5 Burning Questions for Week 4 (Fantasy Football)
Here are hot topics and burning questions heading into NFL Week 4.
Are we witnessing the death of a dynasty?
Answer: probably not. The question has been asked many times before, and it will probably be asked many times again before Tom Brady retires in 2028. That doesn’t stop us from wondering. The Patriots are 1-2 for just the second time since Brady took over for Bledsoe in 2001. This team just feels different. New England is completely devoid of talent on the defensive side of the ball, its offensive line is generating no push to spark the running game, injuries are already stacking up, and, while I’m sure it will improve, Brady’s level of play has not inspired confidence thus far. Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, if available and healthy, will certainly spark the offense and create fantasy opportunity for everyone involved. But it’s hard to look at this defensive roster and see a light at the end of the tunnel. To get beaten like that by the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football has me wondering two things: Did Patricia give his team insider knowledge of Brady’s hand signals and Bill’s defensive tendencies? Or is this the beginning of the end for the goats?
Are we witnessing the rebirth of a franchise?
The Cleveland Browns defense is real — there’s too much talent even for Gregg Williams to mess up — and they have good playmakers on offense. Still, they struggled to find a win and were on the brink of disaster last Thursday against the Jets. Enter Baker Mayfield, who played lights out in relief of Tyrod Taylor to mount the comeback at home and end the longest winless streak since God-knows-when. Is he for real? Can he sustain that effort? Are the Cleveland Browns finally a real NFL team? These questions will be answered over the next 13 games (hey, have you heard that that’s a Baker’s Dozen?). The first-overall pick gets his first ever start on the road in the Black Hole against the 0-3 Oakland Raiders. Tough crowd, soft defense, high stakes for both teams.
Josh Rosen to the rescue?
Josh Rosen was the last of the four top-10 quarterbacks to be drafted and the last to be named starter as well. It couldn’t come too soon for David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald owners. But will Rosen be enough to breathe life into this offense? I’m trying not to depend on it. Head Coach Steve Wilks actually defended the decision to run out Chase Edmonds on a critical 3rd and two rushing attempt at the end of the game. Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy has a long trail of failure behind him. Rosen will have to overcome bottom-five blocking and coaching if he wants to prove that those other nine teams made a mistake in passing on him. I say godspeed to him. He draws an average matchup this week at home against the Seattle Seahawks.
Is it time to let go of Peyton Barber?
How can this much rushing volume go so wrong? Just follow these quick, easy steps. a) Be a below average athlete b) with a below average offensive line c) who doesn’t get third downs d) on a team with a bad defense e) in a division with loaded offenses that negate running game scripts f) playing for an OC who does not allow rushing plays on second or third downs. Here’s a guy who hasn’t done a bit of lifting on any fantasy team despite his team putting up 27+ every game, and yet because of his volume and his team’s offensive production, you can’t drop him in deep leagues. Twelve-man or less, though? Here are the real burning questions: How are the rest of your running backs? Any other positions need help? Is next week’s defense streamer a free agent? Buffalo plays the Titans, by the way.
Will the Lions coaches give the reins to Kerryon Johnson already?
Kerryon Johnson’s volume has trended up week over week: 8, 13, 18. This is good. Kerryon Johnson’s touch share has increased as well, though not as dramatically: 38%, 41%, 46% of running back touches. That isn’t bad. But he’s still being pulled out in goal line or obvious passing situations. No bueno. It’s so painfully obvious how much better this guy is than the other backs on the team. The Lions coaches seem not to notice or care. Any merit-based coaching system would have had him at 60% of touches right out of the gate at least and at best only coming off the field for a breather. I have no doubts that Johnson will get there eventually. But it can’t come soon enough. When will he be unleashed, already? What is Matt Patricia waiting for?
Nick Zychowicz is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, follow him @NJZychowicz.