QB: Matthew Stafford at GB – Averaging 315.5 passing yards per game, Matthew Stafford is the 6th ranked quarterback in standard scoring fantasy leagues. This week the Lions face a Packers’ secondary that has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (28.1), out of defenses playing this week. The only team allowing more points to opposing quarterbacks is the Chargers (28.5) – making Terrelle Pryor another solid start this week.
RB: Ray Rice at MIA – I know last week was disappointing for Rice owners but playing from behind, the Ravens decided to run just twice in the 2nd half and left Rice in the backfield to block for Joe Flacco. The main priority for fantasy owners is that Rice came out of the game healthy, which he did. This week he squares off against a Dolphins’ defense that has allowed the 4th most fantasy points to opposing running backs out of the teams playing this week. Darren Sproles torched the Dolphins through the air Monday night; expect the Ravens to heavily involve Rice in the short passing game on his way to a nice fantasy day.
Eddie Lacy vs. DET – Despite sitting out Week 3, Eddie Lacy remains on track to play this week. Although he may lose 3rd down work to rookie Jonathan Franklin, expect Lacy to see the majority of the work out of the backfield. Facing a Lions defense that has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing running backs out of teams playing this week. Couple that with the Packers’ high-scoring offense, in a game that will be a shootout, and you have a recipe for fantasy success.
David Wilson vs. PHI – Despite a disappointing start to the season, David Wilson owners have reasons for optimism. Not only has Wilson played relatively mistake free football over the past three weeks, but he’s also looked good doing it. Wilson has consistently made opposing tacklers miss despite running behind a dysfunctional offensive line. Even more encouraging passing down back Da’Rel Scott was cut after fumbling last week, leaving passing down snaps up for grabs. Considering he’s their most talented running back, expect Wilson to be more involved. This week Wilson faces an Eagles defense that is 26th against the run; I believe this will be the week he turns his season around.
Maurice Jones-Drew at STL – I’ll be honest, I was vehemently against drafting Jones-Drew this offseason and don’t own him in any of my ten leagues but if you do own him, this is a week you have to start him. In terms of fantasy points allowed, Jones-Drew has the best possible match up. He may continue to struggle but if he doesn’t perform this week, there isn’t a week worth starting him. After allowing big games to DeMarco Murray and Frank Gore in back to back weeks, the Rams have allowed 523 yards on 113 carries (4.63 YPC) to opposing running backs this season. Jones-Drew doesn’t have a more favorable match up this season.
WR: Josh Gordon vs. BUF – Since Brian Hoyer took over for the Browns, Josh Gordon leads all wide receivers in targets. It also doesn’t hurt that the Bills have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. After allowing 5 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown to Torrey Smith last week, I’d be excited to have Gordon in my lineup against the Bills.
Justin Blackmon at STL – After his four-week suspension to start out the season, Justin Blackmon will be re-inserted into the starting lineup this week. Over the last eight weeks of last season, Blackmon averaged 5.1 receptions for 80.0 yards with four touchdowns. The Rams’ secondary has proven to be a favorable fantasy match up for wide receivers – giving up the 6th most points to opposing wide receivers out of the teams playing this week. If you need a wide receiver this week, don’t be afraid to pencil Blackmon in.
Hakeem Nicks vs. PHI – This is just the slump buster that Hakeem Nicks needs – no team has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been burned by the likes of: Leonard Hankerson 5/80/2, Eddie Royal 7/90/3, Malcolm Floyd 5/102/0, and Donnie Avery 7/141/0… That doesn’t include the Broncos’ destruction of the Eagles’ secondary last weekend. If Nicks can’t exploit this match up then there is serious reason for concern.
Jeremy Kerley at ATL – For owners who are in a bye-week crunch, I suggest Jeremy Kerley for a spot-start. With Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill likely out for Monday night’s game, Kerley is slotted to start as the Jets’ top wide receiver. Kerley has underrated ability; he’s coming off a solid season in which he caught 56 passes for 827 receiving yards. He’s also a better play in points-per-reception leagues. Kerley faces a Falcons’ defense that has allowed the 4th most points to opposing wide receivers – and Geno needs someone to throw to.
TE: Greg Olsen at AZ – Coming into this week, Greg Olsen is tied with Steve Smith for the Panthers’ lead in targets with 26. Olsen has also topped 50 receiving yards in all three of his games this season. This week he faces a Cardinals’ defense that has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing tight ends so far this season – start him.
QB: Andrew Luck vs. SEA – It’s tough to actually bench Luck unless you have a really good backup waiting in the wings, but this match up is imposing. The Seahawks are 4th against the pass and have allowed just 11.8 points per game. With Pep Hamilton’s run-heavy offense, this will be a tough match up for Luck to put up solid fantasy numbers.
RB: Jacquizz Rodgers vs. NYJ – Although he’s performed admirably in Steven Jackson’s absence, this is not a good week for Jacquizz. Facing off with a Jets’ defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points in the league to opposing running backs, there’s not much to get excited about. Look at how some of the top rushers have faired against the Jets: Doug Martin 24/65/1, Stevan Ridley 16/40/0, C.J. Spiller 10/9/0, and Chris Johnson 15/21/0. Without goal-line touches, Jacquizz will need a big receiving day to buoy his value.
Willis McGahee vs. BUF – Willis McGahee appears to have taken the Browns lead back job but until I see results I’m not starting him. He’s not involved in the passing game and the Browns don’t get to the goal line too frequently. Considering Trent Richardson couldn’t find space to run behind this line, I’d hold off on McGahee until we see some box-score production.
Rashad Jennings vs. SD – After watching Jennings struggle in the lead back role last year when Maurice Jones-Drew went down, I have little confidence in him producing this week. Volume alone will provide him with some fantasy points but I don’t see him as a high upside play. I prefer Jennings in PPR leagues where he can rack up receptions. I don’t like his match up either – the Chargers are one of three teams that are yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing running back.
WR: Stevie Johnson at CLE – Through the first three weeks of the season, Stevie Johnson was off to hot start. Last week Ladarius Webb shut him down to the tune of one catch for minus one yard. This week he squares off with shut down corner Joe Haden who makes things very difficult for the opposing team’s top wideout. No. 1 wide receivers versus the Browns so far this season: A.J. Green 7/51, Mike Wallace 1/15, Greg Jennings 3/43, Torrey Smith 7/85, no touchdowns. Avoid Johnson this week.
Donnie Avery at TEN – Don’t be fooled by his Week 3 performance, Donnie Avery is not a fantasy starter. Smith is a check-down machine and there’s no reason to start Avery against a strong Titans’ defense. Aim higher, for guys like Jeremy Kerley or Terrance Williams.
T.Y. Hilton vs. SEA – Unfortunately T.Y. Hilton has the looks of a fantasy bust – most fantasy writers were expecting the Colts to be more pass-heavy but Pep Hamilton’s intentions revolve around using a run-heavy offense. This obviously is a big blow to the values of Luck, Hilton, and Heyward-Bey. Hilton is still a playmaker but with limited opportunities against a very strong Seahawks defense, I’d look elsewhere.
TE: Brandon Myers vs. PHI – While the Eagles are a favorable match up for almost every position, they have defended tight ends well – allowing just 5.8 fantasy points per game. It doesn’t help that Myers caught zero passes last week because he was forced to stay in to block with the Giants offensive line in shambles.
Thanks for reading, good luck this week. Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!