If your fantasy team is 0-3 it may be because too many of your highly drafted players aren’t living up to their potential. Either you’re dragging them out week after week hoping for a change (Jeremy Hill, C.J. Anderson), or you’re sitting them on your bench until they turn it around. Regardless, they aren’t producing like they were supposed to, but you’re not ready to get rid of them in favor of those who are turning in good results.
Whichever the case, it’s not quite time to panic. Especially if most of the other teams in your league are sitting at 2-1 or 1-2. You’ve still got to treat it one game at a time, but this week is definitely an important one, even just to get your confidence up. And I’m expecting big games from both Hill and Anderson, just so you know. I’m only mentioning them here instead of later because I still consider them studs. They’re just late bloomers this season.
Setting Your Lineup is for those tough decisions you’re faced with every week. Do you start the hot hand or the steady Eddie (Royal, that is)? Who do you target off the waiver wire and why? Every week I let you know three players from each major offensive category who I think will have great fantasy points that week. I also tell you a player to avoid based on matchups, and more.
Here’s to Setting Your Lineup:
QBs to PLAY
Tyrod Taylor vs. NY Giants – The Giants aren’t great on the defensive side, and have routinely been down this year. Taylor will have success throwing it and running it against them in this one.
Derek Carr @ Chicago – You can throw on Chicago, and while Carr isn’t Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson he will still take advantage of the matchup in the Windy City.
Sam Bradford @ Washington – Bradford looked to wake up in that Jets game, which is a good things since it’s time for a divisional rival this week, a team that comes in crippled on both sides of the ball. Look for Bradford to look really good getting the ball to his receivers (and Darren Sproles) this week.
QB to AVOID
Ryan Tannehill vs. NY Jets – Even if the Jets defense plays more this week like they did against the Eagles in the first half of last week’s game, it’s still good enough to pick off Tannehill, who was telegraphing too many throws last week. You may not have better options on your bench, but lower those expectations for the Miami QB.
RBs to PLAY
Karlos Williams – I’ve actually started him the past two weeks as well, and he’s paid dividends for me. I picked him up when he was owned in only 2.7% of leagues on ESPN, but he has the potential for a huge game against the Giants with Shady out. Get him active.
Ryan Mathews – The second I knew Murray wouldn’t play last week I grabbed Mathews off the waiver wire (where he had recently been dumped and left to die) and got him active. I’m glad I did, and I’m rolling him out again this week against the Redskins. He will be active in the passing game again, and that just adds to the points.
Giovani Bernard – I actually like both Bernard and Hill in this one, a matchup with the Kansas City run defense. Because Bernard is the better receiver out of the backfield I like him just a little bit more this week. Hey, A.J. Green can’t carry the team every week, can he?
RB to AVOID
Chris Johnson – That Arizona running game will get murkier this week with the possible easing back in of of Ellington. I would avoid all of them until it shakes out who is actually going to get the most touches. Besides, the Rams defense will be tough up front against the run. Avoid CJ2015K this week.
WRs to PLAY
Vincent Jackson – I’m still not sold on that Carolina defense, and number 2 receivers have done pretty well against them, even this year. I like Jackson’s physicality, and Winston looks for him as a security blanket. I think he’ll have a great game against a divisional foe.
Donte Moncrief – I think Luck plays in this one, but even if he doesn’t, Moncrief has a terrific rapport with Matt Hasselbeck, and I don’t see a dropoff in his production at all happening as a result of a possible quarterback change. He’s proven he can hang on to the ball and get good yardage after the catch. He will explode against the Jaguars.
Doug Baldwin – No, I don’t think that Seattle offense will suddenly be “fixed” but Baldwin was doing just fine regardless of any perceived struggles of Russell Wilson early in this season. Detroit is a salve for all ills, though, and that’s what they both get in Week 4. Look for Baldwin to catch a lot of balls and score at least one touchdown.
WR to AVOID
Terrance Williams – Brandon Weeden has proven that he will spread the wealth, and it seems like the better option would be to play Lance Dunbar in the flex instead of Williams as a WR and you’ll be sure to get more points. Williams is pretty much touchdown dependent, which isn’t good for your fantasy team.
TEs to PLAY
Tyler Eifert – I know, you’re worried about his lack of usage last week, but that was because A.J. Green was wide open all day. It won’t happen again, and Dalton will get the ball back to Eifert consistently this week. Get him active.
Jordan Reed – Who else does Washington have to gain yardage on the Eagles? Garcon? Yeah, sure. Those running backs? Maybe Thompson, but now the Eagles know he’s their pass-catching back. It will be tough sledding, so count on Reed to pick up the slack. Last week was a preview.
Charles Clay – Tyrod Taylor likes his tight end, and it has shown so far this season. It won’t slow down here, and Clay will get a ton of looks against a Giants team that hasn’t proven it can cover the middle of the field. I like Clay in all formats, but particularly in PPR this week for the high volume he should get.
TE to AVOID
Kyle Rudolph – He’s playing against Denver. Don’t get cute.
FLEX to PLAY
Lance Dunbar – Yes, I was serious about playing him in the flex. He is involved enough in that offense with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant out that I believe in him for consistent points in an often inconsistent spot in your fantasy lineup.
Amari Cooper – I’m all in on that Carr-Cooper connection, and it’s shown through the past two weeks. It will show again here with Cooper getting some serious yardage in a game that has every possibility of being a high scoring affair.
Bilal Powell – While Chris Ivory will be active for this one, he’s still dealing with his injury, and I say Powell gets more than his fair share of touches. That Miami defensive line hasn’t played to its potential, and I don’t think they get it done in London either. Powell will get good yardage and a touchdown.
FLEX to AVOID
James Jones – I know. I know. The man is a touchdown machine. But they won’t need him against San Francisco. They’ve had time to prepare for him in the red zone, and I don’t think he gets in. Without his touchdown usage he won’t be worthwhile in fantasy. You may not have better options, but if you do, then sit Jones on the bench.
K to PLAY
Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona
Mike Nugent, Cincinnati
Matt Bryant, Atlanta
K to AVOID
Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia
D/STs to PLAY
NY Jets vs. Miami
Philadelphia vs. Washington
Bengals vs. Kansas City
D/ST to AVOID
Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville