Jaguars vs. Colts
We’re getting into the dreaded bye weeks, in which some owners may have to confront the terrifying possibility of using (cue the scary music) Blake Bortles. He’s been a poor real-life QB, but not half bad in fantasy terms, where garbage-time points are just as good as any other kind. A trip to Indy gives him another chance for that kind of outing.
Giants vs. Bills
With LeSean McCoy either limited or possibly unable to play at all, Karlos Williams gets a chance to turn the Buffalo backfield into a timeshare, with the rookie out of Florida State as the member with the goal-line job. The burly back already has a TD in each of his first three games, and he’s averaging 7.8 yards over 24 bruising carries.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers
Cam Newton is arguably playing the best football of his career, and he could easily have another big game against the Bucs’ defense. After that, though, he has a bye and then a trip to Seattle, followed by the Eagles, so owners might want to sell high. On the other hand, Newton has a tasty late-season slate (Saints, Giants, Falcons twice).
Eagles vs. Redskins
Just when we were trying to figure out who had the upper hand in Washington’s backfield, Alfred Morris or Matt Jones, along came Chris Thompson, who last week racked up the most snaps and total yards of the three, and who scored the trio’s only touchdown. Of course, much of that came after the Redskins fell way behind, but Thompson could at least be a PPR asset if he can carve out a weekly pass-catching role.
Raiders vs. Bears
This should be a good test of how real the hype is for Derek Carr. The Raiders QB was a popular waiver add after lighting up the Ravens and Browns the past two weeks (he was injured against Cincinnati in Week 1), but for as bad as the Bears have been, they still have the sixth-ranked pass defense. We’ll see how well this Carr runs in Chicago.
Texans vs. Falcons
This may be your last chance to buy low on Arian Foster, who was shaping up as a game-time decision after rehabbing for several weeks from a groin injury. Even if he plays, he likely won’t be given a full workload right away. However, it’s all but certain that the Texans will pile as much on his plate as they think they can, given their offensive woes.
Chiefs vs. Bengals
As Marvin Jones’s targets have increased over the first three weeks — three, five, eight — so has interest in him as a fantasy asset. The third-year Bengal is now hanging around the WR3 periphery, but he needs to produce with some consistency before being considered more than a bye-week fill-in. And can Andy Dalton keep up his strong play?
Rams vs. Cardinals
This isn’t the easiest spot for Todd Gurley, given that the Cardinals are allowing just 3.5 yards per carry, but it will be fascinating to see how the rookie RB performs after finally getting his first taste of NFL action last week. Gurley was a dominating size-speed specimen at Georgia, and we can never have too many of those in the pros.
Vikings vs. Broncos
Remember when people were arguing about who was going to be the better fantasy WR, Charles Johnson or Mike Wallace? So far, the winner has been Wallace, but only because Johnson, highly touted in some parts, has pretty much been a no-show. He’s now battling a rib injury, and Denver hardly looks like the spot to get well, if he plays at all.
Browns vs. Chargers
Cleveland had the league’s worst rush defense last year, and it’s even lousier so far this season, so now’s the time for Melvin Gordon to break out, lest we invoke the names “Montee Ball” and “Ron Dayne.” Gordon hasn’t exactly Badgered opponents into submission, but he still has time to prove his worth
Packers vs. 49ers
Anybody (and I mean that literally, like any warm-blooded body) who gets to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers has fantasy value, and Ty Montgomery could get a huge boost if Davante Adams can’t play or is limited. The team likes what it has seen from Montgomery, a third-round pick out of Stanford.
Cowboys vs. Saints
Terrance Williams gave owners the same amount of fantasy points last week that Dez Bryant did, which is a bit odd, considering that Williams doesn’t have a broken foot. It didn’t help that Brandon Weeden used his strong arm to strongly throw underneath passes, but Williams has to catch what comes his way.
Lions at Seahawks
Joique Bell didn’t exactly make anyone forget Barry Sanders as he rushed for just 3.9 yards a carry in each of the past two seasons, but this year he’s conjuring thoughts of quicksand, with a ridiculous 22 yards on 20 carries. Speaking of ridiculous, many think third-down back Theo Riddick should have a bigger role, never mind the howls for Ameer Abdullah to get more work. The pressure is on Bell to prove he can ring up some numbers.