Ballers, and Bums – Week 4

 

What the @?!%$#@!?! was that?! The Rams are 1st in the NFC West, and the Cardinals sit at the bottom of the barrel, at 1-3. The Falcons straight mollywhopped the Panthers, and look much more like the defending NFC Champions than 1-3 Carolina. The Chargers blew ANOTHER game. Somewhere in America, Ryan Fitzpatrick is still throwing interceptions. The Chiefs defense – which looked legendary in Week 3 – just got throttled on primetime T.V. Suddenly, the Bears are the Monsters of Midway reincarnated. Rex Ryan gets a shutout win in Foxborough..

Another crazy week in the NFL, and it’s time for a little overreaction Monday! Drop Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Todd Gurley, LeGarrette Blount, Matt Forte, Jarvis Landry, and Amare Cooper… Immediately! I kid, but say that to say this, don’t overreact to one week. Even for guys like Cam, Palmer, and Gurley who’ve had multiple bad weeks, consider both prior and upcoming matchups, as well as past performance before abandoning ship.

However, if you can buy low on any of these guys, take advantage (they’re all excellent buy low candidates). If you can somehow manage to parlay the flavor of the week, into a baller who hasn’t quite (or consistently) played up to expectations, pull the trigger and don’t look back. Remember, it’s all about perception. Who you see as a baller, someone else may see as a bum – “One man’s trash is another’s treasure” – and now is the time to start thinking about potential trades to either turn your season around, or potentially boost a weak position.

This, however, is not perception, but the undeniable ballers and bums of Week 4. And, as always, hopefully most of your players fall in the former category…

*Not necessarily the best (or worst) fantasy scorers. Ballers are guys who weren’t expected to put up huge numbers, but did, and visa versa. Fantasy points based on the ESPN standard scoring system.

Baller of the Week
Los Angeles Rams Defense/Special Teams – 13 fantasy points

Over the first three weeks of the season, the Rams were allowing an average of 21 points per game, had created only four turnovers, four sacks, and were coming off a less than memorable defensive performance (allowing 32 points in TB). What did they get for their troubles? A trip to Arizona to face one of the more explosive offenses in the league… As 10 point underdogs.

Well, they more than doubled their yearly turnover total with 5 on the day (2 fumbles, 3 INTs), almost doubled their sack total with 3, and held the Cardinals to 13 points. Another issue the Rams had faced, scoring TDs, was alleviated by Tavon Austin’s 47 yard punt return late in the 4th; which led to the game winning TD. They dominated the field position battle pretty much all afternoon, and the Rams DST deserves damn near all of the credit here in this upset.

Bum of the Week
Carolina Panthers Defense/Special Teams – negative 1 fantasy point

Sticking with DSTs, I’d be remiss not to mention the Carolina Panthers; and in actuality, the entire team should be the Bum of the Week. Now while their defense had shown signs of vulnerability prior to Sunday, most of the damage had been done by TEs (only ONE receiver had reached 50 yards against them; Torrey Smith – 55 in Week 2). Well… Julio Jones went for 6 times 50 on them.

Of the 32 QBs who played in Week 4, only five reached 300 yards passing. Julio Jones had 300 yards… RECEIVING! Calvin Johnson was the last to do this, in 2013, and it’s a feat that’s only happened six times now in the history of the NFL. I mean, at what point do you double, triple, or quadruple team the man?! Embarrassing performance.

Quarterback
Baller(s) of the Week
Matt Ryan: 28/37, 503 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT (4 carries, 14 yards) – 35 fantasy points
Ben Roethlisberger: 22/27, 300 yards, 5 TDs – 34 fantasy points

Ryan threw for more yards than Derek Carr, and Kirk Cousins combined (and still had about 120 yards to spare) against a solid Carolina defense, and Roethlisberger shredded the Chiefs for 5 TDs and a Julio through the air… I really don’t know what else to say.

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Brian Hoyer: 28/36, 302 yards, 2 TDs – 20 fantasy points

I mentioned Hoyer several times last week (herehere), and liked his chances at a big day. But even as President of the Brian Hoyer Fan Club, I wasn’t expecting a Top 10 performance (#7 QB). Oh, and he did so with a clearly limited Alshon Jeffery. Hoyer’s problem has never been yardage or TDs, it’s been INTs. If he can limit the TOs (and Cutler continues to miss time), you have to like his odds of continued success with the Colts, Jags, and Packers next up.

Bum of the Week
Matthew Stafford: 23/36, 213 yards, 2 INTs (2 carries, 17 yards) – 7 fantasy points

His completion percentage was ok… That’s about it. The entire offense struggled against the Bears, and unfortunately, Stafford is good for at least one of these games per season. With the Eagles, and Rams coming up, it might get worse before it gets better.

Running Back
Baller of the Week
Matt Jones: 22 carries, 112 yards, 1 TD (2 catches, 21 yards) – 21 fantasy points

The Redskins came into this game with very little semblance of a running attack – averaging a total of 76 yards per game – and while I wouldn’t consider the Browns a tough matchup, they’re not exactly a cake matchup either. Cleveland was allowing only 3.86 yards per carry, had allowed only one rusher to reach 50 yards (Ryan Mathews Week 1 – 77), and had given up only 2 rushing TDs on the season… Then, they went to Landover, and Jones went off. Isaiah Crowell deserves credit on the other side – 16 carries, 120 yards, 1 TD – but, that was expected. Washington hasn’t stopped anyone this season.

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Jerick McKinnon: 18 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD (3 catches, 10 yards) – 15 fantasy points

The Giants run defense is solid, and the Vikings run offense hasn’t been good (even with Peterson), yet McKinnon averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Combine some of the upcoming matchups (Houston, Chicago twice, Detroit twice, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville) with that defense, and his assumed 20+ touches per game, and you have a guy who may end up being a season changer.

Bum of the Week
Jeremy Hill: 21 carries, 71 yards – 7 fantasy points

Not a bad performance – a TD would’ve made him a Top 15 RB – but, a very underwhelming performance, against a very average Dolphins run defense off a short week. In a game which the Bengals dominated (and controlled the clock, as Miami’s offense managed only 22 mins of possession), Hill saw 21 carries and he should’ve had a much bigger night.

Wide Receiver
Baller of the Week
Will Fuller V: 7 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD (Punt Return TD) – 20 fantasy points

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better fantasy receiver (and there’s definitely no better rookie at this point). Outside of the debacle at New England, he’s had either 100 yards or a TD, in every game. He now has more catches, almost 100 more receiving yards than DeAndre Hopkins (96), and will continue to face single coverage with Hopkins, and Miller commanding so much attention. Tennessee’s pass defense ranks amongst the best in the league, and although the punt return TD boosted his fantasy day, he was still the #9 fantasy receiver of Week 4 without it. Not bad.

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Dontrelle Inman: 7 catches, 120 yards, 1 TD – 18 fantasy points

He actually had a better day than Fuller (sans the punt return TD), but the Saints passing defense has been laughable, so Fuller gets the edge on the strength of matchup. Inman had only 45 yards receiving going into this one, but he’s now 3rd on the Chargers in targets. If we know one thing about the Chargers, it’s that Philip Rivers isn’t going to stop throwing the ball anytime soon. He’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

Bum of the Week
DeAndre Hopkins: 1 catch, 4 yards – 0 fantasy points

Yes, it was a tough matchup. Yes, he sees double coverage almost every play. No, he hasn’t quite developed a rapport with new QB Brock Osweiler. I get all of that. But, 1 catch for 4 yards?! Hopkins has proven over his career that he’s not only matchup proof, but QB proof… This is crazy.

Tight End
Hunter Henry: 4 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD – 12 fantasy points

I mentioned Henry last week, and while the matchup with NO wasn’t a favorable one, he finished as the #3 fantasy tight end. Now, I’m not ready to proclaim him “matchup proof”, but it’s hard to deny his production. As long as Gates is out, you have to like Mr. Henry.

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Jimmy Graham: 6 catches, 113 yards – 11 fantasy points

Wait, wait, wait… What?! Jimmy Graham mentioned as a waiver wire pickup?! I know… Wild. But, it’s not a cop out. I’ve seen Graham owned in as low as 60% of leagues, and based off last season (and the 1st two weeks of this season) it’s not completely irrational. However, he now has two straight 100 yard games, seems to be clicking with Russell Wilson, and more importantly, seems to finally be a priority in this offense (behind only Baldwin in targets). If you’re in one of those aforementioned leagues, pick him up… Please.

Bum of the Week
Dennis Pitta: 3 catches, 17 yards – 1 fantasy point

Jacob Tamme; 5 catches, 75 yards, 1 TD. Austin Hooper; 3 catches, 84 yards. Jace Amaro; 3 catches, 59 yards… Tight ends haven’t exactly struggled against the Raiders. Flacco threw the ball 52 times in this game, yet Pitta saw only 5 targets. Disappointing.

As always, be sure to check me out on Instagram: maximizeyourodds, Facebook: maximizeyourodds, and Twitter: maxingyourodds or shoot me an email: leonard@maximizeyourodds.com for additional free plays, and/or fantasy advice. And, be sure to check back for the Week 5 Positional Rankings, and DraftKings Starts of the Week to ensure you’re dominating your leagues!

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