The officials are back and so are we. With that, welcome to week four!
As always, there’s a ton of information out there this morning. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have week three’s personalized lineup advice for you as part of the premium content package. Again, there are 100 places you can go for game day reports, so we’re doing something different on Sundays for our premium content subscribers.
The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. We pick one player from each team who have our eye on and describe why their weekend performance is a key one for them in relation to their dynasty value.
New England at Buffalo
After being the unquestioned workhorse the first two weeks of the season, Stevan Ridley found himself getting fewer carries than Danny Woodhead last week. While many are attributing that to the fact the Patriots went to their hurry up offense, it’s still a concern to Ridley’s owners who had seemingly found themselves a lock for a RB2 each week. Today’s game will go a long way in telling us just what the plan is for Ridley moving forward.
For the Bills, this is a huge opportunity for Ryan Fitzpatrick to step up. You simply don’t get too many chances to push the Patriots two games under .500 and he simply has to get the job done. If he can, his owners will have a lot more confidence in him being a viable QB2 this season.
San Francisco at NY Jets
Over the past few years, the tight end position has developed from a position of luxury to a position of need in dynasty leagues. With players like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski breaking records, the landscape is truly changing. Vernon Davis has been the hottest of all tight ends this year, with 13 catches for 169 yards and four touchdowns in just three games so far this year. Can he keep up this torrid pace?
This could be a huge day for Bilal Powell. If Shonn Greene continues to struggle (and how can he not against the 49ers defense), we may just get a changing of the guard at running back for the Jets. Powell has never exactly set the world on fire, but it’s about time we see him get his shot. For those of you in super deep leagues, keep an eye on Jonathan Grimes, who was signed off the Texans practice squad this week. If you’ve read DLF this off-season, you know we like Grimes and would love to see him get a chance eventually.
Seattle at St. Louis
The Seahawks have been very content with letting Russell Wilson manage the game while their defense mauls the opponent. While it’s unlikely the Rams can get themselves ahead by too much in this game, it’s been very interesting to track the progress of Wilson. He’s making good decisions and playing at a high level, thought that hasn’t been helping much in the scoring department in most dynasty leagues. Do the Seahawks start to open things up this week?
Steven Jackson’s groin injury isn’t going away. It’s questionable if he’s going to suit up and at the time this article is published, it’s probably a 50/50 proposition. If he does play, Daryl Richardson is going to get some carries here and there. Richardson is a player to watch as he continues to look fairly impressive.
Carolina at Atlanta
What’s the deal with Cam Newton? He simply doesn’t seem equipped to handle things when they don’t go his way and now he has team leaders like Steve Smith calling him out for his lack of maturity. While this situation isn’t exactly toxic yet, it’s time Newton steps up and starts playing like we know he can. Otherwise, this is looking like a major Sophomore slump.
If you’re searching for the fountain of youth, don’t try to find Ponce De Leon. It seem that fountain has been found by none other than Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons. Through three games, the 36-year old Gonzalez has 21 catches for 214 yards and three scores. He’s quickly becoming the Tony of old. It’s going to fun to see this continue, especially if this season truly is his swan song.
Minnesota at Detroit
Someone needs to call the real Christian Ponder and tell him some other guy is wearing his uniform. So far this year, Ponder has been fantastic in both fantasy and reality. With Jerome Simpson returning from his suspension, we’re going to finally see just how big of a leap Ponder has taken this week.
It’s a huge week again for Mikel Leshoure of the Lions. He’s now the unquestioned feature back for Detroit and he’s going to see the lion’s share (pun intended) of the carries from this point forward as long as he can stay productive, healthy and marijuana free. Can he deliver again?
San Diego at Kansas City
Speaking of players who don’t seem to be themselves this year, Philip Rivers was simply awful last week against the Falcons as he threw for just 173 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Antonio Gates has suddenly become an afterthought in the offense. Is this the beginning of the end for the high powered Chargers passing offense? That question is really starting to become relevant.
Well, you could say Jamaal Charles is healthy after he exploded for 288 yards from scrimmage last week against the Saints – that could be more than CJ2K may give owners all year. His workload was enormous last week (the 39 touches was the most in his career), so it’s going to be very interesting to see just how the Chiefs use him this week. If you bought low on Charles, it looks like congratulations may in order, though.
Tennessee at Houston
I’m simply tired of talking about Chris Johnson. What else is there to say at this point? Let’s instead focus on Kendall Wright this week. With Kenny Britt looking pretty “iffy” this week, Wright looks to build on his seven catch, 41 yard performance from last week. The great thing about his production is the fact he’s been targeted a ton, including 11 times just last week. He’s getting a lot of rookie experience and while the dividends may not be incredible at the moment, he’s maturing quickly.
With Lestar Jean out for a bit with a knee issue, Keshawn Martin should get an extended opportunity this week. Martin was a solid performer in the preseason, but has been pretty quiet since the regular season started. The Texans are using a four receiver rotation this year, but Martin will have a real chance to impress with as the loss of Jean may cut that down to three.
Miami at Arizona
When Reggie Bush was injured last week, Daniel Thomas took over and rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also played on 42 snaps, compared to just 17 for Lamar Miller. That game was simply huge for Thomas’ dynasty value and takes it from life support to “serious” condition. It’s just one game, but that’s the positive sign of life we’ve seen from Thomas in quite some time. With Bush still not 100%, can he cut into his workload a little? In addition, if Bush unexpectedly doesn’t play, he’ll have a huge opportunity.
It’s a huge day for Ryan Williams of the Cardinals. After the oft-injured Beanie Wells was put on the “IR: Designated to Return List,” Williams now finds himself as the feature back for Arizona. He didn’t show any hesitancy last week and looks to be getting more comfortable on his legs. If he can produce this week, it’s going to be big for his value. If you’re looking for a deep, deep sleeper, keep your eye on William Powell who will likely back up Williams this week. Powell was the preseason’s leading rusher (for whatever that’s worth) and could see some action if Williams really struggles.
Oakland at Denver
The Raiders have seemingly found themselves a weapon in tight end Brandon Myers, who 15 catches for 206 yards in three games so far this year. He’s battling a concussion from last week, but is expected to play. If he continues to play at a high level, you could do a whole lot worse than Myers as your TE2 this season. He’s looking like a waiver wire addition who may just stick for a while.
For the Broncos, Ronnie Hillman was finally active last week at the expense of former first round draft pick Knowshon Moreno, who has subsequently been dropped in a lot of dynasty leagues this week. Hillman had just two carries for seven yards on the afternoon, but it was still a step in the right direction for him. Willis McGahee (ribs) is probably for the game, so it’s going to be interesting to see if Hillman is up again this week – he’s still behind Lance Ball, but he could get a few more carries with McGahee banged up.
Cincinnati at Jacksonville
On the surface, Andrew Hawkins looks like another great waiver wire darling this season, but he’s doing a whole lot with a little, which is both good and bad. On the plus side, he’s putting up numbers with limited opportunities as he rarely plays more than half the snaps in a game. On the bad side, he’s a tough player to put in your lineup for the same reason. Let’s see if his after the catch ability is just too much for the Bengals to resist more this week.
Justin Blackmon. Paging Justin Blackmon. Hello? After a nice end to the preseason, Blackmon has done a major disappearing act for the Jags so far this year, posting just four catches for 31 yards on 15 targets. As always, it’s tough to just point your finger at a Jacksonville receiver with Blaine Gabbert running the show, but we expected more from him early on – he needs to get things going here very soon or this is really looking like a redshirt year for him.
Washington at Tampa Bay
With Roy Helu out for the season, Alfred Morris has one less player to worry about and Helu was undoubtedly the one who was the biggest threat to his spot on the depth chart. Sure, the Redskins brought in Ryan Grant this week, but he doesn’t seem to be a real threat to Morris at this point. On the season, Morris has 263 yards on 4.3 yards per carry, which puts him on pace for just over 1,400 yards for the year. While that still seems pretty lofty, he’s been a real workhorse so far and the Redskins seem as content as they can be with him handling the load.
The Redskins and Bucs currently have the two worst passing defenses in the league, so this should be a game where Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams both have a legitimate chance for a good day. I guess that puts all the pressure on Josh Freeman for Tampa Bay again, eh?
New Orleans at Green Bay
Marques Colston is going to be in our crosshairs yet again this week. For the season, he has just ten catches for 160 yards and has yet to score. In fact, he’s fourth on the team in receptions and has just one more catch than Pierre Thomas. With the Saints flailing early this year, they really need him to step up and be the weapon we’ve seen in the past.
For Green Bay, this is simple. It’s time for the real Aaron Rodgers to come back.
Sunday Night Football
New York Giants at Philadelphia
Without question, all eyes are going to be on Ramses Barden if Hakeem Nicks can’t go again this week. The division of carries between Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw is an interesting sub-plot as well, but we really want to see what Barden can do on Sunday night. He’s been a tease in dynasty leagues for years. Another great game from him would make him a very interesting player to own for this season and beyond.
This has been a season to forget so far for Michael Vick. On the season, he has completed less than 56 percent of his passes with a 3:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has lost three fumbles. He’s added one more rushing score, but four touchdowns and nine turnovers doesn’t exactly make dynasty league owners excited to see him playing against the Giants and their defensive line on Sunday Night. The Giants play well on the road and this is going to be a statement game one way or another.
Monday Night Football
Chicago at Dallas
The Bears revamped offense was supposed to catapult them into contention this year. Instead, Jay Cutler has been borderline dreadful playing behind a terrible offensive line. For the season, Cutler has thrown for just 642 yards, with three touchdowns and six interceptions. His quarterback rating is a career low of 58.6% and he’s been a fantasy afterthought so far. The Bears and Cutler need to turn things around or the dynasty values of this whole team are going to start going down.
For the Cowboys, this has not been a season to remember for Jason Witten thus far. After battling back from his spleen injury, Witten has posted just eight catches and 76 yards on the season – that used to be a decent game for him. He’s uncharacteristically dropping passes and just hasn’t looked like himself. Let’s see if that can turn around under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
Have a great weekend full of games!
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