FANTASY FOCUS – WEEK 4
Week three is now in the books and welcome back to Fantasy Focus. Although a few misses in terms of game script two out of the three games called correctly. And, the Vikings, Chargers game was correctly expected to be a close fought contest. Now, onto week four and we are gearing up before the BYE weeks begin to interfere.
Game 1: Denver Broncos (0-3) @ Chicago Bears (0-3) (SNF – 18:00 BST)
The battle between the two worst teams for Points Against per Game. The Broncos are struggling under the new Payton era, whilst the optimism around Justin Fields to end last season has quickly been forgotten. The big mismatch in this game is that although the Broncos are losing games they still have the 8th highest Passing Yards per Game in the NFL. The Bears have the 3rd worst record in Passing Yards Against. But on the other side of the coin, the Broncos are the worst team in the league against the run and we all know what Fields has the potential to do.
Let Russ Cook
Although the results aren’t pretty in Denver, the fans should definitely be able to see the improvement in their man under centre. Russell Wilson really struggled in 2022, but this year he is finding better form and is a top ten rated Quarterback in the league for his passing grade. He’s averaging just under 250 yards per game and averaging two Touchdowns per game. The Bears are struggling to defend the pass. This is a clear mismatch and I would expect Wilson to throw for over 250 yards, with Sutton and Mims being benefactors.
Fields to have a Field day
Just like the Broncos passing offence is a good mismatch for the Bears pass defence. The Broncos rush defence is the worst in the league. Although the game against Miami massively influenced these stats. Fields will look to exploit this, whether that is a combination of Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert pounding the rock, or Fields himself scrambling for yards. We should be in for a big Fantasy day but the big issue here will be if the Bears fall behind and chase the game.
Broncos to win by 1 point, in tight contest
Russell Wilson throws for 300+ yards, Sutton 100+ & TD
Fields 75+ rushing yards and rushing TD
Game 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) @ New Orleans Saints (2-1) (SNF – 18:00 BST)
This is a huge game in the outcome of the NFC South. For the time being the Atlanta Falcons are also in the discussion. But where Tampa and New Orleans both excel are their frugal defences. Both these sides have come off disappointing week three performances and the rivalry between these sides over the past few seasons is still very raw. The Saints, most likely without Carr, adds a different dynamic to this game however they have been incredibly reliant on their defence winning games for them so far. On the flip side, Kamara’s suspension is over, and was he the missing piece of the jigsaw?
The importance of Carr vs Kamara
Derek Carr has had an indifferent start to his career in New Orleans as the team sat 2-0 and 17 points up in week three. Their offence has struggled to put up points so far this season. Jameis Winston is no untried or tested rookie and we’ve seen the Fantasy relevance in the past, despite the Interceptions. He has been with the franchise a while, and knows the coaches and the squad. They will rally around him and I believe the biggest difference maker to this offence will be the addition of Alvin Kamara after his suspension. Kamara is a threat in the passing and rushing game and raises the floor for this offence.
Bucs relying on the passing game
The Bucs have struggled to get their rushing game going so far this season. They currently average only 78 rushing yards per game. Rachaad White has looked steady and is continuing to grow and develop. But, the lack of depth or a good backup running back has led to a predictability in their offence. The Saints have an explosive secondary and we all know the drama surrounding the Mike Evans, Marshon Lattimore battle. Rachaad White is going to have to have a career game and reap the Fantasy rewards for us. Godwin will have to carry the passing volume in order for this offence to keep them in the game.
Saints win by 6+ points
Kamara back with 100+ all purpose yards and TD
Rachaad White 75+ rushing yards, Godwin TD reception
Game 3: New England Patriots (1-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-1)- (SNF – 21:25 BST)
Statistically speaking, these two sides are actually quite similar. They are within ten yards per game on the offensive side, they within five yards per game against on the defensive side of the ball. They both are conceding sub 20 points on average over the first three weeks. The biggest differentials are Turnovers allowed per game, Takeaway per game and Points scored per game which are all heavily in the Cowboys favour. “Dem Boys” had a shock loss to the Cardinals last week but I don’t expect another banana skin this week at home to a Mac Jones led Patriots team.
Where will Patriots score to keep up
The Patriots will take a lot away from the way the Cardinals upset the Cowboys last week. And the Patriots will have to play the perfect defensive game to counter the Cowboys high scoring offence. I can’t see the Cowboys misfiring in two consecutive weeks, so Mac Jones will need to find a way to put up points. The Cowboys have been very efficient in the pass defence so I expect Mac Jones to lean heavily on Rhamondre Stevenson throughout this game.
Cowboys need to move on from week 3 demons
Dak Prescott is currently ranked the 29th Quarterback in PFF passer rankings and this is a concern for the Cowboys which became evident in week three for our Fantasy teams. The Cowboys have been carried by their elite defence this year, and they are fortunate coming up against a modest Patriots offence. I expect the Cowboys to run heavily with Tony Pollard whilst Prescott still tries to find his rhythm with his receivers. The targets were shared around last week for the Cowboys and I expect Ferguson to also continue his productive start to the season.
Cowboys win by 8+ points
Stevenson 80+ rushing yards + TD
Ferguson 60+ receiving yards, Lamb receiving TD