Saturday, November 25News That Matters

Things I Learned in Fantasy Football: Week 4


Takeaways from Week 4 as told by the tweets of the Fantasy Stronghold.

When I said a couple of weeks ago that Jay Cutler won’t be good when everyone believes in him, I was mostly kidding. But it seems to be the case. In two weeks against poor defenses, Cutler has posted a combined 16.76 fantasy points. For the season, the Dolphins have averaged 249 yards of offense — which is ungood. For his part, Cutler is averaging just 204 passing yards per game. Maybe things get better next week against a Titans team that was throttled by Houston and Deshaun Watson this week. But maybe not. After the past two weeks, are you really willing to take that chance?

Of the rookie quarterbacks we saw during the preseason, Watson looked like he had the steepest learning curve. But last week, he walked into New England and nearly did the unthinkable by beating the Patriots. This week, he helps lead the Texans to 57 points and a thrashing of the Titans. In each of the past two weeks, Watson has been over 300 yards with at least two touchdowns … and he’s resurrected DeAndre Hopkins in the process. Next week is a primetime showdown on Sunday night with a Chiefs defense that has had its issues against passers this season. The byes begin next week. If you’re in need of a quarterback, there’s rookie in Houston who could offer help.

There hasn’t been one bit of anything that is wrong with the Patriots offense this year. Good thing, too, since the defense has offered only slightly more resistance than an hourly security guard in the front row of a Taylor Swift concert. It’s not often that we can advocate starting all your players against the Patriots … but after Alex Smith, Deshaun Watson and now Cam Newton all get loose against New England’s defense, I’m starting to smell a trend.

We all knew this was going to happen soon, right? There’s no need for a lot of deep analysis here. The Steelers knew they needed to get one of their best players going. They gave him the ball a lot. He produced. The end. Hopefully this calms some fantasy fears. Let’s move on, shall we?

I am honestly baffled by this. After the first two weeks of the season, I was ready to sing the praises of this Ravens defense and was going to admonish you not to start any of your players against them. Then they get wrecked in London against the Jaguars and this week had no answers for Le’Veon Bell. Okay, I’m not going to criticize too harshly on that last point since plenty of defenses have struggled to find an answer for Bell. Still, after four weeks I’m really not sure what to make of the Ravens defense. Next week against the Raiders should tell us more.

This is one of those times when we have to believe in the process over the results. The process says Buck Allen is the back you want to have in Baltimore — even with Alex Collins seeing more work. It’s still early but Allen is more than doubling the number of touches Collins gets per game so we have to think the opportunity alone is worth the fantasy investment. It’s just that sometimes, one guy hits a couple of big plays and throws all of our calcuations out of wack. That’s sort of what happened this week. I also agree with Gelhar … this backfield is gross.

Remember what I just wrote above? Yeah. Appy that here. Just using the eye test, Mixon is the most talented back in the Bengals rotation and it’s apparent that new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor wants to get the ball in his hands more. But all of that talent and potential eventually has to start turning into production or you can expect Andy Dalton and the coaching staff to spread the ball elsewhere. Averaging 3.4 yards per touch doesn’t necessarily make you worthy of a lot more touches. I’m choosing to keep the faith until the Bengals show me otherwise.

The way to get fantasy points from your defense is sacks and turnovers. The Lions have been pretty mediocre in the sack category but they’ve forced plenty of turnovers (eight, to be exact). Detroit has also already tallied three touchdowns via defense and special teams. If you don’t believe in Cam Newton‘s full resurrection, the Lions could be a good streaming option this week.

I know we want more usable tight ends. But do we really have to do it like this? Clay’s career season was back in 2013 with the Dolphins when he went 69/759/6. Those aren’t bad numbers but they were awhile ago. It also means you’re relying on touchdowns if you choose to start Clay. Then again, that can be said of pretty much any tight end. So … it’s Charles Clay time, I guess.

Injuries suck. That is all.

Wait…what?”

* One week after having the fourth-fastest time to throw, Andy Dalton went into the Sunday night game with the second-fastest time to throw. One of the big changes under Lazor has been Dalton getting the ball out faster and it seems to be paying dividends.

* Dez Bryant was targeted 13 times on Sunday and logged just five catches. For the season, he has a catch rate of 40 percent (16 recs in 40 targets).

* LeSean McCoy faced eight or more defenders in the box on 60 percent of his carries this week. Only Jordan Howard had a higher percentage.

* Joe Flacco‘s completed air yards this season sits at 4.3 — worst among all qualifying quarterbacks. Elite, my a–.

* Fantasy defenses that had as many or fewer points than you (heading into SNF): Buccaneers, Titans, Bears and Cowboys.

* TE Watch: Some of the luminaries who were in the top 10 entering Sunday night — Tyler Kroft, A.J. Derby, O.J. Howard, James Hanna and Rhett Ellison.

And one for the road…

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. He’s trying to figure out if he can watch Blade Runner each day this week in anticipation for Blade Runner 2049 coming out this week. He’s also wondering if he works around replicants and doesn’t know it. Tweet him your concerns about sentient robots planning the demise of humanity on Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. He also dishes out fantasy advice — and life shenanigans — on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (marcasg9)

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