Week 4 Recap
Derek Carr: 196/2/1
Andy Dalton: 321/1/0
Charles Clay: 9/111/0
Martellus Bennett: 11/83/1
Andrew Luck: DNP
Eli Manning: 212/3/1
Kyle Rudolph: 2/7/0
Eric Ebron: 2/22/0
Year to Date Totals: (total starts)
Fantasy Ca$h Quarterbacks (8): 2125/15/6 (266 ypg)
Fantasy Crash Quarterbacks (7): 1836/16/4 (262 ypg)
Fantasy Ca$h Tight Ends (8): 46/489/2 (61 ypg)
Fantasy Crash Tight Ends (8): 15/104/1 (13 ypg)
Quarter-Pole Recap: I am not thrilled with my quarterback predictions to this point in the season. It’s a dead-heat through a quarter of the season, but I hope to gain some separation as more data rolls in and matchups are easier to decipher. As for the tight end position, I couldn’t be happier with my ‘crash’ plays. The low yardage outputs is likely not sustainable, but I will enjoy the hot-streak while it lasts.
Sam Bradford vs NO
At the conclusion of the first quarter in Week 4, my faith in Sam Bradford hit an all-time low. When I glanced at the box score and saw a big, fat zero through one quarter of play, I was ready to be done. I had the towel balled up and ready to throw it into the ring… Then it happened. Early in the third quarter, Bradford took a shotgun snap and for once actually had time to throw. He then loaded up and proceeded to drop a 55-yard dime that resulted in a 61-yard touchdown. He went on to throw two more touchdowns and finish with a line of 270/3/0 despite his first quarter troubles. Having that deep ball touchdown on film might back defenses off, which will open up the short to intermediate passing game.
During the second half, I got to see the Sam Bradford that I envisioned for the 2015 season. Hopefully the momentum carries over into Week 5 against a New Orleans Saints defense that has allowed the second most points to fantasy quarterbacks. With the run game looking hopeless, Bradford should see his attempts per game climb into the 30s. A high-volume passing day against an inept Saints secondary should yield positive returns for fantasy owners trusting in Bradford this week.
Philip Rivers vs PIT
Rivers came through in a big way for fantasy owners in Week 4. His line of 358/3/0 was good enough for tops at the quarterback position. Owners will hope for similar success this Monday night when the Steelers come to town.
So, which Steelers defense is going to show up Monday? Is it going to be the charitable pass coverage that allowed Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick to combine for 623/6/0 over the first two weeks? Perhaps it will be the stingy steel curtain that allowed only 386/1/2 over the past two weeks to Nick Foles and Joe Flacco? Only time will tell, but I am banking on the Steelers struggling with the quick, short passing game that the Chargers run so effectively. The Chargers short passing game is basically an extension of their run game, which has been sluggish averaging less than four yards per carry to start the year. Additionally, the well-rested legs of Antonio Gates will be ready to roll, which will give the defense another weapon to worry about. Gates, hmmm…
Antonio Gates vs PIT
With Malcom Floyd and Stevie Johnson banged up with injuries, Gate’s return to the field couldn’t come at a better time. For those of you worried that Gates will be worked into the offense slow, worry no longer. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich says that he expects Gates to “make an impact immediately.” Gates walks into a friendly matchup against the Steelers who have been generous to opposing tight ends, allowing 22/226/4.
Jason Witten vs NE
Jason Witten is what he is at this point in his career. Although he isn’t going to turn any heads with game-breaking plays, he is more than capable at moving the chains and being a steady contributor to the Cowboys and millions of fantasy teams around the world. So far in 2015, he has been the model of consistency. With game yardages that range from 56 to 65 you know what to expect from Witten. However, this week should present the opportunity for him to exceed those totals and maybe even find the end zone.
It’s not every week that you see a road team as 9.5 favorites over a playoff team from the year before. Injuries have crippled the Cowboys offense, and I agree with Vegas that this might be a blowout. Even in blowouts, there are stats to be had. Since taking over for the injured Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden has completed 76% of his passes. Now it doesn’t take a rocket-science to figure out the types of passes that Weeden is throwing to achieve such a high completion rate. With the Patriots having a big lead and shifting to a conservative defense, Weeden has proven he can complete the check-down throws at a high-rate. This should translate to a high-catch game for Witten who will be patrolling the middle of the field underneath the defense. The yardage will not be an eye-popping number, but somewhere in the neighborhood of eight receptions will make Witten a strong PPR play in Week 5.
Russell Wilson @ CIN
A quarter of the way into the season and Wilson has yet to throw for 300 yards or have multiple touchdown passes. Unlike last year, his rushing numbers aren’t bailing him out which has led to mediocre fantasy production. One of the major problems with the Seahawks’ offense is their offensive line play. No quarterback has been sacked more than the 18 times Wilson has gone down this year. With the constant pressure, Wilson’s elusiveness is the only thing preventing that number from being 25+. The offense has boiled down to a game of backyard football in which the quarterback runs around until someone gets open. The timing goes out the window when there is quick pressure on nearly every drop-back, thus making it all but impossible to establish any sort of rhythm in the passing game. I don’t expect things to get better anytime soon as they travel to Cincinnati to face a Bengal defense that has racked up the sixth most sacks in the league.
Alex Smith vs CHI
Depending on your scoring system, you will find Alex Smith’s name hovering around the 10th best fantasy quarterback at the quarter-mark. Even more surprising is the volume at which Smith is attempting passes this season. Over the last two weeks, Smith has totaled 85 pass attempts. The high-volume pass attempts over this period of time is thanks in large part to a game flow in which the Chiefs fell behind early and were playing catch-up the majority of the game. With as suspect as their secondary has looked to this point in the season this might be a familiar script. With the Chicago Bears coming to Arrowhead I expect this weeks contest to play out differently. I expect the Chiefs to lean on Charles more this week than in the previous two weeks in which he has combined for only 22 carries.
Going forward, Smith has shown that in the right matchup he can be a solid contributor at the quarterback position. However, in a matchup like this where I expect the Chiefs to jump out early and play with a lead, he won’t get the volume that he needs to produce quality numbers.
Owen Daniels @ OAK
The Raiders are terrible at covering the tight end, I get it. Even so, some of these projections and rankings for a tight end that has only exceeded 20 yards once on the season seem a bit ridiculous. Anyone and everyone is touting Daniels as a slam-dunk play this week. Well I am going the other direction.
Surely by now, the Raiders have realized that how they are covering the tight end clearly isn’t working and needs to be addressed. After four weeks of being torched by the likes of Gary Barnidge and company, I expect adjustments to be made. If the adjustments actually work is yet to be seen. I just cannot put much stock in a tight end that is averaging three catches per game for a comical 5.1 yards per reception. Right now, Owen Daniels is making Jason Witten look like Rocket Ismail.
Richard Rodgers vs STL
Rodgers is another guy picking up steam. This week he has broke into the top ten in numerous rankings. While having Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback is good thing, I don’t think there are enough balls to go around to make him a viable option for this week, or the long haul. With the Andrew Quarless injury, Rodgers has seen his snap count increase. Getting on the field is only half the battle though. With the Rams boasting the second best sack total in the league, Rodgers may be forced to stay in and help with pass protection. He will get a few balls Sunday, but not near enough to get him into the top ten.
Combo Play: #17-85
This week it is all about Rivers to Gates. No quarterback tight end combination has accounted for more yards or touchdowns than what this duo has produced. I am looking forward to seeing them add on this Monday night.
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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.