The only thing more fun than watching your fantasy football team win is winning because you were bold and went against the grain. If you benched QB Ben Roethlisberger because you were concerned about his road splits, you would’ve been right. If you picked up Alex Collins last week before he looked like the best Raven on Sunday or started Larry Fitzgerald over anyone but Stefon Diggs with Case Keenum, great job! You’re obviously getting good advice from somewhere. In this piece, I’ll try to make some bold predictions, hot takes, or whatever you want to call them. Most of them may end up false, but I hope you can at least entertain a world in which they’re possible. Enter Week 4 fantasy hot takes!
That’s enough ado, let’s recap the hot takes from Week 3!
Prediction: Larry Fitzgerald finishes as the PPR WR1
Result: 13 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD, WR2 with 33.9 points (all other Cardinal wideouts had 4 receptions combined)
Grade: The Sun
Prediction: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is a top-five TE
Result: PPR TE17, 5 catches, 31 yards
Grade: Those Fans at Amusement Parks that Blow Mist at You
Prediction: Alex Collins vultures two TDs
Result: 9 carries, 81 yards, 0 TDs (highest scoring Raven, with 41% of their yards)
Prediction: Ben Roethlisberger scores less than 8 points
Result: 12 points (Steelers lose, QB25)
Grade: Inside a Momma Kangaroo’s Pouch
Prediction: Samaje Perine rushes for more yards than the Saints
Result: Perine 49 rushing yards, Saints 126 (Perine did leave the 4th quarter with and injury after leading the Redskins in carries and rushing yards)
Grade: Han Solo in Carbonite
Now light that fire, here are my hot takes for Week 4!!!
1. CHRISTIAN MCCAFFERY HAS 250 YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE
Bill Belichick’s defense has looked vulnerable in many ways this season, but the weakness that sticks out to me is how easy it has been for pass-catching backs to get open in space. Kansas City got 119 yards from their RBs through the air, the Saints managed 75, and 76 yards were given up to Houston just last week. The Texans, by the way, have not had a game where their RBs broke the 75-yard receiving mark since Arian Foster left the starting lineup. The only game they even came close? 73 yards in last year’s playoff game against, Whaddaya know, the Patriots. But the Chiefs’ yards mostly came on the one big 78 yard TD from Kareem Hunt! Yes, but Alvin Kamara had a 38-yard reception in Week 2, D’Onta Foreman had a 34-yard gainer in Week 3 and Foreman had a 31-yard catch in that same game. Clearly, New England is weak or at least prone to big catch and run plays from RBs so far, and no one exemplified explosive pass-catching ability out of the backfield in this year’s draft like Christian McCaffery. He had a 37-yard reception last week, and more importantly is more involved in the passing game than anyone else on his team. He has the most targets with 27% of QB Cam Newton’s throws and almost doubles the amount of receptions as any other Panther. Carolina will have to score to keep pace with Tom Brady and company, so the game should unfold in a similar way to last week. Volume + Matchup + Gamescript = Fantasy Goodness
2. MARQUISE GOODWIN IS A TOP 10 WR IN STANDARD
Wide receivers can have long gains too, and some of the best deep balls have been caught against the Arizona Cardinals. Dak Prescott went 4/4 for 129 yards to Brice Butler and Terrance Williams on Monday night, Matthew Stafford went 5/6 for 126 yards with only 31 yards of that to Marvin Jones and the Colts are bad. That’s a total of 224 yards of deep completions to guys not covered by CB Patrick Peterson. 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin has only caught one of his four deep targets this season, but Brian Hoyer looked better last Thursday than he has in a long time, completing 5/7 deep passes for 192 yards against the Rams. I think the potential is there for Goodwin to pull one over on the Cardinals, especially with his running mate Pierre Garcon blanketed by Peterson. Did I mention Goodwin is literally an Olympic athlete and has the second-fastest 40-yard dash and third-longest broad jump in WR combine history?
3. JOE MIXON WILL BE A TOP 5 FLEX PLAY
As in he will score in the top five when you add up all of the RBs, WRs, and TEs, oh my! New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor saw fit to give Mixon 21 touches in last week’s loss to the Packers, eight more than Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard combined. The Bengals will use Mixon in a feature-back role moving forward, and he has a nice matchup this week against the Browns. The Ravens rushed for 130 yards in Week 2 and we saw what happened to that backfield in London. Gamescript should also favor any RB playing against Cleveland as they have spent 77% of snaps trailing and 0% leading. Joe Mixon is about to break out in a major way, and if you can get him on your roster before that happens, you should.
4. MARCEDES LEWIS GETS THE BACK TO BACK HAT TRICK
This might be the hottest take I have all year, but let’s dive into it. Remember those special glasses people got/made for the eclipse? Thought you’d never use those again, huh? You’re going to need them for this take. Lewis scored three times in London last week, but I think he can do it again. The Jets have given up red zone TDs to DeVante Parker, Charles Clay, and Michael Crabtree already this season. All of them are their team’s go-to big-bodied threat when they get in close. Crabtree even had a hat trick of his own in Week 3. Adding to this has been the Jets run defense, which has been fairly poor so far at 4.8 yards per carry but stiffens to three per rush in the red zone and just .6 per tote inside the 10. The Baltimore Ravens have similar splits with 4.3 yards per carry overall, 3 y/c in the red zone, and -1 y/c inside the 10. Unable to punch it in with RB Leonard Fournette, I think there’s a good chance Lewis is counted on to score again, and why not thrice!
5. AMARI COOPER AND MICHAEL CRABTREE HAVE ZERO FANTASY POINTS COMBINED
In the last four games against the Broncos, neither player had more than 56 yards receiving in any game, they have just one TD between them and they both average less than 36 yards per game. The Broncos have also only let three WRs eclipse 50 yards this season, and none have had more than 61. Last week, the Raiders wideouts combined for two catches and 13 yards in a beatdown on Sunday night. So, the only way to make this a hot take is to go extreme with it. Avert your eyes if this is too hot. The Raiders duo will have 0, zip, zilch, nada, none fantasy points combined in Week 4. If I were just spitting fire, merely to spit fire, I’d say they each have 100 yards in Denver, but I don’t believe that, and I promise dear readers, I will never put a take in here that I don’t believe in. And that’s the Gospel truth. (Cue Disney’s Hercules backup singers)
Thanks for checking out this week’s hot takes. If you have your own hot takes, agree/disagree with mine, or just want to chat about fantasy football, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Kaisquared. I’ll be back next week with a recap of these and some more Fantasy Hot Takes. Until then, good luck, and stay spicy!