In a lot of ways, a fantasy football team is like a cake. Running backs and wide receivers are the flour and eggs that hold the team together. The quarterback is the sugar, and the tight end and the flex are the frosting on top.
Each weekend, owners will create their own recipe for success. Each hope that the ingredients available are good enough to bake a cake for Marie Antionette.
It is not right to think that every week that cake will fit the standards of the queen. Rather, sometimes you pick ingredients that are spoiled (C.J. Anderson, Cam Newton) while ones that were perceived spoiled but were actually fresh (Jordan Howard, Blake Bortles) were left on the shelf.
In which case, it is best to just throw that bad cake to the Parisians storming the courtyard, and run away before they take the king and queen back to the city. So, while the angry mob knocks on the door, it is time to go look for the cake-worthy ingredients for Week 4.
For the first time of the season, Andy Dalton threw a touchdown last week. The pressure is on in Cincinnati, and Dalton responded well enough last week, despite losing to the Packers in overtime. Thankfully for the Bengals, they get a trip to Cleveland this week. The Browns are coming off a game where they allowed 27 points to Jacoby Brissett. Even without tight end Tyler Eifert, Dalton figures to be a good addition for the week in deep leagues.
This is it, one last chance for Cam Newton to impress from a fantasy standpoint for the season. It was supposed to be a soft matchup last week against the Saints, but Newton threw three interceptions. If there is a pass defense worse than the Saints, it is the Patriots. Carolina figures to be playing from behind in Foxboro, so Newton should let it fly.
Other notes: I don’t state the obvious in the main section, but Tom Brady. Carson Palmer may have finally found his feet this year and gets a struggling 49ers team. Matt Ryan is always a start, but don’t expect huge numbers against a very good Bills defense.
Last year at this time, I had one foot off the Adrian Peterson hype train. Once again, that is the case. Peterson is being terribly underutilized in New Orleans, but that was likely always going to be the case. I wouldn’t blame owners if they abandon ship now. The only thing keeping me on the ship is the fact that Mark Ingram is often injured. Should the lead back go down, Peterson’s fantasy production would skyrocket. But for now, he is merely a handcuff.
It is hard to imagine the pain of breaking your arm and tearing your ACL in one play. Sadly, that is what occurred to Darren Sproles last week. He is out for the season, and now the door opens for Wendell Smallwood. Smallwood will take over as the pass-catching back, but he was effective on the ground last week as well. With a decent matchup with the Chargers this week, Smallwood figures to be the first name off the wire this week.
Other notes: Chris Carson has emerged as the early-down back in Seattle and a real fantasy factor. Dalvin Cook has gotten off the blocks when it comes to scoring touchdowns. There are no weaknesses in Cook’s game, and he is a strong choice going forward.
Raise your hand if you predicted the Vikings offense output last week. Case Keenum has developed a connection with the first-string offense, so that means no worries for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The pair combined for over 250 yards receiving last week. That leaves the question, which one gets the most production? Does it really matter when they both put up big points?
After serving a three-game suspension, Willie Snead returns for the Saints. That is bad news for Ted Ginn Jr. owners, who now have to compete for more catches. He will travel to London for a matchup against an iffy Miami secondary. If last week’s London game showed anything, it’s that big numbers can be put up in the wee hours of the morning stateside.
Other notes: Stating the obvious again, but Odell Beckham Jr. against the worst fantasy defense for wideouts this week. Who needs Julian Edelman when you have Brandin Cooks?
The Packers are not very good at using tight ends. Thankfully, Jared Cook moved to Oakland this year and has been very productive. So far, Cook has 13 catches for 124 yards in three games. While Oakland looked shaky last week against Washington, the challenge gets harder at the Broncos. However, Denver has given up the 26th most points to tight ends so far this season.