Fantasy Noise: Week 4 Recap
Well it is official. The 2020 NFL season had its first Covid-19 disruption. A combined 20 players and personnel for the Titans tested positive since last week. Their game with the Steelers was postponed to week 7. Saturday morning Cam Newton and a practice squad player for Kansas City tested positive for Covid-19 and the New England and Kansas City game was moved to Monday to allow more testing to make sure there wasn’t an outbreak like the Titans. Saturday night a Saint’s player tested positive putting their game with Detroit in jeopardy. After further testing, it turned out to be a false positive and that game was played as scheduled.
Teams safety protocols will certainly need to be enhanced as well as the players own diligence when they are outside their facilities and in public. Hopefully the NFL will use this as a learning experience as they did with the preseason false positive incident.
Week 4 was a wild week and that was before the games even began. As for the ones that were played, once again there were big games and big disappointments. Some players continued to develop and some teams continued to rack up fantasy points (but not wins).
Let’s get to the noise!
Fantasy Gold: Cowboys Offense
Cowboy’s offense is averaging 31.5 points per game. Cowboy’s defense is giving up 36.5 points per game. Translation: Cowboy’s are fantasy gold.
Dak Prescott is putting up ridiculous numbers as he’s on pace for over 6,700 yards passing. With this type of passing volume there’s enough for everyone to eat. Every starting skill position player for the Cowboy’s is averaging over 12 fantasy points per game. Even Ezekiel Elliott, who is averaging under 4 yards a carry and is yet to break 100 yards rushing, is averaging 25.55 fantasy points per game on the strength of almost 6 receptions per game. Even 5th wide receiver Cedrick Wilson has a game with 5 catches for 107 yards for 2 touchdowns.
- QB Dak Prescott: 37.95
- RB Ezekiel Elliott: 25.55
- WR Amari Cooper: 21.76
- WR CeeDee Lamb: 16.95
- TE Dalton Schultz: 15.93 (In his 3 starts)
- WR Michael Gallup: 12.13
The Cowboys have played the 3 worst passing defenses in the league though. Next up is the 0-4 Giants in Dallas. So the Cowboy’s might not be winning games on the field but their players are helping fantasy managers win games in their leagues.
Fool’s Gold: Kenyan Drake
Last week, I highlighted Joe Mixon’s slow start to the year, and he responded with his best game with 48.1 fantasy points and won every manager their game (hopefully). This week I’m highlighting, or lowlighting, another running back that’s been leaving fantasy managers wanting more.
Kenyan Drake, actually had a better ADP than Mixon, as the 16th overall player and 11th overall running back according to ESPN (PPR scoring), yet his production isn’t what managers were hoping for from a late 1st or early 2nd round draft pick.
In 8 games last season with Arizona, Drake had 8 touchdowns. So far this year he has one. Last season he was also more involved in the passing game, averaging 3.5 catches per game. This season he only has 5 catches in 4 games.
A matchup against Carolina seemed to be just what Drake needed. In Carolina’s first 3 games, their defense had been dominated by opposing teams starting running backs, giving up an average of 35.5 fantasy points to them. Drake managed only 6.1 fantasy points against Carolina and left the game late in the 4th quarter with a chest injury.
Drake’s fantasy points have gone down each week and now is dealing with an injury. This week he gets the 0-4 Jets in New York but at this point, fantasy managers are feeling foolish for drafting him so high.
Nick Chubb’s injury impact
Part of the reason that fantasy managers were drafting Kareem Hunt, on average, in the 5th round of drafts this year wasn’t just because of his stand alone value but because he had top 5 running back potential if he were to become the main back in Cleveland. Sunday during Cleveland’s 49-38 victory over the Dallas, Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury.
Monday an MRI confirmed a MCL injury and Cleveland placed Chubb on the I.R. With Chubb expected to miss 6 weeks, Hunt is now the main back in Cleveland.
The last time Kareem Hunt was a starting running back was in Kansas City in 2018. That year, in only 11 games, Hunt had 14 touchdowns. In a full season in 2017, his rookie year, Hunt led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also had 53 receptions for another 455 yards.
Hunt managers are now feeling like they may have gotten a steal in the 5th round. They may need to temper expectations slightly though since Cleveland’s next two games are against the leagues two best rushing defenses in the Colts and Steelers. Either way you look at it, Hunt appears to be in line for more opportunity now that Chubb is out for the foreseeable future.
Justin Herbert’s Development
The start to Justin Herbert’s career came earlier than expected. After a team doctor accidentally punctured starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s lung, immediately prior to the Chiefs game in week 2, Herbert was pressed into action. Against the defending Super Bowl Champs Herbert more than held his own. Throwing for 311 yards on 22 of 33 passing with 1 touchdown and 1 interception, and rushing for an additional 18 yards with another touchdown, Herbert had his Chargers up 17-9 in the 4th quarter before losing in overtime.
Through 4 weeks, Herbert’s stats are favorable to number 1 pick in the 2020 draft and Cincinnati golden boy Joe Burrow. Herbert actually throws for more yards per game, has a better completion percentage and a better quarterback rating so far. Herbert is also averaging 3 more fantasy points per game than Burrow (26.37 to 23.37) but needs to close games out better as he’s twice taken leads into the 4th quarter only to lose.
Herbert, who’s coming off the best game of his young career, is looking for his first win this week against the Saints, who are hobbled. Both starting corner backs for the Saints missed last week’s game and are listed as questionable. The Saints have also given up 3 touchdown passes in each of their last 3 games.
Dynasty managers have to be excited with what they’ve seen so far from Herbert, and even in deeper redraft leagues Herbert is becoming a streamable option.
Austin Ekeler likely to miss 4-6 weeks after hyperextending his knee and injuring his hamstring, pick up Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson if you haven't already . . . Jarvis Landry threw a 37 yard touchdown pass on Sunday, he’s now 3 for 6 for 109 yards and 1 TD in his career . . . .Aaron Rodgers: 13 TDS, 0 INTS 303 yards/game, 70.5% completion rate through 4 games, 2019: 6 TDS, 1 INT 267 yards/game 61.9% completion rate through 4 games . . . .Jordan Howard: 18 rushes 14 yards on the year, .78 yards/carry . . . . Robert Tonyan has 3 double digit fantasy games in a row and 5 TDS in that span . . . . Damien Harris rushed 17 times for 100 yards on 31% of snaps played which was tied for 3rd amongst Patriot RBs . . . . Damiere Byrd had 5 catches for 80 yards on 97% of snaps played which was 1st amongst Patriot WRs . . . . Michael Gallup played the most snaps of any Cowboys receiver yet only had 29 of Dak Prescott’s 502 yards passing . . . . George Kittle had 15 catches for 183 yards and 1 TD, San Francisco WRs had a total 8 catches for 86 yards . . . . Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran 3 times for 4 yards, 2 catches for 22 yards and a TD and his truthers are back.