In Week 3, Frank Gore totaled 10 yards against the Cardinals’ rugged run defense. In Week 4, he torched the Eagles for 174 total yards and a touchdown. Coincidence? Of course not.
Matchups are at the heart of our weekly decisions, the organ that pumps the blood into our team. So if your squad is scuffling around at 2-2, 1-3 or (god forbid) 0-4, you need wins now. Some upcoming scheduling notes to be aware of:
Ben Tate (knee) is getting healthy just in time. Over the next five games, he gets to face a dream quintet of run defenses: Titans, Steelers, Jaguars, Raiders, Bucs. Projected to start and get at least 65 percent of the running back touches for the Browns, all Tate has to do is stay healthy to return to borderline RB1 numbers during this stretch. It’s also a nice time to buy low on Jordan Cameron and add Andrew Hawkins as well as the Browns D/ST.
I’m not ready to buy into an all-out Eli Manning resurgence yet. But he has put together three straight strong games and it’s not going to get any tougher. Atlanta’s defense is what we all thought Dallas’ would be before the season, an absolute sieve. Then the Giants have the pleasure of seeing the Eagles, Cowboys and Colts in their next three games. Rueben Randle, on the verge of a breakout, needs to be owned across the board. Amazingly, Rashad Jennings profiles as a better bet than someone like Eddie Lacy. Waiver gem Larry Donnell is not going anywhere.
If any of your Rams have a big game against the Eagles on Sunday, it’s time to sell. In Weeks 6-12, they face Seattle, Arizona, Denver, San Diego, Kansas City and San Francisco twice. It’ll be especially tough sledding for Zac Stacy, as these teams have especially strong run defenses and the Rams project to fall behind quickly often. Already 1-2, a Rams team that opened the season with so much promise has a realistic shot at 1-10 heading to Week 13.
Pickups of the Week
Andre Holmes, WR, Raiders – Now firmly ahead of benched Denarius Moore, Holmes is going to soak up garbage-time goodies.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Bucs – With Mike Evans out 2-4 weeks, ASJ is looking at 6-8 targets per game. He has freak measureables.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars — OC Jedd Fisch is drawing up designed runs for the impressive rookie. That will keep his weekly floor high.
Don’t start these borderline players in Week 5
1. Kirk Cousins vs. SEA – Captain Kirk is still a good bet to post top-14 numbers and hold the job, but no one’s box score looks good after a date with the Legion of Boom.
2. Donald Brown vs. NYJ – Brown and this Chargers offensive line has been exposed over the last two weeks. Now they have to face the league’s No. 1 run defense.
3. Jeremy Hill at NE – Yes, the Patriots got thrashed by Jamaal Charles/Knile Davis Monday night. No, that doesn’t mean this talented D won’t bounce back at home.
Followers of this column already knew about Travis Kelce. Now the world does after he broke out on Monday Night Football against the Patriots. Don’t even think about “selling high” on this Gronkian talent (pre ACL, of course), as his dominant YAC ability is a perfect fit for Alex Smith’s conservative style. If you were sharp enough to draft Kelce as your backup tight end, it’s time to start thinking about trading the guy drafted as your starter. Targeting the drafters of injured Kyle Rudolph and Dennis Pitta is a good place to start.