Week 4: Sit 'Em
Last season's Super Bowl MVP has struggled to impress fantasy owners over the past two weeks. Flacco opened the season with a 362-yard, two-touchdown, two-interception game in a blowout loss to the Broncos. Over the next two weeks, he's averaged just 191 passing yards with one total touchdown. The 28-year-old quarterback is unlikely to get the chance any time soon to throw the ball 62 times as he did in Week 1, making him a limited upside quarterback in fantasy leagues. The Bills defense has been awful against the run this season, allowing more than 150 yards per game on the ground. Expect the Ravens to come out and attack the Bills on the ground with Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce or both. Flacco should throw the ball around 30 times with projected numbers around 200 yards and one touchdown. Yet another steady, but not overwhelming, fantasy performance. Fantasy owners should look to a higher upside quarterback this week.
The star quarterback got off to a blistering start to the season in Week 1, but has struggled mightily since. Fantasy owners were hoping that his brutal 127-passing yards/three interceptions against Seattle was a fluke. Alas, he followed this game with a 170 total yards and two turnovers versus the Colts. Oh, Kaepernick hasn't scored a touchdown in either of these two games. If we're talking the season, I believe he'll bounce back, too much talent. Just don't count on the turnaround starting this week. The weapons he currently has around him on offense are making it impossible for him to succeed. The third-year quarterback has been struggling in part because the wide receivers are simply unable to get open. Vernon Davis' injury has only added to Kaepernick's struggles, and it is still to be determined whether he will be back for this week's match-up with the Rams. The divisional match-up is this week's Thursday night game, giving the San Francisco less time to work on its issues and get Davis healthy. With all of these things considered - added to the fact that Kaepernick played two fairly mediocre games against the Rams last season - I would not hesitate to relegate Kaepernick to fantasy benches if owners have another viable option this week.
The former superstar running back has gotten off to yet another mediocre start, leaving fantasy owners to wonder if he will ever regain the form that led to the CJ2K moniker. Johnson had the hype train going again this offseason, but has averaged just 86 total yards per game with zero touchdowns on the young season. He's not getting the ball at the goal line, not catching passes - and is no longer a lock for weekly starts. The workhorse running back also has a brutal stretch of games coming up, starting this week against the Jets. New York has given up less than 80 yards per game on the ground so far this season, 6th in the league. This is even more impressive considering that they have played against Doug Martin, Steven Ridley, and C.J. Spiller. I envision Chris Johnson being the next victim of the Jets' stout run defense, making him a shaky fantasy play in Week 4.
The good news for Maurice Jones-Drew's fantasy owners is that he continually touches the ball 20 times per game when healthy. The bad news is that MJD isn't looking like a dominant threat, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry and 38 yards per game on the ground. The Jaguars running back did score his first touchdown of the season in Week 3, but it came in garbage time of an embarrassing loss to the Seahawks. In most cases, I would advise fantasy owners not to panic after only three weeks, but I have not liked anything I have seen from MJD this season. Blaine Gabbert's return to the starting lineup this week will not help Jones-Drew. The Colts will stack the line and dare Gabbert - one of the league's worst starting quarterbacks - to beat them through the air. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere for a starting running back this week.
A consensus second-round draft pick in fantasy leagues this season, Steven Ridley hasn't topped 50 total yards or scored a touchdown in the Patriots' first three games. Ridley has been downright awful, even losing a majority of touches to LeGarrette Blount in the Patriots' week three win over the Bucs. Blount is unlikely to be a major threat to Ridley's starting job, but should see more than a few touches again this week. Meanwhile Brandon Bolden emerged as the Pats passing down back. New England's matchup with the Falcons this week is a poor one for Ridley and the Patriots run game. The Falcons are allowing just 79 yards per game on the ground, while giving up close to 300 a game through the air. That means lots of Tom Brady and a lot less runs. Fantasy owners should not give up on Ridley, but should strongly consider leaving him on their benches this week.