The Predictalator has run every Week 4 2014 NFL game 50,000 times. Below we present the up-to-date top three at each fantasy position for the week, a sleeper likely to have a breakout game (generally chosen as the best $/FP value on daily fantasy sites), a player to avoid (the worst $/FP value) and some injury situations to monitor heading into the week. Also, check out free projections for every player in every future week in our Rest of Season Fantasy Football Rankings.
1. Colin Kaepernick 25.7 FPs (SF vs. PHI) - The Eagles force opponents to run at a quicker tempo than usual and, with a weak secondary, generally do so by throwing the ball. Opposing quarterbacks have averaged 25.9 fantasy points against Philadelphia. Kaepernick is completing 70%+ of his passes for 7.4 yards-per-pass and should get Vernon Davis back this week.
2. Philip Rivers 25.4 FPs (SD vs. JAC) - Speaking of teams that allow the opposing quarterbacks to put up huge fantasy days... Quarterbacks facing Jacksonville have averaged 29.8 fantasy points a game, even with each game getting out of hand late. Rivers himself has been dominant this year, completing 68.4% of his passes for 7.9 yards-per-attempt.
3. Drew Brees 24.4 FPs (NO @ DAL) - Usually a weekly participant on this list, Brees has not had a spectacular year thus far, but he is facing a bottom five pass defense on turf.
Breakout Candidate: Teddy Bridgewater 20.9 FPs (MIN vs. ATL) - With six quarterbacks on bye, including Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Andy Dalton, finding the right sleeper could lead to a huge week. Teddy Bridgewater topped our 2014 NFL Draft quarterback class list and looked more than capable with his arm and his legs last week in New Orleans. This week, Bridgewater faces a Falcons defense that allows 7.8 yards-per-pass after finishing in the bottom five in that metric last year. Without Adrian Peterson, Minnesota has to throw the ball. At #11 in our rankings, Bridgewater is a fringe play this week.
Must Avoid: Tom Brady 16.8 FPs (NE @ KC) - The Patriots are relevant right now due to a defense that has been exceptional against he run and the pass this season. The offense? Not so much. Tom Brady is averaging just 5.5 yards-per-pass and has seen more pressure than at any other point in his career. Taking on Kansas City's above average pass rush (which was an elite pass rush with similar players last year) could force New England to run frequently to keep Brady upright.
1. DeMarco Murray 18.4 FPs (DAL vs. NO) - Despite being egregiously underutilized in Week 1, DeMarco Murray still leads the league in rushing by 70 yards. He is a must start as long as he stays healthy.
2. Matt Forte 15.6 FPs (CHI vs. GB) - A 100+ yard rusher and receiver on the season, Forte accounts for 30% of the Bears' offense. In what should be a shootout with the Green Bay Packers, Forte should have ample opportunity to pile up yards and touches.
3. Lamar Miller 15.0 FPs (MIA vs. OAK) - Miller was our #3 running back last week and responded with more than seven yards-per-carry and 132 total yards despite the fact that the Dolphins threw the ball 43 times. Heading to London, expect to see more of Miller, especially given that the Raiders are down to third and fourth string linebackers on the inside.
Breakout Candidate: Donald Brown 12.8 FPs (SD vs. JAC) - With injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, Brown is essentially the last man standing (rookie Brandon Oliver out of Buffalo is also in the mix). Brown starred alongside Trent Richardson with 5.3 yards-per-carry and 27 catches in a situational role. As the feature back this week against Jacksonville, Brown has a great chance to breakout.
Must Avoid: Baltimore RBs (BAL vs. CAR) - After LeGarrette Blount and Le'Veon Bell both rushed for 100+ yards against Carolina last week, it could be tempting to start a Ravens' running back this week. Unfortunately, it's not easy to determine which one. We currently rank Justin Forsett #26, Bernard Pierce #37 and Lorenzo Taliaferro #46 for the week.
1. Antonio Brown 14.5 FPs (PIT vs. TB) - Perpetually open, Brown has 28% of his teams targets and has caught 79% of the passes thrown his way. He has also averaged 99.5 receiving yards and has nine touchdowns in his last 11 games.
2. Calvin Johnson 13.3 FPs (DET @ NYJ) - MEGATRON (actually, more on this later)
3. Julio Jones 12.8 FPs (ATL @ MIN) - Consider Jones healthy. Even with Harry Douglas and Roddy White expected to be back and healthy for this game, Jones is the team's unquestioned star offensively. In his career, Jones has averaged five catches for 84 yards a game with 23 touchdowns in 37 appearances.
Breakout Candidate: Markus Wheaton 10.3 FPs (PIT vs. TB) - Wheaton's fellow WR Brown is the top wide receiver for the week, but that does not mean he is the only Pittsburgh passing threat. Wheaton has been targeted just seven fewer times than Brown and has been similarly efficient. In three losses, Tampa Bay is allowing over 185 yards to opposing wide receivers. There should be plenty of yards to go around.
Must Avoid: Vincent Jackson 6.4 FPs (TB @ PIT) - The Buccaneers passing game is a mess. Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford is not able to contribute due to health concerns. Back up quarterback Mike Glennon will be stepping in to replace injured Josh McCown. And, not only has Tampa bay run the ball much better than it has thrown the ball, both Bobby Rainey and Doug Martin should be healthy to help the team on the ground.
1. Jimmy Graham 14.6 FPs (NO @ DAL)
2. Greg Olsen 11.3 FPs (CAR @ BAL)
3. Antonio Gates 10.7 FPs (SD vs. JAC)
Breakout Candidate: Martellus Bennett 8.2 FPs (CHI vs. GB ... Larry Donnell and Niles Paul were best $/FP this week)
Must Avoid: Dwayne Allen 4.7 FPs (IND vs. TEN)
1. Shaun Suisham 11.2 FPs (PIT vs. TB)
2. Nick Novak 10.6 FPs (SD vs. JAC)
3. Justin Tucker 10.0 FPs (BAL vs. CAR)
Breakout Candidate: Blair Walsh 9.0 FPs (MIN vs. ATL)
Must Avoid: Nate Freese Was cut by Lions
1. New England Patriots 11.9 FPs (NE @ KC)
2. San Diego Chargers 10.1 FPs (SD vs. JAC)
3. Miami Dolphins 10.0 FPS (MIA vs. OAK)
Breakout Candidate: Detroit Lions 9.3 FPs (DET @ NYJ)
Must Avoid: Baltimore Ravens 3.1 FPs (BAL vs. CAR)
Injuries to Watch
1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions - Johnson has missed two days of practice which USUALLY does not matter much with Calvin Jonnson. The lone and very noteworthy exception to this occurred last year in Week 5 when Megatron missed the game entirely in a similar spot. The Jets secondary is banged-up and lacking its typical talent. Johnson has a great matchup. If he does not play, running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Golden Tate should get significant upgrades while tight end Eric Ebron (Joseph Fauria is also hurt) may be fantasy relevant for the first time all season.
2. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs - Charles is preparing for Monday Night Football as if he is going to play, setting up a messy situation for fantasy players. If he plays, it will likely be at less than 100% with an ankle injury, leading to split touches between Charles and Davis and unpredictable effectiveness from either. If he does not play, Davis is a must start. Unfortunately, with the game Monday, it is difficult to know either way. If this situation can be avoided altogether with other running backs, we recommend trusting those who will start.
3. Arian Foster, RB Houston Texans - Foster is in a similar situation to Charles in that he has been preparing to play after surprisingly missing last week. When Foster plays, he is the focal point of the offense. While that's not necessarily the case with anyone else if he does not play, Alfred Blue is worth starting in his spot. Few other players are impacted positively or negatively without Foster in the lineup.