Let’s first start by acknowledging two incredible milestones that happened on Sunday. In his fourth game in his ninth season, Julio Jones became the fastest player to reach 11,000 yards. This was his 115th game in total beating Calvin Johnson’s previous record of 127 games. The ageless Frank Gore also achieved a career milestone by becoming the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 15,000 yards. This puts him in the 15k club with just Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders. From a fantasy player for many years, owning both players multiple times, I thought it would be good to first recognize two of the most durable and consistent players in the NFL and fantasy.
Let’s look at ten things we learned from Week 4:
1. Davante Adams (WR – GB) is back, hopefully.
Week 4 started with a great game between the Packers and Eagles with Davante Adams finally living up to his draft stock. He had 28 PPR FPTS with 10 catches on 15 targets for a career-high 180 yards. Before Thursday night, Adams was averaging just five catches and 66 yards per game — he had 67 yards on Green Bay’s first drive alone! It was an amazing performance that made those who drafted him early in the first round excited for the rest of the season. That was until he suffered an injury in the fourth quarter that made him miss the last 10 minutes of the game.
The injury must have been pretty painful since the Packers needed to score a late touchdown to tie the game and Adams wasn’t able to get on the field. Depending on the severity of his turf toe injury, which all reports so far have said it’s not too serious, Adams could miss some time. The good news is that the Packers don’t play again until Oct. 6 at Dallas, which will give Adams some additional time to recover. We should have a better idea of Adams’ return timeline later in the week.
2. Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC) looked human until he called game.
Zero passing touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes? The last and only other time Mahomes didn’t have a passing touchdown was in Week 5 of last season. The Detroit Lions gave their best effort in controlling the most dominant quarterback in the NFL until Mahomes finished a two-minute drive to end the game. To illustrate how dominant Mahomes has been, in a game where he looked somewhat “sluggish”, he still finished with 315 passing yards. There are zero worries moving forward for Mahomes in fantasy but Sunday may have been a blueprint for defenses on how to contain Mahomes. Who are we kidding? He will pick up his play next game at home against the Colts. The scariest part is Mahomes is currently without their most dynamic weapon on offense — Tyreek Hill. He will soon be back and add a whole other level to this offense and Mahomes’ fantasy outlook.
3. It’s time to panic about Sony Michel (RB – NE).
Week 4 is about that time to start hitting your panic button on players that haven’t shown any signs of producing. This leads us to Sony Michel. Going into Week 4, Michel ranked dead last among 48 qualified NFL running backs in elusive rating with only one force missed tackle, according to Pro Football Focus (reported by NESN). In his first four weeks, Michel has 62 carries for 171 yards — good for a 2.75 yard per carry average.
It is a good sign that Belichick is still giving him work with 17 carries against the Bills last week but Michel isn’t doing a whole lot with his touches. The offensive line is banged up but the Patriots have been in game scripts each of their first four weeks where Michel should be able to pound the rock against some tired defenses. A glimmer of hope for Michel owners is that he should see some success in the next couple of weeks going against WSH, NYG, and NYJ. If he can’t get it done in this stretch of games, you might look for other options at running back.
4. Stefon Diggs (WR – MIN) bounced back, but don’t expect consistent results.
Stefon Diggs had a rough start to the season. It looked like he was going to have another dud of a game against the Bears but was able to turn things around in the second half. Diggs finished Week 4 with seven receptions for 108 yards, good for 15.8 PPR FPTS. Before Sunday’s game, he only had 20.1 PPR FPTS in three weeks. It’s not that he isn’t talented — it’s the fact that the Vikings are looking to run the ball first and pass second. Cousins’ poor play to start the season also doesn’t help. If Diggs can’t turn it around in the next couple of weeks, it may be time to find a trading partner for Diggs. His next five weeks are against some vulnerable passing defenses — NYG, PHI, DET, WSH, and KC.
5. Melvin Gordon (RB – LAC) is officially back and will be an RB1 by end of the season.
The big news before Week 4 was that Melvin Gordon was reporting back to the Chargers after a 64-day holdout. If you gambled on taking Melvin Gordon later in drafts, well, it looks to have paid off. Some presumed that his holdout would lead him returning by Week 10 in order for this season to count toward his free agency. If he didn’t show up before then, the Chargers would get another year of team control over the running back — something that doesn’t seem too enticing for Gordon. Instead, he returned six weeks earlier to the team.
He must have seen how much success Austin Ekeler was having in the Charger’s backfield and wanted to get a piece of the action. He didn’t play on Sunday, nor did he need to against the Dolphins, but he still holds RB1 value for the rest of the season. Similar to last year, Gordon missed four games in 2018 and still finished as the RB7. Fantasy owners should feel really good about their draft pick in Gordon which could be a league saving move in their fantasy football season.
6. Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG), who?
Obviously Wayne Gallman doesn’t have the physical talent like Saquon, but he filled in nicely for the Giants in Week 4. Gallman’s third career NFL start finished with scoring a career-best 27.8 PPR fantasy points. Yes, it may have been against a susceptible Redskins’ defense, but it is still a good sign for those that picked up Gallman last week off the waiver wire. As long as Barkley is missing time, Gallman should see plenty of volume each week. Gallman and the Giants will be tested in the next two games, going up against Minnesota and the toughest defense in fantasy, the New England Patriots.
7. Chris Carson (RB – SEA) should be out of the dog house.
Chris Carson came into Week 4 with three fumbles on just 45 carries. Some expected him to lose touches to Rashaad Penny, but injury-plagued Penny missed another game giving Carson a chance to redeem himself. He made the most of his day by rushing 22 times for 104 rushing yards, four receptions for 41 yards, and totaling 18.1 PPR FPTS. Moving forward, Carson has earned to stay the starter in the Seahawks’ backfield even with a healthy Penny. Expect Carson to be on the back-end RB1/high-end RB2 radar when Seattle faces their division rival, the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.
8. The New England defense is a fantasy juggernaut.
The New England defense finally gave up their first defensive touchdown of the season in Week 4. The defensive side of the ball for the Patriots has scored more fantasy points, depending on your scoring, than David Johnson, Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, and Ezekiel Elliott to name a few. Yes, the Patriots haven’t had the stiffest of competition but they are still turning the ball over and scoring touchdowns at will. Leading the league already with ten interceptions and three defensive touchdowns, the Patriots next three opponents will be the Washington Redskins, the New York Giants, and the New York Jets. More scoring and more turnovers will be coming for this dominant defense.
9. Nick Chubb (RB – CLE) showed why he was drafted as an RB1. Since 2018, Nick Chubb leads the NFL with three rushing touchdowns of 60+ yards. He showed that playmaker ability on Sunday by blowing the game wide open with an 88-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. Chubb finished the day with 183 total yards and three touchdowns. Chubb was drafted in the first or second rounds by fantasy owners expecting the production he displayed on Sunday. He did have one touchdown taken by Dontrell Hilliard but fantasy owners of Chubb shouldn’t be concerned. The game was well out of reach at this point to have Chubb in the game to risk any injuries. He will be facing a tough 49ers’ run defense that is currently 30th in fantasy points against running backs but fantasy owners shouldn’t have any hesitation in starting him. I expect to see more games like we did from Chubb on Sunday moving ahead.
10. The Buccanneers were finally who we thought they were. Going into the season, many expected the Buccaneers to have a fragile defense and a high-powered passing offense. The first couple of weeks we got glimpses of their capabilities on offense but in a shocking win against the Rams, Jameis Winston and company put up a season-high 48 points on offense. Winston threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns, totaling 33.1 FPTS in most scoring formats. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin seemed to trade off big fantasy games the last two weeks but both had big games on Sunday. Mike Evans finished with four receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown while Godwin had 12 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns. I expect a similar performance next week when the Buccaneers travel to New Orleans and face a team that is always capable of putting up a lot of points.