By Grant Ramirez
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs New England Patriots)
Jameis Winston proved me wrong last week after I said to sit him, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions against the Giants. He did a good job getting all his weapons involved, with four receivers having more than 60 yards, and that doesn’t include Desean Jackson, who had a down week. He has a great matchup Thursday night against a New England defense that has been absolutely atrocious through four weeks, ranking last in the league. Expect Winston to continue his success and put up big numbers.
Charles Clay, TE, Buffalo Bills (vs Cincinnati Bengals)
Thus far, Charles Clay has been putting up the best numbers of his career. He has become the go-to guy for quarterback Tyrod Taylor, leading the team in targets and receiving yards. Sunday, the Bills face a Bengals’ defense that has been outstanding against opposing tight ends; however, they haven’t faced one of Clay’s caliber other than Martellus Bennett, who has been disappointing in Green Bay. In addition, Clay should only get a larger volume of targets moving forward, as Jordan Matthews, the team’s second-leading receiver, is out indefinitely with a thumb injury and the Bills don’t have much depth at that spot.
Minnesota Vikings, D/ST (vs Chicago Bears)
The Vikings’ defense must be excited to get under the lights Monday night when Bears’ quarterback and second-overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky will make his first-career start. He has a tough challenge ahead of him, facing a top-10 Minnesota defense, which is loaded with talent at all levels. Although Trubisky is talented, he will quickly find out how tough it is in the NFL after watching from the sidelines for a few weeks. The Vikings will look to capitalize on the rookie’s inexperience by throwing a variety of different looks at him to make him uncomfortable.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders (vs Baltimore Ravens)
Amari Cooper has regressed in production each game this season, failing to even crack the 10-yard mark in receiving his last two games. Although he should produce more than that, things won’t get any easier for him this week. To start, he is facing a stout Baltimore secondary that has done a good job of limiting opposing passing games, with the exception of a Week 3 blowout that none other than Blake Bortles orchestrated. This would be a tough test for Derek Carr; however, because of injury, EJ Manuel will replace him in the lineup Sunday. That won’t exactly help Cooper’s case.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks (vs L.A. Rams)
Eddie Lacy is a popular waiver wire pickup since Chris Carson is likely out for the season with a broken ankle. However, I’d pump the brakes on expectations for him, as it is unclear who will get Carson’s touches. Coach Pete Carroll praised Thomas Rawls’ ability to step in and pick up the slack. In addition, CJ Prosise is returning to action after he missed time because of an ankle injury, and JD McKissic flashed major potential in the Seahawks’ win over the Colts on Sunday. Seattle’s offense will need to make plays through the air to keep up with an explosive Rams’ team. This is all a bad mix for Lacy.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (vs Arizona Cardinals)
It took some time for Alshon Jeffery to get going with the Eagles, but he finally put together a good performance Monday night against the Chiefs. However, Jeffery should fall back to earth some as he faces the Cardinals on Sunday. Although Arizona’s defense has been vulnerable at times, All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson is as good as ever and will shadow Jeffery the whole game, which is always a difficult task.