Week 4 Studs/Duds
For the most part, last night’s game was hard on the eyes. There were a lot of punts and penalties, and not a lot of excitement, especially in the first quarter. The 49ers finally were able to impose their will on the Rams with the running game, and Frank Gore was unleashed and ran like it was 2009. Colin Kaepernick didn’t have eye-popping stats, but he played a clean and effective game. He didn’t take many risks, and it almost reminded me of the SF offense when Alex Smith was under center. There was a scare at the end of the game when Pro Bowl LT Joe Staley went down in a heap and was heard screaming in pain. I feared it was a broken leg or ankle, but he’s apparently fine and only a little sore. That would have been a huge blow to the Niners going forward.
The Rams were just awful in every phase. The running game was comically bad, and Sam Bradford was inaccurate all night. I don’t understand how a team that upgraded their offensive skill positions so much in the offseason is so inept on offense, unless it is an indictment on Bradford not being anything more than an average QB in the NFL. Hyped rookie Tavon Austin was a non-factor. Jared Cook continues to disappoint after a torrid start in week 1. The other Rams receivers, Chris Givens and Austin Pettis, weren’t effective either. Even the Rams defense, which gave the Niners fits last year, played poorly. They sacked Kaepernick twice, but both were coverage sacks instead of bad offensive line play.
Now that week 4 is underway, it’s time for my studs and duds of the week. Some of them may seem obvious, but like always, I’ll pick a few shots in the dark to see if my hunches are correct.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland TE-After missing so badly on him last week, I have to put him in my studs category. He showed great chemistry with Brian Hoyer last week, and I expect that to continue, even if the Bengals defense is much better than the Vikings defense. A TE is a quarterback’s best friend when under pressure and for hot reads on blitzes, so even if Cameron doesn’t rack up a ton of targets, he will still be a top five TE play. Prediction: 7 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD
Peyton Manning, Denver QB-This one is fairly obvious, but I had to list him here. Peyton has 12 TD passes already and is on a record pace. The Eagles defense can’t stop a cold, so can you say shootout? I will be shocked if Peyton throws for 3 TDs or less. The only way I see him not being the top scoring fantasy QB this week is if the game is out of hand and he is pulled early to avoid injury. Prediction: 350 yards passing, 5 (yes 5) TDs.
Alfred Morris, Washington RB-Morris has quietly had a solid season so far. He hasn’t had his normal workload because the Redskins have been getting blown out so bad that they basically have to abandon the run game. This is the week he will get back on track and look like the true RB1 he is. He should be able to run through the Raiders defense easily, and if they Redskins can stay ahead, they will milk the clock, which will certainly pad his stats. Prediction: 105 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving, 1 TD.
Marques Colston, New Orleans WR-Colston has had a fairly quiet start to the season, and I think this is the week he breaks out. The Miami defense has played well this year, but they are a little banged up and may be missing star Cameron Wake. We have seen this type of slow start before from Colston and he has always finished strong. Prediction: 8 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.
Russell Wilson, Seattle QB-Wilson is projected to have a down week because of the good Houston pass defense and because Seattle relies on the run over the pass. However, I think Wilson will end up having a solid day. He did throw for 4 TDs last week against the Jaguars. He will have a solid, but unspectacular game. Start him unless you have a truly elite option, as he should easily get you about 15-18 points. Prediction: 225 yards passing, 30 yards rushing, 2 passing TDs.
Arian Foster, Houston RB-I should just make a weekly dud for whichever running back has the unenviable task of facing the Seattle defense. While Foster hasn’t been horrible so far, he hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status as he rounds into shape after missing the entire preseason. He has Seattle this week and San Francisco next week, so the next two games aren’t the greatest. He may poach a goal line TD against the Seahawks, but I wouldn’t expect the yardage totals to be high. Prediction: 60 yards rushing, 15 yards receiving, 0 TDs
Josh Gordon, Cleveland WR-Gordon returned from a two game suspension last week and had a whopping 19 targets. That won’t happen this week, especially against an excellent Cincinnati pass defense. He may still put up some numbers, but don’t expect anything close to his production of last week. Prediction: 6 receptions, 60 yards, 0 TDs
Brandon Myers, New York Giants TE-He has been Eli Manning’s safety valve this year and has produced fairly consistently. He hasn’t had eye-popping numbers, but he is almost like a poor man’s Jason Witten, as he has been good for about 5 catches and 50 yards a game. However, I don’t like his prospects this week. The Giants offensive line has been awful, and they may be without starters David Baas and Chris Snee. If one or both do play, they won’t be completely healthy. Add that in with a Chiefs defense that has been feasting on QBs, and you may see Myers blocking more instead of running routes. He can’t catch passes if he is helping his porous offensive line block, so temper your expectations until the Giants line shows it can play better. Prediction: 3 receptions, 20 yards, 0 TDs
Philip Rivers, San Diego QB-Rivers has started off hot this year, but I can see a poor game coming. The Dallas defense is no slouch, and Rivers has had some real stinkers over the past few years. He’s only thrown one interception all season, so that makes me wonder if he’s due for a typical multi-interception game. If Dallas can pressure him early, it will throw him off his game and he will be more liable to make mistakes. Prediction: 240 yards passing, 1 TD, 3 INTs.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas RB-Murray had an outstanding game last week against the Rams, as he had 175 yards and a TD. On paper, he has another juicy matchup against a subpar Chargers defense. However, I don’t think he will be that effective. He is also coming off a career-high 26 carries, and you have to wonder how he will bounce back seeing as how he’s been so brittle in the past. I think that Dallas will rely more on the passing game this week. Prediction: 70 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving, 0 TDs.