Are they going to make the switch to Doug Martin? Yes, I don’t think it’s a question. The team doesn’t want to give the perception that Martin didn’t do anything wrong by coming out and saying he’s taking every snap, but this team wants to attempt to play good defense and run the ball. Their defense hasn’t been playing too well, but Martin can help them sustain drives and keep games more manageable. Martin looked electric in the preseason, and I expect him to take over the starting gig right away and get a ton of touches against the Patriots. This defense has been horrible so far this season, and the Bucs should be able to move the ball with no issues, and Martin should be a big part of that. The Patriots have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to running backs through four weeks this season, and I don’t see that slowing down this week. He’s a bit of a risky play, but I’m willing to take it this week.
A lot of what Philip Rivers likes to do goes through Keenan Allen, and Allen will be locked up with Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie most of the game. The Giants rank 31st against the rush DVOA, so I think the Chargers will try to move the ball on the ground to avoid Rivers throwing it into tough matchups. Gordon should be a start every week because of his usage in this offense, but I wanted to point out that the Giants haven’t been particularly good against the run so I’m not even thinking about benching him.
The 49ers have been giving up a lot of carries, yard, and fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Colts are at home, and they should be riding Gore in this game. Teams have really been able to run the ball against the 49ers: 31 carries to Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey, 20 carries to Chris Carson, 28 carries to Todd Gurley and 18 carries to the horrible running duo of Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. Not only that, but they’ve also been giving up a ton of receptions to backs: 25 receptions to running backs in the past four games, and they are 23rd in defense to pass-catching RBs DVOA. Gore is set up to have a nice game, so if you’re in need of RB help while one of your backs on are on bye, know that Gore is in a good spot this week.
No Derek Carr, and the Raiders have to go up against the Ravens, whose secondary is lights out. The Raiders aren’t going to be able to get it done via the passing game, so they’re going to try to establish the run early and try to move the ball primarily that way. This means a lot of Marshawn Lynch. Leveon Bell had a ridiculous 35 carries last week against the Ravens; I don’t expect anywhere close to that for Lynch, but I think 20+ carries is a safe bet, especially because I expect this to remain a close game. If you’re worried about Lynch, I get it, but he’s in a spot this week where the team will need to ride him.
Jaron Brown and John Brown
Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills have been doing an atrocious job on the outside for the Eagles after Ronald Darby got hurt early in the season. They’ve given up the 1st and 5th most fantasy points to WRs on each of their sides of the field, respectively. Larry Fitzgerald has a bit of a tougher matchup in the slot, so I expect Carson Palmer to find these guys, assuming that the pass rush isn’t too heavy for him to even have a chance to throw the ball. The Cardinals are throwing the ball a ton this year because they simply can’t run the ball. Jaron Brown is averaging close to 10 targets per game over the last 3 games, and in the two full games John Brown has played, he is averaging 8 targets. With bye weeks and Amari Cooper, there are plenty of reasons to have these guys in your lineup this week.
Since Greg Olsen has been out, Devin Funchess’ role has been clear as Cam’s intermediate, high percentage route runner. He’s had target numbers of 6, 10, and 9 in the last 3 games, and 15 catches for almost 200 yards. In Week 5, expect Kelvin Benjamin to have his hands full with shut-down corner Darius Slay, who expects to shadow Benjamin in this game. Cam Newton will probably look elsewhere and see that Funchess is being shadowed by Nevin Lawson (PFF rated 40.6/100). With that plus matchup, there’s no reason for Cam to test Slay, and expect Funchess to continue to get the targets. He’s a good play in PPR leagues, with the upside for a TD.
Geronimo Allison if Davante Adams can’t go
When Adams went out of the game last week, we saw that Allison came in for him. He also played in place of Randall Cobb when he was out with an injury. It seems like Allison is the handcuff to all of these Green Bay wide receivers, which makes him quite valuable. It’s looking good for Adams to suit up this week, but there’s still a chance he can’t go; if that’s the case, fire Allison up in your lineup. The side of the field where Davante Adams lines up has been a vulnerability of the Cowboys defense, giving up the 8th most fantasy points to wide receivers. That combined with being one of Aaron Rodgers’ pass catchers is a recipe for success.
DeVante Parker (any format) and Jarvis Landry (PPR)
The Titans’ secondary has been HORRIBLE. Look what Deshaun Watson did to them last week, and look what Russell Wilson did to them the week before. The Titans have given up the 4th, 2nd, and 10th most fantasy points to the left wide receiver, the slot wide receiver, and the right wide receiver, respectively. This is a defense to attack through the air, and we all know Jay Cutler likes to air it out, good coverage or bad. DaVante Parker and Kenny Stills primarily line up on the outside, while Jarvis Landry will do his thing from the slot. Adoree’ Jackson and Brice McCain, the outside corners, are rated 43.3 and 45.5 out 100 by Pro Football Focus… not good. I do have Kenny Stills in the “If you’re desperate” section below because he can easily catch a bomb for a TD in this game.
Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen
Not that you weren’t starting Stefon Diggs, but maybe you thought about it because of Case Keenum and his potentially tough matchup with the Bears at home. Don’t worry about Diggs though; Kyle Fuller will be on him most of the time. The Bears have allowed the single most fantasy points per game to Fuller’s side of the field, where Diggs runs a majority of his routes from. Diggs is in for a big day as long as Keenum can find him. Thielen also has a good matchup against Bryce Callahan, who’s been giving up the 9th most fantasy points to the slot receiver on a per game basis. If Keenum looks towards his two best receivers, this team should be able to move the ball.
Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, and Chris Hogan
Start all of your Patriots WRs in this game. The Bucs have been giving up the most fantasy points to wide receivers as a team, and with the Patriots giving up the most fantasy points as a whole, this game expects to be a shootout with a ton of positive game script for the passing attack. Going from left to the right, The Bucs secondary has given up the 3rd, 4th, and 7th most points to those respective parts of the field, so any of these receivers, if not all, can go off in this game. Make sure they’re in your lineup.
You’re starting Mike Evans obviously, but there’s always a question whether DeSean Jackson should be in your lineup. The Patriots have given up the 4th most fantasy points to wide receivers, the side of the field that D-Jax usually lines up on has given up the 11th most fantasy points to WRs, have allowed 19 20+ yard passing plays this year (3rd most), and 4 40+ yard passing plays (3rd most). Do you need any more reason to have him in your lineup in Week 5?
If you’re desperate:
Humphries has had 17 targets in the last two weeks, and is going to be in a shootout with the Patriots Thursday night. The Patriots have been one of the worst defenses overall, and has actually given up the most fantasy points to the slot WR position in the league. Jameis Winston is looking for him now, so this seems like a well placed bet if you’re going to play someone as risky as Humphries. I prefer playing him in a PPR league, since he’s a low ADOT (average depth of target) guy.
Mike Wallace had 10 targets last week out of nowhere, and we shouldn’t expect that to continue. However, you might be in a jam in a 12 or 14-team league, so if you want to take a shot, Wallace might be someone you want to put in your lineup in Week 5. Wallace will primarily see David Amerson (PFF rated 61.5), and that side of the field has given up the 6th most fantasy points to wide receivers. To be fair, Wallace’s targets have increased every week, but he’s a desperate play that can work out if the fantasy gods like you.
Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Hunter Henry
Keenan Allen is going to be draped in coverage by Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie in this game against the Giants, so I expect Rivers to look elsewhere. The Giants have been putrid against the tight end position, giving up the most fantasy points. Jason Witten, Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard have all caught a touchdown against the Giants this year, and those are five players and there have only been four games so far. As far as the receivers go, Eli Apple will be covering the other side of the field opposite and whoever is on that side of the field will have the advantage. It can be either Williams or Benjamin, and since Williams plays more snaps and has been getting more of a consistent target share per game, I would throw my dart Williams’ way.
Watkins only had 2 targets in Week 4 after that amazing Week 3 game against the 49ers. Richard Sherman has not been shadowing, and has been sticking to his side of the field. Fortunately for Watkins, he primarily lines up on Shaq Griffin’s side of the field, which has given up the 12th most fantasy points to receivers this year. If Watkins had a decent target share in Week 4, he would be in my Start section, but that 2 target number is scary. Since I expect Goff to not even look Sherman’s way, Watkins can see a healthy share this week.
With Golden Tate’s tough matchup on the inside, Marvin Jones can catch a sneaky touchdown and pile up some yards in this game against Carolina. James Bradberry’s side of the field gives up the 4th most fantasy points, and that’s where Jones’ primarily lines up. Him and Golladay will be moving from side to side, but we’ve seen Jones get a couple of touchdowns already this year, and this is his first favorable matchup in a while. He’s a decent dart throw, hoping for a TD.
Like I mentioned above with Parker and Landry, the Titans have been very bad against wide receivers and have given up a ton of fantasy points to the position. Stills’ target share has been all over the place, so I’m not confident in starting him. But in a 14-teamer, you might not have a choice and need to throw a dart at a great matchup. Cutler likes to air it out, so Stills can either haul in a long bomb or get an end zone target or two.
Tate will see a lot of Captain Munnerlyn this week, and the Panthers have given up the 5th least amount of fantasy points to slot WRs. The matchups on the outside are a bit easier, so Stafford can choose to look there instead.
Odell Beckham Jr
Beckham has been hot and cold when it comes to matchups with tough corners. No way I’m sitting him, but Casey Hayward is one of the best shadow CBs in the NFL, so I don’t expect Beckham to blow up in this game.
A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey might be the toughest outside CB duo in the league right now, as they are pretty much shutting it down on the outside. This is the second straight tough matchup for Brown, so I don’t expect his frustrations to be eased just yet. Even if Brown goes into the slot, the Jaguars have been shutting that down as well. The Jaguars are allowing less fantasy points to receivers as a whole per game than Brown is averaging per game.
The Eagles secondary is a mess, but they’ve done a pretty good job against slot receivers. Larry is someone who can overcome any matchup, but I expect Palmer to look at his easier matchups on the outside and pepper Jaron and John Brown with targets instead. The Eagles have allowed the 9th least fantasy points to slot receivers, so temper your expectations from Fitz in this game.
Coming off an amazing week without Matt Forte to limit him, Powell should run wild against the Browns right? Surprisingly, the Browns have actually been pretty good against the run this year. They’ve been 6th best against the run DVOA, but they’ve been giving up some fantasy points through the air to RBs. If Powell gets some work in the passing game, he should put up a decent fantasy day. Just to give you an idea though, Leveon Bell went 10 for 32, Frank Gore went 25 for 57, and Joe Mixon went 17 for 29. That’s some stout run stuffing.
Darius Slay doesn’t get the respect he deserves, but he’s going to be covering Benjamin, and I want no part of that. Benjamin has been inconsistent, and with Funchess’ great matchup, I don’t think Benjamin will be getting that many looks in this game. Cam has not been playing well this season, and the Patriots defense made him look like a real QB. I expect him to fall back down to earth in this matchup against the Lions, who are fantasy football’s #1 defense.
Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns
Pittsburgh has been shutting receivers down this year. This is going to be a tough game to watch as both passing defenses have been getting it done. Artie Burns is having a breakout year at corner, and I can’t see either of these guys having a good game. If I had to pick one, it would be Lee because of his higher percentage routes, but only in a PPR setting if you’re desperate. Just keep an eye out on Lee’s status, as he did not practice on Thursday because of a rib injury.
Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree
I can’t trust either of these guys, especially Cooper, to get it done with EJ Manuel at QB against this stout Baltimore secondary. I would have thought about sitting them even if Derek Carr was healthy, so since he’s not, I’m not even going to think about it. Crabtree isn’t completely healthy and Cooper is going through a rough stretch. This Baltimore secondary has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year. No thank you.
It’s not Bryant’s week yet, but it’s coming; we’ll be able to unleash him soon. Like I said when talking about Antonio Brown earlier, Bryant’s matchup against A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey isn’t one to mess with. Bryant can take the top off any defense, but to bet that it’ll happen against this secondary isn’t a good one. Once we’re past these few tough matchups you’ll be able to put Bryant in your lineup at home against beatable secondaries. Remember, if he fails this week, buy low on him.. and if you have him, don’t panic.