Week 4

Week 4 hosted the 1st of three International Series games at Wembley Stadium
Week 4 hosted the 1st of three International Series games at Wembley Stadium

Week 4 is in the books and what a week it was. Oakland came to London but failed to turn up at Wembley. Eli Manning learnt how to throw again and Philly’s unbeaten record came to an end after their offense failed to score.

It was also quite a week for my fantasy team. In the run-up to Sunday’s games I was chopping and changing between my two QBs. It was Rivers, then Brees, Rivers again, then Brees…I chose the league’s in-form passer in Southern California and he delivered. There was only six points between them, but I was on my way to the biggest points tally I’ve ever scored in Fantasy Football. 140.88 points would take some beating most on any given Sunday.

It was nice for Jamaal Charles to turn up, too. As soon as he was cleared to play I knew he would have a field day running against a weak Patriots D that’s struggling this season against the rush. The Chiefs made light work of Brady & Co. Now 2&2, should we sit up and take notice of them as AFC contenders? They’ve got quite a division to get out of, but let’s not forget they gave the Broncos a game in Week 2.

Randall Cobb’s season-high seven catches for 113 yards and two TDs also helped ensure that I didn’t rue my failure to waiver a replacement D for my Broncos defense who were on a bye.

The best player in the league right now must be J.J. Watt. He’s certainly paying back the $100m contract he was awarded this summer. He’s almost single-handedly carrying the Texans this season and his importance to the team was highlighted in the seven tackles, nine quarterback hits and the 80 yard TD he scored from an interception. 26.50 points from a defensive player is not to be sniffed at.

So, we move on to the next week with so many more possibilities. Hands up, who picked the Buccs to win at Heinz Field? Did you really expect the Vikings and Chiefs to win so handsomely? It’s a funny old game and one we just can’t get enough of.

Week 4

It’s Week 4 and it’s hard to believe that, come Tuesday, we’ll be a quarter of the way through the season. But, glass half full, we’ve got so many games to look forward to. The season’s only just warming up and it’s Wembley week. By the way, 5thDownUK will be there and we’ll bring you photos from the event.

Back to the serious business of fantasy football. The pressure’s on me to halt a two-game losing streak that’s halted my season. I’ve got players coming back from injuries and guys going out on a bye. Oh to be a coach. Who do I bench? Who gets the nod?

On Tuesday I was starting Brees, by Wednesday it was Rivers. The Chargers QB was benched again by Thursday, but he’s now back in the line-up. There’s no going back. I expect him to be one of the standout performers in Week 4 against the Jags. But Brees is up against the Cowboys D. Rivers has home field advantage while Drew and his Saints don’t travel well. Rivers it is then.

Vernon Davis is back and Jamaal Charles has looked good in practice. The Chiefs rusher has failed to impress me so far this year and I fancy LeGarrette Blount to clock up a few yards against a weak Buccaneers team. I think the Steelers man gets the nod alongside Chris Johnson.

At least the bye week has picked my wideouts for me, although I’m not filled with confidence going into the weekend.

Apparently lightning doesn’t strike twice, but the last two weeks I’ve seen guys on my bench scoring more points than my starters. It’s no surprise that I’m on this streak. The decisions I make in the next 20hrs or so might well define my season. And these coaches think they’ve got it tough!

Week 3

The season started so well. My team sprinted out of the blocks and took an unassailable lead. The roster looked strong. I had so many luxuries it was hard to choose who to bench. Fast-forward two weeks and I find myself 1&2, a couple of waivers down and a bench full of winners. As for my first round pick, the man who would ultimately rush my team to victory, he’s not even broken five points in three games. He’s only featured for a game and bit of a drive! Where did it go wrong? A question so many coaches in the National Football League are currently asking themselves. Jim Harbaugh is asking why his team is giving up hundreds of yards in penalties. Gus Bradley’s Jags’ work-in-progress appears to have taken a step back by a year or two. Meanwhile, The Packers look a long way off the Super Bowl tag all those experts gave them before the big kick off.

On Friday I deliberated over my backs position. With Jamaal Charles out I had to choose between John Kuhn and LaGarrette Blount.I put a lot of thought into it. I researched stats on my coffee break. Blount might see more carries, but he’s going up against that Panthers D – I told myself. On the flip side Kuhn had that weaker Lions D to rush against. I went with Kuhn. He scored me 0. Blount, on my bench, had 10 carries. He rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown, thus scoring 17.80 points. I lost my match-up by 8 points. If only I’d played Blount.

With Vernon Davis out injured I chose Eric Ebron ahead of Heath Miller. Ebron is likened to VD. He plays in that awesome looking offense and he was coming up against that Packers D. Miller, on the other hand, had to contend with the Panthers. Ebron scored 0. Miller clocked up 5.10.

I know we’re only three weeks into a long season and I know the players are just warming up, but this is Fantasy League Football! There’s pride at stake. It’s more than just a game. We’re pitting our knowledge against each other. Some of us are playing for money! When our own teams let us down on a weekend, we find solace in our fantasy rosters. If both fail then we might as well lock ourselves away for the week.

There’s always next weekend.

Week 3 Preview

So if you’ve got Matt Ryan or Julio Jones in your fantasy line-up then Week 3 has got off to the perfect start for you. Ryan was almost back to his superstar Week 1 performance throwing for 286yds and 3 TDs. He clearly missed Julio Jones last year. How many of us are thinking “I should’ve known.”

Week 2 was disastrous for a whole host of reasons. Most of my team ended up leaving the field for treatment at some point during their games. As for others, they just didn’t turn up. Lightning can’t strike twice, surely!

I’ve had to make a few adjustments to the side that kicked off the season so well in Week 1. Sure starters are J.J. Watt, Chris Johnson, Randall Cobb and Drew Brees. They’re the spine of the team I had so much confidence in as we headed towards the big kick off. What’s happened? My first round pick, Jamaal Charles, hasn’t helped matters. The Saints’ 0&2 start hasn’t helped my star QB either. If only I knew my back-up QB would have such a stand-out performance agains the Seahawks! He took on Richard Sherman four times and won, something Rodgers didn’t even try once.

Vernon Davis hasn’t practiced all week, cue Eric Ebron into starting corps. The rookie is being broken into the NFL gently, but I expect him to see more of the ball against the Green Bay defense than Heath Miller at Carolina.

So who replaces Charles? Here’s where I’m undecided. I’ve got the ever-reliable John Kuhn coming up against the Lions D. He’s great on those short gains, but do I have a better chance of bagging points through LeGarrette Blount? He’s coming up against the Panthers D in their own backyard, but will Big Ben opt to run it more against one of the best defenses in the league? Tricky.

No matter who we all decide to go with this weekend we won’t find the perfect formula. There will always be one guy on our bench that will leave us scratching our heads and saying “I should’ve gone with him”.

Bring it on!

Week 2

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The former commissioner, Bert Bell, once coined the statement “On any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team.” How true that was in Week 2, and not just in the NFL. Some of us had a nightmare in the fantasy world.

It was quite a weekend. Injuries played havoc to many teams. RGIII, DeSean Jackson, Jamaal Charles, AJ Green, Knowshon Moreno and Vernon Davis being the most notable stars to leave the field of play. That’s two weeks running my first round pick has failed to score me more than two points! It now looks as though Charles may be out for a few weeks. Cue my emergency draft of his Chiefs replacement; Knile Davis did well covering for the Chiefs’ star rusher so I’m just hoping he can keep that up in the coming weeks.

What is going on in New Orleans? This was meant to be Brees’s star season! I know we’re only two weeks into a long season and, looking at the schedule, there are plenty of opportunities for Drew to turn on his A-Game. He’s got some great weapons at his disposal. The problem is in defense and they need to sort out their travel sickness.

You can never tell what’s going to happen in the NFL. We all claim to know so much that we can easily predict the winners each week, but how many times have you picked every result? I refer you, again, to old Bert’s statement. Week in, week out I do my homework. I study form and I research stats before selecting my team, but we never can tell what’s actually going to happen. Moreno came into Week 2 on fire, he was a dead cert for any team. How were we to know his elbow was going to pop out of place? Heading into the 4th quarter 20-7 up against a lacklustre Bears team, you’d have put your mortgage on the 49ers to open their new home with a win. This was a team that can control the ball and run the clock. A couple of turnovers later and they were staring defeat in the face.

The Bills are 2&0 Super Seattle hardly saw the ball! Good luck in guessing what Week 3 has in store.

Week 1

So who had more points on their bench than they did on the field? Week 1 packed lots of excitement and talking points. What happened to Brady!? And what about those Vikes! Mike Zimmer’s got them looking hot on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile the Seahawks and Broncos look just as dominant as last year.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though because it’s only Week 1. Now for us fantasy owners we’ve had our smug picks and benches we might live to regret. One of my teams had Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks on the bench alongside Steve Smith. There was 51.4 points flushed down the drain! Thankfully I had enough talent on the field to carry me home. Needless to say they’ve made the starting line-up for Week 2.

Here lies the beauty of fantasy football. It’s the drug that gets us hooked each day of the regular season. I say each day because our obsession sees us tinkering with our rosters right up until kick-off. Cordarrelle Patterson can’t do it again…can he? The Pats surely can’t go 0&2…can they? What do I do with Jamaal Charles? I spent my 1st round pick on that fella! Yeah, I know his O-line is as weak as my gran fending off Hulk Hogan. But the Chiefs are built around him. Without Charles they’re nothing! They travel to Mile High this week, so do I put my faith in him? What chance does he have? Bench him? Pick him? That’s my main concern in life this week.

By the way, what was going on with Dez Bryant! An elite athlete should not be going off with dehydration during the opening game of the season. I know it can get hot in Dallas, but you’ve got nutritionists and sports scientists at your beck and call! That’s almost as weak as his QB’s three interceptions.