NFL

NFL Fantasy Picks: Russ can finally cook against winless Raiders

By Sports Desk September 28, 2022

As in the NFL, if you don't have a win by Week 3 of the fantasy football season, it's probably time to be concerned.

Well as concerned as it's healthy to be about a game played for fun with no real-world consequences.

Still, should you still be staring at a goose egg in the win column, then it is clear you need to nail your lineup selections in Week 4. 

Thankfully, Stats Perform is here to help, using its advanced data to pick out four offensive players and a defense who are primed to deliver fantasy production this weekend.

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos @ Las Vegas Raiders

Wilson managed to lead a game-winning drive on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers despite being throttled for much of the game by their outstanding defense.

The defense of the Raiders, despite the best efforts of impressive edge rusher Maxx Crosby, presents nowhere close to the same challenge, allowing 7.15 yards per pass play - the fourth-most in the NFL. The Raiders' nine touchdown drives allowed are tied for the fifth-most in the league.

In short, this is a game where Wilson can finally have hope of thriving in a Denver offense to which he has so far struggled to adapt. Have faith that Wilson will deliver in this AFC West clash.

Running Back: Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears @ New York Giants

With David Montgomery suffering a knee injury in the Bears' narrow win over the Houston Texans, Herbert stepped up, compiling 157 rushing yards at a rate of 7.85 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns on the ground.

Herbert is taking advantage of the holes the Bears' offensive line is opening, averaging 4.76 yards before contact per attempt, the third-most among running backs with at least 20 carries, per Stats Perform data.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields has attempted just 45 passes through three games, with the Bears running the ball 57 per cent of the time. The usage will clearly be there for Herbert, assuming Montgomery cannot play, and that should translate to another impressive statistical day against a Giants defense allowing 5.3 yards per rush.

Wide Receiver: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks

St. Brown is enjoying one of the breakout years in the NFL through three weeks. He is fourth in the NFL in receptions with 23 and has 253 yards and three touchdowns to his name.

He has a huge opportunity to add to that against a dismal Seahawks defense.

Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks' performance in Week 1 against the Broncos, in which they consistently stood firm in the red zone, proved a mirage, with Seattle shredded by the 49ers and Atlanta Falcons in successive weeks.

The Seahawks are allowing 7.84 yards per pass play, only their division rivals the Arizona Cardinals have given up more. With such a favourable matchup at home, St. Brown is a bona fide fantasy WR1 this week.

Tight End: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns @ Atlanta Falcons

Njoku produced his best game of the season so far in the Browns' Week 3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, hauling in nine of his 10 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown.

He is excelling at creating separation, winning 12 of his 16 matchups with a defender so far this season, and this week gets to face a Falcons defense that has allowed a touchdown or field goal on 15 of the 30 offensive drives it has faced in 2022.

With Njoku second in the pecking order behind wide receiver Amari Cooper in terms of pass-catchers on this Browns offense, he is in a prime spot to enjoy another excellent game.

Defense/Special Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets

The Steelers might have struggled to stop Njoku and the Browns, but their defense should be salivating at the thought of facing the Jets.

Zach Wilson is set to return for the Jets, but he is unlikely to change their struggles holding on to the ball.

The Jets have already committed seven giveaways this season. Last year, Wilson threw 19 interceptable passes in 13 games. 

Even without star pass rusher T.J. Watt, the Steelers have the defensive talent to take advantage of the Jets' carelessness and make it a difficult 2022 debut for Wilson.

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  • Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set out to remind his team that they still have something “beautiful” to play for despite their Champions League exit.

    The Gunners slipped out of UEFA’s flagship club competition in midweek when they went down 1-0 to Bayern Munich, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

    That defeat followed on from a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last Sunday – a reverse that significantly dented Arsenal’s title hopes, with the Gunners now two points behind Manchester City who, after this weekend, will have a game in hand.

    Arsenal face Wolves on Saturday and, with City in FA Cup action, a win would see them move back to the top of the table, at least temporarily, so Arteta offered a reminder that all is not lost.

    “I can guarantee you we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted,” he said following the loss in Munich.

    “What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.”

    On Friday, in his pre-match press conference, Arteta added: “As an experience, [the Champions League was] the best one.

    “I am now fully focused on the times ahead of us. We are now behind Manchester City and will give it a good go. The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league.”

    Wolves sit 11th, though they could do with snapping a four-game winless streak in order to get their European hopes back on track.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Wolves – Matheus Cunha

    Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three. His 11 goals overall this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raul Jimenez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

    Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

    Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one. His 13 away goal involvements overall this term (eight goals, five assists) is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARSENAL WIN

    Arsenal lost a Premier League game for the first time in 2024 against Villa last time out. Since the start of last season, only twice have the Gunners suffered consecutive league defeats, doing so in May 2023 (v Brighton and Nottingham Forest) and December this season (v West Ham and Fulham).

    Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2), though they have won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Spurs by the same score in November.

    Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions.

    Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Wolves – 21.5%

    Arsenal – 51.2%

    Draw – 27.3%

  • Fulham v Liverpool: Klopp unconcerned by Salah's scoring form Fulham v Liverpool: Klopp unconcerned by Salah's scoring form

    Jurgen Klopp is not overly worried by Mohamed Salah’s slight dip in form, as the Liverpool manager turned full focus to the Reds’ Premier League title challenge.

    A bad week for Liverpool was capped off on Thursday when, despite a 1-0 win over Atalanta, they slumped out of the Europa League 3-1 on aggregate following a heavy defeat at Anfield in the first leg.

    That loss on April 11 came three days before a 1-0 home reverse to Crystal Palace, which saw Liverpool’s league title hopes take a dent – they are now two points behind Manchester City with six games remaining.

    What has not helped their course is that talisman Salah – who netted an early penalty against Atalanta but squandered a big chance later in the match – has scored just three times in the league since returning from a hamstring injury he sustained while playing for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

    Klopp, though, is confident Salah will soon be back at his best.

    “I am not particularly concerned,” he said ahead of facing Fulham.

    “That’s what strikers do, that’s what happens to strikers, that’s how it is. We have to go through this, he has to go through that. He is one of the most experienced players we have in the squad.

    “We will go through that but that’s pretty much all. It’s not that Mo didn’t miss chances before in his life, that’s a part of the game. I am not particularly concerned.”

    Reflecting on the task at hand now for his side, Klopp added: “Disappointed that we did not go through [in Europe] but not frustrated or angry.

    “Now we can focus on the league and that’s what we will do. We have a few days to recover, we will do that, and then will travel the day after tomorrow to London and will play Fulham, which will be tricky but we will give our absolute all.

    “That’s our competition now. I saw a good reaction from my side, we had not a great week last week obviously. This, if we want, was the start for the rest of the season with a good result and a good performance and that’s how we see it.”

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Fulham – Andreas Pereira

    Pereira has been involved in four goals in his last four Premier League appearances (two goals, two assists), with his brace against West Ham more than he had netted in his previous 34 games combined (one).

    Indeed, Pereira has more goal involvements than any other Fulham player since the start of last season (seven goals, 13 assists).

    Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

    Salah may not be firing on all cylinders from a goalscoring perspective, but he is proving to be Liverpool’s creative hub.

    Only Martin Odegaard (68) and Bruno Fernandes (59) have created more chances from open play in the Premier League this season than Salah (58). He has created at least four open-play chances in five different games this season, with Roberto Firmino the last Liverpool player to do so more times in one season (10 in 2016-17).

    MATCH PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL WIN

    The Reds might have had a bad week, but Opta’s model still fancies their chances of returning to winning ways.

    Liverpool have scored in each of their last 19 away Premier League matches, the longest current run of any side. That being said, since losing 3-0 to Brentford in their first home Premier League game this season, Fulham have conceded just 13 goals in their last 15 games at Craven Cottage (0.9 per game). With six clean sheets at home so far, the Cottagers last had more in a Premier League campaign in 2010-11 (nine).

    Marco Silva’s team have scored 49 Premier League goals this season, having netted 55 last season. The last time the Cottagers scored 50+ goals in consecutive Premier League seasons was in 2003-04 (52) and 2004-05 (52).

    However, Fulham have won just one of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D2 L8), winning 1-0 at Anfield in March 2021.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Fulham – 20.85%

    Liverpool – 53.1%

    Draw – 26.1%

  • Inter Miami v Nashville SC: Smith not looking forward to Messi reunion Inter Miami v Nashville SC: Smith not looking forward to Messi reunion

    Nashville SC coach Gary Smith is not looking forward to his team facing Lionel Messi for the third time this year, with the Inter Miami star fit and firing ahead of Saturday's MLS clash in Fort Lauderdale.

    A hamstring issue caused Messi to spend almost a month on the sidelines before he returned with a goal in Miami's 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids earlier this month.

    The Argentina great was then on the scoresheet again last weekend, as Miami ended a five-game winless run with an entertaining 3-2 success against Sporting Kansas City.

    With Messi also scoring in both legs of a CONCACAF Champions Cup triumph over Nashville in March, Smith is sick of the sight of the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    "I'm a little bit disappointed that Lionel Messi has gotten himself back into tip-top sharp form as we come back into town again!" Smith said.

    "I think that what we can safely say is when he's in the group, there's a very, very different feel and look and inspiration about that team."

    Nashville are winless in three games since beating Charlotte FC 2-1 last month, with Daniel Gazdag's last-gasp strike condemning them to a 2-1 defeat against the Philadelphia Union last time out.

    Smith believes his team are at least giving themselves a chance of picking up results, adding: "When we've got our best group on the field — and we need to have our best group on the field — we're very competitive."

    Miami's win over Kansas City ensured they will enter the weekend top of the Eastern Conference standings, and boss Gerardo Martino is pleased to see them setting the pace.

    "Being first in the standings is comforting, especially with a long week ahead," Martino said. "It was very important for us to get out of that rut of getting ties, losses, and making mistakes."

     

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

    Messi has been involved in at least one goal in each of his first five league games of the season, the second time he's done so in his career, having achieved the feat in six straight matches with Barcelona to begin 2013-14 in LaLiga.

    The Argentine has also managed at least one goal involvement in each of his eight appearances for Miami across all competitions in 2024, including two goals and one assist in two matches against Nashville.

    Nashville SC – Jacob Shaffelburg

    Shaffelburg has assisted each of Nashville's last two MLS goals, one in each of their last two matches.

    Previously, he had only recorded one assist in his first 40 regular-season matches with Nashville. Will his purple patch continue in Florida?

    MATCH PREDICTION – INTER MIAMI WIN

    Nashville have only managed one win in their last 15 away games against MLS opponents across all competitions (six draws, eight defeats).

    That run, which stretches back to June 2023, includes a draw and a loss against Miami, who are also unbeaten in five straight head-to-head meetings between the teams (two wins, three draws).

    Last week's 3-2 win over Sporting KC was the 11th time Miami have scored three or more goals in their 22 games with Messi making an appearance, across all competitions. They have only scored three or more goals on 15 occasions in their 134 all-time games without the Argentine. He should be involved on Saturday, and that makes them favourites. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Inter Miami – 36.6%

    Nashville SC – 33.8%

    Draw – 29.6%

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