By Sal Leto (@letosal)
Between bye weeks and a mounting injuries we have less players to look to this week. Four weeks in and trends are starting to form (start TEs vs Cleveland) and some things remain a mystery (who the hell is the RB to own on the Giants). It was a nice bounce back week as 12 of 18 players were correctly labeled. Guess who has an amazing matchup again this week? Jay Cutler. Hard pass. We sail on.
Jameis Winston vs New England Patriots
We can all agree on this: the Patriots are bad on defense. Four games, four 300+ yard passing games. Even more startling, 11 passing touchdowns and one more on the ground. Jameis has back to back 300+ yard games and last week put up three touchdowns with no turnovers. Thursday night games are not always predictable but the feeling is good for a top 12 day from Winston.
Andy Dalton vs Buffalo Bills
A week ago I told you to start Dalton and it paid off. This week I’m saying sit him. The Bills are the second best team in the league at defending QBs and have relinquished one passing TD through four weeks. There’s better matchups coming for Dalton but for now anchor him to your bench.
Duke Johnson vs New York Jets
In case you were wondering this is Duke's backfield now. Johnson is the higher scoring back the last three weeks and, as Isaiah Crowell’s carries have gone down, Dukes targets and receptions have gone up. Last week he was targeted ten times and he pulled in nine of them. The Browns have two rushing touchdowns this season both of which belong to Johnson. The snap count percentage? Duke is leading the way there too. This week he takes on a Jets run defense that is 29th against running backs and gives up over six receptions a game to RBs.
Frank Gore vs San Francisco 49ers
I have to admit, I said this was the season he would hit the wall. And time will tell because it still may be. But two weeks ago the old man handled 25 carries. He’s playing well, not great, but he welcomes into town the team against which he saw most of his success with and I love a good narrative. It also helps that the Niners are 26th defending RBs through four games and give it up both on the ground and in the air. There was a time there was no better two way threat than Gore and I’m looking for a return to the glory days this Sunday.
Ameer Abdullah vs Carolina Panthers
Shut your face, I know I had him here a week ago and he performed well. But I’m putting him right back here. No running back has gone over 56 yards rushing so far when facing the Panthers and only two have crossed the goal line. Carolina has been much more generous to pass catching backs (10 receptions to James White a week ago). As a result, Theo Riddick will need to be a bigger part of the game to keep pace with Carolina this week.
LeGarrette Blount vs Arizona Cardinals
Blount looked good a week ago in bulldozing his way to 136 yards on 16 carries. We’ve seen this before though. He looks unstoppable one week and unresponsive the next. In the two weeks since the injury to Darren Sproles, Blount has been out snapped by Wendell Smallwood 78-48 and Smallwood got the rushing TD. This week the Eagles face the Cardinals who are fourth best vs running backs and have given up under 100 total yards to backs combined rushing and receiving weekly. Look elsewhere for your points this week.
TY Hilton vs San Francisco 49ers
Aside from a blow up week in week three you haven’t gotten anything from Hilton. Thank you schedule makers for bringing the Niners to town. Two weeks ago we watched them get lit up for two 100 yard receiving games and another a week ago. TY knows Luck is close and this week he will explode against the league's 27th ranked defense when facing wide receivers. The time to buy low on him may be gone a week from now.
Chris Hogan @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hogan is the tenth ranked PPR wide receiver after four games. You’re right to have that dopey look on your face. After one catch for eight yards in week one he’s ripped off four TDs the last three weeks. And you know who sucks defending wide receivers? That’s right, the Bucs. This game might be higher scoring than the Thursday nighter two weeks ago. Tom Brady will be looking at four touchdown game here and Hogan will continue his scoring streak.
Martavis Bryant vs Jacksonville Jaguars
In the last three weeks, no wide receiver has scored above 5.9 fantasy points against the Jags. They’ve given up a league low in WR receptions (31), WR receiving yards (314) and are tied in wide receiver TDs (1). Bryant has been pedestrian in three of four games and in the last two games he’s been out snapped by rookie Ju Ju Smith Schuster 105-93. Ouch. That high pick you used expecting him to put up WR2 numbers is not looking great right now.
Titan Wide Receivers @ Miami Dolphins
It’s not that the Dolphins are that good defending wideouts. It’s more that the Titans are really bad at scoring points with them. Remember all the expectations when they signed Eric Decker and drafted Corey Davis to join Rishard Matthews? It hasn’t gone to plan. Outside of a 14 point performance from Matthews in week three, no other receiver on this team has scored a touchdown or put up more than 7.1 PPR points. Add in the likelihood that Marcus Mariota misses the game and this is a wasteland for fantasy points.
Antonio Gates/Hunter Henry @ New York Giants
Last week I listed both Tampa TEs against these Giants and they finished third and fifth overall in the TE rankings. In four weeks, New York has given four top six performances and a top nine performance. If the Giants are on the schedule, you start your tight end.
Tyler Kroft vs Buffalo Bills
Last week’s TE1 was surely a highly added waiver claim this past week. Don’t get overexcited. The Bills have shut down all forms of the passing game so far this season and have really smothered the tight ends. Don’t expect Tyler Eifert numbers weekly from Kroft.