By: Jesse Cook (Correspondent)
Apart from the Cleveland Browns’ first win in 635 days, Saints/Falcons, and another installment of the Patrick Mahomes Passing Instructional Program, Week 3 was kind of drag.
Jimmy Garoppolo is probably out for the rest of the year, the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots both forgot how to catch the football and how to play defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans played a game without a single touchdown, and the Green Bay Packers looked flat-out tired. Everybody hurt at least little after last week.
But let’s focus on the positive:
Despite what I’m hoping is collectively the worst week we’ll see this year, it’s time to recognize that Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield are both going to Hall of Fame. That’s that, pick those two every week for the rest of their careers with no worries. They are the next Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger (or Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees for all you NFC fans) and you can count on the fact that though they might have a rough week every now and then they will both be enshrined in Canton after multiple Super Bowl wins and they are the two greatest athletes, perhaps humans, of the new generation of football players. Don’t pay attention to what they’re projected to get, these guys are for real and should start every week even during byes.
If you have the opportunity, you should always start a player if they are playing against the New Orleans Saints. NO’s defense has essentially be N/A thus far, allowing a total 109 points in just three games. The three quarterbacks that they’ve faced, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor, and Matt Ryan have passed for a combined 1,059 yards.
Granted, the New York Giants, who are at home versus the Saints, rely on their running game, Eli Manning won’t be a bad bet at quarterback either. However Saquon Barkley is probably going to have the biggest game because the Saints have allowed 348 rushing yards, 116 per game. 116 rushing yards is a huge game for any RB, so the rookie Barkley, who rushed for 82 yards against the Houston Texans in Week 1 shouldn’t have the hardest time.
With Jimmy G down for the count, you should drop every Niners receiver you have, but don’t be afraid to hold onto a San Fran running back. Pick up Matt Breida because with C.J. Beathard (or maybe Colin Kaepernick…?) at starting quarterback, I’m expecting a pretty big reliance on the rushing game.
Breida also was eighth in the league in rushing with 90 yards on only ten attempts against the Chiefs. This got him 11.7 on ESPN and NFL and 13.2 points on Yahoo. Not high numbers, but remember that SF only started running a lot with about half the game already played.
I usually don’t put three running backs in the article, but Alvin Kamara is gonna be so good that you just have to add him to your roster. The Saints have the Giants, who have allowed 334 total rushing yards this season, which is 111 yards and one more foot per game. That doesn’t exactly foreshadow anything spectacular, but trust me, here, the Saints are gonna pull their own in every way on offense and with New York expecting a huge airborne presence, they’ll surprise and have Kamara rush for almost 200 yards.
Want a Thursday night pickup? Get Brandin Cooks of the Los Angeles Rams. He caught seven passes for 90 yards, which averages out to 12.9 yards per reception and Jared Goff has targeted the former Patriot and Saint a lot in each game. Right now, with Cooks, it doesn’t look like double coverage is a huge issue because, even under pressure, he’s finding his way around the defense and Goff is consistently putting the ball in his hands.
While defense hasn’t hindered him, he’s also playing the Vikes who allowed 196 passing yards (rather modest) on 15 completions (13.1 yards per completion, which is way more than modest) to previously struggling Buffalo Bills’ rookie quarterback Josh Allen. (Allen also went 15 of 22, with a great 68.2% completion rate)
Calvin Ridley’s another good choice because his 1-2 Atlanta Falcons have got the 2-1 Cincinnati Bengals this week. Cincy has allowed 845 passing yards in three weeks. 150 of those came last week to the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, but Christian McCaffrey’s 184 rushing yards more than made up for it. The Bengals allowed 315+ yards in the first two weeks (and they were to Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco who have been pretty mediocre thus far). Matt Ryan, one of the NFL’s elite, should have a pretty good game, so his top receiver, Ridley, should have a good outing as well.
Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl Champion Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles is an excellent idea for tight end. He attained 73 receiving yards on only five receptions versus the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, averaging 14.6 yards per reception. He got 7.3 fantasy points on ESPN and NFL and 9.8 fantasy points on Yahoo.
This week he has the Tennessee Titans who are playing with an injured Marcus Mariota at quarterback, so chances are that Philly will have the ball way more than Tennessee. Be wary of the Titans’ defense, though because last week, they held the powerful Jags to just six points.
Last, but not least comes to the humble kicker. After the uncertainty of Week 3, you might be inclined to go the unconventional route, but kicker is the one spot where they generally are bad unless they’re a big name. The Detroit Lions absolutely took it to the Patriots, so Matt Prater is a safe bet. He also can get lots of points because he has one of the most powerful legs in football, being one of the few kickers who can consistently split the uprights from upwards of 50 yards. The Lions are also facing the slow Dallas Cowboys’ defense, so Matt Stafford and Kerryon Johnson should be able to give Prater alright field position for a few boots through the pipes.
Good luck this week, and let’s hope 4 is better than the dismal displays we saw in Week 3.