Bye Weeks: Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Washington
The Titans secondary that has surrendered
multiple WR touchdowns in three of four games.
Grab a Helmet
Parker v. TEN: Ready for another installment of “Stoppable
Force Meets Movable Object?” The Jay Cutler-led Miami offense has
been excruciating to watch the last two weeks and only a last-second,
garbage time touchdown in Week 3 helped them avoid two consecutive
shutouts, unconscionable considering the competition (Jets and Saints).
Parker scored that lone touchdown and appears to be the only fantasy-worthy
Dolphin at the moment. That’s likely to change soon (too much talent
on this roster), especially as Cutler gains more familiarity with
his new mates and the Fish reconnect with their home fans. Yep,
it’s Week 5 and Miami hasn’t even played a true home game yet. I
like Parker’s chances of exposing a Titans secondary that has surrendered
multiple WR touchdowns in three of four games so far and is giving
up the second most fantasy points to the position. Find your fortitude
and start DeVante.
Shepard v. LAC: The league’s two most disappointing teams
square off on Sunday in the Something’s Gotta Give Bowl at MetLife
Stadium. For my money, New York’s struggles are way less excusable
than the Chargers’. They have a franchise QB who’s won multiple
Super Bowls, the best wide receiver in the business, and one of
the league’s most talented defenses. Oh, and a very good second
fiddle to that best receiver in Mr. Shepard. The former Sooner was
targeted ten fewer times than OBJ last Sunday, but caught every
one of them and was nearly as productive (5.4 v. 9.0 points). In
fact, he’s actually caught more passes for more yards and more fantasy
points than his more acclaimed teammate through four weeks. And
yes, that’s on fewer targets. Beckham Jr. likely draws Casey Hayward
this weekend, meaning Shepard could be heavily involved out of the
slot. Start him.
Brown @ PHI: I recommended the unheralded Brown last
week and he made me look good by snatching a team-leading eight
balls for 105 yards. That makes for 29 targets the last three weeks,
good enough for 8th overall at the position. Shocking, right? Here’s
more shocking news: He’s only owned in about 20% of ESPN leagues.
Here’s even more shocking news: His teammates, J.J. Nelson and John
Brown, are owned in twice as many leagues despite being way less
productive during that stretch. It’s OK to be skeptical of guys
who come out of nowhere and I practice healthy skepticism regularly.
Nevertheless, guys who produce multiple weeks in a row and command
more targets than Larry Fitzgerald (also shockingly true) in the
league’s most pass-happy offense should be owned in pretty much
every league. Go get him before your league mates do, gang. The
secret’s just about out.
Grab Some Wood
Cooper v. BAL: Coop seemed like a classic third year
breakout candidate after garnering 13 targets in the opener v.
Tennesee and racking up 12.2 fantasy points. There were warning
signs even in that stat line, however (he only caught five of
those passes), and his production since has basically fallen off
the table. In his last two games, both Raider losses, the Crimson
Tide product has turned 13 more targets into only 3 catches and
a laughable 15 yards of production. This despite the fact Michael
Crabtree missed the Week 4 game v. Denver, making Cooper the clear
WR1 for that critical divisional showdown. Crabtree’s likely back
for Week 5 v. Baltimore but Derek Carr isn’t and that means an
instant downgrade for all Raider assets. Until we see signs of
life and evidence he can be productive with EJ Manuel slinging
footballs, Cooper belongs on your bench.
Jones @ CIN: Everyone’s talking about the Rams’ resurgence,
but ever so quietly, Buffalo is 3-1 and has, at least temporarily,
broken New England’s stranglehold on the AFC East. They’ve done
it with efficient quarterback play (when will Tyrod get some love?),
a solid 1-2 punch at RB (Shady McCoy and Mike Tolbert), and the
league’s most efficient defense (just 13.5 ppg allowed). They’ve
also done it despite an astounding lack of productivity at the
WR position (11.6 FPts/G). Only Jordan Matthews has topped even
30 receiving yards in a game (30!) and now he’s on the shelf indefinitely.
Don’t assume Jones slides into that WR1 role by attrition. The
Bills have beaten some really good teams by playing good D, running
the ball, and throwing it occasionally to their criminally underrated
TE, Charles Clay. Meanwhile, the ECU product has only tallied
57 yards. Nothing to see here.
Watkins v. SEA: It’s hard to fault Buffalo for dealing
the talented but uneven Watkins to LA considering how successful
they’ve been without him. Maybe this ends up being one of
those win-win types of deals? Watkins will have to get better
to make that so, oddly, as he’s largely missed out on the
Rams’ 2017 points party. Outside of a Week 3 explosion against
the woeful Niners (six catches, 106 yards, and two scores), he’s
averaging a meager 3.5 points/game. Rashard Higgins averages more
and the Cleveland rook’s only caught two passes the past
two weeks. Los Angeles needs more out of their most talented wideout
to continue its resurgence, but they probably won’t get
it this weekend. Richard Sherman is a production-curtailing corner
if ever there was one and he’ll draw Watkins duty at the
Coliseum. Sit Sammy down and grab the short dogs (Seattle) this