Week 4 has come and gone and the scoring bonanza continues. Record setting scoring, in fact. It’s a good year for fantasy football. If your team isn’t sharing in the fantasy points explosion, maybe you should pay more attention to this series. We are coming off a pretty good week, after all. Unlike a certain QB who we will not show a picture of this week.
Let’s take a look at our predictions for last week.
Week 4 Starts: Tyler Boyd, Jimmy Graham, David Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Austin Ekeler
Boyd just keeps on chugging, this time posting an 11/100 line. He’s reaching the territory of being a weekly start, so we may not be covering him for much longer. Graham may not have been as productive as hoped, but he still posted a touchdown so he was a good start for those who did play him. DJ finally had something of a breakthrough, posting over 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time this year to go along with a touchdown. Hyde put up yet another touchdown to go with his 82 yards, though rookie Nick Chubb may be cutting into Hyde’s production soon. Ekeler put up a season low in yardage, but that still means over 50 yards and a touchdown. Certainly respectable.
All 5 start picks were successful to varying degrees, but all 5 were good picks. Perfect week on starts!
Week 4 Fades: Todd Gurley, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones
Well, Gurley’s no Kamara in terms of fantasy explosions so far this year but I don’t think his owners are complaining about the consistent 20+ point outings. Chalk up another 150 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, along with a lesson for me to stop betting against him. Golladay and Jones were much better picks for this section. Golladay didn’t do terribly at 4/74/0, but that’s well below what he has been doing so far this season. Jones’s 3/56/0 line wasn’t pretty either. In the immortal words of Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad.
So with last week’s review out of the way, let’s jump into this week’s starts and sits.
Shepard started the season off a little slow, but has now had 2 good weeks in a row, posting a 16/157/2 line combined. There’s a good chance he makes that 3 in a row against the Panthers. Before the Panthers’ bye last week, they faced the Falcons and Bengals in consecutive weeks. In those games, Julio Jones and A. J. Green combined for a 10/122/0 line while slot receivers Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd posted a whopping 10/196/2 line. In other words, they do well against outside receivers and not so well against the slot. The Panthers are also weak against tight ends, but with Evan Engram out Shepard is likely to see most of those targets. Expect a good week out of Shepard, especially in PPR.
Last call for the Jones hype train before it leaves the station! Jones’s week 3 debut was low usage, but last week he was given more chances and showed some flashes against a surprisingly tough Bills run D. Consider this week’s game his coming out party. No team has allowed more rushing yards than Detroit, and if Jones’s usage continues to rise then he could easily be the top scoring RB of the week. Detroit’s secondary is actually pretty solid and the Packers’ receiving corps is banged up at the moment, so the additional touches are a distinct possibility.
Vance largely flew under the radar to start the season as he was injured coming in. He didn’t make his debut until week 2, but since starting for the first time this season in week 3 he’s put up 9/174/1. Next up is a banged up Atlanta secondary that has been beat by Ben Watson and Tyler Eifert in consecutive weeks. Both teams have juggernaut offenses and struggling defenses so this will likely turn into a shootout, giving McDonald plenty of opportunities.
Let me be clear; the Texans will score points and gain yardage against the Cowboys. Dallas will not receive high marks for holding down the Houston offense. That’s not why Dallas is listed here. The reason they’re listed here is because the Cowboys’ defense has found its pass rush. Given the turnstile that Houston calls an offensive line, that Dallas pass rush should be in Deshaun Watson’s face all day. Sacks are the surest way to points for defenses in fantasy. But that’s not all; that pressure will force Watson into making poor throws, something Dallas’ suddenly potent secondary is poised to take advantage of. Dallas may allow points and yards in this contest, but they should register several sacks and turnovers as well. That’s a recipe for a surprising fantasy success.
Odell Beckham, Jr.
As you may have suspected from the Sterling Shepard blurb up in the “Start” section, don’t expect OBJ to put your fantasy team on his back this week. Carolina has done surprisingly well against fellow premier receivers Julio Jones and A. J. Green this season, and Eli Manning has already shown some skittishness about testing opponents downfield. Facing another tough pass rush in Carolina isn’t going to make him feel more comfortable. OBJ looks likely to be in for a slow afternoon.
Injury aside, Ajayi has had a decent start to the season as he’s piled up 3 touchdowns in as many games he’s played in. I wouldn’t expect that to continue this week. Outside of a dismantling at the hands of the Rams, Minnesota’s run D has been pretty stout all season (and to be fair, Gurley’s ground production was limited compared to Goff’s work through the air). The Eagles may be able to take to the air successfully against a disappointing Viking defense, but don’t expect the ground game to find similar success.
After 3 games Thomas was on track to blow away the NFL record for single-season receptions. This week figures to be more like last week; rather disappointing compared to his hot start. The Redskins defense is #3 in the league in terms of passing yards allowed per game, which is no small feat when you consider that 2 of their games have come against the Colts and Packers. Thomas is still worth starting as the primary target in a potent passing game, but he will not be carrying your team this week.