5 Interesting Tidbits for Week 4 (2019 Fantasy Football)
The dreaded bye week season for fantasy owners begins this week. Luckily, it’s a fairly weak fantasy player pool that will be out, with the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers on bye. But while few fantasy owners are disrupted by the bye week, there are a large number of injuries and players under-performing through the first three weeks.
To help you get every little edge you can to find a victory this week, I have gathered five useful tidbits for Week 4. These tidbits will shed some insight into players’ patterns, history, and matchups this week. All referenced positional rankings and fantasy stats are using half PPR rankings.
Will Dissly (TE – SEA) faces an Arizona Cardinals team that has been atrocious to TEs this season.
There could not be a better matchup for the Seattle Seahawks TE this week. It’s one thing to be bad against a position, but I’m not entirely sure if the Cardinals know that there’s a TE on the field with them. They have allowed a crazy 21.6 fantasy points to opposing TEs this season. This is 9.4 points worse than the next team, which is the Los Angeles Chargers. Take a look at the performances of the top TE on the opposing teams this season: T.J. Hockenson (22.1 fantasy points, TE2), Mark Andrews (21.2 fantasy points, TE1), Greg Olsen (22.5 fantasy points, TE1). They have given up at least seven-plus catches, more than 75 yards and at least one touchdown to the top TE each week.
By the way, this terrible performance against the TE position isn’t a fluke. Vance Joseph is the defensive coordinator for Arizona. As head coach for Denver last season, the Broncos were third-worst against TEs and they were seventh-worst the season prior. In his lone season as defensive coordinator for Miami, the Dolphins were tenth-worst at shutting down TEs, showing a track record of Joseph-led groups against the position.
Will Dissly enters this week as TE7, averaging 12.1 fantasy points per game. While he had a slow Week 1, he bounced back the past two weeks with five catches and at least one touchdown in each game. With the game in Arizona, the score should be fairly close throughout, making Russell Wilson throw the football and not simply handing it off every down. Whether you’re playing season-long fantasy or DFS this week, Dissly should be in your lineup for Week 4, as should any starting TE against Arizona going forward.
The Giants have three of the top-10 worst-graded cornerbacks in the league that have played more than 10 snaps, which bodes well for Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) to continue his terrific start.
You read that right. Of the top-10 worst cornerbacks through three weeks, three of them are on the Giants, including two of the top four. The worst of the two have been Deandre Baker, who has allowed a catch on 76.5 percent of the targets, allowing 22.8 yards per catch and two total touchdowns. Janoris Jenkins has also really struggled, allowing a catch on 65.4 percent of targets, averaging 16.6 yards per catch and allowing a league-high three touchdowns. If you need another way to interpret this knowledge, Jenkins was often the one tasked to stop Mike Evans last week, allowing seven catches for 176 yards and three touchdowns just against him.
Matched up with Jenkins this week will often be Terry McLaurin, the electric rookie that has been terrific through three weeks. He is the first rookie in NFL history to catch at least five passes and a touchdown in the first three games of his career. McLaurin has scored 51.7 fantasy points so far, making him WR8 for the season. He has seen at least seven targets in every game and has been one of the biggest surprises of the fantasy season.
If we assume he gets eight targets against Jenkins, which is his average so far, McLaurin would finish with roughly five catches for 87 yards, given Jenkins’ averages. Of course, this math and projection are very loose, but these stats are more than possible against such a bad secondary. He will be a top option in any format this week and likely the rest of the season, given his current rapport with Keenum and proven success with Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been surprisingly great against RBs this season, making it a bad matchup for Todd Gurley (RB – LAR).
Through three weeks this season, Tampa has given up just 7.9 fantasy points per week to RBs (second in the league). While some of the season ranks can be heavily influenced by schedule, that is clearly not the case with the Bucs. In Week 1, they faced a 49ers team that has run for a combined 427 yards in their other two games. Against Tampa, they were held to 98 yards and a 3.1-yard per carry average. On the short week, Tampa held Christian McCaffrey to 53 total yards, including a 2.3-yard rushing average. Last week, their run defense obviously benefited from Saquon Barkley leaving the game injured, but for the eight carries he totaled while in the game, he ran for just 10 yards. Clearly, Tampa has faced some of the best rushing attacks in the league and have more than held their own.
This week, Todd Gurley will attempt to find room running against this front seven. We know that his workload is being managed, totaling just 44 carries and four catches through three games. He also hasn’t looked that great with the football and has seen his numbers get worse every week. In Week 1, he averaged 6.9 yards per carry. This fell to 3.9 yards against New Orleans and 3.1 against Cleveland.
The way Gurley is being used is also being managed, limiting his exposure in the passing game and in short-yardage situations. This has led to him getting more than one target in a game just once, totaling six targets in total. He also has just one touchdown, due to the Rams limiting his touches in short-yardage situations and because he looks physically unable to break the big runs from last season. Now facing arguably the best run defense through three weeks, his upside is certainly limited.
Jared Goff (QB – LAR) is set up for a big week, given the matchup and playing at home.
In the fantasy community, the home/road split was famous for a number of seasons with Ben Roethlisberger. It was so extreme that fantasy owners would match up schedules in order to draft a second QB that had favorable games during the weeks that Big Ben was on the road. Now, the same can also be said for Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff. Over his full career, Goff has averaged 16.4 fantasy points at home to just 13.3 on the road. The split can be seen more extreme recently, averaging 24 points at home to 13.4 on the road since the start of last season.
This week, Goff is in a favorable spot. He is at home and faces a Buccaneers team that made rookie Daniel Jones the star of the weekend. Despite getting solid pressure, Tampa couldn’t really faze Jones in his first start. He completed 23/36 passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Jones completed 7/8 passes between 10-20 yards, which is the area Goff likes to target, attempting 20 passes between 10-20 yards last game. All three Rams WRs have matchups graded as an advantage of at least 19 percent, per Pro Football Focus. With the Buccaneers having a legit run defense, as discussed before, look for Goff and the passing attack to come out and carve up this secondary.
Andy Dalton (QB – CIN) has been bad both in prime time games and against the Steelers.
Andy Dalton has never exactly been considered elite, however, he has been a solid fantasy QB this season. He is currently QB12 for the year and has failed to reach 300 passing yards just once, despite star WR A.J. Green still sidelined. However, this may not be the week to play Dalton, considering his history both against the Steelers and in prime time games.
In 15 games against the Steelers, Dalton has averaged 12.99 fantasy points. During the last game Dalton played the Steelers in Pittsburgh, he passed for only 140 yards and two touchdowns to two interceptions. Dalton has also struggled in prime time games, averaging 12.95 fantasy points in these 20 games compared to 15.78 fantasy points for non-prime time games. While the Steelers secondary has struggled, history tells us Dalton may struggle just a bit more this week.
Zach Brunner is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Zach, follow him @fantasyflurry