Chris Ogbonnaya (Photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost)
Every week, there are matchups around the NFL that just beg to be exploited. Victor Cruz’s performance two years ago immediately springs to my mind. Philadelphia retained two of the top corners in the NFL in Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha but their nickel cornerback left much to be desired. Starting WR3 Victor Cruz over WR1 Hakeem Nicks that night proved to be a boon for fantasy owners; while Nicks put up just 7 points, Cruz posted over 33 points. Also coming to mind are Demarco Murray’s breakout 200-yard performance against the Rams and Arian Foster’s 200-yard masterpiece against the Colts, both matchups begging to be exploited by young future stars looking to prove themselves. Where can we pick up little-known players set to explode in a favorable matchup? Let’s take a look.
Chris Ogbonnaya, RB (CLE, vs. BUF) – Willis McGahee did little to inspire in his time with the Browns, posting 55 yards with a dismal 2.4 yards per carry average. He faces a Buffalo defense that, despite its talents, struggles with outside runs due to the sheer size of the players in its defense. At some point during the game, coordinator Rob Chudzinski needs to make the change, for the better. Ogbonnaya displays excellent speed, burst, and hands; he is averaging 7.1 yards per touch this year and he has an impressive catch rate of 75%. He has a dream matchup against the Bills this week, and while a bit of a risk, he can definitely rack up the points, especially in PPR leagues. I can see him hitting 110 total yards and a touchdown, easily, against this defense if he gets some quality touches.
Jeremy Kerley, WR (NYJ, @ATL) – Kerley inspired confidence in his return to action last week, catching 4 balls for 65 yards on 5 targets. He faces an Atlanta defense that has struggled against the pass in general, but especially against slot receivers (65 yards/2 TDs to Tavon Austin; 86 yards to Kenny Stills; 6 catches/49 yards to Brandon Gibson; 127 yards/1 TD to Kenbrell Thompkins). Geno Smith has certainly had his troubles to start off the year; however, most of those are related to turnovers and, in general, he is delivering some good passes. Smith’s bread-and-butter plays were typically slants and short timing patterns, which are improving with time. Kerley specializes in such plays. Against the soft Atlanta secondary, Kerley should find some holes short and rack up some yards after the catch. I see an 80+ yard day with a touchdown from Kerley.
Terrelle Pryor, QB (OAK, vs. SD) – After a fiery start to the season, Pryor suffered a concussion. This week, he is expected to be back against a Chargers lineup fresh off a quality win against the Dallas Cowboys. Still, they’re not quite out of the woods yet. In their last matchup against a mobile quarterback, they gave up 462 total yards, 2 passing, and 1 rushing touchdown to a middling Michael Vick, and last season, they got blown out to the tune of 31-7 to the only rushing quarterback-led team they faced in the Panthers. I expect them to struggle yet again, as Pryor puts up very respectable numbers, about 200 yards passing, 80 yards rushing, and 2 total touchdowns in a close game against the Chargers.
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