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Five Burning Questions for Week 4 (Fantasy Football)

by Lauren Carpenter | @stepmomlauren | Featured Writer
Oct 1, 2020
Rex Burkhead

It’s hard to believe it’s October already and Week 4 is upon us. Let’s explore five burning questions for Week 4 as we prepare for our first unprecedented week of NFL football.

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1. What Will Be the Fantasy Impacts of Titans @ Steelers’ Rescheduled Game?

We knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. After Sunday’s matchup between the Tennessee Titans and the Minnesota Vikings, at least eight combined players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. The Titans were swift to act and canceled all in-personnel activities following the news. The NFL stepped in and decided early Wednesday morning to reschedule the Titans @ Steelers game until either Monday or Tuesday.

This may be problematic for fantasy GMs who will have to make a decision on whether or not to start their Titans or Steelers players. It will be imperative to keep a close eye on which of the Titans players may test positive over the next few days. Obviously, if a fantasy starter tests positive, you will need to pivot. However, what if your player tests positive on Sunday or even Monday after other possible spot starts are already done for Week 4? What if the game gets canceled altogether?

Monitoring how this situation unfolds this week will be indicative of how the league will move forward with future cases. I would assume that fantasy platforms like Yahoo, ESPN, and the NFL have done the necessary coding to make sure these players are scored for Week 4. However, that is not a guarantee. Keep an eye on news from your fantasy app, just in case.

Avoiding starters like Derrick Henry, James Conner, and Jonnu Smith may be unavoidable. If you have a reliable option to turn to, then you can play it safe this week. I personally am still going to start Steelers’ WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in addition to Henry, Conner, and Smith. Fingers crossed.

The Vikings, who are scheduled to play the Texans at Houston on Sunday, have not had any positive tests so far. They are another situation to watch as we move closer to game day.

2. Is Rex Burkhead (RB – NE) the Back to Roster for the Patriots?

He scored three touchdowns on Sunday, so he has to be the real deal, right?

Eh.

Let’s not forget that this is Bill Belichick we are talking about here and New England has always been a confusing backfield. This was Burkhead’s first game with three touchdowns and he has been in the league since 2013. He has seen the most snaps out of the RB group so far this year 102, but James White has missed two games so far.

Also, Burkhead only rushed six times for 49 yards in Sunday’s game compared to Sony Michel’s nine attempts for 117 yards. Burkhead found the end zone three times, but who’s to say it won’t be Michel in Week 4? Or White when he returns?

We simply do not know what Belichick is planning to do, which makes sense from a real football perspective, but it’s not so good for fantasy. I do think that Burkhead is a speculative add to your roster and startable against the Chiefs if you’re desperate. However, Kansas City is ranked 13th against the run and has only allowed one rushing touchdown and zero receiving touchdowns to the RB position so far. Last week, the Patriots faced the league’s worst defense against the run in the Las Vegas Raiders.

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out Can You Rely on Rex Burkhead Moving Forward? by Donald Gibson.

3. Will Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN) Continue to Produce?

Fantasy GMs who drafted Jefferson and held onto him throughout the buzz saw of injuries are collectively shouting, “Finally!” I also believe Minnesota Vikings fans are saying the same thing. The Vikings have been depressing so far in 2020, with sub-par performances on offense and a non-existent defense. They have suffered losses, but their production has been just plain bad.

This puts even more pressure on the offense that has been struggling. Jefferson’s break out game could not have come at a better time to breathe some new life into the team. He proved why he was a first-round draft pick catching seven of his nine targets for 175 yards and a touchdown and finishing with 30.5 points in PPR. He was the WR2 on the week behind Seattle’s Tyler Lockett and his three-touchdown game.

No doubt, Jefferson was the waiver wire darling heading into Week 4. He may not have another huge performance against Houston’s pass defense, but he certainly has the opportunity to feast once again in Week 5 at Seattle and then Week 6 against Atlanta.

4. Can Anyone Beat the Kansas City Chiefs?

Where is their Super Bowl hangover? The Chiefs are like that really annoying friend who is chipper and upbeat after a night out on the town while the rest of us need Gatorade and ibuprofen. Their offense is so dominating, it’s almost laughable. I expected the Ravens to give the Chiefs a fight, but their wings were clipped in Monday night’s game despite scoring 20 points.

Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes did what Mahomes does, scoring 40 fantasy points on 385 yards, 4 passing touchdowns, 26 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown. He got all sorts of players a touchdown on Monday including fullback Anthony Sherman and even offensive lineman Eric Fisher. Because, of course, this helped everyone in fantasy who expected Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Travis Kelce to benefit from these plays. But, hey, if you’re Mahomes and the Chiefs’, why not?

Looking ahead at the Chiefs’ schedule, it’s not hard to see them going 16-0. Their toughest matchups will be against the Saints and possibly the Bills, but even those two don’t scare me. It looks like another post-season is inevitable for Kansas City and the only real question we have is whether or not they will go undefeated on their way there.

5. Just How Bad Will TNF Be With the Denver Broncos at the New York Jets?

Apologies to Broncos and Jets fans, but this Thursday game is going to be horrible. If QB Drew Lock, WR Courtland Sutton, and RB Phillip Lindsay were healthy and playing, and if the Jets didn’t have HC Adam Gase, this could be a different storyline. Alas, it’s not.

The Broncos rotated quarterbacks after backup Jeff Driskel was benched in favor of the third-string Brett Rypien of Boise State. The Broncos have also recently signed Blake Bortles. Even though the Broncos have stated that Rypien will be their starter on Thursday night, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we see all three quarterbacks have a go. The only real starters for the Broncos will be RB Melvin Gordon and TE Noah Fant, which I don’t love in this matchup.

There is a lot going on with the Jets, as well. RB Le’Veon Bell is still on short-term IR with a hamstring injury and will not come back until at least Week 5. The backfield consists of Frank Gore and Kalen Ballage. Gross. The WR corps isn’t much better with Jamison Crowder banged up and TE Chris Herndon underperforming. The Broncos did let up nearly 300 passing yards last week to Tom Brady. But, that’s Brady, and we’re talking about Sam Darnold with very few weapons. The position I would start is the Jets’ DST facing (possibly) three backup quarterbacks.

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Lauren Carpenter is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Lauren, check out her archive and follow her @stepmomlauren.

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