With a quarter of the season now in the books (already?) us fantasy owners have a much clearer image of who our starting lineup will consist of come game day. While that is true, the unpredictability in the NFL remains and there is no sure thing on a week-to-week basis. Some guys may come out of nowhere and have a tremendous fantasy performance, whereas some guys will post a donut despite the high fantasy rankings throughout the week.
Here are some guys to keep your eye on as a potential addition to your fantasy team, along with some guys to get rid of stat.
RB, Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams
There are many reasons why the Rams selected Todd Gurley with a top 10 pick this past NFL Draft. After sitting out the first two games, he came on in week 3 and posted a horrid performance in his NFL debut. He bounced back in a big way this week against a good Arizona defense rushing for 146 yards while posting 7.7 yards per rush. Gurley proved that he is a real deal and we are in for a treat this season, he will compete for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Gurley is a great option as an RB2 from here on out as Jeff Fisher will look to get him as many carries as possible.
RB, Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
C.J. Anderson has been one of the many major disappointments in fantasy football this year, and Ronnie Hillman has taken full advantage. In week 4, the backfield tandem both received 11 carries, but Hillman out-rushed Anderson by a wide margin, thanks to his 72-yard TD run. While his numbers can be skewed because of the one large run, Hillman has scored in consecutive weeks and is the leading rusher for the Broncos despite less carries. As the season goes on, Hillman will continue to steal carries from Anderson and ease his way into the #1 RB on the team. Definitely worth a start next week.
RB, Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
Another rookie running back appears on the list heading into week 5, but for a different reason. Duke Johnson wasn’t as high of a draft pick as Gurley, and doesn’t have as much natural ability, but the 3rd round pick out of Miami had a tremendous week 4, especially in the passing game. Johnson showed a spark for Cleveland and led all RBs this past week with 85 passing yards with a TD. In the past two weeks he has 15 catches. His impact in the running game hasn’t been felt, but his playmaking ability he has flashed should buy him more carries, especially since Isaiah Crowell isn’t an ideal #1 RB. Johnson is definitely a guy to monitor and could serve as a good FLEX in deeper leagues.
WR, Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
After appearing on the ‘Fallers’ side of my list following his underwhelming debut in week 1, Amari Cooper has gone off with back-to-back 100 yard performances with 2 TDs in 3 games. Cooper has emerged as the top target for the up and coming Derek Carr and will continue to produce on a week-to-week basis. His production wasn’t anything to note in week 4, but he did come out with a TD and 10 fantasy points. I’ll even go as far as saying Cooper finishes as a top 10 fantasy WR at the end of the year. The 3rd rookie to appear on the list this week.
TE, Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Finally, the Pro Bowler from last year has made some sort of impact. The prized fantasy TE was ranked in the top 5 at the position heading into the season, but has disappointed through the first few weeks. Bennett clearly benefited from the return of Jay Cutler as he went for a season-high 83 receiving yards with his 2nd TD of the season. The most staggering stat from week 4 was his 11 catches on 13 targets. If Alshon Jeffery continues to miss games, Bennett will remain Cutler’s top weapon and will continue to produce weeks like this.
QB, Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
What a disappointment Ryan Tannehill has been, my bold prediction of him finishing as a top 5 fantasy QB sure hasn’t panned out. His play has been a symbol of the overall Miami Dolphins’ struggles this season. It seems like he gets worse and worse every week. The past two weeks Tannehill has completed less than 50% of his passes with 5 interceptions and a COMBINED QBR of 24.7 in those two games. Hopefully he wasn’t your top QB heading into the season. Even if he has a good game in week 5, he is far too inconsistent to start until he proves otherwise.
RB, Arian Foster, Houston Texans
The long awaited return of Arian Foster wasn’t what many had expected. One of the most consistent fantasy producers came away with only 1.5 fantasy points in his season debut which included a lost fumble. With guys like Alfred Blue and Chris Polk also in the backfield, Foster isn’t guaranteed the amount of carries from a week-to-week basis that you may think he deserves. For those of you that have stashed him on your bench, I still support the move and think he will have some great games this season. However, it may be later than we think.
RB, Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
Taking the league by storm with his week 1 performance where he rushed for 168 yards and 2 TDs was Carlos Hyde. It looked like the heir to Frank Gore may even be better. Since then Hyde has rushed for less in the next 3 games than he did in week 1. He has only 114 rushing yards from weeks 2-4 with no TDs. Hyde has suffered from a porous 49ers offense and it doesn’t look like he will have anymore performances like he did in his season debut.
WR, Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
I was a little skeptic regarding the Brandin Cooks hype entering the season. As it has played out, he hasn’t been a reliable fantasy option and his breakout season which was expected hasn’t happened. Cooks is still without a TD this year and hasn’t exceeded 80 yards in a game, or more than 8 targets. Instead, Drew Brees has favored guys like Marques Colston, Willie Snead (keep an eye on him) and even Mark Ingram has more targets. I can see Cooks having 1 or 2 big games this year, but a questionable FLEX start from here on out.
WR, Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
Of the Cardinals receivers entering the year, Michael Floyd was the one poised for a breakout season. In 3 games he has only 89 receiving yards which ranks 5th on the team. This past week he came on a bit with 5 catches and 59 yards, the only time he has caught more than one pass in a game this season. Floyd hasn’t benefited from Carson Palmer’s success throwing the ball so far this season and Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown both double his targets this season.