Week three of the NFL season brought about another showing of how bad the Jacksonville Jaguars are (please take them London) and how dominant the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos can be. It also had its big comebacks like the Bengals over the Packers and the Browns over the Vikings (with their third-string quarterback leading the way).
Week three also meant a chance to get to the top of your division in your fantasy football league. Also, another week of fantasy football means another week of hits and misses from this column. The hits: Chris Givens, Kendall Wright, Kenbrell Thompkins (a nice two score game), Nate Burleson, Ted Ginn, Stephen Hill, and Eric Decker. The rest are classified as misses.
Remember: This column is not designed to spotlight the top options at each position. If you are looking for advice on start/sit options or top players at a specific position, check out our rankings and other columns throughout the week. This is going to be a weekly spotlight of one player from each game this weekend that has a shot to be a nice flex or last starting option (a WR3 or RB3 for example). Will they all produce a large number of points? No. These are nice lottery tickets to fill in on your team and give you a chance to steal the win.
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Scott Chandler (Buffalo Bills) – EJ Manuel has been targeting his big tight end six times in each of the first three games of the season. This week’s opponent is the Baltimore Ravens, who have been picked apart by opposing tight ends so far this season. Chandler seems to be a solid red zone target for the rookie quarterback and one that he is comfortable throwing check downs to. I like Chandler to put up 40 yards and a score on five receptions.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati Bengals) – Sanu hasn’t been overly impressive so far this season, but he does get a good matchup week four against the Cleveland Browns. AJ Green will get the Joe Haden treatment, as the Pro Bowl cornerback will likely take away the star receiver for much of the game. Sanu will have the chance to step up and fulfill the number two receiving option role for the Bengals. He showed some life against the Packers last week with 68 yards on four catches. I may be going out on a limb, but I’m giving Sanu six receptions for 70 yards and a score.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Ryan Broyles (Detroit Lions) – In his first game this season back from injury, Broyles had three receptions for 34 yards in a limited role. Now that role is going to grow much larger due to the Nate Burleson injury. “There will be no leash this week,” reports the Detroit News when talking about Ryan Broyles. So, it seems that the coaches are behind the young receiver and there is a chance to solidify a role while the veteran receiver is out. Broyles will play out of the slot in the Lions offense, a position that sees less attention with Megatron on the outside. I like Broyles to get 60 yards on six receptions and a score.
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs) – After the performance of the Giants last week, I cannot put one of their players in this spot with any good faith. Alex Smith has been very steady so far for the Chiefs and has put up good QB2 numbers (two touchdowns in each of the first two games of the season). This week he gets the atrocious Giants defense and the secondary that has given up an average of 253 passing yards a game. Romo, Manning and Newton all can attest on how easy it was for them to rack up big numbers against the Giants. What is also big in this matchup is Andy Reid’s knowledge of the Giants’ system from his time in Philly. I expect the Chiefs to have a great game plan to pick apart the Giants and Alex Smith to have a big day. Smith should have 250 yards passing for three scores and 20 yards rushing as well.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers) – He can’t be worse than any of the other guys that have been in the backfield for the Steelers. The rookie gets his first NFL appearance after sustaining an injury in the preseason and it’s against a Vikings defense that has not been the most solid group so far. Pittsburgh averaged 52 yards rushing per game across the first three weeks of the season. Bell will improve this number as I feel the Steelers need to go back to the ground attack as the main part of their offensive attack. I believe Bell will get 70 yards rushing and a short-yardage score across the pond in London.
Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Arizona Cardinals defense – There will be a supreme display of the lack of consistent offensive ability in this game. So, I went with the Cardinals defense as my diamond in this game. They are getting rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who was not the model of consistency in his time at NC State. This is going to be a major struggle for the Tampa Bay offense and Doug Martin will have to be relied upon for the offensive load. The Cardinals have a top defense in this league and one that will shut down the Bucs’ offensive attack. I like the Cardinals defense to allow less than 10 points with two interceptions, five sacks and maybe a score.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Coby Fleener (Indianapolis Colts) – The Stanford connection hooked up mostly in the week two loss against the Miami Dolphins. Fleener has become a red zone target of Andrew Luck and one that can take advantage of the Jaguars defense, who gave up nine catches for 112 yards and two scores to Seahawks tight ends last week. The Colts will put up major points against what is the worst team in the NFL and Fleener should have a solid day with four receptions for 55 yards and a score.
Seattle Seahawks at Houston Texans
Golden Tate (Seattle Seahawks) – This will be another great defensive matchup, but, unlike the game between the Cardinals and the Bucs, it will be due to great defenses and not horrible offenses. It’s hard to select an offensive player, but I like Golden Tate to have a solid week deep in the heart of Texas. Tate showed some life last week against the Jags (I know it’s the Jags, but hey it still counts) with five receptions for 88 yards and two rushes for 29 yards. I expect the Seahawks to have to throw the ball more as the Texans will key on their dominant rushing attack. I like Tate to get four receptions for 45 yards in what will be a low scoring contest.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans) – Kendall Wright had a very efficient type of game against the Chargers week three by catching all six of his targets for 71 yards. The problem is that he is on the field for less than 50 percent of the Titans plays on offense. With the season he is having so far, I would find it hard to believe that the coaches will not find a way to put him out there more. The Jets’ defense has been a stingy bunch so far this season (a bit less against the Bills last week). This will most likely be another defensive battle due to the lack of consistent offensive threats on each team. I like Wright to get five catches for 60 yards this week.
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos
Jason Avant (Philadelphia Eagles) – I’ve always liked something about Jason Avant’s game. He is a solid possession receiver that has never been given a real shot to be a productive player week after week. Against the Chiefs, he was found five times for 87 yards and a score. Avant has the ability to be a productive player this week against the Broncos. With the attention on the NFL’s leading rusher LeSean McCoy and the explosive receiver DeSean Jackson, Avant will sneak under the radar and will have a chance for a nice day (since the Eagles will most likely be playing from behind). Avant for 50 yards on five catches and a score is my prediction.
Washington Redskins at Oakland Raiders
Denarius Moore (Oakland Raiders) – Moore has emerged as the top receiving option in Oakland with two outstanding games so far this season (including six receptions on 11 targets for 124 yards and a score against the Broncos this past Monday night). This week the Raiders get the porous Redskins defense in town. It is not certain who the starting quarterback will be for Oakland. Whether it is Pryor or Flynn, I still like the Raiders to hit Moore on some deep routes and give him another productive day. Six receptions for 75 yards and a score is what I expect this Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers
Danny Woodhead (San Diego Chargers) – Woodhead has had a solid campaign so far this season. A PPR specialty player, Woodhead’s pass catching ability has made him a solid play off the bench for most fantasy owners. He had seven receptions last week for 55 yards along with five rushes for 31 yards. While he will most likely never put up gigantic numbers, he will give you consistency and that is important off the bench. Seven rushes for 35 yards and seven receptions for 50 yards is what I expect against the Cowboys.
New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons
Jason Snelling (Atlanta Falcons) – Snelling is the guy out of the backfield I want right now from the Falcons. He is a dual threat, as good rushing the ball as catching the check downs from Matt Ryan. He has 8.17 yards per touch this season and has scored a touchdown each of the past two weeks (one rushing and one receiving). The Falcons use Snelling very effectively and I expect 10 carries for 55 yards and five receptions for 50 yards with a score.
Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints
Charles Clay (Miami Dolphins) – I was surprised by his lack of production against the Falcons last week, but I do believe that he is a top ten tight end at the end of the season. The Dolphins will have to keep throwing to keep up with the Saints’ offense and their scoring ability at home in the dome. Clay has to step up as a major target to keep in this game and give the Dolphins the chance to get to 4-0. Clay should get 60 yards receiving and a score as he rebounds from a disappointing week three.
As you head out into the rest of week four in the NFL, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. This is all about filling that last flex spot in your starting lineup with a guy that has a good matchup or a solid chance of production. These guys are my best options for that to occur. I wish everyone luck in their fourth week of the season and hope you establish your team at the top of your division.