1) The Moss is Growing
Week 1 was our chance to buy low on Zack Moss. When he was inactive, the price to add him to our fantasy teams was as low as it is ever going to be.
Before the Bills’ Week 4 thrashing of Houston, Moss was already posting a 1.29 (No. 8 among qualified running backs) Fantasy Points per Opportunity and 30.8-percent (No. 15) Juke Rate. His opportunities were buoyed by Buffalo’s 107.7 (No. 2) Run Blocking Efficiency and +10.37 (No. 1) Game Script. A 40-0 dismantling of the Texans only boosts those team metrics.
Moss, who put up 61 yards and a touchdown today, is 20-pounds heavier and is faster, stronger and more agile than Devin Singletary, his only competition for carries in the Bills’ backfield. Showing better ball security of the two, Moss is now getting all the red zone looks. He was given the first seven red-zone running back touches. Singletary’s first red zone opportunity came when Mitchell Trubisky handed him the ball in the fourth quarter up 33-0.
Through four games this season, Josh Allen now has one rushing TD; his running backs have four. Those running back scores are already two-thirds of last year’s total for the entire season. You want red zone carries on this team. There will be plenty of red zone carries for Moss.
If you need RB help, go ahead and overpay for Moss. It’s going to cost a lot to get a piece of this team, but it’s early enough in the year and Moss’ overall numbers are tame enough that the price is the lowest it’s going to be for the Bills’ bigger, stronger, more athletic back who’s earning all the red zone carries. If you have Singletary, now’s the time to get what you can.
2) Kyler is Making his MVP Case!
Kyler Murray took the Arizona Cardinals on the road and stomped Sean McVay’s previously-unbeaten Los Angeles Rams, leaving Arizona as the NFC’s only remaining undefeated team and +55 in Points Scored differential.
Kyler is now completing over 75-percent of his passes, throwing for 318 yards per game with 12 TDs on the season. Heading into Week 4, his 29.7 Fantasy Points per Game, 83.0-percent True Completion Percentage, 73.3-percent Deep Ball Completion Percentage and Rushing TDs were all ranked No. 1 at the quarterback position.
If the Cardinals defense wasn’t as dominating as it has been, his numbers would be greater. And to top it all off, he’s even making A.J. Green and Maxx Williams relevant.
Find any offensive Cardinals pass catchers that you can. At worst, stash them on the end of your bench. They’re putting up so many points that even Green and Williams can help in a pinch.
3) The 49ers have been Dealt a Pair of Treys; Is That a Winning Hand?
In Week 4, San Francisco lost a division game at home to Seattle. They are now 2-2 and in last place in the NFC West, with the fewest points scored & lowest point differential in their division. While injuries have expedited the inevitable, it’s now Trey time in San Fran.
After starting 5-for-5 for 65 yards and a score on San Francisco’s first drive, Jimmy Garoppolo went 9-for-18 for 100 yards with no scores and an interception the rest of the first half, against a Seattle team that had been bottom-7 in both passing and rushing yards allowed.
When Garoppolo left at halftime with a calf injury, it became Trey Lance time. Though the 49ers did go on to lose the game, Lance created excitement, in one half of football passing for 200 yards and 2 TDs, while rushing for 41 more with no turnovers. Lance’s rushing yards, in 30 minutes of football, were more than Jimmy G has posted in any entire season of his career. Except for one, 2019, when 46 carries netted him 62 rushing yards.
Sure, Lance’s 76-yard TD to Deebo Samuel was a blown coverage, but hey, he saw the blown coverage and made the throw. And, note that Lance locked onto Samuel, sending him seven of 18 targets and hitting him for both scores.
When San Francisco goes to Arizona in Week 5, they’ll either go back to Garoppolo (based on prior success against completely different Arizona teams) and get steamrolled by the Cards, or they’ll start Lance and likely get steamrolled by the Cards. Either way, they’ll be 2-3 overall and in last place in the NFC West as they head into their bye week. This team traded up to get Lance. There’s no way they’ll go back to Garoppolo in Week 7 with the season on the line. And, as the 2021 season progresses, the 49ers schedule will keep getting easier.
SF’s other Trey, Trey Sermon, starting in place of injured Elijah Mitchell, posted 89 yards on 19 carries. Had there been a better Game Script, Sermon would have put up his first career 100-yard game in just his second start. That’s quite the turnaround from a healthy Week 1 inactive. While he has not put up exciting numbers yet, he showed himself capable of handling a workload & producing as a lead back. No matter what happens with Elijah Mitchell, expect to see quite a bit of Sermon as the year goes on and as the schedule softens up.
For those of you that held on to the Treys, your payoff time is now. If you have Samuel or George Kittle, push your chips in. With Lance, expect their target volume to grow. Lance is likely unavailable in all but the shallowest redraft leagues. If Sermon is available, though, make an offer. The San Francisco fantasy playoff schedule will be great for both Treys. Weeks 15-17: vs Atlanta, @ Tennesee and vs Houston!
4) CEH is Quietly Becoming a Thing!
There’s no denying that Clyde Edwards-Helaire, touted by most as the No. 1 dynasty rookie pick in 2020 after being selected in the first round by Kansas City, disappointed last year. Given a 66.8-percent (No. 12) Opportunity Share on the league’s top offense, Clyde put up only 13.5 (No. 20) Fantasy Points per Game and had only two games inside the top 10 RBs in fantasy scoring last season.
Starting 2020 with lackluster performances against two of the NFL’s top defenses, Edwards-Helaire had been all but written off at age 22. In 2021 Weeks 3 and 4 though, Edwards has now put up back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Despite low volume, he’s averaged 6.5 yards per carry and a score in both contests.
Although KC’s goal line carries have been going to Darrel Williams, Edwards-Helaire has been efficient when given the opportunity, ranking top 12 in both Evaded Tackles and Juke Rate.
For an interesting comparison, through four games in 2021, Edwards-Helaire has the same number of carries, more yards, almost identical use in the passing game, and one more touchdown than Jonathan Taylor. We will not give up on Taylor. We must also not give up on Edwards-Helaire.
If you’ve got CEH, put him in your active roster as a steady-if-unexciting RB2/Flex until further notice. If you don’t have him yet, he still isn’t scoring TDs so might be an affordable get in dynasty.
5) Thursday Night Breakdown: The Kids are Alright!
We had two questions we wanted answered in Week 4’s Thursday night tilt.
First, would Joe Burrow, the first overall pick in 2020, move efficiently in the pocket and throw decisively after last year’s knee injury? Burrow answered that strongly in the affirmative, putting up 348 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions while completing almost 80-percent of his passes. He now has nine TDs in four games, compared to 13 in all 10 games as a rookie. After four games and heading into Sunday’s games, Burrow was top-8 with a 73-percent Completion Rate to go along with a 12.7 Air Yards Per Attempt and a 113.8 Passer Rating per Pro Football Reference.
Adding Ja’Marr Chase this year strengthened a receiver corps that already boasted Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. In 2021, after only four career games, Chase has played 80-percent of the Bengals’ snaps, catching almost 70-percent of his targets at 17.5 yards per catch. Before Thursday’s matchup, Chase had put up four TDs in his first three career starts; the first receiver to do that under the age of 21 since Randy Moss. With another six catches and 77 yards for Chase on Thursday, the Burrow-to-Chase connection has confirmed it will pay dividends for a really long time.
For Trevor Lawrence, we wanted him to have a chance to display some of the passing and rushing skills that made him 2021’s first overall pick.
After three games, mostly running for his life for the Jaguars, Lawrence’s viability as an NFL quarterback was already being questioned because of the seven interceptions in those starts.
Of course, the first three or four games of a quarterback’s career really have no bearing on how he’ll end up. Just ask Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, or Steve Young. This is not meant at all to compare Lawrence to any of these QBs, but rather to remind ourselves that it takes time to learn the NFL game. In Week 4, though Lawrence threw no touchdowns, he completed over 70-percent of his attempts for over 200 passing yards, posting a 96.5 passer rating and rushing for 36 yards and a score. A nice step in the right direction.
Interesting Fact: Burrow is 24 years old. Lawrence is 21. Combined, they are one year older than the GOAT, Tom Brady. While we don’t know when (or if) the GOAT will ever retire, the kids will be putting up great performances for a long time.
Feel good about your dynasty shares of Burrow and/or Lawrence. If you don’t already have them, you can’t trade for either of them now but you’re in good hands with both and will be for a long time. Receivers on either team will offer value for a long time, too, so see if any of their receivers are still available.