2013 Fantasy Football October 3 Daily Fix: Week 5 DEF/ST Recommendations
Today’s fantasy football daily fix delivers news, notes, and DraftKings D/ST recommendations, including the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams, and Atlanta Falcons.
News & Notes
BREAKING: John Harbaugh Is Not Stupid
It shouldn’t be news when a head coach announces that he’s going to make getting the ball to his best offensive player a top priority, but after Ray Rice touched the football only five times against Buffalo, it was necessary for Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to make that statement. In the first four weeks, Harbaugh and the Ravens seemed determined to squeeze as much value, or at least as many passes, as possible from the team’s gargantuan investment in Joe Flacco. Baltimore’s QB threw at least 50 passes in two of the team’s first four regular season games; prior to this season, he’d thrown 50 passes or more in exactly one regular season game in his career
Flacco’s increasing volume has made owning Rice in fantasy has been terribly frustrating. Although there’s no way to recoup the poor production that may have already set your W-L record on the wrong side of .500, this news seems to be a sign that bluer skies are ahead. The Ravens face Miami, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay before a Week 8 bye, and all three matchups look favorable for Rice.
Some Offensive Tackles Were Traded
Eugene Monroe moves from Jacksonville to Baltimore and while he will improve the Ravens line a bit, it really doesn’t impact the fantasy value of any of his new teammates. Baltimore hasn’t been a good run-blocking team, we already knew (see above) that Ray Rice would get better just by virtue of being healthier and getting more touches. The Ravens line has actually blocked well for Joe Flacco; his problem isn’t protection, it’s that he’s just not a great passer.
Baltimore’s former division foil, the suddenly horrible Pittsburgh Steelers, made a similar move, snagging perennial underachiever Levi Brown from the Arizona Cardinals. Slippery quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has proven that offensive line play has almost nothing to do with his success or failure, but this could be a good thing for rookie running back Le’Veon Bell. Brown is far from a skilled tactician in pass protection, but he’s an enormous body who is capable of bulldozing space in the running game. Calling Brown an “average” left tackle is probably an overstatement, but for a team that ranks 28th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards, even mediocre is an upgrade.
Starks Out, Gronk and Amendola In?
NFL.com’s Wednesday afternoon injury roundup should be required reading for all fantasy football players; this week’s highlight is the news that James Starks will remain out for “a couple of weeks” according to Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. That means good things for preseason darling Eddie Lacy, as well as the sneaky-good Jonathan Franklin.
On a more positive note, both Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski participated in New England Patriots practice on Wednesday. That said, it’s unlikely that we’ll know for sure whether either or both recovering Patriots will play until much closer to Sunday, but hey, good news is better than no news, right?
DraftKings Defense/Special Teams Recommendations
If you’ve never played DraftKings before, it’s time to start. You’re reading this column, so I know you like fantasy football, and new depositors will get a free ticket into a Millionaire Grand Final qualifier, a contest that as me so excited, I wrote a whole damn article about it!
So yeah, I think you’ve got some signing up to do. Once you’re registered, check out the multitude of options DraftKings has to offer; I’m personally a big fan of the Double Up and Triple Up contests.
Our Week 4 picks were solid; the Colts turned in a spectacular performance, New Orleans, Arizona and Oakland all delivered well. The only slip up was picking the wrong side of the Titans-Jets matchup.
The selection isn’t great for Week 5, but let’s get to the picks:
It’s time to get used to the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs ($4,600) are an elite fantasy defense. Justin Houston has been the best pass rushing linebacker in football, and KC’s defense and special teams have already scored three times. The Titans aren’t a great offense to begin with and although I didn’t exactly have nice things to say about Jake Locker last week, the team will certainly miss his play-making ability. it’s a good, not great matchup, but it’s plenty for a great, not just good Kansas City defense.
The Carolina Panthers ($4,400) defensive line has quietly been one of the best in football through the season’s first month. Carolina is the only team to rank in the top five in both Adjusted Line Yards (a measure of rushing defense) and Adjusted Sack Rate. The Arizona Cardinals offensive line has been about average so far, but let’s not forget that it just swapped an already mediocre left tackle for his ostensibly worse backup. Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy are going to have a field day; Carson Palmer will have a lay-on-the-field day.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have played four games this season and scored a total of 31 points. Give that a minute to sink in. Seven teams scored more points in Week 4 alone! Every bit of the Jaguars offense is vulnerable, but none more than the offensive line, especially now that Eugene Monroe has left town. It’s hard to imagine how things could be much worse in Jacksonville, but this matchup couldn’t line up better for the St. Louis Rams ($3,700). Chris Long and Robert Quinn lead one of the most ferocious pass rushes in football; they’ll take as many opportunities as possible to introduce themselves to Blaine Gabbert on Sunday.
I’ll admit that the Atlanta Falcons ($3,200) are a bit of a lottery ticket. The defense isn’t good, but like all New York quarterbacks, the Jets’ Geno Smith is an equal opportunity turnover machine. The Falcons will probably give up some points (Atlanta’s D has yet to hold an opponent under 23 points this season), but they’ve got as good a chance as any defense of taking a turnover back for a score.
Terrelle Pryor will be back at the helm of the Oakland offense this week. While that probably means a few more points, it probably also means a few more sacks and interceptions as Pryor tries to improvise. The San Diego Chargers ($3,100) will be the beneficiaries of Pryor’s indiscretions. The Chargers’ weakness on D is against the run, but with Darren McFadden on the bench and Philip Rivers putting up points, I don’t expect the Raiders to get much going on the ground outside of the occasional quarterback scramble.