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Games to Watch – Week 4

Hello fellow Sharks! From now right up through Week
17, we’ll be giving our insight as to which games are the ‘games to watch’ each
week. This is a heavy burden, as we know a lot of you have Sunday Ticket, too
much free time, and an addiction to premium brews like Natty Lite or Yuengling.
A lot of you know us from our weekly podcast on this site (the Fantasy PRE-Wind
podcast), and our “Sine Lines” sport-toon (every Mon, Wed, Fri), or maybe one
of our posts in the Tank. We’re just like you, though. We love a good football
game, no matter who’s playing.

All times Eastern:

 

Baltimore

@

New England

– Sunday 10/4,

1:00pm

One of
the enduring traditions of our families growing up was ‘Family Game
Night’. You gathered around the table
with members of your family, favorite drink at hand, and watched the
competition unfold. And one of the games
we remember most was ‘Scrabble’. Your
parents figured it was a good game for kids, because they figured it taught you
some vocabulary and spelling. As kids,
we liked it because it almost felt like gambling (all those numbers on the
tiles), and because it felt great when something just ‘fit’ so right on the
board. We get that exact same feeling
with this NFL match-up – just see how well the components of both these teams fit
together.

If we
looked at this match-up two years ago, we would have been billing this as a
classing offense (Pats) vs. defense (Ravens) battle. But two years ago, we had a different
President, our 401K accounts were worth more than $1.98, and the Ravens were a
defense first, last, and only team. Oh
my how different things look just two short years later… The Ravens
(surprisingly) sport the NFL’s 2nd best offense so far this year,
averaging over 430 yards a game. QB

Joe Flacco (839yd/6TD/2int) is doing a
great job of managing the Baltimore offense, and has been throwing
the ball well enough for the Ravens to currently sit as the 5th best
passing team in the NFL right now. WR

Derrick
Mason
(196yd/12rec/1TD) is leading all Raven receivers in yardage, which is
surprising considering he’s older than some archeological finds. Flacco has
been spreading the ball pretty evenly to all his receivers, with

Mark Clayton,

Kelley Washington,

Todd Heap,
and even RB

Ray Rice getting in on
the action – all with 9 catches or better.
The running game is just as sharp as the pass game right now, with RBs

Ray Rice and

Willis McGahee combining for 382 yards and 6 TDs on the season,
ranking them 5th in rushing offense as well. But don’t think just because the Ravens
suddenly look hot on offense that they skimped on defense. Baltimore still ranks among the NFL’s best,
currently 7th in overall defense and 9th in scoring
D. LB

Ray Lewis (21 tackles/1 forced fumble) is *still* leading this team
in tackles, even though he’s a 14 year veteran.

Two years
ago the Pats and QB

Tom Brady (871yd/3TD/2int)
were well on their way to an undefeated regular season and a record setting
year for TD passes. While they won’t
equal either of those marks this year, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still one
of the NFL’s better offenses. Ranked 5th
in overall offense, the Pats have moved the ball well this season, but have
struggled at times to find the end zone.
WR

Randy Moss (281yd/26rec)
is a prime example of that, averaging just under 100-yards per game receiving,
but not yet finding pay-dirt. With WR

Wes Welker being banged up this year,
TE

Ben Watson (123yd/10rec/2TD) has
become relevant – and currently has 2/3 of Brady’s throwing TDs. Off-setting their lack of TD production from
the passing game is the Patriots run game behind veteran RB

Fred Taylor (176yd/2TD). But perhaps the biggest winner of the Pats
sputtering scoring has been K

Stephen
Gostkowski
(9FG/3PAT), who leads the league with 30 points. The New England D is still one of the NFL’s
better units as well – sitting at 6th overall best D (just one slot
ahead of Baltimore), and 7th in scoring defense. Even though they have yet to record a single
interception, their performance has been more than solid so far.

So instead
of family game night, make this one a family football game day; gather around
the TV with some family members, keep your favorite beverage close at hand, and
watch the competition unfold. This is
one contest where both teams have all the right pieces to ‘fit’ into a
victory. It’s all going to come down to
which team pulls the better tiles… err… tricks out of their bag.

New York

Jets @

New Orleans

– Sunday 10/4,

4:05pm

Here at the ‘Games to Watch’ cubicle at FantasySharks HQ, we love to reflect on
history. We think back about all the great games to watch that we’ve written
about… and many of them even came true (thanks to a small part in the GTW
dartboard on Dolfi’s side of the cubicle). Typically we look for great division
or conference rivalries (“spite” always makes for a good ‘Game to Watch’) – but
this one is neither. Let’s not kid
ourselves, Saints vs. Jets didn’t scream out at you when you saw it on the
schedule in May. Further still, it’s not like these two teams play one another
very often (the last time they played Aaron Brooks threw for 3 TDs in 2005).
Upon closer inspection, you have here are two great out of conference teams,
but two teams playing GREAT football; awesome offense vs. dominating defense.

Jets
Coach

Rex Ryan has brought more than
just a new swagger with him from Baltimore to the Big Apple…he brought one
heck of a new defensive scheme with. They’ve given up the 2nd fewest ppg (11.0)
and the 3rd fewest ypg (256) all while facing decent offensive powerhouses. LB

David Harris (21tackle/ 2sack/1int) has
led a group that might not have the most known names around the league, but as
a unit – they have become a dominant force in the NFL. Offensively, rookie QB

Mark Sanchez (606yd/4TD/2int) has
showed the discipline of many veteran quarterbacks by not turning the ball over
as much as we might expect from an NFL rookie QB. Helping the rook off to a
pressure-less start has been the ground game featuring RBs

Thomas Jones (181yd/2TD) and

Leon
Washington
(164yd). When the Jets do take to the air like their namesake,
Sanchez has been finding WR

Jerricho
Cotchery
(285yd/18rec/1TD) and TE

Dustin
Keller
(140yd/9rec/1TD). At 3-0 and on top of the AFC East is one place Jets
fans haven’t seen their team in a long, long time. Now if only they could actually play their
games in their own state instead of the swamplands of New Jersey…

New
Orleans QB

Drew Brees (841yd/9TD)
not only has the New Orleans fan base salivating, but fantasy
owners as well. After stellar weeks against Detroit and Philadelphia, his stats came back out of the
clouds last week as Buffalo took away some of the aerial
attack… but it didn’t matter much when you get to face off against one of the
NFL’s worst run defenses. Coach

Sean
Payton
knew what Buffalo didn’t; that when they can’t go to the air, the
NFL’s most current potent offense goes to the ground with the likes of RBs

Mike Bell (229yd/1TD) and

Pierre Thomas (126yd/2TD). But don’t
worry about last week’s passing aberration fantasy owners, with WRs

Devery Henderson (214yd/11rec/1TD) and

Marques Colston (195yd/15rec/3TD) there
still will be plenty of looks to Brees’ favorite targets. Heck, even oft-injured TE

Jeremy Shockey (128yd/14rec/2TD) looks
like he could have his best year ever at this pace. The Saints D might be the biggest surprise
for this club, though, and a major reason why they find themselves at 3-0. Ranked 10th in overall defense
this year, the Saints don’t look nearly as incompetent on D as they have for
almost their entire existence; better late than never, New Orleans.

Look, there
isn’t a lot of experience between these two teams; they’ve only ever played 10
times TOTAL in the last 40 years… but we can assure you a great ‘Game to Watch’
when they meet for the 11th. This is a classic big time offense vs. big time
defense match-up, complete with two unbeaten teams trying to run away with
their respective conferences. If you
miss this one, you’ll feel worse than Lindsay Lohan after a weekend bender at
Hyde.

Green Bay

@

Minnesota

– Monday 9/27,

8:30pm

We try
never to offer financial advice – mainly because once during a Trivial Pursuit
game at the FantasySharks HQ, everyone laughed at us when we insisted that the
80‘s money question we got about IRA’s involved the Irish Republican Army. We’ve
decided to break our own rule though, and offer our loyal readers one financial
tidbit – grab a few shares of ABC stock before Monday – because ESPN was
praying Favre would sign with the Vikings this summer. Ever since that happened, it made life
wonderful for their advertising department, as they can now charge double for
this game since Favre’s name is part of it. Sure, it’s not Lambeau Field, but
aren’t you even just a *little* curious what it is going to look like seeing
Favre square-off against the team where he made his bones?

The last
time these two met, the Vikes escaped with at 28-27 win when the Pack missed on
a FG as time expired. This time, QB

Brett
Favre
(566yd/5TD/1int) enters the mix as a division foe, along with a
fantasy owner / fan favorite RB

Adrian Peterson
(357yd/4TD), who has carried the main offensive workload. And although the
ground game is a heavy push in the ‘Twin Cities’, when Favre does look to the
air newcomer WR

Percy Harvin (128yd/12rec/2TD) and RB

Chester Taylor (103rec yd/15rec) out of the backfield are the go-to
personnel.

Bernard Berrian (102yd/10rec) has also grabbed double digit
receptions. And while Favre isn’t the
player he was a few years ago, he’s proven that he still has enough of his old
magic left to finally get Minnesota over the hump and make a run at the
playoffs this year. Defensively, the
unit as a whole ranks 4th in total yards allowed (260ypg), and high profile
players like DE

Jared Allen
(2sack/2fum) and LB

E.J. Henderson
(28tackles/1sack) find ways to stir their opponents’ pot.

Packers
QB

Aaron Rodgers (714yd/4TD/0int) was
Favre’s backup for three years, but has emerged as the new face of the
franchise in Green Bay – and he’s eager to show Favre why his jersey is now
being used as a dust rag by some Green Bay faithful. He’s played well so far
this season with four TDs and no interceptions, and he’s made WRs

Donald Driver (233yd/14rec/2TD) and

Greg Jennings (209yd/8rec/1TD)
defensive nightmares for Chi-town, Cincy, and St. Louis. Imagine how good Rodgers could
be if his offensive line was good enough to stop him from getting sacked 4
times a night on average (dead last in the NFL, by the way). RB

Ryan
Grant
(206yd/2TD) gets most of the ground action, but Rodgers himself
doesn’t mind taking some of that duty – sprinting for 88yds and a TD this
season, too. On the flip side of the ball, the quiet resurgence of last year’s
poor defense is starting to happen. DE

Cullin
Jenkins
(2sack/2fum) and the D-line are finally getting some pressure on
the opposition, and the secondary is generating turnovers with guys like CBs

Charles Woodsen (3int/1TD) and

Al Harris (1int). They’ll need to continue their solid play,
and see if they can force Favre into one of his multiple-interception games –
especially if their offensive line continues to allow penetration as often as a
porn star that needs to pay the rent.

So
listen… we’re not TD Ameritrade, and we aren’t successful day-traders (unless
you count that time we traded a neighborhood kid a pixie stick for 6
gummi-worms) – but we *do* know a good thing when we see it. So if you haven’t
done it already, circle Monday on the calendar and write 8:30pm
EDT next
to it. You’re going to want to make sure the kids are in bed, the six pack you
bought on the way home is iced down, and have your favorite pizza already
ordered… because for about 3 hours, there is no where else you’re going to
want to be.

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