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Okay, look. You know Fantasy Football is wackier and wilder than ever before when Andrew Luck, fresh off a week where everyone becomes skeptical of his passing, throws for a career-high 447 yards and four touchdowns, Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins light up the scoreboard on Thursday and are both comfortably outperformed by Mitchell Trubisky, and Matt Ryan racks up over 400 yards and three touchdowns ... and it's not enough to finish as a top-five quarterback!
Passing is as prolific as ever. It's like the league injected hyper-radioactive goo into the arm of every quarterback in the league (except for the guys in Arizona). Either that, or the league's ever-evolving defensive rules combined with the defensive talent just not holding a candle to the offensive talent is creating a bunch of fun, high-scoring games that result in mega-points for a bunch of players every single week.
Will things stay this way? Sure, so long as those good offensive talents stay healthy.
That was a problem in Week 4.
Mega-mammoth tight-end Rob Gronkowski left the Patriots' blowout win over the Dolphins in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He pulled himself out of the game and was taken to the locker room, not returning to the sideline or making himself available for post-game comment, which is not normal. The Patriots host the Colts on Thursday night, so there's a chance he won't have enough time to heal up and play. Gronk has already disappointed Fantasy fans since Week 2 as he's compiled a 10-110-0 stat line against the Jaguars, Lions and Dolphins.
The Colts might feel better about playing the Patriots if they don't have Gronk, but they themselves already believe they won't have T.Y. Hilton. The stud receiver left the Colts' showdown with the Texans twice, first with a chest injury and then again with a hamstring. He amassed 115 yards on four catches (six targets), a total that should be considered a huge win considering he wasn't on the field for most of the first quarter, most of the fourth quarter and at all in overtime. Luck figures to be without his most dangerous receiver on Thursday.
Speaking of fortuitous plays in limited action, Houston's Will Fuller scored a touchdown and notched 49 yards on four catches before leaving in the third quarter of the Texans' win at Indy with a hamstring injury. It's particularly concerning because he's been on the Texans' injury reports since Week 1 with hamstring issues and dealt with hamstring problems last year.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, isn't sure when it will get Leonard Fournette for four quarters at a time. The bruising running back has two hamstring-shortened games and zero touchdowns through four weeks. Head coach Doug Marrone used colorful language to express his concern for Fournette before adding it was "not a good sign" he re-injured his hamstring.
Those are just the headliners. Some other notable injuries from Week 4:
- Poor Tyler Eifert broke his ankle after scoring in Week 4 and seems done for a long while.
- Geronimo Allison suffered a concussion.
- O.J. Howard left with a knee injury.
- Antonio Callaway had a nightmarish game and left his matchup at the Raiders
- Red-hot rookie tight end Will Dissly will go on IR with a torn patella.
It was the roughest, most physical week so far this season.
Dealing with injuries is nothing new. Dealing with them during a scoreboard-bursting season where it seems like everyone is getting tons of Fantasy points is new. And it ultimately means that if you lose one, maybe two of your biggest stat producers, your season is toast. Kinda like the 49ers' season.
Now more than ever, it pays to be aggressive when it comes to adding players off waivers. Now more than ever, hoarding good players and building up depth is crucial. In four or five weeks, you may choose to unload some of that depth for superstars to make your lineup unstoppable in the Fantasy postseason, but until then, don't give up faith in under-performing studs — and don't rest when it comes to manicuring every single spot on your roster.
Three Big Questions
So ... should we expect big weeks like this from Andrew Luck from now on? A week ago, and frankly before kickoff today, I was worried about Luck's chances to be a high-upside Fantasy quarterback. But down two starting offensive linemen and his best short-area tight end and playing for a chunk of the game without his best receiver, Luck notched a career-best 447 yards with four touchdowns on 40 of 62 passing, most of it coming in the second half. It was a very, very reassuring effort from Luck, but a big part of the equation was the matchup against a Texans pass defense that just can't cover anyone. The Patriots, Jets and Bills are up next for the Colts, with the first two games on the road.
What the heck happened to Jordan Howard? The Bears scored 45 points and Howard had 25 yards on 11 carries with no catches. Instead, Tarik Cohen came back from the stat graveyard to erupt for 121 yards and a touchdown on seven catches with another 53 yards on 13 catches (two more than Howard). When asked if Cohen's usage was game-specific, Bears coach Matt Nagy smiled and said "maybe," but in retrospect it made sense that the Bears dialed him up against a Bucs pass defense that hasn't done well against offenses that stretch the field. Could it continue? How could it not?! Typically, coaches gravitate toward speedy players, especially those who have the kind of versatility Cohen has. Chicago will go into its bye week with plenty of time to think about the future of their run game. It could spoil Howard's potential for a huge year, but he shouldn't be a lost part of the offense.
Is this the end of the line for [INSERT DISAPPOINTING RUNNING BACK'S NAME HERE]? Dalvin Cook doesn't seem to be running at 100 percent. Kenyan Drake has gotten 11 handoffs or less in each of his last three. Jamaal Williams watched Aaron Jones take his job on Sunday. Peyton Barber has been a colossal dud for the Bucs. The Titans played nearly five quarters of football and Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis totaled eight Fantasy points in non-PPR (at least Lewis had nine receptions). I'm not sure if LeSean McCoy is even still in the NFL anymore. Of this group, the only one who won't get much attention if you cut them is Barber. Every other back will absolutely get gobbled up by someone else in your league if you cut them. Don't care? Go ahead and let them go. But it's a long season and just because a player is putting up lame single-digits now doesn't mean he will for the rest of the way. Just ask Tarik Cohen.
Early Waiver Wire
The Bucs will be on bye in Week 5, just in time for Fantasy owners to leap off the crashed Ryan Fitzpatrick bandwagon. Anyone who streamed Ryan Tannehill or Eli Manning will also race to find a new arm. Finally, byes are on the horizon for Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson. Now's as good a time as any to get that bye-week backup.
Blake Bortles Jacksonville Jaguars QB
|This was the perfect showing for Bortles, posting a 76.3 completion percentage with nearly 400 yards and a couple of scores against a not-bad Jets secondary. And again, he put up big numbers without Fournette on the field with him. Now we should have some confidence going with him as at least a streaming option when he and the Jaguars play at the pass-defense deficient Chiefs in Week 5.|
Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans QB
|If his hand was bothering him, you wouldn't know it based on how he played. Mariota had more completions, yards and touchdowns against the Eagles than he had in his other two games. He looked downright awesome, as did top receiver Corey Davis. This connection should continue next week at Buffalo.|
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders QB
|Carr finally put a full game together where he married his high completion rate and yardage with touchdowns. Things seemed to be really working for Carr in a shootout with the Browns. He'll face the Chargers in L.A. next week — C.J. Beathard just found a way to connect for 298 yards and two scores against them.|
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
|You might chase Prescott because he'll take on a sloppy Texans defense in Week 5. Know this: He needed a lot to go right for him to get just 255 yards and two touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott was his leading receiver, catching a touchdown pass to make the game go as right as possible ... and it meant 23 Fantasy points. He's your least appealing bye-week replacement, even with the plus matchup.|
Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears QB
|How can you ignore a 73 percent completion percentage, 13.6 yards per pass attempt and six touchdowns?! Trubisky will be in position to make plays week after week, but his next four games are against the AFC East after a Week 5 bye. Trubisky is probably better to speculate on, not commit to as a starter or even a bye-week replacement.|
Leonard Fournette's hamstring will probably sideline him again for at least a week. The Bears and Bucs are heading into a bye week. A bunch of rushers you drafted to be starters are playing like journeymen backups.
T.J. Yeldon Jacksonville Jaguars RB
|If you need a running back badly in Week 5, Yeldon is your guy. He figures to be the lead back for the Jaguars in what should be a high-scoring matchup at Kansas City. Corey Grant (13 percent owned) didn't get much work on Sunday but could figure into the plan for as many as eight touches and would be on the brink of a full-time gig if Yeldon were to get hurt (he was on the injury report this week).|
Nyheim Hines Indianapolis Colts RB
|Hines is locked into the pass-catching role in the Colts backfield until Marlon Mack (70 percent) proves he's better at it. That might take a while. As for the traditional running back role, that job's up for grabs. The only Colt with a plus-4.0 rush average is Christine Michael, who's no longer on the team. Robert Turbin (2 percent) comes off suspension this week and should give the Colts a physical presence, albeit he's no lock to average over 4.0 yards per carry either. Mack has potential but can't stay healthy. Hines is a must-get in PPR formats and a not-bad get in non-PPR too. Mack and Turbin are speculative.|
Tarik Cohen Chicago Bears RB
|An incredible Week 4 will bring intrigue starting in Week 6. Cohen figures to earn more work in the Bears offense moving forward, but will it mean a bunch of catches every week? Will he siphon away touches from Howard? How much will the matchups matter? Anyone who picks up Cohen must be willing to not only stick with him through his bye week but also understand that there's no guarantee he comes close to his Week 4 numbers again this season. I'd make sure to get him if I had Howard in my lineup, and I'd love to stash him on my bench and see what happens, even if I don't need a running back badly.|
Mike Davis Seattle Seahawks RB
|With Chris Carson inactive, the Seahawks rode with Davis instead of rookie Rashaad Penny. He rewarded them with 124 total yards and two rushing touchdowns. Great game for him, but it might lead to a great headache for Fantasy owners. He could end up splitting carries with Carson moving forward. Seattle home versus the Rams in Week 5 before taking off to London for a date with the Raiders in Week 6, then a bye. Davis should be chased by anyone clinging to Carson as a Fantasy starter but isn't a top priority otherwise.|
Nick Chubb Cleveland Browns RB
|Chubb looked phenomenal on both of his long touchdown runs. Unfortunately, he had just three carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Now maybe the Browns give Chubb a few more touches moving forward, particularly since Carlos Hyde has as averaged under 4.0 yards per carry in three of four games this season, but I wouldn't expect him to take over the lead gig anytime soon. A home matchup against the Ravens isn't exactly the kind of matchup you'd love to start Chubb (or Hyde) in next week.|
Ronald Jones Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
|The Bucs gave Jones his first dose of regular-season football on Sunday and he averaged 2.9 yards per carry with a catch for minus-1 yard. If you're in a deep league and want to hold on to Jones to see what he does coming out of the Bucs' bye week, knock yourself out.|
Hilton figures to be out for Week 4 as might Fuller. We'll see on Geronimo Allison and, if you even want to start him, Antonio Callaway. There are a ton of interesting receivers for you to pad your bench with.
Taywan Taylor Tennessee Titans WR
|Corey Davis stole the show with his 161-yard game including the clinching touchdown in OT, but Taylor emerged as the team's No. 2 receiver with 77 yards on seven catches (nine targets), though he did have a couple of drops as well. You know how Calvin Ridley is the speedy option opposite Julio Jones and Tyler Boyd is the sneaky good receiver playing on the same side as A.J. Green? Taylor is the low-rent version of that for the Titans. The sooner the team establishes Davis as a dominant receiver, the sooner Taylor can emerge alongside him as their troublesome second wideout. He's worth trotting out as a flex replacement in PPR leagues in Week 5 when he plays at Buffalo.|
Dede Westbrook Jacksonville Jaguars WR
|Keeping in line with the other positions, these Jaguars receivers should have a chance at accruing nice stats at Kansas City in Week 5. Westbrook has quietly gone for double-digit Fantasy points in two of his last three games and broke out with nine catches on 13 targets against the Jets (who struggle with slot receivers, which Westbrook wound up being instead of the Jaguars moving Keelan Cole there). Donte Moncrief (nine percent) is a typically touchdown-dependent receiver, but he has a good matchup in Week 5. Both these Jags are fair bye-week replacements.|
Keke Coutee Houston Texans WR
|This was a historic debut for the smallish but speedy Texas Tech rookie, gaining 109 yards on 11 receptions, the most for any NFL rookie in his first game since the AFL-NFL merger. And the Texans needed his field-stretching speed to help replace Will Fuller in the second half — something they might need moving forward. The Texans find themselves home against a good Cowboys defense in Week 5, but there aren't any Dallas defensive backs that can run with Coutee. He is a very tempting waiver add.|
Taylor Gabriel Chicago Bears WR
|Through four weeks, Gabriel is second on the Bears in targets with 29, and he's caught 22 of them. The difference between Week 4 and the first three weeks is that he was a perfect 7 for 7 on his targets for 104 yards and two short-yardage scores against a slow Buccaneers defense instead of middling for about 6.0 yards per catch. He's very much a boom-or-bust Fantasy receiver who you can utilize when the Bears play weak, slow defenses.|
Ryan Grant Indianapolis Colts WR
|If Hilton indeed sits out Week 4, these guys should end up getting targets against the Patriots on Thursday night. Grant's already picked up a lot of targets in games Luck's had to throw a lot in, Chester Rogers (2 percent) only got a boost in targets this week because of Hilton's injury, and Pascal (0 percent) seemingly got a promotion this week as Luck found him six times over 10 targets including on a short touchdown catch. Grant's the best bet of the group with Rogers and Pascal registering as lower-end choices.|
Here we go ... another rough week with injuries at the thinnest position in Fantasy. There's a chance Rob Gronkowski misses Week 5, meaning someone in every league will need a tight end badly.
Geoff Swaim Dallas Cowboys TE
|This has been the Cowboys' primary tight end all season, but he scored in Week 4 for the first time this season. He's turned 16 targets into 11 catches for 104 yards so far, which is pretty much the tell-tale sign of him being a touchdown-or-bust tight end. The matchup at Houston in Week 5, however, could yield a score.|
Austin Hooper Atlanta Falcons TE
|If you're like me, you started Hooper hoping for a touchdown in a high-scoring game in Week 4. If you're like me, you'll give him another chance to find the end zone in what should be a high-scoring game in Week 5 at Pittsburgh, the team that allowed the most Fantasy points to tight ends coming into Week 4.|
Ricky Seals-Jones Arizona Cardinals TE
|His inconsistency makes me nervous and his quarterback had an up-and-down Week 4 first start, but the matchup against the 49ers in Week 5 gives him some potential to help your Fantasy team.|
Antonio Gates Los Angeles Chargers TE
|Gates was so wide open on his touchdown catch that you'd think he bathed in skunk spray before the game. Another TD-or-nothing tight end, Gates might keep it rolling in Week 5 against the Raiders.|
Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jacksonville Jaguars TE
|He plays the Chiefs in Week 5. Might score a touchdown.|
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 5? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.