Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Tom Brady (DK – $8,000/FD – $9,500): Greatness still lies within Brady's arm. He threw a late game winning TD to Brandin Cooks to beat the Texans with only a few seconds left in the game. Brady finish with 378 yards and five TDs. Over his last two games, Tom has 825 passing yards with eight TDs and no Ints. Over the first three games vs. Carolina, QBs have only 538 yards and three TDs with Drew Brees having the most success (220/3). Their success was helped by controlling the clock in the two games vs. two poor passing offensives (SF and BUF). This pass defense was exposed by the over five games on the road last year (ATL – 503/4, NO – 465/4, Oakland – 315/2, Seattle – 315/1, and 315/0). The data says, "controlled game", but Brady is setting a high floor in 2017. Even with 300+ passing yards and three TDs, Tom won’t have enough of an edge to be the top play at QB in Week 4.
Matt Ryan (DK – $7,400/FD – $8,000): Ryan started over slow in passing TDs (4) while averaging only 31 passes per game. Matt gained 8.4 yards per pass attempt, which was his 22nd straight games with over 7.9 yards per pass attempt. In addition, his completion rate (68.8) remains in an elite area. The "media" has given Ryan the steady, but regression from 2016 tag this week. I don't see this at all. His passing TDs may be down, but they will come. The Falcons will run the ball well especially at the goal line. This will hurt Matt's upside in TDs in some game. The Bills haven't allowed a passing TD in 2017 with QBs gaining only 6.1 yards per pass attempt while facing the Jets, the Panthers, and the Broncos. I believe their secondary has plenty of downside risk and Denver's WRs (17/228 on 31 targets) may have given us a hint of upside for Ryan and his WRs in this game. Julio Jones is listed as questionable so he’s a much play for Ryan to be an option. Against the grain feel as the data teams will look elsewhere for upside.
Carson Wentz (DK – $6,600/FD – $7,600): Just when Wentz felt like a week-to-week start in the season long games, he laid an egg in Week 3 (176/1) due to the Eagles having success on the ground against the Giants (39/193/2). Over the first three games, QBs have three short games against the Chargers (219/2, 230/1, and 155/2). CB Jason Verrett is done for the year, but he played minimal snaps in 2017. Philly lost their pass catching back (Darren Sproles) and plus Nelson Agholor has fizzled as expected. Nice arm, but this isn't a great matchup plus his salary is higher than most this week. Fade for me.
Marcus Mariota (DK – $6,400/FD – $7,700): Even with the Titans scoring 70 points in the last two games, Mariota hasn't been a factor in any format. He's averaged 232 yards passing after three games with only three passing TDs. Tennessee ran the ball well in back-to-back games (36/179/3 and 35/195/1), which will hurt his upside in more games in 2017. In 2016, he passed for 202 yards and no TDs in his game vs. Houston on the road. After keeping QBs in check in Week 1 (125/1) and Week 2 (224), the Texans lost their way against Brady (378/5). Houston has talent on the defensive line (eight sacks) with success against the run (3.6 yards per rush and a TD). Tough to believe Marcus has an impact game in him on the road.
Philip Rivers (DK – $6,300/FD – $7,400): After playing reasonably well in Week 1 (192/3) on the road against top Broncos’ defense, Rivers had tough sledding at home against the Chiefs. He passes for 237 yards with no TDs and three Ints with a poor completion rate (50.0). His arm looked fine the previous week against the Dolphins (331/1). The Eagles had no answer for the Giants WRs (25/284/3 on 35 targets) late last week leading a nice game by Eli Manning (366/3). On the year, QBs have 857 yards and four passing TDs vs. the Eagles. Melvin Gordon left last week's game with an injury while expecting to play this week. His bad game last week will keep many Fantasy owners away. He’s a veteran QB with the talent to post a rebound game. I expect 300+ yards with two or more TDs, but will it be enough to be in play in the daily games?
Dak Prescott (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,600): Prescott only attempted 18 passes last week, but he finished with three TDs with 199 combined yards. This came a week after attempting a career high 50 passes against the Broncos (238/2). The Rams' pass defense played well at home (179/0 and 179/1), the 49ers drilled them for 332 yards and two TDs last week on the road. LA showed risk vs. the run in Week 2 (39/229/2) while allowing three rushing TDs last week. This points to a big game by Ezekiel Elliott while Dak attempts a low volume of passes. If the Rams can force the issue on the scoreboard, Prescott may look to Dez Bryant at a high level of passes in this game. More steady than explosive.
Carson Palmer (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,400): Over the first three games, Palmer averaged 44 passes per game leading to back-to-back games with over 300 yards passing. His completion rate (56.8) is well below the top QBs in the game while only tossing four TDs with a short output in yards per pass attempts (7.0). Last season he passed for 376 yards and a TD in his only game against San Fran. The 49ers played much better vs. the run over the first three games (3.5 yards per rush), but Todd Gurley beat them for a pair of rushing TDs and over 100 yards last week. Over the first three games, teams have rushed the ball over 35 times against San Francisco. Their pass defense was exposed by LA last week (292/4). By script, the Cardinals should try to get their last run game going this week. The 49ers can get beat by the pass and Arizona has some deep threats at WR. Favorable matchup overall so let's call him a maybe if J.J. Nelson plays.
Ben Roethlisberger (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,800): The turning point in Roethlisberger's game last week may have been his first pass attempt. Martavis Bryant beat him man for what could have been a 75-yard TD, but the ball with overthrown by about a foot. It appeared Bryant gave up a step earlier in the route, which would have put him on stride to make the play. After three games, Ben only has five TDs while failing to pass for over 265 yards in a game. He really needs Le'Veon Bell and the run game to get rolling to extend drives and improve scoring chances. Last season Ben passes for 264 yards and a TD in Baltimore with much better success at home (279/3). The Ravens' defense had eight Ints over the first two games leading to only ten points allowed. The Browns did find a way to pass for 300 yards with a TD in Week 2. The lowly Jaguars' offense exploded for 44 points last week against Baltimore while allowing 244 yards and four passing TDs. Roethlisberger can’t get it done on the road so I’d park him in the garage for another week leading to him being a low percentage own this week. The Ravens’ defense should be pissed after last week’s game.
Matthew Stafford (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,700): The Falcons' defense shut down Stafford last week (264/1) leading to his lowest completion rate (55.6) of the season. Matt played great in Week 1 (292/4) while not needing to throw to beat the Giants (122/2). Last season he passed for 219 yards and two TDs in Minnesota with less success at home (232/1). The Vikings' pass defense faced two top passing offenses (NO – 291/1 and PIT – 243/2) while showing risk in the secondary (WRs – 21/269/1 on 33 targets) last week against Tampa. Overall, Minnesota has a top defense so I would look elsewhere for upside at QB in Week 4 as their pass rush could get cranked up in this game.
Cam Newton (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,300): Cam threw three balls to the other team last week plus he lost his number one WR early in the game. This added up to a disaster performance in what was consider the best matchup on the day. His completion rate (65.4) has improved in each game thanks to him figuring out how to throw the ball to RB Christian McCaffrey. After three games, Newton only has 612 combined yards with three TDs and four Ints. The Patriots' defense allowed over 300 yards passing in each game (368, 356, and 301) with eight TDs. QBs gained 9.1 yards per pass attempt, which is a great reason to ride Cam. It's too bad his receiving core has its top two options hurt. Favorable matchup with a fading salary. Almost easier than last week and how did that work out, which means you should push all in.
Jameis Winston (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,300): Against a tough defense in Week 3, Winston tossed three Ints. As bad as it looks, he did finish with some nice stats. Jameis completed 70 percent of his passes while gaining 8.2 yards per attempt leading to 328 yards and two TDs. This came after a short game in Week 1 (204/1) due to game score. Opposing teams have ran the ball 34 times a game against New York, which has been help by the Giants trailing in each game. They've allowed only 566 yards passing with four TDs, again helped by game score. WRs only have 28 catches for 338 yards and a TD on 52 targets. New York is 0-3 with the appearance of being a bad team. They help their defense once they figure out how to score. Playing at home helps, but Winston needs Eli to score early and often to force Tampa to chase on the scoreboard. I don't like this matchup for Jameis in the daily games.
Andy Dalton (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,100): Dalton threw the ball well last week (77.8 percent completion rate) leading to 212 yards and two TDs. After three games, Andy only has 606 yards passing with two TDs. His top TE is out plus his secondary options haven't developed at WR. They need a win in the worst way and I expect the Bengals to try to control the clock with the run game. Over the first three games, teams have 10 TDs on 37 possessions vs. the Browns. They allowed 739 yards passing to QBs with five TDs. The Colts moved the ball well last week plus WRs have two strong games already vs. Cleveland’s secondary (15/207 and 11/228/1). Only with a swing if you tie him up with A.J. Green.
Derek Carr (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,900): The Redskins almost held the ball for 40 minutes last week. Washington beat Oakland in the same way the Raiders beat the Jets the previous week. This led to a nothing game by Carr (118/2) while tossing two balls to the other team. Over the first two games, Derek was at least serviceable (262/2 and 230/3) in the season long games. Last season he passed for 184 yards and no TDs in his only game vs. the Broncos. QBs averaged about 214 yards against Denver in 2017 with seven passing TDs. Teams gained only 5.9 yards per pass attempts vs. the Broncos. Poor matchup with no real upside plus Michael Crabtree is banged up. Pure avoid.
Eli Manning (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,000): The Giants should forget about running the ball. After three games, they only have 146 yards rushing (3.1 yards per rush) with no TDs. New York finally aired the ball out in the fourth quarter vs. the Eagles leading to a solid game by Eli (366/3) despite tossing two Ints. His success was driven by the WR position (25/284/3 on 35 targets). Tampa had all kinds of problems with Vikings' WRs (16/282/3) in Week 3 while showing failure risk the previous week (17/204/1) vs. a below par receiving core for the Bears. QBs have over 300 yards in both game against the Bucs (301/1 and 369/3) while facing the likes of Mike Glennon and Case Keenum. Manning is baiting us again after his finish last week. Winnable matchup and New York needs a win in the worst way.
Jared Goff (DK – $5,600/FD – $7,200): In two of his three starts, Goff looked very sharp. He passed for 306 yards and a TD in Week 1 followed up by nice outing in Week 3 (292/3). In his two wins, Jared competed over 70 percent of his passes. Even in his short game in Week 2 (219/1), he gained 9.1 yards per pass attempt. The Cowboys have 11 sacks through three games helping their pass defense. After holding Eli Manning to no TDs in Week 1 with 220 yards, Trevor Siemian passed for 231 yards and four TDs followed up by 325 yards and two TDs by Carson Palmer. To believe or not to believe, certainly viable based on salary and weapons, but the ground game will be the focus of both teams this week.
Tyrod Taylor (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,100): After three games, Tylor only has 562 yards passing with four TDs while averaging only 26.3 passes per game. His floor is helped by his value as a runner (24/106). QBs have 820 yards passing against the Falcons with four TDs, but they've allowed only 6.1 yards per pass attempt. In addition, Atlanta played well vs. the run over the last two games (15/59/1 and 19/71). Tyrod should be able to dink and dunk his way up the field, but he'll need to hit on some big plays to keep the Bills in the game. Worth a flier based on this being a chaser game and his hookups are extremely cheap. What do you Zay?
Blake Bortles (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,700): Maybe Bortles isn't dead to the Fantasy world after all. He's improved in each game. Blake threw for 244 yards and four TDs vs. the Ravens in London while gaining 7.9 yards per pass attempt. The growth in the run game is a big key to his passing window. The Jets limped into Week 3 after getting run over by the Bills (42/190/1) and the Raiders (27/180/3) while also showing risk vs. the pass (8.0 and 8.2 yards per pass attempt). A trip home did them well as New York dominated the Dolphins last week with success vs. the pass (220/1) and the run (15/30). Low scoring game expected with a lot of rushes. Bortles really doesn't have the weapons to go off in the passing game on the road.
DeShone Kizer (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,600): Kizer had a playable game last week (286 combined yards with three TDs), but he was beat by too many other low value QBs. After three games, DeShone has seven Ints with a fading completion rate (66.7, 48.4, and 46.8). His last two games were on the road so he may rebound this week at home. QBs have only have 559 yards passing vs. Cinci in three games with four TDs. Most of the damage came last week vs. Aaron Rodgers (313/4). The Bengals struggled vs. the run over the first two games (42/157/1 and 35/168/1), which kept the passing stats low. This season I haven't been a fan of Isaiah Crowell in many games, but he may shine this week leading to Kizer being more of a game manager.
Trevor Siemian (DK – $5,200/FD – $7,500): The Siemian whack off feast lasted about one week in the season long games. After delivering seven TDs with 450 yards passing over the first two games, Trevor came up empty in Buffalo (259/0). He now has four Ints in three games. On the positive side, Siemian completed six passes for over 20 yards vs. Buffalo. Last season he passed for 489 yards with four TDs in two games vs. the Raiders. Oakland played well against the pass over the first two weeks (256/0 and 166/2) while Kirk Cousins dominated them (365/3) with his short passing attack. Denver doesn't throw enough to their RBs and they don't have a viable TD so I'll sit this one out with Trevor.
Deshaun Watson (DK – $5,100/$7,300): This is what I wrote about Watson in May: From a winning prospective and overall dynamics added to the offense, the Houston Texans must be ecstatic with the selection of QB Deshaun Watson. He instantly upgrades WR DeAndre Hopkins while adding another dimension to the offense with his ability to run. I don’t see any way Tom Savage beats him out for the starting job over the long haul. Watson comes from a winning program and he’s played in high pressure games. Over the last two seasons at Clemson, Deshaun passed for 8,702 yards with an exceptional completion rate (67.4). He finished with 86 TDs and 30 Ints over that span. When you add his value in the run game (372/1734/21) in 2015 and 2016, a Fantasy owner can see the excitement in this skill set. It won’t take much to see this summer that Watson is the quarterback that gives the Texans the best chances to win in 2017. He has a great wide receiver with a deep threat in Will Fuller. Deshaun’s legs will help those two players shine in the deep passing game. Houston will throw the ball 550 to 600 times so a full season of games for Deshaun should lead to over 4,000 yards passing with 30+ combined TDs and over 600 yards rushing. Complete steal as a QB2 while I fully expect him to be a top 10 Fantasy QB in 2017. After starting on a short week vs. the Bengals, Watson had ten days to get ready for the Patriots, He gave New England all they could handle while being one drop pass by the Texans' CB from earning a huge win. Deshaun finished with 342 combined yards with two TDs, but he did make a couple of mistakes. Watson may have speedster Will Fuller in the lineup this week, which greatly improves the passing offense. QBs have 858 yards passing against the Titans with seven TDs with most of the damage coming from Russell Wilson (373/4). Real short resume, but Watson is a talent player. His upside is tied to the of DeAndre Hopkins. Fast moving clock in this game due to the run game will limit his explosiveness.
Case Keenum (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,800): The dart throwers were rewarded handsomely for using Keenum to Diggs last week. Case looked like a stud vs. the Bucs (369/3) who probably game planned to stop the run. Case completed four balls for over 20 yards with three going for over 40 yards. His boring success vs. the Steelers (167 yards and no TDs) kept most Fantasy owners away last week. All I know is Keenum was the key to winning one million dollars last week at DraftKings. The Lions held the high-flying Falcons to 294 yards passing and two TDs in Week 3 after having more success over the first two games (268/1 and 239/1). The Vikings play at home again so is he a viable double down? I say, "no".
Joe Flacco (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,900): Apparently, Flacco didn't make the trip to London. He completed only eight of 18 passes for 28 yards with two Ints leading to a ride on the bench late in the game. Health was a concern for him coming into 2017 due to a back issue. So far this year, his WRs only have 13 catches for 132 yards and two TDs on 30 targets. This may be a sign of his lack of arm strength and accuracy. In 2016, Joe passed for 503 combined yards and two TDs in two games against the Steelers. Too tough to trust based on the lack of value of his WRs.
Brian Hoyer (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,400): After two short games (193/0 and 99/0) vs. the Panthers and Seahawks, Hoyer found his rhythm last week against the Rams (332/2). He made four big plays downfield with two going for over 40 yards. The Cardinals have played well vs. the run (3.1 yards per rush with three rushing TDs) while allowing 691 yards and seven TDs to QBs. Even with improvement, this isn't a great matchup on the road.
Josh McCown (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,500): McCown continues to have a solid completion rate (69.8) with success in each game (66.7, 66.7, and 78.3). Last week was the first time he made some plays downfield (10.8 yards per pass attempt). Over his last two starts, he's only attempted 47 combined passes. The Jaguars played great vs. QBs in 2017 (443 combined yards with three TDs) while allowing only 4.9 yards per pass attempt. This is bad matchup with both teams looking to establish the run game.