A list things to know for fantasy football Week 4:
1. Antonio Brown matches up against the Ravens in Week 4. In his last 5 games in Baltimore he averages 70.6 yards per game plus 6.2 receptions per game. He has just 1 TD in those 5 games.
2. Le’Veon Bell has played in 3 career games in Baltimore and he has rushed for just 52.8 yards per game and just 1 TD total. His numbers in the passing game have been better as he’s averaged 6 receptions and 49.67 yards per game.
3. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree try to bounce back this weekend in Denver after awful performances vs the Redskins on Sunday night. They trash talked Josh Norman in pregame warmups only to put together a 13 yard, 2 reception combined performance. Their numbers in Denver have not been pretty – Crabtree has played in Denver 3 times with Oakland and hasn’t topped 47 yards in any game. He averages 31 yards per game in three games along with just 4.33 receptions per game and no touchdowns.
Cooper’s numbers are even worse – in two career games he has a total of 4 receptions & 39 yards. In one game he was held without a catch on 8 targets. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be bullish on Cooper or Crabtree bouncing back this week.
4. The Chargers run defense has been getting gashed – 146.7 rush yards allowed per game (31st in the NFL). They are at home this week vs the Eagles. LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood have struggled to get a consistent running game going for the Eagles but this might be one of the weeks they play better than normal.
5. The Giants have been the only run defense worse than the Chargers – they’ve given up 153.3 rush yards per game despite having a great pass defense. They let the Eagles RBs run for 171 yards on them. Part of the problem has been LB BJ Goodson’s injury the past two weeks and he will likely return this week to face Tampa Bay, but they also gave up 104 yards to Ezekiel Elliot after holding him to 51 in one of the 2016 matchups. The Bucs will still be without Doug Martin for one more game, but if you’re desperate for a starting runningback then Jacquizz Rodgers could be an option as he had 19 carries for 67 yards & a touchdown in Week 2 home vs the Bears. Rodgers was ineffective in Week 3 as the Bucs fell behind early to the Vikings and had to pass all game.
6. WR Marquise Lee looks like he could take over as the #1 WR in Jacksonville with Allen Robinson hurt. He had 4 receptions and 65 yards in Week 3 vs the Ravens. He also had 7 receptions for 76 yards in Week 2 vs the Titans. It’s hard backing a player who depends on Blake Bortles so much but Bortles looked good vs the Ravens and if he’s able to get his confidence back then Lee certainly has value as defenses try to stack the box on Leonard Fournette.
7. WR Geronimo Allison was impressive for the Packers in the comeback win over the Bengals – he had 6 receptions, 122 yards, and a TD on a deep pass from Rodgers. There were a lot of positive things to like about Allison – Rodgers trusted him on 3rd downs, he completed a big catch down the field, and he was relied on often on underneath routes when the Packers needed the moved the ball. Mike McCarthy is not surprised by Allison’s progression in his 2nd season and the Packers play the Cowboys and Saints in 2 of their next 4 games, so Allison is certainly someone to look at as a flex option. It should be mentioned that Randall Cobb is expected to play in Week 4 though.
- The Redskins’ run defense has been surprisingly impressive, holding teams to just 62.3 rush yards per game. They’ve faced Todd Gurley and Marshawn Lynch in 2 of those 3 games so the competition hasn’t been easy. This week they face the Kansas City Chiefs. Kareem Hunt is an automatic start every week but this will be a key matchup to see if Hunt’s numbers this week are less than his average output.
- The Steelers have really improved their defense this season but the positive results have been mainly in the pass game (136.7 pass yards allowed per game). Their run defense numbers haven’t been as impressive as they are 22nd in the NFL in run defense. Javorius Allen will probably get a lot of carries this week vs Pittsburgh as the Ravens look to keep the game plan conservative, but it’s concerning that the Ravens lost their starting LG Marshal Yanda for the season and the Ravens struggled to get anything going against Jacksonville.
10. Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins match up with the Saints this week as they try to bounce back from a no-show in Met Life last week vs the Jets. The Saints give up 127 rushing yards per game and after a 122 yard performance for Ajayi vs the Chargers the outlook for Ajayi to bounceback this week is positive.
11. Willie Snead returns from suspension this week. He’s a must start against a Dolphins team giving up a league worst 9 yards per pass attempt on defense.
12. Buy Joe Mixon low – Mixon’s production was low in the first 2 weeks but after the Bengals fired their OC Mixon saw a much heavier workload in Week 3. He carried the ball 18 times for 62 yards and had 3 receptions for 39 yards. He had just 17 carries combined in the first two weeks and just 45 yards. He was basically non-existent in the passing game either with 4 receptions and 20 yards in two games. The Bengals’ new OC, Bill Lazor, has a track record of helping QBs deliver the ball quicker and develop a consistent short-passing game. In 2013 Lazor helped Nick Foles throw 28 TDs to 2 INTs for the Eagles. Joe Mixon has just 23.6 fantasy points right now but I expect those numbers to go up soon.