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Week 4 Fantasy Football Takeaways

takeaway

Andrew Luck returned to pre-injury form week 4, Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears’ offense exploded and Keke Coutee seized his opportunity after Will Fuller left with an injury.

Vikings at Rams

Vikings

Dalvin Cook was limited to 10 touches, as the Vikings had five backs active. In addition, Cook said he wasn’t close to 100 percent and he could still be limited week 5. The takeaway is that depending on your roster construction you might want to fade Cook, but with bye weeks and the upside of Cook he may be a desperation flex play until he’s healthier.

The trio of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph commanded 15, 12 and 6 targets, respectfully, and all put up top-eight finishes at their position. Kirk Cousins stuffed the stat sheet with over 400 yards and three touchdowns, but could not execute a game-tying drive after losing a fumble. The takeaway is your licking your chops to start this passing attack against the Eagles week 5 that has allowed seven passing touchdowns the last three games.

Remember, Andrew Luck had two touchdowns dropped (Chester Rogers and T.Y. Hilton) week 3 against the Eagles, too.

Before you pick up Aldrick Robinson off waivers, know that his two touchdowns came on two targets in 11 percent of snaps.

Rams

Jared Goff’s been rolling the last two games with over 900 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and one pick. The question of can he sustain three fantasy-relevant receivers has been answered. Yes. Through four weeks, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods rank inside the top 15 at their position. However, since allowing three passing touchdowns to Case Keenum week 1, the Seahawks have allowed four the last three weeks.

Let’s not forget about Todd Gurley’s 2018 (RB2) so far. He has at least 23 fantasy points in every game.

The takeaway is to temper expectations for this offense week 5.

Dolphins at Patriots

Dolphins

The Dolphins were shut out for three quarters in this contest. In fact, Ryan Tannehill was pulled after attempting just 20 passes when the game got out of hand. That said, it might be time to crown Kenyan Drake a bust. Frank Gore paced Drake in snap count percentage 51-45 and for the first time this season Gore out-touched Drake 13-4. The takeaway is Gore needs to be owned in all formats.

Kenny Stills paced Miami receivers in snaps for the fourth straight game but was tied with Albert Wilson for a team-high six targets. On the season, Stills leads the team in targets with 19 (led team weeks 3 and 4), but Wilson is a close second with 17. Jakeem Grant and Danny Amendola have 16.

The takeaway is that breakout season for Stills is now a boom-or-bust flex play until further notice. The other receivers are too inconsistent to warrant more than a speculative add.

Eagles at Titans

Eagles

The return of Alshon Jeffery was just what the Eagles needed. In his first game back, Jeffery played in 82 percent of snaps (third among pass catchers) and was third in targets with nine. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz had 12 and 10 targets, respectfully. Jeffery put up an 8-105-1 stat line and provided the birds with the no. 1 receiver they missed.

The takeaway is Carson Wentz is now firmly back in the QB1 discussion after posting 24.6 fantasy points with Jeffery week 4 (QB16), and if you waited on Jeffery he’s going to provide top-20 numbers rest of season as your flex.

With Corey Clement and Darren Sproles out, Jay Ajayi had 15 carries for 70 yards and three catches for 11 yards. Outside of his two-touchdown game week 1, Ajayi has been uninspiring. The takeaway is with Clement and Sproles expected back week 5, Ajayi is a low-end flex play, if that.

Titans

The Corey Davis breakout season has started! After commanding 24 targets the first three weeks and not producing much in the stat sheet, Davis had 15 targets week 4. Davis had a 9-161-1 stat line, catching the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Davis gets the Bills week 5, a unit that allowed 80 yards to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, respectfully, week 4.

The takeaway is to see if you can buy low-ish on Davis and enjoy the ride, but the price just went up after week 4.

Dion Lewis paced Derrick Henry in snap counts and touches week 4. In PPR leagues, it’s safe to drop Henry, as he has just three catches to go with minimum rushing yardage thru four weeks. Standard league owners, watch to see if Henry can get it going against the Bills week 5. The Bills have allowed over 100 rushing yards two of their last three games and two touchdowns.

Bengals at Falcons

Bengals

Remember when it was established that Tyler Boyd was the clear-cut no. 2 receiver? Yes, John Ross scored week 4, but he had two catches on two targets and was out-snapped by Boyd  62-18 out of a possible 73 snaps. Ross is also dealing with a pulled muscle. Yawn. The takeaway is don’t waste a claim on Ross.

That said, another takeaway is you’re riding Dalton until the wheels fall off. The red rifle is averaging over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. 337 yards and three of those touchdowns came week 4 in a come-from-behind win. Dalton gets the Dolphins week 5, a unit that allowed over 300 passing yards to the likes of Sam Darnold and Derek Carr in the last three weeks.

Giovani Bernard was good for his fantasy owners the last two weeks with at least 19 points in his last two games, but Joe Mixon is expected back week 5. See if you can get anything good in return for Bernard from the Mixon owner. They’ll be the one to give you the most.

Falcons

Since the rough start week 1, Ryan and the Falcons’ offense have rebounded nicely. After a 400-plus yard performance with three touchdowns week 4, Ryan sits at QB2 (six-point passing touchdown leagues). That said, Calvin Ridley’s been the main beneficiary, with 15 catches, 264 yards, and six touchdowns. Julio Jones has been racking up yards but doesn’t have a touchdown. The takeaway is don’t panic on Jones, and that Ridley is a legit flex.

Tevin Coleman’s three-game audition was less than desirable, as he topped 100 total yards once. The takeaway is Coleman didn’t do enough to make this backfield a 50/50 committee when Devonta Freeman returns presumably week 5, but he’ll get some work. Watch to see Coleman’s role next week before dropping him, but he’s not startable when Freeman returns.

Buccaneers at Bears

Buccaneers

Fitzmagic is officially over, as the Bucs announced Jameis Winston as their starter week 6 after their bye. In addition, O.J. Howard’s sidelined 2-4 weeks. Coming out of the bye, it’ll be interesting to see how Winston allocates targets beyond Mike Evans and Cameron Brate. Winston loves Brate, and that is who he threw his first touchdown to week 4 when entering the game in the second half. Check this out:

The takeaway, besides adding Cameron Brate, is keep an eye on Winston and Desean Jackson’s connection week 6 onward. Last year, the duo could not establish one.

If that continues this season, Chris Godwin would still be in flex consideration depending on if he and Winston could, in fact, get in sync. This play below from last year is encouraging.

Bears

The Bears’ offense finally erupted week 4! Don’t expect six passing touchdowns from Mitch Trubisky every week, but the yardage and, more importantly, no turnovers are encouraging. Hell, he ran for over 50 yards, too. Based on how Dalton performs week 5 and the season track-record of the Dolphins’ pass defense, Trubisky could end up as a streaming option/bye-week replacement week 6, but the position is deep.

In addition, Tarik Cohen out-touched Jordan Howard 20-11. Week 4 was the first game Howard didn’t have a catch, so don’t panic just yet, but it’s not a good sign when the offense explodes and the starting back registers 2.5 fantasy points.

Watch to see how both backs are used week 6 after their bye, but the takeaway is Cohen is worth flex consideration.

It was nice to see Taylor Gabriel pop with a big game, but Anthony Miller was out. While Gabriel is the clear no. 2 receiver based on snap count percentage and targets, Miller taking some targets away may take Gabriel out of flex consideration. Consider Gabriel a situation to monitor.

Lions at Cowboys

Lions

The Kerryon Johnson show is slowly but surely on the horizon. In week 4, Johnson played on 37 percent of snaps, second in the backfield behind Theo Riddick (46 percent). In a limited role, Johnson’s been able to rush for over 150 yards and a touchdown (55 yards and a touchdown in week 4) the last two weeks, including becoming the first 100-yard rusher for the Lions since Reggie Bush in 2013.

The takeaway is buy low on Johnson before his breakout game.

Pertaining to the receiving corps, the snap count percentage week 4 for Kenny Golladay (98 percent) and Marvin Jones (93 percent) was too close, in addition to the targets 5-4 in favor of Jones, to definitively say who’s the no. 2 behind Tate. The takeaway is, for now, continue to flex both. In reality, this may be the case rest of season.

Cowboys

America’s team did what they could with what they had, and were able to squeak a victory out with a game-winning field as time expired. Still, no receiver gets enough volume to warrant even speculative add consideration at the moment, but there’s a silver lining. Tight end Geoff Swaim tied for the team lead in targets with five. In addition, Swaim had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.

At a position filled with injuries, the takeaway here is to add Swaim. The Cowboys face the Texans week 5, who’ve allowed a touchdown to a tight end in back-to-back games and in three of four games to start the season.

Not to go unnoticed is perhaps Ezekiel Elliott’s best game in his short career. Elliott ran for over 150 yards, but more impressively he had a receiving stat line of 4-88-1. If Elliot keeps that up, he’ll contend for RB1 this season.

Bills at Packers

And back to earth, the Bills went week 4 after upsetting the Vikings the week before!

LeSean McCoy returned to action but was limited to eight touches for 37 yards. Charles Clay caught four of six targets for 40 yards, and you’ll take that at this point in the season with bye weeks and injuries at the position. However, save your time on the receivers. Zay Jones led the team with seven targets but had a 4-38 stat line. Kelvin Benjamin caught one of six targets for 34 yards. Ew. The Bills’ offense is a fantasy wasteland.

Packers

The biggest takeaway is the absence of Randall Cobb week 4, and that after the game it was reported he wasn’t close to playing. Geronimo Allison had a stat line of 6-80 on 11 targets before leaving with an injury. Allison left a lot of money on the table, too, as he dropped several passes that could’ve helped him reach the 100-yard mark. While it’s expected Allison will play week 5, the takeaway is adding Marquez Valdes-Scantling either way.

Cobb’s not likely to play week 6. In Cobb’s absence, Valdes-Scantling played on 71 percent of snaps, catching one of three targets. While he’s the clear no. 4 passing option, Valdes-Scantling’s worth a speculative add, especially with Cobb and potentially Allison’s returns up in the air.

Green Bay’s backfield is still messy. All three backs rotated in on the first three drives, then game flow took over from there. Aaron Jones led the way with 12 touches, while Jamaal Williams had 11 and Ty Montgomery had seven. Jones led the backfield in production, too, with 82 total yards and a three-yard touchdown.

The takeaway is it’s encouraging to see Jones get a red zone carry inside the 5-yard line, but watch to see if he can consistently produce. This week against the Lions is his test.

Texans at Colts

Texans

The biggest takeaway is that Will Fuller left this game, and paved the way for rookie Keke Coutee to have a breakout game. Coutee had an 11-109 stat line after filling in for Fuller on 15 targets. While Fuller’s expected back this week, it’s hard to imagine Coutee simply goes away. Coutee’s worth a speculative add.

The question now becomes can Deshaun Watson sustain three fantasy-relevant receivers. Like clockwork, Watson’s thrown for over 300 yards and two touchdowns the last three weeks. I’d lean more toward yes than no. Dallas’ defense has allowed four touchdowns the last two weeks, so I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to flex Coutee, too. Watch to see with a healthy Fuller how many snaps Coutee plays on, and how many targets he commands.

Colts

The biggest takeaway is another receiver injury, this time to T.Y. Hilton. In fact, Hilton left this game twice but did not return the second time. Hilton’s not likely to play week 5 on a short week against the Patriots on TNF, so his team-leading 38 targets (9.5 targets a game) must be allocated other places.

I’d add Chester Rogers (paced receivers in snap count percentage, 80, and led the team in targets with 11). After that, Ryan Grant and Zach Pascal are interesting (let’s face it, this game will be a shoot out), but I’d lean toward Pascal. Grant out-snapped Pascal 72-45 out of a possible 91 snaps. But obviously, Pascal didn’t see the bulk of his playing time until Hilton was hurt, and he paced Grant in targets 10-7 (one behind Rogers).

The takeaway for waivers is to go Pascal > Rogers > Grant.

More importantly, Andrew Luck returned to pre-injury form with over 400 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Jets at Jaguars

Jets

Bilal Powell out-touched Isaiah Crowell 12-5, but the ineffectiveness of each (Powell had eight carries for 26, Crowell had four carries for 0 yards) and the likely game script of playing from behind most games makes this backfield a wasteland (for now). Yes, it’s a nice matchup against Denver this week, who’ve allowed four rushing touchdowns the last three weeks, but good luck knowing what back to start. The takeaway is to stay away.

In the passing game, Quincy Enunwa caught four of eight passes for 66 yards. Through four games, he has more than double the next most targeted receiver with 37. Robby Anderson is second with 16. The takeaway is outside of Enunwa, no Jets receiver is worth rostering. In the words of Evan Silva, Enunwa left meat on the bone week 4, too.

Jaguars

The biggest takeaway is the re-injury to Leonard Fournette’s hamstring. The race to get T.J. Yeldon off waivers resumes, as after Fournette left week 4 Yeldon had an 18-52-1 stat line, in addition to three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Corey Grant had three touches.

With Fournette out, Blake Bortles threw for nearly 400 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback streamers, the takeaway is getting ready to grab Bortles as he gets the Chiefs this week. Temper expectations though, as we saw in week 4 when Patrick Mahomes is up against a tough defense he isn’t likely to have a monster game like he did the first three weeks of the season. That said, Bortles might not have to throw as much.

Another takeaway is there’s still no concrete no. 1 receiver in Jacksonville, as Dede Westbrook led the way with 13 targets after Keelan Cole led receivers the last two games, respectfully. Still, add Westbrook, and flex him and Cole against the Chiefs this week. Because of the matchup, week 5 might be a rare week both receivers put up successful stat lines.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Seahawks

After Chris Carson was a surprise inactive, Mike Davis went off with a 21-101-2 stat line, in addition to four catches for 23 yards. It’s hard to predict this backfield, but Davis needs to be owned. Simply, watch to see how the backfield touches are distributed week 6 when all three backs are presumably active. If Carson is inactive again, I’d flex Davis, but otherwise, consider him a speculative add. The takeaway is Carson lost value after Davis’ breakout game.

While Will Dissly suffered a season-ending injury, Doug Baldwin made his return week 4. Baldwin had a 5-41 stat line on seven targets. For now, he’s the only startable Seahawks receiver, but keep an eye on David Moore. He’s been getting more playing time, as Brandon Marshall’s snaps decrease, and he could be worth a speculative add as soon if he can flash anything in a game against the Rams in which the Seahawks will have to throw to keep up.

Cardinals

The stats don’t show it, but Josh Rosen looked good in his NFL debut. In fact, he led the Cardinals to a game-winning field goal drive, but the kicker missed it. The biggest takeaway is Christian Kirk’s stat line of 4-28 on five targets, on the heels of his week 3 7-90 stat line. In addition, Larry Fitzgerald has been playing hurt the last two weeks and is considered day-to-day. If Fitzgerlad missed time, Kirk will see a healthy spike in targets.

Browns at Raiders

Browns

Carlos Hyde keeps rolling, scoring his fifth touchdown in four games week 4. He’s RB8 so far. The biggest takeaway, however, is Baker Mayfield’s allocation of targets. After coming in mid-game week 3, Antonio Callaway has 19 targets in 6+ quarters with Mayfield, including 10 week 4. Callaway was a waiver-wire add until this report came out:

Speaking of Nick Chubb, he had three carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns…on three snaps. Obviously, Chubb should see more work, moving forward, but expecting a changing of the guard this week is not realistic. Perhaps in a few weeks, though. The takeaway is to prioritize Chubb as a speculative add.

Raiders

Did you know Marshawn Lynch is RB8 through four weeks? He recorded his first 100-yard rushing game week 4, has a divisional matchup against the Chargers week 5, then he faces his former team week 6. The takeaway is to try to buy low on Lynch, who hasn’t eclipsed more than 19 fantasy points in any game yet.

After a two-catch performance week 3, Amari Cooper bounced back with an 8-128-1 stat line. However, Jordy Nelson has been stealing the show the last two weeks with 11 catches for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns. The takeaway is Nelson’s earned flex consideration. And in a year with several injuries to tight ends, Jared Cook had an 8-110-2 stat line week 4, his second best fantasy game to date.

Niners at Chargers

Niners

In the absence of Jimmy Garoppolo, only George Kittle was able to sustain fantasy relevance. Kittle had a 6-125-1 stat line on eight targets, while a banged-up Marquise Goodwin had two catches for 24 yards. In addition, Pierre Garcon had four catches for 52 yards. While it’s silly to overreact to one week, the takeaway is it does not look promising for the Niners’ pass catchers outside of Kittle. Watch and see if the receivers can bounce back week 5.

The running game didn’t any better, as the combination of Matt Breida and Alfred Morris ran for 53 yards. Yikes.

Chargers

With the return of Travis Benjamin to the lineup, Mike Williams had one catch on three targets. The takeaway is back to the bench Williams goes until he shows you can be produced with Benjamin active, too. In addition, Antonio Gates caught two of five targets for 27 yards and a touchdown. Listen, tight end is depleted, so we’re not shaming anyone that claims Gates this week. Just hope for the best.

Phillip Rivers has been rolling, though, with an 8:1 interception rate the last three games. Lastly, Melvin Gordon did what’s made him a top-five back thru four weeks, ball. 15-104 rushing and 7-55-1 receiving.

Saints at Giants

Saints

The biggest takeaway is Mark Ingram is now back after week 4. Though Alvin Kamara had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season and three rushing touchdowns week 4, thru the first three weeks he made his living off of catches and receiving yards. In fact, Kamara leads the Saints’ pass catchers in targets with 47, three ahead of Michael Thomas. Ingram will take away from Kamara’s rushing, but before week 4 he had less than 150 rushing yards.

Simply, chalk Michael Thomas’ bad game (4-47) as just one of those games. Janoris Jenkins was a tough matchup, but Thomas caught all of his targets. That’s a silver lining.

Giants

The takeaway is only good quarterbacks can exploit the matchup against the Saints secondary. Tyrod Taylor and Eli Manning were held to less than 20 fantasy points against the Saints, but Ryan Fitzpatrick (Fitzmagic elevates him to good status) and Matt Ryan had at least 50 points against them. Check this out.

Another takeaway is the trend of no. 2 receivers producing against the Saints. In week 2, it was Antonio Callaway, and in weeks 3 and 4 it was Calvin Ridley and Sterling Shepard. Perhaps, Paul Richardson or Josh Doctson is in for a big game week 5.

Ravens at Steelers

Ravens

With Alex Collins fumbling in this contest, the takeaway is to buy low on Buck Allen. Allen and Collins were already splitting work about 50/50, and in week 4 both had 12 touches but the fumble could persuade the coaching staff to give Allen more work, moving forward.

As for the receivers, Michael Crabtree paced them in targets with eight. Still, John Brown and Willie Snead had seven apiece, and Brown had a 3-116-1 stat line. Snead had a 6-56 stat line, while Crabtree had a line of 3-29. Crabtree and Brown warrant flex consideration on a weekly basis, as the targets are there for both. The takeaway is you won’t know which will outproduce the other on a weekly basis, though.

Lastly, Hayden Hurst should be back week 5, so if you’re looking for a tight end he’s a healthy, first-round pick. The upside is there.

Steelers

The biggest takeaway is Le’Veon is reportedly going to rejoin the team week 7 during their bye. Another takeaway is to sell James Conner now. If the report is true, Conner’s value is running out. Lastly, Vance Mcdonald (five targets), now healthy, appears to be the preferred third target for Ben Roethlisberger behind Antonio Brown (11 targets) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (11 targets). On the heels of his stiff arm-game, Mcdonald had a 5-62 stat line.

More importantly, Mcdonald out-snapped Jesse James 39-27 out of a possible 62.

Chiefs at Broncos

Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes threw for over 300 yards for the third straight game but had only one passing touchdown against the Broncos. In two games against the Broncos, Mahomes has one passing touchdown, but two rushing touchdowns. In addition, the Broncos’ defense is a lot more susceptible to allowing big runs than passes. Kareem Hunt had a 19-121-1 stat line, in addition to 3-54 receiving. The takeaway here is don’t panic on Mahomes.

Against strong defenses, Mahomes won’t produce video game numbers, and this week he gets the Jaguars, so temper expectations again. That said, he had 24.7 fantasy points, which is .3 off from the 25-point mendoza line in a six-point passing touchdown league.

Another takeaway is Sammy Watkins injury, which caused him to miss most of this game. That was potentially another reason Mahomes didn’t put up more passing touchdowns. As of now, there’s no indication Watkins will miss time, but it is a situation to monitor.

Broncos

The biggest takeaway is the margin of difference in snap count percentage for Phillip Lindsay compared to the other backs.

In addition, Lindsay paced all backs in touches, most notably out-touching Royce Freeman 14-8. At this point, the takeaway is, yes, Freeman is a bust based on where he was drafted. Still, Freeman had a nice 14-yard touchdown run and has scored in three straight games. However, Lindsay scored, too, on a one-yard touchdown run. That’s alarming as if Lindsay continues to get goal-line carries Freeman’s value will soon evaporate. Monitor the situation.

Lastly, in a juicy matchup, none of the Broncos’ receivers were able to eclipse 55 yards. For the third straight game, Case Keenum did not throw a touchdown pass. If the Broncos’ pass attack can’t get right against the Jets week 5, it’s going to be time to sell these receivers while they still have value. Jeff Heuerman, though, may be a silver lining at a, again, depleted tight end position. Heuerman played on 88 percent of snaps with a 4-57 stat line on seven targets.

How desperate are you?

Watch out for week 4’s snap count leaders article, what to watch article and rankings.

Joshua Kellem is a Slippery Rock University graduate with a BS in Journalism. In addition, he is the creator of fantasy football website fftalk.org

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