We’ve already nearly arrived at the quarter turn of the fantasy season and of course that means we’re also starting bye weeks. Make sure that all of your Packers and Eagles are out of your lineups this week and at least the arrival of byes will save you from having to talk yourself into Randall Cobb for a week.
Let me provide the disclaimer that I encourage you use the game by game tables and data points in conjunction with your own information and thought process rather than searching out your own players in the individual player diagnosis and turning that section into a linear start/sit guide. You can always cross reference these thoughts with my weekly rankings for further context. With that out of the way, let’s hit all of the Week 4 games in a PPR light...
Miami vs. Cincinnati
|44.9%||27||Opp. Rush %||44.5%||25|
|55.1%||6||Opp. Pass %||55.5%||8|
- 21.3 percent of Andy Dalton's completions have gone for 20 or more yards, the highest rate in the league.
- 92.3 percent of Giovani Bernard's fantasy output has been through receiving alone, the highest of all backs in the top-40 of scoring. For Bernard’s career, that mark has been at 52.6 percent.
- Bernard has handled just 22.7 percent of the team rushing attempts so far, down from the 32.9 percent he had in 2015.
- Miami has faced 34.0 rushing attempts per game (31st).
- Brandon LaFell has been targeted on just 10.7 percent of his routes, the lowest rate for all receivers in the league.
- Over his four Thursday Night starts, Ryan Tannehill has averaged 222.3 passing yards and 11.4 fantasy points per game with just three total passing touchdowns.
- Jarvis Landry has at least six receptions in seven straight games, the longest ongoing streak for any receiver.
- Last week the Miami backfield snaps were: Kenyan Drake (27), Jay Ajayi (18), Isaiah Pead (13) and Damien Williams (10).
- Touches were: Drake (11), Ajayi (7), Pead (5) and Williams (4) for 118 total yards.
Trust: A.J. Green (Green is tied for 5th in targets at the receiver position and Miami has allowed top-10 games to Terrelle Pryor and Doug Baldwin already), Jeremy Hill (Miami is letting opponents run a ton of plays and by default are facing a ton of runs while allowing 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs. I like the potential script here for Hill and he always comes with touchdown upside)
Bust: Ryan Tannehill (I’m not rushing to use a road quarterback attached to a low team total on a short week), Miami Backfield (there wasn’t one backup who had a defined role nor did any of them play themselves into one while this offensive line is a mess. Even if Arian Foster is back, I’m not excited to use him against a Bengals defense that just stymied a hot C.J. Anderson) DeVante Parker (he’s been the WR17 and the WR24 since returning to the lineup and volume could find him in abundance as it did two weeks ago if things go off the rails, but I’m still hedging on last week being more of anomaly for the Bengals secondary than a weekly occurrence)
Reasonable Return: Andy Dalton (Dalton opened the season with back to back 300-yard games before facing Denver last week, but I believe that Cincinnati runs it well here, making him slightly touchdown reliant), Giovani Bernard (the Bengals have only lead for 12 offensive plays all season and Bernard has yet to be consistently involved outside of a major catchup script in Week 2, but this game could present an opportunity to get him some rushing touches and he still holds a flex worthy floor), Jarvis Landry (with the state of the Miami backfield and them being big road dogs, the play calling should flip one dimensional, and Landry is the most bankable part of the Miami offense no matter how things are going)
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Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
|38.5%||11||Opp. Rush %||43.9%||23|
|61.5%||22||Opp. Pass %||56.2%||10|
- Allen Robinson totaled five receptions for 84 yards in his two games against the Colts last season as he finished WR42 and WR60 those weeks.
- Allen Hurns totaled 14 receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns in those games as he finished WR3 and WR13 those weeks.
- Robinson is averaging just 5.9 yards per target so far (74th of all receivers with double digit targets after averaging 9.3 yards per target (16th) in 2015.
- Blake Bortles has averaged just .329 passing points per attempt (28th) so far on the season after averaging .429 per attempt (10th) in 2015.
- In their first game together, T.J. Yeldon played 33 snaps while Chris Ivory played 32. Ivory led in touches 13 to 8 and handled 12 of the 18 carries between the two backs.
- Jack Doyle's snap share has gone from 56 percent to 60 percent to 70 percent through the team’s opening three games.
- Doyle has now seen 15 targets while Dwayne Allen has seen 16 for the season.
- Just 28.8 percent of the passes completed against the Jaguars have gained 10 or more yards, the fewest in the league (league average is 45.6 percent).
Trust: Andrew Luck (I don’t expect the Colts to run the ball well and the Jaguars have already allowed two top-10 weeks to Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers), Allen Hurns (he’s yet to crack the top-40 this season, but he beat up this secondary a year ago and should see Darryl Morris inside when he’s in the slot), T.Y. Hilton (he’s one of four receivers to see double digit targets in every game so far this season and he gets a lighter matchup than those weeks)
Bust: Frank Gore (going to more two tight end sets aided Gore a week ago, but he still needed 21 carries to reach 82 yards against a much worse front than what the Colts will see from Jacksonville, who rank 7th in points allowed to backs so far), Blake Bortles (I’ve paused on chasing Bortles’ production from bad scripts a year ago as he has started the year as QB20, QB15 and QB22 while throwing six interceptions), Chris Ivory/T.J. Yeldon (this is a great spot as the Colts have allowed the second most points to running backs on the season, but Ivory sprained his knee and ankle during the game last week and Yeldon dropped to RB55 with a full workload extinguished)
Reasonable Return: Phillip Dorsett (his matchup is much lighter this week as he should draw the softest of the Jacksonville corners in Davon House), Allen Robinson (he was held in check by Vontae Davis a year ago and there’s some real concern on Bortles’ inefficiency will continue limiting him, but the targets won’t be drying up), Jack Doyle/Dwayne Allen (the Jaguars have only allowed 86 total yards to tight ends so far, but have yet to face an offense that incorporates the position so heavily. Still, both of these players take from each other in the end a little too much to make either a trustworthy source)
Buffalo vs. New England
|40.4%||16||Opp. Rush %||32.6%||5|
|59.6%||17||Opp. Pass %||67.4%||28|
- In his first game active this season, Rob Gronkowski played just 14 snaps and ran just two routes the entire game.
- LeGarrette Blount ranks 9th in overall scoring and is the only back inside of the top-50 scorers at his position to fail to record any points from receiving.
- Blount's 75 rushing attempts through three weeks are the most by a Patriots running back since Curtis Martin in 1997.
- 58.7 percent of Blount's carries have come in the second half of games, the highest rate of all backs with 40 or more carries on the season.
- The Patriots have run 80 percent of their plays while having a lead (the highest rate in the league) and 87.5 percent of their plays in the second half with a lead (the second highest behind Philadelphia at 100 percent).
- The 19 pass attempts that the Patriots had a week ago were the fewest they've attempted in a game since Week 17, 2008.
- 70.2 percent of Tyrod Taylor's completions have gained fewer than 10 yards, the highest rate in the league.
- The Buffalo wide receivers have combined for just 27 receptions, fewest in the league.
- 42.3 percent of the Bills offensive yardage has been rushing, the highest dependency in the league.
- 43.8 percent (21 of 48) of LeSean McCoy's rushing attempts have gone for five or more yards, the highest rate of all backs with 25 or more carries on the season.
Trust: LeGarrette Blount (with the New England quarterback position in flux again, expect them to lean on Blount for another 20-25 touches)
Bust: Sammy Watkins (you can’t trust his injury and in four career starts against the Patriots, his highest weekly finish has been WR25 with three outside of the top-40), Julian Edelman/Rob Gronkowski/Martellus Bennett (bump them up an notch if Jimmy Garoppolo gets the start, but it’s fair to assume that New England may cap the volume of whichever injured quarterback gets the nod as they did a week ago if it’s Jacoby Brissett)
Reasonable Return: LeSean McCoy (he’s fully healthy and close to the entire offense at this point outside of Taylor running himself, regardless of whether he’s also the focal point of the defense or not), Tyrod Taylor (after a major letdown to open the season, Taylor has been the QB4 and the QB12 without Watkins even involved. He’s not the type of quarterback to put up aesthetic points, but they seem to add up more than not)
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Tennessee vs. Houston
|40.2%||15||Opp. Rush %||45.1%||29|
|59.8%||18||Opp. Pass %||54.9%||4|
- Houston ranks last in the NFL in points per play (.199) while Tennessee ranks 31st (.223).
- Lamar Miller now has 20 or more touches in five straight games dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the league.
- DeMarco Murray's 1.22 points per touch leads all backs with 40 or more touches on the season.
- Miller's .50 points per touch ranks last of the 23 running backs in the same group.
- Through three weeks, Murray has 42.2 receiving points, which would be PRR WR29 on the season.
- Houston has allowed just 11.8 receiving points to opposing backfields so far, the fewest in the league.
- 54.6 percent of the yardage gained against Houston has come through the air, the lowest in the league.
- The Texans have converted just one of their seven trips to the red zone into a touchdown (14.3 percent), the lowest rate in the league.
- The Titans have allowed just 17 plays in the red zone this season, the fewest in the league.
- 64 percent (16 of 25) of Will Fuller's targets have come on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the highest rate in the league.
Trust: DeAndre Hopkins (Hopkins has eight or more targets in each of the first three games while Tennessee has allowed a 100-yard receiver in every game so far this season. Hopkins also has been a top-12 scoring receiver in three of his past four games against Tennessee)
Bust: Brock Osweiler (he’s yet to have a week in the top half of QB scoring), Marcus Mariota (he’s been a turnover machine so far and faces a defense that hasn’t allowed a passer to hit 250 yards since Week 7 of last season. Even with J.J. Watt now out, he's hard to feel good about on the road in division), Tajae Sharpe/Rishard Matthews (between the two, they have one top-30 week and we’re not expecting Mariota to get over here)
Reasonable Return: Lamar Miller (Miller has lived as a lower RB2 in each of the first three weeks based on seeing 52 percent of the team touches, but has had few, if any, splash moments so far. He may have to live that way once again as only the Packers have allowed fewer points to opposing backs than the Titans), Will Fuller (with the types of deep targets he sees, you’re just going to have to live with some eggs to take in his ceiling games, but I prefer those types as my WR3 in lineups), Delanie Walker (Houston ranked fourth in points allowed to tight ends, but Walker managed two top-12 scoring weeks against them a season ago), DeMarco Murray (the top scoring running back in fantasy so far as he’s shown to be script proof with his passing game involvement and he’ll need that again this week as the Titans have a subterranean implied team total on the road)
Detroit vs. Chicago
|37.6%||10||Opp. Rush %||52.7%||32|
|62.4%||23||Opp. Pass %||47.3%||1|
- Alshon Jeffery has been targeted on just 16.9 percent of his routes so far this season after being targeted on 32.7 percent in 2015, which led the league.
- Kevin White has 26.5 percent of the Chicago targets to 19.6 percent for Jeffery while Jeffery has produced 35.3 percent of the receiving yardage compared to 17.2 percent for White.
- After totaling seven receptions for 47 yards on nine targets the first two weeks, Zach Miller caught eight of nine targets last week for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
- Chicago ranks last in the league in rushing attempts per game (17.7) after ranking 5th in the league in 2015 (29.2 per game).
- Marvin Jones has accounted for 41.4 percent of the Detroit receiving yardage, the second highest rate behind Stefon Diggs (46.9 percent).
- 50 percent of Jones' receptions have gone for 20 or more yards, the highest rate of any player with double digit receptions.
- Golden Tate has accounted for just 9.5 percent of those receiving yards after an 18.2 percent mark in 2015.
- Tate's 4.3 yards per target ranks last out of the 70 receivers on the season to see 15 or more targets so far.
- Dwayne Washington's snaps have gone from two (three percent), to 11 (14 percent) to 25 (36 percent) through the first three weeks.
- Chicago has faced the most rushing attempts on the season at 36 per game.
Trust: Matthew Stafford (he’s crushed soft matchups dating back to the midway point of last season and was the QB1 and the QB2 in the two meetings between these teams a year ago), Marvin Jones (the hottest receiver going in a spot where we love his quarterback), Theo Riddick (he could have a huge game here if he maintains a lead role in the rushing game and has yet to finish outside of RB2 status yet), Zach Miller (while it feels like point chasing on the surface, Miller gets a superb matchup against a Lions team that has already allowed three top-3 scoring tight ends and five touchdowns to the position already)
Bust: Alshon Jeffery (he’s never finished below WR13 in any of his five career games versus Detroit, but is nursing a knee injury and has yet to give us a top-24 week so far this season), Kevin White (while the target increase a week ago is promising, he’s still turned 27 targets into just 132 yards so far on the season)
Reasonable Return: Dwayne Washington (his role has consistently expanded and Chicago is facing a lot of volume on the ground weekly while their front is depleted, the passing game could set up some scoring opportunities), Golden Tate (he’s lost the slot usage from a year that kept his floor stable despite having similar efficiency numbers, but I still like this passing game enough to consider him in my flex), Eric Ebron (his targets have gone up every week so far), Jordan Howard (Detroit is allowing a league high 5.3 yards per carry to running backs, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in Chicago keeping up to provide opportunities in taking advantage of that), Brian Hoyer (I can see a path for Hoyer to stack usable QB2 production as he did a week ago and Detroit is banged up enough defensively for him to get there)
Carolina vs. Atlanta
|45.1%||30||Opp. Rush %||36.2%||7|
|54.9%||3||Opp. Pass %||63.8%||26|
- Last week Cameron Artis-Payne played 31 snaps to 35 for Fozzy Whittaker. Artis-Payne played on 67 percent of the Carolina rushing plays while Whittaker played on 59 percent of their passing plays.
- Before seeing just one target last week, Kelvin Benjamin's previous low for targets in a game was five.
- Atlanta is allowing 9.3 receptions per game to opposing running backs, a category they also led the league in during 2015.
- The Falcons are allowing 23.6 points per game to opposing tight ends, the most in the league.
- Matt Ryan is averaging .629 passing points per attempt on the season (most in the league). Carolina is allowing .314 passing points per attempt (10th fewest).
- Julio Jones has seen 19.6 percent of the Atlanta targets so far on the season after seeing 32.9 percent in 2015.
- The 217 rushing yards by the Falcons this past week were the most they’ve had in a game since Week 17 of 2012 (251 yards).
- Devonta Freeman has had 30.6 percent, 30.9 percent and 37.3 percent of the Atlanta offensive touches so far through three weeks.
- Tevin Coleman has had 26.5 percent, 25.5 percent and 29.4 percent of the team touches in those games.
- The Falcons are allowing a passing touchdown once every 13.1 pass attempts on defense, the third worst rate in the league.
Trust: Greg Olsen (he leads the team in targets and yards and is facing a team getting shredded by tight ends so far to start the season), Cam Newton (Cam is at his best when facing little pressure and Atlanta can’t get to the quarterback)
Bust: Cameron Artis-Payne (the matchup isn’t daunting, but he’s still not going to catch passes or have high odds at a touchdown), Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman (Carolina is allowing just 3.5 yards per carry to backs and their receiving usage is so level that it may cannibalize either from elevating a limited rushing game), Mohamed Sanu (outside of one busted play in Week 1, there’s not a lot to latch onto and he’s expected to be limited this week with the shoulder injury he suffered Monday)
Reasonable Return: Matt Ryan (I still like Ryan as a lower end QB1 this week. He has definitely gotten fat early on facing TB, OAK and NO, but similar to Andy Dalton a year ago, he’s taking off without having to force targets in one direction. Carolina has yet to face a strong passing game and I doubt the Atlanta running game gets over in this one like last week), Fozzy Whittaker (regardless of where the game script goes in this one, pass catching backs give the Falcons trouble), Kelvin Benjamin (a donut last week was a good reality check on where his floor still can be and he’ll see Desmond Trufant in this one, but the Panthers should move the ball well enough as a team set up opportunities), Julio Jones (he is no longer getting jammed with targets, but is still getting enough that you aren’t pushing away from him), Jacob Tamme (35 percent of the receiving yards allowed by Carolina have been to tight ends, the highest rate for any team, but last week he showed that Tamme’s floor is far from stable)
Seattle vs. New York (AFC)
|45.2%||31||Opp. Rush %||38.7%||12|
|54.8%||2||Opp. Pass %||61.3%||21|
- Jimmy Graham's targets per route last week was at 37.5 percent after 12.5 percent and 11.8 percent over the opening two games.
- Doug Baldwin has been a top-10 scorer in seven of his last 11 games, the same amount as Antonio Brown.
- Dealing with a knee injury, Tyler Lockett has played just 27 and 23 snaps over the past two weeks, fewer than Paul Richardson (45 and 27) both weeks.
- The Jets are allowing just 88.7 total yards to opposing backfields, the third fewest in the league behind Philadelphia (85.0) and Green Bay (70.3).
- The Jets average 5.3 red zone attempts per game, the most in the NFL.
- Brandon Marshall has failed to score on his first 27 targets of the season. His longest streak without a touchdown a season ago was 32 targets.
- The six interceptions thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week were the most thrown in a game since Peyton Manning Week 10 of 2007.
- Quincy Enunwa leads the Jets with 26.9 percent of their receptions, ahead of Marshall (19.1 percent) and Eric Decker (14.3 percent).
- Marshall had 30.1 percent of the team receptions in 2015 while Decker had 22.1 percent.
Trust: Doug Baldwin (he’s been a high end fantasy receiver for the past 11 weeks while almost all of his production has come from the slot over that span. Buster Skrine hasn’t been challenged heavily in the slot this season, but did allow the most receiver yardage to slot receivers a year ago)
Bust: Russell Wilson (he’s now dealing with two different lower body injuries and I’m far from ready in believing the Seattle offense is completely on track solely because they got right against the 49er defense at home because I don’t believe they will run the ball well here), Christine Michael (the Jets defensive front is a major mismatch for the Seattle offensive line and they’ve smothered backs steadily for fantasy for multiple seasons), Jimmy Graham (while his game last week bodes well in relieving thoughts that he may never recover from his torn patellar injury, the Seahawks still haven’t shown they can consistently incorporate him into their offense weekly dating back to last season when he was healthy), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Seattle is one of two teams that have yet to allow a passing touchdown on the season), Matt Forte (Forte is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and hasn’t been used a receiver the past two weeks while Seattle is allowing just 3.5 yards per carry and has allowed just eight receptions to opposing backfields so far), Tyler Lockett (he played just 13 of 41 passing plays last week and had a brace on his knee. Until he starts seeing consistent snaps and targets, he can't be a part of lineups)
Reasonable Return: Brandon Marshall (he splits his time at right and left wide receiver spot enough to avoid Richard Sherman and DeShawn Shead was challenged by Kenny Britt two weeks ago for 94 yards receiving, a player not in Marshall’s class), Quincy Enunwa (Enunwa runs over 60 percent of his routes each from the slot to create opportunities and with Eric Decker doubtful, should see more targets. Seattle has allowed the fewest points to wide receivers, so I’m still treating him as a lower end WR3 type this week)
Oakland vs. Baltimore
|41.7%||20||Opp. Rush %||40.0%||14|
|58.3%||13||Opp. Pass %||60.0%||19|
- Of the 39 backs with double digit carries, Justin Forsett ranks 38th in rushing points per attempt (.32) while Terrance West ranks 35th (.36).
- West leads all backs in touches or targets per snap at 54 percent, but ranks 35th in points per snap (.30).
- Just 3.4 percent of Joe Flacco's pass attempts so far this season have come from inside of the red zone, the second lowest percentage, ahead of only Case Keenum (3.3 percent).
- Oakland averages 148.3 rushing yards per game (2nd) after averaging just 91.1 yards (28th) on the ground per game in 2015.
- Latavius Murray leads all backs with 20 or more carries in rushing points per attempt (1.04), but ranks 23rd in overall attempts (32).
- Baltimore has allowed 8.6 yards per completion, the lowest total in the league.
- Seven of Derek Carr's 10 road games since the start of last season have been early starts in the east. In those games he's thrown 13 touchdowns to three interceptions.
Trust: Amari Cooper (he’s left some big plays on the field in each of the past two weeks, but posted a 7-109-1 line on the Ravens last season and we’ve seen Baltimore allow a top-10 receiver in each of the past two games)
Bust: Mike Wallace (he’s seen exactly six targets in all three games this season and if he doesn’t score a touchdown, the floor hasn’t proven usable), Baltimore Backfield (same bad running back time, same bad running back channel), Latavius Murray (I keep putting him here because I don't believe it's sustainable for him to keep scoring touchdowns while seeing only 26 percent of the team touches and yet he keeps scoring touchdowns, so here we are again), Derek Carr (despite his big picture success on the road in the east, Carr was also in this spot last week and the Ravens haven’t allowed a quarterback to finish in the top half of quarterback scoring in six straight games dating back to last season)
Reasonable Return: Dennis Pitta (Oakland can still be vulnerable to tight ends, but Pitta is more in the Jason Witten mold of tight ends for fantasy that you’re using for a PPR floor first), Steve Smith (he continues to lead the team in targets and his yardage has gone up each game), Joe Flacco (Flacco ranks in the bottom third in every category of output per drive for quarterbacks and has yet to finish above QB19 so far this season, but the Ravens team total and being at home suggests some blind faith in chasing some of the production the Raiders allowed through the air over the opening two weeks), Michael Crabtree (he’s already topped 80-yards twice through three games, something he failed to do over his final eight games of 2015)
Cleveland vs. Washington
|40.7%||17||Opp. Rush %||42.0%||21|
|59.3%||16||Opp. Pass %||58.0%||12|
- Terrelle Pryor was the first player to have 100-yards receiving as well as over 20-yards both passing and rushing in the same game since David Patten in 2001.
- Pryor has seen 31.9 percent of the Cleveland pass attempts thrown in his direction, second only behind Antonio Brown (33.9 percent).
- Gary Barnidge's target share has gone from 7.7 percent, 15.2 percent to 17.9 percent through the first three weeks.
- Kirk Cousins is just 7-22 passing so far in the red zone (31.8 percent). League average is 52.5 percent.
- 32 percent of Jamison Crowder's targets on the season (eight of 25) have come inside the red zone, the highest rate for all receivers with double digit targets.
- Jordan Reed has seen just 15 percent of the red zone targets so far after seeing 25.6 percent a season ago.
- Cousins' 989 passing yards are the most ever by a Washington quarterback through three weeks of a season.
Trust: Kirk Cousins (he’s fourth in the league in yards passing per drive and Cleveland has allowed 16 or more fantasy points to all three quarterbacks they’ve faced so far), DeSean Jackson (he’s been a top-24 scorer twice already and Cleveland has allowed six touchdowns to wide receivers so far), Jordan Reed (he’s yet to get involved near the paint, but Cleveland has allowed the second most receptions to opposing tight ends and the 6th most yards)
Bust: Gary Barnidge (the passing options are thin for Cleveland, but Washington hasn’t allowed a tight end to finish higher than TE16 so far), Chris Thompson (the game script doesn’t set itself up to aid his involvement)
Reasonable Return: Matt Jones (projected game script has him in play as an RB2, but the Browns have faced the 8th most running back touches and have yet to allow a top-20 running back), Jamison Crowder (he has double digit points in every game this season and is being used near the end zone), Terrelle Pryor (the matchup isn’t as strong, but there’s reason to believe the Browns will use him as an all-purpose weapon once again), Duke Johnson (the ceiling isn’t high, but he’s caught nine passes since Week 1 with back to back top-25 scoring weeks), Isaiah Crowell (Washington has been run on all three weeks so far, allowing the fourth most rushing yards to running backs and 4.6 yards per carry)
Denver vs. Tampa Bay
|41.4%||19||Opp. Rush %||45.0%||28|
|58.6%||14||Opp. Pass %||55.0%||5|
- Tampa Bay has allowed the most points per play (.534) as a defense while Denver averages the second most points per play (.462) on offense, behind only Atlanta (.545).
- Emmanuel Sanders has been targeted on 30.6 percent of his routes, trailing only Cole Beasley (32.1 percent) for the highest rate in the league.
- Sanders has accounted for 30.9 percent of the team pass attempts while Demaryius Thomas has seen 21.3 percent and out-targeted Thomas in all three games.
- 24.7 percent of the rushing plays against the Buccaneers have come from inside of the red zone, the highest rate in the league.
- Denver allows just 5.1 yards per pass attempt, the fewest in the league.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Mike Evans leads the league in routes run per game at 47.0. He ran 34.0 routes per game in 2015.
- 72.2 percent of Adam Humphries' receptions (13 of 18) have gained fewer than 19 yards, the highest rate for any wide receiver with double digit receptions.
- Without Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Cameron Brate played 75 percent of the team snaps and accounted for 17.2 percent of the team targets.
Bust: Jameis Winston (he leads the league in pass attempts, but Denver has allowed just four top-12 scorers since the start of last season), Mike Evans (he’s lived off of the highest volume in the league in terms of snaps and routes while seeing the second most targets, but Denver has allowed just six top-20 scoring receivers since the start of last season), Adam Humphries (expecting more of the WR67 and WR40 type of results we had to open the season, but is quickly becoming the next receiver in line for Tampa Bay after Evans), Vincent Jackson (he’s turned 22 targets into just 99 yards)
Reasonable Return: Trevor Siemian (he was strong on the road a week ago and Tampa Bay is stingy enough on the ground to force passing opportunities), C.J. Anderson (Anderson is in play because I believe Denver wins the game, but Tampa Bay has faced the 8th most rushing attempts to backs and has allowed just the 18th most yards. Anderson will need a game like Todd Gurley had a week ago against the Bucs where he can stack volume and run into short scoring opportunities), Charles Sims (he’s still in play as a RB2 because his receiving involvement makes him script proof despite this matchup being a tough draw), Cameron Brate (he was heavily targeted now that the job is all his and despite their lower yardage totals allowed, 28 percent of the receiving yards allowed by Denver have been to tight ends, the third highest in the league)
Los Angeles vs. Arizona
|40.0%||13||Opp. Rush %||41.4%||18|
|60.0%||20||Opp. Pass %||58.6%||15|
- David Johnson leads all running backs in snaps per game at 59.3
- 70.2 percent of Johnson's rushing attempts have come in the first half this season, the highest rate behind T.J. Yeldon (70.6 percent).
- John Brown's yards per target is at just 5.1 yards while Michael Floyd's is at 5.6 yards. Last season, Brown averaged 9.9 yards per target while Floyd averaged 9.5 yards.
- Larry Fitzgerald has seven or more receptions in six straight games facing the Rams.
- Tavon Austin is the only wide receiver to see at least 30 percent of his team's targets in every game this season.
- Arizona has allowed the fewest red zone possessions (five) as a defense while the Rams have the fewest (three) red zone trips on offense.
- Just 4.9 percent of the plays run against the Cardinals this season have come inside the red zone, the lowest rate in the league.
- The Rams are the most run-heavy team while trailing at 48.7 percent of their plays (league average is 32.8 percent run).
Trust: David Johnson (he’s been a top-10 scorer in each of his past seven full games played), Larry Fitzgerald (with Floyd in concussion protocol and Brown still playing under 60 percent of the snaps, Fitz is still the piece you want to stock in this passing game)
Bust: Michael Floyd (he's cracked the top-50 just once through three weeks, has yet to surpass four receptions in any game and is going through concussion protocol), John Brown (he saw 11 targets last week, which was a step in the right direction but he still played just 54 percent of the team snaps. We need to see him gain more traction outside of seeing targets in a lopsided game before placing good faith in him), Todd Gurley (he grinded his way to a strong week while the Rams controlled the game, but they enter a big road underdog again against a team that isn’t letting teams reach the red zone), Tavon Austin (he’s turned an abundance of targets into just one usable moment and he’s actually getting real wide receiver targets this year instead of relying on bubble screens and handoffs, but his efficiency is damaged due to quarterback play.)
Reasonable Return: Carson Palmer (he threw for 350 yards in each meeting between these teams a year ago, but didn’t crack the top-12 either week and Arizona has had protection issues to start the season, something that can be challenged by the Rams' front)
Dallas vs. San Francisco
|30.6%||2||Opp. Rush %||44.8%||26|
|69.4%||31||Opp. Pass %||55.2%||7|
- Ezekiel Elliott's 76 touches through three weeks are just seven short of where DeMarco Murray was through three weeks in 2014 when he had the most touches in a season over the past 15 years at 449, but he has 111 fewer total yards than Murray had over that span.
- Cole Beasley has 30.3 percent of the Dallas receptions (6th in the league at wide receiver) while Dez Bryant has 16.7 percent (47th).
- Dak Prescott is the QB11 on the season in overall scoring and just 7.7 percent of his points have come from passing touchdowns, the fewest of all quarterbacks to play three games.
- The 49ers average 21.6 yards per drive, the fewest in the league.
- Dallas is allowing 4.8 yards per carry, 29th in the league, but have faced just 18.7 attempts per game, the third fewest.
- 16.3 percent of the plays run against the Cowboys this season have come inside the red zone, the highest rate in the league.
- Carlos Hyde ranks second in the league in rushing points (46.5) behind LeGarrette Blount (53.8).
- After running 77 plays Week 1, the 49ers have run 64 and 56 plays the past two weeks.
Trust: Ezekiel Elliott (he’s gotten progressively better each week and won’t always lose out on goal line touches while the 49ers have allowed back to back 100-yard rushing games to lead backs), Dak Prescott (he’s scored 23 and 18 points the past two weeks and San Francisco has allowed over 300-yards passing in back to back games), Carlos Hyde (Dallas has been run on, but teams haven’t been able to stick with it, something the 49ers won’t budge on regardless of script)
Bust: Blaine Gabbert (Dallas has allowed the 8th most passing points to opposing quarterbacks, but Gabbert’s allure as a QB2 option is centered on his rushing ability and San Francisco running a plethora of plays, something compromised not only by this matchup, but possibly by the 49ers slowing things down to limit his ineffectiveness), Dez Bryant (his weekly target volume remains lower than where we want it to be and his knee injury may keep him out or limited)
Reasonable Return: Jason Witten (he’s seen just six targets since he had 14 targets in Week 1, but San Francisco has allowed a 100-yard receiver and a 100-yard tight end in each of the past two weeks), Cole Beasley (he has at least five catches for 60 yards in all three games with at least 12 points every week if you need a floor flex), Terrance Williams (if Bryant is out, then Williams is in play for deeper leagues or those extremely thin at the position)
New Orleans vs. San Diego
|44.1%||24||Opp. Rush %||28.3%||1|
|55.9%||9||Opp. Pass %||71.7%||32|
- San Diego ranks 30th in passing yards allowed per game (322.0) while New Orleans ranks 25th (299.0).
- San Diego has faced the most pass attempts in the league at 45 per game.
- Just 5.9 percent (four of 68) of Philip Rivers' completions have been on throws 15 or more yards downfield, the lowest in the league.
- 25.3 percent of Rivers' pass attempts this season have come from the red zone, the highest rate of all quarterbacks.
- New Orleans has allowed the most red zone plays (53) and the most plays inside of the 10-yard line (35) in the league.
- Hunter Henry played all 59 snaps filling in for Antonio Gates, catching all five of his targets for 76 yards. Gates had six catches for 35 yards through two games.
- Tyrell Williams leads the Chargers with six red zone targets (26.1 percent of the team total).
- The Saints have allowed the most rushing points (122.6) to opposing backfields so far this season.
- Mark Ingram has had 28.0 percent, 30.9 percent and 32.2 percent of the Saints offensive touches through three weeks.
- In 14 career games on the road, Brandin Cooks has been a top-24 scoring receiver just three times with an average weekly finish of WR41.
Bust: Brandin Cooks (Cooks can do a lot of the things T.Y. Hilton does, who gave Jason Verrett a headache late in last week’s game, but Cooks has such jarring road splits and the Chargers have been so good against receivers for so long that I’m coming in with fringe WR2 expectations), Willie Snead (even if he’s a go this week, he’ll draw Casey Hayward in the slot, who has been lights out to start the season). Michael Thomas (the status of Snead may hold all of his value. With Snead out, his target share jumped up to 21 percent, but was outside of the top-40 in each of the weeks Snead was active)
Reasonable Return: Drew Brees (this matchup is still great despite the road narrative, but I always start with lower end QB1 expectations for Brees when he’s away from the dome), Tyrell Williams (his role is growing and he’s already a favorite near the end zone, something that bodes well against the Saints), Coby Fleener (he’s been a mixed bag and mostly bad, but the opportunity isn’t going away and he runs into another strong matchup against a San Diego team that has allowed the most receptions to tight ends and just lost Manti Te’o for the season), Mark Ingram (his effectiveness last week masked that he’s still severely underused, but San Diego is allowing nine receptions per game to backs to give some room to play on a floor with upside for more), Hunter Henry (Antonio Gates seems a long shot to play again this week, making Henry a streaming option. The Saints have allowed just 87 yards to tight ends to start the season, but haven't faced any strong ones so far while outside of a late fumble, Henry was effective with his opportunities a week ago)
Kansas City vs. Pittsburgh
|43.1%||22||Opp. Rush %||31.8%||4|
|56.9%||11||Opp. Pass %||68.3%||29|
- Ben Roethlisberger has been a top-12 scorer in six of his past seven home games dating back to last season, throwing 18 total touchdown passes.
- The Chiefs have allowed just .177 passing points per attempt, the fewest in the league.
- In his first game back from suspension last season, Le'Veon Bell played 60 of 63 snaps while DeAngelo Williams played just five.
- The Steelers are one of just two teams (Chargers) to allow a 300-yard passer in each game this season as the 332 passing yards per game they allow ranks 31st.
- Despite ranking 31st in passing yards allowed, the Steelers rank 13th in yardage allowed to receivers (166 yards per game) as they rank 22nd in yardage allowed to tight ends (69.3 yards) and 32nd in yardage allowed to running backs out of the backfield (96.7 yards).
- Spencer Ware leads all running backs with nine runs of 10 or more yards.
- The 125 rushing yards allowed by the Steelers last week was the most they have allowed in a game since Week 9 of 2015.
- Travis Kelce has accounted for 25.1 percent of the Kansas City receiving yards, the second most of any tight end behind Greg Olsen (31.9 percent) and the exact same number he had in 2015.
Trust: Antonio Brown (he had six catches for 124 yards against the Chiefs last year with Landry Jones at quarterback and leads the league in targets on the season), Le’Veon Bell (Bell had 137 yards on 18 touches when these teams met a year ago and he should walk right into full usage), Travis Kelce (his specialty is short receptions and yards after the catch, things that have given the Steelers issues so far to start the season and Ryan Shazier will enter this game questionable)
Bust: Jesse James (he’s had 31 yards or fewer in all three games while the Chiefs rank third in points allowed to tight ends), Markus Wheaton (in his first game he saw just five targets, catching one of them for five yards)
Reasonable Return: Ben Roethlisberger (his home splits have been excellent, but the Chiefs also have allowed just one quarterback in the top half of weekly scoring over their past 15 games), Alex Smith (the Steelers have been giving up heavy passing yardage and it’s almost entirely come on intermediate throws with yards after the catch, something right in Smith’s wheelhouse), Jeremy Maclin (he’s had WR39 and WR56 weeks the past two games, but the targets have still been there weekly and he remains a focal point of the passing game), Spencer Ware (The Steelers are still strong versus the run while 61.9 percent of the points allowed by the Steelers to running backs has been through receiving. With Charcandrick West now ruled out, Ware may get a true full workload as he was still playing fewer than half of the passing plays with West active)
New York (NFC) vs. Minnesota
|36.1%||6||Opp. Rush %||36.3%||8|
|63.9%||27||Opp. Pass %||63.7%||25|
- Minnesota ranks 31st in yards per game (265.3) on offense, but are allowing just 295 yards per game on defense (6th).
- Jerick McKinnon out-snapped Matt Asiata 36 to 19 and out-touched him 17 to seven.
- The Vikings have rushed for just 51.0 yards per game, fewest in the league.
- Kyle Rudolph has had 28.3 percent of the Minnesota targets come in his direction, the highest of any tight end in the league.
- Sterling Shepard's 16 receptions are the most by any Giants player ever through his first three games.
- The past six quarterbacks to face the Vikings have averaged just 12.5 points per game with an average weekly finish of QB21 as they've thrown six touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
- The Vikings are allowing 57.3 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields the third fewest in the league.
Trust: Kyle Rudolph (the volume should drop eventually, but the Giants are facing 10 targets to tight ends per game to start the season and Rudolph is the primary passing threat in the red zone)
Bust: Eli Manning (Manning has yet to have a top-12 scoring week and looking for the first to come against Minnesota on the road will be a tall task), Jerick McKinnon (regardless of who is labeled the starter, McKinnon is the lead option for touches, but the Giants are allowing the third fewest points to opposing backfields), Giants Backfield (Rashad Jennings should be back to take lead touches, but this matchup is brutal for projected output and it still remains unclear just who will take the snaps and receptions that Shane Vereen was garnering), Victor Cruz (as good of a story his comeback has been, he’s still just been the WR34, WR48 and WR43), Sam Bradford (he's done exactly what the Vikings were hoping for him to do so far, but his weekly fantasy viability is going to always be hinged to how many touchdowns he can produce since he ranks 31st in pass attempts per drive)
Reasonable Return: Stefon Diggs (he still had 25 percent of the team targets last week, but the Vikings’ passing game is so consistently small that last week was a good reminder that Diggs still can hold a low floor due to offensive attachment), Odell Beckham (he’s in the longest scoring draught of his career and the Vikings have allowed just one touchdown to a wide receiver so far), Sterling Shepard (the Vikings has only allowed two top-30 receivers, but the Giants have the best receiving group they’ve faced and Shepard has been a top-36 scorer in every game so far)
Trust = Set him in your lineups this week
Bust = Player to underperform season average
Reasonable Return = On par with seasonal average
**All Vegas Lines are taken from BetUs Tuesday Evenings