Ten Things We Learned in Week 4 (Fantasy Football)
Week four was the first time we felt the sting of the Covid-19 pandemic within our fantasy football lineups, and sadly this was to be expected. Before we get to the things we learned, I’d like to humbly ask anyone who reads this to take some time to reflect on how blessed a lot of us are to have this be high on the list of negative effects on our lives and take a moment to think about those who have football as last on their list of things they’re worrying about. This has affected so many people in so many different ways, and it’s important to remember that. It’s fine to be frustrated with the constant inactives and unknown game times, but just try and remember how lucky you are if that’s the biggest impact this has had on you. Every precaution the NFL takes is necessary for one reason or another, so do your best to remember that. Please continue to be safe, practice empathy, and celebrate every second of the football season that passes as normal, and appreciate every person close to you that stays healthy. Both of those things are a gift. Football has been a much-needed distraction so far, and even a few missed games a week would be considered a win compared to what we were worried about a few months ago.
On to the fun:
1. (Good) Fantasy League Commissioners Deserve Some Props, and Patience
I can tell you first hand how confusing it was to try and figure out how to handle these constantly changing games, especially when the NFL didn’t even know how to handle their own. Your league commissioner may have set up a backup/alternate player system, they may have told you tough luck, or they may have ignored it and drove you crazy. However your favorite leader handled this first crazy week, I can promise it wasn’t easy. If you have a commish who communicates well and lays out a plan for everyone, regardless of if you like it – give them some props for making a decision. I run plenty of leagues, and I was all over the place trying to sort it out, and it wasn’t fun. Even though they run the league, the vast majority of them do it for free – so take it easy on them, and give them a shout if they do a good job.
2. Underperforming Studs Can Still Be Week Winners
When we draft players in the first three rounds, it’s typically because they have massive ceilings, they’re completely reliable, or in a perfect world – a combination of both of those things. There are multiple flops from the top twenty-five every year without fail, but most of the time they’re disappointments for their draft price, not complete flops. The framework for drafting Joe Mixon and Odell Beckham Jr. this year was solid, and this past week they gifted those who believed in the massive games and reminded us why we ranked them so high. Mixon accumulated 151 yards and 3 touchdowns, while OBJ caught 5 balls for 81 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed twice for 73 yards and a touchdown. These were massive games from two very talented players, and a friendly reminder that draft capital in fantasy is for a reason, even if it’s not everything you hoped it would be. You’re not benching these guys anyway, so just enjoy the show and be prepared for some lumps given their offensive situation.
3. Jamison Crowder Deserves Our Respect
I am a huge Jamison Crowder fan, I don’t hide that. He’s not just a reliable high floor, low ceiling PPR guy in New York anymore like his haters will have you believe. Last season he had more targets than Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, and Tyler Lockett. He’s the WR2 in PPG this year (granted, tiny sample size), and he’s literally the only player in New York worth rostering in fantasy. After another huge game from him Thursday, people need to accept that he’s not just a bye week fill in for deeper leagues. Crowder is a solid WR3 in any PPR format, and garbage time points still count just the same whether you like it or not.
4. Running Back is Going to be a Serious Rollercoaster
Saquon Barkley, CMC, Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler….. and it’s not even Week five yet. Running back has been ugly this year, and the usage has been all over the map. A lot of understandable tilting happened because of Jonathan Taylor, Miles Sanders, and Josh Jacobs…. but the logic as to why makes more sense if you take a step back. If you were a coach/GM, and you saw countless running backs with big workloads going down by the minute, why would you overwork them this early? The usage is flip-flopping weekly for a lot of these guys, and we have to assume it’s due to the nature of this season. Roster depth is concerning, and any player can be ruled out at a moment’s notice. Backup running backs need more work, and workhorse running backs are at a higher risk for injury or fatigue, at the position that sees the most of both. If you have someone like Jonathan Taylor on your team in a game you’re winning fairly easily…. why risk the rookie this early? I have a feeling both Taylor and Jacobs bounce back in the volume department in Week five, but the entire position will be a rollercoaster for the foreseeable future. If you think I’m grasping at straws, maybe I am. But when I see J.K Dobbins riding the pine, Taylor being spelled by Nyheim Hines, and Miles Sanders game-scripted out…. I need some conspiracy theories to get through the pain. Let me have this.
5. Terry Mclaurin is Quietly Ballin’
Fifth in the league in targets, thirteenth overall in half-ppr scoring, and a sophomore slump that’s nonexistent. Mclaurin is having a great start to the year, on an offense that has nowhere to go but up (or sideways, more likely). Mclaurin was great in his rookie campaign and he ended up with a sixth-round ADP in most places, which was criminal. I don’t want to call someone with Dwayne Haskins throwing to him this years version of Chris Godwin, but Jameis wasn’t exactly accurate. Mclaurin has no one to compete with in Washington, and he’s shown the ability to beat solid cover corners the past two weeks. Fire up Mclaurin every week, and trade for him if someone is still on the fence.
6. Mike Davis = Walk CMC
Not quite Run CMC, but he’s walking. Please feel free to close the article, I won’t blame you.
I wasn’t expecting Davis to be CMC, but I also wasn’t expecting him to be this effective either. He slid right into the role that the demigod left open, and he’s been great for fantasy. He’s a top fifteen running back the past two weeks and should remain in the high-end RB2 conversation as long as McCaffrey remains on the sideline. So far he’s a distant second to James Robinson as the waiver wire darling of the year, but that’s a consolation prize anyone with CMC should be happy with. He’s seen a whopping 17 targets in weeks two and three, which was second to only Alvin Kamara and Zeke in the running back department. He’s caught 21 passes the last two weeks, which leads the position. He received 37% of the team opportunities since CMC went down, which is genuine workhorse territory. I assume he will slide all the way back into the shadows when CMC comes back, but for now….. It’s Like That. If you don’t get that reference, then consider me old.
7. DJ Moore is Approaching Panic Territory
I was on the “trade for low” train last week with Moore, but Robby Anderson is a thorn in my side, and a projection I missed. Moore is an elite talent and hasn’t been terrible, but he’s barely been worth a start the past two weeks. Four weeks into the year, it’s hard to argue that he’s anything but a disappointment based on his ADP. He’s only racked up 38 fantasy points nearly a third of the way through the fantasy season, and the numbers that point to him turning it around are the same ones that have been available for two weeks. Bridgewater doesn’t exactly sling it around the field, so it’s nearly panic time for drafters who invested in Moore.
8. Rams Running Backs are Coin Flips
I want someone to love me the way Sean McVay loves Malcolm Brown. I genuinely don’t get it. I’m always a big defender of a split backfield, but Darrell Henderson has been too electric to scale back, considering his workload was reasonable in the two games he dominated. We were right back in Week one territory this past Sunday and McVay continued the Malcolm Brown stubbornness tour, which puts Henderson’s status in your lineups into doubt no matter what he says to the media this week. If Cam Akers returns in Week five, this headache will become a full-fledged migraine. I can’t trust McVay, but you may have no choice if you roster Henderson. He’s still a flex play with upside, but this is getting frustrating. What can Brown do for me? Sit the bench and let Henderson ball, that’s what.
9. SURPRISE!: Go Trade for Antonio Gibson
I decided to make these last two items my top trade targets since it’s a more actionable piece of advice you can take into Trade Talk Tuesday. This is my way of winking and nodding to the dedicated Footclan members who consistently read my work. As a sign of appreciation, I will give you direct, unsolicited trade advice and I won’t even tell Twitter. This is just for us. Thank you for supporting me, I’m so sorry about the puns.
The first player is the post-hype preseason darling of the backfield in Washington. He broke out in a huge way in Week four, but a lot of the people who roster him will think it’s a time to sell high. You should use that as an opportunity to get him onto your team. His snap share has increased for three weeks in a row, and he saw a season-high target total this past week. Gibson is a talented player who was the main reason the Football Team let go of Adrian Peterson, and they’re slowly ramping up his involvement in an offense that needs playmakers. I’d be looking to deal for Gibson, and have no problem adding a premium for this big week.
10. Trade for Deebo Samuel
George Kittle erupted on Sunday Night Football, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that Deebo Samuel is healthy and ready to go. He had an electric rookie campaign, and the Niners have very little receiver competition in front of him. Kittle is basically their WR1, but Deebo is next on the pecking order. A lot of the people who drafted him have either dropped him or are disappointed in him for this performance. Shanahan was being cautious with his workload I’d assume, and this is likely just the beginning. Deebo finished as a high-end WR3 in 2019 and has another offseason in a complex scheme under his belt. He’s waiting for his quarterback to return, and he’s working back to full speed. Deebo is the perfect player to trade for right now because his cost doesn’t reflect the ceiling that will develop over the next three weeks where bye week depth is crucial.