Fantasy Football Studs and Duds – Week 4

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This “Studs & Duds” segment highlights fantasy football players who either exceeded, met, or failed to meet expectations in week 3 of the NFL 2017 season.

Believe it or not we are already 1/3rd through the regular season of fantasy football. Crazy right? We spend months doing research and working our way up to this point and then it just seems to fly by. If there’s anything that we can learn about fantasy football and take week to week it’s that even when we think we’re starting to get a grasp on tendencies and chalky plays the NFL has a way of throwing a wrench into our plans. This week was especially crazy too it seems when it came to big time players getting the injured. If you happened to get through week 4 unscathed congratulations because the list seemed to be especially long on this one.

We had promising rookie running backs Dalvin Cook and Chris Carson get lost for the year, both Falcons top two wide receivers Julio Jones and Mo Sanu leave the game early, Marcus Mariota had a hamstring issue, and then some guys like Melvin Gordon played through, but were limited in action. (Just for clarification, for this article I try to keep guys who got injured out of it. Yes they may have hurt you in fantasy and been a “dud”, but I don’t think it’s fair. Technically, it wasn’t their fault that they sucked it up.) With that said, I expect this week to have the most waiver wire action since the start of the season. Hopefully, you either have a high waiver priority or a FAAB system and the ability to throw lots of money around.

Alright, let’s get into it. Here are this week’s Studs and Duds…

Sunday Week 4 Studs of the Week

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Deshaun Watson, QB – HOU – 283 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 24 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 INT…
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said earlier this year before the NFL draft that the teams who passed on Deshaun Watson would be passing on Michael Jordan. I’m not sure if we’re there yet, but if these last two games are any indication he’s going to be a very good NFL QB. I don’t want to crown him too early, but he’s been Michael Vick on the Eagles level these last two games and I don’t think that level of production is out of the question going forward. If he’s still on your waiver wire for some reason, pick him up now. Spend all your FAAB. He’s a top 10 QB from here on out.

LeVeon Bell, RB – PIT – 144 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 4 receptions, 42 receiving yards…
In the definitive return to form game, LeVeon Bell finally seemed to be the guy who we all thought we were drafting in August as a top 2 pick. The volume alone was something to be excited about in this game, but the production to go along with it gives owners a reason to rejoice. Hopefully you didn’t sell too early and get out because he’s going to be a force going forward. The passing game doesn’t seem to be fully in sync so the way the Steelers ran the ball today might be how they approach more games going forward. He was what we thought he was. S-T-U-D.

Devin Funchess, WR – CAR – 7 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 2 TDs…
The ultimate “He’s bound to break out” player finally had the game that people have been talking about for what seems like 3 years. Always a preseason candidate to actually do something, he turned out to actually do something this week. His giant frame is prime for the red zone as he scored 2 TDs and was targeted on another one as well that could have been caught if it wasn’t for a classic Cam Newton over throw. I will say, I’m not sure how consistent he’ll be going forward as the Patriots have one of the worst pass defenses in the league so this could be a one and done type performance. He’s certainly a sell high candidate if you can pawn him off on someone. Though, the chances will be there for him though for the next few weeks with Greg Olson sidelined so he should be considered a WR3 going forward based on perceived volume alone.

Tyler Kroft, TE – CIN – 6 receptions, 68 yards, 2 TDs…
Who even needs Tyler Eifert, huh? Well the Bengals do. Not to take anything away from Kroft here, but the Browns have been horrible versus the TE this year so far. Apparently it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re in that position, you’re going to score against the Browns. Congrats to him for his big game, but he’s not someone I’d depend on going forward at all. My take is that this was purely match up based production.

New Orleans Saints Defense – 0 points allowed, 4 sacks, 1 interception…
Hold on. Hold up. After two weeks in a row of totally destroying the Panthers and the Dolphins, is this Saints defense actually… good? It’s certainly possible. A defense that’s supposed to be crumble like a beignets under offensive pressure they’ve been the back bone of two major wins for the Saints. Going into a bye week they will most likely be on the waiver wire, but they come back to play a Lions offense that hasn’t been very impressive as of late. Could be a nice week 6 filler if you need them. Just a thought. Tip of the hat to you Saints D.

Sunday Week 4 Duds of the Week

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Matthew Stafford, QB – DET – 209 passing yards, 0 TDS, 3 INTs…
There were plenty of mediocre and bad performances by QBs this weekend, but none topped the highest paid player in the league Matty Money Shoes (a new nickname I’m trying out, let’s see if it catches on). The Lions still won this game but it wasn’t in much thanks to his performance. The passing offense hasn’t been on for a few weeks now. It’ll take some work to get it back, but they need to figure it out quick because this type of thing just won’t do going forward. He might be worth dropping at this point, but keep him on the radar.

Antonio Brown, WR – PIT – 4 receptions, 34 yards, 1 fumble lost…
This past Sunday business was closer to bankrupt than it was booming for AB. The most consistent player in the NFL over the past few years had an off week, but don’t be alarmed. It happens to everyone. I’m not going to declare this a state of emergency at all, but like I stated earlier the Steelers passing offense is a little bit off. If there’s a scared or desperate owner in my league with him on his squad I’m making him an offer. This might be the best his value will be from a ‘buy position’ all year. If you do own him though, don’t sweat this. Just keep business open.

Melvin Gordon, RB – LAC – 22 rushing yards, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards…
Like I stated in the opening paragraph, I usually don’t like to put players who have an injury on this list because it diminishes the players who were legitimately duds. I also don’t think I’d be a true fantasy analyst if I didn’t contradict myself every once in a while. The entire week leading up to the game we heard about his knee issues, but then once it was announced he would play there was no way he wasn’t going to be in your starting line up if you’re an owner. His normal volume is too much to ignore and you can’t fade that type of thing in this current fickle world of running backs. He just didn’t seem to have that normal push today though. His volume was lower and he was continually spelled by other RBs on the team. I hope for his sake that the Chargers let him get healthy so he can go back to getting 20 plus touches because that’s what he needs to be productive.

Jason Witten, TE – DAL – 1 reception, 9 yards
The league leader at his position in receiving the first two weeks has come back down to earth in weeks three and four. Finishing both games with only one reception the world famous dad runner is showing his age. Maybe it’s because the run game found it’s way this week with Zeke, but he didn’t even register his only catch until the final drive when the Cowboys were trying to come back. Hopefully you sold him after his high scoring first couple of weeks, but if not he’s still worth holding onto at this point. The position of TE is so weak this year it’s hard to drop a guy with the potential he showed in weeks one and two. We’ve seen the two extremes with his production but I project him to come more back to the middle here very soon.

Miami Dolphins Offense – 0 points, 128 passing yards, 58 rushing yards…
Los Angeles, New York, and London. Those are where the Dolphins have played their first 3 games this year. This team has been thrown into an almost impossible situation by having no real home base for the last month. It’s clearly showing on offense because after the first driver where they got 90 yards, it was a bunch of ugly three and outs. I’m thinking that they will get right here soon, but it’s been rough for the last two weeks. If anyone is selling Parker, Ajayi, or Landry I’m buying them up at this point. They are going to be dirt cheap. Stay strong with these guys even though it’s been ugly. Things should get better.

Bonus: Monday Night Studs and Duds Predictions

Stud: Travis Kelce, TE – KC – 6 receptions, 93 yards, 1 TD…
The big time TE is going to have a game tonight. Josh Norman should be shutting down Tyreek Hill on the outside and I expect them to stack the box versus the rookie sensation Kareem Hunt, so that naturally leaves the middle of the field open. He’s going to be Alex Smith’s favorite target tonight and make everyone who drafted him in the 3rd round or higher very happy.

Dud: Chris Thompson, RB – WAS – 24 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 32 receiving yards…
One of the most studly running backs to start the season is going to come back down to earth tonight in Arrowhead. He’s been scoring at an insane rate on long TDs and big plays that in the NFL is unsustainable. Hopefully you sold him while his value was at an all time high. He’s definitely more than a 3rd down back, but KC will make an effort to shut him down specifically while being able to cover Washington’s WR’s one on one.

 

 

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Frank grew up in the swamps of Florida, but moved to the ice dungeon known as Chicago back in 2013. He’s become a huge fan of the Bears, polish sausages and giardiniera. He hosts of the ‘Calling It Now’ Fantasy Football Podcast which you can find on both iTunes and Soundcloud. You can follow him on Twitter: @TheFrankCalhoun to yell at him about why he’s wrong about all his takes on fantasy football.