Week 4 is in the books and we’re now one-quarter of the way through the NFL regular season. I was a little off on my projection last week but since Mark Sanchez actually did much worse than I expected it actually worked out in my favor. Come to think of it, every player I’ve written about has done worse than projected. I’ve tried up to this point to focus on players that were “hot” at the moment. I believe this week’s weakling fits that category perfectly. He had a slow start to the season but as of late has started living up to the expectations that owners had when they drafted him. His past couple of performances have given his owners confidence. Those owners looking at their upcoming matchups may be getting a warm, fuzzy feeling when they see his name in their lineup now that he’s upped his game. I’m here to tell those owners to pay no attention to that feeling this week. It’s probably just indigestion.
Week 5 Weakling
LeGarrette Blount is coming off the best game of his 2011 campaign, rushing for 127 yards and a TD on Monday night. For his owners, there is reason to be optimistic. Blount established himself as a legitimate rushing threat in 2010, gaining 1,007 yards on the year, most of that in the second half of the season. By staking his claim as the clear No. 1 back in Tampa Bay and by showing the ability to consistently have big games, he entered this year as a consensus top 20 back in many fantasy leagues. His Week 4 stat line shows why owners were right in drafting him where they did. Even so, he may not be the best option for your fantasy team in Week 5 as this may prove to be one of his toughest matchups of the season.
Tampa Bay travels to San Francisco this week. The 49ers have been considered a pushover team for the past several seasons by many. Entering this season, the NFC West was, and probably still is, considered the weakest division in the NFL. I happen to agree with the latter assessment, but that does not mean that I think the entire division is weak. I believe that the 49ers are for real, and they will be a contender in the playoffs this season. Super Bowl? Not likely. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them with a first-round bye, especially considering that they are playing in the NFL’s weakest division. I still think they need an upgrade at QB to contend for the Vince Lombardi trophy. Their defense, on the other hand, should take them far this year, and it’s that defense that has me worried about Blount this week.
The 49ers enter the week ranked No. 4 overall against the run, allowing 74.0 yards/game. Opposing RBs are averaging only 3.5 yards per carry. The interesting part is that No. 1 RBs on opposing teams are not faring quite as well as the backups. On the season, the opposing team’s top RBs are only averaging a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. This list includes Marshawn Lynch, Felix Jones, Cedric Benson and LeSean McCoy. The last name on that list should give you reason for pause. McCoy entered Week 4 averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Against San Francisco, he managed only 2.0 yards per carry on nine attempts, and he was playing in front of his home crowd. Some other nuggets and facts about San Francisco’s defense are interesting as well. The 49ers defense has allowed only one rush of over 20 yards and a big fat zero rushing TDs on the season thus far. They are also tied for second in the NFL with six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries through the first four games.
LaGarrette Blount has his work cut out for him this week. Not only does his team have a road game on the West Coast, but as I have just pointed out, he will also be facing a top tier rushing defense. He will most likely be shadowed all day by Patrick Willis, who is arguably one of the best linebackers in the game and a big reason why opposing RBs are not gaining much ground against the 49ers. I know it’s hard after the game he just had to sit him on your bench, but if you have another running back with a more favorable matchup, it might be a good idea to roll with the backup this week.
Projection: 20 carries, 63 yards, 0 TDs, 1 reception, 10 yards, 0 TDs, 1 lost fumble.
Eli Ricke knows absolutely nothing about Fantasy Football that everyone else doesn’t already know. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. He has been playing Fantasy Football since 1999 and is a habitual liar. You will occasionally run across him in the café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up, the same thing he does with most of the advice he gives.
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