Week 1-4 fantasy football predictions and analysis

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Lucas Metzger

 Hello, my name is Lucas Metzger and welcome to my sports column. For this edition, I will be focusing on Fantasy Football, something that is quite popular at Branson. Here are some of my thoughts on the first few weeks of the NFL season.

 

Review of notable Week 1 games: 

 

Ravens 38, Browns 6: 

This comes as no surprise, as the Ravens, coming off a 14-2 season in 2019, were expected to win against a Browns team that had gone 6-10 and had lost key pieces on defense in the off-season. Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson tore up the Browns’ defense, going 20/25, throwing for 275 yards and three TDs, and rushing for 45 yards in the process. Rookie RB J.K. Dobbins also rushed for two TDs in his NFL debut, outperforming veteran RB Mark Ingram. This is a major red flag for the Browns and fantasy owners of OBJ and Baker Mayfield. The Browns’ passing offense struggled here, and Baker was reminiscent of his 2019 form rather than his 2018 ROTY form.

 

Jaguars 27, Colts 20: 

This was a major, major upset. The extremely depleted Jaguars were expected to be thrashed in this game, as their defense had lost Pro Bowl LE Calais Campbell, Pro Bowl RE Yannick Ngakoue, and others. On offense, they had lost Pro Bowl RB Leonard Fournette, a key piece in their offensive scheme. However, second year fan-favorite QB Gardner Minshew threw for three TDs, carving up the Indianapolis secondary. On defense, the Jaguars notched two interceptions, seemingly reading veteran QB Philip Rivers very well. Colts RB Nyheim Hines is playing a huge role in the passing game and is getting lots of targets.

 

Football Team 27, Eagles 17: 

The Washington Football Team surprised with a strong defensive showing, considering their defense ranked 32nd out of 32 in 2019, going 3-13. However, they looked revitalized in this game, notching two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a whopping eight sacks, and a fumble recovery. Those are the stats one would have expected from the #1 49ers’ defense against the 1-15 Bengals, the worst offense in the league. The addition of DE Chase Young, one of the most hyped DL prospects ever, helped, as he had 1.5 sacks in the win. 

 

Review of notable Week 3 games

 

Bears 30, Falcons 26:

Yes, the Falcons blew a lead yet again. The Falcons were up 16-10 at the half, and raced out to a 26-10 lead in the third quarter behind RB duo Todd Gurley and Brian Hill, who each put up one touchdown in 10 minutes. The story of the night, however, was QB Nick Foles, who took over for former No. 3 pick Mitchell Trubisky when they were down 26-10. The former Super Bowl Champion and MVP Foles had a rocky start, throwing a pick on his fifth snap, but with 12:00 left in the 4th quarter, he rejuvenated the offense, throwing for 3 TDs and leading the Bears to a 30-26 win. Foles should be the presumptive starter going forward, and hopefully he can keep the Bears undefeated.

 

Chiefs 34, Ravens 20:

This was one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season so far, as this game pitted two of the best quarterbacks in the league against each other — Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. Jackson was coming off a 3,000-yard passing and 1,000-yard rushing season and the title of MVP, and Mahomes was the 2018 MVP. The Chiefs got the best of the Ravens in this one, with the mediocre Chiefs defense holding Jackson to just 97 yards, a career low. However, the Mahomes threw for 350 yards and four TDs, with one even going to OT Eric Fisher, tearing apart the Ravens’ defense. This is slightly worrying that Jackson was able to be stuffed by such a mediocre defense, but he should seek to bounce back against the 1-2 Football team.

 

Bengals 23, Eagles 23:

This was the first tie of the NFL season, and one that likely solidifies the decline of the Eagles after their 2017 Super Bowl victory. Rookie QB Joe Burrow managed to throw for 312 yards even though he suffered an astronomical 18 QB hits and seven sacks, which shows the glaring issues in the Eagles’ secondary. Carson Wentz returned to his 2017 form a little in the run game, carrying for 65 yards and a touchdown to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Rookie WR Tee Higgins broke out in this game as well, catching his first 2 touchdowns of the season. This bodes terribly for the Eagles, as the Bengals are a low-tier team and the Eagles should have blown them out. This will surely be a disappointing season for the Eagles, but I cannot wait to see what Burrow will do.

 

Week 4 Fantasy Starts:

 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling:

With Davante Adams and Allen Lazard out, Valdes-Scantling should be the primary target for Aaron Rodgers in a passing offense, who is playing in MVP form. They draw a very favorable matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed two comebacks in three weeks, and who have the 31st-rated pass defense out of 32. Definitely consider him for FLEX this week.

 

Lamar Jackson:

Jackson comes off of a tough matchup with the Chiefs, but things are looking up, as the Ravens play the Football Team next week. The Football Team defense allowed 35 points to a porous Browns’ offense last week, so Jackson is a surefire start, as he can both run and pass, and the Teams’ defense struggles in both of those regards. He should be seen as a QB1 this week and likely every week for this season.

 

Myles Gaskin:

The UDFA running back has made a splash in his first pro season, dropping 31 fantasy points through 3 weeks. As he seems to be the head of the backfield committee in Miami, he will be an all-downs RB. This will be huge against a Seahawks defense that just allowed 31 points in two quarters to the Dallas Cowboys, and who allowed five different receivers to top 50 yards. Gaskin seems primed to go off, seeing as Ryan Fitzpatrick enjoys throwing checkdowns a lot, so definitely consider him an RB2/FLEX option for this week.

 

Alvin Kamara:

Coming off a game in which he had six receptions for 136 yards and two TDs, he seems primed to explode against a Detroit defense that allowed a combined 86 yards to the Cardinals’ committee backfield. Seeing as Kamara is such a huge factor in the Saints’ passing offense, he is definitely worth the start at RB1.

 

LA Rams D/ST:

This defense has not historically been good since 2018, but they draw a very favorable matchup against a Giants’ offense that is struggling in the passing game and that lost its star running back to an ACL tear in Saquon Barkley. Their offense struggled against a depleted 49ers defense last week, so I expect the talented Rams’ defense to finally have a good defensive game and stuff, maybe even shutout, the Giants. Put them in for this week if you have the Steelers or Titans’ defense or if you just need a solid plug-and-play option.