On paper, some of these projections for this upcoming week might seem pretty simple.
The Cardinals are coming off of a 40-7 shellacking of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which they benefited from four turnovers from Jameis Winston. On the other side, the Buffalo Bills also had 36 points hung on their defense and gave up 500 yards of offense to Ryan Fitzpatrick, including three 100 yard receivers and a 100 yard rusher in Matt Forte. But it might not be simply a one-sided victory.
Let's take a look:
Start of the Week: Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
This was a tricky one for me. On one hand, David Johnson might get his first 100-yard rushing game of the season versus the Bills, and might be in for a good day of receiving as well given the Ryan's love of blitzing & their LB's inability to tackle in space.
But you'll be starting David Johnson each week whether or not the matchup is favorable.
But it was the cornerbacks who were burned the most last week versus the Jets. John Brown, while the coaches are saying he looks like his old self again pre-concussion (which limited him for a month) I think is still a week away. And Jaron Brown, while he's close in yards to Floyd and had a 51-yarder last week, hasn't gotten the targets
Meanwhile, via @thepme on Twitter, guess who is leading the NFL in Redzone targets?
Most Red Zone targets on the season pic.twitter.com/WxVARPeAJQ— Patrick Mayo (@ThePME) September 21, 2016
Answer: One Larry Fitzgerald, with 6 of them on the season. But look at the name after that: Michael Floyd is second with five of them.
Considering that Floyd can stretch the field and make plays on the ball in the red zone, and with Fitzgerald getting all the extra attention, I'd expect a big day for Floyd.
Prediction: 113 yards, 2 TD's.
Cards Sleeper: Jaron Brown, WR
You heard it. I'm taking a gamble on Jaron Brown this week, bolstered by his 51-yard touchdown last week against the Bucs. Brown might not be as well known as the OTHER Brown but he's making a case for more snaps even as the #4 wide receiver and has been filling the "deep threat" role in the first two weeks some with John Brown banged up.
I'm going to guess that this continues for one more week, and as Quincy Enunwa had 100 yards against them from the slot/#3 WR spot, I'll hazard a guess that Jaron does some damage and next week might be John Brown's return to being an impact player.
Cards Sell: John Brown, WR
As seen above, I'm banking on John being the Brown who's still a week away from an impact. If he goes off for almost 200 yards now that he's apparently feeling better, you can be the first to say "Told You So." But I doubt that is the case.
Bills Start: Tyrod Taylor, QB
I was tempted to pick the Bills defense here should they TRULY be in desperation mode, but that would mean I'd be trusting Rex and Rob Ryan to stop the Cardinals offense after coming off of a game in which they:
- Gave up 500 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Fired their offensive coordinator Greg Roman
- Said that their gameplan for beating Palmer was that "maybe [he'd] have a bad day."
With that confidence boost in the books, feel free to stream Tyrod Taylor as a QB option this week without worrying about last week, as Tyrod protects the football much better than Jameis Winston.
Bills Sell: LeSean McCoy, RB
I'm tempted to say that the majority of the Bills offense could apply here (certainly the defense after last week) but that's certainly not the case.
Tyrod Taylor put up almost 300 yards passing and even added some rushing yards and three touchdowns in a shootout versus the Jets last week...and the Bills didn't look good for the majority of the contest.
Taylor will be facing the new-look secondary of the Cardinals with NFC Defensive Player of the Week (man, it must feel strange to Chiefs fans to be reading this) Marcus Cooper and Brandon Williams, albeit without Cordy Glenn and perhaps Sammy Watkins.
Still, even if it's in garbage time, Taylor will be evasive and look deep. Which brings us to McCoy facing the Cardinals rush defense. There was a stretch for almost two seasons in which the Cardinals did not allow a 100-yard rusher, and I would expect similar struggles for McCoy versus a tough Arizona D.
The last time McCoy played Arizona was in 2014 and he had 20 carries for 83 yards, but zero touchdowns on the day. With a potentially worse offensive line and Arizona's offense a possibility to get up early, I'd put McCoy on the bench.
Houston Defense: I hate to go against Bill Belichick but I will when you have a team playing as well as the Texans have also have one of Bill's former disciples on the sidelines going up against the team's rookie 3rd string Quarterback. Bill can do a lot of things. He can't scheme against J.J. Watt, and the Texans ROCKED a Chiefs team that looks like they could make a deep playoff run this year.
If it were Garoppolo or a veteran I'd have no concern. But with a rookie, unless Bill can magically find a way to win the game, I'd expect Pats fans might actually start wondering about Julian Edelman. (Then again, haven't we all thought this before?)
Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers: The Colts are basically one more injury away from Jim Irsay trotting down onto the field to play cornerback, and Philip Rivers has found a new favorite target with Keenan Allen out for the year. Expect Benjamin to have a big game again.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: On the other end of the Colts/Chargers game, the Chargers cornerbacks (led by one Jason Verrett) have held opposing Wide Receivers to the lowest point total in the league. Without a size advantage over Verrett, I'd expect the Colts to put up points even without Donte Moncrief but NOT to Hilton as Verrett will be locking him down.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Bears: This was a tough one, as I own Jeffrey in two leagues but have to admit, Brian Hoyer isn't going to laser in on one target like Cutler, and behind a suspect line I'd expect the Bears to struggle offensively. Jeffrey will need to go off to convince me he deserves to keep a spot in my starting lineup.
Fozzy Whitaker, RB, Panthers: I like how the Panthers use Fozzy Bear a lot as a pass-catching speed back to spell Jonathan Stewart. But while Whitaker had a great game last week, he is going up against a Minnesota Vikings defense that held back the forces of Todd Gurley and Eddie Lacy.
That's not a great recipe for success. Put in a waiver claim for Whitaker if you haven't already, but don't expect to use him this week with any sort of success.
As usual, I am always available to answer fantasy questions. Hit me up on twitter @blakemurphy7 or ask a question in the comments below and I'll get to them!
Best of luck this week and may the points be with you!