasy quarterbacks to just 6.3 fantasy points per game. After a hot start, Stafford had a subpar game in which he failed to throw a touchdown while adding two interceptions. The Lions running backs are banged up which will require the team to rely more heavily on the passing game.
Matt Ryan against the Broncos. Here is where it gets interesting. You have a quarterback and receiver that are hot going up against the #2 passing defense that is allowing just 169.5 passing yards per game and only 2 touchdowns. This is going to test the theory of always start your studs as you will likely still play Julio Jones. As for Ryan, chances are you didn’t draft him as your starter so you could look to your original number one for this week. The Broncos are holding fantasy quarterbacks to just 12.3 fantasy points per game.
Brock Osweiler against the Vikings. Osweiler has been a poor quarterback this season. He has failed to score more than 17 fantasy points this season and He is hurting the stats of DeAndre Hopkins. In 3 of 4 games this season, Hopkins has had 56 yards or less including that 4-yard stinker last week. They face the Vikings who are allowing 223.5 passing yards per game (10th) and only given up 3 touchdowns passing all season. It looks like another rough outing for the Texans’ passing game.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Ryan Mathews against the Lions. I don’t like the Eagles backfield situation this week. Mathews has been dealing with an ankle injury and the team has been using Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner more in his absence. We don’t know how well Mathews can run and we could see the Eagles use Sproles more this week as a receiver out of the backfield. The Lions are allowing 114.5 rushing yards per game (22nd) but haven’t given up any rushing touchdowns this year.
Eddie Lacy against the Giants. The Giants have struggled over the last two games but they have played well up front where they have limited running backs they have faced. They have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher and are 9th in the league allowing 84 yards per game and only 3 touchdowns rushing. Lacy did go over 100 yards in Week 3 but has yet to score a touchdown and has just 1 rushing touchdown in the Packers last 12 regular season games dating back to Week 9 of last season.
Ezekiel Elliott against the Bengals. Elliott is sitting at the #5 running back spot through 4 games but could be much higher if it wasn’t for Alfred Morris and Dak Prescott stealing goal line touchdowns. Still Elliot has scored in 3 of 4 games this season on the ground but remains a non-factor in the passing game. The Bengals have been tough this season against the run especially the last two weeks where they have limited running backs to 54.5 yards on average in those game. They have yet to give up a rushing touchdown or a running play over 20 yards this season.