With the first four weeks in the books and bye weeks kicking into high gear, the 2016 fantasy football season is beginning to come into focus. Owners have an idea of what kind of rosters they have and where work needs to be done to improve.
If you are sitting at 4-0 or 3-1 then there’s likely little that needs to be tweaked and if you are 0-4 then it’s officially time to hit the panic button. Teams at 1-3 and 2-2 are still in the hunt but may want to take a long hard look at the waiver wire or some trade options.
Nothing is settled in the first quarter of the season, and as always, I preach the patient approach especially when evaluating top-tier talents. As angry as fantasy owners were at Julio Jones after week three, they were running naked through the house celebrating his week four performance. Water finds it’s level.
Or in other words…DeAndre Hopkins will have his day in the sun soon as well.
Let’s do this!
Welcome to the Club
Matt Ryan– I contemplated moving ‘Matty Ice’ up to the stud list prior to Week 4, but was leery of his upcoming matchups. Well, 500 passing yards and four TD passes later he has arrived. Ryan does have Denver and Seattle in the next two weeks but is playing at such a high level that he deserves to be on the stud list. Through four weeks, he’s averaging 368 passing yards per game and has thrown 11 TDs. Studly numbers indeed.
Carson Wentz, PHILADELPHIA at Detroit – It’s only Week 4 and the Lions pass defense is circling the drain. After starting his career with three straight wins having yet to turn the ball over, Wentz is in line for a breakout fantasy game this week. Detroit is allowing an average of three touchdown passes per game and has managed only one interception in the first four weeks. Wentz will pick this defense apart with the bevy of pass-catching options he has across the board. The rookie will shine in Week 5.
Philip Rivers, SAN DIEGO at Oakland – Rivers put up another top-10 finish last week, but unfortunately couldn’t overcome a pair of costly late game fumbles by his teammates. He faces a familiar foe this week in a divisional matchup against a Raiders defense that has been generous to QBs this year. They have allowed nine total TDs (one rushing) and an average of 332 passing yards per game. In the two games between the teams last season, Rivers averaged 302 passing yards and had four TD passes against only two interceptions.
Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian, DENVER vs. Atlanta – Since head coach Gary Kubiak won’t rule out Siemian from potentially starting, I’ve included him in the listing here. It doesn’t matter if it’s the rookie Lynch or Siemian, we want them starting at home against the Falcons. Atlanta has given up 13 TD passes in the first four games and doesn’t have the personnel in the secondary to handle Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Eli Manning, NY GIANTS, at Green Bay – Eli is coming off a rough stretch having thrown only one touchdown in his past three games. The Giants passing game isn’t as bad as it’s looked and this is the week that it breaks out. The Packers are allowing 330 passing yards and an average of two TD passes per game. Two weeks ago, Marvin Jones put up 200 yards on the Green Bay secondary and this week Odell Beckham Jr. will dominate that unit. Eli bounces back in Week 5.
Matthew Stafford, DETROIT vs. Philadelphia – Yes. I do understand that Stafford is a top-10 fantasy QB heading into this game. He’s also coming off a horrendous performance against a pitiful Chicago Bears defense in a game where he went for only 213 passing yards and tossed two interceptions. Stafford and Golden Tate are completely out of sync (a bad route by Tate was the cause of Stafford’s first pick and got Tate benched) while Detroit also struggles to protect Stafford. The Eagles defense is led by former Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz and is one of the stingiest in allowing points to QBs (through three games zero TDs by QBs). They will pressure Stafford relentlessly utilizing the wide-9 scheme leading to at least a couple of turnovers.
Jameis Winston, TAMPA BAY at Carolina – Winston appears to have a nice matchup this week against a Panthers defense that just got torched by Matt Ryan for over 500 passing yards and four TDs. That’s all well and good, but Winston has been turning the ball over at an alarming rate. In the past three games he has scored five total TDs while committing nine turnovers. In the two games between these teams last season, Winston did average 300 yards passing but true to form had three touchdowns and six turnovers. Tampa is likely to scale back the passing game this week on the road, capping a shaky Winston’s fantasy production.
Ryan Tannehill, MIAMI vs. Tennessee – Tannehill is flirting with low-end QB 1 numbers (in 12-team leagues) but the Miami offense has looked disjointed through the first month of the season. Tannehill has thrown six TD passes and rushed for another score but turnovers continue to plague the fifth-year QB. He has thrown five interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles. The Titans have been decent against opposing QBs having allowed only four TDs in four games. There’s no reason to trust Tannehill until we see him cut down on the turnovers.
Joe Flacco, BALTIMORE vs. Washington – Flacco is coming off his first fantasy top-10 finish after posting 299 total yards and a pair of TDs. One of the TDs was of the rushing variety which pushed Flacco into the top-10. That was against the Oakland Raiders and their league worst pass defense. This week he faces a Washington secondary led by Josh Norman that will make life much tougher. The Redskins rush defense has struggled all season and I see the Ravens avoiding Norman and leaning on Terrance West and the running game this week. Flacco should provide mid-to-low QB2 numbers this week. Sit him.