News & Analysis

NFL fantasy football Week 4: Risers and fallers

By Dan Clasgens
Sep 25, 2018

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Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to our weekly look at the fantasy football stock market, where I take a look at players rising and falling entering Week 4 of the NFL season. Some of these might be sleepers and busts, some might be big names, but either way their value is on the move.

It was another wild and wacky week of fantasy football action filled with pleasant surprises, crazy upsets, and in some cases catastrophic injuries. So pretty much it was just a typical NFL Sunday.

With byes starting in the week ahead, now is the time to start moving on from disappointing players and making sure your depth chart is filled to its fullest. To aide you in your analysis of some recent performances here’s a look at some players on the rise, some sliding down and a couple to keep on the radar:

Rising up

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Brees set a new NFL record for career completions in a win at Atlanta, bypassing the previous mark of 6,300 completions set by Brett Favre. The Saints’ signal-caller finished the day with 396 yards and three passing touchdowns on 39-of-49 passing. He also uncharacteristically rushed for two scores, including his game-winning plunge from a yard out in overtime.

Through three games Brees is already sitting at 1,078 yards and 8 touchdowns. His 0.65 fantasy points per dropback puts him inside the top five in the league.

With Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games, New Orleans is passing more. Brees already has 129 passing attempts through three weeks, compared to 111 a year ago over the same span. Even with Ingram due back soon, Brees should continue to be an asset.

Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

It wasn’t the most efficient effort, but Carson offered a ton of fantasy production against the Cowboys. He out-touched fellow running back Rashaad Penny by a 34-3 margin, finishing with 32 carries for 102 yards and a score to go along with two catches for 22 yards.

Carson took advantage of Penny being sidelined after fumbling a handoff early in the game. He managed just 3.3 yards after contact but helped owners by scoring his first 2018 touchdown. Carson dealt with some fatigue last week but bounced back nicely in this contest.

The offensive line is a bigger concern than Penny pushing for time at this point to Carson’s fantasy value. Regardless, continue to view him as fringe top-25 fantasy running back until further notice.

Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Woods exploded in battle of LA as he pulled in 10 of his 11 targets for 104 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed three times for 13 yards. The Rams’ offense is clicking on all cylinders and the wideout is benefiting in a big way.

Through three games Woods has posted a 13.5-yard average depth of target and a solid 0.53 PPR points per opportunity. Goff has targeted Woods 27 times, that is three more times than Brandin Cooks (24) and nine more times than Cooper Kupp (18).

Los Angeles led the league with 29.6 points per game in 2017 and through three contests the team is putting 34 points per week on the scoreboard. With that type of firepower Woods will warrant weekly lineup consideration.

Sliding down

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

The overall numbers weren’t terrible for Rodgers in Sunday’s loss at Washington. He connected on 27 of 44 passes for 265 yard and a pair of touchdowns and even rushed twice for 13 yards. However, Rodgers simply isn’t passing the eyeball test.

He was clearly limited in his mobility by the strained left MCL and seemingly injured his right hamstring in Sunday’s loss, though the quarterback denied suffering any setbacks.

Through three weeks of action Rodgers is outside of the top 10 in fantasy points among quarterbacks and even though he’s putting up solid numbers, it’s clear that it could be sometime before he is near 100 percent and able to provide a return on the steep draft investment his owners made in acquiring him.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins

Drake was one of the bigger disappointments in Week 3. The Dolphins’ running back mustered only three yards on five attempts and caught two of his four targets for just seven yards against the weak Oakland defense.

The Dolphins are 3-0, but through three weeks Drake has totaled 30 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown. His 3.5 yards per carry and 2.9 yards after contact are a far cry for the 4.8 YPC and 4.3 YAC he put up in 14 games a year ago.

He still played 29 snaps compared to 16 for Frank Gore, but Gore finished with one more carry than Drake on the day. The big concern is that Drake has seen his usage decrease each week of the season.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

It appeared Cooper had turned the corner last week at Denver. He was targeted 10 times, finishing with 10 receptions for 116 yards. Owners that entrusted the Raiders’ wide receiver in their Week 3 lineups though were burned once again.

Cooper saw just five targets in a loss at Miami, finishing with two catches for 17 yards. Through three weeks Cooper is outside of the top 60 at the position in fantasy points. He has 13 catches for 142 yards and zero touchdowns on 17 total 2018 targets.

Even in PPR formats Cooper has failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in two of three contests this season and 10 of his last 17 games overall. He’s a boom-or-bust WR3 at best as the Raiders face Cleveland in Week 4.

On the radar

Chris Ivory, RB, Buffalo Bills

With LeSean McCoy (ribs) held out of Week 3 the Bills turned to Ivory, giving the veteran running back 20 carries and targeting him four times in the passing game. Ivory responded by tallying 126 total yards from scrimmage.

As bad of things have looked in Buffalo in September, there’s no doubt the offense has improved with rookie Josh Allen taking over under center. With McCoy’s status up in the air, Ivory is worth a grab off the waiver wire, but don’t overpay to get him. Owners should proceed with caution though before inserting him into their lineups.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Goedert turned in one of the top tight end fantasy performances in Week 3 as he pulled in all seven targets and wound up with 71 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions in the team’s win over the Colts.

Philadelphia’s receiving corps has been decimated by injuries, so it’s not a surprise to see the team deploying more two-TE sets. After seeing just 22 and 23 snaps respectively in the first two weeks, Goedert played 63 snaps in Week 3. With Carson Wentz back and the lack of talent at the position he could remain viable in the weeks ahead.

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