It’s hard to stay up to date with absolutely everything that went down in NFL Week 4. Obviously you know the big storylines—This is Cordarrelle Patterson’s world and we’re just living in it—but it’s important to also note minor storylines, ones that might have more actionable fantasy football takeaways.
I’ve gone game-by-game to bring you the biggest fantasy narrative to come out of each game.
Washington at Falcons: Washington’s Defense Is Bad
Obviously I could just sit here and talk about the pure insanity that is Cordarrelle Patterson’s start to the season. Because, it is insane. Patterson is the RB2 in PPR. THE RUNNING BACK TWO. No one could have foreseen this. Anyways, I won’t just sit here and talk about the pure insanity that is Cordarrelle Patterson. Instead, the actionable takeaway from this game is that Washington’s defense is not the juggernaut we thought it was going to be.
I thought that part of Washington’s early defensive struggles this season was due to them playing mobile quarterbacks. Maybe their intense pass rush was forcing mobile QBs out of the pocket and into situations they’re comfortable exploiting. Well, Matt Ryan is not mobile and certainly exploited the crap out of WFT. Ryan had his best game of the season, tossing for 283 yards and 4 touchdowns. Washington is giving up the most fantasy points to QBs and third-most to wide receivers. They are a matchup to take advantage of moving forward.
Texans at Bills: Dawson Knox Is a TE1 on Your Waiver Wire
Knox has been one of the best fantasy tight ends over the last three weeks, scoring at least one touchdown in each game. Sunday marked his best game of the year, catching 5-of-8 targets for 37 yards and 2 scores. He’s now seen 5+ targets in each of the last two games for the Buffalo Bills.
— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) October 3, 2021
Knox is currently under 50% rostered in Sleeper leagues. If he’s available in your league, he’s a must-add and must-start from here on out.
Also, don’t panic Brandin Cooks managers. He was due for a bad game eventually and unlike the above Washington defense, the Bills’ defense seems quite legit this year.
Lions at Bears: David Montgomery Injury Means Prepare to Spend Big on Damien Williams
After having his way against the Detroit Lions’ defense, Montgomery sadly left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Early reports are that it doesn’t appear to be an ACL tear, which is good news. But that doesn’t mean Montgomery might not be out for an extended period of time. If he misses time, prepare to spend big on Damien Williams off waivers.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 3, 2021
Williams filled in for Montgomery and racked up 55 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries. He also added 15 yards through the air on 2 catches. Williams would be stepping into an RB1 workload and that makes him a top waiver target this week.
Also, Jared Goff is starting to target wide receivers. Who exactly, I don’t know but Kalif Raymond has now seen at least 6 targets and 45+ yards in back-to-back games.
Panthers at Cowboys: No Christian McCaffrey Means It’s Robby Anderson SZN
While many fantasy managers expected Chuba Hubbard to be the biggest benefactor of Christian McCaffrey’s injury. The rookie running back did have a solid game, carrying the ball 13 times for 57 yards and catching 2-of-2 targets for 14 yards. However, it was Robby Anderson who saw the biggest improvement without CMC on the field.
After averaging under 4 targets a game this year, Anderson saw a whopping 11 targets Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. He led the Carolina Panthers in routes run with 42 and played his highest snap rate of the season. As long as CMC is out, Anderson seems to have returned to the land of the fantasy living.
most rushing touchdowns through week 4 (sans MNF):
3 – nick chubb, david montgomery, chris carson, james robinson, latavius murray, kareem hunt, zack moss, kyler murray, taysom hill
4 – derrick henry, ezekiel elliott, james conner
5 – MFING SCRAM DARNOLD BABY
— pete astronaut aboard the pitts-8 rocket rogers (@petemrogers) October 4, 2021
Colts at Dolphins: Time to Move on From Myles Gaskin
The Miami Dolphins’ backfield has been a hot mess this year from a fantasy standpoint. There’s been no clear lead back and even when one emerges, they never put forward a fantasy-viable stat line. Gaskin was the off-season favorite to be the No. 1 back in Miami but through four weeks, that has become less and less the case.
Against the Indianapolis Colts, Gaskin played his lowest snap percentage of the season and was out worked in every category by Malcolm Brown AND Salvon Ahmed who only play 5 snaps to Gaskin’s 12. I doubt you’ll be able to get any real trade return for Gaskin, but it’s time to move on from him in fantasy.
Browns at Vikings: Odell Beckham Is a WR1 If Baker Mayfield Can Just Throw the Ball Well
It was not a good passing game for Baker Mayfield. The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback missed a couple of easy throws this game, one of which would have been a long touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. to walk the game off in the fourth quarter.
@obj shouldn't be subjected to this type of poor QB play 🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
Every game…Baker Mayfield throws terrible passes like this to OBJ, & then the media looks at the boxscore and tries to blame Odell Beckham Jr like he isn't still a Top 5 WR in the NFL smh
Wtf at this throw 🤮 pic.twitter.com/nZbxATh8Px
— Wayne Cabana (@Wayne_Cabana) October 3, 2021
Odell managers shouldn’t panic though as all the ingredients are there for him to be a weekly WR2. Odell led the Browns’ skill position players in snaps, routes run, and targets. He is very much the WR1 in Cleveland and had Baker thrown him a couple more catchable balls, I wouldn’t need to comfort OBJ managers.
Also, monitor Dalvin Cook this week. He re-aggervated his injury Sunday and if he misses another game, or is in for limited work, Alexander Mattison is a must-stream against the Lions for Week 5.
Giants at Saints: Kadarius Toney Might Be Good Question Mark
With all the injuries the New York Giants are dealing with at the wide receiver position, Kadarius Toney got his first start of his career. The rookie played 51 snaps (2nd behind just Kenny Golladay among NYG’s wide receivers), led the team in targets (9), and ran the second most routes on the team. He turned that workload into 6 catches for 78 yards.
It’s taken a while for Toney to see the field after dealing with his own injuries to start the year. However, with the draft capital invested in him and the depleted Giants’ receiving core, Toney isn’t a bad waiver add and stash, especially if he keeps making plays like this:
GET THE BALL TO KADARIUS TONEY!!
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) October 3, 2021
Also, Taysom Hill is back to doing wild and crazy Taysom Hill things. He’s scored at least one touchdown in back-to-back games.
Titans at Jets: This Is Michael Carter’s Backfield
It’s been a slow brew, but it seems Michael Carter has finally laid claim to the New York Jets’ backfield. The rookie led the backfield in snaps, routes run, targets, and carries. He finished with 13 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Michael Carter punches it in for his first NFL TD! #TakeFlight
— NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2021
The Jets ground game isn’t good and Carter certainly isn’t an every week starter. Still, he’s worth stashing and playing in favorable matchups. The Jets have the 13th easiest run schedule over the next four weeks per our Strength of Schedule metric.
Chiefs at Eagles: It’s Time To Worry About Miles Sanders
I thought for sure a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs and their 31st ranked run defense (per NEFF rating) was going to be just what the doctor ordered for Sanders. Instead, it was rookie Kenneth Gainwell who prospered, carrying the ball 3 times for 31 yards and a touchdown, while adding 6 catches on 8 targets for 58 yards. Sanders just saw 13 yards on 7 carries and 34 yards through the air on 3 catches. It’s officially time for Sanders managers to worry about what the running back’s ceiling really might be in fantasy this year. He shouldn’t be considered anything more than a mid-tier RB3 at the moment.
Also, hello Tyreek Hill. Welcome back.
Seahawks at 49ers: IT’S TREY LANCE SZN
Jimmy Garoppolo left the game Sunday with a calf injury in the second half. In stepped Trey Lance who certainly left his mark on the game. The rookie QB went 9-for-18 for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also adding 41 yards rushing. Lance is currently under 50% rostered in Sleeper leagues. If you’re in a Superflex league or have just been streaming the QB position so far, GO GET LANCE.
— NerdBall Fantasy Football (@nerdballff) October 3, 2021
It’s unclear if Garoppolo will actually miss time, but if he does, and Trey Lance starts, he has top-end QB1 potential every week.
Cardinals at Rams: Add A.J. Green and Van Jefferson
Both Green and Jefferson have found themselves with consistent and productive roles in their respective offenses. Green has seen exactly 6 targets in every game this season and has scored a touchdown or gone over 100 yard receiving in each of his last 3 games. Jefferson has seen 6 targets and at least 4 catches and 42 yards in back-to-back games. Both are under 40% rostered in Sleeper leagues and are great waiver targets this week.
— NerdBall Fantasy Football (@nerdballff) October 3, 2021
Also, Darrell Henderson is back and the RB1 in LA. Start him every week he’s healthy.
Ravens at Broncos: Bye Bye Ty’Son Williams, Hello Latavius Murray
It’s been a wild four weeks for Williams managers. He went from being the starting back in Baltimore to being a healthy scratch Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Murray led the backfield in snaps and touches, rushing the ball 18 times for 59 yards and a score. Even Le’Veon Bell got on the field, carrying the rock 4 times for 11 yards. Murray seems to be the No. 1 back in Baltimore at the moment and that’s worth snagging him off waivers for. Unless we see a sudden about-face in Week 5, Williams managers should think about dropping the back in redraft leagues.
Also, Marquise Brown remembered how to catch again and that is glorious for everyone.
— NerdBall Fantasy Football (@nerdballff) October 3, 2021
Double also, Teddy Bridgewater left the game with a concussion. Drew Lock came in. Drew Lock looked bad.
Steelers at Packers: Diontae Johnson Is the Only Steelers Receiver You Can Trust
For whatever reason, Ben Roethlisberger can get the ball consistently to Diontae Johnson on time and on target. Johnson has seen double-digit targets in every game he’s played this season and leads the team in targets, yards, and touchdowns. On the flipside, JuJu Smith-Schuster was targeted eight times Sunday and he managed to only catch two of them. This Pittsburgh Steelers offense is a mess and outside of Johnson and occasionally Chase Claypool if he’s healthy, I have no faith in any of the pass catchers.
Also, don’t break the bank to get Randal Cobb. If he catches 5 balls for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns next week as well, then we can talk about spending FAAB to add him.
Buccaneers at Patriots: Leonard Fournette and Hunter Henry Cement Themselves Atop Their Position Group
Leonard Fournette has completely locked-up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ backfield for his own. He played 82% of the Bucs’ snaps Sunday night and led the backfield in touches 23 to 6. He’s a solid RB2 for as long as Giovani Bernard is out.
Hunter Henry meanwhile also solidified himself as the New England Patriots’ top tight end for now. After seeing six targets in Week 3, Henry backed up that performance seeing five targets. He played 40 snaps to Jonnu Smith’s 28 and ran almost double the routes. Smith will still have a role in this offense, but for the time being, it seems Henry has the upper hand at the position.