XN Sports League of Champions Week 4 Preview

Titans

Sep 22, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; The Tennessee Titans take the field before a game against the San Diego Chargers at LP Field. Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Can you believe it’s already Week 4 of the NFL season? With October knocking on the door, the fantasy football season is getting real. And it’s a big week in the XN Sports League of Champions. The top four teams in the standings are squaring off against other top-four squads, so the two remaining unbeatens are very much in danger of suffering their first blemish. Elsewhere, two winless teams are hoping this week ends their struggles. So take a look at what these owners think about their matchups this week. And click on each heading to see the lineups in full.

BLURRED GOAL LINES (Tony Consiglio) 3-0 vs. STUDFELDSVILLE (Salvatore Stefanile) 2-1

Salvatore Stefanile: It might seem odd to be worried about a matchup when you’re favored to win, but we know fantasy website projections don’t mean much. Any player can go off and score four touchdowns, rendering pre-game projections useless.

I’m feeling that way against Blurred Goal Lines, because he has a talented team up and down his lineup. Starting with his QBs, Kaepernick and Stafford, to his WRs, Antonio Brown and Stevie Johnson, and especially his RB1 LeSean McCoy.

Going into the season, I thought the strength of my team was going to be my RB depth of CJ Spiller, Matt Forte, and Darren Sproles, but as a whole, they’ve been a bit of a disappointment. With Jordy Nelson on his bye, and replaced with less than stellar WR options, this is easily a match that Blurred Goal Lines can win, if my RBs continue to disappoint.

Tony Consiglio: I think I’m in for a dog fight. Sal and his band of studs have put together a good start to the season and they’re pretty solid throughout the team. But I’m pretty solid, too.

I’m off to a head start thanks to 13 points from Colin Kaepernick on Thursday night. I was hoping for a few more, though. Matt Stafford can help balance out my QB scoring with his air attack in Detroit. My #1 WR, Randall Cobb, is on a bye this week which I’m not thrilled with. This is a week I could really use him. That’s forced me to start Marlon Brown in a WR spot and Giovani Bernard as a flex. I love Bernard, but he’s still sharing time with Benjarvus Green-Ellis, and he’s facing a Brown’s team that is actually quite good against the run.

Still, though, I like my chances in a close matchup. Sal’s WRs are a question mark to me. Kenbrell Thompkins is coming off his best career game, but that whole Patriots passing attack is so unpredictable right now, and he’s taking a gamble on Terrance Williams contributing. If those guys don’t do much and his RBs continue to struggle, I think I should win this one going away. But if they do put some points on the board, I’ll have to win a squeaker.

MY BUDDY AND ME (Dave Major) 3-0 vs. FANTASY FOUNDATION (Rich Hribar) 2-1

Dave Major: The league points leader comes to town to face my undefeated Little Buddy tigers. Tony Romo and Michael Vick vs. Peyton Manning and Geno Smith. Vick and Manning are actually facing each other (in reality), which should be fun to watch (in reality). I think I’ll win a close QB battle here. Smith should keep pace with Vick, and Romo won’t be able to keep up with Manning.

For receivers, I’ve finally found someone who’s nearly my match. A.J. Green, Julian Edelman, Vincent Brown and T.Y. Hilton will have to outperform Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, DeAndre Hopkins, and Josh Gordon. It seems like I have a slight advantage here as well, but it’s definitely not a gimme.

Trent Richardson and Jamaal Charles will be facing my Lamar Miller and Daryl Richardson. Richardson and Richardson would be a bad name for a bad action movie, or a bad comedy movie, or a bad comedy action movie. It either stars Brangelina as a secret agent couple, or Chevy Chase and Rip Torn as neighbors-turned-cat burglars. Hard to say, but I might rather see the Chase-Torn pairing.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, his running backs will destroy mine, and easily make up for his other deficiencies. I’ll need Jimmy Graham to completely obliterate Vernon Davis if my hopes can continue for a Burfict season. I mean — forget it, you know what I mean.

COCONUT PETE (Tom Fitzgerald) 2-1 vs. DERWOOD #DEGENERATES (C.D. Carter) 0-3

Tom Fitzgerald: I was lucky to scrape by with a one point victory over Igor Derysh last week. I’m not so sure how lucky I’ll be this week. I’m up against C.D. Carter and his band of marauding degenerates. My guys like to “mellow out and have a drink” but I don’t think we’ll have time to do that this week.

As of this writing, Yahoo! has Carter’s Derwood’s #Degenerates projected to win 133.52 to 132.48. Any way you slice it this should be a close affair. I got a nice jump start on the action with Anquan Boldin pulling down five catches for 90 yards and a score during Thursday Night Football.

My quarterbacks continue to be question marks and I never know quite what I’ll get from RGIII or Ben Roethlisberger. Arian Foster has a very tough matchup against Seattle this week and Ray Rice is listed as doubtful in what could be a juicy matchup against Buffalo. I’ll be obsessively hitting the refresh button on Rice’s status all week in what could be the key difference between a win and a loss.

4TH AND GOAL (Neil Parker) 2-1 vs. MAKE IT WAYNE (Igor Derysh) 1-2

Igor Derysh: Yahoo! has me as a 63% favorite heading into the weekend but it should be a close one with Neil and me owning some of the lowest point totals in the league. His Drew Brees-Andrew Luck duo certainly has my Tom Brady-Eli Manning duo beat, especially with Manning taking on the Chiefs this week. It’s that or start Matt Schaub against the Hawks, about as easy a choice as which kidney to part with.

I like my chances at the other positions, though. I feel good about my Demariyus Thomas, Mike Wallace, Michael Floyd, and Mike Williams (if he plays, otherwise Santonio Holmes) combo. He has Dez Bryant but he’s also starting Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, and Donnie Avery. With DeAngelo Williams on a bye week, I’m forced to start Pierre Thomas alongside Adrian Peterson, but I still like my chances with Neil rolling out Ahmad Bradshaw and Jason Snelling.

Assuming Justin Tucker, the Baltimore D, and Heath Miller put up half-decent efforts, I should be rejoining the .500 club and reveling in mediocrity come Tuesday.

FIFTY SHADES OF CATS (Felipe Melecio) 1-2 vs. @BRYKNO RHINOS (Brian Knowles) 0-3

Felipe Melecio: It’s the Battle of Illinois and the loser has to buy the winner lunch (totally made that up).

The Rhinos have a good receiving corps, but my corps, I believe, matches well with theirs. Otherwise, on paper, my team has better players at the other position. Then again, I thought I should’ve easily won last week against an inferior team and ended up suffering one of my worst losses of the season. So I predict this will be a very close game… even though it shouldn’t be. I should be 4-0 is what I’m saying.

Bryan Knowles: It’s time to face facts — I’m the Jacksonville Jaguars of our particular league.  In my first 2QB league, I either undervalued quarterbacks or simply acted a tad too late.  For this technique to work, I had to be right on with all my predictions, and while Jake Locker‘s done quite well and E.J. Manuel’s been more then acceptable, I’m stuck with Josh Freeman as my third quarterback — and no Mike Glennon.  A move has to be made if I’m going to be at all competitive in the future, but that’s for the future.

For this week, I’m already well behind the eight-ball. I was forced to start Isiah Pead and his big ol’ goose egg, while Frank Gore and the 49ers defense ran wild over me for the Cats.  Always good to be down 32 points going into the weekend.  I’ve made some shifts to my lineup — hoping Gronkowski would start, I dropped Brandon Pettigrew quickly and scooped up the Tampa Bay defense to replace Green Bay during the bye week — but there’s not much left to do here.  I’m an underdog in both quarterback positions, both running back slots, #2 receiver, and the flex slot.  You’re just not going to win very many games with that many holes.  My best-case scenario for this week is probably the #Degenerates losing as well, so I have company in the cellar.

THE WINTER CLASSICS (Chris Blanchard) 1-2 vs. KEEPIN HEADS RINGIN (Michael Clifford) 1-2

Chris Blanchard: The Nate Burleson pizza incident has further handicapped my already reeling wide receiver group. Danny Amendola‘s continued absence, Steve Smith‘s bye week, and Dwayne Bowe‘s lack of chemistry with Alex Smith should result in a terrible week for my wideouts. To give you an idea of how bad it has gotten, Jake Locker will be throwing to two of my pass-catchers this Sunday. I had high hopes for Tavon Austin this week, but the Rams offense couldn’t do anything in a Thursday loss to San Fran. With Aaron Rodgers off for the week, I’m looking for a miracle performance from Blaine Gabbert. You heard that right… I’m starting Blaine Gabbert. It might get ugly.

Michael Clifford: I got a much-needed win last week to go 1-2 and am hoping to keep the ball rolling this weekend.

My big concern this week is that it’s Cam Newton’s bye week. In a 2QB league, this leaves me with Carson Palmer and Matt Flynn as my starting quarterbacks this week. It’s not as bad as it could have been though, as my opponent amazingly has Aaron Rodgers on his bye. This is actually extremely fortunate for me, as he’s forced to start Blaine Gabbert this week.

David Wilson finds the bench for the second week in a row for me, and he’s not startable until the Giants prove they will run through him. That means I’m officially bringing Le’Veon Bell into the fold. I’m not expecting the world, but I’m hoping for a big boost over Mr. Wilson this season.

I was only able to get four points from Greg “Legatron” Zuerlein last night, but he also started Tavon Austin in his flex. This will be a neck-and-neck week and with both of us at 1-2 and both missing our stud QBs, this is a pretty important week.

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Tony Consiglio is a lifelong baseball fan and has worked for television and radio stations throughout New England.