By: Steve DeAngelo Follow me at Twitter.com/FantasySavvy
Email @ SteveDeAngelo@gmail.com
New Orleans (3-1) @ Arizona (2-2) 4:05
The Saints haven’t exactly been playing great football as they barely snuck by the 49ers and Carolina the last two weeks, but they still are finding ways to win and that’s what separates the good teams from the bad. Drew Brees has been his usual beast self with 1100 yards already and 7 TD’s. Without Reggie Bush (prob not back til week 7 the earliest) Lance Moore and Jeremy Shockey have taken on bigger roles. Moore has TD’s in back to back weeks and could take over the #1 spot at Wideout while Bush is out, Brees loves to throw to him. Obviously he has a nice matchup this week against Arizona (22nd in pass defense). Jeremy Shockey has also seen in increase in touches with 14 catches and 140 yards and TD in the last 2 weeks. Marques Colston should get it going this week against Arizona after a slow start to the season being held under 200 yards receiving with 0 td’s thru 4 games.
Pierre Thomas has been ruled OUT for the 2nd str8 week with his ankle injury so that means Chris Ivory and Ladell Betts will share the load. Ivory is the better runner but Betts will play as well because he is the more savvy pass blocker and is a better option in PPR leagues. Both are fairly solid flex plays this week because of the matchup.
Again, as I’ve stated before, I really don’t know what Ken Whisenhunt was thinking when he gave Derek Anderson the starting QB job this year. I hope he realizes now that cutting Leinart was a mistake, he at least deserved a chance. Anyway, undrafted rookie from BYU, Max Hall takes over this week and has some potential and is probably better than the extremely inaccurate Derek Anderson, but don’t expect much, he shouldn’t sniff lineups. Although Larry Fitzgerald has been targeted a whopping 46 times he only has 19 catches. That really shows you how inaccurate Derek Anderson is. Fitz is 3rd in the league in targets behind Terrell Owens and Roddy White. Fitzgerald will continue to be targeted at a high rate because he’s really the only option right now especially with Breaston and Early Doucet out but just won’t be very reliable playing with Hall.
With a Rookie QB, look for Whisenhunt to go back to his Steeler days and put more emphasis on the run. The Saints run d is 26th worst in the league and they are really having a tough time stopping the run. Look for the Cards to try to keep possession of the ball and out of Drew Brees hands with plenty of running early in the game. They could be getting blown out in the 2nd half which will force Arizona to pass but remember the Saints have been barely been squeezing by teams. I expect Beanie Wells to run effectively and get about 15-20 carries in this game. I think he’s a solid #2 back this week while Tim Hightower is a decent flex only in PPR leagues.
Tennessee (2-2) @ Dallas (1-2) 4:15
Chris Johnson is on pace for just under 400 carries right now and that is just way too many carries. They are going to have to really start giving Vince Young more work starting this week against Dallas. Watching Johnson last week against Denver he really just looked overworked and tired. At the end of the game the Titans kept the ball out of Young’s hands and repeatedly gave it Johnson but it didn’t work as he was continuously getting stuffed. Johnson has slowed down a bit so far from last year, but he has faced the two best defenses statistically against the run in Pittsburgh and Denver. He has 4 TD’s with 354 yards rushing in 4 games which is good but obviously we expected more from him. Going forward, the Titans are going to have to rely on Vince more often to keep people out of the box for Johnson and also to keep him fresh so he can be effective the whole season. The way they are using him now he is going to run out of gas, I saw it last week, CJ needs a break right now…………….
With that I expect the Titans to throw a little bit more this week. Currently Vince Young is 2nd to last in passing attempts to only Jimmy Claussen who only has 2 less attempts than Vince despite only starting two games this year. That shows you right there how little they are relying on Vince. Fischer needs to show more trust in Young, because he can get it done. But also Young really needs to start using his feet more. He seems so content on staying in that pocket, it’s time for him to go back to being the duel playmaker he used to be. Vince has gotten more accurate over the years and has made better decisions although from time to time he does make that questionable throw. That said, Vince isn’t a great option this week but I do expect him to go over 30 attempts for the first time all year. I also expect him to have over 200 yards passing for the first time this season.
Justin Gage is out this week so it’s time for Kenny Britt to step up. The Bayonne, NJ native and Rutgers product is a nice target at 6’3 especially in the redzone where Vince has found him back to back weeks. Look for Britt to get a ton of targets this week although it’s not gonna be easy producing vs two solid corners in Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins. Still, Britt is a decent WR3 this week. Stay away from all other Titans Wideouts.
Jerry Jones vowed to get Felix Jones more involved going forward so that should start this week. To date, Felix is only averaging about 9 touches per game and only has 4 catches all year. He needs more receptions, they have to get the ball in his hands more often because he is a playmaker. It does appear that Jones has bulked up a bit in the offseason and looks a step slower but still he should be Ok as long as he gets the ball. Romo obviously is a must start. I think Jones is a solid flex this week.
Marion Barber is not running with the same force and burst he used to run with and a lot of experts including Michael Lombardi from the NFL Network think he is hurting the team. I agree somewhat, in that he’s taking touches away from Tashard Choice who is arguably the better runner at this point. However, Barber will remain the goal line back and will most likely continue to lead the team in carries. He’s a decent flex but I like Jones better this week. Tashard Choice is a guy you should be stashing just in case there is an injury and he gets a bigger workload. He will produce when/If he gets a chance.
The Titans secondary started out well but has cooled letting up back to back 300 yard passers the last two weeks. Romo should fare well and look for Miles Austin to get back on track after his 2 catch effort @ Houston in week 3. Coming off the bye week, Dez Bryant is rested and healthy and I look for him to start taking a bigger role in this offense. He is due for a couple big games soon and I think he will have a fairly good game. Get him in your lineups. Don’t get overly excited about Roy Williams big game against Houston in week 3, their secondary is brutal although Roy was making some nice moves and looked better than he has. Still I don’t trust him overall but he’s a decent flex this week. Look for Roy to finish with around 40 yards and a possible score. Jason Witten has lost a step over the years and is just not effective as he once was. In PPR leagues he’s still a good option but in Standard leagues he’s not the option he once was because he never scores anymore and even his yardage is down.
San Diego (2-2) @ Oakland (1-3) 4:15
No Vincent Jackson, no problem for Phillip Rivers as he has been red-hot this year already with 1300 yards passing and 9 TD’s. The guy just is just a gamer and an extremely good quarterback. Antonio Gates has been absolutely dominating as he’s taken on a bigger role with the absence of Jackson. Right now Gates in on pace for 24 TD’s. He won’t get there but 15 TD’s is very likely from the big fella. He is no doubt about it the #1 Tight End in Fantasy Football and the most talented Tight End in the NFL. Right now Malcolm Floyd is the only option at Wideout that can be relied upon. Floyd is turning into Rivers 2nd favorite target behind Gates as he beat out Ledgedu Naanee who he was battling early. Floyd is not a great option this week against Ashmoushahahgaaa and the Raiders 3rd ranked Pass D so leave him on your bench. Naanee meanwhile has absolutely disappeared of late with only 5 catches for 50 yards the last two weeks. Patrick Crayton, Naanee and Craig Davis are probably going to rotate in effectiveness each week so all of them are risky options. Naanee should have some decent games here and there so in deeper leagues you can keep him if you wish.
The weakness of the Raiders is their Run D (31st in the NFL) so I expect a lot of running this week from the Chargers. They have also beaten the Raiders 13 times in a row by an average of 14 points so it’s very likely the Chargers could have a big lead in the 2nd half and just run the ball to kill the clock. Either way Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert are very solid options this week. Matthews is a #2 and Tolbert is a nice flex. Matthews should get the majority of the carries but Tolbert has earned a role in this offense because he was very effective while Matthews was out. Darren Sproles is not an option as of now.
Daaaaa Raiders! Bruce Gradkowski has stepped in for Jason Campbell and played fairly well throwing for 695 yards and 4 TD’s in three games. Louis Murphy should be good to go this week after barely playing last week with a bruised Clavicle. Still neither Gradkowski or Murphy are good options this week against the San Diego pass defense that is currently 4th in the NFL.
Tight End Zach Miller had a monster game last week vs Houston and their horrific pass D with 11 catches for 122 yards and a TD as Gradkowski consistently found him open. Before that in Week 3 against Arizona he went for 64 yards and a TD as well. But look at those two matchups, two of the worst secondaries in the league so don’t expect Miller to go crazy this week. Miller is talented and has developed a nice chemistry with Gradkowski but don’t expect him to put up huge numbers this week and going forward as the schedule gets a lot harder. Look for Miller to finish with around 4-6 catches with about 40 yards this week and for the remainder of the year those are probably the type of numbers he will put up.
If you had been reading my columns, I have been recommending selling high on Darren Mcfadden for the past couple weeks because his schedule had been so Swiss cheese and has never been a good bet to stay healthy. Well Mcfadden pulled up lame last week and is OUT for Sunday’s game. To be fair however, Mcfadden did look more agile than he has ever been and was playing very well while getting a big workload. Mcfadden has always been a slow healer and Hamstrings are injuries that can linger an easily be re-aggravated so if you can still move Mcfadden then do so. With all that Said, Michael Bush becomes fantasy relevant again. Look for Bush to get a big workload this week with around 20 carries. San Diego’s run D is currently 7th in the league but that is probably a little too high for them. Bush should find some holes and is a solid flex play this week. I’m not crazy about owning either Bush or Mcfadden going forward because both are injury prone and even if healthy they will hurt each other’s workload. Plus they play for the Raiders. Go and trade both of em.
Philly (2-2) @ San Fran (0-4) Sunday Night 8:30
Even though the 49ers are 0-4 they can still win the NFC West division that consists of the lowly 2-2 Arizona Caridnals and rookie QB Max Hall, the Seattle Seahawks and grandpa Matt Hasselback and the St. Louis Rams with Rookie Sam Bradford. Personally I think the 49ers will come back and win this division. It starts this week vs the Michael Vickless Eagles where I believe they get the Win. Remember the 49ers should have beat Atlanta last week on the road if it wasn’t for Nate Clements bonehead mistake and almost beat the Super Bowl champs in Week 2.
Alex Smith continues to be inconsistent and is not a good fantasy option but he definitely plays better at home. I think the 49ers will finally get Michael Crabtree more involved this Sunday although I am only expecting about 60 yards receiving but that would still be a season high for Crabtree. Be patient with Crabtree he will get it going eventually. Vernon Davis scored last week but still his yards and TD’s have been down this year (209 Yards 1 TD). Besides Antonio Gates he’s prob the most talented Tight End in the league. You have to keep him in your lineup every week because he could explode at anytime. The Eagles secondary has been pretty stingy so far (7th overall) but I expect the Niners to play inspired football and be able to do some things through the air. Also CB Asante Samuel has been ruled out due to a concussion so that is huge for the 49ers. I think Vernon could have a monster game this week, just a feeling if it’s not him it will be Crabtree or maybe a combination of both. Right now Frank Gore is the leading wideout on the 49ers so you can bet that the 49ers will want to change that.
Frank Gore has been one of the best backs in PPR leagues so far this year. Currently he has 29 catches for 269 yards and a TD and is the leading receiver yardage wise on the 49ers right now. As I mentioned look for that to change over the course of the year but Gore will remain a factor in the passing game. Look for Gore to be the focal point of the 49ers gameplan as the 49ers will look to attack the Eagles and their 27th ranked Run D. I think Gore goes over 150 total yards and gets in the endzone at least once. His running is going to open up things in the passing game and that is why I expect Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree to both enjoy nice games.
I don’t think Kevin Kolb is a good quarterback. He checks down way too often and when he goes deep he has been inaccurate. I wouldn’t start him this week even though the 49ers are 20th against the pass. Because of Kolb’s love for checking down and ineptness at throwing the deep ball he really hurts DeSean Jackson’s and Jeremy Maclin’s value. Look for the Eagles to try to run a lot of drag routes this week and let both Maclin and Jackson create. Still I’m not crazy about either this week and would actually seek other options if you have them. Brent Celek will probably benefit because of the Kolb. He’s a decent start at Tight end. Lesean Mcoy had 12 catches last week because of Kolb. Mcoy has been cleared to play this week with a broken rib and is a safe start but only in PPR leagues. I really think the 49ers are going to play a heck of a defensive game led by Patrick Willis and shut down this eagles offense.
Minnesota (1-2) @ NYJ (2-2) MNF 8:30
This is easily the best and most interesting game of the week as Brett Favre returns to NY and brings Randy Moss along with him. Obviously as we have all heard by now the Vikings acquired Randy Moss and a 7th round pick on Wednesday morning from the Patriots in exchange for a 4th round pick. Darrelle Revis will play this week and he continues to bash Moss now saying that he let up in Week 2. However, the last time these two faced Moss got the best of Revis as he caught that impressive one-handed TD and Revis pulled his hammy. So Revis should be keeping his mouth shut.
Also we’ve all probably heard about Brett Favre and is supposed flirtation episodes with various women from the NY jets organization including Favre supposedly sending inappropriate pictures of his private parts. Who knows how this all effects Favre and how true all of it is but it’s interesting all this drops the week he returns to NY.
From a Fantasy perspective Favre is a decent start this week coming of a bye. He should be more in rhythm with Percy Harvin and he will continue to hit Vishante Shiancoe who looks like he’s going to play Monday night. Right now the Jets are 22nd overall in pass defense but remember that’s without Revis for 2 games. The Jets crazy blitz packages should confuse the Vikings offensive line who haven’t been protecting Favre that well this year and the Jets will get some pressure. Overall though, I expect Farve to go over the 200 yard mark and throw a couple of TD’s. Antonio Cromartie did a good job on Moss in week 2 after Revis went out so it will be interesting to see if the Jets keep him on Moss and line Revis up with Harvin.
I am suggesting starting Randy Moss and Percy Harvin because they are both simply too talented to sit. Plus Revis still is getting his flow back so he won’t fully be himself although he will impress. Also start Shiancoe this week because right now he and Favre have the best chemistry in the passing game.
Adrian Peterson goes up against a tough Jets Run D that’s ranked 4th in the league and only letting up 74 yards a game. Peterson I think could have over 100 total yards and I think he sees the endzone at least once. Peterson looks like he could take the reins back as the #1 fantasy back from Chris Johnson this season as Johnson seems like he’s wearing down just a tad. Obviously Johnson is still a beast but Peterson is better equipped to take the role of a workhorse because of his physical stature.
Mark Sanchez is red-hot right now as he is yet to throw an INT and has 8 TD’s. I think he continues to play solid this week against Minnesota and continues to hit Dustin Keller who also has been great this year with 5 TD’s this season. Keller right now is probably the 3rd best fantasy tight end in the league behind Gates and Dallas Clark. Returning this week is Santonio Holmes who is back from his 4 week suspension. With Sanchez’ accuracy Holmes will be very effective on drags routes and also is a nice vertical threat for the Sanchize. I expect Holmes to get right in the mix and have a pretty productive opening game. Get him in your lineups as a flex play. Braylon Edwards value takes a hit with the return of Holmes but he will still remain a goal line threat and is a good bet to score almost every week. He’s a decent flex play.
Ladainian Tomlinson had a huge game last week with some runs that brought us back in time to the Old dayz when L.T. was a Charger. As long as he stays healthy L.T. is going to be in for a nice year running behind that solid Jets offensive line led by Nick Mangold. Obviously we all know Minnesota can stop the run with big Pat Williams in the middle plugging holes. Still have to get L.T. in your lineups however as he could find the endzone and I think he goes for about 60-80 total yards. Shonn Greene on the other hand I would bench this week. L.T. will dominate the carries and he will get the goal line looks. Greene might see 10-13 carries but I don’t think he will have much success. Use other options.