Dwight Howard

Fantasy Week 4: Strange Things Happening

Every once in a while, strange things happen in the NFL. Sometimes, they profoundly affect fantasy football outcomes. Other times, these strange things have no impact on our fantasy outcomes, which is even worse.

The hashtags #ThatHelpsNoOne and #THNO filled social media Sunday as fantasy-irrelevant players crossed goal lines willy-nilly all across the country.

Some names were familiar, such as Chester Rogers (0.3% owned) and Willie Snead (0.4%). There were others I had to Google to verify what position they play.

For the record, Ryquell Armstead (0.1%) is the rookie handcuff to Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville and Foster Moreau (0%) is a tight end in Oakland.

AJ Brown is a rookie wide receiver for Tennessee. He is less than 2-percent owned, was 0.1% started, and is your WR-6 for Week 4 with a 3/94/2 receiving line (24.4 PPR points).

All told, there were 63 rushing and receiving touchdowns by the end of Sunday night. Twenty were recorded by players with less than 3% ownership rates. 

More popular rusher updates

Melvin Gordon was available for emergencies Sunday while Justin Jackson sat out, and Austin Ekeler handled the Chargers’ rushing attack.

Heading into Week 5, Gordon will be the starter, according to head coach Anthony Lynn. How much he contributes is the big question, as well as how his return affects Ekeler.

One thing to consider is that Ekeler was a Top-15 fantasy football running back for the first four weeks of 2018. That was before he showed Lynn he can handle a heavier load.

If you’re thinking of trading off Ekeler, don’t sell too low. He will still have flex value, at least.

Gordon reported in great shape. People he trained with say he is on a mission to prove he is an elite running back. He also returned earlier than he had to because he wanted to help Los Angeles rebound from their 1-2 start.

But if Los Angeles doesn’t think they can sign the free-agent-to-be, don’t be surprised if Gordon is traded before the deadline. That’s another reason to hold Ekeler.

Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley is running and changing directions already as the Giants practice. It looks like his return will be considerably sooner than the 8-week scenario some owners feared.

Strange Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston was the most widely streamed quarterback of Week 3 when he faced the Giants. He came through with a QB-5 performance (25.5 FFP). He was one of the most-dropped quarterbacks in Week 4 with a visit to the Los Angeles Rams on tap.

In keeping with the theme of Week 4, Winston went out and destroyed the Rams defense to the tune of 385 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 29.30 FFP. That gave him the overall QB-1 rating heading into Monday Night Football.

Aaron Rodgers used to be a weekly fixture among fantasy football passing leaders, but after his QB-24, 18, and 24 finishes the past three weeks, this week’s QB-2 position after a 400-yard (25.48) effort Thursday was a little surprising.

Lamar Jackson (24.48) didn’t raise eyebrows in the third spot, and QB-4 Matt Stafford (23.44) was a popular streamer in a predicted shootout against the Chiefs.

But Marcus Mariota, Jacoby Brissett, and Joe Flacco were not listed on many pre-game top passers predictions before they took the QB-4, 5, and 6 spots.

Patrick Mahomes didn’t shock anyone by racking up 369 total yards. Detroit’s defense preventing the Chiefs’ phenom from scoring a touchdown sure did. That made Mahomes the QB-11.

Of course, that’s better than finishing as the QB-15 (Matt Ryan), QB-16 (Russell Wilson), or especially QB-26 (Tom Brady- 3.9 FFP).

Strange Running Rant

Does fantasy football always reflect NFL reality? I would argue that in standard leagues, it is much closer than PPR. But PPR leads to higher scores and is arguably more exciting. Thus, it is popular and that is why I report my results based on PPR.

But maybe it’s not always fair. Leonard Fournette led all rushers with 225 rushing yards this week. Nick Chubb (165), Kerryon Johnson (125), Frank Gore (109), Chris Carson (104), and Derrick Henry (100) were the only other backs to hit 100 yards rushing, which used to be a major barometer of a running back’s worth.

In my PPR league, Fournette is the RB-6. KJ is the RB-16, Carson is the RB-11, and Henry is the RB-23. Frank Gore almost led the Bills to an upset of the Patriots but he is the RB-26. He beat teammate TJ Yeldon by 0.2 points for that spot. Yeldon did not have a single carry, but 4 catches for 68 yards gave him the RB-27 slot.

It’s a passing league, so why do we have to give points for catching a ball? Isn’t that the point? Christian McCaffrey had 10 catches. At 1-point each, they let him take the RB-2 position from Jordan Howard, who scored three touchdowns.

Austin Ekeler (29.2) and Wayne Gallman (27.8) had 11 catches between them, allowing them to sneak by Fournette for the RB-4 and 5 spots.

We don’t take points away for drops and we don’t give wide receivers an extra point every time they carry the ball. What is the point (if you’ll pardon the pun) of PPR in a league where running backs are routinely part of the passing game?

Receiving Redemption

Chris Godwin (41.20), Robert Woods (29.20), Davante Adams (28.00), and Jarvis Landry (24.7) took four of the top five wide receiver spots this week, calming fantasy football managers everywhere after some less-than-stellar showings early on.

Cooper Kupp (26.9) took the fourth slot which makes me wonder how the Rams lost their game against the Buccaneers.

We mentioned the rookie AJ Brown taking the sixth spot. Courtland Sutton, Kenny Golladay, and Corey Davis represented the younger receivers in the 7-9 spots. Mike Evans had his second straight top-ten week after a slow start of his own.

Stranger Things

Austin Hooper had his second consecutive 20-point week for the Atlanta Falcons, and is second only to Julio Jones in targets from Matt Ryan. He could finally be a weekly must-start.

Will Dissly continued the tight end assault on the Arizona Cardinals defense, becoming the fourth straight to score a touchdown against the desert dwellers on his way to the TE-2 finish.

New England’s defense is historically good so far. Their competition doesn’t get more difficult until after their bye week, so they could keep this pace up for a while.

But when the Bills managed to score the first touchdown against the Patriots this season, New England fell to the DST-2 spot for Week 4.

The NY Giants held the Redskins to 3 points and edged the Patriots’ DST point total, 24-23. That made the Patriots and the Giants defenses the overall #18 and #24 fantasy football scorers for the week.

Week 4 Injuries

There weren’t too many fantasy-relevant injuries in Week 4. Davante Adams (toe) and Marlon Mack’s ankle MRI result are probably the most important to watch for.

Owners who picked up Kenny Stills for Keke Coutee will have to watch for reports on Stills’ hamstring. Dontrelle Inman (Quad) gave 5 catches for 67 yards to everyone who added him just ahead of game time before he joined the massive list of injured Chargers.

Jarvis Landry, Todd Hockensen, and Josh Allen could all be in the concussion protocol this week. Mitch Trubisky’s left shoulder didn’t look good as he left the field, either.

The biggest injury news of the week could be Dallas’ left tackle Tyron Smith. Dak Prescott looked harried and rushed for most of last night. Smith’s high ankle sprain will keep Prescott uncomfortable for however many games Smith misses.

Strange Waivers

There isn’t too much excitement on the waiver wire this week. If you own Marlon Mack, you probably want to add Jordan Wilkins. He can be explosive and will handle the early downs. Nyheim Hines might be a worthy PPR consolation in the third-down role.

Ronald Jones handled 20 touches this week. Tampa Bay’s offense needs a credible running game to maintain its high-octane, and it looks like Jones is winning the battle for RB-1 touches over Peyton Barber.

Houston’s DeShaun Watson will be a man on a mission next week, determined to get the stink of Week 4’s performance out of his system. That might make Keke Coutee worth a look if Kenny Stills is sidelined by his hamstring.

Geronimo Allison’s value will be boosted if Adams misses time with his toe injury.

Cole Beasley saw 9 or more targets in each of the last three games. That didn’t change when Matt Barkley entered for Josh Allen. He doesn’t score much, but Beasley could be an asset in PPR leagues.

Jacoby Brissett (10:2 TD/Int ratio) going against the Chiefs and Andy Dalton versus the Cardinals will be high on my streaming QB list.

Buffalo’s Dawson Knox is averaging 28 yards per reception on the season. He might prove a worthy fill-in for Hockensen owners.

Tyler Eifert goes against the Cardinals and both Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron should see plenty of work against the Chiefs.

Tennessee’s DST is a top streamer against Buffalo, especially if Josh Rosen is out. There is some thought that the Raiders could take advantage of a back-up quarterback against Chicago. Chase Daniels did well in relief Sunday, but London games can get ugly.

Overtime Thoughts

The most predictable thing about fantasy football is unpredictability. Just like the real game, some things just don’t make sense.

When New Orleans held off the Cowboys Sunday night, they became only the third home team to win in the first 14 games while pulling off the sixth upset of the week.

These things can make you angry or make you laugh. That’s up to you. Meanwhile, we’ll be here to try to predict what is unpredictable in the greatest game on earth.


Pat Opperman NFL Fantasy Analyst, click here for more.

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