What a week.
Sometimes, all the analysis, all the film breakdowns, all the expert picks in the world is rendered moot. Sometimes, the NFL rears back its giant, metaphorical hand back to deliver a decisive backhand that says: you don’t know squat. Here’s what we do know:
Tom Brady is good.
Aside from his metronomic-consistency, can you really feel confident about anything else in the NFL at this point?
I certainly did not emerge unscathed, going 7-9 against the spread (after nearly running the table in week two). I’m also the guy who recommended benching Todd Gurley, which you hopefully ignored.
Thursday, September 28th
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-7)
The Packers survived the Bengals by the skin of their teeth. The Bears defense lacks the same bite and their offense won’t be able to keep up with Rodgers and company. Packers cover.
Start/Sit: Davante Adams (start)
Rodgers’ favorite red zone target has only one touchdown this season. Expect him to add to that total against an injured, Bears secondary.
Sunday, October 1st
New Orleans Saints (-2.5) @ Miami Dolphins
The Saints turned in a vintage, offensive performance last week. The Dolphins turned in a vintage performance of their own – though not in a good way. The Saints cover.
Start/Sit: DeVante Parker (start)
The Saints make fantasy starts out of wet blankets. Parker, who has topped 70 yards in each of Miami’s first two contests, is no wet blanket. Start him and watch the fireworks.
Buffalo Bills @ Atlanta Falcons (-8)
After shutting down the Broncos’, potent offense, Buffalo’s defense doesn’t get much of a breather. For the first time this season, they’ll face a quarterback who can stretch the field. It won’t be an offensive explosion, but the Falcons will cover at home.
Start/Sit: Taylor Gabriel (sit)
The Bills have yet to allow a single passing play longer than 30 yards. Leave the Falcons’ home run hitter on your bench this week.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ Cleveland Browns
Who dey? After a solid, defensive showing against Green Bay, Cincinnati gets to take out their frustrations on the hapless Browns. The return of Vontaze Burfict will only help matters, up front. The Bengals will cover again.
Start/Sit: Isaiah Crowell (start)
As DeShone Kizer’s mobility gains more attention from defenses, expect running lanes to open up slightly for the UGA product. If you’re looking for touchdowns, I think he gets in for one this week.
Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
Two premier running backs will face off against two, top-ten run defenses. Assuming those factors cancel each other out, the difference will be made in the passing game. Dallas has better talent at the top, but the Rams have more depth. Los Angeles will keep the game close enough to cover the spread.
Start/Sit: Cole Beasley (start)
Beasley was a forgotten piece in week three. The Rams defensive line will provide a limited window of time for Dak Prescott, so look for a lot of short throws from the Cowboys offense. Beasley is a decent PPR-flex play this week.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
At the time of publication, there was no line on this game. The uncertainty is due to the health questions surrounding Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford. Regardless of who lines up behind center, I expect Minnesota to win a high-scoring affair.
Start/Sit: Stefon Diggs (sit)
Minnesota may look to throw the ball elsewhere if Diggs is shadowed by shutdown cornerback, Darius Slay. Sit him if you have better options.
Carolina Panthers @ New England Patriots (-9)
Carolina is 2-1 but can’t be feeling too good about themselves – especially with the slate of injuries that has struck the offense. Cam Newton hasn’t looked his usual self. He’d have to have an unbelievable day for the Panthers to keep up. Patriots cover.
Start/Sit: Jonathan Stewart (start)
New England has struggled to defend the run. Look for Ron Rivera to employ a ground-heavy attack, to try and alleviate pressure off of Newton.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) @ New York Jets
It’s crazy how a week’s passage can change things. Jacksonville, who was basically left for dead at the side of the road, is now a road favorite. In what is sure to be a nearly-unwatchable game, I’ll take Jacksonville and their elite defense to cover.
Start/Sit: Marqise Lee
From late-round, fantasy dart throw to Blake Bortle’s number one option. Lee paces the Jaguars’ receivers in routes and targets. He has yet to hit payday thus far, but that could change against this woeful Jets team.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens
The overreaction play is to assume that the Steelers will roll. However, these two teams always play each other close, and I’m taking the Ravens at home in a low-scoring affair.
Start/Sit: Terrance West (start)
The maddeningly-inconsistent West could get back on track this week, against a Steelers defense that just allowed over 200 rushing yards to the Bears.
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) @ Houston Texans
For Houston, I worry about the emotional letdown from last week’s heartbreaking loss to New England. For Tennessee, it’s stringing together a consistent effort defensively. I think the Titans will put up enough points to sneak by and cover.
Start/Sit: Rishard Matthews (start)
Houston’s defense has been beatable through the air. Matthews rapport with Marcus Mariota gives him a solid floor. He’s a decent flex option in standard and a borderline WR2 in PPR.
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals (-7)
Division match-ups are always risky bets. In theory, the Cardinals should win handily. Reality is never that neat, however; I think San Francisco keeps it close enough to cover.
Start/Sit: Carlos Hyde (sit)
Hyde is dealing with a nagging hip injury and going up against a stingy, Cardinals defense. Expect low yardage totals, making him a touchdown-dependent RB2, this week.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5)
Two teams going in opposite directions; The Eagles are fresh off a miraculous win while the Chargers are 0-3. With no evidence to support this claim, I think Los Angeles gets a notch in the win column, this week.
Start/Sit: LaGarrette Blount (sit)
It’s cliché, but Blount is the classic “game script” running back. The Eagles offense will likely be in catch-up mode, so expect to see a lot of Blount standing around on the sidelines.
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
The Giants covered, last week, but I’m tired of picking them. This talented Tampa Bay squad should be able to handle New York at home. The Bucs will cover.
Start/Sit: Jameis Winston (sit)
Interceptionitis returned to the Tampa Bay quarterback, who tossed three picks in last week’s loss to Minnesota. With a match-up against a good, Giants secondary, leave Winston on the bench if you can afford to.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos (-2.5)
The Broncos and Raiders both look to get back on track after being trounced in week three. It’s gut-check time for the Raiders offense, who was a no-show against the Redskins. Life doesn’t get any easier this week, however, against a tough Broncos defense. Denver wins at home.
Start/Sit: Marshawn Lynch (start)
After going pass happy, last week, expect Oakland to give Lynch a shot if they get the ball in close.
Indianapolis Colts @ Seattle Seahawks (-13)
This may end up being the season’s worst Sunday night match-up. Seattle is smarting after tough, road loss to Tennessee. I fully expect them to take out their frustration on the Colts. Thirteen is high, but I don’t see Indy moving the ball a whole lot. Seattle covers.
Start/Sit: Tyler Lockett (start)
Some of Seattle’s skill players are battling injuries, this week. Lockett is healthy and poised for a big play or two against the Colts.
Monday, October 2nd
Washington Redskins @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
Washington surprised Oakland, last week. The Chiefs won’t take them so lightly, and Arrowhead is always a tough place to play. As a Redskins fan I don’t like it, but Kansas City will cover.
Start/Sit: Jamison Crowder (start)
Terrelle Pryor may be shadowed by Marcus Peters, leaving Crowder free to exploit holes in the Chiefs’ secondary.