Welcome to Week 4 of the Brew Crew Corner. There has been a ton of injures, and on top of that the bye weeks are not too far down the road. There always seems to be a hot player coming off a great game that is the flavor of the week. The problem is in most leagues it is either the person fastest to snatch that player up or the worst owner in the league that has waiver priority over you.
So what can you do if you’re 3-0 and have injuries or bye week fill-ins to worry about? The key is to target the players that are still under the radar but have a chance to make an impact later on. Think of it as a second draft of sleepers. One such player is Steve Smith of the Eagles. He’s still available in a good amount of leagues, and although he had a couple of catches last week, he was targeted five times compared to Jeremy Maclin, who had seven targets, and DeSean Jackson, who had six. The team will work Smith into the offense more and more and soon he will be an every week starter. Dane Sanzenbacher is another interesting pick up as he is the most targeted receiver on the Chicago Bears inside the red zone. Already he’s been thrown to six times. That is more than all the other Bears’ wide receivers combined.
I suggest that you start now preparing for your upcoming bye weeks. The next couple of weeks will be harder to pick players up as other owners will be in a panic trying to roster a starting lineup, which will increase the chances of you missing out on a player.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.
Wes Welker – 16 receptions, 217 yards, 2 TD. Welker is having a dominant start to the season and is currently the top scoring fantasy player in the league. He definitely has to be in the conversation for Fantasy MVP if he continues to post these types of numbers. He was targeted 20 times in the game and caught 16 of them. He’s fantasy gold in points per reception leagues.
Torrey Smith – 5 receptions, 152 yards, 3 TD. Smith is this week’s hot waiver target and he stepped in for an injured Lee Evens to post monster numbers. He went without a catch in the first two games so you need to temper your expectations because he could end up being a one-week wonder.
Darren McFadden – 19 carries, 171 yards, 2 TD. McFadden has been putting up serious numbers over the past three weeks and is currently the No. 1 running back. Hopefully he can stay healthy with the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs coming up on the schedule.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.
Michael Vick – 16/23, 176 yards, 1 TD. Some owners took the risk of playing Vick even though he was knocked out of Week 2 with a concussion. Last week he was playing poorly before getting knocked out of that game. Currently, Vick is ranked 12th among quarterbacks but his position is skewed by his rushing yards. If you take his rushing yards out of the calculations he would rank as the 25th ranked quarterback.
Philip Rivers – 24/38, 266 yards, 2 INT. This was Rivers’ worst game since Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts last season. Some believe the poor performance was due to a hit he took in Week 2.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 10 carries, 18 yards. Green-Ellis ran poorly and put up a 1.8 yards per average. The New England Patriots are going to divide the carries even more as Steven Ridley and Danny Woodhead will see more action.
Good quarterback match-ups this week:
Philip Rivers against the Miami Dolphins. I’m expecting a bounce back game from Rivers and he’s got a great matchup to do it. The Dolphins are playing poorly on pass defense as evident by their 311 yards passing allowed per game with a league-high eight touchdowns given up. The Dolphins could very well end the season like they did in 2007 when they went 1-15.
Jason Campbell against the New England Patriots. The Patriots are a good team but they are the worst team in the league against the pass. New England is allowing 377 yards a game with six touchdowns allowed. If Chad Henne can put up top fantasy points against this defense then Campbell has a shot to put up good numbers also.
Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Eli Manning – Manning has been playing better from week to week. Last week he threw four touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles and this week has a great matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who are 25th in pass defense allowing 275 passing yards a game with four touchdowns surrendered this season. Manning is the 11th-best quarterback in fantasy leagues and he’s been doing it without all his receivers. Once everyone gets healthy, he may put up Top 10 numbers.
Good running back matchups this week:
Fred Jackson against the Cincinnati Bengals – Jackson is putting up stats on the ground as well as with receiving yards. He’s currently the fifth-best running back in fantasy leagues, averaging 24.7 points per game. He’ll face a Bengals team that has played the run well – allowing just 88 yards per game – but you have to ride the hot hand.
Matt Forte against the Carolina Panthers – Forte struggled running the ball last week against the Green Bay Packers and put up just two yards on the ground, but he saved his stats by posting 87 receiving yards. An awful week in a non-points per reception leagues but he still is the sixth-best running back in fantasy leagues averaging 24 points per game. He faces a Panthers team that is struggling on defense allowing 117 yards per game on the ground and two touchdowns allowed this season.
Sleeper Pick of the Week:
James Starks – Last week Ryan Grant stepped up and had a good game, limiting Starks to just 5 yards on 11 carries. Grant has missed practice and that means Starks has a good chance to carry the load in Week 4 against a Denver Broncos team giving up 100 yards a game.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Sam Bradford against the Washington Redskins – Bradford was a targeted quarterback in fantasy leagues after the top two tiers had gone off the board. He was selected before or after Matthew Stafford depending on the league you play. So far through three games Bradford is not doing as well as Stafford as he is just the 25th ranked quarterback with a fantasy point average of 13.3 points per game. Bradford has a tough stretch of games coming up as he faces the Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints over the next five weeks. The Redskins have allowed just two passing touchdowns and are holding teams to 17.7 points a game this season.
Matt Hasselbeck against the Cleveland Browns – Hasselbeck has been a decent fantasy quarterback as he is ranked 10th among quarterbacks. However, the team lost their best receiver in Kenny Britt for the season and will have to lean more on Chris Johnson to provide firepower. The Browns are playing well so far this season as they are third in the league in pass defense allowing 187.3 yards per game with four touchdowns given up this season. They are also third in the league with 11 sacks on defense.
Joe Flacco against the New York Jets – This is going to be a good hard-fought game. I think that it’s going to be a low-scoring one, which will hurt many players in this game. Flacco lit up the St. Louis Rams with rookie Torrey Smith but with facing the Jets he’ll have a tough time. Last year he posted just 248 yards with an interception against the Jets in Week 1. The Jets have the sixth-best passing defense allowing 188.7 yards per game and have a league-low of two touchdowns allowed passing.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Arian Foster against the Pittsburgh Steelers – Welcome back to the lineup! Oh, but you have to face the Steelers. Foster says he’s healthy and ready to go but we need to see it before we can trust him. Big blow for Ben Tate owners, but keep him ready just in case Foster isn’t 100 percent or if the Texans move to a committee approach. Foster returns to face a Steelers’ defense allowing 99.3 yards per game and have given up two touchdowns this season.
Mark Ingram against the Jacksonville Jaguars – Ingram scored his first touchdown of the season last week but he is still averaging just 43 rushing yards a game and is ranked 39th among running backs with an 8.3 fantasy point average per game. He will be facing the Jaguars, who give up a ton of points but have been stingy against the run. They are allowing just 83.7 rushing yards per game with only one touchdown given up this season. I expect the Saints to put up yards through the air rather than on the ground. It may still be too early to rely on Ingram as an every week starter.
Knowshon Moreno against the Green Bay Packers – Whether Moreno plays or not, Denver’s rushing attack is going up against a tough Packers’ run defense. The Packers are first in rushing defense with just 55 yards per game and just one touchdown on the ground this season. Moreno, who left Week 1 with a hamstring injury, will have a tough time in this game.
Week 4: Lock up those bye week players now before you the waiver dries up.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 4. Follow @BrewCrewCorner