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49ers 35, Rams 11 - Let's slow down the "Colin Kaepernick is back" train for second. It was nice to see him not totally stink up the joint - but 167 passing yards, 2 TD, and a fumble lost against the Rams does not spell fantasy stardom. The Niners offense outside of Frank Gore still doesn't look right, and I'm not entirely sure that Kap breaks my Top 10 QBs this week against Houston. On the Rams side of the ball, this is going to be an ugly statement, but a factual one. There is no player on this team that I feel good starting in a standard league. Daryl Richardson is droppable - he's just not very good. Chris Givens and Austin Pettis are ownable, but outside of heavy bye weeks and deeper leagues I just can't see how you would feel good with them in your lineup, and I don't think Tavon Austin is ownable in most leagues anymore either. I thought "Hey, if there's a game that Tavon Austin goes off it's this one". Wrong. To the dumpster for you, sir. Bold prediction: Tavon Austin scores at least 13 fantasy points. WRONG. Sorry about that one
Seahawks 23, Texans 20 - Ouch. What a terrible game for Russell Wilson, who has clearly regressed in year 2 for Pete Carroll's offense. Wilson somewhat salvaged his fantasy day with 77 rushing yards, but he's another guy that I don't think is a must-start QB anymore. If you have Wilson and Phillip Rivers for example? I think you're starting Rivers most week. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks D are really your only automatic starts from this team any week, and I continue to believe that there's really no reason to own a Seattle receiver in a standard league. For the Texans - boy, it was good to see Arian Foster go over 100 yards. Ben Tate is still ownable, but really, as good as Tate has looked, Foster is THE guy. Andre Johnson didn't have a huge game, but he definitely did his part to quash the guys on Sunday who were telling you to start DeAndre Hopkins over AJ. Come on, now. In related news, I'm starting to buy Matt Schaub as a high-end QB2 and a premiere fantasy backup in standard leagues. The team is throwing a lot more than I thought (partially because the defense isn't as good as I though), and Schaub, while I don't think he's a very good quarterback, is at least competent enough to give you some fantasy value. Bold Prediction: Golden Tate finishes with more fantasy points than Andre Johnson. I'm 0-for-2, and Johnson didn't really have that great of a game. That's how bad Seattle was here.
Colts 37, Jaguars 3 - If I were a Jaguars fan, I don't even think I'd go to the game for free beer at this point. This team is BAD. Blaine Gabbert is BAD. I'm bailing on MJD here - you're either keeping him on your bench or trying to trade him for pennies on the dollar. Cecil Shorts is ownable but only as a bench filler or bye-week guy in a deep league. If the Jaguars can only put up 3 points against the COLTS - well, try this on for size. 8 of the next 11 games for Jacksonville are against top-tier fantasy defenses - the Broncos, Titans (2 games), Texans (2 games), Browns, Cardinals, and 49ers. They're done. Not really much to talk about from Indy. Trent Richardson looked better but is still not all the way comfortable in the offense. Reggie Wayne is a beast. And Coby Fleener is a low-end TE1 with Dwayne Allen out. Bold Prediction: Both Wayne and Hilton finish as Top 25 WRs this week. I'm giving myself 1/2 point out of pity, and also because Wayne was really good.
Cardinals 13, Bucs 10 - This will be quick. Rashard Mendenhall won't be the starter in Arizona much longer, and I would pick up Andre Ellington NOW. Michael Floyd is the #2 receiver for the Cardinals, not Andre Roberts, and he should be owned in most leagues. Mike Glennon is better than Josh Freeman, but still not very good. And I'm a little concerned about Doug Martin after his 27 carry/45 yard day. Not worried about the talent, but worried about the supporting cast. Bold Prediction: No Bucs player will score double-digit fantasy points. 1 point! I was right! When all else fails, bench your Bucs.
Vikings 34, Steelers 27 - I'll start with the Vikings here, because quite frankly this will be quicker. Matt Cassel will be the starting QB even when Christian Ponder comes back. Greg Jennings is whatever. 2 lucky TDs, so what? I'm way more interested in Jerome Simpson and his 11 targets, and if I owned Kenny Britt or a Seahawks, Rams, or Jaguars receiver I'd drop them for Simpson in a heartbeat. Hell, if I owned Kyle Rudolph from this same team, I'd drop him for Simpson in a heartbeat. For the Steelers, everybody's on me for saying to bench Le'Veon Bell. Okay, so he got 2 TDs. He's definitely ownable and probably startable in most leagues. But, before you start going all "Bell is the second coming of Jerome Bettis", let's take a step back. If he doesn't get the TDs, he has 8 fantasy points. 8 of them. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry, and the Steelers won't play Minnesota every week. Slow down. He's a low end RB2 because he's going to get all the work in Pittsburgh by default, but he's only a slightly-above average runningback. Emmanuel Sanders in a PPR league is still a good play, but it's pretty clear that Antonio Brown is a true #1. Bold Prediction: Antonio Brown has 15 fantasy points for the 2nd straight week. 0 points. To be fair, the principle behind my prediction was right. Brown caught 12 of his 13 targets, had 9 fantasy points, and was far and away the best receiver on the field....but just didn't get a TD. I still give myself 0 points though because I believe in honesty.
Bills 23, Ravens 20 - I can't imagine what was going through John Harbaugh's mind when he decided to give Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce a COMBINED 9 carries in this game, but it landed me my bad prediction of the week. This makes me angry, so I won't focus on it and will instead say that I continue to like Marlon Brown in deeper leagues, and on the other side of the ball I think Robert Woods is ownable in most formats as well after another big day. Monitor the injuries to Spiller and Jackson closely...I don't love Tashard Choice but he's THE guy next week if CJ and Freddie are out, and on a bye week where you'll be without Peterson, Martin, Bell, and Alf Morris, you may need that guy. Bold Prediction: Ray Rice would score 15 fantasy points. 0 points. Like I said, worst call of the week, but I still thought it was a good call against the league's worst rushing defense. DAMN YOU JOHN HARBAUGH!! DAMN YOU!!!
Browns 17, Bengals 6 - I make up for my awful Ray Rice call with what I think was one of my better calls of the week - the Browns defense. Look...they're legit. Joe Haden is one of the Top 3 shutdown corners in the league, and I said on the show that if he was able to take AJ Green out of the game (7 catches for just 51 yards) the Browns D would post a nice game. They did - 12 fantasy points, which you can't complain about. For the Browns offensively, it is what it is. You're not starting McGahee yet, but he's definitely the most usable runningback from that stable. You're starting Jordan Cameron, who catches another TD, and you're starting Josh Gordon, who has another big game, even though he doesn't get into the end zone. That's it. For the Bengals, a disappointing fantasy day for Gio Bernard, but he got 16 touches compared to just 6 for the LawFirm, and Bernard is still a no-brainer starter in all formats. Bold Prediction: The Browns D has more fantasy points than the Bengals D. 1 point! Probably my best call of the week, as the difference wasn't even all that close. And just a note for those thinking about streaming defenses that play against the Browns: this is a better offense than you think.
Lions 40, Bears 32: If you would've told me that 72 points would be scored in this game and that Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson would COMBINE for just 17 fantasy points, I would have slapped you and run away (I'm not much of a fighter, just a quick hit and run guy). Detroit did an admirable job holding Marshall in check, and save for a short TD the Bears really took Megatron out of the game. So who picked up the slack? Alshon Jeffery, who posts a monster 18 fantasy points and should be the #1 waiver wire pickup this week if he's still out there in your league. I've been bullish on Jeffery, but he now has 18 catches in 4 games and is starting to gain more of Cutler's confidence. For the Lions, this game was all Reggie Bush, so there's really not much to talk about. Joique Bell owners, relax, he's still going to have value when Bush inevitably gets banged up again. And if you've been waiting for a Ryan Broyles breakout, I just really don't think it's going to happen, as he got passed up on the depth chart by Kris Freaking Durham this week. Bold Prediction: Jay Cutler finishes as a Top 12 fantasy QB. 0 points. And damn you and your 3 picks, Jay Cuter. Actually he had a nice fantasy day and would've been in the Top 10 had it not been for those 3 terrible interceptions. I Cutlered myself. I hate you, Jay Cutler.
Chiefs 31, Giants 7 - Takeaway: The Giants are terrible. I continue to say that there is NO Giants player other than Victor Cruz that you're putting in your starting lineup. Not Hakeem Nicks (3 for 33), Reuben Randle (1 for 7), and certainly not Eli Manning. I will say this - I was encouraged with David Wilson. Not a good fantasy day, you certainly weren't happy with him in your lineup - but 15 touches, 63 yards, and he didn't fumble (Da'Rel Scott) did. I actually think that Wilson has a decent game next week against a terrible Eagles D. For the Chiefs, it was encouraging to see Dwayne Bowe get in the end zone, but I still don't trust him as more than a WR3 as much as Alex Smith spreads the ball around. Donnie Avery had 10 targets, but only caught 2, and I still don't care. Jamaal Charles wasn't particularly effective running the ball (18 for 65), but his involvement in the passing game is where his value comes from. Nothing else really to talk about here except for another good game by Sean McGrath, the Chiefs TE, but I really don't think he's ownable unless you're super deseprate. Bold Prediction: Jamaal Charles finishes as the #1 runningback. 0 points. Thanks for nothing, Adrian Peterson.
Broncos 52, Eagles 20 - Just kind of a bad game for the Eagles offensively, but with this being 2 weeks in a row now, I'm a little concerned. Michael Vick completes just 50% of his passes, LeSean McCoy doesn't break 100 yards, and DeSean Jackson catches just 2 balls. That being said, the Broncos D is good, the game was in Denver, and Peyton Manning is a freak. So I'll see how the Eagles look against an equally bad Giants defense next week. For the Broncos - what do you say that hasn't been said already? Manning is good. The three receivers and Julius Thomas (despite just 4 for 43 on Sunday) are in your lineup week after week. You're starting Moreno. You're owning Hillman. And in a standard league, you may not own Montee Ball, who is clearly third string and not getting work except for in garbage time. Bold Prediction: DeMaryius Thomas has the best day of the Broncos receivers, and posts top 5 fantasy numbers. 1 point! Thomas had 2 TDs and tied for 5th among fantasy WRs with 20 points in standard leagues.
Titans 38, Jets 13 - Bad game for Geno Smith, and those will happen. That's why we always have to remember that he's a rookie. Watch the injury to Santonio Holmes closely - if he's out, Stephen Hill becomes a must-own player and an interesting flex play even in standard leagues. Bilal Powell another game over 100 yards of offense - how do things shake out with Mike Goodson back in week 5? We'll find out - I think Powell is a sell-high guy right now. He's bound to lose some work to Goodson and eventually to Ivory, so his value is at it's peak right now. For the Titans, I'm not all that worried about the Jake Locker injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable backup, and really it's hard to start a Titans wideout anyway because you never know which one to start (this week it would've been Nate Washington, obviously, but how many times can you count on that?). Oh, and Chris Johnson? Not good. Not startable. Ever. Bold Prediction: Both defenses finish as Top 10 fantasy defenses. Sorry, Jets fans. 0 points. The Titans are legit, though
Redskins 24, Raiders 14 - In a game that produced more injuries than fantasy stars, the most notable stories are the injuries to Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, and Alfred Morris. The Morris injury didn't appear to be too serious, and with the Redskins on bye in Week 5, I imagine he won't miss any time. If he does, however, Roy Helu becomes a must-own in Week 6. The McFadden injury will be worth watching certainly. A guy with a hamstring injury and a history of not being able to get on the field? Yeah, it's concerning. The Raiders are at home against San Diego next week and would likely have Terrelle Pryor back, so if McFadden is out than Rashad Jennings (23 touches, 116 yards) should become a Top 20 back in that game. Really not much else to say here - Garcon is the only Washington receiver you're owning, and you can't make any judgment calls on Raiders players with Flynn in there. Bold Prediction: McFadden finishes with more fantasy points than Morris. False, 0 points, but McFadden would have finished better had he gotten more than 5 carries before his injury. He was running well.
Chargers 30, Cowboys 21 - Phillip Rivers is legit. So is the re-emergence of Antonio Gates as an every-week starter. So is the emergency of Danny Woodhead as a viable fantasy threat, especially in PPR. Woodhead actually is on the field more than Ryan Mathews (whom I traded last week and am not the least bit sad about it). For the Cowboys, kind of a ho hum game. So moving on. Bold prediction: Jason Witten is a Top 6 fantasy tight end. 0 points. It was a fine game for Wiitten - 5 catches on 10 targets, but nothing exciting.
Patriots 30, Falcons 23 - I had a gut feeling on on Aaron Dobson this week. That feeling turned out to just be the hamburger I ate on Saturday night. Edelman and Thompkins are clearly the #1 and #2 guys (at least until Gronk is back), and I think once Amendola is back Dobson falls into oblivion. He's droppable in all leagues. You like seeing Stevan Ridley get 11 carries, but you don't like LeGarrette Blount getting 9. Regardless, continue to monitor the Brandon Bolden knee injury - if he misses time, Ridley should get a larger workload and hopefully be able to run away with the job (at least until the return of Shane Vereen). On the Falcons side of the ball - Tony Gonzalez is a MAN. It's clear that the demise of his career was greatly overstated, and he's fine. Roddy White - a lot more involved in this game, but still not 100%, and I don't imagine he will be until after the Falcon's Bye week. Bold Prediction: Julio Jones is the #1 wide receiver in this game, but Aaron Dobson is #2. Wrong on both counts. Thanks, Kenbrell.
Saints 38, Dolphins 17 - Breaking news: Drew Brees is good. So is Jimmy Graham. So is Darren Sproles. I mean, look, you're starting the Saints players that you drafted. Graham, Colston, Sproles, Brees. And that's it. I'm telling you, though, keep an eye on Khiry Robinson - most of his work was in junk time, but nonetheless 12 carries for New Orleans - he will be a legitimate part of that offense at some point this year. For the Dolphins, I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong. And I was wrong about Lamar Miller. I was slowing the hype train on Miller early in the season, and at first it looked like I would be right. But he is a legitimate low end RB2 or high end flex. Not every matchup will be as juicy as this one, but the dude averaged nearly 6 yards per carry. That's an impressive number, and I think Miller needs to be in your lineup more weeks than not. I'm still not caring about Brandon Gibson, but it seems like we talk about him almost every week - and he had another 6 cathces/8 targets last night. There may be something there, but at the very least he's a pain in the side of Mike Wallace owners. Oh, and just fyi....there's Charles Clay with another 10 fantasy points. Pick him up already, for God's sake.