Week #4: The Inside Slant
John Holler - 9/24/2019
With the bye weeks starting (the Jets and 49ers are the first to rest), but there are some big matchups this week that will have impact on the season moving forward.
The week starts on Thursday, as the Eagles look to avoid starting 1-3 going into Lambeau Field to face the 3-0 Packers. The Sunday early games include some interesting matchups, including the Patriots (3-0) going into Buffalo (2-1), Kansas City looking to remain unbeaten heading into 2-0-1 Detroit and an AFC North matchup of the Browns franchises with the Browns heading into Baltimore to play the Ravens.
There are only four late afternoon games, highlighted by 2-1 Minnesota heading into Chicago to play the 2-1 Bears and the present and future QB stars of the NFC West when Russell Wilson and the Seahawks head to the land of the sun to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
The week ends with a pair of prime time games from the different ends of the spectrum. Division leaders Dallas (3-0) and New Orleans (2-1) square off on Sunday night and a pair of winless teams – Cincinnati and Pittsburgh – close out the week on Monday.
The entrances of the bye week will add to the drama for fantasy owners, but the six division battles will be worth keeping an eye on as some teams will rise and others will fall in the process.
THURSDAY NIGHT GAME
PHILADELPHIA AT GREEN BAY
Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz – Green Bay’s defense has shut down opposing QBs all season from posting big numbers, including Mitch Trubisky (228-0), Kirk Cousins (230-1) and Joe Flacco (213-0). The Eagles offense has its share of injuries, but the Packers defense has been oppressive in keeping opposing offenses down.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers – The Eagles held down Matthew Stafford (201-1) last week, but still lost. In their first two games they got lit up through the air by Case Keenum (380-3) and Matt Ryan (320-3) and Rodgers will be looking to exploit those same weaknesses.
SUNDAY EARLY GAMES
CAROLINA AT HOUSTON
Carolina WR D.J. Moore – The Texans have a good defense, but have been hit hard by an opponent’s top wide receiver, including Michael Thomas (10-123), D.J. Chark (7-55-1) and Keenan Allen (13-183-2). With Cam Newton out, it’s a hard sell to endorse Moore or Greg Olsen as a must-play, but the history is there.
Houston RB Carlos Hyde – The Panthers have been getting hit hard on the ground all season by opposing run games, including Peyton Barber (23-82-1), Todd Gurley (14-97-0), Malcolm Brown (11-53-2) and the Arizona run game (22-121). A lot of the focus has been on the Houston pass game, but if Carolina can’t stop the run, they may not need to throw as often.
CLEVELAND AT BALTIMORE
Cleveland WR Odell Beckham – The Ravens defense is known for its strong secondary play, but have been hit hard all season by big-time receivers, including DeVante Parker (3-75), Christian Kirk (6-114), Larry Fitzgerald (5-104-1) Travis Kelce (7-89) and Mecole Hardman (2-97-1). Beckham and the Browns pass offense is due for a big day and this could be an unlikely hot play.
Baltimore RB Mark Ingram – The Browns got hit hard by Derrick Henry in Week 1, but in their last two games, have bottled up running backs, including Le’Veon Bell (21-68) and Todd Gurley (14-43). Ingram is coming off a career week, but the Browns won’t make things easy for him.
KANSAS CITY AT DETROIT
Kansas City TE Travis Kelce – The Lions are 2-0-1, but have allowed some gigantic days to receivers through the air, including Larry Fitzgerald (8-113-1), Keenan Allen (8-98-1), Mike Williams (3-83) and Nelson Agholor (8-50-2). As always when it comes to Kansas City, any one of three or four players could have a big day, but Kelce is the most consistent of the group and could be in line for big numbers.
Detroit WR Kenny Golladay – The Chiefs have tried to improve their secondary, but are still allowing big plays to receivers, including D.J. Chark (4-146-1), Chris Conley (6-97-1), Tyrell Williams (5-46-1) and Marquise Brown (2-49). Golladay is an emerging star and he will be handful for the Chiefs to go up again.
L.A. CHARGERS AT MIAMI
Los Angeles RB Austin Ekeler – Fantasy owners will jump on all Chargers players for good reason, but running backs have been particularly prolific against Miami, including Mark Ingram (14-107-2), Sony Michel (21-85-1), Ezekiel Elliott (19-125) and Tony Pollard (13-103-1). Miami is a dumpster fire and it just seems to get worse as the season is progressing.
Miami RB Kenyan Drake – The Chargers have been able to bottle up running backs after a rough opening game, including Kerryon Johnson (12-41) and Carlos Hyde (10-19-1). By this time, Miami fantasy players have become poisonous, so don’t expect much from any of them.
NEW ENGLAND AT BUFFALO
New England QB Tom Brady – The Bills defense has been stifling QBs all season, including Sam Darnold (175-1), Eli Manning (250-1) and Andy Dalton (249-1). Brady has been lighting up the league through three games, but Buffalo will be a daunting challenge to continue his dominance.
Buffalo RB Frank Gore – The ageless Gore is going to have a hard time against a stiff Patriots defense that has shut down featured backs, including James Conner (10-21), the Miami running backs (14-36) and Le’Veon Bell (18-35). Buffalo counts on its running game, but the Pats don’t give up yards or scores without a fight.
OAKLAND AT INDIANAPOLIS
Oakland RB Josh Jacobs – The Colts have an improved defense, but have struggled to contain running backs from doing damage, including Austin Ekeler (12-58-1 rushing, 6-96-2 receiving), Derrick Henry (15-81-1) and Devonta Freeman (16-88). Jacobs has the makings of a workhorse and he will be tested early and often against the Colts leaky run defense.
Indianapolis WR T.Y. Hilton – The Raiders pass defense has been atrocious all season and allowing big days to receivers, including Courtland Sutton (7-120), Emmanuel Sanders (6-86-1), Demarcus Robinson (6-172-2), Travis Kelce (7-107-1) and Adam Thielen (3-55-1). Hilton is dealing with a quad injury that might make him a game-time decision, but, if he’s on the field, he could come up big.
TENNESSEE AT ATLANTA
Tennessee TE Delanie Walker – Atlanta has allowed opposing top receivers to hit the end zone consistently, including Adam Thielen (4-43-1), Nelson Agholor (8-107-1) and T.Y, Hilton (8-65-1). Walker serves as the primary receiver in the Tennessee offense, so he could be in line for some solid fantasy numbers.
Atlanta TE Austin Hooper – At a time when tight ends aren’t lining up to pile up giant fantasy days, the Titans have been touched up for a TE touchdown in each of their first three games, including David Njoku (4-37-1), Eric Ebron (3-25-1) and James O’Schaughnessy (2-18-1). They haven’t been piling up receptions or yards, but touchdowns take care of scoring credit. Hooper is coming off a two-TD game and this matchup looks favorable.
WASHINGTON AT NEW YORK GIANTS
Washington WR Terry McLaurin – The Giants pass defense is awful and they’ve been hit hard every week by receivers, including Michael Gallup (7-158), Amari Cooper (6-106-1), Randall Cobb (4-69-1), John Brown (7-72), Cole Beasley (4-83), Mike Evans (8-190-3) and O.J. Howard (3-66). McLaurin is emerging as a go-to receiver in the Redskins offense and could have a breakout game.
New York QB Daniel Jones – Jones had a good debut last week and will be facing a Redskins defense that has been lit up light a Christmas tree by opposing quarterbacks, including Carson Wentz (313-3), Dak Prescott (269-3) and Mitchell Trubisky (231-3). Allowing three TDs a game don’t keep coaches employed for long and Jones will look to add another nail to the Redskins coffin.
SUNDAY LATE GAMES
JACKSONVILLE AT DENVER
Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette – The Broncos have had a hard time stopping the run and have been hit surprisingly hard by backs, including Josh Jacobs (23-85-1), David Montgomery (18-62-1) and the combination of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams (22-78-2). Fournette hasn’t come out of the gate hard, but this could be the week he breaks out.
Denver RB Phillip Lindsay – The Jaguars have a good run defense, but have been touched up one way or another by every running back they’ve faced, including LeSean McCoy (10-81), Carlos Hyde (20-90) and Derrick Henry (17-44-1). Lindsay hasn’t been a huge breakout player yet this season, but should get his opportunities to shine.
MINNESOTA AT CHICAGO
Minnesota RB Dalvin Cook – The Bears have been dominant on the ground, not allowing a touchdown and limiting back from having big plays, including Green Bay (22-47), Denver (24-90) and Adrian Peterson (12-37). Minnesota has one of the best rush offense in the NFL and Cook is coming off three straight 100-yard games, making this a matchup where something will have to give.
Chicago RB David Montgomery – Minnesota hasn’t been allowing too many rush touchdowns, but teams have been able to move the ball on the ground against them, including the Atlanta run offense (17-73), Aaron Jones (23-116-1) and the Raiders run game (20-94). The Bears are going to try to establish the run because even though Minnesota built big leads against the Falcons and Raiders, when opponents have run the ball, they have found success.
SEATTLE AT ARIZONA
Seattle TE Will Dissly – This isn’t an obvious selection, but the Cardinals have been spanked by tight ends all season, including T.J. Hockenson (6-131-1), Mark Andrews (8-112-1) and Greg Olsen (8-75-2). Dissly likely isn’t on a lot of fantasy rosters, but could be in line for some very solid numbers because the Cardinals have been crushed by tight ends.
Arizona RB David Johnson – The Seahawks have limited running backs from doing too much against them, even some of the very good ones, including Joe Mixon (6-10), Giovani Bernard (7-21), James Conner (11-33-1) and Alvin Kamara (16-69-1). Johnson hasn’t been putting up great rushing numbers, but, like last year, if he scores a touchdown, he’s worth playing.
TAMPA BAY AT LOS ANGELES RAMS
Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans – The Rams were able to limit Odell Beckham Jr. (6-58) last week, but have allowed some huge volume days to receivers this season, including Christian McCaffrey (10-81), D.J. Moore (7-76) and Michael Thomas (10-89). Evans is coming off a giant week and will be looking to add another name to the list of players who have had big receptions days – if not scoring touchdowns off them.
Los Angeles RB Todd Gurley – The Bucs have had their problem containing the opposing run game, including the combination of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert (24-79), Christian McCaffrey (16-37 rushing, 2-16 receiving) and the Giants run game even after losing Saquon Barkley early (19-72-2). Gurley hasn’t hit big like he had the past two seasons, but this could be the week we see the Gurley we’re used to.
SUNDAY NIGHT GAME
DALLAS AT NEW ORLEANS
Dallas WR Amari Cooper – The Saints have been hit hard by elite receivers on a consistent basis this season, including DeAndre Hopkins (8-111-2), Cooper Kupp (5-120), Brandin Cooks (3-74-1) and Tyler Lockett (11-154-1). They are vulnerable on the backside of the defense and Dak Prescott will look to continue his hot start by exposing it.
New Orleans PK Wil Lutz – In three games, the Cowboys have allowed just 14 kicker points, weekly totals of three, five and six points. The Saints offense has the ability to snap that string, but it’s becoming a trend to keep kickers down.
MONDAY NIGHT GAME
CINCINNATI AT PITTSBURGH
Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton – One of the reasons the Steelers are 0-3 is because their pass defense has been riddled for yardage and touchdowns by opposing quarterbacks, including Tom Brady (341-3), Russell Wilson (300-3) and Jimmy Garoppolo (277-1). Dalton has the weapons, even without A.J. Green, to do some damage against them.
Pittsburgh RB James Conner – The Bengals haven’t been able to stop running backs yet this season, including Chris Carson (15-46-1 rushing, 6-34-1 receiving), Raheem Mostert (13-83 rushing, 3-68-1 receiving), Matt Breida (12-121) and Frank Gore (14-76-1). The Steelers need a big game from Conner if they’re going to try to right the ship and Conner will be critical to that.
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