A look at the fantasy players who stood out in Week 4 and who may be poised to put up big numbers moving forward.
Week 4 of the NFL season has come and gone, and we’re all somehow already through one month of football.
This week saw a clash of two undefeated AFC East teams in Western New York, a primetime defensive battle in the Big Easy, and the continued rise of Minshew Mania in Jacksonville. Let’s take a look at the players that stood out the most in Week 4.
DAVANTE ADAMS (Green Bay Packers)
If Davante Adams had not come up limping due to turf toe he could have easily reached 300 receiving yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Adams was untouchable against Philly’s suspect secondary, catching 10 balls on 15 targets for 180 yards. He just barely missed touchdowns on two long completions as well. Adams’ turf toe will be something to monitor closely heading into Week 5, but he will remain a top tier WR1 all year long if he suits up.
A.J. BROWN (Tennessee Titans)
The word “Dynamic” is just about the last adjective I would usually use to describe a player on the Tennessee Titans offense. Yet, here I am, calling out the exceptionally dynamic play of rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown.
Brown has been a revelation for a usually anemic Titans offensive attack through the first month of the season. Through the first four weeks he has exceeded 90 receiving yards twice, and this past week he put in his breakout performance. He torched the Falcons defense for a 100% catch rate (3 targets/3 receptions), and 94 yards with 2 TDs.
His current target share (3 targets per game) is way too low to trust on a weekly basis, but if that number starts to rise Brown could easily become a weekly FLEX option in most formats.
LEONARD FOURNETTE (Jacksonville Jaguars)
To the fantasy owner who has drafted Leonard Fournette religiously for the past three years: Congratulations.
Fournette publicly stated his renewed focus and intention to dominate the league coming into this season, and the slimmed-down version of the bruising back looked untouchable on Sunday. The Broncos defense didn’t know what hit them, as Fournette rumbled for over 200+ rushing yards from scrimmage. He set up the pins on Sunday, and Gardner Minshew II knocked them down when it mattered.
The injury concerns will continue to follow him, but so far Fournette has looked excellent.
NICK CHUBB (Cleveland Browns)
HAVE A DAY NICK CHUBB! My god, so much for the poor Browns offensive line narrative.
Cleveland’s statement victory in Baltimore on Sunday showcased the exact style of play that they will need to implement moving forward to succeed. Snap the ball, hand it to Chubb, and get out of the way. The second-year breakout candidate saw his second-highest touch total of the year on Sunday (20 carries), and he used those opportunities to throttle the Ravens defense to the tune of 165 yards/3 Tds. Don’t overthink this Freddie Kitchens, keep defenses honest and keep Bakers jersey clean.
Hand the ball to Chubb 20+ times a game and see how quickly the negative narratives around your team disappear.
JORDAN HOWARD (Philadelphia Eagles)
For three weeks Eagles fans, Philadelphia media, and the national media at large criticized the Eagles handling of running back Jordan Howard.
Doug Pederson’s committee approach to the backfield has been a thorn in the sides of fantasy owners for years now, but on Thursday night we saw exactly what Howard was capable of in this offense. The former Chicago Bear saw his highest carry total of the season so far (15 carries) and turned them into 87 yards/2 TD’s on the ground. He also added another 3 receptions for 28 yards and a TD through the air. The Eagles offense is multi-layered and they’re set to get Desean Jackson back either this week or in Week 6.
Howard won’t be a reliable week-to-week RB option because of those weapons, but he should be a sturdy FLEX play with touchdown upside after this one.
JAMEIS WINSTON (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Oi Vey. Boy oh boy were we wrong about Jameis Winston this week. It’s comforting to know that almost everyone in the country outside of Tampa Bay also didn’t believe in him, but this was an insane performance.
Winston was nearly unstoppable against the defending NFC Champions on the road on Sunday afternoon. His throws were on point, he limited his mistakes and he walked away with a victory over one of the best teams in the conference against all odds. Winston’s final stat line (385 Pass Yds/4 Tds/1 INT) is one of the best of his entire NFL career to date.
He still represents one of the more volatile plays at the QB position for fantasy purposes, but he could be a major sell high candidate after this one.
JAMES CONNER/JAYLEN SAMUELS (Pittsburgh Steelers)
In a must-win game against one of the worst teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers were effectively dominant. That dominance was almost entirely a bi-product of the backfield efforts of James Conner and Jaylen Samuels.
Samuels and Conner were Mason Rudolph’s favorite receiving targets all night long, and both men were relied upon to execute wildcat trick plays multiple times. To their credit, both put in impressive performances, scoring a touchdown apiece, and producing fantasy-relevant numbers across the board.
Pittsburgh could be in a major crash spot in Week 5 against Baltimore, but Conner/Samuels could feast against a Ravens defense that got destroyed by Nick Chubb this past week. They both represent an interesting hold scenario at the moment for fantasy purposes.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAY FROM WEEK 4
The Detroit Lions are way better than anyone thought they would be.
When the Lions choked away a 24-6 lead in the fourth quarter of Week one to the Arizona Cardinals it was safe to say most people wrote this team off. How could they fail to close out a winless Cardinals team?
This was clearly just another mediocre Detroit team destined for .500 or below, right? Well, first impressions (while important) aren’t always the whole picture. It turned out this Lions team is actually pretty good. In fact, they may be the best team in the NFC that no one is taking seriously.
After that Week one tie against Arizona, the Lions were facing down a three-week gauntlet against projected playoff teams (LA Chargers/Philadelphia Eagles/Kansas City Chiefs). They were underdogs in all three of those contests, and they won two of three. They outmuscled the Chargers in a tight 13-10 victory, and they outworked the Eagles on the road for another close 27-24 win. On Sunday afternoon the Lions came within one 4th & 8 conversion of defeating the reigning NFL MVP and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Detroit outplayed Kansas City throughout the entire contest. They battered Patrick Mahomes in the backfield, and they victimized the Chiefs defense down the field seemingly at will. Matt Patricia’s second season as Lions head coach will be one to watch closely as the year goes on. If this team manages to make the playoffs by seasons end he could (and should) be a Top 3 coach of the year candidate. They’re sneaky good, and they should be getting more respect.