Heading into Week 4, there are two undefeated teams: the Falcons and the Chiefs. Will both survive this week? We’ll soon find out. In the meantime, let’s see who the contenders versus the pretenders are. Damn, did everyone see how the falcons escaped last week? It truly is a wild league, with even crazier rules. This is what we all live for: football. Week 4 is now upon us with the ever injured Packers defeating the Bears on Thursday Night in a game that was not even that close.
Eagles D/ST (@ LAC) FD $4500, DK $3,300 – Although the Eagles can be run on thus far this season, they boast a solid secondary and are harder to throw on. The Chargers are not the most efficient team on offense, and with a lack of a true WR1 (Keenan Allen?), they can be stacked on. Melvin Gordon is a shifty back that can catch out of the backfield, but the Eagles will plan for him and force Rivers to beat them through the air, while doubling on Allen. If the offensive line does not hold its own versus the Eagles front seven, it could be a long afternoon, as the Eagles have a lot of talented play-makers on defense, led by Brandon Graham.
Steelers D/ST (@BAL) FD $4500, DK $3,500 – This is a great matchup for the Steelers defense as the Ravens are struggling to find an identity on offense, and after last week’s absolute drubbing in London versus the Jaguars, they will look to right the ship. That will not be an easy task as the Steelers boast Ryan Shazier and TJ Watt on defense. The Steelers will put pressure on the Ravens to beat them through the air, but without much of a run game, that will be easier said than done. Yes, the Steelers’ defense will be able to get to Flacco and force errant throws, leading to turnovers and tipped passes. Start with confidence.
Texans D/ST (vs TEN) FD $4300, DK $3,000- The Titans are one-dimensional, and with a stout defensive line on tap, Mariota will be forced to test the secondary which is not too shabby either. The Texans will be after Mariota all afternoon, and although they are starting a rookie, Deshaun Watson at QB, they will be able to move the ball. The Texans play sound defense, pressure the QB and create turnovers. The Titans offensive line is pretty solid, but it is doubtful it will holdup versus the Texans.
Brandon Graham (DE/PHI)– Graham is one of the top defensive ends in the game, and offenses plan for him as he must always be accounted for. The Eagles have allowed three rushing touchdowns this season, and without Fletcher Cox, the pressure will be on Graham to step up and stop Melvin Gordon and chase Rivers around. If Graham can break through the offensive line, he could be in for a solid day, but the Chargers offensive line will double him and make it hard for him to penetrate the line.
Mychal Kendricks (LB/PHI)– With Fletcher Cox out this week, the emphasis will be on the linebackers to step up and produce. Kendricks is a solid linebacker who will look to take advantage of a weak Chargers offense, sack Rivers and be a nuisance in the backfield. With three passes defensed over his past two games, he will look to continue to dominate at the line and be in the face of Rivers. He is un-owned in some leagues, and is an LB2 this week and needs to be owned in more leagues (only 11% on Fantrax).
Jalen Mills (CB/PHI)– It may not be long before opposing offenses shy away from Mills because he is a hard hitter and is always around the ball. He contends for the ball at its high point, blankets receivers and could be emerging into a shutdown corner. With the Chargers on tap with questions at receiver, Mills will pick off his second pass of the season and record at least six tackles. He is a CB1 this week and is a solid play going forward as long as teams target him.
TJ Watt (LB/PIT)– Watt is in for a huge day because the Ravens have a questionable offensive line and a disastrous offense to date. He can rush the passer, chase down the runningback, and understands the game. The Steelers’ defense may not be solid, but Watt is a young stud and he will record his third sack of the season and defense a pass.
Artie Burns (CB/PIT)– Due to his underwhelming ability to defend the pass, he is an oft targeted corner, and this week versus the pass-inept Ravens, he should be a solid bet to pick off his first pass of the season. Playing opposite shutdown corner Joe Haden means he will draw the offense’s WR2. With Joe Flacco struggling mightily, it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Ravens are on offense in the pass game.
Ladarius Webb (S/BAL)– Webb is the safety that looks for the miscue on a throw and takes advantage of it. With two interceptions already on the season, he is always a threat to pick one off. Big Ben knows that, and will look to shy away from Webb’s side of the field. However, with a talented Ravens secondary on tap, Ben may have to choose his battles. Webb is a solid bet to record a nice tackle total and contend for passes this week versus the Steelers.
Benardrick McKinney (LB/HOU)– McKinley should be in for a solid day versus a run-heavy Titans offense. Marcus Mariota has shown the ability to throw the ball, but with uncertainty at receiver (Jonu Smith leads team with 2 TDs), the Titans are a one-dimensional team. McKinney will exploit this, racking up the tackles and a good bet for a sack. He is a borderline LB1 this week.
Marcus Gilchrist (S/HOU)– This is a wildcard play, but Gilchrist could be in for a big day versus the Titans’ receivers. Tennessee is a pass-conservative offense, and with a stout defense, the Texans will make Tennessee beat them with the pass. Gilchrist plays all over the field, and with two passes defensed and a forced fumble on the season, look for him to play aggressively and contend with the Titans receivers for the ball.
I would be nervous about starting the Kansas City Chiefs (FD $4,800, DK $3,100) this week because the Redskins have shown they are an efficient offense that is very balanced and they take advantage of the defenses weaknesses and miscues. They do not have any elite playmakers, but Kirk Cousins and the run game do a good job of keeping defenses honest and understand when to run the ball, and to what gaps.