BOSTON (CBS) – 98.5 The Sports Hub fantasy expert Mike Lockart sat down with Andrew Celani of CBSBostonSports.com for a web exclusive discussing the upcoming fantasy week.
Hard to believe the NFL season is already a quarter of the way through, but here we are in the first week of October getting ready for Week 5.
Miami and Oakland are the only two teams on the bye this week as they return home from across the pond and their game in London, so for the most part it should be all systems go for your fantasy team.
Rich Keefe’s Fantasy Brief: Thursday Night Football Vikings @ Packers
The Thursday nighter is always an interesting game. Despite last week’s drubbing by the Giants over the Redskins, the home team usually has the upper hand, and the game can tend to be a blowout given the short week of preparation.
The discussion started with Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon, who was a hot commodity on the waiver wire after a big game in Week 4.
“I don’t think McKinnon has a big game tonight. I’m staying away from everybody in a Vikings uniform. Short week, going to Green Bay and Teddy Bridgewater may not play. That’s gonna hurt the offense. I just don’t love road teams on Thursday night, especially if they don’t have their quarterback,” said Lockhart.
Lockhart likes McKinnon going forward, just not this week, and he expects him and Matt Asiata to be a great tandem.
Mike also expects tonight’s game to be an aerial assault on the part of the Packers (start Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson), which could obviously end up in another blowout with Minnesota traveling to Lambeau Field.
If the Vikings do fall behind early that changes everything, which could force Minnesota to start chucking it around the yard. That being said, which Minnesota receiver has the upper hand if that’s the case?
“I want more time to see what Teddy Bridgewater can do before I pick a no. 1 Vikings receiver. We’ve only had a game and a half to evaluate him. He’s targeted Jarius Wright and he’s thrown to Greg Jennings — Cordarrelle Patterson is just not a great route runner. He’s more of a playmaker, a guy you want to get the ball in his hands but that can be hard to do. I’m gonna wait and see with any of these wide receivers,” said Lockhart. “If you could trade Patterson I would do it. He’s definitely a name that people are still excited about because he had a big Week 1 and it’s only his second season. He’s young, fast and can make plays, that’s a guy you might want to package in a trade and get a running back in return.”
After winning Offensive Rookie Of The Year in 2013, running back Eddie Lacy was a highly sought after player in the first round of fantasy drafts this summer.
So far he has not exactly delivered.
He’s averaging just 3.0 yards per carry (4.1 YPC in 2013) and has a lone touchdown to his name thus far. He also battled a concussion early in the season. Lacy has a favorable matchup against a porous Vikings run defense, but based on his prediction about how the game will unfold, Lockhart doesn’t exactly like Lacy tonight.
“It’s got to get better for Lacy. He finally got in the endzone last week. You’d like to see him get off to a fast start but I just don’t know if it’s going to happen. For him it’s going to have to be second half with Green Bay preserving a lead. I just really feel like the Packers are going to air it out and it’ll get out of hand early. I don’t see a huge game for him tonight, but if you have him start him. He might get some goal line carries.”
Another intriguing game is Sunday night with the Patriots hosting the Bengals.
The Patriots just got run all over on Monday night against the Chiefs, and that’s not the first time it’s happened this year. In Week 1 in Miami, Knowshon Moreno showed New England why they should have signed him in the offseason by totaling 134 yards and a touchdown in a 33-20 win.
“I like Giovani Bernard a lot and I also like Jeremy Hill. Last year when these two teams met it was in Cincinnati and it was a very low scoring game. I don’t expect Andy Dalton to come in here and light it up. If you own A.J. Green you have to play him. He could definitely get in the endzone. But I wouldn’t start Dalton this week, even though he’ll throw to Bernard out of the backfield. I think the offense for the Patriots has been so bad that the defense is going to have to step up and score.”
Lockhart would NOT start Tom Brady or any receiver except Julian Edelman if it’s PPR. Rob Gronkowski should get some goal line looks, but it’s clear he’s still not right.
“Gronkowski is a low-end tight end this week,” said Lockhart. “I’m actually sitting him in favor of Larry Donnell just based on the matchup. As far as Patriots, I’m not going to play too many guys this week.”
Lockhart adds the Patriots should let Darrelle Revis follow A.J. Green, but acknowledges it’s impossible to predict. Even if Revis does cover Green, Lockhart thinks the Bengals wideout could still have 80 yards and a touchdown.
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Against Kansas City, the Patriots finally got some production at wide receiver outside of Julian Edelman in Brandon LaFell. Lockhart doesn’t think LaFell is a “flash in the pan,” but is not expecting much from him until “maybe” next week in Buffalo.
In the middle of the discussion, Lockhart gave his Fantasy MVPs through the quarter pole of the season.
“You’ve gotta love DeMarco Murray. He’s been running very well for Dallas. That whole team looks better this year. Murray was a second, third rounder in some leagues because of the injury concerns the last few years, but so far he’s been healthy and if he can keep that going will have a great year. Antonio Brown has been electric for the Steelers. You keep waiting for Markus Wheaton to step up and get some receptions because of all the attention on Brown, but it just hasn’t happened. He just always gets open. Also Jordy Nelson. He’s had a couple quiet weeks but also some monster weeks. I expect him to have another monster week again tonight.”
Lockhart also spoke glowingly about Colts signal caller Andrew Luck.
“Andrew Luck looks like he’s taking that next step. They’ve surrounded him with weapons — kind of the opposite of what the Patriots have done here,” Lockhart joked. “He’s been the standout guy as far as quarterbacks go.”
There’s a lot of mouths to feed in Kansas City now that Jamaal Charles is back from injury, because Knile Davis has earned his playing time and tight end Travis Kelce is starting to emerge as one of the best at the position.
Can Alex Smith keep everyone happy?
“Sure. I think so. You have Charles, you have Kelce. I don’t think Dwayne Bowe or Donnie Avery are going to be lighting it up and taking targets away. I love the dual running backs. I think you’re going to see Knile Davis have value all season long at a flex position. Jamaal Charles looked healthy the other night. He looked fine to me. And Kelce is a beast. He’s a star in the making is what he is. Heading forward you have to have Kelce in your lineup. I’m not too worried about [Smith keeping everyone happy].”
Lockhart also touched on Kyle Orton getting the start for Buffalo and what that means for their skill position players (spoiler alert: not much), as well as if the Eagles will bounce back against St. Louis after a tough game vs. the 49ers.
For Lockhart’s full breakdown and positional rankings, visit fantasybuzz.net and listen below for the full discussion!