Colts Media Reporter Steve Andress' picks for the top fantasy matchups this week.
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INDIANAPOLIS --- Andrew Luck has been limited in practice this week with an injury to his right throwing shoulder. His teammates in the locker room have all said they expect Luck to start Sunday against the Jaguars. Chuck Pagano said Wednesday Luck was sore and held out of some practice as a precaution.
Come Sunday, my fantasy advice if you own Luck is simple. If Luck starts in real football, he starts in fantasy football.
Fantasy managers should always have a back-up plan though at every starting position. That's part of being good at fantasy football. Ask the Marshawn Lynch owners that didn't pick up Thomas Rawls this week how they feel about that with a Monday night game.
With that in mind, here are some quarterbacks that are owned in less than 60% of NFL.com leagues that I would roster behind Luck as a contingency plan in order of how I would rank them for week 4:
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (vs. NYG) - 6th in fantasy points among QBs through 3 weeks again shows the value of signal callers with rushing ability in fantasy football. Back-to-back weeks with three touchdowns through the air and two of his first three starts he's rushed for more than 40 yards on the ground
Raiders QB Derek Carr (@ CHI) - He's coming off 26 and 20 point performances against Baltimore and at Cleveland. Now, he gets the Bears...who also just traded away two defensive starters.
Eagles QB Sam Bradford (@ WAS) - I know. He's been fantasy irrelevant through three weeks, but the Redskins secondary is completely decimated with injuries this week. I think this is the game where he can give you 15+ points. Just look out for the hurricane situation on the East Coast.
Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ MIA) - It's not really a road game. It's neutral field in London. The Dolphins defense has allowed an average of 275 yards and 2.5 passing TDs over the past two weeks...to Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor. Fitzpatrick is in play week 4.
(Andy Dalton is owned in more than 60% of NFL.com leagues, but if he's available I'd rank him above these four this week)
FOR STEVE'S WEEKLY FANDUEL PICKS, GO TO COLTS.COM/FANTASYFOOTBALL. THEY ARE POSTED EVERY SATURDAY MORNING. ---
Week 4 Start 'Em (16+ points for QBs, 10+ for RB/WR; 14-7 for season, 5-1 last week headlined by Devonta Freeman's 37 points to lead all of fantasy)
QBs Tyrod Taylor and Andy Dalton - See above for Taylor. As for Dalton, the ginga' ninja is on fire. 8 TDs and 1 INT for the Bengals QB and faces a struggling Chiefs secondary this week.
Colts RB Frank Gore (vs. JAX) - Two touchdowns and more than six yards per carry last week with a new look offensive line. I think the momentum continues against Jacksonville, with a possible heavy workload.
Bills RB Karlos Williams (vs. NYG) - He's averaging 7.75 yards per carry(!) and is in line to get a heavy workload with LeSean McCoy missing practice this week (hamstring).
Packers WR James Jones (@ SF) - He should be an every week starter at this point for you, as Aaron Rodgers looks like Michael Jordan in his prime right now, to quote his teammates. The 49ers have been gashed in recent weeks too.
Raiders WR Amari Cooper (@ CHI) - This is one I got wrong in the preseason. I thought the draft day price tag was too high. It wasn't. Back-to-back 100-yard performances and now gets a struggling Bears defense.
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK - Giants RB Shane Vereen: I just don't see how the Giants will be able to run on the Bills. That should leave Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams on the sidelines and Vereen catching balls out of the backfield. He had 12 receptions through two weeks, and then he had zero in a week 3 Thursday night game against Washington. No way that happens again.
TIGHT END WEEK 3 SLEEPER - Packers TE Richard Rodgers: Andrew Quarless is hurt. The snaps now belong to Rodgers.
Honorable Mention - (Last week's pick: LeGarrette Blount; 92 total yards, 3 TD) Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor has been non-existent through three weeks with Sam Bradford refusing the throw the ball down field. Washington's secondary is pretty much completely injured. If not now, then when for Agholor? If somebody dropped him, pick him up.
Week 4 Sit 'Em ( < 16 points for QBs, < 10 for RB/WR; 11-7 on the season, 5-1 last week)
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (@ NYJ, London) - Respect the Jets secondary. Through three weeks, opposing quarterbacks are averaging less than 200 yards and only 1 touchdown per game.
Saints QB Drew Brees (@ DAL) - If Devonta Freeman did that against the Cowboys defense last week, I expect a heavy dose of Mark Ingram this week. I can't imagine Brees is 100% after missing last week either. It's a bad match-up, and he didn't throw more than 1 touchdown in the first two weeks...if you need another reason to bench him.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (vs. DET) - His status is up in the air. It's a Monday night game as well, creating an even bigger headache for fantasy owners. If you don't have Rawls, you have to bench him. Even if Lynch is active, I can't see him getting enough work to be productive in your lineup week 4.
Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (vs. KC) - His surge last season came with him getting more than 60% of the touches out of the backfield. Through three weeks, he's only received 44% of the touches, compared to Giovani Bernard, who has been more effective as a rusher as well. Some experts are saying trade for Hill. I'm not one of them. Unless Bernard gets hurt, Hill won't get more than 50% of the carries and adds zero value in the passing game for fantasy.
Cardinals WR John Brown (vs. STL) - It's the Larry Fitzgerald show right now, and Brown is banged up (shoulder) with a tough match-up. Stay away.
Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews (@ NYJ, London) - He's exploded through three weeks, but the streak ends against the Jets great secondary. Revis, Skrine, and Cromartie won't take him for granted.
Get ahead of the waiver wire competition after this weekend!
Week 3 Pick 'Em Up Best Picks - QB Andy Dalton, QB Tyrod Taylor, TE Jordan Reed (Must be under 50% owned on NFL.com to qualify)
Raiders QB Derek Carr (33.2%)
Washington RB Matt Jones (38.6%)
Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls (7.0%)
Cowboys RB Christine Michael (1.3%, 1st-team reps this week)
Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham (46.3%)
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (17.9%)
Bengals WR Marvin Jones (13.4%)
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (44.0%, 4-game suspension)
Redskins TE Jordan Reed (42.6%!!!! Really?!)