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Fantasy Football: Week 4 game-by-game wrap

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Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams

While a Rams letdown after beating the Bucs last week was hardly unexpected, few could’ve foreseen Arizona leading 37-13 (until a late garbage-time touchdown). The Cardinals are 4-0 (despite three road games) with the NFC’s best point-differential, as Kyler Murray continues to play like an MVP. He got 8.4 YPA and had a nice fantasy game against a Rams defense that just held down Tom Brady … DeAndre Hopkins entered ranked fourth in targets on his own team but led Arizona in the category Sunday, although it’s apparent the Cardinals’ target tree has expanded greatly this season …

Darrell Henderson acted as LA’s clear feature back despite his rib injury, and Sony Michel lost a fumble during limited work … Robert Woods was saved by a late TD, but Van Jefferson appears to be at least his fantasy equal moving forward … Matthew Stafford struggled against a run-funnel Arizona defense, nearly getting his buddy Cooper Kupp injured a few times. The Rams’ passing game gets a much friendlier matchup Thursday night in Seattle.

Chase Edmonds is Arizona’s passing-down back while James Conner continues to act as the goal-line runner (four touchdowns over the last two weeks). It’s a setup that works better for the Cardinals than fantasy managers, but the offense has been good enough to support both … With tight end being extremely thin, Maxx Williams is on the fantasy radar playing on one of the league’s best offenses … Arizona emphatically ended its eight-game losing streak to LA.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance put up big second-half stats after taking over for an injured (and ineffective) Jimmy Garoppolo, and the raw rookie QB carries quite a bit of fantasy upside moving forward. He ran for 41 yards (and a two-point conversion) over just two quarters of play and will now get a week of starter’s reps in practice and a game-plan centered on him. Giddy up …

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance took over for Jimmy G and impressed in Week 4. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The 49ers’ first 12 touchdowns this season were scored by 12 different players, but George Kittle is yet to spike this year. Deebo Samuel continues to act as San Francisco’s clear alpha WR while leading the league in yards after the catch, although it’s possible the move to Lance changes that some, as the rookie should attempt far more downfield throws … Russell Wilson avoided the first three-game losing streak of his career and somehow won rather easily despite Seattle going for the longest stretch without a first down in any NFL game this season … Alex Collins outplayed Chris Carson and is worth rostering in all fantasy leagues. The Seahawks entered getting the most yards per play this season.

The 49ers lost star left tackle Trent Williams to a shoulder injury after kicker Robbie Gould hurt his groin in pregame warmups (SF’s punter proceeded to miss an extra point and a short field goal) during a bizarre game that also included Trenton Cannon’s epic special teams' performance. He turned a perfect punt inside the three into an unnecessary touchback, fumbled a kickoff return twice on the same play (and lost the second one), and finally let another kickoff drop inside the five in a game that would make Kyle Williams blush.

Washington Football Team @ Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan entered as the only starting QB yet to complete a pass more than 20 yards downfield. He finished with four TD passes yet got just 6.7 YPA, as Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts remain disappointments … Cordarrelle Patterson caught three touchdowns and has become a locked-in flex option at worst … The J.D. McKissic touchdown was impressive, but the best news was seeing Terry McLaurin get 13 targets (Logan Thomas left injured). He has top-five WR upside moving forward … Washington had the league's first kick-return touchdown this season

Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears

Justin Fields looked much better, and there’s no way the best move for the franchise is turning back to Andy Dalton. Facing Detroit’s defense helped, but Fields made progress and Darnell Mooney suddenly relevant (but still not Allen Robinson) … Damien Williams would be worth all the free-agent budget should David Montgomery’s injury prove serious, but early word is he escaped anything major … Dan Campbell’s version of “a lot more D’Andre Swift” was eight carries to Jamaal Williams’ 14. The Lions somehow came away from three straight goal-to-go possessions with zero points during one stretch in the first half. 

Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets

Derrick Henry’s 150+ yards were quite impressive considering the Jets have a solid defense and sold out to stop him instead of Tennessee’s lead receivers, Chester Rogers, Josh Reynolds, and failed super sleeper Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (RB Jeremy McNichols led the team with 12 targets). Henry is up to 96 carries over the last three weeks, and he has four more catches this season than Alvin Kamara. Henry’s DFS salary can’t be high enough against Jacksonville next week … Corey Davis had a nice revenge game and didn’t suffer from Jamison Crowder’s return, as Zach Wilson looked like a different quarterback while facing much lighter competition.

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Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings

In a matchup with one of the slate’s highest totals and an early touchdown in the books, this game ended in a 14-7 fantasy disaster. Nick Chubb lost a goal-line touchdown to Kareem Hunt, while Odell Beckham Jr. was painfully quiet … Dalvin Cook’s health will be the most important fantasy news throughout the week, especially with the Lions up next in Week 5. Alexander Mattison would be a top-three fantasy start should Cook be out.

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins

Myles Gaskin was non-existent and can’t be trusted in fantasy lineups. Getting soundly beaten at home versus a winless Colts team with a hobbled Carson Wentz isn’t a good look. Will Fuller is off to a rough start in Miami … No quarterback targeted his tight end more than Carson Wentz over the last three seasons, so Mo Alie-Cox (who apparently has the longest wingspan in NFL history) could be more than just a one-week wonder ... Jonathan Taylor had a nice game but ceded 10 carries to Marlon Mack, which one can only hope was aimed at building the latter’s trade value.

Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott was efficient passing and encouragingly looked spry while rushing for 35 yards. CeeDee Lamb has been curiously quiet with Michael Gallup out, but fantasy managers should have zero concern there … DJ Moore put up a monster performance against Trevon Diggs (who has recorded an interception in every game this season) and should be treated as a top-10 fantasy WR moving forward. He’s top-five with Christian McCaffrey out … Sam Darnold leads the NFL with five rushing touchdowns, and he just missed Robby Anderson on a long score (but it was nice to see Anderson get 11 targets) … Ezekiel Elliott ripped off numerous impressive runs against a rush defense that entered ranked first in DVOA. More targets would be nice, but Zeke looks significantly better than last season … Dalton Schultz nearly lost back-to-back fumbles but led Dallas in targets and looks like a home-run tight-end flier who’s now locked in fantasy lineups moving forward.

New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston finally reached 150 passing yards for the first time this season, finishing with 226. He hasn’t attempted more than 23 passes in a game all year and lost two rushing scores to Taysom Hill on Sunday (including this beastly run). It’s a recipe for no fantasy success … Alvin Kamara is getting far more carries than ever but losing goal-line work to his QB and seeing fewer targets than ever — not a net positive … Despite missing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton and having to throw to Evan Engram, Daniel Jones threw for 400+ yards (10.1 YPA) during the Saints’ return to the Superdome (with a John Ross sighting). Hopefully, he also continues getting Saquon Barkley the ball in space … Kadarius Toney wasn’t perfect but flashed and is fully on the fantasy radar.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26)
Saquon Barkley looked electric in Week 4. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles

Patrick Mahomes is good enough at fantasy without all these easy, short touchdown throws. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a nice game but lost a goal-line TD to Darrel Williams after getting tackled just before the end zone the previous play … DeVonta Smith had a long TD called back after it was ruled he stepped out of bounds, but it was a highly encouraging performance from Philadelphia’s rookie wideout (and their rookie RB Kenneth Gainwell) during the loss.

Houston Texans @ Buffalo Bills

Detective Davis Mills led Houston to -23 net passing yards at halftime, as poor weather conditions and a dominant Bills defense resulted in a shutout … Zack Moss is getting more high-value touches than Devin Singletary, but Buffalo’s backfield is pretty close to an even split (with a QB who dominates at the goal line) … Stefon Diggs is stuck on just one score this season, while Dawson Knox is on pace to catch 16 touchdowns.

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos

Lamar Jackson shredded a strong Broncos defense in Denver, and Marquise Brown bounced back with a nice performance. Latavius Murray has emerged as Baltimore’s feature back and is suddenly a weekly fantasy start … The Broncos have recently suffered injuries to Jerry Jeudy, Teddy Bridgewater, and KJ Hamler to their skill position players alone, and the downgrade to Drew Lock is big … Neither Denver RB did much Sunday, but Javonte Williams did have one of the week’s best runs ... The Ravens tied the NFL record for the most consecutive games with 100 rushing yards by running a final meaningless play to get it.

And I remain jealous my favorite team isn’t coached by John Harbaugh.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers

If you remove this play in the first quarter, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 187 yards on 39 attempts against a Green Bay pass defense that entered ranked No. 25 in DVOA and lost star corner, Jaire Alexander, during Sunday’s game. But at least Big Ben is setting records.

JuJu Smith-Schuster somehow produced 11 receiving yards on eight targets. One week after seeing 19 targets, Najee Harris had none at halftime (but finished with seven) … Playing in the team’s first game with a positive game script all season, AJ Dillon got his most work by far.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots

In a matchup featuring the largest age difference between starting quarterbacks in NFL history, Tom Brady beat Bill Belichick (and Mac Jones) during his return to New England on Sunday night. Brady had an unexpectedly quiet game, as New England begged Tampa Bay to run (Ronald Jones scored, but Leonard Fournette was TB’s clear lead back with Gio Bernard out) … The Pats smartly ignored their own running game completely while up against the league’s premier pass-funnel defense, resulting in one stretch that saw Mac Jones complete 19 straight passes. Jones was solid, but all his stuff remains underneath. Jakobi Meyers is up to 112 career catches without a TD, while Brandon Bolden is the new James White …

The Bucs entered with the fewest sacks in the league but recorded four Sunday night … In the most heavily bet game ever, naturally more than 95% of the public was on the losing side. While Belichick’s coaching was ultimately Sunday’s most impressive performance (the weather helped), Brady as usual came out on top while also casually setting the record for most passing yards in NFL history.

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