When you're thinking about winners and losers coming off a day of NFL action, you don't want to just focus on players who had good or bad games, even if they were especially notable. Is Chris Godwin a winner from Week 4 for his 12-catch, 172-yard, two-touchdown performance? While those are incredible numbers, it probably doesn't change how anyone views Godwin; after all, he had 8-121-1 just two weeks ago.
We're not just looking for who played well or poorly, then. And we're not just looking for next week's hot waiver-wire pickups — David Montgomery, for example.. No, we're looking for players whose Fantasy stock is rising or falling, which can be tougher to identify than you think. Take
For the first three weeks of the season, the entire Fantasy community put aside their difference to pound the table with one simple demand:
Give David Montgomery more touches! It's not hard.— Jamey Eisenberg (@JameyEisenberg) September 24, 2019
Well, the Bears finally did it Sunday, as Montgomery had 21 carries and five targets in a 16-6 win over the Vikings. So, he's a winner, right? Workload is king in Fantasy, and with Mike Davis seemingly entirely out of the picture and Tarik Cohen relegated mostly to passing work, Montgomery getting 26 opportunities is huge for his value moving forward.
The only problem is, Montgomery hasn't been very good. He rushed for just 53 yards on his 21 attempts, with just 14 yards on three catches. For the season, he's at 200 yards on 58 attempts (3.48 YPC) and 61 receiving yards on eight catches. And he hasn't quite shown the eye-popping broken tackle ability that made him such an intriguing college prospect: Heading into Week 4, Montgomery ranked just 27th in the NFL in broken tackles with six on 37 attempts, per Sports Info Solutions. his 1.6 yards per attempt after contact ranked 41st among all backs with at least 20 carries.
There have been flashes from Montgomery, but they have mostly resulted in 7-yard gains. For all that work he got Sunday, Montgomery was thoroughly underwhelming, and hasn't come close to being worth the hype he's garnered so far.
Ultimately, I think the last two weeks have still been a good sign for Montgomery's value moving forward. The Bears clearly view him as the top option in the rushing game, and that has led to at least 16 touches in three straight. If you don't have Montgomery and the manager who does is expressing frustration, this might be the perfect time to pounce. Anyone who gets that kind of work has Fantasy appeal, and given that it looked like he was going to enter the season in a three-way split, you have to be pleased with the workload at this point.
Now, he actually has to do something with it.
Gallman shows enough
The biggest story for Week 4 heading into Sunday's action was about how the Giants would go about replacing superstar running back Saquon Barkley. And, least for one week, they didn't miss Barkley too much, as Wayne Gallman made his presence felt in both facets of the game.
Gallman was no Barkley, obviously, but he saw a Barkley-esque workload, which is what we wanted to see. He ran the ball 18 times for 63 yards and a score, and added six catches on seven targets for 55 yards and another touchdown. The passing game work may be the most promising thing about the performance, as the Giants never really had a need to throw the ball, going up early and staying there in a 24-3 win over Washington. Despite that, Gallman tied Evan Engram for the most targets on the team, with nearly a quarter of Daniel Jones' passes going Gallman's way.
Gallman was obviously a winner for Week 4 given this usage, and even the unexpectedly robust workload for backup Jonathan Hilliman (10 carries, 33 yards) shouldn't be a concern. Hilliman spelled Gallman for a few series, but only saw extensive work on one drive — which ended with a lost fumble for Hilliman. As long as the Giants don't penalize Gallman moving forward for his own fumble late in the game, he looks to have a healthy workload.
That won't replace Barkley in your Fantasy lineups, but if you made a significant investment in Gallman on waivers this week, you're feeling better about that decision. You've got at least another three games, most likely, and possibly even more, for Gallman to help carry you. That's good to know.
Winners and Losers
PHI Philadelphia • #34
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
The Lions talked a big game about getting Kerryon Johnson more work this offseason, and then went out and used him as a part-time player in the first two games of the season, leading to some panic among Fantasy players. However, as Ben Gretch noted in Stealing Signals for Week 3, Johnson saw the second-highest snap share of his career in Week, and he got a monster workload Sunday, too. As the Lions tried to play keepaway from the Chiefs, Johnson carried the ball 26 times in Week 4, rushing for 125 yards and adding a pair of catches for 32 yards on three targets. He isn't seeing quite the passing game workload we had hoped for, but with 49 touches over the last two games, Johnson is now averaging 20.3 touches per game. If this is how the Lions plan to use Johnson, he's probably going to end up in the top-12 RB conversation.
NO New Orleans • #2
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Look, it might be better if you just don't watch Jameis Winston when he's in your lineup, because he is still prone to the kind of inexcusable gaffes that have always limited his potential. However, one week after lighting up the Giants, Winston was even better against what was supposed to be a tough Rams' defense, passing for 385 yards on 41 attempts with four touchdowns. After an abysmal start that saw him throw three picks to just two touchdowns in his first two games, Winston has seven scores and just two interceptions over the last two, with 765 yards combined. That he did this against the Rams makes it all the more impressive. It will be tough to sit him in Week 5 against the Saints. We've come a long way from Week 2.
Will Dissly TE
SEA Seattle • #89
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
The real winners here might be Tyler Eifert and Austin Hooper, the next two tight ends who get to face off against the Cardinals, who continue to be historically poor at defending tight ends. However, writing off Dissly's seven-catch, 51-yard, one-touchdown performance as being the result of a favorable matchup wouldn't be entirely fair — it's time we start taking him seriously as a viable tight end play in his own right. Dissly has now played eight NFL games, and despite leaving a few of them early with injuries, he has 27 catches for 337 yards and six touchdowns, including at least 50 yards in five of eight games. Playing with one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL on a team that isn't exactly overflowing with viable passing game options should keep Dissly involved. As long as he is healthy, Dissly should be a lineup staple at this point.
Chris Carson RB
SEA Seattle • #32
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Pete Carroll is so unfailingly positive when he talks about his players that it can be easy to just ignore. However, he backed up his words when it came to Chris Carson, who didn't find himself in the coach's doghouse Sunday despite his three costly fumbles in the first three games. Carson ran the ball 22 times for 104 yards and added four catches for 41 in the 27-10 win over the Cardinals. Maybe things would have been different if Rashaad Penny (hamstring) had been active, but he wasn't, and Carson helped put himself back in the coach's good graces Sunday.
LV Las Vegas • #81
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Hooper gets those Cardinals in Week 6, but he doesn't need them to matter. While Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley have been a bit underwhelming at times in the early going, Hooper has been a consistent part of the offense in every game so far. He led the team with nine catches for 130 yards and 11 targets, and now has 28 catches for 307 yards at the quarter mark of the season. He probably won't keep this pace up, but Hooper is already at 31.8% of his career-high in targets, and has at least six in each game. At a position where most of the league is just trying to keep their heads above water, Hooper seems to have solidified himself as a someone you can trust.
Age: 29 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Forget about possibly emerging as the 1b to Julio Jones' 1a; at this point, we're just hoping Ridley can re-emerge as the No. 2 in Atlanta. Ridley entered Sunday's game fourth on the team in targets behind Jones, Hooper, and Mohamed Sanu, and didn't move up in the hierarchy, catching just three passes for 32 yards on six targets. Through the quarter mark of the season, Ridley is on pace for just 92 targets, 64 catches, and 828 yards, pretty much identical what he managed as a rookie, when he was a touchdown-dependent Fantasy starter. We weren't just hoping for a repeat of 2018 when making Ridley the No. 22 wide receiver off the board on average, but so far, the Falcons have been happy to take what defenses give them, as Matt Ryan spent Sunday's game peppering Sanu and Hooper with targets. I still like Ridley as a buy-low option, but this has been a frustrating couple of weeks after a strong start.
O.J. Howard TE
LV Las Vegas • #88
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
It's too early to declare Howard a bust, but that makes for four underwhelming performances in a row, as he finished Sunday's game against the Rams with just three catches for 33 yards. Howard has continued to be incredibly efficient, catching 10 of 12 passes thrown his way for 132 yards, but he just hasn't seen the increased role we were hoping for this season. In fact, with three catches for 36 yards (and a touchdown) in Week 4, Cameron Brate now has just two fewer targets than Howard on the season. Of course, he has less than half as many yards, so it's pretty clear who the better player is, but Howard's breakout was going to require Brate taking a back seat and that just hasn't happened. It's the Mike Evans/Chris Godwin show in Tampa right now.
Eric Ebron TE
PIT Pittsburgh • #85
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Ebron was a pretty obvious bust candidate coming into the season, and Sunday's game might have been rock-bottom for him. Ebron's final line ended up decent for Fantasy thanks to a 48-yard touchdown, but that was his only catch on five targets, as he had three costly drops. Jack Doyle continues to see the field more, and had eight targets to lead the team. For the season, Doyle now has 17 targets to 16 for Ebron, a sign that there just isn't enough passing volume and productivity in this offense to support two Fantasy tight ends. Ebron isn't hopeless, but he's no more than a streamer unless something happens to change his role. We haven't seen that yet.
PIT Pittsburgh • #29
Age: 28 • Experience: 5 yrs.
There were reports out of camp that Ballage was outperforming Kenyan Drake, but that hasn't continued into the games. It seems like every week we get another killer Ballage drop, and this week's version cost Josh Rosen what would have been a pretty sure touchdown. Ballage got just the one target and two carries in Week 4, and third-string back Mark Walton featured into the rotation Sunday, rushing the ball six times. If you were holding on to Ballage in the hopes that he could somehow find a 12-15 touch per game role, it's time to cut bait. Mercifully.