Quarterbacks - Featured site is FanDuel
Fantistics Top 5 QBs:
1. Peyton Manning
2. Andrew Luck
3. Aaron Rodgers
4. Philip Rivers
5. Russell Wilson
Peyton Manning (DEN) - After an ugly start to the season, Manning has rebounded somewhat over the last three games but still hasn't shown the consistent, elite form we are accustomed to seeing from him over the years. Head Coach Gary Kubiak attempted to make Manning receive the ball from under center which was a bad idea because he looked extremely uncomfortable. The Broncos have apparently found a happy medium using the pistol formation which allows Manning to move away from being under center, but not as far back as the traditional shotgun formation. The new wrinkle has allowed Manning to find a better comfort level but he is still continuing to work out the kinks. He regressed last week against Minnesota after throwing two consecutive multiple TD pass games but will face a secondary that has boosted a lot of opposing QB passer ratings this year - the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are ranked 31st against the pass, giving up 318.8 yards through the first quarter of the season. Consider that the last time Denver visited Oakland (in 2014), he threw for 340 yards and five TDs. If Manning is going to regain his form against anyone, it will be against Oakland.
Russell Wilson (SEA) - Wilson uncharacteristically unraveled to a degree in the second half of last Monday's controversial game against Detroit (lost two fumbles, was sacked often and off target on pass attempts), but he still made some improbable (and improvisational) plays with his feet that kept the Hawks on top. Despite his struggles, he threw for a season-high 287 yards, one TD, zero INTs and ran for 40 yards. He now faces the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals who rank 27th against the pass. Marshawn Lynch will probably return to action after missing the last game due to hamstring issues, which would force Cincinnati to heavily account for the Seattle running attack - opening up passing huge windows for Wilson. Lynch is what makes this offense go and when he is on point, Wilson can play action and read option a team to death. Wilson has thrown at least one TD in every game this year versus just two total INTs.
Philip Rivers (SD) - Rivers did not play well against Minnesota two weeks ago but rebounded against Cleveland as he threw for 358 yards and three TDs. It was his second 350+ yard performance of the season and third multiple TD pass game. He will now play an average Pittsburgh pass defense at home in San Diego. Both of his big fantasy performances this year have been at home so he will be raring to go in this Monday night affair. Antonio Gates will be making his return following suspension while Keenan Allen continues to enjoy a resurgence in his third year. Pittsburgh also has explosive offensive weapons which could turn this game into a shootout.
Eli Manning (NYG) - Manning had a very nice, efficient performance against Buffalo last Sunday (outside of one interception), continuing his third week of solid fantasy play. Since Week 2, he has thrown two, two and three TDs respectively versus just one interception. He played very confidently in the face of Buffalo throwing so many blitzes at him which shows he is on a mission this year to save his coaches job and make the playoffs. Odell Beckham Jr. did not even have a good game last week which forced Manning to look other places which he was able to do. He now faces a reeling San Francisco team that has fallen three straight games. We all know the sordid story of San Francisco's offseason and how that preceded a season which already looks doomed. The Niners have been dominated the last three weeks, ranking 23rd against the pass in total yards and 28th in yards yielded per pass. Manning's solid and steady production should continue.
On the Fence:
Sam Bradford (PHI) - Bradford put his best numbers up of the season last Sunday against Washington but still lost the game. He threw three TD passes and no INTs. INTs were a big problem his first two games this year as he registered four but he has not thrown one the last two weeks. One troubling stat is he only completed 14 and 15 passes respectively the last two weeks (barely above 50%). As the season progresses, a QB's completion percentage should be increasing or at least staying steady, not nosediving like Bradford's. Chip Kelly has consistently said that the running game has to set up the passing game and outside of Week 3 against the NY Jets, the running game has not done much. He will now face New Orleans, a defense that has gone through a lot of turnover and has been struggling as well. Bradford figures to build on his game of last week, but if NO snuffs out the run, will Philly's passing offense crawl into a hole again?
Michael Vick (PIT), Nick Foles (STL) and Tyrod Taylor (BUF). Michael Vick was clearly off on several passes in his first start since last year (with New York) against Baltimore, but the offense was simplified to take advantage of his strengths. As Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley gets a read on what Vick can and cannot do, he will begin to call more effective games. Vick faces San Diego this coming Monday night in an affair that could easily evolve into a shootout given the offensive firepower possessed by both teams. Nick Foles had a surprisingly very strong game against a very good Arizona defense last Sunday as he threw three TD passes and no INTs. He was aided by a phenomenal rookie performance from RB Todd Gurley and the Rams scrappy defense. Foles does not have a strong receiving crew to throw to but if Gurley demands the defensive attention that it appears he will, Foles is accurate enough to make things work with what he has. He will face Green Bay this Sunday so he will have to be ready to put up points to match the Aaron Rodgers-led juggernaut. Tyrod Taylor was arguably cheated out of two additional TDs against the NY Giants last week as a TD carry was called back due to a very weak holding call and another TD pass was called back because of a weak chop block. Taylor has thrown three TD pass in each of his two previous games but was clearly missing something without LeSean McCoy attracting defenses and Sammy Watkins running routes. He will now face a soft Tennessee defense which should allow Taylor to bounce back from the poor, penalty-filled Buffalo appearance against the NY Giants.
Running Back - Featured site is DraftKings
Fantistics Top 5 RBs:
1. Le'Veon Bell
2. Matt Forte
3. Eddie Lacy
4. Justin Forsett
5. Jamaal Charles
Le'Veon Bell (PIT) - Not surprisingly, Bell has become a fantasy force as soon as his suspension ended - scoring a rushing TD in both Week 3 and 4. Additionally, he has caught 14 passes through two games which gives fantasy daily players an additional statistical stream. He will face a San Diego run defense that has done nothing but struggle this year as they are ranked 29th in total yards and dead last in yards yielded per rush (4.9). When you add Michael Vick to the picture, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the entire offense will be designed around Bell to help the backup QB.
Matt Forte (CHI) - Despite a lack of TDs, Forte has run well in recent weeks with little help, although Jay Cutler's return last Sunday against Oakland did force the Raiders to give Forte some running room. He rushed for 91 yards and but hasn't scored on the ground since Week 1. As much as people laugh at Cutler, he has a big time arm that defenses have to respect. When Jimmy Clausen played QB for the injured Cutler, defenses could focus on stopping Forte because they weren't a bit scared of Clausen's arm. Now, Forte and Cutler face a reeling Kansas City defense which has been roasted in recent weeks. KC gives up 4 yards per carry which Forte has a great chance to exceed and finally reach the end zone once again.
Jamaal Charles (KC) - Charles returns home to face a vulnerable Chicago run defense which is ranked 24th against the run in total yards and 26th in yards yielded per carry (4.4). We all know how much the Chiefs are criticized for not being able to throw the ball downfield which is justified, but we also know how effective Charles can be when he is on. He didn't score last week against Cincinnati but rushed for 75 yards and caught six passes for 70 yards. The week before against Green Bay he scored three rushing TDs and now has four for the season. He is pretty much a lock to score against the soft Bears as the Chiefs look to break their losing skid of three games.
Mark Ingram (NO) - Fantasy owners were throwing things nationwide when Ingram's apparent rushing TD against Dallas last Sunday was reversed by instant replay as it was deemed that his rear end hit the ground before the ball crossed the plane of the goal line. That was bad enough, but when NO head coach Sean Payton inserted Khiry Robinson on the next play to score the TD, that was when many fantasy players passed out from frustration. The TD would have been Ingram's third in as many games. He now faces Philadelphia so if the game goes like most think, Philly's D will be on the field so long because its offensive counterparts have been so ineffective, Ingram will get plenty of carries to have a strong game. NO's offense actually appears to be using the run to set up the pass which hasn't happened since the days of Deuce McAllister.
Devonta Freeman (ATL) - To the surprise of everybody except his probably his mother, Freeman is the hottest fantasy back in the league by virtue of his six TDs the last two weeks (seven TDs the last three weeks). He will now face a Washington run defense that is ranked 2nd against the run which is a very impressive mark for a defense that no one thought would be any good this year. Unfortunately for Washington, Atlanta has the hottest offense in the league with new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and he doesn't care who he plays against. Tevin Coleman has returned to practice this week (broken rib) but is not a lock to play this week. Even if he does, he will have the very same complementary role that Freeman was playing at the beginning of the season. Freeman has simply been too hot for him to be benched for Coleman.
Upside Plays: TJ Yeldon (JAX) - Yeldon recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of the season last Sunday against Indianapolis and has an even better matchup this coming Sunday against Tampa Bay. The Bucs are ranked 30th against the run so Yeldon should be able to find a lot of room. The team continues to be thrilled with him and has given him more responsibility as the weeks have gone by. He hasn't scored a rushing TD yet but this Sunday would be the most opportune time. Alfred Morris (WAS) - Morris has had a disappointing season this year, mainly due to the timeshare with rookie Matt Jones. With Jones struggling the last two weeks, it is very probable that Morris regains the dominant back role. He was a big factor when his team embarked on its eventual game winning drive last Sunday against Philly and the coaches will remember that. He faces a streaking Atlanta so the hope is Washington's defense slows down the Falcons so that Morris will have a chance to run often and not just sparingly because Washington is getting throttled. Dion Lewis (NE) - The shifty one has scored in consecutive weeks and will face Dallas this coming Sunday. NE usually starts out a game with Lewis in the backfield and sets a breakneck tone on offense with Tom Brady leading the spread. When the game settles down or the Pats are already so far ahead, that is usually when LeGarrette Blount comes into play with his ability to pound the ball, move the chains and close out games. If Dallas' D can make this game competitive, Lewis has a greater chance to stay play more snaps because he is a big play waiting to happen.
Wide Receivers - Featured site is DraftDay
Fantistics Top 5 WRs:
1. DeMaryius Thomas
2. Odell Beckham Jr.
3. Emmanuel Sanders
4. Alshon Jeffery
5. Julio Jones
DeMaryius Thomas (DEN) - Although he has only scored one TD this season, he has been as big a part of the Broncos offense as ever before. He did have a weak season opener as the entire team did but ever since Peyton Manning got his pistol formation into the lineup, the deep passes are starting to rack up steadily. Over the last three weeks, Thomas has caught 26 passes for 301 yards! He will face an Oakland team that he has dominated in years past. It helps that the Raiders have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, but even if they didn't, Thomas would still own them as the Broncos are simply a class above Oakland. In two games against the Silver and Black last year, Thomas caught 19 passes for 223 yards! That's a good quarter of the season for most decent receivers. Now, the Raiders offense has gotten better but the defense remains as muddled as ever - ranking 31st in the league in total pass yardage.
Julio Jones (ATL) - Jones had a hugely disappointing week against Houston although it was no fault of his. Devonta Freeman was simply too explosive as was the Atlanta defense which put the Falcons up so big, there was no real reason to feed the ball to Jones who ended up with just 38 yards receiving on four catches. With Freeman being on such a tear, opposing defenses (such as Washington this Sunday) will have to start accounting for him which theoretically should free up Jones from so much coverage. Jones has proven he can still dominate while being double teamed but with Atlanta's running game on fire, he could become even more unstoppable. He had caught 34 passes in the three weeks preceding last week's no show and his hamstring injury appears to be a nonfactor!
Brandin Cooks (NO) - This was supposed to be Cooks' big breakout year but he has struggled for the most part through four games - not even scoring a TD. He had his best game in Week 3 against Carolina when he caught seven passes for 79 yards which is strange because that is the one game Luke McCown started in place of the injured Drew Brees (rotator cuff). Brees is definitely not 100% but he showed against Dallas last Sunday night that he is not too far from 100%. Cooks is too much of a playmaker to be held down too much longer and the OT victory over Dallas finally showed an offense that is starting to effectively rebuild its identity. He faces a Philly team this Sunday that has had major trouble on both sides of the ball (24th against the pass) so this would be the perfect time for Cooks and Co. to continue its effective play. Cooks' price point in most dailies is very low right now so he could be one of your glue guys that make a real difference.
Allen Robinson (JAX) - Robinson hasn't scored since Week 2 against Miami but has been consistent yardage wise, registering 68 and 80 yards respectively the last two weeks. Jax QB Blake Bortles had a very nice game against Indianapolis last Sunday and will now face a reeling Tampa Bay team that is coming off a big loss at home to Carolina. Robinson is a legitimate deep threat, nabbing receptions of 52, 37 and 48 yards over the last three games. As Bortles continues to get better at a fast speed, Robinson will continue to get the looks he has struggled to get during his short career, partly due to his own injury issues but also because of poor quarterback play.
Leonard Hankerson (ATL) - The team has ridden the hot hand of Hankerson to the point that longtime veteran Roddy White is upset because he is mainly used as a decoy and blocker these days. It says something about Hankerson that he is causing a Falcons legend to ride the pine. He is coming off a great game against Houston as he caught six passes for 103 yards and one TD. Julio Jones gets all the defensive attention so Hankerson benefits from single coverage which he took advantage of last Sunday. He has two TDs in four games and two games of six receptions each. He faces his former Washington team today so look for him to make a statement. James Jones (GB) - Jones continues to make big contributions every week and has established himself as one of the fantasy surprises of the early part of the season. Jordy Nelson's season ending ACL injury and Davante Adams current injury struggles have opened the door for Jones to produce. He has scored four TDs in four games and has exceeded 97 yards receiving in consecutive games. He is dealing with a sore hamstring (geez, what is up with all these Green Bay injury issues?) but expects to be a full go against St. Louis this Sunday. The Rams have a talented defense but no one can really shut down the Packers. Even in slow weeks, guys like Jones will gather a score or significant yardage to help your fantasy daily card. Terrance Williams (DAL) - Williams was headed to a terrible game last Sunday night against New Orleans but caught a TD late to tie the game before NO K Zach Hocker missed a FG to end the game in regulation. Williams' production was supposed to significantly increase when Dez Bryant went out with a foot injury but other than a big game against Philadelphia (four catches for 84 yards and one TD), he was shut out against Atlanta and caught just three passes against New Orleans. His lack of production can be traced to the inconsistent arm of Brandon Weeden but there will be no excuses this Sunday against New England. Tom Brady and Co. will put up points so Weeden will have no choice but to throw. Williams should be the key beneficiary.
Tight Ends - Featured site is FantasyAces
Fantistics Top 5 TEs:
1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Travis Kelce
3. Martellus Bennett
4. Charles Clay
5. Delanie Walker
Rob Gronkowski (NE) - Everyone's favorite party animal will be back in action following NE's bye last week and should be able tear it up against a reeling Dallas team that has been beset by a ridiculous amount of injuries. The NFL world has a handful of players that are just superbly consistent, and Gronk is one of those rare guys. Through three games this year, he has caught 94, 113 and 101 yards respectively, along with four TDs. He has scored 16 TDs since the beginning of last season. NE's offense is a juggernaut and one of the reasons why is Gronk! The ability of NE coaches to line him up in various spots all over the field allows him to pick apart a defense with mismatches that baffle opposing defensive coordinators. He will face Dallas this Sunday as New England continues its 2007-like pace of offensive dominance.
Jason Witten (DAL) - Witten and the Cowboys host the red hot New England Patriots in a game this Sunday that threatens to get out of hand fast. No one has been able to cool down NE and with all the injuries Dallas has suffered on both sides of the ball, it is unlikely that Dallas will be able to as well. Witten hasn't scored since the season opener but has remained consistent in receptions and yardage - averaging slightly above six catches and 59.5 yards per game. With the great probability that this game turns into a track meet, QB Brandon Weeden will have to throw a lot of passes because the Cowboys running game stinks. Witten will be his safety valve and have a good chance to break his three game scoreless streak.
Charles Clay (BUF) - Clay has quietly had a very nice fantasy season thus far in his first year in Buffalo. QB Tyrod Taylor appears to have settled on Clay as his favorite receiver and looks to him when he needs a big play. Clay has scored two TDs in his last three games and registered 212 receiving yards (one 100 yard receiving game). He would have scored another TD last Sunday against the NY Giants but the score was called back because of a weak chop block penalty that had no bearing on the play itself. Clay was partly left unsigned by Miami because of his injury concerns but so far so good in Buffalo, especially when you see the moves he can make in the open field. He juked a Miami defender so bad on a TD grab two weeks ago, I thought I was watching a WR. He now faces a Tennessee defense that has shown itself to be very vulnerable to high powered offenses so Taylor can bounce back from a quiet outing last Sunday to fantasy nirvana again (he was coming off back to back three TD games prior to last Sunday).
Richard Rodgers (GB) - Rodgers is slowly starting to entrench himself into the Green Bay offense in this his second year, as he has scored two TDs in the last three weeks. With regular starting TE Andrew Quarless out for an extended time due to injury, Rodgers has stepped in and progressed faster than most people thought he would. He has good route running ability (helps when Aaron Rodgers is your QB and is able to extend every play with his quick feet) and hands. The more he plays the more he will put up big numbers because all he needs is reps, and that is what he is finally getting. He started emerging late last year, even catching a TD in the divisional playoff game against Dallas so his value continues to trend upward. He is a good low price option against St. Louis at home based on his upside but he will have slow weeks due to the amount of weapons the Green Bay offense has. Gary Barnidge (CLE) - Since the return of the previously concussed Josh McCown, the Browns have opened up their offense and Barnidge of all people is on a tear. He has caught 12 passes for 180 yards and two TDs the last two weeks. To put this into perspective, the longtime Carolina Panther has not scored more than two TDs in any year of his eight years in the league. The Panthers always used Greg Olsen in the receiving TE role and Barnidge as the blocker. It looks as if Cleveland is high on him as a receiver. As anything related to the Cleveland Browns, Barnidge's rise to prominence could end as soon as it began but he does face a Baltimore pass defense this Sunday that has struggled mightily at times this year. He is worth a shot on a daily card or two until he runs out of gas.
Defenses - Featured site is DraftStreet
Fantistics Top 5 Defenses:
1. Green Bay
4. NY Giants
Green Bay Packers - The Packers are the highest rated defense on the Fantistics board, as they are coming off a complete shellacking of the SF 49ers and return home to face an up and down St. Louis team. GB's 3-4 is ranked 2nd in the league with 17 sacks, 9th in INTs with four and 13th in forced fumbles. They are ranked 21st against the run so they are a little vulnerable there but make it up with an 8th ranking against the pass. ROLB/DE Julius Peppers (3.5 sacks) still brings it at his age and MLB Clay Matthews (14 tackles, 3 sacks and one INT) is coming off a big game against SF which saw him get a sack among other things. The secondary led by Sam Shields (2 INTs) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (29 tackles) has wiped out opposing QBs and would be ranked higher if KC didn't throw for so much yardage in garbage time two weeks ago. The Rams do not have an effective passing game so it will be up to the Packers to shut down the run which will not be easiest thing to do with Todd Gurley finally back to pre-injury form. Look for the Packers to focus its defense on stopping the run and letting the secondary handle the Rams receivers in a straight up, man to man fashion. It will be up to the Packers to create stops and turnovers against a Rams offense that is far from a finished product.
Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jags are coming off a game that they really should have won against Indianapolis but didn't because of two late FG misses by their kicker. The defense played as well as they could have against ancient Matt Hasselbeck and will now face rookie QB Jameis Winston and his Buccaneers. Jax has a very stout run defense that is ranked 4th in the league - giving up just 83 yards per game along with a 3.1 YPC average. It is also ranked 9th in sacks (9) and 13th in forced fumbles (4). Where Jax struggles is its passing game as it is ranked 26th in total yardage and 27th in number of receptions yielded (111). Against a rookie QB in Winston, the Jags don't have to load the box if they don't want to as its front seven should handle RB Doug Martin fine. With extra help then available in the secondary, Winston will have a hard time passing down the field. I expect Jax to mix it up, confuse the youngster and have a surprisingly big game - both in the real world and the fantasy world.
Other Value Plays: NY Giants - All defenses seem to want to play the struggling SF 49ers and why not? The simplified passing routes and predictable running plays are easy to defend against, especially with an offense led by former stud QB Colin Kaepernick who has completely lost his confidence and may never get it back. The entire organization needs a makeover (starting with ownership) complete with a better coaching staff and high level offensive scheme because there is talent in San Francisco. Until then, opposing teams can exploit the college level offensive scheme. The Giants harassed Tyrod Taylor and the Bills offense all game long last Sunday and will look forward to teeing off on Kaepernick. The Giants are ranked 1st against the run but last against the pass (even though they rank 6th with five INTs). When you have a team like SF who can't pass but has the ability to run, they are falling right into NY's hands. Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs talented D has taken a pounding this year and need to get back on track. There is no reason a defense with as much talent as this one has should be getting blasted the way they have been. The Chiefs face Jay Cutler and the Bears at home in Arrowhead this week - a great QB to make big plays against. KC has prodigious pass rushers such as Justin Houston (3 sacks) and Tamba Hali (1 sack) that need to tee off on Chicago's sketchy offensive line and get to Cutler. We all know what Cutler does when he has pressure in his face - he makes bad decisions such as INTs and fumbles. This shapes up as a great spot for KC to shake off the malaise in front of the home folks.
Kickers - Featured site is StarStreet (now DraftKings)
Fantistics Top 5 Kickers:
1. Justin Tucker
2. Brandon McManus
3. Chandler Catanzaro
4. Caleb Sturgis
5. Phil Dawson
Justin Tucker (BAL) - In his last game, the strong legged Tucker kicked the Ravens to their first victory of the season against division rival Pittsburgh, and now he has hopeless Cleveland on the schedule for this this week. For as many points as Cleveland has given up this year, this is a great spot for Tucker. Through four games, he has kicked 10 of 11 FGs and all nine XPs. In his three prior years, he has not kicked for less than an 85.3% conversion rate. In other words, it doesn't get more automatic than Tucker on a game by game basis, especially when you are facing a defense as porous as Cleveland's.
Other Values: Josh Brown (NYG), Cairo Santos (KC) and Nick Novak (HOU).