My three Oakland Raider must-starts last week, Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Jared Cook, did not put up great fantasy games.
Carr threw for 345 yards and one touchdown but was sacked three times and had two interceptions. If he played a cleaner game, then it could have become a monster day.
After catching every ball thrown his way in Week 2, Cooper caught just two balls for 17 yards on five targets. Cook had five receptions but only amassed 31 yards.
On the Miami Dolphins side, Kenyan Drake (must-start) had a whopping 10 yards from scrimmage. Ryan Tannehill (bench) was 11 yards shy of the 300-yard mark and added three touchdowns.
After an underwhelming Week 3, both the Raiders and myself look to bounce back against the Cleveland Browns.
RB Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch has scored a touchdown in every game this season. Until last week, I saw it as getting a little bit lucky but it seems to be happening because it is Beast Mode.
In addition, the Browns are susceptible to giving up rushing touchdowns as four of their seven touchdowns allowed on the year have been scored on the ground.
For perspective, there have been 168 passing touchdowns to just 73 rushing touchdowns in the NFL thru the first three weeks.
Lynch might be due to break out and score multiple touchdowns in front of the home crowd on Sunday.
At the moment, the Browns have the No. 12 ranked pass defense in the league and have only given up three touchdowns in the air.
Carr has had no issues picking up yards (936 yards this season), but he has struggled to throw a high-number of touchdowns (2) and keep care of the football.
With Oakland’s poor play on the offensive line, Cleveland should be able to do what they do best, create pressure (9 sacks) and force turnovers (5 interceptions).
The defense has also held every opponent under 21 points which included facing Ben Roethlisberger for 70 minutes and Drew Brees.
Proceed with Caution
QB Derek Carr
As mentioned above, look for Carr to have many yards. But large numbers only translate to a big fantasy game if it is accompanied by touchdowns.
Considering Lynch’s nose for the end zone and the Browns’ reluctance to allow passing touchdowns, it might be tough for Carr to put up impressive fantasy numbers. He might have an excellent game in real life, but this is fantasy. And in the fantasy world, touchdowns reign king.
WR Amari Cooper + WR Jordy Nelson
I don’t think anyone knows at this point. It is a true coin-flip if Cooper has a good game. He either is dominant or unable to be found on the field and there seems to be no indicators.
On the positive side, Cleveland gave up good fantasy numbers in the first two weeks to the position allowing 380 yards and three touchdowns against the Steelers and Saints.
Outside of their one big week each, Jordy Nelson and Cooper been rather invisible.
I can see 100 yards as easily as I see 15 yards for Cooper and Nelson.
QB Baker Mayfield
On Thursday Night Football, Baker Mayfield looked poised and threw the ball with zip and accuracy tallying over 200 yards in just more than a half of football against a solid New York Jets unit.
In Oakland, Mayfield is going to have all day to throw the football. So if he is able to sit back and survey the field, Jarvis Landry and David Njoku should be able to get open down the field.
Also, the way to impede rookie quarterbacks is to blitz heavily and apply pressure, but the Raiders haven’t been able to do that all season.
The only reason I am hesitant is because it is Mayfield’s first start, he has to travel to the West Coast and is coming off an emotional win. But Hue Jackson did get a few extra days to prep Mayfield during the long week.
TE Jared Cook
The Browns have given up just 10 receptions for 97 yards to tight ends the entire season.
Cook has faded over the last two games and tight ends don’t do anything against the Cleveland defense thus far.