It seems pretty crazy to say that we are a quarter of the way through the NFL season already. Anyway, now that we are four weeks through, we start to identify some trends that we can use to gain an edge moving forward. Bye weeks are going to start hitting hard along with the injuries that have already hit hard. Here are some key things that I identified from each game, just in case you missed it.
Literally, the only good thing about this game was AJ Green went absolutely nuts catching 10 of 12 targets for 173 yards and a touchdown. Miami failed to move the ball much the entire game as their entire offense struggled. Their backfield is still a cluster as they split 13 carries between four different backs.
I’ll be honest, I watched very little of the London game this week and from the looks of it – I didn’t miss much. What is interesting is that while Frank Gore has been consistent running the football, Josh Ferguson has been a very active member in the passing game. Ferguson saw five targets in back to back games in weeks 2 and 3 before seeing it spike up to 10 targets this week against the Jags. With Donte Moncrief sidelined, this Josh Ferguson thing could be something to look out for. The Jaguars backfield remains a puzzling situation as T.J. Yeldon had 18 touches and Chris Ivory had just eight. Allen Robinson saw double digit targets once again as he led the team with 10 and found the endzone.
The big news here is how bad DeAndre Hopkins disappointed on Sunday. They credited him with six targets but in reality it looked like just four – two of which were intercepted. He ended the day with just one catch for four yards while Will Fuller led the team in targets with nine. Fuller caught seven balls for 81 yards and a touchdown and also returned a punt for a TD. Lamar Miller has now seen at least 20 touches in four straight games. For the Titans, Tajae Sharpe is a thing of the past as this entire offense runs through DeMarco Murray. He received 27 touches that resulted in 119 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
Terrelle Pryor led the Browns in targets as expected. He caught five of nine targets for 46 yards and a touchdown. Duke Johnson had eight targets and he has now had at least five targets every game through the first four weeks. Matt Jones had a big day on the ground for Washington but I wouldn’t count on that much moving forward. Jordan Reed finally was getting targets in the redzone which resulted in two touchdowns and a monster day from the TE. Reed received four of the seven total redzone targets for Washington this week. It is easy to see how they benefited from this as they struggled in the redzone through the first three weeks of the season. I expect Reed to be targeted more there moving forward.
So much for Wilson’s injury affected him…He threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns against the Jets on Sunday. Jimmy Graham has now gone over 100 yards receiving in back to back games. Christine Michael had 23 touches that resulted in 90 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. I would be very surprised if he is not the primary back even when Rawls returns from injury. For the Jets, Matt Forte came back to earth with a very disappointing line. It could be because he was hurt though as recent reports state that he had to receive an MRI after the game. Bilal Powell is worth a look in all formats.
There is not much to be said about this one. Both teams looked sloppy as Jacoby Brissett got the start again. Rob Gronkowski played more snaps this week but was ineffective. For the Bills, Robert Woods led the team with 10 targets and that is likely to continue as long as Sammy Watkins misses time. Tom Brady will return this week for the Patriots so we won’t have to suffer through another game like this.
This one was a blood bath as you already know. Julio Jones went absolutely nuts catching 12 balls for 300 yards and a touchdown. Yes, 300. It looks like that inexperience at CB for Carolina may be more troublesome than Ron Rivera may have thought. Matt Ryan threw for over 500 yards and four touchdowns cementing his place as the top fantasy QB through the first four weeks of the season. The big news for Carolina is that Cam Newton has been placed in concussion protocol and is not expected to play in their week 5 matchup against Tampa Bay on Monday Night.
The Chargers epic collapse in the fourth quarter cost them this game. The Saints were able to spark a comeback led by John Kuhn’s three touchdown performance. Yes, John Kuhn. Michael Thomas led the team with nine targets and Mark Ingram saw seven targets as well. This is a very positive thing to see from Ingram as he was previously not involved in the passing game and not getting many goal-line opportunities as well. He did get four rushes inside the 20 this week so things are looking up for Ingram owners. For the Chargers, Melvin Gordon continues to be a touchdown machine as he added two against the Saints. He also had seven targets in the passing game. I think you can expect him to get targets but it is fairly obvious that the touchdowns will soon regress and when that happens, Gordon will not have a good week – consider yourself warned. Inman led the chargers with 11 targets and a 7-120-1 line so he is worth a look in the upcoming weeks as well.
Ezekiel Elliott continues to be a work horse, as he got 23 carries that resulted in 138 rushing yards and a touchdown. Brice Butler co-led the Cowboys with nine targets and he managed to score. Also, he dropped what would have been a second touchdown. He is worth a look if Dez Bryant misses additional time. For the Niners, oh nevermind.
This was a monster showing by the Steelers offense. Le’Veon Bell’s return proved dividends for Ben Roethlisberger and the entire offense in general. Bell rushed for 144 yards and also had six targets in the passing game. He even took some snaps at WR. AB caught two early touchdowns but because it was such a blowout, only received five targets. No other big news in this one….Jamaal Charles returned but only played a handful of snaps. The bye week should help him be ready for week 6.
It is looking more and more like this Minnesota Vikings team is legit. Their defense was forcing pressure on Eli Manning all night long. Manning was so afraid to get hit, he was throwing the ball at the ground multiple times to stop the play dead. Odell Beckham continued his early season struggles but he has had some tough matchups, making him a good ‘buy low’ candidate. For the Vikings, Jerick McKinnon received 21 touches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Matt Asiata received the goal-line though as expected which helped him get into the endzone as well.