Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 4 fantasy football tips for your lineup

Week 4 is upon us with six teams on a BYE (Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and St. Louis) and two franchises about to officially start a new chapter as Jacksonville will start Blake Bortles this week at quarterback and Minnesota will start Teddy Bridgewater. Here's a look at tips for Week 4 and sleepers to consider for your lineup. 

Uh-oh, it is likely the week that many in Charlotte were either dreading or greatly looking forward to - the Panthers will square off against Steve Smith in a Ravens' uniform. It sure will be interesting. Look for Smith to be ultra-motivated and if you own Steve Smith, you start Steve Smith. 

Have the Montee Ball, Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy blues? Join the club. We will need to wait a week for Ball as he's on a BYE, but look for both Forte and Lacy to get going this week as the Bears and Packers square off – hey, it  starts with belief! Lacy has faced three top five defenses to start the year (and they have been super stingy, the Jets at 55 rushing yards per game, Detroit at 64 and Seattle at 72), while Forte has faced three top seven defenses to start the year. As they go up against one another, Lacy faces the Chicago (defense 26th against the run) while Forte faces the Packers (30th against the run - and Forte was outstanding last year in two games against the Packers with 4 TDs). 

If you own Nick Foles (Philadelphia), don't let the San Francisco name scare you. They are a middle of the pack defense this year. Foles has yet to pass for under 320 yards in a game this season, and he is on pace for 5,216 passing yards. 

It looks like the heyday for Tom Brady has come and gone. He will have better days as he is pace for a tepid 3,371 passing yards and 16 TDs - but at Arrowhead this week, I'll pass. It may sound crazy, but I think I would rather start Blake Bortles (Jacksonville) in his first NFL start this week (it's close anyway). With most young quarterbacks, they play kind of scared, but not so with Bortles, and he has a lively arm and gets the ball down the field. Bortles averaged a very healthy 9.3 yards per attempt and 15.9 yards per completion last week. Bortles also led the NFL at 16.3 yards per completion average in pre-season. Amaze your friends and beat them with a Blake Bortles - Allen Robinson combo this week. Make sure Robinson is not on your waiver wire. 

Both the Indianapolis running backs have value. Ahmad Bradshaw is a touchdown-catching machine. He has three receiving touchdowns the last two weeks and he is currently the 6th best running back in point-per-reception scoring. Bradshaw makes for a solid number two running back for the foreseeable future, although the Colts will continue to get Trent Richardson the ball plenty. Richardson's yard per attempt have gone up from 3.3 in Week 1 to 3.8 in Week 2 and 4.1 last week. It's progress. 

You don’t need me to tell you to start Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh), but start him with confidence anyway – when/if Brown collects has five receptions this week he will have done so in 21 straight games. He'll be the first player in the history of the NFL to have done so. Brown gets Jacksonville who has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team this season. Likewise, teammate Markus Wheaton makes for a solid spot-start during a heavy BYE week. 

Daily fantasy football: Jordy Nelson, where were you last week? My Week 4 lineup is: QB Drew Brees ($9,200), RB DeMarco Murray ($9,000), RB Donald Brown ($6,300), WR Michael Crabtree ($7,000), WR DeAndre Hopkins ($6,400), WR Brandin Cooks ($6,200), TE Antonio Gates ($58000), K Nick Novak ($5,200), Pittsburgh Defense ($4,900). 

Donald Brown (San Diego) averaged just 2.0 yards per carry last week at Buffalo but that will greatly increase this week at home against Jacksonville, who rank 29th against the run. I am aggressively ranking Brown as the 5th best running back for the week. Be sure to get Brown in your lineup. 

If you are really hurting at running back, Branden Oliver (San Diego) will also get mixed in with Danny Woodhead out for the season. Oliver had just three touches last week but he will get more reps this week with a full week to prepare as the new number two running back for the Chargers. Likewise for a super deep sleeper, Darrin Reaves (Carolina) will likely get reps after being called up from the practice squad last week. For running backs, half of the equation is opportunity. 

LeGarrette Blount (Pittsburgh) gets to face his former team Tampa Bay. You can easily imagine Blount getting across the stripe in this one. 

Antonio Gates (San Diego) had an off-week last week with one catch but he should get back to being super productive this week with Ladarius Green now questionable with a hamstring issue while Gates gets the Jaguars who has allowed a touchdown to tight ends in every game this year, and twice as many touchdowns to tight ends as to receivers (4 to 2). 

There are many prime defensive match-ups this week to roll the dice on. In terms of defenses that may be on your waiver wire, I particularly like San Diego at home against Jacksonville, Miami at Oakland, and Pittsburgh at home against Tampa Bay. The Detroit Defense is also a strong play (Jets' quarterback Geno Smith is improving but he is a pick-six candidate in any given game) - the Lions are the surprise #1 ranked defense in total yards allowed through three games.