NFC East Week 4 Preview

 

Dallas Cowboys @ San Diego Chargers

Tony Romo- If the Cowboys plan on doing anything significant this season they’ll have to start winning games on the road and going against a Charger defense that’s giving up about 300 passing yards and two touchdowns per game is as good a place to start as any. Romo’s arm will be needed more than ever this week because one thing the Chargers defense has done well is keep running backs out of the end zone and under 100 yards rushing. Even though his passing yardage hasn’t been huge so far he still has a strong arm and plenty of weapons to rely on. Get him in your lineup this week, I think he goes over 300 yards passing and gets a couple touchdowns to boot.

DeMarco Murray- After Murray’s 26 carry, 175 yard effort against the Rams last week it’s likely most of you who started him are still smiling like Cheshire cats and who can blame you. But things won’t be so easy for Murray this week playing away and against a decent Chargers defense that held LeSean McCoy to 53 rushing yards and Chris Johnson under 100 yards. Murray also has to prove he can show up when not playing at home as evidenced by his 25 rushing yards on 12 carries against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Obviously no one is going to suggest not using him but after this week you might not be smiling so much. Lower your expectations for another huge outing.

Dez Bryant- During the preseason Bryant looked unstoppable but going into week four of the season he’s only had one 100 yard game. He has been a little banged up but even more disturbing is the decision to go away from him for long periods of time or a full game if he’s seeing double coverage. Receiver Miles Austin sustained yet another hamstring injury last week so the Cowboys brain trust will be forced to utilize his immense talents regardless of the coverage he sees. As stated earlier the Chargers pass defense is more than suspect so start Bryant as you normally would and expect big rewards, after all DeSean Jackson and Andre Johnson had huge games, why not Bryant?

Jason Witten- I usually refer to Witten as the most reliable start in fantasy football but after going for only 12 yards on three receptions week two and five receptions for 67 yards last week, it looks like I might have to rethink things. The other disturbing nugget is that backup rookie tight end Gavin Escobar is starting to vulture touchdown receptions from the aging Witten. Having said that, he’s still a stud and with Miles Austin licking his wounds it’s a safe bet Witten will get double digit targets this week. I think he’s a safe start this week and besides, Romo still loves him, so start him as usual.

New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs

Eli Manning- Unfortunately for the Giants this could be a very short preview. After all this is an article about fantasy relevant players and it’s difficult to use that term in the same sentence with the New York Giants. After throwing eight interceptions thus far and passing for only 119 yards last week Manning is in the eye of the proverbial storm. The Chiefs defense is for real and they have been very good against the run so if the Giants are going to set things right this week they’ll have to do it through the air and Manning will be looking for his receivers early and often. He’s hard to trust at this point and he might have a somewhat productive fantasy day during catch up mode but having said that I would keep him on your bench this week in a tough matchup. It’s going to take some patience with Manning or any Giants player for that matter.
UPDATE 9-27:Two veteran offensive lineman David Baas and Chris Snee declared inactive for KC game.

Victor Cruz- If there is going to be a turnaround for the Giants it’s going to have to come from Cruz with the help of Manning. At this point he’s by far the Giants most explosive weapon and they will have to get him started early and keep feeding him to have a chance against the Chiefs. The silver lining is that Chief’s cornerback Brandon Flowers is nursing a sore knee and Cruz should be able to gain separation more easily resulting in a very productive day.

Hakeem Nicks- Nicks saw only one pass target which he didn’t convert and has starting complaining about how he is being used in the offense. Regardless of what Cruz says, Nicks is coming to terms with being the number two receiver on this team, but the squeaky wheel does get the oil so I think Manning will look his way more this week and along with Cruz he also should have a somewhat good day. What do I mean by somewhat? As bad as this offense looked last week, I’m not ever sure what I mean, but the passing game will have to be the catalyst of a win and Nicks is a big part of that.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Denver Broncos

Michael Vick- It’s week four and Vick’s already showing signs of wear. Last week not only did he injure his foot but only went 13 of 30 for 201 passing yards and two interceptions. Vick hasn’t looked very comfortable for the most part since week one and it could be another tough week against a good Bronco defense. The good part of all of this is the Eagles might fall so far behind Vick will have to pass. A lot. I hate to call it garbage time points, I prefer to call it competing with pride, whatever you call it will most likely put fantasy points on the board.

LeSean McCoy- McCoy has been the shining star in this offense thus far and I don’t see that changing against the Broncos. He went for 158 yards and one touchdown last week against a very good Chief defense and hasn’t been held under 150 total yards by anyone thus far. He’s a no brainer and one player you don’t need me to tell you to start.

DeSean Jackson- Jackson has been reenergized in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense this season and has gone from a frustrating game day decision to a weekly must start. He had a huge week one finishing with seven receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown, and followed that up with a nine reception, 193 yard, and one touchdown performance against the Chargers week two. There is a concern that Bronco All-pro cornerback Champ Bailey will be back from an injury and will most likely concern himself with Jackson all day.

Jason Avant- Avant hasn’t been a major player thus far this season, but Vick does seem to rely on him when he needs to move the chains as opposed to a big strike downfield and last week he did have five receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown. With Champ Bailey concentrating on DeSean Jackson all game, Avant should see enough targets to finish with good enough numbers again and would make a nice flex play if you need him.

Washington Redskins @ Oakland Raiders

Robert Griffin- The Redskins are 0-3 and RGIII is not only taking heat in the media but from one of his teammates as well. I’m not sure if Griffin is being hampered more by not being 100% healthy or by his head coach’s refusal to let him run more. Either way he’s not rushing for as many fantasy points as last season but at least he’s still putting up passing yardage and touchdowns. The Raiders defense has been fairly solid in both rush and pass defense but if the Redskins are going to be successful it will most likely come from Griffins arm and not running back Alfred Morris’ legs. The Redskins rely on the pass much more often than their run game because their defense keeps them behind the eight ball most of the time. I think RGIII will have a fairly good game (300-2td) nonetheless and I would not hesitate to use him this week.

Alfred Morris- The only thing standing in Morris’ way this season is the Redskins defense. They have constantly put the offense in catch up mode which means Morris’ carries have been limited when they turn to their passing game. Morris has been limited to about 15 carries per game but still has a respectable 5.6 yards per carry average and things could definitely take a turn for the better if or when they manage to be grab the lead. It feels like it’s shaping up to be about 50 yards rushing and a touchdown, but I’m an optimist.

Pierre Garcon- Garcon has been averaging about 13 targets a week and in week two managed to convert eight of them into 143 receiving yards and one touchdown. He’s easily been RGIII’s most explosive and consistent weapon over three weeks but they have yet to put it all together for a win. The Raiders have been good against the pass but cornerback Tracy Porter has a concussion and won’t play this week which is an advantage for Garcon. RGIII still has a cannon for an arm even if he can’t run as well as he used to and if Garcon would stop blasting his quarterback’s performance in the media maybe we could get back to some good fantasy production from these two.

Santana Moss- Moss is averaging about five receptions and 55 yards a game and although he’s a bit risky RGIII relies on him. This looks like as good a time as any to use him as a flex play if you’re in a PPR (points per reception).

Jordan Reed- He is nursing a knee injury and head coach Mike Shanahan stated he is not optimistic about his chances of playing this week. I mention him here only because he’s been a hot waiver wire commodity this week.

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