Week 5: Sit 'Em
Coming off three straight weeks with an interception returned for a touchdown, expect the Texans to take less chances passing the ball as the season progresses. Schaub has thrown the ball an astounding 177 times in just four games, a game plan that the Texans need to get away from if they plan to have success moving forward. Schaub's numbers look good on paper, but once the Texans get back to their run-first offense, he will slide back to being merely a fantasy backup. Schaub and the Texans face a stiff test this week against a 49ers defense that has allowed just 190 passing yards per game, good for fourth in the league. Expect the Texans to try to set the tone with a ground and pound approach - using more Arian Foster and Ben Tate, and less of Schaub. Fantasy owners should not consider starting Schaub unless they have no other decent options.
Russell Wilson has led the Seattle Seahawks to an impressive 4-0 start to this season, but he faces a difficult opponent this week in Indianapolis. The second-year QB has been good at times so far this season, but has not thrown the ball much - averaging less than 25 pass attempts per game. Wilson has accounted for just six touchdowns in four games, with four of those coming in a blowout win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Seattle's run-first offense holds Wilson back from reaching his full fantasy potential, but gives the team their best chance to win on the field. Fantasy owners expecting a loosening of the passing reins anytime soon should stop doing so. The Colts have been good defending the pass over the first four weeks, averaging just 200 passing yards, good for seventh in the NFL. Fantasy owners with another good quarterback match-up this week should strongly consider leaving Wilson on their benches.
Former rushing champion Chris Johnson has gotten off to another mediocre start; and he has tough match-ups coming up over the next few weeks. Johnson is averaging only 72 total yards per game and zero touchdowns. Now he's coming off his worst game of the season - rushing for 21 yards on 15 carries - against a stout New York Jets defense. The player previously known as CJ2K is not receiving the goal-line work for the Titans, meaning his fantasy value mainly depends on long runs and a high number of touches. The Kansas City defense has allowed 117 yards per game on the ground - a middle of the pack unit - but if Johnson is going to restore his fantasy value, he needs to start scoring touchdowns. I do not see this happening this week, making Johnson no more than a middle of the road RB2 at best.
Former fantasy juggernaut Maurice Jones-Drew has averaged just 40 total yards per game this season. From this author's perspective, that's more trend than fluke. MJD is coming off a 13-carry, 23-yard performance against the Colts. While he may not struggle to that extent again this week, how much confidence can owners have this week against the Rams' 28th ranked rush defense? The Jaguars have lost by an average of 24 points per game, which should in theory lead to MJD racking up garbage time yards through the air. This has not been the case as he has managed just four receptions for 25 yards in four games. Fantasy owners expecting a big bounce back from the former Pro Bowler should temper their expectations, as he's not looking like the player we all loved a few years ago. Consider MJD a bye week fill-in at this point.
The second-year wide receiver has been a fantasy disappointment this season, putting up just 205 yards in four games, 124 of which came in a week two outburst against the Dolphins. The Colts have been a run-first offense, a trend that will continue now that Trent Richardson is in town. With Reggie Wayne as the clear-cut top option in the passing game, Hilton's fantasy value is strongly dependent on big passing plays. Collectively the Colts passing game is in for a tough test this week against the league's fifth-ranked pass defense. The Seahawks have allowed just 191 yards per game through the air, a number that Andrew Luck will need to work hard to surpass this week. Fantasy owners should view Hilton as no more than a sketchy WR3 this week.