The Week 3 installation of the Aces saw me swinging for the fences with some picks, but mostly resulting in sacrifice flies.
With little-known receiver Brandon Gibson on my list going up against Chicago, maybe I should have seen these results coming, but the overall tally for the week was three wins and five losses. On the season, I am carrying a 7-15 record with the Aces, but when I nail them (Arizona defense, Andre Brown), I hit them out of the park. It’s just the whiffs (Sam Bradford, Dexter McCluster) that create the biggest gusts of wind.
Luckily, some of this week’s matchups pit under-performing veterans against soft defenses, which gives me hope for an improved record as we welcome the real referees back to the game.
Aces – Week 4
QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. New Orleans Saints) Being the reigning league MVP and a perennial fantasy stud should make you a no-brainer play each week, so why is Rodgers making a list reserved for players that can actually be debated? Well, a 45.6 point showing through three weeks, for starters. Rodgers has been so productive in the last few seasons that owners have grown accustomed to him blowing away the competition each week, so that when he does something pedestrian, it leads them to the ledges. His low point output thus far, however, is not a harbinger of doom, but rather a nod to the strong defenses (San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle) that have kept him running for his life. Fresh off the stirring loss resulting from Tategate, Rodgers gets to ride into Lambeau against a putrid Saints defense that is giving up one flobbity gillion yards per game and seemingly plays with eight men on the field. As a result, look for a huge bounce back game from number 12. Prediction: 356 yards passing + 26 yards rushing + 3 TDs = 28.8 fantasy points
RB Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (vs. New Orleans Saints) OK, so I looked up the statistics, and the Saints aren’t giving up one flobbity gillion yards per game. The actual number is 477.3 yards per game, including a league-worst 215 yards per game on the ground. So, while my initial estimation was a bit of an exaggeration, the reality is that New Orleans is absolutely rolling out the red carpet for running backs this season (they’ve also allowed six rushing touchdowns). If you’re a Cedric Benson owner, saddle up. It’s going to be a big day. Prediction: 120 yards rushing + 16 yards receiving + 1 TD = 19.6 fantasy points
WR Eric Decker, Denver Broncos (vs. Oakland Raiders) Heralded throughout the preseason as Peyton Manning’s new favorite receiver, Decker has had a pretty quiet season thus far, taking a back seat to fellow pass catcher Demaryius Thomas en route to 243 receiving yards and no touchdowns. Owners clamoring for a Decker jailbreak should be in luck this weekend, as Denver takes on a banged up Oakland secondary that is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete almost 70 percent of their passes. Something tells me Sunday is the day Decker gets off the schneid and into the end zone. Prediction: 127 yards receiving + 1 TD = 18.7 fantasy points
WR Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders (@ Denver Broncos) Standing on the sideline opposite Decker will be Moore, who is the healthiest receiver Oakland has in its stable with Jacoby Ford on IR, tight end Brandon Myers concussed, and Darrius Heyward-Bey still recovering from last week’s ugly helmet-to-helmet smash courtesy of Pittsburgh safety Ryan Mundy. The Denver defense has come back to Earth after their Week 1 showing against the Steelers, and Oakland needs to throw the ball more to take some of the attention away from Darren McFadden. Moore is a great play this week if you had to sit Reggie Wayne or one of the Pittsburgh receivers due to byes. Prediction: 77 yards receiving + 1 TD = 13.7 fantasy points
QB Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Detroit Lions) Fresh off the performance of the week in knocking the San Francisco Harbaughs off their pedestal, Ponder looks in control of a quietly explosive offense in Minnesota. Take a look at all of Ponder’s weapons: He can use the dominant rushing of Adrian Peterson to open up play-action opportunities down the field to newly reinstated receiver Jerome Simpson, and he can look for up-and-coming tight end Kyle Rudolph in the red zone. Oh, there’s also a little guy named Percy Harvin, who with 318.9 total yards is accounting for nearly one-third of the team’s offensive output. This all adds up to plenty of opportunities against a Detroit secondary that is still trying to gel without safety Louis Delmas in the lineup. Look for another impressive performance from the Vikings’ signal caller this Sunday. Prediction: 270 yards passing + 32 yards rushing + 2 TDs = 22 fantasy points
RB Ben Tate, Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee Titans) Yes, Tate is the understudy to the league’s sixth leading rusher, but Tennessee’s defense is about as effective as the peg people on a foosball table. Once Houston opens up a big lead, look for Tate to rack up plenty of garbage time yardage as he eats up the clock and allows Arian Foster to take a catnap. Prediction: 65 yards rushing + 1 TD = 12.5 fantasy points
D/ST Kansas City Chiefs (vs. San Diego Chargers) Linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali absolutely feasted on New Orleans’ suspect offensive line last weekend, and look for a repeat performance this go ’round. Even if top offensive tackle Jared Gaither is back on the field for the Chargers, he won’t be fresh enough after missing the start of the season to hold off KC’s pass rush, and Philip Rivers has already thrown four picks and taken six sacks this season. Look for those numbers to increase at Arrowhead. Prediction: Points Allowed 7-13 + 3 sacks + 2 INTs = 11 fantasy points