Fantasy Football Recap & Takeaways: Week 4
We’ve now reached our first week with teams on bye with the Panthers and Redskins resting. Week 4 started off with an exciting Thursday Night Football shootout, but it was far from the only shootout. Interestingly, there were two overtime games that saw the team with the first possession score a field goal and lose.
Vikings 31 at Rams 38
Football fans were treated to an entertaining contest to start off the week. After getting embarrassed by the Bills in their own house in Week 3, the Vikings were much sharper in this losing effort despite the short week of prep. Kirk Cousins bounced back from a bad game and lit up the Rams’ banged up secondary for 422 yards and three touchdowns, but he did take four sacks. He also led the team in rushing with 28 yards. As you’ve likely deduced, that means Dalvin Cook didn’t do a heck of a lot rushing for only 20 yards on 10 carries. Aldrick Robinson was a surprise performer hauling in both of his targets for touchdowns. Both Adam Thielen (8-135-1) and Stefon Diggs (11-123-0) ate, and Kyle Rudolph is producing as more than a touchdown-or-bust option with his third straight game of catching at least five passes and besting 45 yards (5-57-0 against the Rams).
With all due respect to Kansas City’s electric offense, the Rams possess the most well-rounded and best offense in football. Jared Goff was nearly perfect completing 26 of 33 passes for 465 yards and five touchdowns. In fact, his work earned him a perfect 158.3 Quarterback Rating. Goff spread the ball around, and Robert Woods (5-101-1), Brandin Cooks (7-116-1), and Cooper Kupp (9-162-2) all had big games. Todd Gurley was his typical awesome self, too, rushing 83 yards on 17 carries and totaling a 4-73-1 line through the air.
Bengals 37 at Falcons 36
Andy Dalton returned to good form after his turnover-filled Week 3 showing, and he ripped the Falcons for 337 yards passing, three touchdowns, and just one interception. Giovani Bernard continues to play well in Joe Mixon’s absence, and he did it all rushing for 69 yards and two scores on 15 carries and reeling in four receptions for 27 yards. Tyler Boyd’s breakout continues (11-100-0), and with Tyler Eifert suffering a serious injury, Boyd’s number will continue to be called frequently. A.J. Green caught four of eight targets for 78 yards and the game-winning score.
Matt Ryan is on some kind of roll, and he erupted for 419 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions. Julio Jones led the team in receptions (nine), targets (12), and yards (173), but he remains without a touchdown on the season. Mohamed Sanu also bested 100 yards with six grabs for 111 yards, and Calvin Ridley balled out for the third week in a row with a 4-54-2 line. Tevin Coleman disappointed with just 51 yards rushing on 14 carries and three grabs for 26 yards, but Ito Smith punched in the team’s rushing touchdown.
Bills 0 at Packers 22
Josh Allen reverted back to the inaccurate, sack-taking, turnover-machine rookie he appeared to be prior to Week 3’s upset victory over the Vikings. LeSean McCoy fell short of 30 yards rushing for the second time in three games played.
Aaron Rodgers had an underwhelming stat line of 298 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception. He did add 31 yards rushing, though. Aaron Jones led the Packers in rushing for the second time in as many games played with 65 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Jamaal Williams matched him in carry volume, but he rushed for just 27 yards. Jones’ stock is up. Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown, but his three receptions for 21 yards left a lot to be desired. He’s fallen short of 50 yards receiving in three of four games. Davante Adams (8-81-0) and Geronimo Allison (6-80-0) both had solid showings, though Allison suffered a concussion.
Buccaneers 10 at Bears 48
Remember when Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers offense were the toast of the town? Fitz was removed from the blowout for Jameis Winston, and he threw a couple of interceptions. Tampa Bay’s running game remains anemic. The lone bright spot for the Bucs from a fantasy perspective was DeSean Jackson, who hauled in five of eight targets for 112 yards.
Mitchell Trubisky had been awful to date, but the hapless Bucs’ defense was apparently exactly what he needed. The second-year signal caller was 19 of 26 for 354 yards, six touchdowns, zero interceptions, and added three carries for 53 yards. Not all fantasy gamers invested in Chicago’s key pieces came away happy. Jordan Howard rushed 11 times for 25 yards and did nothing as a receiver. Backfield mate Tarik Cohen went off for 53 yards rushing on 13 carries and a massive 7-121-1 line as a pass catcher. Trey Burton (2-86-1) and Allen Robinson (2-23-1) both reached pay dirt, and Taylor Gabriel caught all seven of his targets for 104 yards and a pair of scores. He’s caught four or more passes in all four games this year, but he’d fallen short of 35 yards receiving in the three prior games.
Dolphins 7 at Patriots 38
The Bucs weren’t the only team from Florida to get stomped in a road tilt. All the good vibes Miami created in opening 3-0 fizzled out in Foxboro. Perhaps no one has been a bigger fantasy disappointment than Kenyan Drake, and he carried the ball only three time for three yards while catching one of three targets for 13 yards. Kenny Stills caught three passes for 40 yards, and he’s the best fantasy option on the Dolphins.
Tom Brady wasn’t perfect and tossed a pair of interceptions, but he also passed for 274 yards and three scores. Sony Michel showed off why the Patriots spent a first-round pick on him, rushing for 112 yards and a score on 25 carries. Michel wasn’t the only one of New England’s running backs to please fantasy gamers. James White rushed eight times for 44 yards and a score, and he led the team in targets (10), receptions (eight), receiving yards (68), and caught a touchdown. Josh Gordon caught both of his targets for 32 yards, and Chris Hogan turned in another clunker with one reception for 25 yards on one target. Rob Gronkowski (4-44-0 on seven targets) left early with an ankle injury. The game was a blowout, so it’s possible New England was being extra cautious. If they weren’t, however, Gronk’s status for Week 5 could be in jeopardy since the Patriots play in the Thursday Night Football contest this week.
Eagles 23 at Titans 26
The Eagles were one of the two teams mentioned in the intro that lost in overtime after scoring a field goal on their opening drive. Carson Wentz didn’t take long to best the 300-yard threshold in a game in his return from injury, passing for 348 yards and a pair of scores in his second game back. Jay Ajayi rushed 15 times for 70 yards and added 11 yards on three receptions. Zach Ertz led the way in receptions (10), targets (14), and receiving yards (112). Alshon Jeffery immediately made his presence felt with a 8-105-1 line on nine targets in his first game played this season. Nelson Agholor came up small with an inefficient 5-22-0 line on 12 targets, including several drops, and Dallas Goedert (2-13-0) disappeared after his standout performance in Week 3.
The Titans got little from their running backs, but Marcus Mariota went off. He completed 30 of 43 passes for 344 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also led the team in rushing with 10 carries for 46 yards and a score. The Corey Davis blowup game finally happened. He was targeted 15 times and torched the Eagles for 9-161-1, the one representing the game-winning touchdown. Taywan Taylor had a nifty 7-77-0 line on nine targets. Dion Lewis totaled zero yards rushing on four carries, but he helped gamers in PPR leagues by reeling in all nine of his targets for 66 yards.
Jets 12 at Jaguars 31
Sam Darnold’s struggles continue. In a tough matchup with Jacksonville’s loaded defense, he managed just 167 yards passing and a touchdown while completing exactly half of his 34 pass attempts. The running game gained no traction. Quincy Enunwa is the only trustworthy fantasy option, and he caught four of his eight targets for 66 yards.
Gunslinger Blake Bortles was back this week and hung 388 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception on the Jets. He even rushed for 28 yards. Dede Westbrook went off for 130 yards on nine receptions and 11 yards rushing on one rush, and Donte Moncrief caught all five of his targets for 109 yards and a score. Keelan Cole was the odd man out of the fantasy fun with only two catches for 15 yards. Leonard Fournette started the game, but he exited early after aggravating his hamstring injury. T.J. Yeldon totaled exactly 100 yards from scrimmage (52 rushing and 48 receiving) and scored on the ground and through the air.
Lions 24 at Cowboys 26
The Lions were unable to follow up their upset win against the Patriots with another winning effort. Matthew Stafford was sharp, though, completing 24 of 30 passes for 307 yards and two scores. Kerryon Johnson is the clear cut best back on the Lions, but he rushed the ball only nine times for 55 yards and a score. LeGarrette Blount rushed seven times for a pathetic 12 yards. Marvin Jones Jr. (3-56-0) was the low man in the talented wide receiving trio, trailing Kenny Golladay (4-74-0) and Golden Tate (8-132-2) in production. Still, there’s enough ball to go around and support all three.
The Cowboys offense is Ezekiel Elliott. Case in point, he rushed 25 times for 152 yards, and he led the way in receiving yards (88) while tying for the team lead with four receptions and one touchdown grab. Dak Prescott accomplished a couple of 2018 firsts surpassing 200 yards passing (255 yards) and tossing multiple touchdowns (two).
Texans 37 at Colts 34
Deshaun Watson whooped the Colts for 375 yards passing, two touchdowns, and one interception while adding 41 yards and a score with his legs. Not all was perfect for him, though, as he did take seven sacks. The seven sacks push his season total to an eye-popping 17. DeAndre Hopkins roasted the Colts for 10-169-1. Rookie Keke Coutee had a memorable debut with 11 receptions for 109 yards on a team-leading 15 targets. Will Fuller continued his amazing touchdown streak with Watson, catching four of five targets for 49 yards and a score. Fuller exited with a hamstring injury, but head coach Bill O’Brien revealed Fuller probably could have played in the second half.
Did you think Andrew Luck’s 53 pass attempts in Week 1 were crazy? Well, he tossed the ball 62 times yesterday. The volume was accompanied by a season-high 7.5 yards per attempt, and, in all, he passed for 464 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. He did lose a fumble, though. As you might have deduced from Luck’s staggering number of pass attempts, Indianapolis struggled to get anything going on the ground. Nyheim Hines was the most productive back, and that’s due almost entirely to his work as a receiver (9-63-2 on a co-team high 11 targets). T.Y. Hilton led the Colts with 115 yards receiving on four receptions, but it was a rough day for him. First, he left for a bit with a chest injury. He returned, but then he left with a hamstring injury that threatens to keep him out Thursday night against the Patriots. Tight end Eric Ebron caught a touchdown. It was the third game in which he’s reached the end zone this season. After catching only two passes for 21 yards through three games, Zach Pascall came out of nowhere to catch six of 10 targets for 56 yards and a score. Fellow wideout Chester Rogers came out of nowhere, too, hauling in eight of 11 targets for 85 yards. Both could have deep-league value if Hilton is forced to miss time, and the same can be said for Ryan Grant (5-64-0 on seven targets). None are standout talents who are worthy of a big FAAB bid.
Browns 42 at Raiders 45
It wasn’t a great showing for Baker Mayfield. He completed 21 of 41 passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, but he also lost two fumbles. Fellow rookie Nick Chubb needed only three carries to rush for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Hyde was force fed the ball 22 times and totaled 82 yards rushing (3.7 yards per carry) and a score. Jarvis Landry caught only four of his 10 targets for 34 yards, but a touchdown helped save his day from being a dud. David Njoku didn’t quite have his breakout game, but he took another step forward with five receptions for 52 yards on seven targets.
The Raiders offense was productive through the air and on the ground. Derek Carr passed for 437 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch was a bellcow who rushed 20 times for 130 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards. Amari Cooper has alternated bad games with good ones, and yesterday’s was a good one with a 8-128-1 line on 12 targets. Jared Cook was the star in the passing game with a 8-110-2 line on a team-high 13 targets. After years of teasing and flashing his upside, it appears this is the breakout season at age-31 for Cook. Jordy Nelson didn’t follow up his massive Week 3 line with another, but he did catch a touchdown and produce a 5-48-1 line.
Seahawks 20 at Cardinals 17
All the talk all week and even yesterday morning was that Chris Carson would likely play. He didn’t, but Seattle’s rushing attack didn’t skip a beat. While one rookie first-round pick at running back had his first big game, another, Rashaad Penny, didn’t. Penny was the second fiddle in the backfield mix and rushed nine times for 49 yards. Mike Davis was the bellcow rushing 21 times for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Doug Baldwin (5-41-0) returned, but Russell Wilson wasn’t asked to do much more than manage the game attempting 26 passes (the same amount of pass attempts as in Week 3). Wilson’s fantasy value has cratered in Seattle’s run-heavy offense.
The Cardinals scored 20 points in their first three games. They scored 17 points in Josh Rosen’s first NFL start. No one is going to confuse their offense with the Rams, but it was a step in the right direction. David Johnson finally got things going rushing 22 times for 71 yards and a score while adding three receptions on four targets for 41 yards. Larry Fitzgerald was targeted a team-high seven times, but he mustered only three grabs for 28 yards.
49ers 27 at Chargers 29
The 49ers refused to just roll over and get crushed in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injury. They gave the Chargers a scare, and C.J. Beathard wasn’t the unmitigated disaster he was as a rookie in 2017. Sure, he threw two interceptions, but he also passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns. George Kittle had a monster showing catching six passes for 125 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. He remains a TE1 even with Garoppolo out. Matt Breida rushed just nine times for 39 yards, but he added three receptions for 32 yards.
The Chargers found themselves in an early hole, but Philip Rivers and Co. stormed back for a victory. Rivers passed for 250 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Melvin Gordon did it all rushing 15 times for 104 yards and caught seven of 10 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown. Austin Ekeler remains extremely effective as a change-of-pace option and totaled 56 yards from scrimmage with a couple of receptions and a touchdown. Keenan Allen tied for the team lead in receptions (seven) and targets (10), but mustered only 63 scoreless yards. Second-year receiver Mike Williams reminded gamers how low his floor is as an ancillary piece in the offense with just one grab for 15 yards on three targets.
Saints 33 at Giants 18
After squeaking out victories in Week 2 and Week 3, the Saints won by a more comfortable margin at the Meadowlands. Drew Brees wasn’t tasked with picking up the slack for the defense, and he totaled just 217 yards passing and zero touchdowns on 32 attempts. The reduced need to lean on the passing attack hurt Michael Thomas, who had a 4-47-0 line on four targets. The other Saints stud, Alvin Kamara, played like it. The electric do-it-all back rushed 19 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught five of nine targets for 47 yards. Mark Ingram will rejoin the backfield mix next week after serving his four-game suspension.
Saquon Barkley totaled 100 yards from scrimmage on the nose with 44 yards rushing and a touchdown on 10 carries and 56 yards receiving on six receptions. Eli Manning posted a ho-hum line of 255 yards passing, one touchdown, and zero interceptions. Odell Beckham Jr. was held in check with seven receptions for 60 yards on 11 targets. Sterling Shepard was the most productive pass catcher corralling all 10 of his targets for 77 yards and a touchdown.