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Fantasy Recap: Week 4

Brady's dysfunctional bunch
Tom Brady is not a fantasy asset anymore and his owners need to dump him now

Before this week's games were played I don't think you could have found one person on the face of the Earth that would have said that Eli Manning would finish as this week's #1 fantasy QB, and Kirk Cousins would completely implode and throw 4 INTs and just 1 TD. And not that it matters for anyone outside of 2QB leagues, but the Bills finally benched E.J. Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton on Monday. Orton could be a QB2 streaming option depending on the match-up, but he is just in there to manage a run-based offense and feed the ball to Sammy Watkins whenever a pass is called.

Really when you look at the numbers, it was a pretty odd week at more than just the QB position.

Matt Asiata put up Adrian Peterson-esk fantasy points; LeSean McCoy was the textbook definition of [fantasy] worthlessness with his 17 yards of total offense and no touchdowns; Steve Smith continues to roll back the clock on his career while Calvin Johnson was to WRs what McCoy was to RBs with his 2 catches for 12 yards. And last but not least, an Eagles defense owned by just 14.3 percent of players put up the most fantasy points (for defenses), while the 95.1 percent owned Panthers defense actually lost owners fantasy points.

This just goes to show why the phrase "on any given Sunday…" came about. Anything is possible when you put 22 men on the same field with opposing plans of action. So, let's see how some of those men did in this week's Fantasy Recap.

Eli Manning – Giants: Every dog has his day and Eli Manning had his on Sunday as he roasted the Redskins defense for 300 passing yards and 5 TDs (4 passing, 1 running). I don't own this Manning brother in a single league I'm in, even the 2QB leagues, and I wouldn't bet on the Giants O-Line blocking again like they did on Sunday. If you were one of the 4.6 percent of people who started [Eli] Manning this week, take a screen shot and frame that one on your wall of fame!

Philip Rivers – Chargers: Rivers is on quiet a tear to start this season, throwing for 1,155 yards (6th in NFL) and 9 TDs (tied for 3rd) to just 1 INT (tied for 1st among starting QBs). This week Rivers was a hot QB1 streamer against the Jaguars and didn't disappoint as he worked his way to 377 yards passing, 3 TDs, and no INTs. [Spoiler alert] Rivers is going to be on the week 5 Start 'em list as he goes up against a depleted Jets secondary.

Matt Asiata – Vikings: Asiata was thrown into the starting role when Adrian Peterson was suspended until the conclusion of his legal troubles, so it wasn't like he "earned" the job per-say. No matter what the circumstances surrounding the depth chart movement, Asiata took full advantage this week as he put up 100 yards of total offense (78 rushing and 22 receiving) and 3 TDs. Asiata isn't a good bet to finish with RB1 numbers many times as rookie Jerick McKinnon was much more impressive as he ran 18 times for 135 yards. The only thing that made Asiata a better fantasy play was that touchdowns are typically worth 6 fantasy points.

Trent Richardson – Colts: Richardson finally paid off a dividend to the Colts as he managed 47 yards on the ground, 52 yards in the air (4 catches), and a touchdown in week 4. It did come against a Titans defense that is less than stellar, but points are points and the 84.7 percent of people who still own Richardson on will take them. The problem is this will convince them to hold on to him rather than try and sell high on him. The reason I don't trust him is because those 47 rushing yards came on 20 carries, which breaks down to 2.4 YPC.

Terrence Williams – Cowboys: Williams was someone I told people to grab in the later-middle rounds of the fantast draft because while everyone is focused on Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, and Jason Witten, Williams will draw single coverage on a #2 CB with no help coming from over the top. That advice paid off this week as Williams reeled in 6 passes for 77 yards and 2 TDs. The Cowboys are leaning far more on Murray than on Tony Romo this year, but that could all change as Murray is on pace for 396 carries this year, with a career high of just 217. If you go a step further, Murray has 99 carries already in just 4 games this season. With a career high of 217, he's already 45.6 percent used up. The Cowboys will either set rushing records this year, or Murray will get hurt and Romo will throw more. I'd be buying on Williams if the price is right.

Andre Holmes – Raiders: It really isn't a total surprise to see Jeremy Maclin and Roddy White at the top of the week 4 targets list for the NFL. But, would it shock you to know that tied for the #3 spot is Andre Holmes with 12? Holmes drew the start this week after Rod Streater suffered a foot injury that will keep him out about a month, and he made the most of it by hauling in 5 of those 12 targets for 74 yards and a touchdown. I would caution people on picking up Holmes in standard sized leagues (12-team) as Derek Carr suffered both a sprained MCL and a high-ankle sprain in week 4. And if you look at it, 5 catches on 12 targets isn't going to win him any player of the week awards in the NFL. The Raiders could also have a new Head Coach before long, so let someone else take a flier on Holmes and the headache that comes along with him.

Larry Donnell – Giants: I told people to pick up Donnell after a week 1 line of 5-56-1. This week he paid off huge for owners as he snagged 7-of-8 targets for 54 yards and 3 touchdowns! For fantast purposes, a single touchdown from a TE is an accomplishment. So when a guy scores three times, it is almost like a unicorn, often talked about but never seen. Donnell is a must-own TE this season.
Philadelphia Eagles defense: As I mentioned earlier, the Eagles are not a popular fantasy defense if you go by ownership, yet they turned in the most fantasy points (24.00) to those brave enough to not only own them, but play them. Even though they gave up 26 points to the 49ers offense, they were able to log 4 sacks, 1 INT, 2 defensive touchdowns, and 1 return touchdown on Sunday. Just like on offense, the more touchdowns you score, the more fantasy points you put up!

Tom Brady – Patriots: I am just beyond baffled as to why people still own Tom Brady in fantasy leagues. Coming into week 4 Brady was #28 for fantasy QBs on, so he wasn't even a QB2 statistically. On Monday night he threw his first two interceptions of the season, one of which went for a pick-six, 1 touchdown, 1 lost fumble, and 159 yards passing before being yanked because the game was a blowout. What's worse is that back-up Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 70 passing yards and a touchdown, which gave him 6.80 fantasy points on to Brady's 4.36 points. Outside of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, Brady has very little to throw to in Brandon LaFell and Danny Amendola. Brady isn't even really a back-end QB2 anymore with his WR corps, so please just let him go if you are still hanging on to him!

Nick Foles – Eagles: Part of what makes Chip Kelley's offense so appealing is that it is designed to showcase a RB just like McCoy, which in turn makes a QB like Foles shine. What happened on Sunday is the Jets ran into a 40ers defense that was having none of that! Foles finished with a season-low 195 passing yards, no TDs, and 2 INTs. The Rams aren't likely to put up the same fight as the 49ers on defense, so week 6 should be a bounce-back week for Foles.

Kirk Cousins – Redskins: After hanging 427 yards and 3 TDs on the Eagles in week 3, Cousins went full Ryan Leaf on the Redskins in week 4 and turned the ball over 5 times (4 INTs and 1 lost fumble). He did manage to throw for 257 yards and 1 TD, but you can't give the other team 5 extra possessions and still have a "good game". Any talk of Cousins keeping the starting gig when Robert Griffin III comes back has come to a screeching halt after this week's performance.

Darren Sproles – Eagles: Sproles is the best-worst fantasy RB to own. The Eagles can put points on the board and stats on the sheets; because of that Sproles will have those week 2 games where he puts up 178 total yards and a touchdown (with 7 rec. for PPR leagues). But, just as he will have those type of games, he will also have those week 4 games where he managed just 6 yards of total offense and no TDs. Being a back-up means you are tough to own as anything more than a handcuff, which makes Sproles' 99.4 percent ownership absolutely insane!

Calvin Johnson – Lions: Don't you just love it when an NFL coach decides the best way to use a superstar like Megatron is to deploy him as a decoy? Well, that's exactly what Lions Coach Jim Caldwell did in week 4 as Johnson finished with 2 targets, 2 catches, and 12 yards. It's a tough pill to swallow for a guy you had to drafty in the 1st round, but you can be reasonably sure that week 4 will go down as a season-low for the Lions future Hall of Famer.

DeSean Jackson – Redskins: I'll be real honest with you; I wouldn't trade for Jackson if you offered to take my worst player for him. The truth is that he is a downfield threat that is depending on either a running QB to get the ball to him, or an inexperienced 3rd year QB who is has now shown us what the ceiling and the floor is for his performance. I am an analytical guy with stats; I LOVE what Bill James did for baseball and have somewhat adapted his theories for fantast football. But, as much as I am accurate with stats, I couldn't tell you when Jackson will have a good game because he hasn't even been the second option for the Redskins thus far this season (Niles Paul has held that crown). Jackson will be up and down this season, and playing him in fantasy football is equivalent to playing the lottery.

Vernon Davis – 49ers: Vernon Davis started the season off hot with a 2 touchdown performance against the Cowboys Swiss-cheese defense. Davis missed week 3 with ankle and knee problems, then he was forced from the week 4 game in the 3rd quarter with back spasms. In the end, he was only able to log 2 catches and 8 yards this week. TEs are boom or bust in fantasy football to begin with, but a TE with back, knee, and ankle problems is a headache that I just don't have the time or temperament to deal with.

Carolina Panthers defense: The Panthers have had a rough two weeks, giving up 69 points with just 1 sack to show for it. On the season the Panthers are low-end Def2. What's worse is their schedule is just brutal all the way up to their week 12 bye as they face the Bears, Bengals, Packers, Seahawks, Saints, Eagles, and Falcons offenses. I'd be considering cutting ties with them and just streaming defenses this season based on matchups.

So how did I do you ask? Well, I missed on Cousins, Arian Foster, Brandin Cooks, Devin Hester, and the 49ers defense. I made 17 picks this week and was wrong on 5 of them, giving me an accuracy of 70.1 percent for week 4. I'd like to have been right on one more of those picks, but 70 percent is still not too shabby a number I suppose. Honestly, which one of you thought Drew Brees would bomb against that Cowboys defense, thus causing Cooks to bomb?

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