The byes are here already and there are some big ones. The Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Seahawks, and Rams are off this week, which will keep big names like AJ Green, Marshawn Lynch, and Peyton Manning out of your starting lineup. Here are a few guys that you can look for to pick up the slack.
Derek Carr, Raiders vs Dolphins, in London
Carr is protecting the ball much better than your average rookie quarterback, and has been sacked just twice in 108 pass attempts. He faces a Dolphin pass defense that has allowed 4 touchdown passes with no interceptions against EJ Manuel and Alex Smith the last two weeks. I like the fact this matchup is at Wembley Stadium, London. Field and weather conditions for Sunday should be similar to that of last year’s week 4 game between the Steelers and Vikings. A game that everyone thought would be a ball control contest produced 631 passing yards and 61 points. The Raider receivers, James Jones, Denarius Moore , and Andre Holmes have a more than favorable match up against the Miami secondary. Look for Carr to have multiple TD passes and at least 250 yards through the air as he gets his first NFL win.
Donald Brown, San Diego vs Jaguars
Brown had a career high 36 touches against the 6th ranked Bills’ run defense last week. The Jaguars by far have the worst defense in the NFL and are last against the run allowing 160 yards per game. San Diego should have the game in hand by halftime, and while Brown will not see 36 touches this week, he should get around 25, enough for at least 125 combined yards and a score.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts vs Titans
While Bradshaw is sharing carries with Trent Richardson, he does have 29 touches the past two games. Andrew Luck is finding him open as he has had three touchdown receptions in those games. The Titans’ 24th ranked run defense is allowing 134 yards per game on the ground. The most important fantasy statistic is that 5 of the last 6 opponent possessions inside of their five yard line have resulted in a touchdown. This plays into Bradshaw’s favor as a receiver and runner at the goal line.
Markus Wheaton, Steelers vs Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are terrible against the pass, allowing 262 yards a game in the air. Wheaton has 15 receptions for 170 yards and has gained the confidence of Ben Roethlisberger. While Antonio Brown will draw double coverage, Wheaton has been seeing favorable coverages. We should see the same Sunday. The Buccaneers have allowed an average of 5 receptions, 65 yards and a score to the other teams’ second wide receiver this season. Wheaton will get that easily Sunday.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys vs Saints
The Cowboys are third in the NFL in converting third downs. The key has been Tony Romo getting time in the pocket, allowing him to step up into it. He has been able to find his second and even third reads. Dez Bryant commands that the coverage rotate towards him giving Williams getting man coverage, similar to the middle of 2013 where he had a stretch in which he scored in five of seven games. The Saints are 29th against the pass, allowing 278 yards a game and have no interceptions. Williams has scored in two of three games in 2014. After Sunday night it will be three of four games.
Ladarius Green, Chargers vs Jaguars
To win a fantasy championship you have to play the favorable trends. It continues this week , the Jaguars are ranked 32nd against the pass, and have allowed 22 receptions for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns to the TE in 2014. They are on track to break the dubious record of the 1969 St. Louis Cardinals, who allowed 17 Td receptions to TE’s, the most in NFL history. While veteran Antonio Gates will get his receptions, the middle of the field should be open enough for Green to get at least 60 receiving yards and a touchdown.