Week 4 Fantasy Football PPR Love/Hate
This is my first week of posting this weekly PPR column.
Hopefully it will give you a small nudge one way or the other on guys that you’re deciding between starting this week. This is a weekly column, so it does not reflect any projections for the rest of the year — it’s just for this week.
If you’ve ever read Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate column, this works the same way. If you have Aaron Rodgers, you’re starting him. He’s your guy. As Berry himself likes to say, “don’t get cute.”
This article is intended to touch on players who may or may not make your roster cut for this week, as well as some high-risk, high-reward flyers and studs most likely to bust. So with that in mind, enjoy!
Quarterbacks I Love This Week
Tyrod Taylor, @ ATL: TyGod is quietly doing his thing again. With perhaps the worst surrounding skill players he’s ever played with, he finds a way to fantasy relevance last week against Denver’s elite defense. He’s rushed at least 8 times in each of his first three games, and his yards on the ground make up for his lack of yards through the air. He’s going to have to throw this week, going up against a great Atlanta attack, but I think he’s got a solid chance to have a big week. Carson Wentz, @ LAC: He’s the real deal. Has weapons around him and there’s not a lot of trust in the running back committee. Wentz scrambles more than you think and has the ability to extend plays at a high level. Going against an above average defense this week but i’m betting on a shootout in LA. Marcus Mariota, @ HOU: Houston’s got a scary front seven and a decent secondary, but Mariota’s rushing yards (77 through 3 games) give him a high floor and, let’s be real: the Titans are crazy talented as a team. Coming off a huge game against Seattle’s nasty D, I like Mariota’s odds to stay hot.
Other QB’s I Love This Week:
Philip Rivers, home vs. PHI: I know, I know. He’s thrown absolutely brutal, nonsensical interceptions this year. But he’s got Melvin Gordon to keep the defense honest, and healthy receiving corps to stretch the field. Philly has zero help in the secondary, and Eli threw at Eagles CB Jalen Mills 21 times last Sunday. I like Phil a lot this week. Carson Palmer, home vs. SF: He still knows how to sling it and he’s (hopefully) getting John Brown back this week. Fitz is coming off of a monster game and I love the matchup against a weak San Francisco secondary. Even at 37 years old, he’s put up 300+ yards twice already this year.
High Risk/High Reward This Week
Deshaun Watson, home vs. TEN: Again, rushing yards. I don’t expect Watson to maintain his 40 yds/game on the ground but it’s something defenses have to account for. He’s got a red hot DeAndre Hopkins and potentially Will Fuller V back this week. We need to see more, and he’s shown very poor accuracy at times, but he’s an exciting play this week at home.
Quarterbacks I Hate This Week
Derek Carr, @ DEN: That offensive line has looked way less dominant than last year and he looked brutal against Washington last Sunday night. Against the best defense in the league in my opinion, in Denver, I don’t see him having a strong outing. Cam Newton, @ NE: You can’t start Cam this week. Not with any confidence, at least. He had 3 interceptions and 0 touchdowns against the Saints last week. That was his easiest matchup of the year. He isn’t running this year, still nursing injuries and has lost his favorite target in Greg Olsen. Good luck this week, Cam. Matt Stafford, @ MIN: Minnesota has an amazing defense and an efficient offense to keep Detroit on their heels. The Lions OC, Jim Bob Cooter, got his team to the playoffs last year by playing possession ball and chewing the clock with long, plotting drives. I love Stafford in general but this week makes me a bit nervous.
QB Stud Most Likely To Bust
Drew Brees, @ MIA: I like Drew Brees. I like the matchup against the Miami defense and Willie Snead being back. But what I don’t like is that the game is in London. Maybe it’s the unfamiliar stadium, or maybe it’s the jet lag; Something about London games just make me a little hesitant. Brees is a superstar, but he’s only human. If you have him, you’re starting him, but if I had to bank on a stud busting this week, that’s who worries me most.
Running Backs I Love This Week
Christian McCaffrey, @ NE: I think New England gets up early and the Panthers will be throwing a ton. McCaffrey has 22 catches through 3 games this season and is absorbing a nice portion of (injured) Greg Olsen’s targets. Carlos Hyde, @ ARI: Plain and simple: When he’s on the field, he’s a beast. The Niners love him and he’s crushing it in the passing game. He’s on pace for over 60 receptions this year, more than double any of his previous season totals. I don’t think he’ll sustain it, but he’s an exciting player who will get 20+ touches every week.
Other RBs I Love This Week
Chris Carson, home vs. IND: He’s the starter. Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy combined had the same number of offensive snaps as me: zero. Carson is the guy in Seattle and somehow he’s still unowned in over 40% of ESPN leagues. Tevin Coleman, home vs. BUF: This dude is a swiss army knife. There are so many different ways and situations for Coleman to get yards every game, regardless of the gamescript. Stuck behind Devonta Freeman, I think of him like a Christian McCaffrey but with a little less volume. Also, Tarik Cohen is not a fluke.
High Risk/High Reward This Week
Joe Mixon, @ CLE: Mixon got his shot at being the feature back in Cincy last weekend, and didn’t disappoint. His usage will be tough to rely on with Hill and Bernard in the backfield, but Mixon is crazy talented and the Bengals are coming off of a nice bounce-back week offensively. I could see Mixon potentially having a 20 point game if things go well, and his odds get a nice little boost against Cleveland’s defense.
Running Backs I Hate This Week
Buck Allen, home vs. PIT: I think Allen will get some nice volume of targets and carries in this one, but two things are going against him: a small sample size and average talent. He’s not an exciting prospect as an athlete, which makes him a little more volume-dependent. Keep an eye on him, though, as the Ravens are in desperate need of a spark. DeMarco Murray, @ HOU: Don’t let last week fool you; despite his 75 yard TD scamper, Murray and Derrick Henry had almost an identical workload against Seattle. Unfortunately, he’s banged up (hamstring) and hasn’t looked 100% this year. Against a strong Houston front 7, I don’t see him getting enough volume to bank on a big week.
Other RB’s I Hate This Week
Chris Thompson, @ KC: Jay Gruden: “He wants the ball more, but he’s not getting the ball more.” Washington loves Chris Thompson. But he’s had a long injury history, he’s averaging 13 yards per touch (nearly impossible to sustain), and he’s gotta come back to earth at some point. Might be time to sell high… Marshawn Lynch, @ DEN: Lynch is trending in the wrong direction. He’s been fine for Oakland this year, but his workload has been meager due to game score and pedestrian O-Line play. I still think he takes all of the goal line carries and like his odds to get into the end zone on a weekly basis, but until the Raiders figure out their offensive issues he makes me nervous.
RB Stud Most Likely To Bust This Week
Todd Gurley, @ DAL: Todd Gurley is a freak. That being said, his schedule is a gauntlet of doom. Houston, Seattle (twice), Minnesota, Arizona (twice), Jacksonville, New York (Giants) and Tennessee. Yikes. Gurley may have the highest value he will have all season right now. I’m not actively trading him, but i’m listening to offers (i’d consider something for an AJ Green, OBJ, etc.). I think Gurley has tons of touches against Dallas and turns out a nice game, but be realistic with your expectations.
Wide Receivers I Love This Week
DeAndre Hopkins, home vs. TEN: Deshaun Watson is the starter which boosts Hopkin’s value, and he’s been targeted 37 times in three games. That’s not going to stop against a pedestrian Titans secondary. Nuff said. Dez Bryant, home vs. LAR: Trumaine Johnson’s a good corner, but Dez has had to face Janoris Jenkins, Chris Harris Jr., and Patrick Peterson his first three weeks. Yeesh. Look for him to get in the end zone this week (maybe twice!). Stefon Diggs, home vs. DET: Another player who probably won’t get more valuable than he is now, so Diggs is another sell-high candidate. But don’t get it twisted — he’s a stud, and I love him this week. A tough CB matchup against Darius Slay but Diggs has shown the ability to draw targets no matter who’s under center for the Vikings.
High Risk/High Reward WR This Week
Martavis Bryant, @ BAL: Come on, this has gotta be his week. Bryant has insane talent and massive upside, but has only flashed his upside once this year. He’s not going to get a lot of receptions, but his big play ability is legit, especially against a mediocre Ravens secondary. Fingers crossed…
Wide Receivers I Hate This Week
Pierre Garcon, @ ARI: Patrick Peterson’s the best cover corner in football. Have fun with that. Oakland Receivers, @ DEN: You probably have to start both Cooper and Crabtree, but it’s gonna take some elite QB play from Carr. Eric Decker, @ HOU: He looks slow, Mariota doesn’t trust him, and he’s not getting looks. Welcome to Dumpsville. Alshon Jeffery, @ LAC: It’s a fine matchup, I just haven’t liked the way Alshon’s looked this year. It’s been the Zach Ertz show (who’s finally having his breakout season) so far, and Philly looks more willing to trust Blount near the goal line. Gotta see more from ‘Shon.
Wide Receiver Stud Most Likely to Bust This Week
Mike Evans, home vs. NYG: The Giants have a loaded secondary and I still believe in their defense. Evans is gonna get a ton of looks, but I could see a 3-catch, 27 yard type of game for him if the Giants make it a point to make someone else hurt them.
Tight Ends I Love This Week
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, home vs. IND: He’s a huge target in the middle of the field on a really, really bad offense. I like his odds to get at least 5 targets and maybe even a close range touchdown in this one. Charles Clay, @ ATL: I know he’s a consensus top-7 play this week but some people didn’t get the memo. He’s the only pass-catcher on this Bills team other than Shady McCoy who Tyrod Taylor has chemistry with. The odds are in his favor this week. Benjamin Watson, home vs. PIT: I don’t think he’s necessarily that talented, but boy does Flacco like his tight ends. I think Watson has a relatively high floor in this home game against the Steelers.
Tight Ends I Hate This Week
Austin Hooper, home vs. BUF: He’s had one fantasy-relevant play this year. Let’s wait until Matt Ryan starts using him more. Hunter Henry, home vs. PHI: WTF, dude… 2 games with zero catches and zero yards? It’s a fluke but how are you supposed to trust him in your lineup? I know I can’t. Not yet, at least. Jason Witten, home vs. LAR: Watch the guy run. I know he’s gotten a lot of looks from Dak but Witten’s looked like end-of-his-career Heath Miller on the Steelers — bad. First ballot Hall of Famer and total class act, but I think Witten’s production so far this year has been a fluke for the most part. Coby Fleener, vs. MIA in London: Playing in London, Willie Snead is back, and he’s relied on touchdowns for almost all of his PPR value. I’m all set this week.
High Risk/High Reward:
Ryan Griffin, home vs. TEN: I think his role grows as the season goes on, and I think that starts this week. Let it fly if you feel good about it.