First, I would like to thank Jeff Ellis for filling in for me last week while I was on one of the best vacations I’ve had in a very long time. Life has different ways of showing us what you have waited for, and what you continue to work hard to achieve. I aspire to be a great writer, and a great person while teaching every person I can touch a little about myself and life all in the same moment. Now let me get to why you’re reading this piece in the first place. Football, fantasy football specifically.
• (NYG) Eli Manning vs. Philadelphia Eagles – As poorly as the Giants have looked through the first 4 games, somebody should take a look at Philadelphia’s defense, that after playing the other Manning last week and gave up a franchise high 52 points and 472 yards. The Giants offensive line has looked putrid, and with little help from the run game Eli has looked overwhelmed. Philadelphia’s defense ranks 32nd and Eli better use this opportunity to get his team back in the win column. I am afraid to drop any numbers to his performance. This is a scary time for a Giants fan.
• (CIN) RB Giovanni Bernard – Bernard has made a major impact for the Bengals in the last 3 games stealing more and more carries away from the Law Firm BJE. His ability to catch passes has been impressive, and gives Andy Dalton another weapon to throw to underneath. He has 3 TDs and no fumbles through 4 games. Look for him to continue his ascension in becoming a feature back in the NFL.
• (BUF) RB Fred Jackson – It’s time to give the reigns back to Jackson in Buffalo. Spiller is going through some growing pains this season and while he had a 54 yard TD against the Browns defense on Thursday, he only totaled 66 yards on 8 carries. Do the math. That’s 12 yards on 7 carries. Meanwhile Jackson had 2 TDs against Cleveland and also accounted for more than 40 yards in the passing game. This so called two headed monster with Spiller “running until her pukes” comments from his offensive coordinator in preseason may have been just the motivation for the young back. Too bad CJ wasn’t listening. Both back have been low end RB2s through the first few games, but Jackson is making it clear he still wants to be a feature back in the NFL. I do believe that both backs will put up some good numbers during E.J. Manuel’s absence. Jackson should lead the pair in TDs.
• (NE) WR Danny Amendola – One of Tom Brady’s favorite toys will be back Sunday by all accounts. If you remember, Amendola had 10 receptions for 104 yards in week 1 before his injury plagued body let him down again. Now healthier, we can only hope he can continue to stay that way and allow Brady and the Patriots offense to work their way from the 16th ranked offense to what we are more accustomed to fantasy wise.
• New Orleans Saints DST vs. Chicago Bears – Rob Ryan may not look the part of the usual coordinator in the NFL, but he is getting more than the usual results from his players. The Saints were the worst defense in football last year. Now they are ranked 6th according to NFL.com. That’s a heck of a turnaround! Ryan has a mind for defense, just ask his father Buddy. Rex used to be a hell of a defensive coach too, before he chose the spotlight of being a head coach instead of what he was really good at. Regardless, Rob has captured the minds and hearts of his players and they are listening to his every word. Expect some big things from the Saints if this defense can keep up the momentum.
Less Appealing Options
• (SEA) QB Russell Wilson vs. Indianapolis Colts – Wilson has been a disappointment thus far in 2013. Outside of his game against Jacksonville, he hasn’t thrown more than 1 TD per game. Wilson is in a run heavy system, but he was supposed to do some of that running and except for the last game he hasn’t totaled more than 33 yards on the ground. Though his second half schedule may be easier than the first, Wilson will have to pick up the pace in order to stay relevant as a fantasy QB.
• (IND) QB Andrew Luck vs. Seattle Seahawks – There are a ton of weeks to start Luck with confidence… This isn’t one of them. Seattle has been fantastic defensively this year while the Colts have been running all over their opposition. Look for that trend to continue this week. Bradshaw may be hurt but Trent Richardson should see almost 30 carries, and I would expect him to be the bell-cow in the offense. The only way to slow a good defense down is to make them tired. Running the ball constantly and getting first downs does just that. Luck will be effective but by no means an elite QB in week 5.
• (TEN) RB Chris Johnson vs. Kansas City Chiefs –The Chiefs have been nothing short of amazing this year defensively. With news that Jake Locker won’t be available for a few more weeks, that puts an extra burden on Johnson to be the entire offense for the Titans. Tennessee has no passing attack to speak of other than Nate Washington and he’s probably on the wire in most 10 team leagues. Kenny Britt is a bust and unfortunately for the Titans that is basically their entire offense. Look for KC to continue their defensive dominance against what should be a very different looking Titans team.
• (ARI) WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have looked stellar on the defensive side of the ball. On the other hand, Arizona has looked shaky at best offensively. The Cardinals rank 27th vs. Carolina’s 4th ranked defense. Rankings aside, all it takes is one look at these two teams to see who is heading in the right direction. Even if Cam Newton and the Panthers’ passing attack ranks last in the league, I would still put money down that they beat the spread. Fitzgerald has still been a serviceable play for fantasy teams. But, the inability for Bruce Arians to get Fitzgerald the ball more often than he has is holding both he and the Arizona offense back. The Panthers D are going to eat Carson Palmer alive.
• Houston Texans DST vs. San Francisco 49ers – How can I want to sit the best defense in the NFL? Call it a gut decision. San Fran has shown plenty of life even in their debilitated state. Frank Gore struggled against Seattle and their staunch run defense. He may see a lot of the same coverages against Houston but I believe Colin Kaepernick will get his stuff together and comes out with a bang. I am not totally confident in this prediction, but the one thing I can say with certainty is that Houston’s DST will not keep San Fran from scoring and I expect a score somewhere around 24-21.
Good luck this week to you all and GO NY! If they go to 0-5, I will be expecting GM Jerry Reece’s resignation at seasons’ end regardless of how they finish.