With each passing week I feel worse and worse for the Cleveland Browns and all fans of the Browns. It seems like every week they find an obscure way to lose the game, or they have a key player get hurt. So far this season they had been through 2 QBs in RG3 and Josh McCown, and rookie Cody Kessler was starting this week. This week Cody Kessler took a hard hit and left the game with a rib/chest injury and needs to go in for further x-rays, so for now it is looking like an actual possibility of seeing Charlie Whitehurst start next week. Additionally, it happened to be Brady’s return this week, so the Browns defense had to face an angry Brady who threw for 270 first half yards and completely picked them apart. Although, always hoping for a better future, and in terms of your fantasy team keep reading and I will try to help you have a better future.
Alex Smith – KC (owned in 23.4% of ESPN leagues): For those who read my column last year and the early portion of this year you probably think that Alex Smith is one of my favorite players in the NFL. That assertion is just not true though; however, that does not mean that he doesn’t deserve to be owned. Alex Smith is coming out of his bye week, and he gets to play the Raiders. Smith is averaging 15 points per game through his first four games piling up 6 TDs and only 4 turnovers. Smith has always been a game manager which has a negative connotation with it; however he has never been a bad backup QB/ bye week fill-in in fantasy football. I would expect the Chiefs and Raiders game to be a high scoring affair in which Smith airs it out a couple times.
Bilal Powell – NYJ (owned in 44.6% of ESPN leagues): Bilal Powell has always been a solid backup running back and a good third down running back. Powell does not run the ball much as he only has 17 rushing attempts on the season; however, he has also had 18 receptions in the past 3 weeks alone. To go with those 18 touches he has had at least 50 yards in each game, in a PPR league the fewest points he has had in the past 3 weeks is 11. Now thinking that Forte is the starter for the Jets and one of the oldest starting RBs in the NFL the Jets might play Powell even more as to try and keep Forte healthy all season.
Jalen Richard – OAK (owned in 19.3% of ESPN leagues): The Raiders RB situation was up in the air, Latavius Murray started the season as the starter; however, to this point the Raiders have decided to use a running back by committee approach with Murray, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington. Running back by committees are poison for fantasy football, although, I do not exactly hate this one. Murray missed this past week with turf toe and will likely be back next week, but eventually they will have to decide which of these three backs they want to go with long term. I think that Jalen Richard will eventually win the job, he has only had one game this season with less than 3.85 yards per carry, and he has 11 receptions on the season averaging 9.5 yards per reception. This effectiveness is why I think that he will eventually win the starting job, he has progressively gotten more touches. At this point this is an add and stash situation, but I think that it will pay off.
Eddie Royal – CHI (owned in 41.2% of ESPN leagues): I contemplated talking about Eddie Royal last week, but I ended up leaving him off this, and he made me pay for leaving him off. Kevin White was put on the IR last week with a broken fibula which pushes Royal up to number two on the depth chart. There is also chance for him to move up to the number one WR as the only player ahead of him is the very injury prone Alshon Jeffery. Over the past two weeks Royal has had 7 receptions in each game and has had 16 targets. I would look for Royal to step up and play well in the weeks to come. As for this week, the Bears play the Jaguars who have one good corner in Jalen Ramsey, but Royal could be running free. I think Royal is a decent flex play this week and a great bye week or injury fill-in.
Cole Beasley – DAL (owned in 40% of ESPN leagues): Cole Beasley has been solid this year for the Cowboys in the absence of Dez Bryant. Beasley has had at least 12 points in 4 of the first 5 games this season and has had at least 50 yards receiving in each game this season. Even though Dez has been hurt, I do not think that Beasley’s production will go down much due to the fact that Beasley has played in the slot all year before and after Dez got hurt. Additionally this week the Cowboys play the Packers who going into week 5 have given up 43.7 points per game to opposing WRs, and the Packers DBs have been banged up. Even though the Packers played well against the Giants I think that they will struggle against the Cowboys offense.
Charles Clay – BUF (owned in 13.8% of ESPN leagues): Charles Clay has had a rough start to the season, but there is reason to believe that he will play better going forward. Sammy Watkins is out for the foreseeable future as he is on injure reserved. As for Clay he has gotten five receptions in three of the first five games, and this week Clay and the Bills will play the 49ers. Through the first four weeks the 49ers have given up 15 points per game to opposing TEs, on two occasions they have given up at least 100 yards receiving and a TD. While I do not expect Clay to break 100 yards and a TD I think that he will have a good week against the 49ers.
Ravens D/ST (owned in 47.3% of ESPN leagues): The Ravens have had one of the better fantasy football defenses of the season so far, and I think this trend can continue this week. The Ravens defense has recorded 10 sacks in the first 5 weeks (2 sacks a game) along with 8 turnovers (1.6 turnovers per game). Additionally they have only given up more than 20 points one time this season. This week the Ravens play the Giants who have allowed 10 sacks and have yet to force negative points on an opposing fantasy defense, the Giants are not the best matchup for a fantasy defense, but they are not a bad matchup and I think the Ravens will have a good week holding the Giants to less than 20 points.
The scoring that I have used is based off of ESPN’s standard PPR scoring. Good luck on the waiver wire this week and in your upcoming match-ups. Remember to follow me on twitter and the Fantasy Life app @FantasySportGM and tweet me your start/sit or trade questions this week
Waiver Wire Finds