We survived a strange Week 3 and luckily, there were no big name players that got injured. However, while many big name players got off the snide, there are a still a number that have disappointed. That is where I will start this week!
I declared Week 3 a make-or-break game for a number of key players. One of which was Cam Newton, who had a cake matchup against the Saints. Unfortunately, he completed just 17 passes for 167 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. He tried to salvage his day rushing for 16 yards and a score. But again, that was against the Saints have allowed the second most Fantasy Points to opposing QBs. Luckily for Cam, he now gets the Patriots, who have allowed the most FPPG to opposing QBs. Still, I cannot trust him as more than a QB2 until we see otherwise.
Another player that I declared was Terrelle Pryor, as well as his teammates Kirk Cousins and Jameson Crowder. Cousins had a monster game against the Raiders, while Crowder caught all six of his targets for 52 yards. However, Pryor was targeted just four times, catching two for 19 yards. So far Pryor has caught just 52.6 percent of the balls thrown his way and averaged 6.11 yards-per-target. Early on it looks like I missed the ball on this one, as I thought Pryor was a borderline WR1 during draft season. I would not be dropping him yet, actually, I would be looking to buy low if you can. However, I think the bench may be where you could sit Pryor this week, as you can tell by my rankings.
As crazy as it may sound, I am buying into the Giants passing game. I have Odell Beckham Jr. as my top WR this week, but also have Sterling Shepard inside my top-36. Part of the reason is the Bucs have allowed the most FPPG to opposing WRs. The other part is because I truly think the Giants realized they do not much of a run game will continue to let Eli Manning throw upwards of 40 times every game. Just last week we saw Beckham have 13 targets, Brandon Marshall have 11 targets and Shepard had 10. I have concerns that Marshall may be washed. Marshall currently has a catch rate of 50 percent, which puts him tied for 65th of the 85 WRs who have seen at least 10 targets this season. Amongst those 85 receivers, his 4.65 Yards-per-target ranks 79th. Comparatively, Shepard ranks 22nd in yards-per-target at 9.09 and 15th in catch percentage at 72.7 percent. I have him ranked higher, but in deeper formats, you could consider Marshall as a Flex option if he sees this volume going forward.
Sticking with the Giants, tight end Evan Engram saw seven targets this past week and finished with five catches for 45 yards. He will continue to be a factor in this offense and has put up at least eight PPR points every single week. That is a great floor, especially given how volatile the TE position has been.
When it comes to the tight end position you are basically looking at the best bet to score a touchdown. So far, the Ravens have allowed the most touchdowns to opponents’ tight ends, at four. However, three came in London when Mercedes Lewis torched them. I would not trust Jesse James as more than a deep league flier. However, the Patriots have allowed a touchdown in every game to an opposing tight end. I think Ed Dickson has a much better chance of scoring this week, given the matchup and Kelvin Benjamin’s potential absence, than last week when he actually had some hype. He is a pure TD flier, though. The Giants are the only other team to allow three scores to opposing tight ends, allowing one in every game so far this season. As my guys at FNTSY Sports Radio Network say, ‘Make America Brate Again.’ Fire up Cameron Brate this week. I also think O.J. Howard is a flier in deep leagues.
This is a tough week for QBs. I have Derek Carr, Ben Roethlisberger, and Dak Prescott outside of my Top-12. I also do not feel great about Jameis Winston either but think the volume will put him in as a low-end QB1. There are a number of lower range QBs that have great matchups, such as Trevor Siemien vs the Raiders, Jay Cutler vs the Saints, Andy Dalton at the Browns, Deshaun Watson vs the Titans, Blake Bortes at the Jets and Jared Goff at the Cowboys. These guys are all QB2 with upside this week for me.
If you own Doug Baldwin not only do you have to monitor his situation all week, but you should have a contingency plan since they play on Sunday night! Why is it that we have a key player questionable in all the Sunday and Monday night games this season? You should grab one of Paul Richardson or Tyler Lockett. I will say this, Richardson is the more consistent option, while Lockett is the home run hitter that can take the top off the defense.
This is a good week to see if Jay Ajayi can be used in the passing game. He gets the Saints, who have allowed a league-highx 29-receptions to running backs. The Dolphins will have to put up points. If he isn’t utilized in the passing game this week, he maybe never will.
My bet to lead all running backs in receptions this week? LeSean McCoy, who faces… you probably guessed it, the Falcons. The Falcons have allowed the second most receptions to RBs (27) after allowing the most receptions to RBs last season (109). I state this every week and trust me, I have the numbers memorized, but that is the way teams attack the Falcons, as they are (likely) chasing points. McCoy has had at least six targets in every game, and at least five receptions. That is in games in which the Bills have been leading or in a one-score game. That should not be the case this week.
The Steelers have allowed 23 receptions to running backs, the third most in the league. They have also allowed the third most rushing TDs (three), and the fifth most FPPG to RBs. Fire up Buck Allen as a rock-solid RB2 in PPR this week. I also like Terrance West as a Flex option, given the fact that he has been the one getting the carries inside both the 10 and five-yard line.
As crazy as it may sound, I think you can consider Chris Johnson as a flex option this week. The Niners allowed the most rushing yards to opposing RBs last season, and currently rank seventh. The Cardinals have key pieces of their offensive line coming back has seen 11 and 12 carries in the past two games. That number could increase if they are playing with a lead. If you are diving deep some have advised, Andre Ellington who is not the worst flier, as he is the only Cardinals RB to average over 3 yards-per-carry, albeit he has only had seven attempts. He did have five receptions against Dallas, although they were chasing points most of the night. Still, it is worth mentioning that the 49ers allowed the second fewest catches to RBs last season, although they currently rank 13th in that category. His value is game script dependent in my opinion.
I was not willing to use an early second round pick on Amari Cooper heading into the season and so far, that seems like the right call. In Week 1, Cooper received 13 targets, five receptions, 62 yards, and a touchdown. Since then, his numbers in every category have dropped, and last week had just one catch for six yards. I do not blame Derek Carr for favoring Michael Crabtree, as Cooper has just a 43.5 percent catch rate, which qualifies as the 76th best among 85 wideouts with at least 10 targets. His 4.39 yards-per-target ranks 81st amongst that group. Cooper also has two drops this season, according to STATS.com, which ranks tied for second in the league.
Dez Bryant has been the topic of a lot of conversation lately. The debate is whether or not he can be trusted as a WR1, and I have been wavering myself. He has had fewer than 60 yards in every game this season, and finished with just two catches in two of the three games. Still, he has scored a touchdown in four of his last eight regular season games. However, as you dig deeper the numbers are not pretty. His 4.22 yards-per-target ranks 82nd amongst the 85 WRs with 10 targets, while his 40.7 catch percent ranks 79th. Additionally, Dez has seen a league high six targets inside the 10-yard line, but has only caught one of them. Dez is a borderline WR1, specifically in standard as he is reliant on his TD upside, but I would not advise against trying to sell high for a more consistent WR1.
Here’s a great stat from Pro Football Focus: Chargers tight ends ran 47 snaps this past week. Hunter Henry though only ran 14 of them. While he is a suburb talent, and the snaps seem to be there, he has clearly been asked to block more thus far this season. As we discussed Wednesday on the Fantasy Football BFFs, it is okay to drop him given the availability of other upside tight ends.
Rhodes closed! That is the saying of Xavier Rhodes, and it could not be more accurate. So far this season, Rhodes has kept Michael Thomas, Antonio Brown and Mike Evans in check. That is a who’s who of wideouts and he’s done a suburb job. This week the Vikings take on the Lions, so make sure to monitor who Rhodes will be lining up with. Week 1 when the Lions played the Cardinals Patrick Peterson played a lot against Marvin Jones, not Golden Tate. If the Vikings do the same, you can pretty much take Marvin Jones off the board.
If you have Flex, trade or any other Fantasy Football questions make sure to hit me up on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.