The first month of football is over and we have completed the first quarter of play. Hopefully you have a winning record or at least you are 2-2. I have 1 team that sits at 1-3 but feel confident in the players I have that the next few games will yield better results. Sometimes you have to step back and look at the weekly result to see if your player just didn’t score but was still targeted and productive. I’m sure plenty of owners lost last week because of Antonio Brown, Julio Jones or Greg Olsen not putting up a ton of fantasy points. It will happen, but you know that you will get better games out of them in the future.
For the next quarter of football your goal should be to get through the bye weeks as best as possible and to comb the waiver wire for the second half. There is still plenty of fantasy production to be had from players that have not touched the ball much this season.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Devonta Freeman– 14 carries for 68 yards and 3 touchdowns, 5 receptions for 81 Yards. Three-touchdown games in back to back weeks? Wow, no one saw that coming. Freeman now has 7 touchdowns over the last 3 games. He will see his touches dip a little with the return of Tevin Coleman and facing the Redskins 2nd-ranked rushing defense.
Cairo Santos– 7 field goals. A kicker? In this section? Not since Rob Bironas back in 2007 when he made 8 field goals has a kicker made the Golden Mug Award.
Le’Veon Bell– 22 carries for 129 yards and 1 touchdown, 7 receptions for 21 yards. Bell came back from his suspension and hasn’t missed a beat. He’s averaging 30 fantasy points a game and has back-to-back games with at least 7 receptions. He gets a good matchup this week versus San Diego.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Lamar Miller– 7 carries for 26 yards, 1 reception for 10 yards. Miller has been a disappointment so far this season as the hype train was once again high on him coming into the season. He’s averaging just 32.8 yards per game rushing and hasn’t scored yet.
Julio Jones– 4 for 38 yards. In a matchup that saw the Falcons put up 48 points, it was difficult to see Jones only get 4 catches on the day. This was dictated more on game script where the Falcons rode the hot hand of Devonta Freeman. It goes to show you that if the running back in an offense is doing well then the receivers production could suffer.
Peyton Manning– 213 passing yards, one touchdowns and two interceptions. Manning has struggled this season and after two decent games he had another poor showing in a good matchup. He now has 5 interceptions on the season. Compare that to Eli Manning who has just 1 interception through 4 games.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Peyton Manning against the Raiders. Here is a stat line you need to know, 313.3 passing yards, 3 touchdowns for 23.8 fantasy points in last 4 games versus the Raiders. This includes a 5-touchdown game last season. The Raiders have allowed exactly 2 passing touchdowns in every game this season and allow the 5th most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 18.8 points. I expect Manning to surpass that easily.
Drew Brees against the Eagles. If you own Brees you might have opted to bench him last week with the fear that his injury would keep him from performing well. He fought through the injury to throw for 359 yards and two scores. This week he faces the Eagles who have allowed 276.5 yards (25th) with 6 touchdowns through 4 games. Expect Brees to throw a lot in this game and I can see another 350+ yard game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Jay Cutler against the Chiefs. With how the Bears started the season and his injury, Cutler might have been thrown on the scrap heap in your league. He then comes back last week and has a decent game, the Week 5 bye shows up and you find yourself without Andrew Luck. Cutler can still provide a solid one-week fill-in against the Chiefs. The Chiefs have been shredded by quarterbacks as they have allowed 295.5 passing yards per game (28th) and have given up the most passing touchdowns with 11 this season. The Chiefs have also given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 22.3 per game.
Good running back matchups this week:
Justin Forsett against the Browns. Forsett owners finally got some production after 3 weeks of poor fantasy stats including a Week 3 where we saw Forsett rush for just 13 yards. This week he will get another opportunity to run wild as he faces the Browns who have given up 141.5 rushing yards per game (31st) with 3 touchdowns. Forsett has yet to score this season but that will change come Sunday.
Le’Veon Bell against the Chargers. Bell will face the Chargers who rank 29th allowing 126.8 rushing yards per game with 4 touchdowns. They are second in fantasy points allowed to running backs with 25 points per game. Oh, and he gets to face them on Monday night. I am all aboard the Bell train this week both in season-long and daily as he should rack up a ton of points no matter if they try to stack the box and force Michael Vick to throw.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Matt Jones against the Falcons. In Week 2, Jones out carried Alfred Morris 19-18 on his way to a monster game of 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. He hasn’t done much since then and last week Morris received more carries. This week, I expect Jones to get back into the mix against the Falcons who are allowing only 85.2 rushing yards per game (5th) but they have given up 7 touchdowns. More importantly, they are giving up the most fantasy points per game to running backs at 26.3 points per game.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Matthew Stafford against the Cardinals. Stafford has as many interceptions this season as he has touchdowns. The Cardinals defense has not been friendly to quarterbacks as they have held quarterbacks to 12 fantasy points per game even though they allowed 3 touchdowns last week. The Lions find ways to lose and you can’t depend on a losing quarterback to provide to with consistent fantasy stats from week to week.
David Carr against the Broncos. Carr has had two good games to go along with two lousy games including Week 1 where he left early with an injury. He has developed good chemistry with rookie Amari Cooper but the team is still a mess. This week he faces the Broncos top ranked passing defense which has allowed 185.2 passing yards per game with only 2 touchdowns. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging just 6.8 fantasy points per game.
Andy Dalton against the Seahawks. I know that Dalton has been hot to start the season and is playing at home but we haven’t been able to trust him yet in his career to be consistent. He’ll be facing the Seahawks who are allowing 190.2 passing yards per game (5th) with only 3 touchdowns allowed passing. They are also holding fantasy quarterbacks to just 12.5 points per game.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Carlos Hyde against the Giants. Who knew the Giants would be good upfront against the run, but through 4 games they are tops in the NFL allowing just 69.8 rushing yards per game with only 2 touchdowns. The 49ers offense has been awful after a big win to start the season and Hyde has not proved the running he showed in the first game.
Marshawn Lynch against the Bengals. We haven’t seen much of Beast Mode this season and Lynch has been dealing with injuries with the dreaded game-time decision label again in Week 5. Even if Lynch were to play, you can’t trust that he would be healthy enough to carry the full load. He will have a tough time against the Bengals who are allowing 85.8 rushing yards per game (6th) and has yet to give up a touchdown on the ground.
Devonta Freeman against the Redskins. As I mentioned earlier, Freeman who had back-to-back monster games now faces the Redskins who are tough against the run allowing 78.0 yards per game with 1 touchdown allowed. Tevin Coleman returns, but while I don’t see Freeman losing a ton of touches, it will at least take a few away here and there and that will add up.