Fantasy Football Week 4 Wrap: Javonte Williams goes down, CMC awakens and more

Denver Broncos @ Las Vegas Raiders

Javonte Williams' season is reportedly over after suffering a torn ACL, so Melvin Gordon might be splitting work with Mike Boone thanks to a major fumbling problem. Then again, Boone hobbled off in the fourth quarter only to suffer a bad drop on fourth down after returning. The injury to Williams really sucks either way.

The Raiders put up 32 points against a strong Broncos defense with Derek Carr getting just 5.5 YPA and no scores, as Josh Jacobs went from fantasy disappointment to the No. 2 PPR back of the week. While the touchdowns were nice Sunday, the even bigger news is Jacobs quietly taking over passing down work the last two games. After recording 12 catches over his previous six contests, Jacobs has 10 receptions over the last two weeks.

Albert Zero played one offensive snap, and Denver has entered the fourth quarter trailing in every game this season.

Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions

The over/under in this matchup had dropped thanks to all of Detroit’s injuries on offense, but these teams totaled a whopping 93 combined points, with Jared Goff and Geno Smith finishing as the top-two scoring fantasy QBs of Week 4. Credit to THE BLITZ, which projected Smith to be the fourth-highest scoring QB this week (and a Seattle pick-six hurt his stats too).

An apparently healthy T.J. Hockenson went off for 179 yards and two touchdowns, scoring the seventh-most fantasy points by a tight end ever. Hock benefitted greatly from Detroit missing D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark, and his future fantasy outlook hinges on ARSB’s ankle.

With the Seahawks pass-heavier without Russell Wilson — a concentrated target tree helps too — Seattle would suddenly look like one of the best teams for fantasy purposes if they just started treating Rashaad Penny as a workhorse. Penny was terrific Sunday. Remarkably, he’s run for at least 135 yards during all five games in which he’s been given 16+ carries during his career. Might want to give him more touches in a contract season.

The Seahawks have allowed zero first-half sacks all year and produced a top-three QB, top-five RB, top-five WR and top-10 TE in fantasy during a game they won while allowing 45 points.

A 51-yard touchdown run turned Jamaal Williams from disappointment to the RB7 this week. It was the type of game script that could’ve easily killed his fantasy game, but Williams benefitted from a goal-line score on fourth down as well. The Lions also attempted multiple fake punts and are putting together a historical start to the season in which they somehow are both scoring the most points and allowing the most in the NFL.

Some natural regression is sure to occur here like any major outlier, but considering the Lions did all this on Sunday while missing so many players on offense, Detroit sure looks like the weekly fantasy matchup to target in DFS.

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (London)

Andy Dalton didn’t provide as many air yards to Chris Olave but kept the Saints offense functional despite so many injuries, including missing left tackle, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Olave should remain locked in fantasy lineups, while the New Orleans backup RB situation is a committee now led by Latavius MurrayDalvin Cook says he’ll stop playing games without his shoulder harness, and he saw significant action Sunday outside of the all-important red zone (losing a score to Alexander Mattison). A tough matchup didn’t help, but the lack of targets (just two over the last two games) is among numerous concerns about Cook’s fantasy value.

Justin Jefferson had been quiet for 12 quarters after a big first half in the season opener, but a huge second half in London fixed everything … Maybe time will help in a new offense, but so far Minnesota’s new coaching staff has been a huge disappointment.

Cleveland Browns @ Atlanta Falcons

Marcus Mariota was awful (his -20.0 CPOE was in the second percentile) and after his third-quarter interception, coach Arthur Smith called 14 straight run plays (including eight by Caleb Huntley). It’s a real problem for fantasy managers of Drake London and Kyle Pitts (yikes!). Atlanta could easily be 4-0, but Mariota has six fumbles and four picks despite averaging just 21.7 pass attempts over the last three games … David Njoku is locked in as a top-10 TE moving forward, while Amari Cooper has been the league’s most boom/bust fantasy player so far, sandwiching two top-10 performances in between two complete no-shows … As someone who bet on Saquon Barkley to win the rushing title, Nick Chubb looks like a problem (as does the Giants not having a healthy quarterback on their roster).

Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants is a fantasy star
Saquon Barkley continues to put up fantasy numbers this season. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) (Al Bello via Getty Images)

Washington Commanders @ Dallas Cowboys

Cooper Rush did his main job, which is feeding CeeDee Lamb, but Dallas will welcome Dak Prescott back as soon as possible (although Rush became the first QB in Cowboys history to start his career 4-0) … Given his new target competition, Terry McLaurin is somehow in an even worse fantasy situation than last year … Brian Robinson is expected to make his return in Week 5 … Trevon Diggs balled out all game and secured a nice interception on a day when countless defenders dropped far easier picks.

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor has never missed a game of football in his life, but it’s feared he suffered a high-ankle sprain Sunday. Backup Nyheim Hines gets a fantasy boost, but he won’t see nearly the same workload and plays for a Colts offense that entered last in the NFL in EPA/play (-0.20). Taylor has 41 carries for just 113 yards (2.8 YPC) with no touchdowns over two home games this season after averaging 5.8 YPC in Indy last year.

Matt Ryan came alive after trailing 24-3, and all four of his touchdown passes since Week 1 have gone to tight ends … Derrick Henry got 5.2 YPC against one of the league’s best run defenses and had a sick TD run called back by a Treylon Burks holding penalty. The rookie wideout’s day would only get worse from there, as he would later leave on a cart (and not just for a bathroom break like DK Metcalf). Henry also saw five targets after getting a career-high six last week. That’s big news for his future fantasy value, especially with Burks going down.

Chicago Bears @ New York Giants

Khalil Herbert acted as Chicago’s clear lead back while totaling 101 yards despite an extremely limited Bears passing attack. Justin Fields entered with the lowest over/under in passing yards (148.5) since props started, and he beat the number despite taking more than half as many sacks (six) as he had completions (11).

Even with severe QB limitations, Saquon Barkley continued to impress while totaling 162 YFS, including this terrific play ... The Giants had real QB issues (Daniel Jones was forced to re-enter after both he and Tyrod Taylor left injured), but it was still curious when Chicago punted on fourth-and-2 down 20-12 with three minutes left (97th percentile cowardly punt since 1999).

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Philadelphia Eagles

The weather wasn’t great, but Trevor Lawrence’s -20.7 CPOE was in the second percentile, and he became the first player this century to lose four fumbles. Lawrence’s TO% has essentially doubled when on the road to open his career … Miles Sanders was the No. 3 fantasy back this week despite a tough matchup, and his usage (30 opportunities) is awfully exciting for fantasy managers … Jacksonville’s defense matched last season’s total in takeaways (nine) by halftime in Week 4 in a game that saw little of James Robinson after he fumbled early. Travis Etienne played more snaps then JRob for the first time this season.

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Breece Hall continues to look more like a workhorse with a ton of fantasy upside, including a game-winning goal-line score and another six targets despite the QB change. Put differently, if you can trade Najee Harris (zero targets) for Hall in your fantasy league, do it.

Diontae Johnson was inches away from a nice TD catch but finished with just 11 scoreless receiving yards against a New York defense that entered allowing the third-most EPA/pass (0.32). Meanwhile, rookie George Pickens saw twice as many targets and looked like new QB Kenny Pickett’s preferred option. Pickett recorded two rushing scores, and none of his 13 passes hit the ground Sunday ... Zach Wilson celebrated after catching a touchdown and had a big fourth quarter during an impressive season debut.

Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens

Weather and dropped passes didn’t help a matchup that fell well short of its projected total, with Lamar Jackson not finishing as a top-15 QB this week. Jackson missed an open Mark Andrews for an early TD but made up for it with the early favorite to win Play of 2022. Josh Allen, meanwhile, somehow managed another top-five QB performance despite throwing for just 213 yards (5.9 YPA, -11.3 CPOE).

Gabe Davis is tough to start in fantasy lineups until he proves he’s not just a decoy while hobbling through an ankle injury. It’s unfortunately the type of injury (that was suffered during a Saturday walkthrough) that can linger.

Good thing I have Davis in, *checks notes* 15 fantasy leagues!

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis (13)
Gabe Davis has struggled to play through his ankle injury. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was a good day for J.K. Dobbins’ fantasy value, as he scored two first-quarter touchdowns and later watched Justice Hill suffer a hamstring injury … Oddly, the Ravens have lost five straight home games, while Sunday ended Buffalo’s remarkable streak of winning 20 straight regular-season games by double digits … During a questionable decision, Baltimore failed going for it on fourth-and-goal tied 20-20 with 4:15 left. Buffalo would end up scoring 20 unanswered points when it was all said and done.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Houston Texans

Austin Ekeler didn’t produce a positive run in the first quarter but finished Week 4 as fantasy’s RB1, scoring three touchdowns after entering the game with none. Ekeler continues to cede carries and has gotten just 3.1 YPC this season, but he’s on pace to record 115 catches; he had 70 while finishing as the No. 2 PPR back last season … Davis Mills was by no means good, but at least he continued to play far better at home … Props to Justin Herbert, who was fantastic while playing through torn rib cartilage in a matchup missing his left tackle and Keenan AllenDameon Pierce is the real deal and his six targets Sunday is huge news for his fantasy value moving forward. Pierce has out-carried Rex Burkhead 49-3 over the last three games.

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers

Baker Mayfield looks like a total disaster, and Carolina is 1-26 under Matt Rhule when the opponent scores at least 17 points, including 24 losses in a row. Despite the Panthers’ incompetence on offense, Christian McCaffrey totaled 100 yards and/or scored a touchdown (he did both Sunday) — while playing through a thigh injury — for his 26th straight game during a week in which Jonathan Taylor went down with a high-ankle sprain that could affect the rest of his season.

DJ Moore turned 11 targets into 50 scoreless yards against an Arizona defense that entered allowing an NFL-high 0.34 EPA/pass. Just brutal … Rondale Moore was quiet during his season debut, while Marquise Brown pulled down a nice TD and has racked up 39 targets over the last three weeks … The Cardinals still haven’t scored a point in the first quarter of a game this season and won despite Kyler Murray throwing a pick-six Sunday.

New England Patriots @ Green Bay Packers

While quarterback is clearly the most important position in all of sports, the GB/NE game perfectly illustrated how the position is still far from all that matters in the NFL. The Packers barely won as time expired in overtime while facing a third-string (and late fourth-round) rookie QB who hasn’t been getting many reps in practice thanks to the Patriots badly outcoaching them and seriously outplaying them on special teams.

Bailey Zappe did a nice Mac Jones impersonation (minus the turnovers) and became the first rookie QB to throw a touchdown this season … In what appeared to be a favorable matchup, Aaron Rodgers finished outside the top-12 fantasy QBs this week and threw a pick-six. Rookie Romeo Doubs didn’t help when he was unable to hold onto a perfectly thrown long touchdown (Matt LaFleur wasted a crucial timeout challenging this obvious drop, as he continues to make critical mistakes that belie him also owning the best winning percentage among all coaches in NFL history). Still, Doubs’ fantasy arrow remains pointing way up, as he led Green Bay in routes run Sunday when he also pulled down Rodgers’ 500th career touchdown pass.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kansas City didn’t punt until the final minute Sunday night on the road facing a Tampa Bay defense that entered allowing the lowest EPA/play (-0.28) in the NFL. Kansas City’s offense hasn’t missed a beat without Tyreek Hill, as the Chiefs somehow put up 41 points without a top-35 fantasy WR … Clyde Edwards-Helaire saw his most carries (19) since early during his rookie season in 2020, and he’s up to five touchdowns on the year. The rate at which he’s racked up TDs may not be totally sustainable, but CEH should continue scoring plenty while playing in such a potent offense.

It also really helps having Patrick Mahomes as his QB:

The 45 combined points in the first half were the most of any game so far this season, with Tampa Bay allowing more points over the first two quarters (28) than they had the entire season (27). Moreover, the Buccaneers’ -3 rushing yards in the first half were the fewest ever by any Tom Brady team, leading to the quarterback attempting a career-high 25+ straight passes.

After failing to record a top-15 QB performance in any of the first three weeks, Brady was top-five this week with a much healthier receiving group (and a game script that required 50+ passes) … Leonard Fournette finished with negative rushing yards, but his usage as a receiver saved his fantasy day. The Bucs have by far the league’s worst rushing offense, which should help the stats of Brady and whichever Tampa Bay WRs can stay healthy moving forward.

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