Fantasy Football: Big questions for Week 4 center around slow starts, rankings, sell highs and buy lows
Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings go on the record on six of the biggest issues facing Fantasy owners heading into Week 6.
The Patriots are falling apart.
The rookie quarterbacks are taking over.
Injuries, injuries, everywhere.
Oh, and by weeks are starting up — you can't use Carolina or Washington this week.
There's a lot to get a grasp on as you prepare for Week 4. Here's what our experts Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings think about the biggest storylines from around the NFL.
1. What are your expectations for the 49ers' offense from here on out?
Jamey Eisenberg: "Not good. I'm still comfortable with Matt Breida as a starting option based on Kyle Shanahan, and C.J. Beathard did well throwing to his running backs during his time as a starter in 2017. That helps Alfred Morris also in a secondary role. And George Kittle can still be a starting tight end given the nature of that position, as well as Beathard and Kittle knowing each other from their collegiate days at Iowa. Marquise Goodwin is a potential drop candidate, but I'll hold him for now to see what happens now that he's healthy. And you can easily move on from Pierre Garcon and Dante Pettis given their lack of production through the first three games."
Dave Richard: "It's not good. Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't amazing, but he's certainly better than C.J. Beathard. Garoppolo throws more accurately. Defenses will feast on Beathard's relative inexperience and will be more compelled to focus on the run first. The only startable 49ers at this point are Matt Breida and, to a lesser extent, George Kittle."
Heath Cummings: "Not great, Bob. The 49ers scored more than one touchdown twice in six games with C.J. Beathard last year. The only position that benefited was running back, with Carlos Hyde seeing 50 targets in those six games. I'd hold on to George Kittle just because he's so talented and tight end is so bad, but I'm fine with dropping any 49ers receiver."
2. What is your level of concern about the Patriots' offense?
Jamey: "I'm not falling for the Patriots' usual September lull just yet. They head home against the Dolphins in Week 4, and all their worries can easily get turned around in this matchup. Tom Brady is about to get plenty of help at receiver with Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman coming back by Week 5, and Sony Michel can still get going in the run game. There's a buy-low opportunity here for Brady and Rob Gronkowski, and you should look to buy those guys at the right price."
Dave: "Did the Lions lay a blueprint down on how to slow Rob Gronkowski down? If they did, the Dolphins could follow it and potentially deliver a third straight gut punch to him and the Patriots in general. But once Josh Gordon gets acclimated to the offense and Julian Edelman comes back from suspension, they should spread defenses thin and regain their form. The Patriots tend to struggle early every season."
Heath: "It's funny, because if we were just looking at the numbers, the concern should be huge. But by this point everyone knows what happens when you doubt Tom Brady in September. I'm concerned about them in Week 4 against the Dolphins, but expect they'll be fine when Julian Edelman returns and Josh Gordon gets acclimated."
3. Who is your top buy-low candidate right now?
Jamey: "David Johnson. He hasn't performed well or been put in the right situations by his offense, but the quarterback change from Sam Bradford to Josh Rosen should help. If you can find a frustrated owner willing to part with Johnson for the right price, you should make a move to acquire him."
Dave: "I have a bunch, but if I can snag a first-round talent like David Johnson for a discount, I'm doing it. Do you really think the Cardinals are going to keep Johnson to a limited workload all season? Perhaps the switch at quarterback will make things a little easier for Johnson moving forward. I'm banking on his talent and the Cardinals not making the same stupid mistakes with their offensive personnel decisions. I would gladly trade Adrian Peterson straight up for him."
Heath: "I'd go with Kenyan Drake. I still believe in his talent and Week 3 was just a weird situation where they had some big plays that limited their time of possession. I still believe he'll be a borderline No. 2 running back rest of season, even better in PPR."
4. Who is your top sell-high candidate right now?
Jamey: "Adrian Peterson. He's played well in two of the first three games, and he has the chance to have another good outing in Week 5 after Washington's bye week. But older running backs don't usually last, and last year we saw Peterson break down after he was the featured running back in Arizona. Given the need for running backs in most Fantasy leagues, it's a good idea to shop Peterson around now if you have the depth to let him go."
Dave: "Actually, it's Adrian Peterson. Two huge games through three weeks shouldn't be taken lightly, but lest we forget he's a 33-year-old running back who is already sporting a walking boot heading into his bye week. If someone comes at me with a quality starter, and I have the running back depth to move on from Peterson, I'm jumping at the chance."
Heath: "You should definitely judge the market on Adrian Peterson. It may be hard this week because he has a bye coming up, but once that is over you can pitch teams that he's already had his bye. I just don't believe he can keep this up at his age for a full season."
5. Who has the biggest make-or-break week in Week 4?
Jamey: "I'll go back to Brady here. The Dolphins just lost a key member of their pass rush with William Hayes (knee), and standout safety Reshad Jones (shoulder) is also hurt. Brady also could get Gordon on the field this week, and he should rebound as a top 10 Fantasy quarterback in Week 4."
Dave: "The first name that came to my mind was Amari Cooper. He's at home in a get-right, must-win spot against the Browns. Sounds like the right time to focus the offense on him, right? From what I can tell, the Raiders are trusting Carr to make quick reads and either target one specific player or find the obviously open guy. With several players at Carr's disposal, Cooper isn't forced into a high-volume role. He also quit on a deep route that resulted in an interception last week, potentially harming his trust with Carr. I'd like to see him rebound, or else ..."
Heath: "It's Demaryius Thomas. He's been terribly inefficient, but so far the targets are still there. He's at home against a pretty awful Chiefs defense. If he doesn't give you good production this week, it may be time to give up."
6. What was your toughest rankings call for Week 4?
Jamey: "All the No. 3 receivers. Look at that group, it's amazing. I'm talking about guys like Calvin Ridley, John Brown, Sterling Shepard, Mike Williams, Chris Godwin, Tyler Boyd, Antonio Callaway, Geronimo Allison, and on and on. There are so many guys that have the chance to be great, and it's a challenge to find the right spot to put each guy compared to the next. Hopefully, all of them perform well in Week 4."
Dave: "I found the DSTs to be tough to rank. Are the Dolphins really in my top-12?! They are, but it's partially because I wasn't comfortable with a bunch of other matchups for defensive units that would normally rank on top of them. We'll see if they stick."
Heath: "It's the Patriots, virtually all of them. I know why people want to give them the benefit of the doubt against the Dolphins, but all the evidence we have from this season suggests this is a mediocre offense going against an above average defense. I'm sitting Tom Brady and his receivers, but I'll start James White and Rob Gronkowski."
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 4? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 12 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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