To my most likely non-existent regular readers, I would like to formally apologize for skipping over week three of the NFL season. School has had me covered and pinned down like the Seattle defense. However, I’m back for week four, and I have so much to talk about. Something is happening in the NFL, and I’m not sure if I like it or not.
The teams that we never really refer to as teams are beginning to crawl out of the woodwork. They’re beginning to creep through the cracks and crevices of the mistakes of the normally winning teams, and show themselves to the world. In week two, Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars (this is still NFL level, don’t be too surprised) ended up having a shootout with half-rookie half-not rookie Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Jaguars ended up on top somehow, an anomaly in our generation, and Bortles ended the game with 273 yards and two touchdowns.
Tannehill ended up gunning it out, throwing for 359 yards on 44 attempts, and scored two touchdowns as well. Even Buffalo is beginning to impress, giving Tom Brady and the New England Whatever-They’re-Calleds a run for their money. Of course Brady came out on top, but the game ended with the Bills only losing by eight points. Aside from his three interceptions, Tyrod Taylor showed his prowess in the pocket, throwing for a pretty substantial 242 yards on 30 attempts with three touchdowns. In addition, the outstanding Bills run defense held the Brady’s team to just 56 rushing yards, while Buffalo’s rushing core ended the game with 160 total yards and two touchdowns.
And although it may not be saying much, the Jets came out on top of the Colts 20-7 in week two’s Monday night game. Despite that fact that Andrew Luck threw three interceptions, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall showed the world that they are as good of a receiver-quarterback connection as any other one in the league, as Marshall went for 101 yards on just seven receptions with one touchdown, and Fitzpatrick ended the game with 244 yards on 34 attempts and two touchdowns. And last but not least, somehow the Oakland Raiders managed to come out on top against Baltimore, as Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Latavius Murray all impressed us against a fairly formidable Ravens team.
Now I’m not saying to put your faith fully in the players of these teams, and I’m not saying that we’re going to end up watching a Jacksonville vs. Tampa Bay super bowl, but I wouldn’t rule out anything like an Arizona coup d’etat of the fascist New England Patriots reign. There’s nothing quite like a good upset, and last week we were given plenty. I’m sure many people would say something like “everyone scores sometimes” or “even the worst teams can be good occasionally”, but sometimes, watching the mighty fall is just too real to ignore. Besides, I’m a Saints fan, so I usually have to find something else to focus on. Even the Jaguars.
Here are my thoughts on week four:
QBs I Like in Week 4:
1. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bils (vs. New York Giants): The Gianst have been immensely unimpressive this season when it comes to defending the pass. In all three of the following categories, the Giants rank number 32 of 32: average opponent passing yards per game, average opponent first down yards per game, and average opponent passing completions per game. That’s not something to be overlooked. In addition, Tyrod Taylor has proven himself more than worthy of a starting spot on your fantasy lineup. In the first three weeks, Taylor has averaged 238 passing yards per game, 2.3 touchdowns per game, and 21 fantasy points per game. That’s on par with most veteran quarterbacks so far. If the Bills defense can keep the Giants back and get Taylor on the field, I see a great performance from Taylor this week.
2. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (@Chicago Bears): Be careful with this one. Most of you are going to be fine starting your normal quarterbacks, but for those of you in leagues with 12 or more teams, sometimes the pickings can be slim. So if you find yourself digging in the bottom of the free agent barrel, you might consider looking at Derek Carr. The Raiders have been subpar for quite a while now, but over the past couple weeks they’ve managed to impress a little more than usual, especially Carr himself. Over the past two weeks, Carr has averaged 23 fantasy points per game, 332 yards per game, and has thrown for five touchdowns over those two games. This week he’s up against a Bears defense, which has allowed 8 passing touchdowns since the beginning of the season, and an average of 19 fantasy points per game.
3. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (@Indianapolis Colts): We’re still sort of making quite a leap here, but if you’re having a lot of trouble finding a quarterback with any upside potential for this week, Bortles has not been looking too bad recently at all. The Patriots didn’t provide the best opportunity for Bortles to come out a winner, but it sure provided an opportunity for him to throw until he couldn’t throw anymore. Thanks to the blowout, Bortles was able to throw for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for a Jaguars quarterback. And back in week two he managed to put up 273 yards, two scores, and 20 fantasy points against a formidable Miami defensive line. Plus, Indianapolis has allowed an average of 261 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. So if there was ever a time to air it out, this might be it.
RBs I Like in Week 4:
1. Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. St. Louis Rams): With Andre Ellington questionable this week against the Rams, I’d definitely suggest putting Johnson in your RB2 or Flex spot this week. St. Louis has been subpar this year versus the run. They’ve given up an average of 22.1 fantasy points per game to opposing backs, an average of 122 rushing yards per game, and an average of 4 yards per rush attempt. Plus, Johnson destroyed the San Francisco defense last week, putting up 110 yards on 22 attempts with two touchdowns. That’s 27 fantasy points.
2. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars (@Indianapolis Colts): The Colts have had a bit of trouble against the run this year. However, they did end up impressing us against the power running backs of the New York Jets, holding them to only 95 rushing yards and no touchdowns. I think that if Yeldon is gonna have a time to shine, it’s gonna be against the low ranked Colts run defense.
3. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (vs. Cleveland Browns): Okay. This is an easy one. Cleveland has allowed the following so far this year: The third most rushing attempts per game, the most average rushing yards per game, the sixth most rushing first downs per game, and the second most yards per rush attempts. Woodhead hasn’t been exceptional this year, but despite his sharing the spotlight with Melvin Gordon, he’s still a quality flex and RB2 option.
WRs I Like in Week 4:
1. Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins (vs. New York Jets): Against both Jacksonville and Buffalo, Matthews managed an average of 114 yards per game and one touchdown per game. Last week he posted 23 fantasy points against the Bills. This week he goes up against a Jets defense that has allowed less than 17 points per game to opposing wideouts this season. This COULD be alarming, except for the fact that Tannehill and the Dolphins have a wide variety of weapons in their receiving arsenal. With Greg Jennings, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, AND Rishard Matthews, I could see Matthew putting up at least 10 points this week.
2. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (@Chicago Bears): The Crimson Tide rookie hasn’t been doing too badly for the Raiders. In the first three games, he’s averaged 96 yards on a total of 20 receptions, and an average of 10 fantasy points per game. Cooper’s going up against a Chicago secondary that has allowed seven touchdowns already to opposing receivers this year. He should at least shine enough to post double digits this week.
3. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (@Cincinnati Bengals): The Bengals have allowed 342 receiving yards over the past two games, along with four total touchdowns. Need I say more? The Bengals secondary is not something to write home about, and after allowing over 30 fantasy points to Steve Smith Jr.
TEs I Like in Week 4 (2):
1. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (@Tampa Bay Buccaneers): This definitely isn’t a hidden gem or anything, but he was too good last week to not post. Olsen posted some unheard of numbers against the lackluster Saints secondary. He put up 134 yards on 8 receptions with two touchdowns. That gave him 25 fantasy points. For a tight end, that only comes around once in a very long while. Somehow he hadn’t been picked up yet in one of my leagues, so I went for him. If you find yourself this lucky, definitely pick him up and start him this week. The Buccaneers secondary is even lesser than the Saints secondary.
2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (@Cincinnati Bengals): Kelce is pretty much a must start this week. After the Jimmy Grahams and the Rob Gronkowskis go in the first few rounds of most fantasy drafts, a lot of people go for Kelce in the 5th or 6th round. And it’s a good pick. If on the off chance he’s still on your waiver wire, go get him. Go back up and read my Rishard Matthews pick, the Bengals secondary has been abysmal this year, and Kelce will easily be a top target this week.
Ole Miss student Taylor Lust is a Fantasy Football guru and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.