Fresh off Sunday’s slate of games, Fantrax looks back at all the good, the bad, and the interesting from the first Sunday of NFL games in the Week 4 fantasy football recap.
Hopefully, we can use what we learned in the first four weeks of fantasy football to help make better lineup decisions moving forward. This weekly column will highlight the week’s slate from a fantasy perspective, while also analyzing what trends to pay attention to in the weeks ahead.
Each week will look back at the fantasy day that was with a theme of a different television show. For Week 4, we look at who helped and hurt the fantasy football Community in honor of the news of the show’s new movie.
Week 4 Fantasy Football Recap
Week 4 Studs
“Some flies are too awesome for the wall.”
Every Fantasy-Relevant Player in the Chiefs/Buccaneers Game
If there was a player in this game drafted in the top ten rounds of fantasy drafts, chances are they performed well for you. All of Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White, Chris Godwin, Patrick Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Travis Kelce delivered strong performances in the Chiefs’ 41-31 victory. After disappointing recent weeks, both teams looked like the Super Bowl contenders we all thought they were.
It was Remedial Chaos Theory all over the fantasy football slate Sunday as Geno Smith and Jared Goff were the highest scoring quarterbacks heading into Sunday Night Football. After Geno’s masterpiece of 320 passing yards (77% completion percentage), two passing touchdowns, plus 49 yards and a score on the ground, we need to consider what this means for quarterback streamers. If Geno Smith can torch the Lions on fire, we should feel confident to stream any quarterback against them the rest of the season. Whoever ends up behind center for the Patriots next week might be next in line.
Goff actually ended the day with more fantasy points than Smith on the back of four passing touchdowns and two two-point conversions against the Seattle Seahawks. Even with their top three skill players out due to injury, Goff made TJ Hockenson, Jamaal Williams, and Josh Reynolds look like Hall of Famers. The Seahawks have allowed at least 373 yards of total offense in each of their four games (including 520 on Sunday) and also look a team to stream against.
Kyler Murray saved his best for the second half of Sunday’s game as the led the Cardinals to three touchdowns and a comeback win over the Carolina Panthers. After Arizona only scored three points in the first half, Murray threw for two scores and rushed for another, landing a top-five spot on the week. It hasn’t been pretty at times, but Murray has over 20 fantasy points in three of four games this year.
The Chef is back in the Greendale Community College Cafeteria and he was cooking up his first big game of the season on Sunday. Wilson had three total touchdowns plus 29 rushing yards (more than his first three games combined) against Las Vegas, finally utilizing all his pass-catching weapons. If Javonte Williams, has in fact suffered a serious knee injury, Wilson is going to have to step up on the passing side for the Broncos to reach the postseason.
The Houston Texans once again proved to be a fantasy-friendly matchup, as Austin Ekeler was the latest to torch them on Sunday. He only needed 13 rush attempts and six catches to score three touchdowns. Ekeler’s 31.9 fantasy points in half point per reception formats were only half a point less than his total from his first three games.
All eyes were on Jalen Hurts again this week after the Devonta Smith explosion last week and AJ Brown in a great matchup this week. But it was Miles Sanders who stole the spotlight with 134 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. With Boston Scott on the shelf in this one, Sanders had almost all of the rushing work and had his most snaps of the season.
The leader in total rushing yards on the day was Penny, who broke off multiple long runs including 36-yard and 41-yard rushing scores against the overmatched Lions. He finished with 151 rushing yards, which is the third-highest of his career.
Filling in for D’Andre Swift, Williams was a much better replacement than Jonathan Banks or Keith David were for Donald Glover and Chevy Chase. Williams ran all over the Seahawks for 108 yards and two touchdowns and might be called upon for a workhorse role again if Swift is still out. Williams had 19 carries to just two for Craig Reynolds.
All the drama during the preseason about a diminished role for Jacobs was absolutely much ado about nothing. He was on the field for 66 plays today while the rest of the running backs added up to just nine. He was there for goal line, two-minute drill, short yardage, etc. It all added up to 144 rush yards, 31 receiving yards, and two touchdowns.
“Kirk and Justin in the Morning!” In an overall down day for fantasy wide receivers (before Sunday night, only Jefferson reached 20 fantasy points), the Vikings WR1 took down London with 147 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown. After a couple weeks that had fantasy managers scratching their heads, Jefferson is back on top for another week.
What Christian Kirk and Marvin Jones could not do against the Eagles, Jamal Agnew picked up the slack. He had the game of his life with 50 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. No real actionable takeaway here, as Agnew isn’t in the top six options for the Jaguars, but for one day, he was a league-winner.
Even with Michael Gallup coming back and scoring a touchdown, Lamb earned eight targets, six catches, and 97 yards with a score against the weak Washington secondary. Whereas some believe Gallup’s presence will hurt Lamb’s production, the truth may be that he takes away from defensive pressure from Lamb and lets him work more down the field.
In addition to being without their top running back, the Lions were also without their top two wide receivers (Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark). Enter Josh Reynolds who filled in with seven catches for 81 yards and a score. He might be back to WR3 on his own team by next week, but if either of those two miss again, Reynolds will be a wise waiver add.
Hockenson was the Jeff Winger of the day, leading all flex players in fantasy points with 35.9 in half point per reception formats. Hockenson took the bulk of the vacated targets left over by St. Brown and Chark, which led to the massive receiving day. Fire him up again next week if the Lions are short-handed.
Cox was the entirety of the Colts’ offense on Sunday as he secured 25% of Matt Ryan’s yards and scored the only two touchdowns for Indianapolis. However, with less than seven fantasy points in his prior three games, Cox is one of the bigger boom/bust players at the tight end position.
Everything for the Chargers was firing on all cylinders against the Texans Sunday, including Gerald Everett who had 61 receiving yards and a score in the decisive win. Everett now has double-digit fantasy days in three of four weeks and is a clear top-ten option at the position.
Week 4 Duds
“You are human tennis elbow! You are a pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth! You are the opposite of Batman!”
I guess not every paint ball hits its mark throughout the game. Lamar Jackson had his worst game of the year Sunday – by far – throwing two interceptions to only 144 passing yards. The 73 yards on the ground helped elevate the floor immensely, but this was a far cry from his MVP-type performances in what was supposed to be the game of the week.
Welp. 188 empty yards and no touchdowns get you behind guys like Ryan Tannehill and Davis Mills in fantasy scoring this week. Josh Jacobs stole the show, leaving guys like Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Mack Hollins with rather forgettable lines.
T-Law did throw another two touchdowns (he’s already 75% of the way to his 2021 TD total), but FOUR FUMBLES LOST?? According to ESPN Stats and Info, Lawrence is the first player this century to lose four fumbles in one game. I’m willing to bet it doesn’t happen again…
That’s now four straight weeks with no more than 11.5 fantasy points, and this was the nuts matchup against the New York Jets. Harris saw no targets and if Kenny Pickett takes over, it might pose a small threat to Harris’ rushing share dominance. His rookie year this is not.
This should have been a game where Elliott could rack up buckets of yards to seal the game, considering they were up double digits most of the contest. But his 19 carries went for just 49 yards, his day being saved by a 31-yard reception. Elliott has one game with a touchdown and one game over nine fantasy points this season.
Williams gets an unfortunate pass for today because it looks like he may have suffered a serious knee injury. He had played almost the entire first half, but now may miss multiple weeks (if not the year) after leaving early in the second half against Las Vegas. Williams still led the team in running back snaps and carries, so if he can make it back this year, the usage should follow.
This is three straight weeks where Diggs’ targets, receptions, and receiving yards have decreased. A decrease in fantasy points followed, with only 8.2 points (four catches for 62 yards) against an injured Ravens’ secondary. Josh Allen was wildly inaccurate on this rare occasion, but the presence of Gabriel Davis, plus Devin Singletary as a competent receiver might push Diggs down a rank or two moving forward.
With Jamal Agnew having a career game and Trevor Lawrence fumbling everything in sight, it’s amazing Kirk even ended up with a couple catches for 60 yards. He was targeted nine times, however, so better days are ahead.
Michael Pittman, Jr.
Pittman did lead the team in targets with six on Sunday. But the problem is, now that everyone is healthy on their offense, six players saw between 3-6 targets. Pittman should still separate from the pack throughout the season and we won’t see many more days of just three catches and 31 yards. But the team is certainly checking on Alec Pierce, Ashton Dulin, and Michael Strachan to see what they have.
In his first game back, Zach Wilson looked about as interested and engaged as Jeff Winger teaching an Intro to the Law class. Wilson was involved to the tune of six targets on Sunday, but Corey Davis saw seven and Tyler Conklin earned five. Garrett Wilson was just beginning to develop a rapport with Joe Flacco, so perhaps it will just take time to build that with Zach Wilson.
Kyle Pitts saw fewer snaps than tight end teammate Parker Hesse. PARKER HESSE! We have officially reached Defcon 5 with Pitts as the management and coaching staff are actively keeping him out of the weekly game-plan. For me, he has reached prove-it status and is likely on my bench until we get the big game.
Sunday, October 2nd will go down as the “Basic RV Repair And Palmistry” of Mark Andrews’ career. That is to say the worth episode ever of Andrews’ otherwise dominant run. Just two catches for 15 yards is as low as it will ever get as long as he is tied to Lamar Jackson.
See Carr, Derek. It was the Josh Jacobs show and it left nothing but Subway scraps for everyone else. Just three catches for 24 yards in a forgettable (but winning) day.
Situations to Monitor
“I don’t know what to do! My whole brain is crying!”
J.K. Dobbins Pushed Right Back in to Big Role
In his second week back from an extended injury absence, Dobbins was already getting similar usage from when we last saw him fully healthy. With Kenyan Drake inactive again, Dobbins went right back to his regular role at at least 50% of the snaps, including all the first and second down work goal line work, and short yardage runs.
But perhaps what was most promising to see was that Dobbins could get strong usage (17 opportunities) while not taking away from Lamar Jackson’s rushing opportunities. Jackson ended Sunday’s game with 11 rushing attempts, tying his season-high.
As the Ravens get healthy in the backfield, the rushing pie will get larger, with plenty of food in the dish for both Jackson and Dobbins to eat.
The Commanders’ Backfield Mess
The usage for Antonio Gibson is beginning to approach discouraging and troubling levels, and there is not much hope on the horizon. According to Pro Football Focus, Gibson is now at 50% or less of his team’s snaps for the second straight week.
And that decline comes before the news this week that rookie running back Brian Robinson is angling to come off of IR this week, having full recovered from the gunshot wound. Should Robinson come back and eat into the early down work that Gibson owns (McKissic sees all two-minute and passing downs), the Commanders’ incumbent running back might see a huge value decline.
Changing of the Guard in Pittsburgh
It wasn’t quite Dean Pelton being kidnapped and replaced by a replica thanks to Senor Chang, but the Steelers decided enough was enough and inserted rookie Kenny Pickett at halftime. After throwing for just 84 yards plus an interception against the lowly New York Jets, Coach Mike Tomlin thought it was time to make a change.
Pickett proceeded to rush for two touchdowns, throw for 120 yards on a 77% completion rate, but also throw three interceptions in one half. So what does Mike Tomlin do now? Typically you don’t replace the veteran for the rookie unless there is an injury or if you’re ready to make a permanent change.
Pickett’s accuracy and rushing ability can certainly be a benefit to fantasy managers, and better days will come in the interception department. If I’m in a Superflex league or need a quarterback, I’m betting heavily on Pickett keeping this job.