Stars of Week 4
QB: Jared Goff , DET: 26-39, 378 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
RB: Austin Ekeler, LAC: 13 carries, 60 yards, 2 TDs (6 catches, 49 yards, 1 TD)
WR: Justin Jefferson, MIN: 10 catches, 147 yards, 0 TDs (1 carry, 3 yards, 1 TD)
TE: T.J. Hockenson: 8 catches, 179 yards, 2 TDs
The Detroit Lions’ offense has started out hot for the first quarter of the NFL season, and there’s nothing quite like facing the Seahawks’ defense (except for facing the Lions’ defense) in order to maintain Tecmo Bowl numbers. QB Jared Goff tossed 4 TDs and nearly 400 passing yards in the losing effort. We’ll take a closer look at Goff below.
For those panicking about Austin Ekeler’s slow 2022 start, you may rest easy now. Ekeler found the end zone three times against the Texans, looking like his vintage 2021 self. Touchdown regression was always likely for the Chargers’ star RB this season, but Ekeler remains a top 5 fantasy RB on the strength of his role in both the rushing and passing games.
Much panicking also followed Vikings star wideout Justin Jefferson in response to his ultra quiet Week 2 and 3 performances. A trip overseas righted the ship for Jefferson, with 147 receiving yards and a rushing TD versus the Saints. All good here.
T.J. Hockenson stepped up in the absence of star WR Amon-Ra St. Brown this past Sunday, with the Seahawks having no answers in covering him. Goff found Hockenson for 179 yards and 2 TDs. Hock remains a weekly must-start at 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.
- Jared Goff, QB – DET: 26-39, 378 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: Goff has occasionally been referred to as Jared Goof on Twitter, typically after making some inexplicable, pick-six type throw. Yes, sometimes the Lions’ QB “goofs” on his decision making, but that masks the fact that Goff can post crooked numbers with the right environs around him. The 2022 season has reinforced this fact, as through the four game mark, Goff sits at 3rd in yardage, while tied for 1st in TDs and 8th in ESPN’s QBR ranking among all NFL quarterbacks. Goff entered Week 4 without his top pass catching weapon (Amon-Ra St. Brown) and rushing option (D’Andre Swift), and…emerged with 4 TD tosses and 378 passing yards. Granted he faced a sieve of a defense in the Seahawks, but stats are stats. Goff has now thrown for 4 TDs in two of his four games, with only one start resulting in less than 2 TDs. Breaking down Goff’s game to a simple statement…Goff does well when not pressured, and things tend to break down severely for him when pressured. So what we’ve got here is a QB who should command your fantasy attention…in good matchups. Goff sits in the low end QB1 range against weaker defenses, and should stay on your bench against defenses which bring lots of pressure. The Lions face the Patriots next week, which present a tougher face against the pass than versus the rush. Goff should land as a high end QB2 range for this matchup, with some even better matchups coming up down the road.
- Rashaad Penny, RB – SEA: 17 carries, 151 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: The Seahawks were widely panned for selecting RB Rashaad Penny in the first round of the 2018 draft, partly due to positional value and also due to the success of Cleveland Browns’ star RB Nick Chubb, who went just a few picks later. Unfortunately, Penny only played in 37 of 65 regular season games during his rookie contract because of injuries, so Penny’s statistical outburst late in the 2021 season was clouded by whether he could stay healthy for a full 2022 season. While we won’t have an answer as to Penny’s longevity until later this year, we did see a reappearance of 2021 down-the-stretch Penny against the Lions this past Sunday. Penny had two long TD runs (36 and 41 yards), each time showing his incredible burst, laying waste to much smaller defenders trying to chase him down. In addition to the eye test and statistical performance (averaging a cool 6.0 YPC), a quiet piece of news helps solidify Penny’s ascension to fantasy RB2 status…the Seahawks losing third down RB Travis Homer to injury. If you compare Penny’s snap count from Week 2 (the last full game in which Homer was healthy) to Weeks 3 and 4, you see a glaring difference – Penny only played in 35% of Week 2 snaps, versus 63% in week 3 and 60% in week 4. Fellow RB Kenneth Walker should continue to see some carries, but the rushing game for the Seahawks belongs to Penny as long as he remains healthy. If you can land Penny cheap in a trade, now’s the time to go for it. Or if Penny’s already on your roster, he can be a weekly starter for you moving forward.
- Raheem Mostert, RB – MIA: 15 carries, 69 yards, 0 TDs
- Chase Edmonds, RB – MIA: 5 carries, 6 yards, 0 TDs (plus 1 receiving TD)
Analysis: We’ve got the Dolphins’ backfield under the microscope this week, as things are starting to shake out with more certainty. While Chase Edmonds entered the season as the more desirable back to own, Raheem Mostert had other ideas. Mostert outsnapped Edmonds by a 46 to 18 count last week versus the Bengals, with Mostert taking the majority of snaps on early downs. Comparing the output from the carries, we’ve got a lot compared with almost nothing. Mostert has outcarried Edmonds each of the previous two weeks as well, so we’ve got enough of a trend from which to draw a reasonable conclusion. Looking through both players’ careers thus far, Mostert has always been more of a rusher than receiver, with Edmonds serving more so as a third down / change of pace back. That appears to be the plan moving forward for the Dolphins. Mostert should be the better fantasy option in most weeks (RB3 / flex option), with Edmonds reaching the same status only in full PPR leagues. Both players should be owned in all leagues, but Mostert has more value.
- George Pickens, WR – PIT: 6 catches, 102 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: We have covered several members of the vaunted rookie WR class in previous weeks, and we now turn our attention to the rookie who perhaps garnered the most electricity of all…Steelers’ second round pick George Pickens. It took all of one preseason game to witness the explosive athleticism and special hands possessed by Pickens, but the rookie pass catcher had gotten off to a slow start during the regular season’s first three weeks…with only 5 receptions for 65 yards during this time. Enter Week 4, and sprinkle in a mid-game change of QB for the Steelers (rookie Kenny Pickett taking over for Mitch Trubisky), and Pickens jumped to life versus the Jets. Pickens was targeted 8 times by Steelers’ QBs, crossing the century mark for the first time while hauling in 6 passes. The increased integration of Pickens into the Steelers’ offense actually started in week 3, where he was targeted 7 times by Trubisky. Pickens appears to have a much better connection with Pickett, however. Good news…Coach Tomlin has announced that Pickett will be the starter at QB moving forward. In case he’s still available in your league, make a leap to land him, as this is likely your last chance. Pickett’s currently valued as a deep league WR3 / flex, but this could bump up considerably in the coming weeks.
* All snap count information is referenced through statistics provided by Pro Football Focus.
Quick Hits re Injured RBs:
Denver Broncos: With Javonte Williams out for the season, Melvin Gordon will likely take over as the lead RB, but pick up Mike Boone. Boone had already started sneaking into the Williams / Gordon backfield. If you want to play for larger upside though, snag Latavius Murray. Boone has a greater change of making an impact, but Murray has a greater chance of making a bigger impact.
Atlanta Falcons: Cordarrelle Patterson has been placed on the IR, so the Falcons have some carries up for grabs. Tyler Allgeier should be the priority, but Caleb Huntley will be a factor as well for those of you in very deep leagues.
Former WFT: Pick up Brian Robinson if he’s available in your league. The team wants him to be the starter, and he could make his debut as early as this weekend versus the Titans.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll 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: Jameis Winston, NO (vs SEA)
RB: JD McKissic, WAS (vs TEN)
RB: Rachaad White, TB (vs ATL)
WR: Michael Gallup, DAL (@ LAR)
WR: Corey Davis, NYJ (vs MIA)
TE: Tyler Conklin, NYJ (vs MIA)
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