Week 3 of the 2015 NFL season was a pretty wild one, and hopefully you were able to take advantage of some of the big plays that were made while avoiding the carnage along the way. There are trends happening on both sides of the ball all around the league that help us to determine how these games will play out. In this article we are looking for value which will help to bolster the rest of your roster and avoid a few players with matchups that are likely to lead to a poor stat-line.
With the help of our defensive guru Aaron Rudnicki, let’s take a look at players that we both like and a few that we would avoid this week.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland @ Chicago ($4600)
Bischoff: Crabtree is seeing plenty of volume in the Oakland passing game as he’s been targeted 33 times in three games, catching 18 passes and registering 184 yards and a score. He comes into Week 4 with a very nice matchup against a Bears team ranking near the bottom against the pass.
Rudnicki: Crabtree seems likely to match up with Kyle Fuller, who was benched earlier this year for poor play. Chicago’s defense really isn’t slowing anybody down and the Raiders passing game is heating up. Even if Amari Cooper gets most of the attention, Crabtree looks like he will be a popular target for Derek Carr in the redzone.
Ted Ginn Jr, WR, Carolina @ Tampa Bay ($3400)
Bischoff: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is going to do everything it can to slow down quarterback Cam Newton and shut down tight and Greg Olsen. Ginn currently has the eye of Newton and is one of the few productive receivers in the Panthers passing game. With coverage and scheme dedicated to limiting Olsen, it is Ginn who should benefit and at his price he can easily get to value.
Rudnicki: The Tampa secondary has not help up very well at all this year, and it looks like they might be without their best corner in Johnthan Banks this week. The Panthers passing attack was looking for someone to emerge as a productive target at WR and right now that looks like Ted Ginn Jr. Assuming Tampa will focus most of their attention on slowing down Cam Newton and Greg Olsen, Ginn should get plenty of favorable matchups here.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington vs Philadelphia ($5300)
Bischoff: The Eagles are struggling to cover the opposition’s wide receivers through three weeks and it won’t get easier this week. Garcon is a matchup problem for the Eagles and he’s received 27 targets to date. He may not stretch the field like other receivers, but he’ll be plenty valuable in this full PPR format.
Rudnicki: Byron Maxwell opened the season with a rough outing against Julio Jones, and it didn’t get much better the next two weeks. He’s struggling right now and it looks like this could be Garcon’s turn to take advantage. It sounds like DeSean Jackson could return to the lineup this week, but not sure if he’ll be more than a decoy yet. Pay close attention to the weather reports as the Hurricane may make this game unplayable.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia @ Washington ($4500)
Bischoff: Agholor has started his rookie season slowly, with the Eagles passing offense struggling and matchups that didn’t favor him. It’s a much better matchup this week, with the Redskins likely to try and take away slot receiver Jordan Matthews. This opens the field for Agholor to make plays with his quick, decisive route running and yards after the catch.
Rudnicki: Agholor was held without a catch last week, but he was matched up primarily with Darrelle Revis. With DeAngelo Hall sitting out with a toe injury, the most likely matchup this week for Agholor is Bashaud Breeland. He flashed some promise as a rookie last year, but was burned badly by the Giants last week.
Steve Johnson, WR, San Diego vs Cleveland ($4400)
Bischoff: Johnson has emerged as an important member of the Chargers offense. He plays out of the slot and is a chain moving type of receiver, but he is very quick and matches up well against the slot corners and safeties he’ll see in coverage. This is a very good matchup for Johnson and I can see red zone opportunity and plenty of catches coming his way.
Rudnicki: Joe Haden is no longer the shutdown corner he was believed to be, but the other corners in Cleveland aren’t particularly worrisome either. Johnson works primarily out of the slot where he is very difficult to cover, and always a threat to gain extra yards after the catch. Whether he’s matched up against a slot receiver or safety here, I like his chances to be a big part of the passing game.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle vs Detroit ($4200)
Bischoff: The Lions have had trouble covering everybody this season and going on the road to take on the Seahawks on Monday Night Football is as stiff a test as there is. With running back Marshawn Lynch’s status up in the air, it will fall on quarterback Russell Wilson and the passing game this week. Wilson is able to extend plays with his feet which will make this secondary have to cover for a longer period of time, and he will be able to get the ball to his receivers down the field. This is a great matchup for Baldwin.
Rudnicki: Baldwin had a great matchup last week but failed to take advantage due mostly to the game script and the fact Seattle seemed determined to get Jimmy Graham involved. This week, Baldwin matches up with the Lions who have had a lot of trouble with opposing WRs this year. They were torched in Week 1 by San Diego and had trouble with the Broncos last week as well. Baldwin is their most reliable receiver with 17 catches on 20 targets, and should provide a relatively safe option this week.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago vs Oakland ($3700)
Bischoff: The Bears have struggled on offense with Jay Cutler sidelined but they are home this week against the team that struggles to defend the pass. Royal is a safety valve type of receiver and a player who should be very involved this week with the Bears having to throw the ball. Royal could easily reach value with the kind of volume he should see in the passing game this week.
Rudnicki: The Bears offense has been hurting without a healthy Alshon Jeffery and Jay Cutler. Both players had a limited practice this week, so there’s a chance they could play. Regardless, Royal is going up against a pair of corners that haven’t had much success. If the Raiders offense continues to play well, that should force Chicago to throw more than they have been and give Royal a great chance for a breakout game.
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo vs New York Giants ($3300)
Bischoff: Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is playing very well right now and that should continue this week. The Giants have struggled to cover tight ends this season, and the challenge will be trying to stop Clay in Week 4. Clay has emerged as a go to weapon for Taylor and he should chew up the Giants this week.
Rudnicki: The Giants have given up some huge numbers to opposing tight ends this year, and things don’t figure to get any easier for them this week. Jordan Reed posted 6 catches for 96 yards last week but missed out on a few more big plays due to some poor QB play. Charles Clay went through most of the Dolphins defense on Sunday, and should remain a focal point of the Bills passing game with Sammy Watkins banged up. This looks like it could be one of the strongest plays of the week.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami vs New York Jets ($6500)
Bischoff: The Dolphins go on the road to take on a tough Jets defense that has shut down receivers of all different types so far this season. Also, the Dolphins are playing their best football on offense right now and overall this is a matchup to avoid.
Rudnicki: Landry has been a PPR machine thus far and appears to have a great chance at 100+ receptions. The Jets are one of the few teams, however, that you will want to avoid WR matchups with. Even if he works out of the slot and is able to avoid Darrelle Revis, he should see plenty of Buster Skrine who helped keep Jordan Matthews in check last week.
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit @ Seattle ($5300)
Bischoff: The Lions of gotten off to a very slow start offense in 2015, struggling to find a rhythm and tempo that suits their quarterback and some of their weapons. Traveling to Seattle for a Monday night game isn’t going to help matters, and it looks like another week with a struggling Lions offense. Throw in the coverages that the Seahawks will roll out for Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Tate and it’s just best to avoid this matchup altogether .
Rudnicki: Tate is off to a slow start this year, and this doesn’t look like the week he will turn things around. He’s most likely to match up with Richard Sherman here, unless the Lions decide to have him shadow Calvin Johnson. Even if that were to happen, Cary Williams has played well and has seen very few targets in his direction.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville @ Indianapolis ($5500)
Bischoff: As much as I’d like to say the game script will have the Jaguars down and throwing early in this game, it’s just as likely that the Colts double-team Robinson and force others to make plays. He is an incredibly risky play at his price, and there are better options for your line up out there.
Rudnicki: Robinson blew up in week 2 at home against Miami, but he was kept in check during the other 2 games. He should match up primarily with Vontae Davis this week, who hasn’t played up to the level he did a year ago but is still capable of playing shutdown defense. The Jaguars don’t have many other weapons, so there’s a decent chance he could see a fair number of double teams as well.
Owen Daniels, TE, Denver vs Minnesota ($2700)
Bischoff: The Vikings have the size, athleticism and physicality from multiple players in their secondary to lock Daniels up. He doesn’t look like the same player he was even last year, and he isn’t seeing any volume due to poor offensive line play which is leading to pressure on quarterback Peyton Manning. He is in going to have a lot of time this week to set back in the pocket and dissect the defense. It’s tough to see Daniels doing much in this game.
Rudnicki: Daniels hasn’t quite produced the way that many were expecting him to this year, and he looks to have a pretty tough matchup this week. Harrison Smith is one of the few elite safeties in the league, and could be matched up with Daniels a lot.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh vs Baltimore ($3700)
Bischoff: Miller and injured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are like peas and carrots. Roethlisberger is out with a knee injury and the offense is going to change with Michael Vick at the helm. That change is going to hurt Miller’s production and the matchup with the Ravens is a bad one already.
Rudnicki: The Ravens have been the worst matchup for opposing tight ends in the league thus far. Safety Will Hill and their inside linebackers generally do a good job in coverage, and the downgrade from Roethlisberger to Vick at QB figures to make their jobs a bit easier as well.