Stars of Week 4

QB:                  Jameis Winston, TB                  28-41, 385 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT        

RB:                  Nick Chubb, CLE                       20 carries, 165 yards, 3 TDs                                           

WR:                 Chris Godwin, TB                      12 catches, 172 yards, 2 TDs            

TE:                  Ricky Seals-Jones, CLE              3 catches, 82 yards, 1 TD     

Who would’ve thought that we would have exclusively Bucs and Browns dominate the weekly honor roll, with none of Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. or Mike Evans taking the top honors? Jameis Winston was one of my draft day touts, and he has largely delivered – albeit in maddening, inconsistent Winston style. You don’t know which Winston you’ll get from week to week. But when he’s on…he dominates. Winston sliced and diced the Rams secondary to a tune of 385 yards and 4 TDs. Winston’s a top 10 fantasy QB, but will burn you a few weeks of the year – so just keep the whole picture in mind when you start him. Jumping out of order, his teammate Chris Godwin was on the receiving end of nearly half of Winston’s completions, as the Rams had no answer for either player. Godwin’s a weekly start as a high-end WR2. The narrative changes quickly in the NFL, case in point the Browns’ despair and the Ravens’ clear path to the AFC Central title. Both teams now sit at 2-2, in large part due to Nick Chubb’s career day against the Ravens. Chubb found the end zone thrice in an incredibly impressive performance. He’s a RB1 and clear weekly start. Chubb’s less-heralded teammate, Ricky Seals-Jones, had the best tight end performance of the week in what was a quiet week for the position. While Seals-Jones had a strong game in the absence of David Njoku, he’s not a high priority add. He’s looking at 2-4 targets per game while Njoku is out, so he’s not likely to repeat this performance enough to merit being added to your roster unless you’re in 14 plus team leagues and your desperate for a tight end.

Week 4 Takeaways – A Closer Look

Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward. 

Kirk Cousins, QB - MIN                     27-36, 233 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs 

Analysis:         I received a question about Kirk Cousins early last week, and felt it was important to discuss the passing game as a whole with the Vikings. For those of you who have (or have had) Kirk Cousins on your roster, you know that he’s stinking up the joint this year. Taking a step back, it’s important to note that the Vikings have smartly shifted the focus of their offense to Dalvin Cook as the central point. With that said, there’s no reason for Cousins to have gone off the rails, as teams have to focus additional resources to stop the run game. Through four games, Cousins has 735 yards passing and 3 TDs, with a QBR sitting near the bottom of the league. Cousins has not been hitting on deep balls, and as a result, both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have taken hits in value as well. At his point Cousins can be dropped in leagues. Thielen now sits in flex territory, as does Diggs. The Vikings face the Giants next week, which gives them a nice chance to try to get back on track but expect these issues to remain throughout the season.  

Austin Ekeler, RB - LAC                     18 carries, 60 yards, 1 TDs

                                                                5 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD

Analysis:         Austin Ekeler has been a top 5 fantasy RB through the first quarter of the season. He has been so successful that incumbent starting RB Melvin Gordon ended his holdout earlier than originally planned – primarily so that he won’t be forgotten by the Chargers. Gordon will likely be in the starting lineup in week 5, despite Ekeler outperforming Gordon’s usual output. So what does this mean for Ekeler? He will inevitably drop from his top 5 RB status, but not as far as you might think. Ekeler will remain the primary back on passing downs, and look for him to get an increased share of the carries in comparison to last year’s split with Gordon. So Ekeler shifts from an RB1 to RB2 in PPR leagues, and to a high-end flex in standard leagues. As for Gordon, he will make his way up to RB2 status, losing a bit of value from his 2018 season as a low-end RB1. If you’ve been starting Ekeler, continue to do so.  

Dionte Johnson, WR – PIT                6 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD 

Analysis:         The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 campaign has turned upside down with the season-ending injury to Big Ben. That said, don’t sleep on the Steelers from a fantasy perspective. James Connor remains a top RB, JuJu Smith-Schuster remains a top WR, and we finally have a sidekick for JuJu. While veteran WRs Donte Moncrief and James Washington have failed to seize a meaningful role in the passing game, 2019 third round pick Dionte Johnson has stepped up to fill the void. Johnson has developed a good connection with new QB Mason Rudolph, as Rudolph targeted Johnson 6 times against the Bengals and versus the 49ers last week. This makes for two games in a row in which Johnson has found the end zone. The Steelers will be throwing a lot each game, as they’ll look to develop Rudolph and will be involved in many close games. Johnson has flex value in deeper leagues (12 plus teams), and is worth an add if you need WR help. 

Will Dissly, TE - SEA                          7 catches, 57 yards, 1 TD

Analysis:         The Seahawks drafted Will Dissly from the nearby University of Washington in 2018, in what was assumed to be a move to shore up their blocking from the tight end spot. Case in point, for Dissly’s four-year career at the UW which spanned 26 games, he had 25 catches for 336 yards and 3 TDs. Compare to Dissly’s NFL career thus far – in 8 games over two seasons, Dissly has 27 catches for 337 yards and 6 TDs! The second year tight end has soft hands and runs good routes, and he’s established great rapport with Russell Wilson. Dissly is a legit TE1, and with an average of 5.5 targets per game, don’t be surprised to see Dissly end up with 60 receptions and 8-10 TDs this season. Dissly’s for real and a top 5 TE season is quite realistic here.

Rapid Fire Pickups 

Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has not been referenced above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.

QB:                  Gardner Minshew, JAC

RB:                  Ronald Jones, TB (last chance to snag him)

RB:                  Jaylen Samuels, PIT

WR:                 Geronimo Allison, GB

WR:                 Keke Coutee, HOU

TE:                  Chris Herndon, NYJ