Copestick’s Picks, Week 4

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Michael Dwyer

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

 Last Week’s Best Picks

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams – The Todd Gurley pick was a slam dunk. Gurley took advantage of a inept 49ers defense with 113 yards and two scores on the ground. He also and added 36 yards and a touchdown on five receptions through the air. If it weren’t for center John Sullivan going down with an injury, Gurley would have had five touchdowns, as the 49ers had their way with backup lineman Austin Blythe on the goal line. Gurley looks like a solid play this week, facing a Cowboys defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against the run.

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers – It was a wise decision to leave Philip Rivers on the bench last week. The Chiefs harassed Rivers all day, forcing the 14th year quarterback into a 50 percent completion percentage, and three first half interceptions. Rivers was sacked twice and failed to throw a touchdown pass. With or without Eric Berry, this Chiefs defense is legit, and they’ll make life tough on the league’s best of offenses. Rivers made too many erratic throws against a unit that will make teams pay for their mistakes. I put Rivers on my list of players I hated, and for good reason. It’s hard to win in fantasy when your quarterback puts up eight points.

Last Week’s Worst Pick

Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders – Here’s Michael Crabtree’s stats the last two weeks:

Week 2: Six catches on six targets, 80 yards three touchdowns

Week 3: One catch on three targets, seven yards

That’s as inconsistent as it gets. Crabtree played out of his mind two weeks ago, albeit against an almost non-existent Jets defense. Although he only had seven yards receiving, I wouldn’t place all the blame on Crabtree. His quarterback, Derek Carr, played one of the worst games of his career. Carr threw one touchdown to two interceptions, including one on his first pass attempt. It didn’t help that Crabtree was constantly shadowed by lockdown corner Josh Norman. If he’s on your roster, Crabtree should be headed for the bench, his matchup this week is the Denver Broncos, and All-Pro cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.

Start em’

DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins – The Saints defense can’t seem to stop anyone; they surrender an absurd 325 passing yards per game. Parker is the Dolphins’ leading receiver through two games (161 yards, one touchdown); he seems to have built a nice rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler. With Cutler’s ability to throw the deep ball, Parker’s vertical threat ability (Over 13 yards per catch), and the Saints’ horrendous defense as a whole, Parker has a lot of factors in his favor. (Except for the fact the game will be played at 9:30 am Eastern time in London, and no one plays well in London except the Jaguars.)

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs – In case you’ve been living under a rock, allow me to fill you in: Kareem Hunt can play. The rookie out of Toledo was thrust into the starting tailback role, after incumbent Spencer Ware went down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. With Hunt’s big play ability in the run game, as well as his outstanding hands for a running back, he has Chiefs’ fans seeing glimpses of Jamaal Charles. Hunt boasts one of the top usage rates in the league; he’s the NFL’s leading rusher with 401 yards, and has 137 yards receiving through three weeks. I believe Hunt’s matchup this week is favorable, he plays a Redskins defense that benefited from a sputtering Raiders offense last week. Add in that the Chiefs play at home at Arrowhead Stadium, Hunt should be in for a big day.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald keeps defying Father Time. After putting up three straight seasons under 1,000 yards from 2012 to 2014, the 14th year receiver was rumored to be on the verge of getting cut. All he’s done since then is go over 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons, at age 32 and 33, respectively. The Cardinals offense has struggled this year, mainly because of an injury to running back David Johnson and an aging Carson Palmer. Fitzgerald plays the 49ers this week, a team he seems to have his way with as of late. As long as the Cardinals offensive line can keep Carson Palmer upright, Fitzgerald should see a healthy amount of targets.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks – After two straight let downs to start the season, Russell Wilson came alive last week against the Tennessee Titans. Wilson loves throwing to receiver Doug Baldwin, but it’s the other weapons in the Seahawks offense that will determine his success. Wilson was able to spread the ball around to Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson last week, and by doing that he takes pressure of Doug Baldwin and makes everything run smoothly. The Seahawks travel to Indy for a matchup with the Colts young and inexperienced defense on Sunday Night, I believe Wilson could match his four touchdown performance from a week ago.

Sit em’

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions – Golden Tate was a victim of the rule book last week. He had the game-winning touchdown grab ultimately called back after a complicated rule came into play. The Lions had no timeouts left, and because the play was under official review, a mandatory ten second runoff occurred, leaving zeros on the clock and Lions with a tough defeat. This week, the Lions go into Minnesota to play the Vikings, who have the best defense in the NFC North. Tate will likely lineup across from cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has held Mike Evans and Antonio Brown to 53 and 28 yards, respectively. Tate is not on the level of the aforementioned Evans and Brown, and he’ll be strapped up all day by one of the NFL’s finest cover men in Rhodes.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers – It’s no secret that Big Ben plays better in Pittsburgh than he does on the road. The Steelers play in Baltimore against the Ravens on Sunday, a team flat out embarrassed by the Jaguars, losing 44-7. Facing Terrell Suggs and an angry Ravens defense doesn’t bode well for Roethlisberger, who’s struggled against the Ravens in general, let alone on the road. The Steelers should look to Le’Veon Bell to handle a lot of carries, but this should be a defense heavy, low scoring game.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders – Amari Cooper’s start to the season has been something to forget. He had a touchdown in the season’s opening game, but since then he’s been rather quiet. Cooper has been pretty unreliable when it comes to holding onto the football this season, the former fourth overall pick registered only three dropped passes all of last year; so far this year he’s at six. That’s a trend you don’t want going upwards. Things don’t get easier for Cooper, the Raiders travel to Denver for a matchup with the Broncos defense.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans – Out with the old, in with the new. That seems to be the mantra with the Titans backfield this year. Former Heisman winner Derrick Henry looks headed for the lead running back role, as for DeMarco Murray, he’ll have to wait for his carries. Murray doesn’t see a whole lot of work in the passing game, and his matchup this week is JJ Watt and the Houston Texans. Bench Murray at all costs this weekend.

Play of the Week

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants – While Odell Beckham Jr. was nursing an injury, it was Sterling Shepard, not newly-acquired Brandon Marshall, who became Eli Manning’s favorite target. The second year receiver had seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown last week, when the Giants offense finally woke up and got into a bit of a groove. The Giants matchup this week is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose secondary gave up 365 to backup signal caller Case Keenum and the Vikings a week ago. The Bucs best corner, Brent Grimes, will cover Odell Beckham Jr., while Shepard will matchup against second year players Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith, who last week were torched by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen for almost 300 yards through the air. Shepard could put up numbers worthy of being a starting receiver in your lineup.