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*The Top 5 Trade For/Away, Waivers, etc. will post later today or more likely tomorrow morning.
For now, here's the instant reaction to Week 4 Sunday, subject to change when I go through the tape fully a second time…
-- The slow Tom Brady (20-38 for 257 yards, 2 TD/1 INT) fade is upon us. He’s starting to noticeably over and underthrow open receivers more than ever (but he’s still really, really good). He’s had some pretty favorable matchups the past three weeks and posted a solid-but-not-special 2-1-2 for passing TDs. Solid results, but for the number of times he’s throwing in games, considering the opponents...you expect much more. Why mention this? His shoulder may be worse off than we know… or this is the last hurrah with Father Time finally catching up to him. Make sure you have a backup plan this season, and don’t expect magic into 2018 in dynasty and keeper leagues. Jimmy Garoppolo as your QB2 with Brady in redraft 2017 is smart. Just use a third QB for the NE BYE week.
-- The Brandin Cooks (6-93-0/9)-Brady connection keeps inching forward. When the TDs start happening with the growing catches and yards… Cooks is going to be a very solid WR1 ROS.
-- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (8-46-1/11) is averaging 5.8 catches per game in his 4 games back in action this season. Some of this is solid work by ASJ and some of it is being pushed by him facing mostly defenses weak against the TE. Use him for all he’s worth, but his numbers will probably start to dip a bit starting Week 9… there’s a big turn in the schedule from Week 9 on.
-- I’ve seen enough. Jay Gruden cares little for Samaje Perine (-23-0, 3-24-1/3). He scored a TD this week so use that event to trade him this week if anyone is a decent buyer… a Rob Kelley holder would have interest in a pairing, potentially. I don’t see a 2017 takeover in the cards for Perine. Chris Thompson (16-33-0, 4-105-0/4) took the majority of carries and Mack Brown (2-2-0, 1-11-0/1) was getting work too. This has become one of the most disappointing, depressing things to watch...the dismissal of Perine. Washington hasn’t been able to control the ball with the run for 2+ years, and Perine is not being groomed or given any confidence to become that solution.
-- Is C.J. Beathard (19-36 for 245 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) anything for fantasy ahead? No. You’ll hear a bunch of “Kyle Shanahan says he reminds him of young Kirk Cousins…” but Cousins was a flop under the Shanahan clan; Sean McVay saved/created him.
-- So much for the Matt Breida (4-21-0, 2-15-0/4)-takeover-for-Carlos Hyde hysteria. I bought into it because I think Kyle Shanahan is that arrogant. The 49ers have to be trading Hyde any week now. Hold Breida cards cheap if you can.
-- This was the perfect game for John Fox—54 rushing attempts and 17 passes. This is why you can’t buy into Mitchell Trubisky (8-16 for 113, 1 TD/0 INT, 4-32-0) 2017 until you see a matchup where the Bears are likely to be chasing/down a bunch and throwing quite a bit. Good luck guessing that.
-- Because the Bears won’t commit to the forward pass, it’s hard to trust Zach Miller (2-25-1/3) or Tarik Cohen (14-32-0, 1-14-0/3)… until they’re forced into a heavy pass situation. They should be down/losing against CAR-NO the next two weeks.
-- The only passing game worse than the Bears is probably the Ravens. There’s nothing about this Baltimore offense to gamble on. Not RBs, WRs, or at TE. No, Chris Moore (3-44-0/7) is not worth anything in fantasy.
-- Kevin Hogan (20-37 for 140 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs, 5-36-0) got his opportunity… and blew it. He overthrew guys all day. Any hope of a spark or a fantasy viable player is out the window. The Browns have no receivers and no one is ever open and the defenses look like they know every play about to be called. Hogan looked jumpy, and Hue will use any excuse to jam Kizer back in.
-- Duke Johnson (5-40-0, 3-0-0/5) may hit the waiver wire in some leagues. I’m thinking that if DeShone Kizer returns to start, Duke is an RB1.5 in PPR. He’s an RB3 with Hogan.
-- Defenses still look like they’ve never seen “The Spread” offense that Deshaun Watson is running. Either that or Watson is the Michael Jordan of football. It’s working, no reason to doubt it for fantasy. I want to see what happens against tougher defenses. KC squashed him until garbage time, really. The Browns and Patriots have horrid pass defenses, and Watson crushed them. There’s reason to be skeptical.
-- I want to believe in the Falcons DST as a deep sleeper due to schedule but they’ve been just mediocre in the past two weeks with schedule gifts (23 points allowed to BUF in a loss and 20 here in the loss to MIA). If you like them over Tampa Bay… they have them coming up Weeks 12 and 15. Week 8 they play the Jets. Week 11 vs. Seattle. I think those are good matchups but I’m starting to wonder if Atlanta is up to the task.
-- After two targets in each of his first three games, Austin Hooper (7-48-0/9) has 9 and 7 targets the past two games. New O-C…and things are shifting a bit to the TE. I’m not high on Hooper but just pointing out the trend for anyone in deep need at TE. He has a favorable matchup with the Patriots next week.
-- Jarvis Landry (8-62-0/14) numbers this season: 7.6 rec., 54.4 yards, and 0.4 TDs per game… clearly, Jay Cutler’s “guy.”
-- Marvin Jones (6-96-1/14) has come back from the dead the past two weeks: Six catches in each game, averaging 6.0 rec. (11.0 targets), 75.0 yards, and 0.5 TDs per game Weeks 5-6. He’s noticeably looked more confident/more searched for by Stafford the past two weeks. Could be a blip but the trend sticks out.
-- I’m just saying… about this Saints defense I keep sticking up for: 2 defensive TDs, 38 points allowed, but really only 24 to the opposing offense, and much of that with a big lead they were trying to sit on. Hundley, John Fox, Winston, Tyrod the next four weeks. Useable in deeper leagues/BYE weeks?
-- Everyone thought no AP would unlock Alvin Kamara (10-75-0, 4-12-0/4)… nope, welcome back to the lead dog, Mark Ingram (25-114-2, 5-36-0/5).
-- I’ll need to watch the tape to see what I see, but even though I’m a Brett Hundley (18-33 for 157 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs) fan from back in the day… he’s not been with the first team or been taken seriously for years. He’s never seemed totally comfortable running the Green Bay offense. He’d be a neat spread offense QB, but that will NOT happen here. I don’t feel giddy about Hundley in general as a Packer, but maybe I’ll see more hope on tape.
-- Hundley (or whomever) at QB for Green Bay ahead... it slices into Jordy-Adams-Cobb. Adams may be the one that holds more of his PPR value as Hundley seems to have some connection with him based on the live watch of this game.
-- I love Adam Thielen (9-97-0/13), but if for some reason your redraft season is in peril, coming off his nice game here… if you need to trade this asset hot because you’re in need elsewhere… hey, this was a big game against a terrible pass defense missing several DBs (again). The schedule from Week 9 on is not great but looks more daunting if Case Keenum is your on-going QB.
If you think Teddy Bridgewater walks in after 1.5+ years off of football, into a Jeff Fisher-esque offense, and fantasy-matters… sorry you think that. They want Sam Bradford to work, but then they like Keenum too. They won’t push Bridgewater over Keenum, considering the rust factor. Keenum is a Jeff Fisher offensive mind’s wet dream…so he’s beloved by Mike Zimmer.
-- Playing the Arizona WRs… always start Larry Fitzgerald (10-138-1/11), and never try to guess when the Browns and Nelsons have a decent week. They NEVER have consistent performances weekly, except for sometimes Fitzgerald.
-- Adrian Peterson (26-134-1/11) was bound to be Bruce Arians’ ultimate dream RB. Good matchups ahead. I would mostly trust this until given reason not to.
-- Most of us thought Cameron Brate (6-76-1/8) would be fantasy useless because O.J. Howard (1-15-0/3) would be such a presence. OJH is a blocking tight end for this team, and Brate is arguably the top end zone look… bigger than Mike Evans (3-95-1/8). Brate has a TD in four straight games. Brate is a strong TE1. Not just a TE1… a strong one. Amazing.
-- Crucial divisional game with Indy next week for the Jags. If Leonard Fournette cannot go, Chris Ivory (2-3-0, 9-74-1/10) becomes an amazing one-week rental. Great matchup and the Jags are certainly committed to the run. I think Corey Grant might see some action in that as well.
-- Considering the defense, I thought Jared Goff (11-21 for 124 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) showed why he’s a future (and the future is now) great QB in this league… the next Brady. He was smart all game and wasn’t helped much by a few drops. The Rams got ahead and played it smart, safe.
-- I’ve been pushing the Rams DST as a sleeper for weeks, and here they are: a return score and a defensive score against the Jags. Next four games: ARI-BYE-NYG-HOU-MIN… a mix of weak offensive lines, mediocre QBs, poor offensive plans, and a rookie QB yet to face top-flight defense. Besides Week 8 (BYE) and 12 (NO), the Rams DST has some use every week the rest of the season potentially. This is a defense that should continue improving as the season goes on.
-- Philip Rivers threw the ball 36 times and 21 of those passes (58.3%) went to either Keenan Allen or Melvin Gordon…and Gordon also took 25 carries (for his typical 3.3 ypc). No matter what happens this offense is all about Rivers to Allen or Gordon plus Gordon taking every carry. Everyone else fights for crumbs. Don’t waste time on Tyrell Williams or Mike Williams or Hunter Henry until a QB change happens or coaching change occurs…years from now…or if Allen-Gordon gets hurt.
-- The Derek Carr (21-30 for 171 yards, 1 TD/2 INT) as the next Aaron Rodgers talk may need to take a breather. In his last three games, Carr has thrown 3 TDs/4 INTs. He’s averaging 184.8 yards passing per game this season, with a season-high of 262 yards. His last three games have all been under 200 yards passing. He’s under 265 yards passing his last 8 games going back to 2016.
-- Our computer models like the internals of the Chargers…a sleeper DST ahead for fantasy. Weeks 10-16 there is some streaming usage. JAX-BUF-DAL-CLE-WAS-KC-NYJ… 3-4 plum matchups in there. The Chargers have a top pass defense and an awful run defense, so keep that in mind when your QB faces them… less than 200 yards passing per game allowed after six weeks.
-- Kareem Hunt’s (9-21-0, 5-89-0/6) last three weeks of rushing performance? 59 carries for 229 yards… 3.9 yards per carry. No TDs either. The bloom is coming off this rose, as I suspected. The injured O-Line isn’t helping.
-- I was wondering how the Steelers DST would fare in their first real test of 2017, and the answer is “Pretty, pretty good.” They squashed the Chiefs offense most of this game. With Aaron Rodgers going down (PIT vs. GB Week 12)… this schedule is gold the rest of 2017, except New England Week 15, and that’s not as daunting as it used to be.
-- Tyreek Hill (5-34-0/7) not enough touches…again. It’s not a bad touch count just not what you’d expect from a star. Consider that the Chiefs barely completed a pass for 3+ quarters, and then on the final drive…Tyrek got banged up on the punt return and missed out on all the easy stuff for two minutes. I won’t say “All is well” but I am a buyer at lower levels wherever I don’t own him. 3 TDs in 6 games, and 5.0 catches per game. I am getting close to what I wanted, but the big plays have dried up of late… they’ll return.
Guess how many yards receiving per game Hill is behind DeAndre Hopkins?
Trick question, he isn’t. Hill has more receiving yards per game, 65.0 to 63.3. Hopkins has the sweet TDs… some of them fortunate game situations… but still. Hill is doing well/fine and just needs to pop us a couple TDs and he’s a top 5 fantasy WR standard and PPR. I know it pains us to watch him get underutilized but he doesn’t need a ton of touches to make magic.
-- This is exactly what I wanted to see from Evan Engram (5-82-1/7). The Giants treated him as a weapon in their time of crisis. Engram had more targets than all the NYG WRs combined (7-6).
-- If Emmanuel Sanders (5-76-0/8) is seriously injured then Jordan Taylor (3-26-0/4) is a serious sleeper—the Jordy Nelson of the Broncos.
-- I thought Brandon McManus could be a decent pickup coming off his BYE week, a guy to maybe run for the ROS... but while he was a top kicker last year, he cannot shake trouble this year. He shanked one short FG attempt in this game and had another blocked. What a fall from grace in less than a year.