Three weeks are in the books, and some trends are developing. Perhaps members of the Green Bay Packers offense are weighing down your team. Maybe every one of your running backs is injured or suspended. We’re here to help.
Now, you're not going to find "start Brandon Marshall" here. If you drafted a player in the first five rounds, chances are those are your go-to players, so we'll try to give you some less-than-obvious choices to bolster your lineup every week.
On that note, here we go for week 4:
Atlanta defense at Minnesota
Now, you can’t expect to get two return touchdowns from Devin Hester, but this is a good matchup because the Vikings will be throwing rookie Teddy Bridgewater into the fire in his first NFL start after he made his debut last week. Oh – and there is no Adrian Peterson. Matt Asiata is a capable backup, but not spectacular. The Falcons should be able to continue their defensive roll off last week (3 sacks, INT) into this week against a bad offense.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco quarterback vs. Philadelphia
If you hitched your wagon to Kaepernick at the draft, he’s disappointed you thus far. But, if he was your backup pick, this is a week to start him. The Philadelphia Eagles may be 3-0, but they are allowing 26 points per game and have allowed eight passing touchdowns – and Kirk Cousins just lit them up for 427 yards in the air last week. Kaepernick should have his first breakout game of the year this week.
Last week: Brian Quick (4 targets, 2 catches, 62 yards, TD); Brandin Cooks (10 targets, 8 catches, 74 yards).
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants running back at Washington
Jennings may have won the game for you on Sunday with his 176-yard effort (plus a touchdown) but on a short week the Giants head to Washington to face a defense that is third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, having just allowed 194 yards and zero scores all season. The best running back in football, LeSean McCoy, had just 22 yards on the ground for Philadelphia last week. Don’t roll the dice on Jennings two weeks in a row.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay receiver at Pittsburgh
A couple things here: Jackson fractured his wrist early in last week’s game, but he plans to play through it. Mike Glennon is now the quarterback. Last year, Glennon leaned on Jackson quite a bit, but the Bucs offense has changed a bit. The Steelers pass defense is a favorable matchup now that corner Ike Taylor is lost for the year, but until Glennon and Jackson provide some proof that they’ll be a dynamic duo, it’s worth waiting on.
Last week: Matt Asiata (3 catches, 71 total yards); Niles Paul (9 targets, 6 catches, 68 yards).
Randall Cobb, Green Bay wide receiver at Chicago
Yeah, we know – we thought Jarrett Boykin was going to break out in week 2 against a banged up New York Jets secondary after being shutout in week 1. We all know where that went. But, Cobb isn’t Boykin – he’s been targeted 21 times in three weeks and had two touchdowns in week 2. So why is he a sleeper? Well, nothing about the Packers offense outside of Jordy Nelson has been very effective, so I could see you looking elsewhere. But against a terrible Bears special teams unit, Cobb is a touchdown threat on punt returns this week. He may also move back into the slot, which could lead to a big game.
Last week: Larry Donnell (6 targets, 6 catches, 45 yards, fumble).
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.