Hi, hello & welcome to the column that’s not just your favorite, not just my favorite, but Brent Musburger’s favorite! To be honest, I’m already thinking of changing the name, as our attempts at getting Brent to either endorse us or send us a cease & desist order have been unsuccessful so far. Why should we scratch his back if he’s not going to scratch ours?
Change might also bring good luck. I had my worst week in picks against the spread in years and my Fave 5 got the big squadoosh. I did go 6-0 in fantasy, but that probably doesn’t make you feel better about losing all your money. Let’s see if we can get back on track this week…
This one’s pretty self explanatory. Booker T was doing the Fave 5 gimmick back when the Ocho was starting up, so we figured it only made sense to make it part of our fantasy football podcast over at offtheteam.com. These are five guys that are going to have tremendous weeks and lead your team to fantasy glory. And maybe even lead their actual team to glory, but we’re not worried about that too much here. I was really bad at this last week, so hopefully this week’s picks will actually do something.
Russell Wilson: Just when you count the Hall of Famer out, he goes off and reminds you that he’s often one of the best QBs to own in fantasy. His lows are really low, but you’ll take them for the highs. 41.52 points in OTTFFL scoring last week in Tennessee, and this week the Seahawks are hosting the Colts & their sorry, no-account defense. Even if Doug Baldwin is hurt, Wilson will find somebody to throw to. Add in a Week 5 meeting with the Rams before the bye and Wilson owners should be pleased the next two weeks.
DeAndre Hopkins: DeShaun Watson actually looked like an NFL quarterback in Week 3, which is great news for D-Hop. Tennessee is much tougher against the run than the pass, and Houston doesn’t really have a running game anyway, so expect Hopkins to get plenty of attention from Watson. He’s gotten seven catches every week so far, which PPR owners are probably happy with.
Christian McCaffrey: Penguin has taken him in this section every week this season, so I figured I’d beat him to the punch this time. Cam Newton is not all right, Kelvin Benjamin & Greg Olsen are out of commission, and it’s going to be on C-Mac to carry the load against a Patriots defense that can give up some yardage to young running backs. His skills as a pass-catcher put him over Jonathan Stewart in my book, as Carolina still has a piss-poor offensive line.
Travis Kelce: Apparently this guy was in the doghouse last week due to some unsportsmanlike penalties he’d drawn in the first couple of weeks. If he was on the Bengals he would have gotten a contract extension. I think Andy Reid smartens up and realizes that Washington gives up a lot of yards to tight ends, and getting the ball to Kelce early & often is a darn good way to ensure Monday night victory. If you have Kelce on Monday night you should like your chances of winning your matchup.
Carlos Hyde: Hyde was the first running back last week to get injured and get declared out for the season by OTT’s Egomaniac247. That didn’t quite happen, as Hyde got back into the game, scored two touchdowns and made things closer for the 49ers against the Rams than they had any business being. He’s gone for double digits the last two weeks against NFC West teams, and I expect that trend to continue against an Arizona defense that isn’t really stopping much of anything right now.
Last Week’s Fave 5 Record: 0-5 (Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, Kelvin Benjamin, Zach Ertz & GB DEF under)
These are four people that you’re probably going to have to start, but you’re not going to be very happy about it. I’ve actually been doing well in this section lately, mostly because offenses have been disappointing thus far.
Julio Jones: If you drafted Julio in the first round you probably haven’t been as happy about it as you hoped. No touchdowns in three weeks? What gives? Yahoo is projecting big things from Jones in Week 4, but I don’t see it. The Bills have yet to give up a receiving touchdown this season. Granted, they haven’t gone against anybody like Jones, but it’s nothing that bodes well for a Falcons team that probably shouldn’t be 3-0.
Kirk Cousins: Ya like that? Not against the Kansas City Chiefs I don’t. Cousins went off for 32 points in Week 3 against Oakland, but had two mediocre showings against the Rams & Eagles to start the season. Expect Kirk to struggle in Week 4 and Washington fans to spend Week 5 wondering if their team will ever have somebody that they feel comfortable giving a long-term contract to.
Isaiah Crowell: 2.9 yards per carry so far in 2017 isn’t what you were hoping for if you picked the Browns running back in the second round like my podcast co-host did. You also weren’t hoping for Duke Johnson Jr. emerging as a threat and taking time on the field away from Crowell, but that’s exactly what’s happening. The Bengals can slip up easily against anybody, but I like their defense this week with Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and ready to bust some heads. Expect another underwhelming week from the most inexplicably highly ranked player during the 2017 off-season.
Michael Crabtree: That sorry ass receiver is heading into Week 4 with a chest injury that limited him to one catch for seven yards against Washington. Even if that gets better, he gets the Denver Broncos and their stout secondary that will be PISSED OFF over the whole “losing to Buffalo” thing. He got 26 points in Week 2 and he’ll be lucky to get 26 points combined in the next four weeks afterward.
Last Week’s Fearful 4 Record: 3-1 (Mike Evans, LeSean McCoy. Trevor Siemian under, Leonard Fournette over)
A lot of the fantasy experts out there love to give you their sleeper picks. It’s not a bad idea. The flaw in the execution is they’re typically not highlighting people you can pick up. I read columns telling me that Rishard Matthews is a great guy to pick up this week since the Titans’ passing game is getting on track. That’d be cool if Matthews wasn’t already owned in more than three-fourths of leagues. That doesn’t help hardcore players.
So what we’ve been doing on the Ocho for the past five seasons is highlighting some sleepers that are actually Off The Team. They’re owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, just sitting on the wire waiting for you to pick them up.
Mike Tolbert (4%): This guy was around back when the Penguin was in the league. He’s with the Bills now and has double-digit carries in two out of three weeks. Buffalo likes using him around that goal line & in short yardage situations. Shady can’t be out there every play, and since Buffalo has no WRs of note that means Tolbert gets plenty of opportunities with the ball. The Falcons are pretty terribad against the run, expect Tolbert to get something out of it.
Andre Ellington (7%): Ellington is still with the Arizona Cardinals somehow, and led the team in rushing yards last week. Granted, he only got 22 rushing yards. But he also got 59 passing yards, and with Carson Palmer unable to throw the ball more than five yards in front of him with any level of consistency, Ellington’s status as Arizona’s pass-catching running back will prove useful in the weeks & months ahead.
Elijah McGuire (0%): Neither Matt Forte or Bilal Powell has exactly set the world on fire so far. So meet their backup on the New York Football Jets, who actually won a game somehow. Elijah was a 6th round draft pick this year from Louisiana, which I think was Louisiana-Lafayette. I’m not 100% sure about that. What I am sure of is that dude keeps getting carries, and with Forte already banged up with a toe, he’ll probably get some more. Keep an eye on him.
Picks Against The Spread
Chicago at Green Bay (-7): I never trust large spreads on Thursday night. The Packers didn’t look particularly impressive against the Bengals & the Bears got a big win. These rivalry games are usually close & I expect this one to be as well
New Orleans (-3) vs Miami: I really have no idea what to expect from this, but I imagine that losing to the Jets has to be a wake-up call to the Dolphins. The Saints already got one road win this season so they’re playing with house money.
Carolina at New England (-9): I don’t see Carolina’s offense being able to keep up with New England’s. Of course, I would have said the same thing about Houston last week, but DeShaun Watson has fresh legs and I haven’t seen anything out of Cam Newton this year. He’s run out of people to throw too as well, so I’m just not sure where the points come from.
LA Rams at Dallas (-6.5): I probably should be more into the Rams at this point, but I just feel like they’re going to lay an egg. This feels like the week for it.
Detroit at Minnesota: Still no spreads on the Vikings games, so I’m going to keep siding with Case Keenum. It’s worked so far!
Tennessee (-1.5) at Houston: Both AFC South teams had great showings last week. Tennessee got a big win over the Seahawks and Houston hung in there with New England. I think Houston’s defense builds off that and does enough against Mariota to give the Texans the edge.
Jacksonville (-3.5) at NY Jets: I want nothing to do with anybody involved in this game. I don’t buy into the Jets based on one week. I don’t buy into the Jags based on one week. So I’ll take whoever can give me some points.
Cincinnati (-3) at Cleveland: I can’t bring myself to pick the Browns here. I have a really bad feeling about this as a Bengals fan, but I can justify picking them with two words: Vontaze Burfict. He’ll probably be gone soon after this game, but whenever he’s playing the Bengals have a pretty good chance of winning.
Pittsburgh (-3) at Baltimore: Both these teams coming off tough losses. I like the Steelers more, but in these games I always take whoever I can get some points with.
Buffalo at Atlanta (-8): The Bills have looked darn good so far this year. But if I know anything about the Bills its that they fade away. I expect some of that this week.
NY Giants at Tampa Bay (-3): The Giants showed a little something in Week 3. Mostly, Odell Beckham Jr. showed a little something. They’ve always been dangerous on the road and I feel like this is the week they break through.
Philadelphia at LA Chargers (-1): I wonder how many Eagles fans will make the trip across the country.
San Francisco at Arizona (-7): Vegas is still way too high on Arizona for some reason.
Oakland at Denver (-2.5): I always like the Broncos at home/
Indianapolis at Seattle (-13): Seattle’s going home and needs a big win. The Colts beat the Browns. They’re still bad, yo.
Washington at Kansas City (-7): Dunno how we ended up with all these Washington prime time games but here we are. Chiefs have been trending downward since the New England game so I think this ends up being close.
That got a penalty. What the hell is going on in this league?
Week 3 Record: 5-11
2017 Season Record: 20-27