Four years ago, we began honoring radio legend Steve Czaban — who was surprisingly booted from the SB Nation Radio morning lineup in 2016, despite having perhaps the most engaging program in the radio marketplace — with a “You Are Looking Live!” preview of each NFL weekend.
The bit was so well-received, so roundly praised by media pundits (including a few SB Nation writers) and Czabe’s legion of fans alike, that we decided to make You Are Looking Live! a permanent Friday staple of the BATSBY Sports Network programming.
As such, it makes perfect sense to include Brent Musburger and Joey Porter into the presentation, via YouTube:
INDIANAPOLIS (2-1) @ CHICAGO (3-0)
TIME: 1 p.m. EST
LINE: Bears (+2 1/2) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Craig Wrolstad
TV ANALYSTS: Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Amanda Balionis (CBS)
THE ETERNAL STRUGGLE: Without a doubt, the 3-0 Bears are extremely fortunate to have an unblemished record, needing last-second heroics to escape the middling likes of the Lions, Giants and Falcons.
However, don’t fall asleep on the Chicago defense, from a fantasy perspective: After three weeks, the Bears (and 49ers) have ceded the fewest passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, while cumulatively limiting these passers to a porous completion rate of 57 percent.
Which brings us to this …
It’s a good thing quarterback Philip Rivers has a versatile rushing attack (Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines) and the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense. Because after that, the other Indy playmakers sport a grand total of two receiving touchdowns.
SEATTLE (3-0) @ MIAMI (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Dolphins (+6 1/2) … Over/Under: 54
REFEREE: Scott Novak
TV ANNOUNCERS: Dick Stockton, Brady Quinn, Sara Walsh (FOX)
NO. 1 WITH A BULLET: For the first time in BATSBY Sports history, Tyler Lockett has ascended to the No. 1 spot with weekly receiver rankings.
And why not? Last week, the Seahawks wideout carved up the Cowboys for nine catches, 100 yards and three touchdowns. Also, the Dolphins rate among the NFL’s worst defense versus opposing receivers, covering the categories of catches, targets, receiving yards and receiving TDs.
Oh, and don’t forget how Seattle’s Russell Wilson (925 yards passing, 14 TDs) is currently on pace to shatter Peyton Manning’s NFL record for most passing touchdowns in a season (55).
WEEK 4 PREP WORK
PASSING FANCY: Aaron Rodgers leads the QB rankings for Week 4
RUN TO DAYLIGHT: Alvin Kamara headlines the top 60 PPR tailbacks
CATCH A RISING STAR: Julio Jones carries the Top 70 PPR wideouts
BIG & BAD: Kelce, Engram and Fant highlight the Top 30 tight ends
NEEDFUL ASSETS: Herbert, Jefferson, Lazard are the best waiver picks
IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS: Rodgers, Lockett, OBJ lead Week 4’s Fun Facts
PIGSKIN PERFECTION: ‘You Are Looking Live!’ preview of NFL Week 4
CLEVELAND (2-1) @ DALLAS (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Cowboys (-4 1/2) … Over/Under: 56
REFEREE: Clay Martin
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Burkhardt, Darryl Johnston, Pam Oliver (FOX)
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Attention, Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy truthers: This should be a feel-good weekend. So make the most of it.
Why is that?
The Cowboys have already surrendered seven touchdowns to opposing wideouts this season, or a staggering rate of one score for every 9.2 catches.
Of course, Beckham (who’s quite adept at throwing on trick plays) likely needs to catch a ball first before reaching the end zone; and therein lies the problem:
Charting his last eight outings with the Browns, Beckham merely corralled four or fewer receptions seven times.
(In case you’re wondering, during his time with the Giants, Beckham recorded five receving touchdowns against the Cowboys.)
ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINT: At first blush, it’s easy to believe the Browns (69 points their last two games) and Cowboys (8th in scoring offense) will incur little difficulty in covering the over-under number of 56 points.
But here’s something to ponder: Charting the last nine meetings between the clubs, dating back to 1982, Cleveland and Dallas have a combined average of 38 points; and during this stretch, no outing exceeded 45 cumulative points.
NEW ORLEANS (1-2) @ DETROIT (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Lions (+4) … Over/Under: 54
REFEREE: Shawn Smith
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake (FOX)
CHECK THIS OUT: Despite having two healthy and highly coveted assets from the three previous drafts in its backfield (Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift), Detroit has committed to Adrian Peterson as the club’s workhorse back, moving forward.
Is that ‘workhorse’ or war horse? He’s 35 years old!
My frustration with Detroit’s coaches and front office notwithstanding, here’s something that’ll tickle your fantasy buying bone; and thankfully, it has nothing to do with Peterson:
Counting his last six meetings with the Saints (including the postseason), Lions QB Matthew Stafford holds supreme averages of 332 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns.
Adding to the anticipation of Sunday, New Orleans has given up the third-most passing TDs this season.
HE’S BAAAAAAACK: Saints wideout Michael Thomas, who set the NFL single-season receptions record last year (149), has finally returned from a Week 1 ankle injury (vs. the Bucs).
And his timing, frankly, couldn’t be better.
Charting his last nine road games played indoors (including the postseason), Thomas holds rock-solid averages of 7.2 catches, 84 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.
BALTIMORE (2-1) @ WASHINGTON (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Ravens (-14) … Over/Under: 45.5
REFEREE: Adrian Hill
TV ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, A.J. Ross (CBS)
BRAZIN’ IN THE GRASS: Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson doesn’t have any history versus the Washington Football Team, given that he’s only been in the league for three seasons.
But here’s something to celebrate: Charting his last five games played on natural grass, Jackson boasts stellar averages of 285 total yards and three touchdowns.
BETTOR’S HUNCH: It’s OK to feel some sticker shock with the Ravens being 14-point favorites this weekend … against their territorial rival.
But trust us, the experts in Vegas have a decent handle on Sunday’s clash in our nation’s capital.
For example, charting Baltimore’s last six road outings — all with Lamar Jackson as the starting quarterback — the club’s average margin of victory stands at 21.5 points … and with five of the results involving double-digit-point spreads.
And keep in mind: This listing doesn’t even cover the Ravens’ 59-10 road reckoning of the Dolphins from last year (Week 1).
ARIZONA (2-1) @ CAROLINA (1-2)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Panthers (+3) … Over/Under: 51
REFEREE: Ron Torbert
TV ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kugler, Chris Spielman, Laura Okmin (FOX)
BETTOR’S HUNCH: The experts at OddsShark.com have assigned a 51-point over/under for Sunday’s Cardinals-Panthers matchup; and at first glance, we’re a tad skeptical of the clubs reaching the over quotient.
****Citing the last six meetings, Arizona and Carolina have cumulatively averaged 42 points; and keep in mind, the 2016 NFC title game produced 64 total points.
****For the season, the Panthers are averaging 23 points; and the Cardinals are routinely struggling to clear 24 points per game.
****Panthers superstar Christian McCaffrey (ankle) remains sidelined to injury; and Cardinals tailback Kenyan Drake has just one touchdown and five catches on the season.
L.A. CHARGERS (1-2) @ TAMPA BAY (2-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Buccaneers (-7) … Over/Under: 43
REFEREE: Brad Allen
TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis, Evan Washburn (CBS)
THE RUNNING MAN: Tom Brady has been a modest model of consistency in his first three outings with the Buccaneers, essentially serving as a weekly lock for 24 completions, a completion rate in the mid-60s and two touchdowns.
And as such, Tampa Bay owns a solid 2-1 record … even though the club likely hasn’t scratched the surface of its full potential (numerous nagging injuries).
Now for something unusual to report: Brady (five rushing scores since 2018) actually has better odds of posting a rushing touchdown than backfield teammates Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones.
Why is that?
The Ravens and Chargers (this week’s opponent) are the only NFL defenses that have yet to allow a rushing touchdown to an opposing tailback.
However, both clubs have allowed at least one quarterback-scramble TD for the year.
MINNESOTA (0-3) @ HOUSTON (0-3)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Texans (-3 1/2) … Over/Under: 53.5
REFEREE: Brad Rogers
TV: Chris Myers, Brock Huard, Greg Jennings, Jennifer Hale (FOX)
PRELUDE TO A BREAKOUT: Texans wideout Will Fuller seems to be an all-or-nothing proposition in fantasyland, posting big numbers one week (typically 110-plus yards and/or one TD) … and then flirting with goose eggs shortly after that.
We’re here to offer some clarity, though, regarding this week’s matchup with the Vikings (bottom-10 rankings with receptions, receiving yards and receiving TDs versus wideouts):
Charting his last seven home outings versus NFC-only clubs, Fuller holds rock-solid averages of five catches, 73 yards and 0.7 touchdowns; and FYI, those numbers were severely diluted by two games of one and two receptions.
JACKSONVILLE (1-2) @ CINCINNATI (0-2-1)
TIME: 1 p.m.
LINE: Bengals (-3) … Over/Under: 49
REFEREE: Alex Kemp
TV ANNOUNCERS: Tom McCarthy, Jay Feely (CBS)
GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS PROPOSITION: Bengals tailback Joe Mixon (222 total yards, zero TDs for 2020) has an interesting streak of five straight games of 100 total yards and/or one touchdown versus AFC South clubs.
What makes it so vexing?
During this stretch, dating back to his rookie campaign, Mixon collected less than 50 total yards three times.
Thank goodness Mixon has a Toucan Sam-like nose for the end zone. Huh?
N.Y. GIANTS (0-3) @ L.A. RAMS (2-1)
TIME: 4:05 p.m. EST
LINE: Rams (-13) … Over/Under: 48
REFEREE: John Hussey
TV CREW: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Lindsay Czarniak (FOX)
FUN FACT: The Giants’ Evan Engram should fare well against the Rams, who hold bottom-12 rankings in the categories of targets, receptions and receiving TDs versus tight ends.
Of course, it might not be the prettiest of fantasy reckonings.
For starters, this season, Engram (96 yards receiving, zero TDs) has an underwhelming catch-to-target rate of 55 percent; and his lone career outing versus the Rams (circa 2017) yielded four catches, 70 yards and one touchdown … but on 10 inefficient targets.
Also, the Giants lost 51-17 on that day three years ago.
NEW ENGLAND (2-1) @ KANSAS CITY (3-0)
TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST
LINE: Chiefs (-7) … Over/Under: 53
REFEREE: Tony Corrente
TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (CBS)
HAIL TO THE CHIEF: The white-hot Patrick Mahomes (385 yards passing, 5 TDs in Week 3) has accounted for 28 total touchdowns in his last nine outings — including the postseason.
The home splits offer similarly stellar trends, with Mahomes racking up 300 yards passing and/or multiple TDs in 17 of his previous 18 outings at Arrowhead Stadium (playoffs included).
So, what to believe heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Patriots (and new quarterback Cam Newton)?
For his three career encounters with New England, Mahomes owns robust averages of 310 yards passing and 2.7 touchdowns per game.
BUFFALO (3-0) @ LAS VEGAS (2-1)
TIME: 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Raiders (+3) … Over/Under: 52.5
REFEREE: Land Clark
TV ANNOUNCERS: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta (CBS)
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED? For most weeks, Bills QB Josh Allen (1,038 yards passing, 12 TDs, 71.3- percent passing through three games) would be a rubber-stamp choice for the top 7 fantasy passers, given his ball-dominant success and highly underrated cast of playmakers (Stefon Diggs, Devin Singletary, John Brown, Zack Moss, Cole Beasley).
However, we’re a little leery of this weekend’s matchup with the Raiders, who possess top-10 rankings with fewest completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed.
What’s more, Las Vegas has surrendered just 61 rushing yards to quarterbacks on the season, and has yet to yield rushing a touchdown to that position.
PHILADELPHIA (0-2-1) @ SAN FRANCISCO (2-1)
TIME: 8:20 p.m. EST
LINE: Niners (-7) … Over/Under: 46
REFEREE: Bill Vinovich
TV CREW: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya (NBC)
RICH MAN, POOR MAN: This weekend should be an interesting logistical experiment for the Eagles, as they prepare for Niners tight end George Kittle (back from a minor injury):
The Philly defense boasts top-10 rankings versus tight ends, when citing the categories of fewest targets, receptions and receiving yards allowed.
And yet, the Eagles (along with the Saints and Falcons) have allowed the most receiving TDs to opposing tight ends.
Now for the good news, Eagles fans: For reasons that cannot be explained, Kittle (12 career touchdowns) has never found the end zone against an NFC East foe.
ATLANTA (0-3) @ GREEN BAY (3-0)
TIME: 8:15 p.m. EST
LINE: Packers (-7) … Over/Under: 56.5
REFEREE: Carl Cheffers
TV: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters (ESPN)
CALL YOUR SHOT: There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and Aaron Rodgers dissecting the Falcons defense with relative ease.
Charting his last eight outings versus Atlanta, Rodgers owns otherworldly averages of 313 yards passing and 2.8 touchdowns (including an ongoing streak of collecting multiple TDs each time).
This bodes well heading into Monday’s home clash: The Falcons defense either ranks 31st or dead-last in completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns surrendered to opposing quarterbacks.
CRUISIN’ FOR A BRUISIN’: When encountering opposing wideouts, Green Bay holds superb top-10 rankings with fewest catches, targets and receiving yards allowed to that position.
However, when it comes to receiving TDs surrendered, the Packers rank 31st in this vital category.
Which brings us to Julio Jones …
Charting his last five outings versus the Packers (including the playoffs), the Falcons wideout boasts otherworldly averages of 8.4 catches, 136 yards and one touchdown.