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Monday, October 3, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 4 WRAPUP

-While Chris Ivory is back in action, T.J. Yeldon still managed a big game in London early Sunday as he rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries, while also catching 4 passes for 46 more yards.  Ivory was the goal-line back as expected but at least for now it looks like Yeldon will be getting more carries.  He can carry low-end RB 2 value in PPR formats.

-Blake Bortles had been the epitome of inconsistent the first three weeks of the season but all it took was the awful Indianapolis Colts defense to get him on track Sunday as he completed 19-of-33 passes for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also picked up a third score on the ground which was a nice comeback from the earlier ugly numbers.  We said prior to the start of the season that Bortles was going to come back a bit on his ultra-garbage time numbers from a year ago but he still can be streamed in the right matchup.

-With Jacoby Brissett starting again for the New England Patriots Sunday, it was expected that RB LeGarrette Blount would have another big day after he went over the 100 yard rushing mark in two of the first three games of the season.  Well that did not happen as the resurgent Rex Ryan defense held Blount to just 54 yards on 13 carries, while also chipping in 3 catches for another 4 yards.  In other words, it was a very disappointing day for Blount who got neither the volume nor the results.

-An already frustrating season due to two missed games with injury is somehow getting worse for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.  After failing to catch a pass in his debut last week, Gronk caught just one ball for 11 yards Sunday in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.  That makes it just three throws heading toward Gronkowski the last two weeks and so no one needs Tom Brady to return more than this guy. Ultimately once Brady is back, Gronk should be fine.  That is unless he is hiding an injury.

-It was a very successful debut for Chicago Bears rookie RB Jordan Howard Sunday as he picked up 111 yards on the ground on 23 carries while also chipping in with 3 catches for 21 more yards.  Howard was downright terrific and we hopefully will never see the overmatched Jeremy Langford again.  In fact if John Fox wants to keep his job, he better not even think of using a committee when Langford gets healthy.  Howard looks like a real gem and a guy who could be one of those major in-season pickups who can help you get very far in your league.

-While he threw another interception, it was an overall big day for Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins who completed 21-of-27 passes for 183 yards and 3 touchdowns on the day.  Cousins has gotten hot the last two weeks with five total passing scores and the Redskins continue to throw it all game long.  The biggest key here is that Cousins finally started looking for tight end Jordan Reed in the red zone and the two connected for two scores.  I told you to stay patient with Cousins and that patience is now paying off.

-It was almost unfathomable to process how Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 300!!!!!!!!!!!!! yards and a touchdown Sunday.  The Atlanta Falcons passing attack is by far the most potent in the NLF right now and Jones was the main beneficiary Sunday.  Thee Carolina Panthers defense was a joke throughout the game and has no answer for Jones.  While no one doubted Jones' ability his quiet game in Week 3 was at least somewhat concerning as he was dealing with some nagging injuries.  Clearly there are no such concerns anymore.  Just to put things in perspective, Jones scored 48 points in the Experts PPR league.

-Going along for the Julio Jones ride was QB Matt Ryan who completed 28-of-37 throws for 503 yards and 4 scores.  The only negative was an interception returned for a touchdown but that is the ultimate nitpick.  I don't need to remind you all how much love I have had in this space for Ryan over the years as I owned him in the Experts League every year from 2012-2015.  The guy always came cheaper then he should have and that was especially true in 2016.  The narrative was all wrong on Ryan coming into the year as yes his TD numbers were down and his picks were up last season but that was due to arguably operating behind the worst line in the game.  Also Ryan's yardage last season was excellent as always and so what he is doing now is no surprise here.  He is an every week guy again and right now an early candidate for being fantasy football MVP this season based on the numbers he has so far accumulated.

-With just two passing TD's the first three games of the season and dealing with an MCL injury, Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was performing way below expectations during the early portion of the schedule.  That was all remedied Sunday as Wilson was locked in from the start against the New York Jets by completing 23-of-32 passes for 309 yards and 3 scores.  This was a big sign that Wilson is not being inhibited by the knee and that he is now a safe choice to use going forward.  The Seahawks are off Week 5 which should Wilson some extra time to heal.

Fox' Jimmie Johnson made an interesting statement at the half of the Chicago Bears' victory over the Detroit Lions when he said that the team now firmly belonged to Brian Hoyer who played superbly in completing 28-of-36 passes for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns in the victory.  Hoyer spread the ball around to all the Chicago receivers and showed leadership in getting the team into play quickly and efficiently.  In other words, performing opposite of Jay Cutler.  It will be interesting to see what John Fox does here as Hoyer clearly gave the Bears a spark they sorely needed.  Also of note is that Hoyer threw a third touchdown in two games to tight end Zach Miller so the latter's value depends on if he continues to start.  On the flip side, Alshon Jeffery's big-play potential is hurt by the conservative Hoyer.  Lots of moving parts here.

-All Oakland Raiders widoeut Michael Crabtree does is........CATCH TOUCHDOWNS.  That was never more clear than on Sunday when he caught three scoring passes from QB Derek Carr.  For the game Crabtree caught 7 passes for 88 yards and the 3 scores.  Crabtree has been a stud every week of the fantasy football season thus far and is overshadowing Amari Cooper.  I myself own Crabtree and was not terribly excited to draft him but even I have to admit the guy has been money.

-You could not script a rougher two weeks for any QB in the history of the game then what the New York Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick has experienced during that span.  Just a week after tossing six interceptions in a meltdown of epic proportions to the Kansas City Chiefs, Fitzpatrick threw three more late in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.  9 inerceptions in two games is beyond a disgrace and Todd Bowles may now have a decision to make going forward with the Jets at 1-3.  Geno Smith is the backup which doesn't inspire any confidence but something has to be done here.  What is clear is that teh big 2015 that Fitzpatrick put forth has not carried over to 2016 and he should not be owned in any fantasy football league right now.

-It looks like the Baltimore Ravens might finally have a running back they can work with as Terrance West ran for 113 yards and a score on 21 carries in starting over benched veteran Justin Forsett.  While it came a few weeks later then we expected, West looked very good and he should be the clear guy to own going forward.  If West wasn't already picked up, he will likely be the top waiver add for this week.

-There is something going on with Detroit Lions wideout Golden Tate because there is no other logical reason why the former PPR darling has been as bad as he has played this season.  The low point came Sunday as he caught just one pass for one yard in the Lions' loss to the Chicago Bears and then was benched.  The benching was deserved as Tate has been a complete non-factor thus far.  Yes Marvin Jones has passed Tate to be the number 1 receiver in the offense but that doesn't explain the complete no-show performance this season.  While I still wouldn't drop him yet given the track record, Tate is really playing like a huge bust.

-Will Fuller got back on track for the Houston Texans on Sunday as the rookie made it three big games out of four by catching 7 passes for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Rising star CB Perrish Cox bottled up DeAndre Hopkins throughout the game which opened things up for Fuller and he is absolutely a must start every week going forward.

-The major comeback story that is Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray continue on Sunday as he rumbled for 95 yards and 2 scores on 25 carries, while also adding one catch for 14 more yards.  There has been no Derrick Henry to speak of in terms of any possible timeshare in the Tennessee backfield and Murray is back to his old Dallas Cowboys ways in terms of running straight up the field in a power manner and eating up yardage.  In fact Murray has been so good that he is on the border of RB 1 territory which is staggering when you look at how bad he was a year ago.

-We have seen a sizable step back in year two of the Marcus Mariota era in Tennessee as he completed just 12-of-28 passes for 192 yards with zero scores and 1 INT.  There is literally no offense outside of DeMarco Murray and so there is no way you can own Mariota right now.

-Matt Jones finally had that breakout game that many were waiting for on Sunday as he picked up 117 yards and a TD on 22 carries, while adding 2 catches for another 21 yards.  It was nice to see the Washington Redskins use Jones in a workhorse role and the second-year man responded.  While we won't guarantee this will continue, at least Jones is back in play as your RB 2.

-Steve Smith Sr. is not retired yet despite being a no-show leading into Sunday's game.  The Baltimore Ravens needed to play catch-up though and that allowed Smith to catch 8 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.  Mike Wallace is the clear number 1 wideout now in Baltimore though so we wouldn't own Smith as anything more than a bench guy.

-Finally the Redskins took advantage of the big advantage the offense has with tight end Jordan Reed on Sunday as he caught 9 passes for 73 yards and 2 scores.  It was crazy how Kirk Cousins was not looking Reed's way through the first three games of the season near the red zone but clearly there was an order by the coaching staff to do so this time around.  With Rob Gronwkowski off to a laughable start, you can argue that Reed and Greg Olsen will fight it out to be the top tight end in fantasy football this season.

-It was the seocnd straight 100-yard receiving game for Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham as he caught 6 passes for 113 yards.  The New York Jets defense could not stop Graham the entire game and it seems like the New Orleans version has finally showed up in Seattle.  If you were holding Graham on your bench leading into the last two weeks, it looks like the payoff has arrived.

-Well it looks like Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has found his comfort zone as he was a monster for the second week in a row in picking up 138 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown to go with one catch for 19 more yards.  While not much is happening in the receiving game, Elliott has been insanley good on the ground his last two games.  I have been a big critic of Elliott but the guy seems like he is finally in shape and ready to build on this stretch.

-The shootout that seemed certain in the New Orleans Saints-San Diego Chargers game came to fruition Sunday and QB Philip Rivers did his part for the latter in completing 28-of-43 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns with 1 INT.  It was another giveaway by the Chargers but Rivers is one again producing in a quiet manner.

-It was Dontrelle Inman's turn to lead the San Diego Chargers in receiving Sunday as he caught 7 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.  It was Inman and not Tyrell Williams who I originally said would be looking at a step up in targets once Keenan Allen went down but this did not happen right away.  I wouldn't run out to pick up Inman as Travis Benjamin and Williams are still likely going to get more looks going forward. 

-Welcome back Le'Veon Bell.  You have been missed.  It was a huge return for Bell Sunday night as he rushed for 144 yards on just 18 carries while also catching 5 passes for 34 more yards.  DeAngelo Williams got only 4 carries so Mike Tomlin immediately used Bell as a full workhorse.  He is the number 1 player in fantasy football when on the field and those who took advantage of the slight discount this summer in drafts (including me), will be looking at a very promising future this season.

-Matt Ryan has some company a the top of the QB charts in Week 4 as Ben Rothlisberger tossed 5 touchdowns Sunday night versus the Kansas City Chiefs.  Big Ben completed 22-of-27 passes for 300 yards and the 5 scores and he has fully fulfilled the preseason hype in terms of being a top tier fantasy football QB.

-More of the same from Antonio Brown Sunday night as he caught 4 passes for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Simply put, no one can stop Brown and what is really amazing is that the Steelers have arguably the top QB, RB, and wideout at their respective positions in 2016 fantasy football.

-John Brown had a big day for the Arizona Cardinals Sunday in catching 10 passes for 144 yards.  This followed Brown's no-show performance the first three weeks of the season where he was dropped in some leagues.  With Larry Fitzgerald slowing down a bit after a monster Week 1, Brown could be a good WR 3 option the rest of the season. 







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