Tennessee and Houston- Marcus Mariota
This is not the start to the season that hopeful drafters were expecting. The running game has completely taken over and Mariota is an afterthought even in that aspect. 50 yards rushing through 3 games is not what we were expecting. 700 yards with four touchdowns to four interceptions doesn’t make the passing game much more appealing either. The most confusing aspect of these numbers is that two of the three games have been complete layups against the Lions and Raiders. Mariota has underwhelmed on the field and anyone that thought they could score a late round QB1 is left reeling. This is the last straw here. Houston will be without the motor that makes their defensive machine rev in J.J. Watt. There will be considerably less pressure to worry about and plays will be able develop. If you’ve been continuing to trust Mariota this should serve as your breaking point. He needs 250 yards with 2 touchdowns in order to regain some of his evaporated value.
Seattle and New York- Ryan Fitzpatrick
Any quarterback who throws six interceptions in a single game needs to have their value immediately reassessed. Fitzpatrick looked even worse than his six interceptions would lead you to believe. No one who has Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall should post any less than a QB1 outing each and every week. Is it possible that the wheels have fallen off the Fitzpatrick bandwagon? Is he still rusty after missing all of the preseason having a contractual hissy fit? Things could quickly get worse as it’s pretty evident that Marshall will be dealing with nagging knee and hip issues all season while Decker battles a shoulder problem. And to make matters worse, they have to face off against the always tough Seattle defense. If Fitzpatrick has another mistake-riddled game, don’t be surprised to start hearing Geno Smith grumblings. There is multi-season value on the line with the Jets quarterback as his gamble on himself may have backfired.
Kansas City and Pittsburgh- Le’Veon Bell
As a Bell owner, we’re incredibly excited to see him hit the ground running in week four. But, it likely could end up being the air where Bell makes his biggest impact. This game will be a tone setter for fantasy teams. We need Bell to not only run well but to make a massive impact in the passing game. DeAngelo Williams filled in quite nicely as a runner but it was pretty evident that he can’t hold a candle to Bell’s receiving prowess. The Steelers themselves have made comments just this week that they plan on using Le’Veon in the slot on a regular basis. If Bell finishes with over 100 total yards with a score against the same Chiefs defense that just held the Jets Matt Forte to minus-1 yard receiving, he’ll gain a strong grip as the top weekly fantasy player. A shaky game right out of the shoot though could leave us owners wondering if last season’s knee injury is a larger issue than anyone is letting on.
Los Angeles and Arizona- Michael Floyd
On draft day, most of the fantasy outlets had Floyd ranked just inside the top twenty at wide receiver. And why not? He was coming off perhaps the hottest end of the season for a wide receiver with a very capable quarterback in Carson Palmer to feed him the ball. Adding to that, there would certainly be a regression for Larry Fitzgerald from last season, right? Well this is a case where two wrongs make for a giant dope slap. Nine receptions through three games is a far cry from top-twenty receiver material. There have been mentions of perhaps cutting Floyd’s snaps and attempting to utilize Jaron Brown more, which would likely put Floyd’s already diminished value to bed. He needs to use this as motivation and pull his head out of his you-know-what in week four or it could be curtains for him in 2016.
Indianapolis and Jacksonville- Chris Ivory
This ball needs to get rolling immediately. Ivory has done nothing for owners to this point aside from taking up a roster space. He’s weeks removed from his hospital stint and should be back in football shape at this point. We understand that he tweaked his knee and ankle last week but he was back at practice which leads us to believe it’s not overly serious. Plus, at the quarter mark of the season, we’re running out of excuses to use for Ivory’s lack of production. Ivory gets a cupcake of a matchup against the Colts here as he should be able to find ‘parking lots’ worth of running room. Our backs are against the wall with him so we’ll roll him out once more but this could be the end of the line for a while. If he doesn’t pull through he’ll have to remain benched for the foreseeable future.