This is the Two Minute Drill: Fantasy Musings Week 4!
David Montgomery | Don’t Call it a Comeback
David Montgomery exited Week 2 with a quad injury, and there were fears he would miss multiple weeks. Well, it turned out to be a single-game absence. After conflicting reports on Thursday morning, Montgomery was announced as active. Many fantasy managers proceeded skeptically and left Montgomery on their benches. This turned out to be a big mistake. Montgomery rushed for 121 yards and three TDs.
This proved to be the first time a Lion has EVER rushed for three TDs in Green Bay. He handled a bruising 32 carries and was the heart and soul of Detroit’s potent offense. Montgomery managers (especially the ones who started him) have one of the best ADP values so far at the RB position.
Fantasy Frustration for Jahmyr Gibbs Managers
Jahmyr Gibbs was an ADP rocket ship this summer. He steamed up to the early third round in many formats and occasionally snuck into the second round in late summer high-stakes drafts. There have been signs of life (nine targets in Week 2) but many frustrating moments. There may not have been a more tilting game than this week in Green Bay. Gibbs was listed on many weekly ratings as a top 12 RB play this week only to end up with a pedestrian 9.2 PPR points. The book is not even close to being written on Jahmyr Gibbs Year 1, but the first chapter can be labeled “early season discontent.”
Calvin Ridley Usage Concerns in Duval, AKA London
Calvin Ridley found the end zone but finished with only two catches on two targets. After an incredible Week 1 performance of eight catches for 101 yards and a TD, Ridley has dramatically fallen back to earth. He’s failed to finish with more than 40 yards for three straight games. Ridley is in a three-way tie with Evan Engram and Christian Kirk for the most receiving yards on the team with 173, but Ridley has fewer receptions than each. This was not the production fantasy managers were betting on as Ridley steamed up in ADP this summer.
Wide Receiver Returns
There is optimism that Cooper Kupp will play in Week 5. This is massive news for the Los Angeles Rams and Fantasy Managers. There are two camps of Cooper Kupp managers. There are the individuals who drafted him early before the injury and spent a first round pick on him. Then, there are the managers who were able to select him at a massive discount in late drafts when an injured Kupp fell like an ADP rock. Both groups of drafters now have one of the most productive players in the NFL ready to be inserted back into their lineups. The 2-2 Rams head into a massive home tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5 healthy and optimistic.
Kupp was not the only WR to receive positive news this week. Jameson Williams, not expected back until Week 7, was the major beneficiary of an NFL rule change that makes him immediately eligible for a Week 5 return. Williams, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 draft, only caught one pass in six games played as a rookie. How much of an impact he has in fantasy remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: Williams brings elite speed to a loaded Detroit offense.
Buffalo Bills AFC East Statement
The Game of The Year proved to be a one-sided affair. The Miami Dolphins, fresh off of a record-setting 70-point explosion in Week 3, were humbled in Buffalo in a demoralizing 48-20 loss. Josh Allen had his best game of the season with four TD passes, three of which went to Stefon Diggs. Allen added another TD on the ground with an 11-yard early fourth-quarter scamper to put the game to bed. The Bills reminded the entire AFC that the AFC East still runs through Buffalo. The pass rush has been ferocious over the past two weeks, and Buffalo is gaining momentum on both sides of the ball. They head across the pond for a tricky London game against Jacksonville in Week 5.
Devon Achane: The Sequel was almost as good as the Original
Devon Achane finished as the RB1 Overall in Week 2, finishing with 50 PPR points and four TDs and simultaneously broke fantasy Twitter. His talent was undeniable, but there were some slight concerns about his weekly usage, despite his undeniable talent. Achane put any concerns about a letdown game to bed, scoring two rushing TDs in the first half. Achane finished with 101 rushing yards and added three catches. He out-snapped and out-touched Raheem Mostert and also ran more routes than him. Achane is the man in the Miami backfield. He also may be the league winner.
A.J. Brown is Peaking.
A.J. Brown was phenomenal in Week 3 with nine catches for 131 yards in a relative cakewalk of a win on the road in Tampa Bay. On Sunday, he was even better. Brown finished with 175 receiving yards- his second-highest total as an Eagle. He had two TD catches- his third multiple-TD performance as an Eagle.
With 43 targets through four games played, Brown can annihilate his career high of 145 in 2022. Brown should strike fear in opposing fantasy managers. He is a dominant force that can win a fantasy matchup.
Tales of Justin Fields’ Demise Were Greatly Exaggerated.
Justin Fields set career highs with 335 passing yards and four passing TDs. He connected with offseason acquisition D.J. Moore eight times for 131 receiving yards, and TE Cole Kmet added two TDs. Fields efforts were insufficient, as the moribund Chicago Bears dropped to 0-4 on the season. Could Fields be traded near the deadline? Could Matt Eberflus be fired over the next few days? Multiple questions are weighing heavily on the minds of Fields managers, but at least they could bank a smash game and a strong fantasy performance in Week 4.
A Denver Broncos RB takeover?
Jaleel McLaughlin finished with 104 combined yards and a TD. Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine finished with 44 yards combined. Williams exited the game with a hip injury that is not expected to be serious. McLaughlin, a UDFA out of Youngstown State, showed a lot of juice in Denver’s come-from-behind win. He displayed his two-way ability and had already out-touched Samaje Perine for two weeks. In 2018, UDFA Phillip Lindsay led Denver’s backfield, rushing for over 1,000 yards and adding ten combined TDs. History may be repeating itself with Mclaughlin.
Injuries Mar the Day
Williams suffered a hip injury. Mike Evans exited Tampa Bay’s big win over New Orleans with a hamstring injury. Pat Freiermuth added to Pittsburgh’s woes when he exited the second half with a hamstring injury.
This season has already tested the fortitude of drafters, with Nick Chubb being lost for the season and multiple game absences for Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, and Diontae Johnson. The defensive side of the ball also had to deal with massive blows: Tre’Davious White exited Buffalo’s big win with a possible torn ACL, and Micah Parsons limped off the field for Dallas. Fantasy football is often a game of attrition, and 2023 amplifies that weekly.
Christian McCaffrey Breaks Record.
Christian McCaffrey went wild against Arizona, finishing with 106 rushing yards and three TDs with seven receptions, 71 receiving yards, and another TD score. McCaffrey has now scored a TD in 13 games straight as a 49er, breaking 49ers legend Jerry Rice‘s record of 12. He is the cheat code for fantasy managers and looks like the runaway favorite to finish as RB1 overall this season. McCaffrey has 600 total yards and seven TDs in the season’s first month. Christian McCaffrey is, without a doubt, the fantasy MVP for the first month of the season. Dallas is on deck in a MASSIVE Week 5 tilt.
T.J. Hockenson Carolina Invisibility Cloak
T.J. Hockenson entered Week 4 as the TE1 Overall, with 17 PPG in PPR. He finished one of his worst games as a Viking, with two catches on three targets for 24 yards receiving. He was not the only invisible Vikings pass catcher. Jordan Addison finished with a goose egg on only one target.
Both players were in A LOT of lineups and left fantasy managers in a tough spot. Justin Jefferson was the lone offensive bright spot, with a Jeffersonian 28.5 PPR points, and Minnesota won their first game of the season 21-17 over Carolina. The Vikings offense will need to perform better next week when the Kansas City Chiefs head into U.S. Bank Stadium.
But Mark Andrews was VERY Visible
The Ravens won a massive AFC North showdown in Cleveland, and Mark Andrews was the fantasy star. Andrews had his best game of the season, catching two TDs to go along with five receptions and 80 receiving yards. The Andrews-Lamar Jackson connection is alive and well under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The more things change, the more things stay the same, and Andrews remains one of the best TEs in the game. Baltimore cruised to a 21-3 halftime lead on their way to a 28-3 win.
The Return of The King
I have been critical of Derrick Henry‘s early season start. In this column, I even whispered whether or not there could be cause for concern about his 3.2 yards per carry. When you come at the King, you best not miss. I spoke too soon. Henry had a classic Henry like performance: 22 carries for 122 yards and a TD. Henry also added a Wildcat formation TD pass. The Titans dominated from start to finish in an important 27-3 win over Cincinnati. The King is back.
Cincinnati Has Major Concerns.
Joe Burrow is not Joe Burrow. Burrow has looked like a shell of himself this season. He looks banged up and indecisive. In Sunday’s loss, Burrow passed for only 165 yards. He only has two TD passes in four games played. It is time for fantasy managers to look for pivots at the position until Burrow can heal up.
The 1-3 Bengals have a must-win road matchup against the 1-3 Arizona Cardinals in Week 5.
Alvin Kamara USAGE MONSTER
Kamara’s yardage totals were nothing too exciting, with 84 combined yards in his first game back from suspension. But what was exciting were the numbers. Kamara had 11 rushing attempts to Kendre Miller‘s one. Even more promising was Kamara leading the Saints with 13 catches on 14 targets. 14 targets!! A 36 percent target share is music to fantasy managers ears. If Kamara is going to be leaned on this heavily, he should be treated as an RB1.
Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams are Here to Stay
Nacua and Williams came down to earth on Monday Night football, but six days later on the road in Indianapolis, they were dominant fantasy forces. Williams finished with a career-high 102 rushing yards and two TDs. He added three catches. Williams looks fully entrenched as the Rams lead back and now has six TDs on the season.
Nacua was simply sensational. He set the record for most catches by a player in their first five games of the season in only four games played. Nacua finished with a career-high 163 receiving yards and the first of what should be many TD catches. The real story of Nacua’s outstanding performance is that it is not even that big of a story. Fantasy managers are now so used to Nacua SZN, that an outburst like this is unsurprising. Betting on Nacua taking a backseat to Kupp is not a given. He is that good.