Whether it was some version of absurd weaponry or safe-to-play-inside sports equipment, Nerf has touched the lives of millions of kids around the world. My all-time favorite Christmas gift, in fact, was the Nerf Ballzooka, and why wouldn’t it be? Five chambers, ten included balls and the ability to cock and fire made this toy the ultimate in pretend murder. There was only one thing about the Ballzooka (and every other ball-related Nerf weapon) that I absolutely hated: where did all the balls go?
I would strategically fire my ten balls, delivering ten separate death blows to my little brother and when the battle was paused to reload, I would come back with seven balls. By the time the battle was over, all the balls were gone, I had switched to the Nerf Bow ‘N’ Arrow (with easy to find arrows) and already asked my mom to go to Toys ‘R Us to get more balls. My brother and I have been moved out of my mom’s house for years, and we have still never found these friggin’ Nerf balls in her three bedroom ranch.
As I ask the question “where did all the balls go”, I can’t help but think about the early season struggles of C.J. Spiller. Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said the words we’ve heard millions of time since the season started: C.J. Spiller will be fed the ball “until he throws up.” Apparently, Spiller has had a Gastric Bypass procedure since those words were spoken (or maybe he’s just a light eater), because he’s touched the ball, on average, only 17.3 times per game.
While that number is up from the 15.6 touches per game he handled in 2012, it’s not nearly what fantasy owners who drafted Spiller in the first half of round one were expecting. We wanted twenty five touches and Fred Jackson Hootin’ and Tootin’ on the sidelines.
I still buy into Spiller as an elite talent and a top line fantasy option. Stay the course with him if you’re sitting at 3-0 or 2-1. If you’re getting desperate already and 0-3 feels like 0-10, you may have to consider trading a guy with his name value for multiple players that can help your lineup now. Either way, I had Spiller in my preseason RB top ten and I expect him to be there when the season comes to an end.
Here are my fantasy football Stays and Plays for Week 4:
Ryan Broyles, WR Detroit Lions
For those of you looking for that early season lottery ticket worth every penny of your FAAB budget, this is that player. In the wake of Nate Burleson breaking his arm in a single car crash (while adjusting pizza boxes sitting on the front seat, oh yeah, at 2:25 am), the extremely lucrative Lions slot receiver position suddenly has a vacancy. When Nate Burleson broke his leg last season (on the field, not in his car), Broyles stepped in and filled the void admirably until tearing his own ACL. He was picking up trust and targets from Matthew Stafford and head coach Jim Schwartz said that “every time Broyles was given snaps, he made plays.”
Broyles is a great fill in for those missing Packers receivers due to byes this week. Against a tough Chicago Bears defense, which has been an open bar to opposing WRs (most twenty yard pass play allowed) thus far, I expect Broyles to see upwards of ten targets, for six catches, 75 yards and a TD.
DeMarco Murray, RB Dallas Cowboys
Murray is coming off an enormous day against the St. Louis Rams in which he gained 203 total yards and scored a touchdown. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and looked like the star we all thought he was going to be when he took his first start against the Rams in 2011 and went for a Dallas Cowboys rushing record 253 yards. Remove the two times he’s played the Rams and you’ve got an RB who has 25% of his career rushing yards against one franchise and not much else against the rest of the NFL. Murray has seven career rushing TDs, two of them against the Rams. My point: start Murray with the utmost confidence against the Rams.
Oh wait, Murray does not play the Rams this week. Shoot. You’re likely going to have to start Murray because he is probably your second best RB, but don’t expect a second consecutive twenty point performance. I think Dallas takes to the air to lose this game out west in San Diego. If you have better options, I suggest you STAY.
Marlon Brown, WR Baltimore Ravens
I like what I’ve seen from Brown early on this season, and I really like this matchup. Buffalo has a decrepit secondary and could be without Mario Williams this weekend. What does this mean? It means that Joe Flacco is going to have all day to throw from the pocket. Buffalo has been extremely friendly to WRs already this season, allowing multiple New England and New York Jet WRs to put up double digit fantasy days.
With most of the attention squarely on Torrey Smith and whoever starts at RB between Rice and Pierce, I like Brown to have his best day yet. He’s been getting five targets per game, he caught a touchdown in his first two contests, and I like him to get back on track this week. Look for five catches, 85 yards and a touchdown this week.
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