Week 4 Busts: In the Weekly Fantasy Unit, there are crimes committed that would shock and appall you: Negative points, underwhelming superstars and outright busts. These are the findings of one man on a mission to expose the NFL’s biggest perpetrators before they strike again.
These are…..the Fantasy Files.
Welcome back to the W.F.U. fantasy fans! We had ourselves an exciting Week 3 and I’m proud to say we nailed it with our bust candidates our last time out. Let’s take a look back at how last week’s primary suspects performed in Week 3:
- Case Keenum (6 Fantasy Points)
- Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis (5 Fantasy Points/4 Fantasy Points)
- Brandin Cooks (9 Fantasy Points)
- Eric Ebron (3 Fantasy Points)
- Sebastian Janikowski (7 Fantasy Points)
- New England D/ST (3 Fantasy Points)
- Joe Flacco (15 Fantasy Points)
With one successful week under my belt it would be easy to get confident, but I’m going to take the sage advice of a famed scruffy looking nerf-herder, and I’m not going to get too cocky.
Instead, I’m bearing down on the data and continuing the search for the biggest busts of Week 4. Let’s take a look at who we have this week.
Fantasy Files: Tales From The WFU (Weekly Fantasy Unit)
Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)
While it’s not particularly bold to pick the quarterback of an 0-3 team, it’s fitting when you consider how close Oakland’s been to winning all three of its early season matchups. Each game has slipped through the Raiders’ hands in the second half (mainly in the fourth quarter). Derek Carr has shown efficiency, but no real considerable fantasy value as a starter in any of these matchups. His fantasy totals over the first three weeks read (9/15/15) and include games both in and outside the Black Hole. He’s also posted a putrid TD:INT ratio of 2:5 thus far in the young season.
The primary reason I’m warning fantasy owners to steer away from Carr is the allure of facing the Cleveland Browns. People read Cleveland and immediately think “Oh yeah, that’s an auto start”, but the days of that logic are very quickly coming to an end. The Browns have a low-key great defense with depth all across its roster. Myles Garrett will test Oakland’s O-line all day, and a deep secondary including Jabrill Peppers and the rookie Denzel Ward will be waiting to feast on mistakes. The Raiders have yet to prove they can get all of their offensive weapons going for an entire game, and I see no reason to believe they can get it together in a game against the newly crowned Prince of Cleveland: Baker Mayfield.
Isaiah Crowell (New York Jets)
Isaiah Crowell’s been a late-round lottery pick for owners through the first three weeks. He’s battered, bruised and bowled over defenders en route to fantasy totals of (22/4/17). I’ve been impressed with him so far, but there’s a reason he’s not in the Boom section this week.
Crowell and the Jets had extra time to lick their wounds after losing to the Browns, and they’ll need all of that recovery time and more as they’re set to face the Jaguars on the road in Week 4. This Jaguars team was just stifled and embarrassed in a low scoring 9-6 loss to a combination of Blaine Gabbert and Marcus Mariota on the road. In short, they’re pissed off and the Jets are the unfortunate souls in their path. Crowell is now going from facing three of the worst-ranked run defenses in the league (Detroit/Miami/Cleveland) to one of the top 5 units. Fade Crow on the road, and if you have to play a Jets RB I say roll out Bilal Powell. His pass-catching ability gives him added upside in PPR formats.
Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
I’m staying in the flames with my WR bust selections and going with Chris Godwin to fall off his path a bit this week on the road. The Bucs have joined the Dolphins as two of the most surprising teams of the early season, and Godwin’s been a certifiable breakout talent in the first three weeks. He’s posted fantasy totals of (10/11/11; PPR) and scored a touchdown in all three games. The problem is that he’s largely touchdown-dependent in standard leagues. Without the touchdowns Godwin’s fantasy totals are just (4/5/7 points) with two games coming against the porous New Orleans/Pittsburgh defenses. Godwin will line up on the road against an underrated cornerback group including Kyle Fuller/Prince Amukamura, and will have to try to get open quickly as Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely have Kahlil Mack in his face all day long.
Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings)
Kyle Rudolph owners know good and well the enigma that is the Minnesota Vikings TE. One week he’s targeted once, the next he’s flooded with opportunities, and that trend has carried over from Case Keenum to Kirk Cousins. This Vikings offense is potent, its weapons are high-caliber and capable of scoring on any drive, which is exactly why Rudolph is getting faded this week. With Rams starting CB’s Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib likely to miss the Thursday night matchup, I look for Cousins to air it out downfield to the talented tandem of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs early and often. Rudolph will get his looks over the middle, but with Dalvin Cook looking likely to play his red zone upside inside the 15 drastically drops. Rudolph can still put up decent yardage, but I wouldn’t go into this one expecting him to hit pay dirt in LA.
Robbie Gould (San Francisco 49ers)
With the loss of Jimmy Gorgeous, the 49ers are now forced to put the future of their young season into the hands of journeyman C.J. Beathard…*Pauses for emphasis*…that’s not good news.
In relief of former QB Brian Hoyer last year Beathard completed just over 50% of his passes for 1400 yards and a less than stellar TD:INT ratio of 4:6 over a 7 game sample. How does this effect Robbie Gould? Well, if your quarterback can’t complete passes, and doesn’t run the offense effectively, you’re not getting anywhere near field goal range. It’s a shame to have to put Gould here, he’s had a great start to the year with two double-digit kicking performances, but that was with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. Unfortunately, things in the Bay Area are likely on the decline across the board in the wake of this injury. At least they have the Warriors, right?
The 3-0 Miami Dolphins are one of the most surprising undefeated teams in recent history. Just taking a look at the roster for this team you’d be forgiven for not knowing who most of them are. That’s because this team is young, it’s young and it’s talented. Their defense, boasting stud cornerbacks Xavien Howard/Minkah Fitzpatrick and veteran edge rusher Robert Quinn, is one of the more low-key talented units in the league through the first month. It’s just a shame that none of that will matter in Week 4, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you don’t want to be in Tom Brady’s way after an embarrassing loss.
The Dolphins may have a talented defense, but to paraphrase Robert Downey Jr., “We (The Patriots) have a GRONK”. Brady and Belichick don’t take losing well, especially against one of their own (congrats to Matt Patricia). I expect New England to go scorched earth in its pursuit to remind the AFC East that it still belongs to them. Look for Josh Gordon to make his presence felt for the first time in Pats colors this week.
PRIMARY SUSPECT: (Avoid at all costs)
Mitch Trubisky (Chicago Bears)
Trubisky has proven his skeptics correct through the first three weeks of the season. He’s shown off the raw athleticism that made him pop off the screen at North Carolina, but more often than not he’s shown a lack of the IT factor the Bears are looking to get out of their second year QB. Trubisky’s been the definition of serviceable in his first three starts, posting fantasy totals of (14/16/6), with his Week 3 performance raising a giant red flag. Against a defeated Arizona team, the Bears QB couldn’t move the ball down the field consistently and failed to throw a single touchdown.
Things appear to get easier on paper for him against a suspect Tampa Bay secondary, but as they showed on Monday night, that unit is more talented than they’re marketed to be. Gerald McCoy is still a terror up the middle and the linebacker tandem of Kwon Alexander and Levonte David is a thorn in any opposing quarterback’s side. They’ll keep Trubisky corralled most of the game and will dare him to beat them downfield in a game that Tampa Bay could be leading for most of the way. Fitzpatrick is coming off of becoming the first man in league history to throw for over 400 yards in 3 straight games to start a season. Trubisky has yet to pass for over 225 yards all year. If the Bears let Tampa get a lead, I have serious doubts that Trubisky can bring them back into this one.
That’s another week in the books! Best of luck in your matchups heading into Week 4 everyone. Make sure to scout the waiver wire every morning (especially on transaction day), and keep an eye on who your league mates drop. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure in fantasy football, and little moves like that can end up winning leagues. Have a great week and keep your eyes peeled for these bust candidates!