Fantasy Football: 5 Things to Watch for in Week 4
Wow. Week 3 was clearly Upset Week 2018. Six teams that were underdogs ended up winning their matchups, led by the unfathomable Buffalo Bills trouncing of one of many analysts favorites to make a Super Bowl run, the Minnesota Vikings. Week 3 is merely the cosmos reminding us that parity in the NFL is alive and well and that any team can win on any given Sunday.
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 4?
1. High Scoring Continues
Week 2 was one of the highest scoring weeks in a long time with 82 combined passing and rushing TDs. While the passing TD volume fell from its epic high and the ratio of run-to-pass TDs returned to more average numbers, the total of 81 TDs was again one of the highest over the past two seasons. Week 4 is setting up to be another high scoring week with at least four games pushing the 50 point over/under line, and plenty of exciting matchups between high-power offenses in the upper 40s. Only two games, SEA @ AZ and NYJ @ JAX, are coming in under 40.
2. Bye Weeks
The bye weeks are here. Week 4 is the first of nine weeks where at least two teams will be taking the weekend off. The NFL has just two teams on byes in Weeks 4, 5, 6, and 12, while Weeks 9 and 11 send six teams on vacation. Weeks 7, 8, and 10 see the traditional four teams taking time off.
It’s never too early to start planning for the bye weeks, especially Weeks 9 and 11 where six teams are removed from the talent pool. Keep an eye on your current roster, the waiver wire, and most importantly, your competitor’s rosters. Perusing their line-up and identifying future bye week problems is a great way to open trade talks.
One of my favorite trading tips is to try and trade away your players who still have a bye week coming for players who have already had their bye week. If you can pull this off, you essentially get an extra week of production out of your players by never having someone on your bench on a bye.
3. Rookie QBs
I highlighted the rookie QBs at the beginning of the season, and it only took three weeks for all five first-round rookie QBs to see their first NFL action. While Lamar Jackson only saw playing time in Week 1 due to a massive blowout victory, he still completed an NFL pass. We quickly saw what Baker Mayfield is capable of, taking over for an injured Tyrod Taylor and leading the Browns to their first NFL victory since the 2016 season. Out in Arizona, Josh Rosen was thrown into the fire and charged with leading a late scoring drive. While he did not succeed, it was a not the ideal situation for the rookie. I expect him to look much better with a full week of starter reps heading into his first NFL start in Week 4.
4. Ryan Fitzpatrick Record Setter: FitzMagic or INTSpatrick?
For now, it appears the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will to stick with journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick over their first-round “franchise QB” Jameis Winston. After setting the NFL record by throwing for over 400 yards in three straight games, it would have been very difficult to explain to fans that he was being benched in favor of Winston, who just finished serving his three-game suspension. The first half of last week’s Monday Night Football game showed us just how quickly things could change in the NFL. Fitzpatrick went from Fitzmagic to INTSpatrick, tossing three interceptions in the second quarter. After halftime, the magic returned, and Fitzpatrick brought the Bucs back from a 20 point deficit to end within a field goal at the end of the game.
However, I’m not confident that Fitzpatrick has a long leash. The Bucs offensive line gave up a bunch of sacks to Pittsburgh and Week 4’s contest with the Chicago Bears brings NFL sack leader Khalil Mack into the fold. If that offensive line can’t keep Mack out of the backfield for more than a split second, we may see Jameis Winston sooner rather than later. If you’re playing in a 2-QB/Superflex league and Winston is available, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to scoop him up while you can.
5. Roughing the Passer
By now you’ve seen the videos, heard the chatter, argued with the armchair QBs at your watercooler, and generally been overwhelmed with the talk about the roughing the passer penalties. What I’m more interested in watching is how the defensive players adapt to this change, because they will. Multiple players have come out and said they would be forgoing the sack and focusing on stripping the ball. It’s hard to say what impact this might have, be it increased fumbles and turnovers or more QB escapes and runs, it’s something to watch for moving forward.