Week 4

donaldbrownAnother Thursday game, another blowout. And all I have to say is that while Larry Donnell is no Julio Jones, he did his best impression of the man himself in that Giants/Redskins game. I guess Kirk Cousins isn’t the second coming of Jesus Christ either after being heralded as such after a great game and 3/4ths. Five turnovers later and you’re wondering why you picked him up off the waiver wire and inserted him into your lineup.

That’s okay, though. Hopefully you listened to me and stayed away from wide receivers in that Thursday game. Oh, but that Giants defense put up a bunch of points, didn’t they? So, perhaps you’re already down in your fantasy league, but no need to panic. If you set your lineup correctly you will catch up and surpass the team you’re playing against. That’s how I beat the guy who had Julio Jones drop over 30 points against me last week. No worries.

It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…

QUARTERBACKS

Jay Cutler, CHI. Playing against a deflated Green Bay defense is just the right situation for Jay Cutler to find himself in this week, playing at home against a suddenly vulnerable Packers team that just got crushed by Detroit when even they weren’t playing their best. Cutler is playing some good ball right now, and looks like a lock to keep it going at home this week.
Tony Romo, DAL. DeMarco Murray can only carry this team so far. He is not a machine, however, and the more work they give him the more chance he gets injured (again), so Romo needs to pull an Eli Manning and get it cooking this week against a New Orleans defense that stiffened last week (albeit against Minnesota). I think he’ll summon up some of that Romo magic and ease Murray’s load this week.
Alex Smith, KC. Smith is a game manager, but he was a bit off that first week. He’s hitting his stride now, and against a New England defense that will give up the big play he’s a viable option this week. If you’re looking for consistency with upside, then Smith is your guy, especially if Jamaal Charles is back because he keeps the defense honest and gives Smith more time to operate. He will score at least 20 standard fantasy points in what I believe will be a win against the Patriots.
Colin Kaepernick. Speaking of consistency, Kaepernick is a model of it this season. He puts up 20 fantasy points each week, guaranteed, because of his passing and his running. Philadelphia just gave up 427 passing yards to Kirk Cousins and the Washington receivers. Kaepernick will throw the rock, and he will have success doing it against that Eagles defense. Get him active.

AVOID: Geno Smith, NYJ. Smith has been trying to do too much this season when the Jets should be helping him out by leaning on their running game more. Chris Ivory is a good play this week if they decide to play to their strengths against the Lions, who play good pass defense. Smith may score in double-digits but barely this week.

RUNNING BACKS

James Starks, GB. Don’t look now, but Starks had more fantasy points last week than LeSean McCoy, Montee Ball, and the de facto number one in Green Bay, Eddie Lacy. I’m concerned that Lacy has lost a step, and I think Starks is the smarter play against that Bears defense, which will be geared up to stop the running style of Lacy, and not Starks.
Fred Jackson, BUF. That Houston defense proved to be penetrable after all, and Jackson is not such a different runner from Rashad Jennings, who ran roughshod over them a week ago. Besides, Jackson gets more goal-line work than any of the other backs on that roster, and the Bills should be able to score on Houston.
Chris Ivory, NYJ. He’s playing that Detroit defense this week, and while Eddie Lacy and James Starks didn’t light it up, they play behind a week O-line in Green Bay. The Jets are stronger in that regard, and Ivory should get some room to roam in this game. And like Jackson, he should also get some goal-line work.
Donald Brown, SD. Brown is the only show in town. Hey, that rhymed. But it’s also true now that Woodhead has joined Ryan Mathews in limbo. Against the Jacksonville defense you should be starting every single Charger you can, but especially Brown because he will be used heavily in what is commonly termed “garbage time,” and he has the ability to put up a ton of points this week.

AVOID: Ahmad Bradshaw, IND. The plan in Indianapolis this week is to get a big lead and keep adding on, and as long as they have Andrew Luck that should happen against a Tennessee team that has fallen apart defensively of late. Garbage time for them will still be throwing the football, which doesn’t allow for Bradshaw to have his best game. He may get double-digits in fantasy points, but it will most likely be just 10.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jeremy Maclin, PHI. He has scored a touchdown in every game so far, and I don’t see that changing against a San Francisco defense that gives up yardage, especially in the second half, which is when the Eagles have come alive. That keeps up here, and with the emergence of Jordan Matthews that opens up even more real estate for Maclin to work. He will score two touchdowns in this game.
Eddie Royal, SD. Royal is back, and making defenses pay. I know Keenan Allen is due for a “get-right” game, but I just don’t see it happening with the chemistry that Rivers has with Royal right now. He’s keeping defenses honest, and he’s burning them in the secondary. Oh, and he’s scoring touchdowns. Keep him active during this streak, even if Allen does eventually come around..
Steve Smith, Sr., BAL. Just like with DeSean Jackson going back to Philadelphia last week, this one is a revenge game, and never underestimate the power of a wide receiver scorned. Besides, Smith has become the number one target anyway for Joe Flacco, and he’s playing against a suddenly vulnerable Carolina pass defense.
Marques Colston. It’s tough to trust Drew Brees or Marques Colston this season so far, which is as weird to type as it is to admit. But against that Dallas defense it might just be a renaissance, or at least a bit smoother sailing than it’s been lately. Colston isn’t what he used to be, but Brees needs another receiver besides Graham to step up, and I think Colston does that this week.

AVOID: Julian Edelman, NE. Tom Brady and that Patriots offense just aren’t right at the moment, and I don’t feel good trusting any of them, even against that Kansas City defense on Monday night. Edelman only had 8 standard fantasy points last week in an offense that looked positively anemic in scoring a bunch of field goals. Until I see that change I’m leaving him on the bench.

TIGHT ENDS

Martellus Bennett, CHI. Big game for Bennett last week, and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. As long as Brandon Marshall is hampered, Bennett is Cutler’s security blanket, and against that Green Bay defense he will stand tall for a second week in a row. Keep rolling with Bennett this week.
Owen Daniels, BAL. I think Flacco has a big game against Carolina, so all of his receivers will get into the mix, including the tight end, Daniels. With Pitta out for the rest of the season that puts Daniels into the spotlight, and he did score two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. I think he scores again in this one.
Jason Witten, DAL. As I said before, I think Tony Romo has a big game this week, and he will get Witten going too. So far his tight end has been a huge disappointment to fantasy owners, but that New Orleans defense is just the right cure for all ills. If the Cowboys are going to be consistent, they need to get Witten active in this one, and they will.
Antonio Gates, SD. He’s playing against the Jaguars. Need I say more?

AVOID: Greg Olsen, CAR. I know if you have Olsen you’re probably playing him anyway, but Baltimore has been really good against tight ends this season so far, and they know that the only receivers worth a real look for Carolina are Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin. They will lock down on both and Olsen won’t have a good game.

Good luck setting your lineups.

The Fantasy Ace

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