Stars of Week 4
QB: Patrick Mahomes, KC: 24-30, 278 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL: 6 carries, 34 yards, 0 TDs (5 catches, 82 yards, 3 TDs)
WR: Tyreek Hill, KC: 11 catches, 186 yards, 3 TDs
TE: CJ Uzomah, CIN: 5 catches, 95 yards, 2 TDs
The Chiefs faced off with the Eagles this past weekend, which resulted in the shootout that we expected. Patrick Mahomes had himself a day, tossing 5 TDs, three of which went to the soon-to-be-identified top WR of the week. Mahomes comfortably sits as a must-start, top 3 weekly QB – but you already know that.
We covered the dual-positioned Cordarrelle Paterson last week as a must-add, and he led all “running backs” with three TDs, albeit all via the air. Now, don’t look at his Week 4 numbers as a harbinger of things to come. Per PFF, Patterson only played 23 snaps, so his TD numbers are quite fluky. Patterson should be viewed as a weekly flex play, but yeah – he’s not the second coming of the star listed below.
Someone had to be on the receiving end of Mahomes’ TDs, and the Chiefs’ franchise WR Tyreek Hill caught not only three TDs, but 67% of Mahomes’ passing yardage. The Eagles had no answers for Hill…not that any team does.
Speaking of unexpected performances, CZ Uzomah takes home the honor of top TE in Week 4. The Bengals’ tight end came into the game with 4 receptions for 39 yards and no TDs through 3 games. In other words, he’s not a consistent performer, and shouldn’t be considered a starting option in fantasy leagues. Chalk this up to a great game, not likely to be repeated.
Week 4 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
- Joe Burrow, QB – CIN: 23-32, 348 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: Despite suffering a torn ACL in his rookie season in 2020, expectations remained high for Burrow’s sophomore campaign. The Cincinnati Bengals’ franchise QB struggled a bit out of the gate, particularly versus the Bears in Week 2 with three interceptions. Some fantasy managers even sent Burrow out to the waiver wire after that game. Well, Burrow quietly rebounded against the Steelers in Week 3, and followed up in Week 4 with a number-one-overall-pick performance against the Jaguars on TNF. Burrow comfortably hurdled over the 300 yard passing mark, staying clean on picks while finding the end zone twice. Burrow’s trademark accuracy was on full display, and any worries about his health should dissipate moving forward. Loaded with three strong wide receivers and a top shelf running back in Joe Mixon, Burrow’s ascension into the top 10 fantasy QB group is imminent. In short, many folks gave up on Burrow too early this year. If you’re in one of the 23% of leagues with Burrow available, pick him up now unless you have a cemented weekly starter (i.e. Mahomes, Murray, etc.) and don’t have room for a backup QB. And if Burrow’s on your bench, dust him off and get him into your starting lineups. He’s ready to rumble.
- Damien Williams, RB – CHI: 8 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Some of these write-ups are more fun than others. Writing about an up-and-coming running back about to bust out? Fun! On the other hand, writing about a player having to step in for an injured starter? Less fun. Alas, so Chicago Bears’ starting RB David Montgomery suffered a knee injury in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions, with the severity to be determined. Montgomery had already scored two TDs in the game, and has been one of the most consistent running backs in the league for years. Following Montgomery’s departure from the game, former Chiefs’ RB Damien Williams stepped in and carried the load, scoring a TD while averaging just under 7 yards per carry. Williams served capably as the Chiefs’ RB1 in 2019 prior to the team selecting Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and he’s more than capable as a starting RB. Now let’s look at the other key question that will impact Williams’ performance – will Justin Fields retain the QB role? When Fields plays, teams have to worry about QB runs, which means less attention focused from the defense on the running backs. So here’s how to value Williams, assuming Montgomery in fact misses time – with Fields at QB, Williams = RB2, and with Andy Dalton at QB, Williams = RB3/flex. It’s important to note that Williams suffered a tweak to his quad, so keep an eye on that news as well. But based on current rumblings, this doesn’t appear to be an injury that will keep Williams out of games. If you need an RB, then Williams is the top add for purposes of immediate, short-term help.
- Darnell Mooney, WR – CHI: 5 catches, 125 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: We stay with the Chicago Bears here, moving down the positional chart to wide receiver. A functioning Justin Fields raises all boats, and perhaps the largest beneficiary as Fields grows into the QB position will be second year WR Darnell Mooney. Mooney flashed in his rookie season, averaging more than 10 yards per reception while finding the end zone 4 times. Against the Lions this past Sunday, Mooney connected with Fields 5 times for 125 yards, while leading the team in targets with 7. For perspective, Allen Robinson and Cole Kmet tied for second in targets, both only with 3. Mooney’s a vertical threat, and Fields can hit the intermediate to deep routes much better than incumbent QB Andy Dalton, so there’s a great synergy of skill set between Fields and Mooney. It logically follows then that Mooney’s value is tied to Fields as the starting QB, so you may need to have some patience until Fields locks down the starting QB gig for good. It will happen sooner rather than later. Consider Mooney a WR3/flex play with Fields at QB, but merely a WR4 / bench option when Dalton starts. So if you’re looking for a WR to help you during the stretch run of the season (i.e. with Fields presumably the starter at that point), target Mooney.
- Dalton Schwartz, TE – DAL: 6 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The Dallas Cowboys are a fantasy wonderland. The team boasts a top five fantasy QB in Dak Prescott, two RBs heavily rostered in Zeke and Tony Pollard, together with three difference makers at WRs in CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. But, we’re not done. There’s yet enough offense to go around for a useable tight end. At draft time, Blake Jarwin was considered the Cowboys’ TE to roster, but the first four games of the season have shown a different story. Prescott has established a strong connection with TE Dalton Schwartz, who blew away the rest of the team’s pass catchers in week 4 with his 8 targets versus the Carolina Panthers. Those targets led to 6 receptions for 58 yards for Schwartz, including a TD. Just one week earlier, Schwartz had 2 TDs and 80 yards receiving to go with his 6 receptions against the Eagles. So we’re not looking at a one-hit wonder here. Next week, Schwartz gets a TE friendly matchup with the New York Giants. Schwartz should be rostered in all leagues, so go get him if you need a TE.
Buy Low / Sell High
Throughout the season, we’ll take a rapid fire look at a few players who have put up numbers not aligned with ADP, and render judgment as to whether the numbers will hold or not. This week, we’ll look at a few players who have overachieved relative to expectations. Let’s get after it:
Player Pre-Draft Value Current Rank Verdict
1. Sam Darnold Free Agent Mid-QB1 High End QB2
Former NFL coach Adam Gase now has a second stain on his resume, one that should prevent him from being an NFL head coach again. First it was Ryan Tannehill, and now it’s Sam Darnold showing massive improvement once breaking away from Gase’s tutelage. Darnold didn’t crack the top 25 QBs selected in fantasy drafts, but he currently sits as the fifth highest scoring QB, buoyed by his 5 rushing TDs. He’s not a QB1, but trust Darnold as a high end QB2. His improvement is real.
2. Mike Williams WR3 / Flex Low End WR1 Low End WR1
Mike Williams has teased fantasy mangers annually, posting a few monster games, only to go quiet more often than not. With field stretching QB Justin Herbert firmly entrenched as the Chargers’ signal caller, Williams has finally been unlocked. Notwithstanding a quiet performance on MNF, Williams has 306 yards and 4 TDs through 4 games. With a healthy target share to boot, Williams has made the ascent to WR1 and weekly must-start status.
3. Kareem Hunt RB2 Mid-RB1 RB2
There’s no question that Kareem Hunt has a secure, prominent role within the Browns’ prolific rushing attack. However, he currently has the same number of rushing TDs as the team’s featured rusher, Nick Chubb (3 TDs). Expect mild TD regression for Hunt. Nothing alarming, but he’s not likely to keep up this TD pace.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Daniel Jones, NYG (@ DAL)
Bonus QB: Trey Lance, SF (@ ARI) – Riskier, high upside option
RB: Latavius Murray, BAL (vs IND)
RB: Kenneth Gainwell, PHI (@ CAR)
WR: Curtis Samuel, WAS (vs NO)
WR: Jamison Crowder, NYJ (@ ATL)
TE: Dawson Knox, BUF (@ KC)
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