College Football Pick’em
Start or Sit (NFC Home Games)
Talking the business of sports
The early part of this season has been defined by injuries, and we saw another scary one Thursday night. Tua Tagovailoa was forced from the game against the Bengals after hitting his head against the turf on a sack, but he was released from a Cincinnati-area hospital Thursday night. That’s the good news after such a scary sight.
The Dolphins ended up losing that game, and Tyreek Hill was the only player on the team who really performed all that well — Jaylen Waddle, Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert all scored 10 or fewer PPR points. On the other side of that game, Joe Mixon had another OK game, as did Ja’Marr Chase, while Tee Higgins was a star and Joe Burrow hit on three plays of 36 yards or more — a good sign given his struggles finding big plays so far this season.
The Bengals ended up winning 27-15, and Fantasy players left come out of the game mostly dissatisfied. That’s been a theme through the first month of the season, and it might have left you in a hole. But don’t worry; we also have plenty of injuries to wade through just in case the degree of difficulty wasn’t already high enough.
I want to help out there, so send any questions you might have my way at [email protected] with the subject line “#AskFFT” and they’ll get included in my Sunday morning mailbag. Plus, you can catch our YouTube stream Sunday morning at 11:30 EDT where Adam Aizer, Frankl Stampfl and I will be answering all of your lineup questions.
Get ready for Week 4 with all of our preview content here:
And here’s what the rest of today’s newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 4:
There’s something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. Here’s a look ahead at every Week 4 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, some lineup help and one thing to watch for from each game:
All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Remember, we have a 9:30 am EST start this week with the Vikings and Saints playing in London, so you have to make sure you have your lineups set early. And, unfortunately, there are plenty of injury question marks here that we may not have any clarity on before Sunday morning. That makes it hard to know exactly what to expect from this game as of Thursday afternoon.
Injuries: There’s a lot to keep track of here, starting with Jameis Winston (back, ankle), who has yet to practice this week. Andy Dalton would start in his place if Winston is unable to play, and I think it would be a downgrade for the offense as a whole. Michael Thomas (foot) was also unable to practice, while Jarvis Landry (ankle) was upgraded to limited participation Thursday, so he figures to be in better shape. On the other side, Cook was a full participant Thursday, so it looks like he’s going to play.
I’m surprised to see the Browns favored by just 1.5 against the Falcons. I guess Vegas isn’t buying into the Browns sixth-ranked offense — or they are buying into the Falcons ninth-ranked offense, which seems harder to believe. Both of these teams have found their greatest success on the ground, and that could lead to pretty low-volume game for both offenses if they can do so again.
With Dak Prescott sidelined, the Cowboys have won consecutive games allowing 17 and 16 points, and they’re doing it on the strength of what might be the NFL‘s best pass rush. The Commanders just got dominated by the Eagles, who sacked Carson Wentz nine times. The blueprint for the Cowboys is clear, and this could be another long day for Wentz and the Commanders offense.
The Seahawks actually looked like a competent modern NFL offense in Week 3, and it wasn’t just chasing points — they put up 20 in the first half while throwing 25 times to just 14 carries. Are they going to keep that trend up? It would make me feel a bit more optimistic about their offense if they did, though if the Lions injury issues aren’t cleared up by Sunday, this could be a more low-scoring game than expected.
We thought the Colts were getting an upgrade at quarterback with the switch from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan, but the old guy hasn’t been that through three games. He’s been under pressure a ton and hasn’t responded well, with four interceptions and an absurd seven fumbles compared to just three touchdowns. The Colts offense is probably never going to put up a ton of points or big Fantasy production outside of Jonathan Taylor or Michael Pittman, but if Ryan continues to struggle, the ceiling is going to be capped for those two as well.
There have been just three games all season where a team has attempted 20 or fewer passes, and all three have been by the Bears offense. Incredibly, they also somehow rank sixth in the league in sacks. This is not a functional NFL offense right now, despite how well Khalil Herbert ran the ball last week. Until we see them trust Justin Fields to put the ball in the air, you can’t trust anyone except the lead running back in this offense.
The Jaguars offense looks like it has taken a big leap forward this season, but they’ll face a real test from this Eagles defense that just sacked Carson Wentz nine times and has allowed 15 points over the past two games.
With Zach Wilson recovered from his preseason knee injury, we’re going to see the Jets offense as it was meant to look like. Whether that means the offense will be better or worse depends on how much Wilson has improved from his rookie season.
You might be looking at the two MVP frontrunners here with Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen going head-to-head, and Jackson may have the edge — both for the award and for this week, given the Bills injuries on defense. The Bills only gave up 212 yards of total offense to the Dolphins in Week 3, but it was a much less impressive 5.73 yards per play. They might struggle to slow this fast Ravens offense given how Jackson is playing.
I was surprised the Chargers were only favored by seven against the Jaguars last week and they got blown out, so I guess we’ll find out if that said more about the Chargers or the Jags. This Chargers team is supposed to be one of the best in the league, but with Joey Bosa on IR with a groin injury and Justin Herbert dealing with a rib injury, they may not be the force we thought they would be.
The Panthers being favored here is a surprise, even at home. Their defense has been pretty good, and the Cardinals haven’t really hit their stride yet, but Baker Mayfield and the passing game for the Panthers have been such a mess that I can’t really get behind the idea of them being the better team here.
That’s one of the lowest implied team totals you’ll see all season with the Patriots at 15.5, but it’s hard to argue with it with Mac Jones likely out and replaced by the uninspiring Brian Hoyer. This Patriots offense was already nothing special, and while Hoyer probably isn’t too much of a downgrade from Jones, he is a downgrade, and this is a good Packers defense, so expectations should be low.
Neither of these two teams has figured out how best to integrate their two big offseason acquisitions. The Broncos have managed to eke out a couple of wins while still trying to figure out their offense, but the biggest issue hasn’t been moving the ball so much as finishing drives off — they rank 22nd in rate of drives scored on. The Raiders actually rank 10th in scoring despite Derek Carr completing just 50% of his passes to Davante Adams. If either team figures those things out, there will be fireworks in this one.
The over/under on this one may be too low if the Bucs have their full complement of receiving weapons available. Obviously, that’s a big if at this point, but the Bucs offense found some life late in Week 3 by leaning on the pass, and you can assume that’s something they’ll do more of if Tom Brady‘s top weapons are available. This could still end up being a shootout despite the disappointing start from these two offenses.
In Week 3, Jimmy Garoppolo sure looked like a guy who got very few first-team reps in training camp. He looked rusty, but given his track record in this offense, we can expect better things in the future. Garoppolo has his flaws, but that was an especially poor showing. Don’t give up hope on Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle just yet.
© 2004-2022 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc.
Images by Getty Images and US Presswire