Season Preview: Denver Nuggets
Quietly, the Denver Nuggets have turned into an offensive juggernaut led by a budding superstar in center Nikola Jokic.
It’s a tricky business setting up an NFL Fantasy roster. Matchups, injuries, weather, and flat out hunches didn’t help me see Tyreek Hill and Michael Thomas as the WR-52 and 62 respectively last week.
Taylor Gabriel (WR-3) and Aldrick Robinson (WR-16) didn’t see their names in many start ‘em, or even sleeper articles.
That’s what makes this game great. On any given Sunday, I can look foolish or brilliant. Last week, I looked pretty good with 8 of my 9 recommendations working out for you. Plus, my main NFL Fantasy team pulled even at 2-2 after kicking off the season with two horrific losses.
But you don’t care about that. You want to know this- who to start and sit in Week 5:
Generally speaking, I am extremely wary of playing many Eagles and Vikings this week. I just have a hunch that this will degenerate into a low-scoring slugfest between two angry defenses.
But if the Vikings’ defense has a weakness… well, okay. So far, they are showing a lot of weaknesses. But their biggest issue is covering slot receivers. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander is the main guy for that task. He ranks 35th out of 42 regular slot corners and number 108 out of 116 cornerbacks overall heading into Week 5 (per Pro Football Focus).
Couple that with the announcement from Eagles camp that Agholor will return to his slot role almost exclusively from here on out, and you have the makings of an NFL Fantasy point booty.
Minnesota looked defenseless against the Los Angeles Rams last week. The week before, they were embarrassed by the Buffalo Bills. They are not that bad. They did not forget how to play. But Mike Zimmer spent the week lighting a fire under them.
Minnesota made positive additions to the defense that ranked number 1 in 2017. This is the week that unit shows up. I am betting that the Vikings, and especially Xavier Rhodes, come out with enough urgency and heart this week to keep Alshon Jeffrey from being a factor.
Remember this guy? Mohamed Sanu fell off most NFL Fantasy radars this season with the arrival of rookie sensation Calvin Ridley and his league-leading 6 touchdown catches. The kid has opened things up for Matt Ryan so much, Ryan is ahead of the pace he set in 2016 when he ended the season as the second-highest scorer in NFL Fantasy.
Ridley is also making life easier on Mohamed Sanu. In fact, Sanu has seen more targets than Ridley the past two weeks. He has a touchdown and 169 yards, good for a WR-18 rating over that time.
That’s not going to make us start him over Ridley or Julio Jones, but if I am looking for someone to cover an injury or bye week, Sanu is up for the task in a shootout against Pittsburgh this week.
Corey Davis comes off a breakout game against the Eagles to face the Buffalo Bills on the road. That’s too bad because that puts him smack in the middle of Tre’Darious White’s radar.
Marcus Mariota will have more luck passing to his second and third receivers Sunday. Davis will be lost in the shadow of White.
In only his second NFL game, Keke Coutee jumps past the sleeper category and right into must-start territory. His arrival on the NFL Fantasy scene coincides with Deshaun Watson’s best game of the season. That was no accident.
With little help coming from other positions, Houston needed a third receiving option to let Watson spread the defenses better. Coutee caught 11 of 15 targets for over 100 yards. He out-touched DeAndre Hopkins.
The rookie is not a one-trick pony, either. He ran good routes, used his body well, showed some speed, and displayed good hands. Look for Watson to continue to feed three wideouts, with every one of them worth starting.
New York hosts the Broncos on a short week in the first of three home games for the Jets. Fans are hoping quarterback Sam Darnold will relax and find more success in the friendly confines of the Meadowlands.
But he might have a tough time finding his favorite receiver. Denver comes into the game with one of the top-rated slot corners in Chris Harris. They also give up the fifth-fewest NFL Fantasy points to all wide receivers in the league, and they just played the Chiefs!
Unless their brutal loss in Kansas City plays with their psyche, expect to see heavy running back and tight end use in the passing game.
Josh Rosen could be the best quarterback sleeper play of the week. If I was desperate for a third receiver, I’d plug Rosen’s fellow rookie, Christian Kirk, into my lineup.
The New York Giants have issues, but they have quietly put up the best NFL Fantasy record against wide receivers. Carolina is a heavy favorite, but McCaffrey and Newton on the ground will do most of the damage. Resist starting Devin Funchess or any other Panther wideouts.
New Orleans gives up the most points to wide receivers and are particularly challenged when it comes to covering slot receivers. This could be the week to start Jamison Crowder.
Three of my four start em recommendations finished among the top-15 scorers for the week. Geronimo Allison left his game a little early, otherwise, I’m sure he would have added to his 8 standard NFL points and made it a perfect week for me.
None of my sit ‘em choices ranked in the top 24, although I feel a little guilty about taking credit for DeSean Jackson’s WR-27 finish with 11.5 NFL Fantasy points. No one else was in the top 36.
We’ll see if we can achieve perfection in Week 5, but don’t bet your house on it. After all, this is just an NFL Fantasy.