Oh my, how quickly things change from
season to season. This time last year the Chiefsí Kareem
Hunt was the toast of the town and people were wondering about
Christian McCaffrey. At this point last season Alvin Kamara had
totaled just 19.4 fantasy points through three games. Heís
averaging more than that every week in 2018.
What will week 4 bring us? I can’t wait to find out.
Fantasy owners please note that the “bye weeks” have
begun with Carolina and Washington off. The next 16-game weekend
won’t be until Week 13.
It's time to sell Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitz
is one bad game away from Winston being named the starter.
“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those
who find it.” - Andre Gideore
1) We saw the beginning of the end
to “Fitzmagic” so sell high. Sell now.
While Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 400 yards in three straight
games, there are signs that he could be headed for a fall. Heís
throwing too much. Fifty passes is too often for a journeyman
who has flaws in his game. His QB Rating has dropped from 156.2
in Game 1 (almost perfect) to 144.4 to 81.3 against the Steelers.
Heíll be under pressure in Week 4 from the Bears and Khalil Mack, who lead the league in sacks (14) and defensive TDs (2).
And eventually Jameis Winston will be the starter. Sell today!
2) Run Forrest run.
Unlike the quarterbacks leading the position in scoring, Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott and Marcus Mariota need to keep running to continue to be viable. The five
quarterbacks all add four points or more per game by using their
legs. Fitzpatrick, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are also averaging
over 4.0 FPts/G on the ground, but they donít normally need
their legs to be productive. We can probably add Josh Allen to
the list, but itís too early to tell on the Billsí
rookie just yet.
3) Trade LeíVeon Bell unless you think
you can make the playoffs without him.
At this point in time itís unlikely that Bell will be back
before Week 10 and then heíll need at least a week to get
into playing shape. Remember, the trading team canít give
him more money than the franchise tag which heís already
refused, so there is no reason for him to report early even if
traded. Meanwhile, because the new team canít guarantee
him a ďTodd Gurley-typeĒ deal and know heís
staying put, they canít offer the Steelers what heís
really worth as a top-two running back. Stalemate.
4) Watch the offensive line injury
reports to gage their impact on the most run-dependent backs.
The run-dependent backs who are averaging double-digits are;
Carlos Hyde (four receptions-for-15 yards), Isaiah Crowell (4-for-21),
Ezekiel Elliott (11-for-37), Jay Ajayi (1-for-4) and Hunt (1-for-5).
If their offensive lines start to struggle for any reason, these
five guys might be in trouble.
5) Michael Thomasí production can only
go in one direction Ö down.
The Saints No. 1 wideout is on pace for 202 receptions for 2,122
yards and 16 touchdowns. The single season record for receptions
is 143 (Marvin Harrison, 2002) and for yards is 1,964 (Calvin
Johnson, 2012). Also, Mark Ingram is scheduled to return in Week
5, so New Orleans may try to be more balanced. However, Iím
not telling you to ďsellĒ like I did for Fitzpatrick.
Just be prepared for lower totals.
ďBetter the comfort of a lie than the absurdity of the
truth.Ē - Tanya Huffe
1) Julio Jones is an elite fantasy receiver.
I said it before and Iíll say it again, Jones canít
be elite until he starts getting into the end zone. Jones ranks
22nd among wideouts (11.3 FPts/G) and now has gone eight consecutive
regular season games without a touchdown catch and has ďamassedĒ
just four touchdowns over his last 24 games. Currently heís
an elite talent who draws double coverage allowing Calvin Ridley
among others to succeed.
2) Its JuJu Smith-Schusterís ďfaultĒ that
Antonio Brown isnít leading all wide receivers.
Iím more likely to blame the two tight ends (Jesse James,
Vance McDonald), who have combined for 16 receptions for 343 yards
and two scores. Brown will turn it around soon enough. He is still
second in the league in targets, he just hasnít broken any
long ones (longest catch this season is 27 yards).
3) Itís time to worry about Patriots tight
end Rob Gronkowski.
Not yet. The two teams that held him down were Jacksonville (2-15-0)
and Detroit (4-51-0). Jacksonville might be the best defense in
the NFL and Detroit knows everything Brady & Co. does on offense
because of head coach Matt Patricia.
4) The Broncos mediocre passing game is
disappointing and a losing proposition.
Just 714 yards, three TD passes and five INTs. However, Iím
not ready to give up on them yet. Denver is throwing about 36
passes a game (just five sacks) which is enough to be a viable
option. They still have two serviceable wide receivers (Demaryius
Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders) and if the running game led by Royce
Freeman (152 yards) and Phillip Lindsay (198 yards) stays strong
a balanced offense can put points on the board. The Broncos play
the Chiefs in Week 4 and Kansas City has allowed 32.5 FPts/G to
5) Pass receiving is not a ďrequirementĒ
to being a top fantasy back.
Fourteen backs have caught more than 100 yards worth of balls
and nine of them are averaging double-digit points. Of the 23
backs averaging double-digit fantasy points, 12 have caught 10
balls or more. You donít have to be Marshall Faulk, LaDainian
Tomlinson or Bell, but being productive in the passing game gives
a running back a higher floor when his team is behind on the scoreboard
and more consistent production for the entire season.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.