What a week it was for the passers of the league. Points galore, with 12 teams over 30 points, including four in the 40s, with the highest scoring offense in the league still to play. That means fantasy points galore, especially for you PPR folks out there! Let’s dive into who performed the best this week.
Players who Balled Out this Weekend
Quarterbacks. All of them. Well, not all of them, of course. But dang did we see some QB points. Seven, that’s right, seven QBs went off for over 30 points (in 4 point per passing TD scoring). Another seven eclipsed 20. And another nine finished with double digits, (though five of those were under 15 points). That’s 23 QBs finishing with respectable to great fantasy production. And we still have Patty Mahomes and Case Keenum playing tonight. So, who stood out among the signal callers on Sunday?
The young guys on waivers… mostly. Mitch Trubisky led the way with his six touchdown passes, followed by a five TD effort from Jared Goff. Andrew Luck’s massive four TD, 464 yard day was just one yard behind Goff’s 465. Three other QBs hit the 400 yard mark, including Kirk Cousins (422 w/ 3 TDs), Derek Carr (437, 4 TDs, 2 INTs), and Matt Ryan (419, 3 TD, and only the QB8 on the day). When 419 and 3 TDs only carry you to an 8th place ranking, you know the ball was humming.
Who bummed you out? The “studs” from preseason were a let-down yesterday. Tom Brady was QB15, Aaron Rodgers came in at QB18, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees were down in the 20s. Only Deshaun Watson thrived among the loftier picks, (with Cam Newton on a bye). Definitely a strong week for the “Late Round QB” crowd.
Any of those key performers worth a look on waivers? Not to get ahead of the waiver wire news coming later this week, but if I need QB help, I would be looking at one of the top 10 finishers from this week: Andy Dalton. Owned in about 55-60% of leagues (ESPN at 53%, Yahoo at 62%), Dalton has a fabulous schedule the next 5 or so weeks. He gets Pittsburgh, KC, Tampa, and New Orleans as four of his next five match-ups… all games where he should be a plus opportunity QB. I won’t leak any other names, as not to steal the thunder, but keep your eyes on the Red Rocket.
It’s become a weekly trend through four weeks, Alvin Kamara is good. For the 3rd time in that span, Kamara finished as the number one running back (in PPR). His lone week not at the top was a disappointing 10th place finish with only 17 points. Pacing the league with 95 PPR points through four weeks, Kamara his simply been phenomenal. Is he the next coming of Ladainian Tomlinson or is this simply volume winning out with Mark Ingram on suspension (until now, that is). Todd Gurley also continued to roll. The RB2 in fantasy this season, Gurley also has yet to let down his owners. Unlike Kamara, Gurley has been a bit less boom, but with a higher floor. He’s reached at least 23 fantasy points in every game, exactly what you’re looking for from your first-round pick. I also see little reason to think that won’t continue.
Other week 4 winners? Ezekiel Elliott rewarded investors with a 34-point game. James White, Melvin Gordon, and Tarik Cohen all tallied 30 plus PPR points, as well. The biggest surprise came in at RB6, the veteran Seattle back, Mike Davis. Davis snagged the lead back role late in the day, with Chris Carson a late scratch. Rashaad Penny was presumed to be the guy, and all the Penny truthers were out in full force Sunday afternoon… until the games started, and the (0.1% owned) Davis toted the rock 21 times, for 2 scores, and over 100 yards on the ground (to go with 4 catches for another 23 yards). Davis shouldn’t retain this same value, so don’t go snagging him on the wire. The top 10 was rounded out by Gurley, and a trio of recent waiver wire adds: Nyheim Hines, Gio Bernard, & T.J. Yeldon, all with over 23 fantasy points.
Unlike the RB position, the WR slate was a bit chalkier, though as usual, many WR3/4 type guys went off for WR1 numbers. Our top ten features DeAndre Hopkins (3rd with 32 points), Julio Jones (8th with 26 pts and ahead of fellow receiver Ridley who was 15th at 21 points). Remember, #NeverJulio is about touchdowns, and it’s for those who don’t understand Julio’s immense value.
The top performer of the week at the WR spot came from the Thursday slate, where Cooper Kupp snagged 2 TDs and went for 162 yards on 9 catches. Kupp was one reception shy of Hopkins, and one ahead of #2 WR on the week, Golden Tate, the showboat king. Four other receivers finished with double digit catches, including Sterling Shepard, Stefon Diggs, Keke Coutee, and Tyler Boyd. One name in there isn’t like the others. I’ll let you tell me which.
A favorite of my buy low list, Corey Davis finally put up the numbers we were hoping for, partly thanks to a last-minute touchdown catch that pushed him from the 20s to the 30s in terms of points. Davis was a target of mine in trades, but he was also out there on a few fantasy waiver wires after failing to reach the end zone in the first three weeks. If you’re in one of those 22% of ESPN leagues where he’s available, go get him.
Rounding out the top ten for Receivers were Taylor Gabriel (5th, and the final WR to eclipse 30 points). Adam Thielen, Amari Cooper (sell him while you can?), Brandin Cooks, and Alshon Jeffrey (that’s what you were waiting for) all put up strong numbers, with either a touchdown or 100 yards to their credit. One other name to watch? John Brown put up another top 20 week. Buy him if you can. Sell him if you can. He’s an interesting one.
It’s the Jared Cook show. We all knew that was going to be the case, right? Of course, we did. Cook went off for another 110 yards on 13 targets, and he found the end zone twice. Derek Carr certainly has an eye for the 6’5” target, and why shouldn’t he? Cook is off to an amazing start to the season and seems poised to retain this role throughout the year. That said, he was on my Sell High list last week, and I think he’ll find his way there again. I don’t trust him to make it all season… but it’s your team, your call.
George Kittle kept up his roller coaster start, notching 125 yards on 6 catches, including a long TD catch and run in this one. I disappointingly let him go this week in favor of O.J. Howard, so it will be back to the wire again this week. Zach Ertz continued his strong play, and he paced the position in targets (netting another 14 looks in Carson Wentz’s second game back). What’s more interesting is that Ertz was the only TE in the top 12 that failed to reach the end zone. This both shows Ertz’s great fantasy floor, but also the volatility of the position, as touchdowns are truly king. Fourth on the list was the other TE I dropped in favor of O.J. Howard, Trey Burton. buoyed by a long TD, Burton only had four targets and two catches. I am less salty about this drop than Kittle, as C.J. Beathard really appears to be targeting the shorter passes, (San Francisco’s RBs and TEs can rejoice). Tight ends Geoff Swaim, Darren Fells, Cameron Brate (benefited from OJ’s exit), Jimmy Graham, and Antonio Gates all hit pay dirt, and thus fit into the top ten. This position continues to be a trash pile. Oh, don’t forget about Gronk… who netted just 44 yards on 4 catches. The paltry 8.4 points puts him outside the top 12 at the position for the third straight week. You’d have to go back to his rookie season to find another similar streak. Morale of the story? Buy Rob Gronkowski this week.
So that’s who crushed it… I’m not going into the losers, because I own too many of them and it makes me sad. But just for fun, here’s who really lost you your games:
- Dalvin Cook – you probably shouldn’t have played him, but I did, and he cost me a win. Leonard Fournette was a similar hindrance to owners who trusted him.
- OJ Howard – entering the week as TE4, Howard was injured early and didn’t earn a single point. Per Adam Schefter this morning, OJ is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. Sad face. (Not as sad is Tyler Eifert’s face though).
- All the Bills – #GoPackGo
- James Conner let people down with just 8 points… he’s no Le’Veon Bell.
- Jordan Howard earned just 3 points in a great matchup, with game script in his favor. Huge bummer.
- Michael Thomas and Drew Brees. They can’t go off every week. Thomas remains the WR1 despite a 4 catch, 47-yard day. Four targets aren’t enough.
Many of these under-performers will make my Buy Low list later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that on Thursday.
Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@MillerBadger) what your thoughts are on the fourth week of the season. Who let you down? Who saved you?
And as always, tell your friends… or don’t.