Can you feel it? It’s fantasy football hitting its stride. We have more data to determine who’s good and who’s not, who will produce and who won’t. I’d like to preface this article by saying, once again: don’t panic. If you’re 0-3, don’t sweat it. Find the 0-3 person in your league, who is sweating it, and offer trades. These people are likely triggered and want to make huge changes to their team, so take advantage of that.
In addition, bye weeks are starting up. Each week I’ll give you a list of teams on bye – it’ll look like this:
- Carolina Panthers
- Washington Redskins
Bye weeks are as good a time as any to hit the waiver wire. If you want some waiver wire advice, shoot me a follow on Twitter (@QLynchUW) where I reminisce from my waiver wire days here at Sconnie by shouting out some names and stats. Without further ado, let’s get it!
QB – Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals @ Falcons
Andy Dalton currently sits as the 12th best quarterback in fantasy. He is also tied with Drew Brees for third-most touchdown passes thrown this season (eight) and has thrown at least two touchdowns in each game so far this season. Dalton drew a tough matchup last week against the Panthers, but still amassed two touchdowns and 352 passing yards. This week, Dalton and the Bengals square off at home against a beaten-and-battered Falcons secondary that has given up over 300 yards and at least three touchdowns in each of their last two games.
P.S., because of his four-interception performance last week, he’s probably on your waiver wire…
RB – Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks @ Cardinals
Until further notice, Chris Carson is the go-to back in Seattle. Last week against Dallas, Carson was on the field for 72 percent of snaps, while Rashaad Penny had 14 percent. Carson carried the ball 32 times in that game. I still believe Rashaad Penny is the better back, but Carson has the job right now and you can’t bet against that kind of workload. Will he run the ball 30+ times per game every game? No, but against a Cardinals defense that gives up the most fantasy points to running backs per week, it’s a safe bet.
RB – Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers vs Bills
While Aaron Jones didn’t have a higher snap count (25 percent) compared to Jamaal Williams (43 percent) or Ty Montgomery (29 percent), he was the best ball carrier Sunday against the Redskins. The game script forced the Packers to pass more, but that didn’t stop Jones from earning 42 yards on a team-high six carries (7.0 YPC). Because of the snap count and his steady return from his suspension, it would make sense to give Jones another week to fit back into the offense. However, if you need a back this week, Jones isn’t likely to disappoint too much. Jones won’t be the best running back this week, but given his talent and the fact that the Bills, in Weeks 1 and 2, gave up a combined 179 rushing yards and four touchdowns, he’s not the worst start this week.
WR – Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns @ Raiders
In Thursday night’s matchup against the Browns, Landry was targeted 15 times, his second game with 15 targets. Josh Gordon leaving the team doesn’t affect Landry much because he was already beasting it up in Cleveland. The passing game, now new-and-improved with Baker Mayfield, runs through Jarvis Landry. On average, Landry gets 35 percent of the team’s targets per week – to be exact, the LSU product averages 12.3 targets per game. Not to mention, the Browns travel to Oakland to play a defense that gave up four passing touchdowns to the Dolphins last week.
WR – John Brown – Baltimore Ravens @ Steelers
John Brown has done work for the Ravens so far in 2018. His snap count checks out at an average 72 percent of snaps per week, bested only by Michael Crabtree amongst skill players not named Joe Flacco. Michael Crabtree hasn’t made the splash in Baltimore that some of us thought he would. The former Raider has 155 receiving yards on the season, second to our boy here, John Brown (222 yards). Brown averages 18 percent of the team’s targets per game, compared to Crabtree’s 20 percent. The difference is that John Brown is a deep receiver. In the last two games, Brown has three receptions of over 20 yards and two receptions of over 40 yards. While that might make him seem like a boom-or-bust guy, just know that he’s been consistent, netting over 80 yards in the last two games. Speaking of the last two games, the Ravens’ Week 4 opponents, the Steelers, have given up 489 passing yards, five touchdowns, and 93.8 fantasy points (half-point scoring) to wide receivers in the last two games.
TE – Trey Burton – Chicago Bears vs Buccaneers
What happened to the “Travis Kelce role” that was promised Trey Burton fantasy own—I mean, Trey Burton? For kicks and giggles, here’s a side-by-side comparison of Travis Kelce and Trey Burton:
- Kelce: 26
- Burton: 15
- Kelce: 16
- Burton: 9
- Kelce: 229
- Burton: 90
- Kelce: 2
- Burton: 1
Travis Kelce is the TE 1 in half-point scoring, while Burton is the TE 17. What’s up with that, Matt Nagy? In all seriousness, don’t freak out about Trey Burton. He’s on the field for an average of 86 percent of snaps and is third on the team in target share (15 percent), behind only Allen Robinson (27 percent) and Taylor Gabriel (22 percent). If there’s a week for the Burton train to get rolling, it’s this week. The Bears face a Buccaneers defense that just gave up 119 yards and a touchdown on five receptions (thanks in large part to Vance McDonald’s 75-yard touchdown). The week before, Tampa Bay gave up an average 10.1 yards per catch to tight ends and have given up 43.0 fantasy points to tight ends over the last two games.
FLEX – Sterling Shepard – New York Giants vs Saints
Sterling Shepard got off to a rough start in 2018 but managed to pick up the pace last week with six receptions for 80 yards and a score. It wasn’t a slam dunk, but it was a solid performance. Shepard is, on average, on the field for 92 percent of plays and gets 18 percent of the targets. While it might not seem like much compared to Odell Beckham’s 32 percent or Saquon Barkley’s 23 percent, this is the week where 18 percent could make the difference — especially with Evan Engram nursing a knee injury. The New York Football Giants take on a Saints defense that has given up 1,010 passing yards in 2018, good for third-most in the league behind the Chiefs and Buccaneers (1,088 passing yards), and the most points in the league (103). While we’re bagging on the Saints’ defense, it’s worth noting that they’ve given up 165.9 fantasy points to wide receivers this season, most in the league.
QB – Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings @ Rams
The Vikings got put on blast Sunday versus the Bills. Did they look past that game to a matchup against the NFC-heavyweight Los Angeles Rams on a short week? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, the Vikings face a stout passing defense that has only given up 598 passing yards on the season. On top of having a short week, the Vikings must use one of their few days to travel all the way to Los Angeles. Regardless of what happened last week, the Vikings face a Rams defense that has only given up two passing touchdowns.
RB – Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens @ Steelers
If you’re an Alex Collins owner, you might know Javorius “Buck” Allen better as a touchdown vulture. Allen, on the season, has rushed 16 times for 32 yards and three touchdowns. He also has 13 receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown. Sure, Allen is on the field for a few more snaps (47 percent) compared to Alex Collins (44 percent), but he carries the ball way less (Collins’ 42 percent compared to Allen’s 20 percent). What I’m saying is don’t let the fantasy output, and four touchdowns, distract you from Allen’s 2.0 YPC. The Ravens face the Steelers, who have given up just 110 rushing yards to running backs and no touchdowns in the last two games. If you have to start him, do it. Just know his output depends largely on whether he scores touchdowns.
RB – Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans vs Eagles
There’s no doubt about it, Derrick Henry gets the work to be a top back in fantasy. 10 carries in Week 1, 18 carries in Weeks 2 and 3. The problem? On those 46 carries, Henry has just 139 yards – for those keeping score at home, that’s 3.02 yards per carry. To be fair, Henry and the Titans faced Jacksonville last week. However, he got his season-high total for yards in that game (57). With Marcus Mariota dealing with injury as well, Henry is as cold as last night’s dinner that got left out on the counter overnight. With volume like that, it’s not likely that this will continue all season, but Henry draws a matchup with the Eagles this week, who have given up only 185 rushing yards this season, the fewest in the league.
WR – Golden Tate – Detroit Lions @ Cowboys
Golden Tate has a problem, and his name is Kenny Golladay. Tate is, on average, present for 80 percent of Detroit’s offensive plays, while Golladay is present for 91 percent. Tate still leads the Lions in targets (36), receptions (20), and yards (257). Golladay, however, is right behind Tate: 28 targets, 19 receptions, 256 yards (and has two touchdowns compared to Tate’s one). While Tate is the leader in those categories for now, Golladay is breathing down his neck. That’s one factor that could eat into Tate’s fantasy production this week. Another is a Cowboys defense that has yet to give up 10 receptions and over 140 yards to wide receivers in a game.
WR – Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders vs Browns
Allow me, if you will, to take a second to give the Amari Cooper owners out there a PSA.
Dear, Amari Cooper owners,
I hope you sold Cooper after his 10 reception, 116-yard performance against Denver, because it turns out he’s as inconsistent as he was last season. He’s not different this year like we hoped he would be! He’ll have huge games on your bench and duds when you start him – that’s what being an Amari Cooper owner is like. If you want my recommendation, it’s to hold him on your bench, wait for him to have a big game, and sell him for someone with more consistency because you won’t find it with him. In addition, the Browns’ passing defense is tough and all that.
TE – George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers @ Chargers
Don’t get it twisted, you can start George Kittle this week. If possible, however, I would advise waiting a week to see how he performs with Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season with a knee injury. Kittle could have a rapport with fellow Iowa Hawkeye C.J. Beathard. Last season, in five games with Beathard, Kittle caught 11 receptions off 21 targets for 125 yards and no touchdowns. Regardless, the 49ers face a Chargers defense that has allowed just 87 yards off nine receptions to tight ends this season.
FLEX – Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Bears
Peyton Barber is colder Javorius Allen because he hasn’t scored yet this season. Barber has gotten the work, netting 43 carries through three games. However, Barber has taken those 43 carries for just 124 yards. The Bucs meet a Bears defense that has given up 152 yards (and no touchdowns) on 53 carries to running backs – an average 2.9 yards per carry.
Honorable Mentions/Favorable Matchups
QB – Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions @ Cowboys
RB – Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos vs Chiefs
WR – Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears vs Buccaneers
TE – Eric Ebron/Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts vs Texans
DST – Green Bay Packers vs Bills