Fantasy Football Flashback: Lions lead Week 4's list of the most reliable players

This week’s edition of Fantasy Football Flashback, where we celebrate the accomplishments of the week's most reliable players, is a wacky one. There are many surprising names and very few traditional stars. As you’ll see below, the fallout from the 48-45 bonanza in Detroit spurred many fantasy teams to victory. You can view the full list of Week 5's top performers here, while we use this space to focus on the true difference-makers.

No. 1: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions, 35.90 points

This may be end up being the only week in 2022 where a TE finishes atop this list, with Hockenson keying the mayhem in the Motor City by catching eight balls for 179 yards and two scores. And although the 25-year-old was drafted as a TE1, he was benched in a few leagues after failing to reach the 40-yard mark in any of his initial three games. Hockenson definitely took advantage of the absence of Amon-Ra St. Brown, D'Andre Swift and DJ Chark, and while he remains a mid-level TE1, he could be a sell-high candidate for those who can find someone who inflates his value at the moment at fantasy's thinnest position.

No. 2: Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions, 34.22

Goff led a furious Detroit comeback that included 22 fourth-quarter points to finish Sunday’s game with 378 passing yards and four TDs. The memorable performance has combined with a mediocre start to the season for several star QBs to push the Lions signal-caller all the way up to fifth in total points scored at his position on the season. After four weeks it has become clear that Detroit can move the ball but can’t stop anyone, which should lead to additional high-scoring games and keep Goff in the QB1 discussion all season. It’s time for this man to be rostered in more than 53 percent of Yahoo Leagues.

No. 3: Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders, 32.0

Jacobs ran all over a solid Broncos defense, piling up 144 yards and two TDs on the ground while also catching five balls for 31 yards. The Alabama alum was in freefall during draft season after the Raiders chose not to pick up his fifth-year option, and he opened the campaign with three mediocre performances. Going forward, Jacobs is part of the RB2 discussion and is a sell-high trade candidate if someone in your league overvalues his most recent stat line.

Is the time right to trade Josh Jacobs in fantasy leagues coming off a big Week 4? (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Is the time right to trade Josh Jacobs in fantasy leagues coming off a big Week 4? (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

No. 4: Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers, 31.90

Finally! After opening the season with three disappointing stat lines, Ekeler rewarded those who drafted him in Round 1 by providing 109 total yards and three scores against an overmatched Texans defense. This was the first game of the season in which Ekeler averaged more than three yards per carry, and the Chargers will need to repeat this improved rushing attack for a couple more weeks before we can fully breathe a sigh of relief. But as long as the 27-year-old continues to average six catches per game, he should find ways to be an RB1 most weeks.

No. 5: Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks, 31.70

Smith gets the honor of being the unlikeliest name on this list after throwing for 320 yards and two scores while also racking up 49 yards on the ground. And although this was his marquee performance of the young season, Smith has played well enough overall to now squeak inside the top-10 QBs in total points scored this year. Truthfully, anyone who sees the 31-year-old as a potential QB1 going forward is fooling themselves, but he has played well enough to be a streaming option or in superflex leagues.

No. 6: Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles, 28.60

Sanders embarrassed the Jags defense on Sunday, posting 134 yards on 27 carries and crossing the goal line twice. He was completely dominant in a backfield that used to share touches, as his backups totaled just seven carries between them. We are definitely seeing a trend in Philadelphia, with Sanders getting a major share of the team’s rushes in three consecutive weeks. The 25-year-old was a great trade target a week ago and remains a solid option for those who need to acquire a running back, but the cost probably just went up.

No. 7: Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks, 28.20

Penny did his part in the 93-point clash in Detroit, rushing for 151 yards and two scores on just 17 carries. And although I believe that 26-year-old is a capable runner, I’m definitely looking to trade him this week. Penny has a lengthy injury history and cannot be trusted to stay healthy all season. Also, he could be limited going forward by a mediocre Seattle offense that he taken advantage of two consecutive favorable matchups to post inflated statistics. Finally, Kenneth Walker III received eight carries on Sunday and could gain steam throughout his rookie campaign.

No. 8: Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos, 26.98

After watching Wilson on Sunday, I am shocked that he made this list. The Denver QB mainly grabbed a top-10 spot by virtue of tallying three scores (one on the ground), but his yardage totals were mediocre and he tossed just 25 passes despite trailing late in the game. The jury is definitely still out regarding whether or not Wilson can be effective with his new team, as he has just four TD passes in four games and has thrown for fewer than 240 yards in each of the past three contests. Those who drafted Wilson in standard leagues should continue to keep a QB2 on their roster.

No. 9: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 26.30

After a series of unfortunate events (fight, suspension) caused Evans to disappoint fantasy managers the past two weeks, Tom Brady’s WR1 came back with a vengeance and collected eight catches, 103 yards and two TDs on Sunday Night Football. The Bucs continue to deal with injuries among their WR corps, making Evans their only reliable option at the moment. He should continue to perform at an elite level in the coming weeks.

No. 10: Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 26.0

Jefferson started Sunday off right for his fantasy managers by catching 10 passes for 147 yards and scoring his first career rushing touchdown in a win against the Saints in London. This performance was especially impressive when factoring in that the LSU alum spent most of the game shadowed by Saints CB Marshon Lattimore. Jefferson entered Sunday on the heels of two subpar performances but firmly closed any glimpse of a small buy-low window that existed in some leagues last week.

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