Week 4 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was our first standout Start of the Week this season with his performance in Week 3 against Green Bay, and we're expecting only more great things out of him ahead. He was a Top 10 Fantasy running back last week, and we're hoping he'll be a regular member of the Top 10 each week.
Along with Bernard, we were right on two backup running backs thrust into starting roles with Joique Bell and Bernard Pierce , who finished as Top 15 running backs for Week 3. We also hit on three of our bust alerts in Tom Brady , Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett , and none of them finished as starting options in most standard formats. And two of our sleepers were elite Fantasy options in Josh Gordon and Bilal Powell .
On the other hand, we whiffed badly on a few players like Russell Wilson , Antonio Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw , but no one expected Bradshaw to play as well as he did against the 49ers following the trade to get Trent Richardson .
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Giovani Bernard , RB, Bengals||12||15||59||9|
|Tony Romo , QB, Cowboys||21||26||69||7|
|Joique Bell , RB, Lions||14||18||76||4|
|Bernard Pierce , RB, Ravens||12||12||65||14|
|Tom Brady , QB, Patriots||19||19||68||15|
|Eddie Royal , WR, Chargers||9||3||51||76|
|Martellus Bennett , TE, Bears||11||1||58||39|
|Colin Kaepernick , QB, 49ers||27||4||87||31|
|Knowshon Moreno , RB, Broncos||13||3||81||48|
|T.Y. Hilton , WR, Colts||12||1||53||86|
|Antonio Brown , WR, Steelers||7||31||44||1|
|Russell Wilson , QB, Seahawks||17||29||38||5|
|Ahmad Bradshaw , RB, Colts||6||16||17||8|
Start of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew , Jaguars
We originally had Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw in this space earlier in the week, but when Bradshaw was ruled out Friday with the neck injury it changed our plans, especially since Richardson became an obvious start -- and we don't do that here.
Instead, we're going with their counterpart in the same game in Jones-Drew. It's time to consider him a must-start Fantasy option again.
|Arian Foster||vs. SEA|
|Stevan Ridley||at ATL|
|C.J. Spiller||vs. BAL|
|David Wilson||at KC|
|Rashard Mendenhall||at TB|
Jones-Drew has clearly been a disappointment this season even with his surprise performance against Seattle in Week 3. Despite dealing with a foot injury, Jones-Drew got 19 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, which was the first time he reached double digits in Fantasy points this year. In his first two games against Kansas City and Oakland, Jones-Drew combined for just six Fantasy points.
He has yet to top 50 rushing yards in a game, but he should excel this week against the Colts. Indianapolis has allowed a rushing touchdown in all three games this season to Darren McFadden , Lamar Miller and Kendall Hunter , and Frank Gore had over 100 total yards against them last week. Jones-Drew also has a great history against Indianapolis with double digits in Fantasy points in four of his past five meetings.
I wasn't high on Jones-Drew coming into the season based on his injury status and the lack of weapons around him, and he's struggled so far through three games. But this is a good week to trust him based on his opportunity against the Colts.
Tony Romo (at SD): I'm not quite sure what leagues Romo is being benched in, but he's not started universally on CBSSports.com. His start percentage high was 81 percent in Week 1, and the 31 percent of owners who benched him in Week 3 missed out on 26 Fantasy points in a standard league. This week, Romo has the best matchup on the table against the Chargers, who have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. So far this year, Matt Schaub , Michael Vick and Jake Locker have all scored at least 29 Fantasy points against San Diego, and Romo should follow suit. Please people, believe in Romo this week. He won't let you down.
Michael Vick (at DEN): Don't give up on Vick now after one game against the Chiefs. Kansas City's defense is for real, and Vick might have struggled with the typical Thursday night blues. Prior to his 17 Fantasy points against the Chiefs, Vick had at least 29 points in his first two games. And he's facing a Broncos defense that has allowed at least 20 Fantasy points in two of three outings this year, including dual threat Terrelle Pryor last week. Vick's production will likely come in a comeback effort, but no matter how he gets his Fantasy points they still count.
Andy Dalton (at CLE): We're buying into Dalton this week even though he's struggled so far this season. His Fantasy points have gone down each week by one, which isn't good since he had only 19 in Week 1 at Chicago. But Dalton has a great history against the Browns. In two games against Cleveland last year, Dalton had 698 passing yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. The Browns have only allowed one quarterback to top 20 Fantasy points this season -- Christian Ponder last week -- and he needed two rushing touchdowns. But they've also faced three low-end quarterbacks in Ryan Tannehill , Joe Flacco and Ponder. Dalton will be their biggest challenge to date, and we like him this week.
Andrew Luck (at JAC): There is some concern over Luck following the addition of Richardson that he won't be throwing much, especially in a matchup against the Jaguars. That's a fair point. But as Wilson proved last week against the Jaguars, you don't have to throw much against this defense to be successful as the Seattle quarterback was 14 of 21 passing for 202 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Two of the three quarterbacks to face Jacksonville this season have at least 20 Fantasy points in Alex Smith and Wilson. Luck had at least 18 Fantasy points in two meetings with the Jaguars last season. He should have success against this secondary and we expect him to return as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback this week after a down game in Week 3 at San Francisco with just 14 Fantasy points.
Ben Roethlisberger (at MIN): Roethlisberger is a good bye-week replacement for Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton , and he finally had a productive game in Week 3 against the Bears with 20 Fantasy points. Two things of note happened in that game as encouragement for Roethlisberger. It was Heath Miller first game back from last year's torn ACL, giving Roethlisberger a reliable target. And Roethlisberger finally forced the ball to Brown, who had a tremendous outing. This week, Roethlisberger faces a vulnerable Vikings secondary in London. Minnesota has allowed at least 290 passing yards in all three games this year, and Stafford, Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer all had at least two touchdowns. We hope Roethlisberger's performance in Week 3 is a sign of things to come, and he's worth buying into with his matchup against the Vikings.
|Jay Cutler||(at DET)||This could be a shootout, and Cutler has 20 Fantasy points in two of three.|
|Sam Bradford||(vs. SF)||The SF defense is a mess, and Bradford has 23 Fantasy points in two of three.|
|Joe Flacco||(at BUF)||All three opposing quarterbacks vs. BUF this year have thrown two TDs.|
Eli Manning (at KC): Manning's time is coming, so Fantasy owners just need to be patient. After this week's brutal matchup against the Chiefs, Manning will face the Eagles twice and Minnesota before the bye in Week 8. Those are great matchups for Manning, but you can't trust him this week. He has one touchdown and five interceptions in his past two games, and he was beat up in Week 3 at Carolina with seven sacks. The Chiefs lead the NFL in sacks with 15, so this could be ugly. We'd be hesitant to start Manning in even two-quarterback formats this week.
Carson Palmer (at TB): Palmer started the season with a solid performance at St. Louis in Week 1 with 21 Fantasy points. Since then, Palmer has 16 Fantasy points combined against Detroit and New Orleans. His fate could be tied to Larry Fitzgerald hamstring since he's been hurt the past two games, and Fitzgerald is likely headed for a matchup with Darrelle Revis . Take away Fitzgerald, and it's hard to trust Palmer. The Buccaneers, despite their struggles, have held Drew Brees and Tom Brady to a combined 33 Fantasy points the past two games. That doesn't bode well for Palmer, including a trip east for a 1 p.m. start.
Philip Rivers (vs. DAL): Did reality set in with Rivers in Week 3 or was his performance the first two weeks still the guy you should expect moving forward? Rivers opened the season with 65 Fantasy points against Houston and Philadelphia, but he struggled in Week 3 at Tennessee with 13 points despite completing 20 of 24 passes. He did have a touchdown to Royal nullified by a penalty, but Rivers now has two games with fewer than 200 passing yards. I'm not sure you want to trust the dink and dunk offense he's using right now, and Dallas just shut down the Rams with six sacks of Sam Bradford . Rivers may bounce back with a good game this week, but his small sample size of success still makes him too risky for me as a starter in most formats.
Colin Kaepernick (at STL): This could be a game where Kaepernick does well, especially if Vernon Davis (hamstring) returns as expected. The Rams have allowed at least 21 Fantasy points to all three quarterbacks they've faced with Palmer, Matt Ryan and Romo. But Kaepernick looks lost the past two games. You can understand the Seahawks game in Seattle when he had five Fantasy points against that ferocious defense, but he followed it up with four points against the Colts at home. He also struggled at St. Louis last season with just 208 passing yards and no touchdowns and 84 rushing yards and a fumble. And then there's the Thursday night game where teams tend to struggle, and the 49ers have a short week on the road. Kaepernick is more of a bust alert than an outright sit, but use caution when starting him this week, especially in a game where the 49ers can lean on Frank Gore and their rushing attack.
Matt Schaub (vs. SEA): Schaub had his first bad game of the season in Week 3 at Baltimore with five Fantasy points, and he had 54 points coming into that game. It was his first tough test after starting the season with San Diego and Tennessee, and he was without left tackle Duane Brown (toe), who could miss this game as well. Seattle is a brutal opponent, and the Seahawks have only allowed 24 Fantasy points combined to opposing quarterbacks, including matchups with Newton and Kaepernick. Seattle has allowed just one touchdown all season to opposing quarterbacks, intercepting five passes and registering seven sacks. We'd consider other options over Schaub this week even though he's at home.
Bust alert: Russell Wilson (at HOU): It was great to see Wilson have a standout Fantasy outing in Week 3 against Jacksonville with 202 passing yards, four touchdowns and an interception. It was a surprising effort since Wilson wasn't expected to do much since the Jaguars were a weak opponent. But now Wilson has to perform at that level again, and this matchup at the Texans will be much tougher. Houston has been exceptional against the pass this year, allowing just 158 passing yards per game == the second-lowest average in the league behind Seattle. The Texans have allowed six passing touchdowns, which are 11th-most in the NFL, but four of those were in Week 1 against Rivers. Wilson can always surprise us again, and it's hard to bench him coming off that performance against the Jaguars. But the tough opponent on the road, especially without left tackle Russell Okung (toe), could lead to a letdown, and we just want to warn you prior to him struggling in Week 4.
Giovani Bernard (at CLE): Bernard has been great the past two games and he might never come out of your lineup again barring an injury or the bye week. He will only continue to take more work away from BenJarvus Green-Ellis and he has consecutive games with double digits in Fantasy points against the Steelers and Packers. The Browns have done a nice job in run defense this season with Adrian Peterson 's 88 yards in Week 3 the most they've allowed, but Cleveland has given up a rushing touchdown in all three games against Miami, Baltimore and Minnesota. We expect Bernard to stay hot and he is approaching must-start status in all formats.
Bilal Powell (at TEN): We get addition by subtraction with the Jets because with Chris Ivory (hamstring) out we can now start Powell in the majority of leagues. He's been great the past two games with 26 Fantasy points in a standard league, and he ran for 149 yards against the Bills in Week 3. The Titans have only allowed Arian Foster to reach double digits in Fantasy points against them, but Ben Tate and Danny Woodhead both had at least eight points. Powell is a dual threat with eight catches on the season, and he should be considered at least a flex in all formats now that the job is totally his thanks to Ivory's absence.
Bernard Pierce (at BUF): There are two scenarios with Pierce this week. The first is if Ray Rice (hip) is out. Then Pierce is a must-start Fantasy option and potential Top 10 running back against the Bills. The second scenario would be if Rice plays. Then I'd still consider Pierce a flex option because it's a great matchup. Buffalo has yet to allow a running back to score this season, but Shane Vereen and Powell each ran for more than 100 yards in two of three games. DeAngelo Williams also had 22 carries for 85 yards against the Bills in Week 2, and Pierce has been productive the past two weeks with Rice hurt. He had 19 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland in Week 2 and 24 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown against Houston last week. Keep an eye on what happens with Rice, but Pierce should still find a way into your lineup because he will continue to produce enough to help your Fantasy team this week.
Jason Snelling (vs. NE): Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers did a nice job against the Dolphins in Week 3, which was the first game without Steven Jackson (hamstring). Rodgers had 18 carries for 86 yards and two catches for 7 yards, but Snelling was the better Fantasy option with 11 carries for 53 yards and four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. We expect Snelling to be the better option again, but Rodgers can still be a flex this week since the Patriots have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to a running back in all three games this year. Snelling has consecutive games with double digits in Fantasy points, and he has the better chance to score touchdowns. He's worth starting in most formats based on his role and the matchup.
Le'Veon Bell (at MIN): Bell is expected to make his season debut this week against the Vikings, and we consider him at least a flex option right away. The Steelers need a boost to their ground game, and Bell should provide it against Minnesota. The Vikings have allowed three running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points and only limited Cleveland last week in the Browns first game without Richardson. There's obvious risk with Bell coming off the preseason foot injury, but we're optimistic he's ready to go.
|Joique Bell||(vs. CHI)||He is still worth a flex spot even with Reggie Bush (knee) expected back.|
|Pierre Thomas||(vs. MIA)||MIA has allowed a running back to score in each of the past two games.|
|Danny Woodhead||(vs. DAL)||He should continue to start in PPR leagues with 15 catches in the past two.|
|Brandon Bolden||(at ATL)||He looks like Shane Vereen replacement and is catching passes from Tom Brady .|
|Ronnie Hillman||(vs. PHI)||He could get garbage-time production for the second-week in a row.|
David Wilson (at KC): Buy low on Wilson now. Or if you own him, get ready, because he's about to take off. After this tough matchup with the Chiefs, Wilson has seven quality matchups in his next 10 games against the Eagles twice, Vikings, Raiders, Packers, Redskins and Chargers. The first Philadelphia game is in Week 5, so hopefully Wilson doesn't fumble or get hurt against the Chiefs. Wilson ran well against the Panthers in Week 3 with 11 carries for 39 yards, and he had two carries of 10-plus yards -- including a touchdown run -- come off the board because of penalties. Kansas City should be able to contain Wilson, but his time is coming. Be patient, and he will reward you.
Daryl Richardson (vs. SF): There are several factors working against Richardson this week, including the same scenario as what happened to him in Week 3 at Dallas when he had his injured foot stepped on in the first quarter and left the game. The Rams are going with a committee backfield Thursday against the 49ers, with Richardson sharing carries with Isaiah Pead and even receiver Tavon Austin . Richardson will likely continue to work on passing downs, which gives him some value in PPR leagues, but he's too risky to trust on the short week.
C.J. Spiller (vs. BAL): I'm hoping -- praying? -- this is a breakout game for Spiller. He needs it, and Fantasy owners are desperate to see him play well on a consistent basis. He's been terrible for two games, and now he's dealing with a thigh injury in a brutal matchup against the Ravens. Spiller has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points, and he was miserable in Week 3 at the Jets with 10 carries for 9 yards before getting hurt. He's getting outplayed by Fred Jackson , and Baltimore so far has shut down Denver's three-headed monster, Trent Richardson and the Houston duo through three games. It's tough to bench Spiller in the majority of leagues, but this might be the week to consider other options.
Ryan Mathews (vs. DAL): Mathews continues his downward trend, and he's losing valuable playing time to Woodhead and Ronnie Brown . Woodhead plays on the majority of passing downs, and Brown is getting the goal-line looks. Mathews scored 11 Fantasy points in Week 1 against Houston but has combined for 10 points the past two weeks. Dallas has yet to allow 60 rushing yards in a game this season, including matchups against Wilson and Charles, and Charles is the only one to reach double digits in Fantasy points thanks to a receiving touchdown. It's difficult to even consider Mathews as a flex this week.
Rashard Mendenhall (at TB): Before the season, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he favors using just one running back, with Mendenhall the preferred option. Three weeks in, things have obviously changed, maybe because Mendenhall has a toe injury that he played with in Week 3 at New Orleans. Mendenhall had just nine carries for 29 yards against the Saints, and he played only 23 snaps compared to 27 for Andre Ellington and 18 for Alfonso Smith . Mendenhall could rebound against the Buccaneers, but Tampa Bay has yet to allow a running back to score or top 65 rushing yards. Until we see Mendenhall play at a high level on a consistent basis we wouldn't start him in most formats.
Bust alert: Knowshon Moreno (vs. PHI): Moreno can easily have a monster game against the Eagles. Two running backs have already scored against Philadelphia this year, and Charles had 172 total yards and a touchdown in Week 3. But will Moreno be the one scoring for Denver? Do you really want to decide your Fantasy lineup on a game of rock, paper, scissors like the Broncos did last week against the Raiders with Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball figuring out who would score? (Hillman won, by the way). Moreno had a great game against the Giants in Week 2 (22 Fantasy points) and remains the starter for the Broncos, but his other two games this year against Baltimore (five points) and Oakland (three points) have been mediocre. Start him as a flex option based on potential, but don't be surprised if his production is minimal because Hillman and Ball will also play a role.
Torrey Smith (at BUF): Smith has yet to score a touchdown this season, but this could be the week it happens. The Bills have been torched by opposing receivers with five reaching double digits in Fantasy points through three games, including both Jets last week with Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill scoring touchdowns. Smith has at least 85 receiving yards in all three games, and we're counting on another solid performance in this matchup. If he gets matched up with Buffalo cornerback Justin Rogers then look for Smith to have a big day.
Cecil Shorts (vs. IND): There are several positives working for Shorts this week. He's the most targeted receiver in the NFL with 39, so clearly he's getting plenty of attention. He's facing a Colts defense that has struggled with No. 1 receivers as Denarius Moore , Mike Wallace and Anquan Boldin have combined for 19 catches, 225 yards and two touchdowns. And in two games against Indianapolis last year, Shorts had seven catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns. The one negative? Blaine Gabbert is back as the starter in place of Chad Henne . Shorts has played better with Henne than Gabbert, but we'd still trust Shorts this week based on the matchup. He's worth using as at least a No. 3 receiver.
Antonio Brown (at MIN): Last week's performance against the Bears showed what Brown is capable of, and we expect him to build off that outing when he had nine catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets. It was the first time this season where Brown led the team in targets, and we hope Roethlisberger and the coaching staff learned their lesson. The Vikings have allowed the No. 1 receiver to score and go over 100 receiving yards in each of the past two games against Brandon Marshall and Josh Gordon , and we expect Brown to make it three in a row.
Josh Gordon (vs. CIN): Fantasy owners wondering if Gordon's performance in Week 3 at Minnesota was a fluke or a sign of things to come should bank on the latter. He had 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 targets, and he's going to be heavily involved going forward since Cleveland will struggle to run the ball. Gordon had three catches for 99 yards and a touchdown at home against the Bengals last year, and Cincinnati standout cornerback Leon Hall (hamstring) is banged up. The Bengals have also allowed two touchdowns to opposing receivers this year with three scoring at least nine Fantasy points.
Denarius Moore (vs. WAS): Moore was written off prior to the season, but he's played well through three games. He did have a donut in Week 2 against Jacksonville, but he scored in Week 1 at Indianapolis and Week 3 at Denver. He has a dream matchup this week against the Redskins, who have allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson last week. Even with Matt Flynn potentially stepping in to replace Terrelle Pryor (concussion) we would still consider Moore as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver.
|Mohamed Sanu||(at CLE)||No. 2 WRs shine vs. CLE. See Brian Hartline and Marlon Brown .|
|Marlon Brown||(at BUF)||Brown and Torrey Smith could be Holmes and Hill this week.|
|Ryan Broyles||(vs. CHI)||He's back, Nate Burleson (arm) is out and Matthew Stafford will target him.|
|Donnie Avery||(vs. NYG)||If Avery matches up with Aaron Ross he'll have his second big game in a row.|
|Kenbrell Thompkins||(at ATL)||Five receivers have already reached double digits in Fantasy points vs. ATL.|
Andre Johnson (vs. SEA): Johnson could be in for a tough week against the Seahawks, especially since he's not 100 percent. Johnson is battling a shin injury, and he will likely match up with Richard Sherman , who should cause problems for the standout receiver. Johnson also has yet to score a touchdown this season and has combined for just 10 Fantasy points in his past two games against Tennessee and Baltimore. He left both those games due to injuries -- a concussion against the Titans and the shin against the Ravens -- and we hope he'll rebound soon. If you can afford to sit Johnson this week outside of three-receiver leagues it might be a good idea.
Hakeem Nicks (at KC): Nicks is frustrated, and rightfully so, after he had just one target and no catches against the Panthers last week. He has yet to score a touchdown, and he trails Victor Cruz in targets, 27-16. The Chiefs will likely use Brandon Flowers on Nicks this week, and it will be a tough matchup. Flowers helped limit Shorts to four Fantasy points in Week 1 and DeSean Jackson to six Fantasy points in Week 3. Dez Bryant beat up Flowers in Week 2, but he got 13 targets from Romo in that matchup. We'd love to see Nicks rebound with a big game, but it's risky to start him as anything more than a No. 3 receiver in this matchup.
Dwayne Bowe (vs. NYG): The Giants haven't done many things right this season, but they have been able to contain No. 1 receivers. Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and Steve Smith have all been held to five Fantasy points or less in standard leagues, and a lot of credit goes to cornerback Prince Amukamara . This matchup should be easy by comparison since Bowe has really been a non-factor catching the ball this year. He hasn't topped 60 receiving yards in a game with one touchdown, and in Week 3 at the Eagles he was held to one catch for 4 yards on four targets. Alex Smith isn't taking shots with Bowe down the field, and we have no problem benching Bowe in the majority of leagues this week.
Mike Williams (vs. ARI): The Bucs benched Josh Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon , and we're concerned for the passing game in Tampa Bay moving forward. It's difficult to bench Vincent Jackson in the majority of leagues, but you can likely sit Williams in most formats. He scored in Week 1 at the Jets, but since then he's combined for six Fantasy points against New Orleans and New England. The Cardinals have only allowed two receivers to score, and only Calvin Johnson has reached double digits in Fantasy points. Let's see how Glennon does before you trust Williams, and he's also dealing with a hamstring injury, which could further limit his production.
Santonio Holmes (at TEN): For the second week in a row the Titans get to face the hot receiver off the waiver wire. In Week 3 it was Royal, who was held to two catches for 34 yards after scoring five touchdowns the previous two games. This week they get Holmes, who just had a dominant game against the Bills with five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Prior to Week 3, Holmes had four catches for 64 yards combined. It could be that his injured foot is finally healthy, and he's ready to bounce back as a quality Fantasy option. That might be the case, but it doesn't mean you have to start him. He had a great matchup against the Bills, but Tennessee has only allowed one receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points, which was DeAndre Hopkins in Week 2. Otherwise the Titans have limited Brown, Andre Johnson and Royal to 17 combined Fantasy points, and Holmes could struggle in this matchup.
Bust alert: Larry Fitzgerald (at TB): It's a great sign that Fitzgerald's hamstring appears to be close to 100 percent since he practiced in full Wednesday. He has struggled the past two games against Detroit and New Orleans because of the injury with nine Fantasy points combined. He could easily rebound this week, but it should be a tough matchup against the Bucs and likely Revis. Tampa Bay did allow Kenbrell Thompkins to score two touchdowns in Week 3, but the Bucs haven't allowed a receiver to top 65 receiving yards this season. Revis also helped limit Marques Colston to four catches for 63 yards in Week 2, and Fitzgerald could suffer a similar fate. It's nearly impossible to bench Fitzgerald in the majority of leagues given his upside when he plays well, but don't be surprised if Revis makes it tough on him in this matchup.
Coby Fleener (at JAC): The Jaguars young secondary was abused in Week 3 by Seattle, especially when safety Dwight Lowery (concussion) went down. If he's out this week then look for Fleener to take advantage like Seattle's Zach Miller did when he had two touchdowns. Fleener was a disappointment in Week 3 at San Francisco with two catches for 13 yards on two targets, but we're still starting him this week. If he gets enough targets he'll finish with a quality stat line.
Martellus Bennett (at DET): Bennett, as expected, struggled in Week 3 at Pittsburgh, but he should rebound this week. The Lions have yet to allow a big game to an opposing tight end this season, but the best talent they've faced was Kyle Rudolph in Week 1. The Redskins last week had Logan Paulsen and Jordan Reed combine for nine catches for 101 yards, and we expect Bennett to rebound in this matchup. He had his fewest targets against the Steelers with five, but the Bears will be throwing more in this matchup with the Lions, meaning more passes -- and production -- for Bennett this week.
Heath Miller (at MIN): The Vikings allowed Joseph Fauria to score a touchdown against them in Week 1, Bennett to score two touchdowns in Week 2 and Jordan Cameron to score three touchdowns in Week 3. Does that mean Miller will get four touchdowns this week? Sorry to lower your expectations, but you might have to settle for one touchdown. Miller returned to action last week against Chicago from last season's torn ACL and had three catches for 35 yards on four targets. Now that he shook off the rust, look for him to continue the trend of tight ends doing well against the Vikings.
|Mychal Rivera||(vs. WAS)||Three tight ends have already scored vs. WAS this season.|
|Joseph Fauria||(vs. CHI)||He has two TDs in three games and should benefit with Burleson out.|
|Charles Clay||(at NO)||He has at least six targets in all three games this season.|
Owen Daniels (vs. SEA): Daniels started the season playing well with 18 Fantasy points at San Diego in Week 1. He has combined for 10 Fantasy points in his past two games, and he could struggle again this week. The Seahawks have allowed eight Fantasy points combined to opposing tight ends through three games, including matchups with Greg Olsen and Davis. Going back to last season, only two tight ends in Seattle's last 19 regular-season games have reached double digits in Fantasy points, and we're not counting on Daniels to join that list in this matchup.
Kyle Rudolph (vs. PIT): The Steelers just held Bennett to two catches for 10 yards, and they should be able to contain Rudolph in this matchup. He has one touchdown on the season, which was Week 2 at Chicago, and he combined for four Fantasy points in his other two matchups at Detroit and against Cleveland. The Steelers have only allowed two tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points in their last 19 games, and we're not confident in Rudolph doing enough to make him a starter against this defense.
Brandon Myers (at KC): Myers faced the Chiefs twice last season while with the Raiders and struggled. He was held to five catches for 64 yards and no touchdowns on seven targets in both games. This season, the Chiefs have allowed seven Fantasy points combined to opposing tight ends, including matchups with Jason Witten and Brent Celek . Myers started the season playing well with 12 Fantasy points at Dallas in Week 1, but he's combined for 10 Fantasy points in his past two games. We wouldn't expect Myers to do much this week against Kansas City at home.
Bust alert: Tony Gonzalez (vs. NE): Gonzalez is off to a slow start this season, which isn't shocking since he was away from the team for most of the preseason. Through three games, Gonzalez has just 11 catches for 93 yards and one touchdown, and he has yet to reach double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, with 14 points combined. He has a tough matchup this week, so you might consider benching him for someone like Miller. The Patriots have yet to face a tight end of note with matchups against the Bills, Jets and Buccaneers, but Gonzalez has struggled against Bill Belichick throughout his career. In their past five meetings going back to 2002 when Gonzalez was with Kansas City, he has 19 catches for 237 yards and no touchdowns. His best game was eight Fantasy points in 2004, but Gonzalez has averaged just four Fantasy points a game over that span against New England. It's hard to bench Gonzalez, but don't be surprised when he struggles.
Chiefs (vs. NYG): Andy Reid was expected to improve the offense for the Chiefs this season. No one expected the defense to do this well. Under new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, the Chiefs have the No. 1 DST this year. Kansas City has allowed 34 total points this season and leads the NFL with 15 sacks. The Chiefs also have four interceptions, five fumbles and two defensive touchdowns. This week, the Chiefs face Manning, who leads the NFL in interceptions with eight. The Giants couldn't slow down the Panthers last week in a 38-0 loss, and Manning was sacked seven times. This could be a disaster for the Giants, and the Chiefs DST is a must-start option in all leagues.
49ers (at STL): The 49ers DST has been among the worst Fantasy options at any position given their draft value. They were drafted on average in Round 7 on CBSSports.com, and they are currently the No. 29 DST in standard leagues -- behind the Jaguars, Redskins, Raiders and Bills, among others. Standout pass rusher Aldon Smith (personal) is away from the team to handle his off-the-field problems, and the 49ers have only generated three turnovers so far this year. This isn't the toughest matchup since Bradford was sacked six times last week at Dallas, and the games Thursday night tend to be low-scoring affairs. But the 49ers are giving up an average of 28 points a game, and the loss of Smith could prove costly. We'd rather start the Chiefs, Colts, Titans, Bucs, Jets, Cowboys and Saints this week than the 49ers.
|Ryan Succop||vs. NYG|
|Robbie Gould||at DET|
|Shaun Suisham||at MIN|
Sebastian Janikowski (vs. WAS): Janikowski is coming off his worst game of the season in Week 3 at Denver when he didn't attempt a field goal. He should rebound at home against the Redskins. In his lone home game this year in Week 2 against Jacksonville, Janikowski made four field goals and one extra point. All three kickers to face the Redskins this season have at least seven Fantasy points, mostly on the strength of extra points (they're second in the NFL with 12 allowed). We expect the Raiders to move the ball this week, and Janikowski is worth starting in all leagues.
Randy Bullock (vs. SEA): Bullock has been one of the bigger disappointments this season. He has multiple field goals in one game despite eight attempts, and he has yet to crack double digits in Fantasy points. In his lone home game against the Titans in Week 2, Bullock missed three field goals. The Seahawks have only allowed two field goals this season, and Josh Scobee is the high scorer against them with five points in Week 3. Until we see Bullock connect on a more consistent basis you shouldn't consider starting him in most formats.
Disclaimer ... Please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you with the tough decisions.