Julio Jones leads Week 4 fantasy scoring with 300 yards plus duds & what to know
In case you needed a reminder or supporting evidence as to why wide receiver average draft positions have soared over the past few seasons, check out Week 4's fantasy football leading scorers heading into Sunday night football. Note: Matt Ryan's 500-yard and 50.5 fantasy point performance is celebrated.
Ryan and Jones became the first tandem in NFL history to pass for 500 yards and finish with 300 receiving yards. For it to come against the Panthers, less than a week after Don Julio was shut down by the Saints pass defense is quite the bounce-back fantasy performance.
How old is Steve Smith Sr.? What a stat line.
So much was made about Travis Benjamin becoming Philip Rivers' top target after Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead were lost for the season, but the quarterback doesn't play favorites and in Week 4 connected with Dontrelle Inman seven times for 120 yards - a career-high. Benjamin finished with four receptions for 48 yards and a lost fumble.
Crabtree posted some monster numbers towards the end of his 49ers tenure when Colin Kaepernick was making a name for himself. What you probably don't know is how consistent the receiver has been for the Raiders. Crabtree is averaging six receptions, nine targets and 61 yards per game with 11 touchdowns over the past 14 games.
To be fair to Amari Cooper, he played most of his rookie season with a foot injury that hurt his progression, but fantasy owners only care about the bottom line.
Cooper and Crabtree share similar numbers until you get to the end zone where Crabtree excels. Plus, through the first four weeks, Cooper is still looking for his first score of 2016.
If you scan Week 4 running backs from early action (PPR), the whole Zero-RB strategy really paid dividends. For those with an eyebrow raised, Zero-RB is a draft strategy where owners wait until the fifth round or later to draft their first running back and then attack the waiver wire for value.
The Bears' Jordan Howard was the top waiver wire add of the week (now owned in 75 percent of leagues) after Jeremy Langford hit the shelf for the next four-to-six weeks. The rookie racked up 111 yards on the ground, which - by comparison - is well ahead of the Bears' entire recent rushing efforts. Over the past seven games, dating back to last year, the Bears' ENTIRE rushing corps averaged 97.2 rush yards per game. That includes 174 yards courtesy of a four-man running back + Cutler committee in one 2014 contest.
Terrance West's 5.4 yards per rush and touchdown was great and makes Marc Trestman look brilliant for sitting Justin Forsett, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. One, owners should still rush to add Kenneth Dixon as West was held in check for more than half of Week 4. Second, the Raiders entered Week 4 ranked last in rush yards allowed per attempt at 5.1. So, West's fantasy production was great, but will be short-lived.
Don't look now, but Crowell is averaging 96.5 rush yards per game with four touchdowns. Frank Gore is averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. John Kuhn touched the ball five times in Week 4 and scored three touchdowns. Now that's efficient.
And Now For Something Completely Different
Stafford had averaged better than 30 fantasy points per game through the first three weeks. Naturally, he has his worst game against the 0-3 Bears. It wasn't a complete wash as Marvin Jones' owners salvaged 12.4 fantasy points in the loss.
It may be time to worry about Latavius Murray's role this season. Baltimore may boast a top 10 rush defense, but Murray now has two games with fewer than 10 carries. That never happened last season. It was also the first time in four games he didn't help standard scoring league owners with a touchdown. Yuck.
Dennis Pitta had posted 15 receptions for 144 yards over the past two games, but against the 29th-ranked Raiders' pass defense, he was held to a season-low 17 yards.
The Julian Edelman final line is interesting only because he had a 90-yard reception called back due to a penalty. The difference between what would have been 12.7 fantasy points and the 2.7 result is a tough pill to swallow.