NFL:64 Week 4

NFL64

I love compiling data and assessing it. I’ve been doing it more this year than any other prior even. As I’ve done so I’ve started to learn a little more her and a little more there and am ready to start taking the points of data and putting them into ranks form. These ranks assess how good I think the teams are, sometimes they are swung heavily by record, but more often by situation.

The Ravens, for example, are #12. I think they are likely a top 6 team in the NFL, but they are 0-3 and overcoming that to make the playoffs is going to be a huge challenge. If they start to rise to it, they will go up in the ranks, if they keep losing they will go down. Which seem obvious, but I wanted to make sure you knew that this isn’t simply a system that rewards wins and losses.

The bottom of the ranks is ugly and very fluid. I don’t really have a great feel for any of those teams as “the worst” because one bad month in the NFL really isn’t predictive of the rest of the season. So expect the changes to be pretty drastic in the lower half of the ranks for the next month. Now onto the rest of this weeks NFL:64!

They are straight wins picks, I don’t involve the spread, but will mention it from time to time when I think it makes sense or makes me think Vegas knows something the rest of us don’t. If you don’t want to sift through all the games looking for your team just click the game and be magically transported to that game!

The bye weeks have begun! Be aware! Check your fantasy lineups! Get anyone on the Patriots and Titans out of your lineups! There is also a London game this Sunday morning so if you have Jets or Dolphins in fantasy you have to decide to play they very early. The kickoff is 930 AM eastern standard time, so if you are waiting for inactives that should be out about 740 AM eastern time. Personally I’m staying away from Dolphins and Jets this week in both season long and DFS.

Bye
NE TEN
Thurs
BAL@PIT
Sun 930 AM – London
NYJ@MIA
Sun 1pm
JAC@IND NYG@BUF CAR@TB PHI@WAS
OAK@CHI HOU@ATL KC@CIN
Sun 4pm
CLE@SD GB@SD STL@ARZ MIN@DEN
Sun 8pm
DAL@NO
Mon
DET@SEA
Sully’s Ranks
1. NE (3-0)
2. ARZ (3-0)
3. GB (3-0)
4. CIN (3-0)
5. DEN (3-0)
6. ATL (3-0)
7. CAR (3-0)
8. BUF (2-1)
9. SEA (1-2)
10. PHI (1-2)
11. MIN (2-1)
12. BAL (0-3)
13. IND (1-2)
14. DAL (2-1)
15. PIT (2-1)
16. NYJ (2-1)
17. KC (1-2)
18. NYG (1-2)
19. OAK (2-1)
20. MIA (1-2)
21. TEN (1-2)
22. WAS (1-2)
23. STL (1-2)
24. HOU (1-2)
25. SD (1-2)
26. TB (1-2)
27. NO (0-3)
28. DET (0-3)
29. CLE (1-2)
30. JAC (1-2)
31. CHI (0-3)
32. SF (1-2)

BYE WEEK TEAMS

  • NEW ENGLAND (3-0)Well it’s the bye week and the Patriots have made some trades, again. This is just about the only thing predictable about Bill Belichick excepting that he will be wearing some sort of scissor altered hoodie. As the defense’s front 7 has been less impressive in most of the 3 games, Belichick has brought in 2013 2nd round pick Jonathan Bostic, formerly of the Bears and 2012 3rd round pick Akiem Hicks formerly of the Saints. I don’t expect these moves to make a huge swing in the defense, but will provide depth with the potential for some situational upside, like Pats fans saw in 2014 with Akeem Ayers.The
  • Patriots are atop my first power ranks of the week, column to the left. They look to be in one dimension, with only the Packers and Cardinals even knowing where that other dimension is.

TENNESSEE (1-2)

  • For a young team that was an unfortunate home loss to the Colts. Were this a more veteran team I’d say it was a bad loss. I don’t think will be a season killer though, I think the bye week will help and I expect the Titans to be able to come out of the bye ready to be a thorn in the side of AFC teams fighting for playoffs spots all season.
  • I don’t love anyone on the Titans as a reliable fantasy option, but certainly am monitoring Marcus Mariota and Kendall Wright, but I’m staying far, far away from the running game.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

BALTIMORE (0-3) @ PITTSBURGH (2-1) [+4]

  • Well the Ravens are a few plays away from being 3-0, but they aren’t and making up that ground is tough. Lucky for the Ravens the Steelers just lost Ben Roethlisberger for probably 6 or 7 games. I feel the division is out of reach, but if they can figure out the defense without Terrell Suggs and find someone to catch the ball from Joe Flacco other than Steve Smith Sr, they would be a team to be reckoned with in the win or go home playoffs.
  • I don’t know what to do about Justin Forsett if you invested in him in fantasy. You may not want to start him, but you likely don’t have anyone with better upside. So while I hate having guys in Thursday games I think you have to play Forsett at least 1 more week.
  • can Michael Vick conjure some magic up for a few weeks with the great weapons he has around him? It didn’t look like it in week 1 and it’s a short week so how many reps can he really get? I don’t think it should matter because he should focus on putting the ball into Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown’s hands. If he does that the Steelers should be able to win at home.
  • Vick is a stay away in fantasy. The overall value of Steelers drops slightly without Ben, but nowhere near to the point where you should question if you are playing them week in and week out.

Steelers 27, Ravens 26

SUNDAY 930AM EST – LONDON

NEW YORK (AFC) (2-1) @ MIAMI (1-2) [+3]

  • The Jets didn’t show up until it was too late in week 3 and now have to go to London. It’s a division game against a team that is completely struggling so the Jets should do what good teams do, take care of business. The question is, are the Jets a good team? Or in more detail, is Ryan Fitzpatrick able to not throw the game away, literally.
  • Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are going to be fine with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the QB, as long as each stays healthy. Remember, in Marshall’s first year somewhere he is typically great and having Decker there gives him more space to operate.
  • What a mess. I really like the talent in Miami, but wow the coaching doesn’t exist and they lose a home game by playing in London. I was wrong and it really is starting to look like the coach has to go and go far, far away from the NFL. I’m not sure I would trust him coaching a 6 year olds flag football team right now.
  • I still believe Ryan Tannehill has fantasy value, but they need something resembling a scheme. For each game. No other team comes out and looks like a guy I’m playing online in Madden than the Dolphins. Where the plays don’t seem to have any sort of purpose. Sure, you would like to score on every play you call, but you don’t call every play to score a TD. Sometimes you call a series of plays to set up a big play. Sometimes you call a series of plays to get a first down because your defense needs a rest. There is no rhyme or reason to the Dolphins play calling.

Dolphins 21, Jets 17

SUNDAY 1 PM GAMES

JACKSONVILLE (1-2) @ INDIANAPOLIS (1-2) -7.5

  • I still think the Jags can be a tough matchup for playoff teams, despite the fact that the Pats made them look awful. If they can bounce back against a bad Indy team this week, and at least make it a competitive game, it will go a long way to reinvigorating this team’s confidence.
  • This is another team with a couple of intriguing fantasy players, but without a single reliable one. So monitor, but don’t buy.
  • The coach isn’t happy about his contract status, the GM hates the coach, neither believes the coach will be back
  • I don’t think a single Cowboy player is relevant in week 3 for fantasy, including the kicker and defense. I don’t know which RB you would want and with a hurt Jason Witten Terrance Williams is likely to disappear into double coverage. I don’t trust any of them and advise you not to either.

Colts 44, Jaguars 28

NEW YORK (NFC) (1-2) @ BUFFALO (2-1) [-6.5]

  • Eli Manning against a Rex Ryan defense has potential disaster written all over it. If you are a Giants fan I would treat this very much like the approaching Joaquin hurricane, stock up on can goods and alcohol and hide in the basement until it’s all over.
  • Sure Rueben Randle had a very nice game last Thursday, but I wouldn’t count on it becoming an every week phenomena. Odell Beckham Jr is the stud there and Victor Cruz is going to try and be what he was, and as unlikely as I think that is the Giants are going to try.
  • This team can play from ahead as well as any team in the league. Tyrod Taylor seems to understand the concept of taking what is given to him and not making mistakes balanced with 2 very good runners in Lesean McCoy and Karlos WIlliams. Plus the defense is allowed to pin their ears back and go get the opposing QB. All that being said I don’t know they can overcome a 2 score deficit if they get into that situation.
  • Don’t tell My Friend Craig, but wow I’ve bought into the Bills players as fantasy relevant. Well at least the QB Taylor and the RBs. I just wish one of the RBs would establish himself as the every week play stud.

Bills 28, Giants 24

CAROLINA (3-0) @ TAMPA BAY (1-2) [+3]

  • Solid football is what the Panthers play. They aren’t blowing anyone away in score or with style, but they are scoring more points than the other team and that’s all that matters in the end. Being solid again this week will be enough to beat the Bucs and will mean they took care of business before the meat of their schedule kicks off in week 5.
  • Jonathan Stewart has been a disappointment I know, but much like Justin Forsett what other options do you have? I’d give him another week in my starting lineup before looking to sell him at a below market value.
  • It hasn’t been all bad for the Bucs, but it’s hardly been all good. I still think that the coaching at the top is just sub par. They had 10 more penalties last Sunday to make 33 for the season, tied for the league lead with the Raiders. They missed 4 of 5 kicks on Sunday and didn’t replace the kicker. Even Shaq hit better than 20% of his free throws for fuck’s sake.
  • Mike Evans is the only guy on this team worth starting weekly in fantasy. I’ll keep an eye on some other guys, but Doug Martin has returned to fantasy irrelevance and Jameis WInston just isn’t ready to put up points for you on a consistent basis. Vincent Jackson is boom or bust and bust seems to be far more predictable than boom.

Panthers 21, Buccaneers 14

PHILADELPHIA (1-2) @ WASHINGTON (1-2) [+3]

  • Did the Eagles turn it on against the Jets, or did they catch the Jets in a short week? I think it’s a little of column A, a little of column B. This is an important division game for both teams and give the winner a leg up in trying to take advantage of the Cowboys injuries, so I expect a very good, close game.
  • If Demarco Murray plays I don’t know what to do about Ryan Mathews. Mathews looked better than Murray all year, so could there be a shift in gears in the works? Doubtful, but possible at least in the short term.
  • The Redskins have been pretty solid at home, but traveled very poorly last week on the short week. With extra time, a home game and a struggling Eagles team I think the Redskins can win this game outright if they play the same way they did against the Rams, get ahead and run the ball well.
  • Alfred Morris or Matt Jones? I don’t’ know. I don’t think Jay Gruden knows. Jones has the burst and the explosive nature with a tendency to fumble while Morris has the steady hand and a tendency to get caught from behind.

Eagles 27, Redskins 17

OAKLAND (2-1) @ CHICAGO (0-3) [+3]

  • The raiders can play well away from Oakland. That’s a big deal. They were proverbial door stops the last few years on the road. Now they get a down, very, very down Bears team. The Raiders will score plenty of points, but can they hold back Jimmy Clausen. Yes of course they can, unless of course the old school Raiders decide to show up.
  • Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray are studs, Michael Crabtree is serviceable if you have to replace a guy like Julian Edelman on a bye. It’s a good matchup for Derek Carr if you need to replace Tom Brady or Marcus Mariota on a bye.
  • 10 punts in Seattle last week. It was a perfect storm of bad offensive football. Terrible. And now they are trading guys away. Talk about giving up on a season early.
  • I’m not sure that you can trust even Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery in fantasy right now. Again, I think you have to play them, but maybe trying to flip them in non-keeper leagues is the smart play, if you can get enough value back.

Raiders 27, Bears 10

HOUSTON (1-2) @ ATLANTA (3-0) [-6.5]

  • The Texans invested in Ryan Mallett in 2014 and Brian Hoyer in 2015 and all that has left them with is questionable QB play. The saying ‘if you have 2 QBs you have no QBS’ exists for a reason, you need to a guy the team trusts. That seems fairly lacking in Houston right now. I expect, if Bill O’Brien survives the year, the Texans to draft a young QB in the first couple of round and hand him the ball 2016 week 1.
  • If Arian Foster is active I would start him. The only other guy I would start on the Texans is Deandre Hopkins, and I’m all in on Hopkins.
  • The Falcons have been great offensively and ok defensively. I think they win this game because I expect the Texans problems to be enhanced on the road, but it will likely be a bit of a shoot out, like all the Falcons games have been so far.
  • Julio Jones above everyone else. Leonard Hankerson over Roddy White. Devonta Freeman over Tevin Coleman at least until Freeman is bad.

Falcons 34, Texans 17

KANSAS CITY (1-2) @ CINCINNATI (3-0) [-4]

  • The Chiefs ran into the buzzsaw Packers last week, but they didn’t show me anything that makes me believe they have recovered from the devastating loss to the Bronco’s at home in week 2. Andy Reid is a coach you want with a team that is front running and confident, not one who is struggling and struggling to find itself.
  • Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are all weekly starts. They finally seem to have decided that if Alex Smith isn’t going to throw deep to Maclin that they will get him crossing routes over the middle. It might get him crushed by a safety or linebacker at some point, but until then it will get him plenty of targets.
  • In years past the Bengals would have lost the game against the Ravens when it went bad for them. This team though persevered and are 3-0 with a tight grip on the AFC North. It’s a big change in team personality and I see no reason to expect that it changes any time soon.
  • Jeremy Hill is a guy you probably can give a week off if you have an option you prefer because he just isn’t getting the touches. Start everyone else as I expect the Bengals to continue to throw and put up plenty of points.

Bengals 31, Chiefs 16

SUNDAY 4 PM GAMES

CLEVELAND (1-2) @ SAN DIEGO (1-2) [-7.5]

  • Josh McCown put up nice number sin garbage time, but when it mattered he looked awful. I think Johnny Football probably wins that game for the Browns, but that’s certainly debatable.
  • I almost think you have to start Travis Benjamin if you are looking for a HR or a bye week/injury fill in. He started to get more opportunity last week on plays that didn’t involve him running 40 or more yards down the field. I think he is an ok talent, with good vision, and great speed. He showed some fight last week to get into the endzone as well, which was a nice surprise.
  • This team shouldn’t be 1-2. While I can’t put a reason to why I don’t like the feel of them, I just don’t. Maybe this move to LA stuff is a thing. Maybe the coaching is bad. Maybe there isn’t enough talent. I’m just not sure.
  • God I hate guys like Keenan Allen who shouldn’t be boom or bust, but are. You’ve got to play him because he should have plenty of targets and he should be able to run away from defenders. The question as always is, will he? I don’t know.

Chargers 27, Browns 15

GREEN BAY (3-0) @ SAN FRANCISCO (1-2) [+8.5]

  • They are bit behind the Pats and Cardinals for me in terms of best team in the league. I’m not sure their defense is quite up to the level it will need to be when they absolutely need to get stops. The injuries are also piling up and you can only replace so many guys before the integrity of the system begins to buckle, regardless of how good the pillars of Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews may be.
  • I don’t think you can start Ty Montgomery yet. I would need to see him do a little more before I felt great about it. Cobb and James Jones are just dominating the important targets, to say nothing of Davante Adams if he plays.
  • Ok so that opening week Monday NIght game was just a total shit show that and we have seen the real, dysfunctional, seemingly coachless 49ers show up 2 weeks in a row. Also is Colin Kaepernick any good without Jim Harbaugh? Maybe the QB situation isn’t as settled as 49ers may have wanted to think.
  • I think the only safe 49er is Carlos Hyde and I’m not exactly brimming with confidence in saying that.

Packers 34, 49ers 24

ST> LOUIS (1-2) @ ARIZONA (3-0) [-6]

  • Well we have learned the Rams can play defense at home. Even when the field catches on fire, literally. This doesn’t mean they are good and I’m not so sure their Super Bowl wasn’t their week 1 win over the Seahawks. They go on the road against the high flying Cards this week and show as poorly on the road as they did in Washington regardless of the fact this is a division game.
  • I wouldn’t play anyone on the Rams right now in fantasy.
  • The Cards are my number 2 team right now. They have shown great flashes on defense and great consistency on offense. Health will always be a concern for Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald, but you can’t dign them for it this season until it happens and it hasn’t yet.
  • I think even if Andre Ellington plays you can start CHris Johnson. I think Ellington take more touches away from David Johnson than he does CJ.75K.

Cardinals 34, Rams 13

MINNESOTA (2-1) @ DENVER (3-0) [-6.5]

  • The youth of the Vikings showed in their first road game in week 1. Can they correct those mistakes and make a game of it in Denver? I think they can as long as they can run the ball. Their defensive line beat up on Philip RIvers last week and should be able to tee off on Peyton Manning this week.
  • Start Adrian Peterson, bench anyone else. Mike Wallace is eh, if you are desperate.
  • The Bronco’s are a fortunate 3-0, that being said, they are still 3-0. The offense is potentially in trouble because Peyton Manning is only going to be able to get by on guile and sheer will for so long.
  • Start Peyton, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and maybe Owen Daniels if you have Rob Gronkowski on a bye. CJ Anderson looks like a mess and the Minnesota front looks very solid against the run, despite what Carlos Hyde did to them in week 1 in that weird, weird game.

Broncos 24, Vikings 14

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

DALLAS (2-1) @ NEW ORLEANS (0-3) [NO LINE]

  • The Cowboys coughed away what should have been an easy win against the Falcons. They were running the ball at will into the endzone and then just stopped. Some credit to the Falcons defense for adjustments, but you have to be able to expand the gameplan enough to win that game. I put that loss on Jason Garrett not Brandon Weeden.
  • I think you should start Joseph Randle in fantasy and maybe Darren McFadden if you are desperate or looking for a home run. The Saints just aren’t good and I expect the COwboys be able to establish and maintain the running game this week, as they weren’t able to do last week.
  • Luke McCown wasn’t the problem in week 3, but he wasn’t particularly good. The Saints have less talent than the Panthers, period, even if the Saints had Drew Brees.
  • Safest thing the Saints have is Mark Ingram. Outside of that I don’t know you feel comfortable starting anyone. Although depending on where you drafted Brandon Cooks you likely have to start him.

Cowboys 21, Saints 20

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

DETROIT (0-3) @ SEATTLE (1-2) [-9]

  • We learned Jim Caldwell wasn’t a very good coach when he was with the Colts, didn’t we? He was propped up by the success of Peyton Manning and when Peyton missed a year, the Colts sucked and Caldwell got fired. In 2014, with the Lions, he was propped up by an unbelieveable defense to the tune of an 11-5 record. Well we are seeing just how bad he is now with a Detroit team that has accumulated 60% of their 2014 loss total in just 3 weeks. That’s bad.
  • The RB situation is a mess. So I’d stay away if I could. You have to start Calvin Johnson but I don’t love it. I’d steer clear of Matthew Stafford if at all possible.
  • As crappy as the Seahawks schedule looked like ass the first 2 weeks, the Bears and Lions coming to town was just the medicine the doctor ordered. Seahawks can get to 2-2 without a ton of effort. If The big question is when will the scoreless streak be broken or maybe better yet, will it be broken?
  • I think your Seahawks are safe starts, as long as we are talking about Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and Marshawn Lynch if he plays, Thomas Rawls if he doesn’t.

Seahawks 26, Lions 13

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