Ok, Patrick Mahomes is really, really good. Also, he and all of the Chiefs offensive players are rising in case you were wondering. For the not-so-obvious Risers and Fallers keep reading and let’s grab another win! Hint: a lot of injuries have happened, and now is the time to react and stay ahead of your opponents!
Through 4 weeks John Brown has eclipsed his 2017 yards and Y/R average. He has 71% of his total receptions from last season and has matched his TD count of 3. It’s crazy to say, but we were probably expecting more from Brown in the Sunday night game against Pittsburgh. Still, he posted a 3-116-1 stat line for 19.1 fantasy points in half-point leagues. He has no fewer than 3 receptions in each game, and aside from week 1 where he had 4 targets, has no fewer than 7 targets according to Pro Football Reference. He currently sits as the WR 21 in PPR formats, WR 11 in standard, and leads all Baltimore receivers in fantasy points.
Joe Flacco is the QB 14, and with the Collins/Allen backfield, this shapes up for a player you should definitely be starting every week. Stacking 13 and 16.8 fantasy PPG in standard and PPR leagues respectively, there is no reason he should currently be benched in the 67.5% of leagues he is owned in. On that same note, he is available in 36.6% of ESPN leagues so grab him if you can, and start him if you own him.
I saw a tweet where someone claimed Leonard Fournette is the Tyler Eifert of RBs. Translation: He’s constantly hurt. As unfortunate as this statement is, it’s accurate. Coming into 2018 this was a risk you took in drafting Fournette. T.J. Yeldon has stepped in nicely though, combining for a 17-102 rushing line and 8-49 through the air in the 2 weeks Fournette didn’t play (week 2/3.) This was good enough for 11.5 fantasy PPG. All told Yeldon has 49-205-1 on the ground for 4.2 Y/C, 14-115-2 through the air, and is averaging 15.75 fantasy PPG. That’s higher than David Johnson, Jordan Howard, and Alex Collins. That’s good enough for the RB 10 in PPR formats, coming off a season-high 24 fantasy points in week 4. That may be the most surprising stat yet.
Jags coach Doug Marrone said Monday that Fournette is still feeling something in the hamstring. We hate to see players at all levels hurt, but it’s part of the game. Yeldon could be a must-start this week if Fournette is out again, especially with the Jags playing Kansas City. The Chiefs allow the second most points to fantasy RBs.
As bye weeks approach and Fournette continues to struggle with an injury known to bother players for extended periods, Yeldon is a great player to own and play.
Staying on the injury topic, Evan Engram will be out a few more games boosting Shepard’s stock. In the smallest of sample sizes (one game), Shepard saw a huge boost in production with Engram sidelined. This shouldn’t come as a shock. Engram has been known as a target hog, and they had to go somewhere. Shepard is the Tyler Boyd and Calvin Ridley to AJ Green and Julio Jones. That is, the other receiver, or the one who isn’t double teamed. Shepard caught all 10 targets in week 4, hauling in a TD and piling up 77 yards. That was good enough for the WR 10 in PPR leagues in week 4.
Thus far he’s caught 24 of 28 targets, for 229 yards and 2 scores. More of a possession receiver with just 9.5 Y/R, he could be a PPR gem with Engram out. Matt Lombardo expects Engram to be out three to four weeks. Through 4 games he’s the PPR WR 26, and is being started in fewer than 40% of ESPN leagues, but is owned in 77.7% of those. The Giants face Carolina in week 5, a middle-of-the-pack defense against fantasy WRs. Fire him up in this game and onward until Engram’s return.
One of the greatest headaches in fantasy: The Running Back by Committee. in 2017 Jones made up 21% of the total rush attempts for Green Bay, second to Jamaal Williams at 40%. Oddly, he rushed for 5.5 Y/C compared to Williams’ 3.6, and both had 4 rushing TDs. Jones is back from a suspension and has the confidence of Aaron Rodgers. He’s also picked up right where he left off posting 6.3 Y/C and 1 score on just 17 carries. Rodgers said they have to find a way to get him involved. Still, he has just 1 more carry than Williams since his return. Snap counts in week 4 were 38%/37% in Jones’ favor, and 43%/25% in Williams’ favor week 3. Hopefully, this trend continues, and they give the bulk of the workload to the guy who’s proven the more efficient runner.
Similar to New England, the Green Bay backfield can be a headache to predict. Jones has a higher Y/C, Y/R, RAC, and more fantasy points than Williams in weeks 3 and 4 so I hope we see more of him. He’s owned in 55% of ESPN leagues, and the Packers play Detroit this week, the 3rd worst defense in allowing fantasy points to the RB position.
Head coach Pete Carrol said Mike Davis will still find a role in the running back “rotation” when Chris Carson returns to play the Rams. That’s one, two, three running backs splitting the workload, with two of them posting back-to-back monster games. Mike Davis rushed 21 times for 101 yards and two scores in week 4. Chris Carson posted 102 yards and one score on 32 carries in week 3. In both of those games combined Rashaad Penny had 12 carries, 54 yards, no scores, and no passing targets. It would be nice to assume either Carson or Davis will take over, but Carrol said the word rotation. And we hate that. In either case, Penny has seen the fewest carries per game of these backs. He’s averaging 4.25 fantasy PPG in PPR. This all sucks, and the 48.5% of people who own him are devastated. We expected him to be a feature back after the ‘Hawks spent a first round pick on him, but he’s been anything but.
Seattle is in the bottom third of teams in points scored, play the Rams in week 5, and have a bye in week 7. Things don’t seem to be looking up. I wouldn’t drop him just yet, but if he continues to be overshadowed in the next game or two, it’ll be time to cut ties.
Howard has a plethora of issues coming his way. He has an MCL sprain, a bye in week 5, and Jameis Winston as the starting QB who has a clear and steady rapport with fellow tight end Cameron Brate. Howard has managed the TE 9 through 4 weeks, hauling in 11 receptions for 222 yards and one score. However, when Jameis is sidelined Howard sees a 178% increase in fantasy PPG, a 157% increase in targets, and a 200% increase in targets per Rotoviz. I want no part of that now that Jameis has been officially named the starter by HC Dirk Koetter for week 6 in Atlanta. His MCL sprain could keep him out 4 weeks, or 3 games counting the bye. In this horrific tight end fantasy market, Brate should be a must-grab on waivers and a must-start when the Bucs take the field again. Ownership is 78%/11% in favor of Howard, and expect that to shift. Brate could be an add this week if you have a roster spot to burn, or if you’re in a FAAB league you can make a sound bid after week 5.
Much like O.J. Howard, Jimmy Garoppolo and an injury have badly hurt Goodwin’s fantasy relevance. Goodwin missed most of week 1 and all of week 2 with a thigh injury. Now he has a hamstring injury nagging him which isn’t good (see Fournette above.) Additionally, franchise QB Jimmy G. is out for the season with a knee injury. In the 8 games, Garoppolo started for the 49’ers in 2017 and 2018 Goodwin saw 1.3 more targets and more than double the receptions than games without Garoppolo. Add this in with a lingering injury and generally poor performance thus far and Goodwin has been a bust for those who sought value in his 5th round ADP. Altogether he has just a 5-54-1 receiving line and 9 targets. Goodwin is currently questionable for week 5 and even so, Pierre Garcon should see a bump up in value, leaving Goodwin a bench candidate for the near future.
Thanks for reading the Risers and Fallers series again! I do want to apologize for my Case Keenum recommendation. Week 1 was his only viable start, where he still threw 3 INTs. He hasn’t found his stride since. We’re in this together, and week 5 will be glorious!