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NFL News and Notes: Week 4 Fantasy Recap

NFL Week 4 News & Notes

The 2016 NFL season is flying by, as Sunday marked the completion of 25 percent of the regular season. By now, you should have a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses for your fantasy team as we approach the dreaded bye week gauntlet. Need to know everything from this past weekend to help you moving forward?

Don’t worry – we’ve got it covered. Here is the most fantasy-relevant information for each NFL team from Week 4:

Arizona Cardinals

NFL Weekly Recap

[the_ad id=”63198″]Carson Palmer went to the locker room in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Rams with what the team has diagnosed as a concussion. The Cardinals have a short week as they play at San Francisco on Thursday night, so we’ll likely see Drew Stanton under center in Week 5.

Running back Chris Johnson also suffered an injury, likely a mid-grade groin strain that could sideline him for a couple weeks. Andre Ellington, who was a 4th round fantasy pick in 2015, is a talented back that would become the immediate handcuff to David Johnson while Chris Johnson is sidelined.

A quick wide receiver note: John Brown appears to now be the number two wideout in this offense. He played 70 snaps to just 35 snaps for Michael Floyd and led the team with 10 receptions for 144 yards on Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons

NFL Weekly Recap

Talk about a monster game — if you played against Julio Jones in Week 4, I’m sorry. Jones finished the day with a ridiculous stat line of 12 catches for 300 yards and one touchdown. 300 yards! Julio’s dominance helped his quarterback Matt Ryan finish with a career day of 504 passing yards and four touchdowns. There’s not much analysis here other than Julio Jones appears to be over the minor lower leg ailments that were bothering him in the first three weeks.

Baltimore Ravens

NFL Weekly Recap

In a surprise move Sunday, Baltimore benched Justin Forsett in favor of Terrance West. In fact, Forsett was a healthy inactive as West led the Baltimore backfield. West played 39 snaps, dominating touches with 21 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown, while backup Javorious Allen was on the field for 24 plays. West finally helped fantasy owners who believed his preseason resurgence, but this situation will be murky again next week. Rookie Kenneth Dixon returned from an MCL injury for a full practice on Friday and will likely be active for Week 5. Despite West’s performance on Sunday, Dixon is the better bet for production in the second half of the season.

Buffalo Bills

NFL Weekly Recap

The Bills decided to place Sammy Watkins on injured reserve Friday with his ongoing foot ailment. He will be visiting Dr. James Andrews this week to see if a second surgery is necessary — this visit will determine if he can return in 2016. If surgery is not required and Watkins chooses the rest and rehab route, he could potentially return in eight weeks. In his absence, Robert Woods saw 10 targets and converted eight of them for 79 yards, but he’s still only a low ceiling bye week flex play at best moving forward.

Carolina Panthers

NFL Weekly Recap

After a disappointing performance through three quarters, Cam Newton took an unnecessary shot on a two-point conversion play that caused him to miss the remainder of the game to go through the concussion protocol. Keep an eye on this throughout the week but since Carolina plays on Monday night in Week 5, Cam will have an extra day to be cleared to play.

In other news, Devin Funchess suffered a toe injury and his prognosis is unclear as of Monday afternoon. If he misses any time, Ted Ginn would play a larger role and be worth a free agent pickup.

Chicago Bears

NFL Weekly Recap

[the_ad id=”66460″]Jordan Howard looked the part of a starting running back on Sunday, playing 63 of 69 snaps while handling 26 of the 29 running back touches. He totaled 132 yards, received the praise of the head coach after the game, and will have a RB1 workload until Langford returns. He may actually keep the job when Langford is healthy — Howard forced a missed tackle every 3.7 touches yesterday while Langford forced one every 36 touches through the first three weeks.

Kevin White left the game early with an ankle injury, but once again led the team with nine targets. Look for any news this week determining the severity of this injury because if he’s out for any amount of time, Alshon Jeffery will be near the league leaders in targets per game.

Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Weekly Recap

The Bengals had a relatively quiet night in their 22 to 7 win over Miami on Thursday. The item to note is that A.J. Green will continue to dominate targets in this passing game, as he finished with 10 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown in Week 4. He has 44 targets through four games, with the next closest receiver Brandon LaFell receiving just 21. He’s on pace to see his 2012-2013 target numbers (176) and will remain a top-five fantasy WR for the rest of the year.

Cleveland Browns

NFL Weekly Recap

On Thursday it was revealed that Josh Gordon will reportedly be entering rehab, a disappointing sign for his off-the-field progress. The Browns have stated that they are closing the chapter and moving on, meaning this is the last time we’ll see Gordon in Cleveland and potentially in the NFL.

For 2016, this solidifies the number one wideout role for Terrelle Pryor, at least until Corey Coleman returns in a few weeks from his broken hand. Pryor only received one rushing attempt on Sunday and didn’t attempt a pass, but did look the part of a go-to receiver. He was shadowed by Josh Norman most of the day, but converted five of his nine targets, including one for a touchdown.

Dallas Cowboys

NFL Weekly Recap

We received mixed signals all week on the injury of Dez Bryant, making it difficult to determine his recovery timetable. Throughout the week, the team continuously reported a tibial plateau fracture, which would have been a multi-week injury but the team reiterated Bryant was “day-to-day.” On Sunday morning, it was revealed that Bryant only has a bone bruise, which makes sense with the day-to-day timetable. He flew to San Francisco and didn’t play in Week 4, but should return in a week or two. Despite Terrence Williams and Brice Butler each playing 62 snaps and scoring a touchdown on Sunday, they’ll have only limited value while Dez is out.

Denver Broncos

NFL Weekly Recap

The Broncos moved to 4-0 Sunday with a win over the Bucs but not without consequence. QB Trevor Siemian suffered an AC joint sprain in his non-throwing shoulder and missed the majority of the second half on Sunday. He’s day-to-day for now, meaning there’s a possibility he will play in Week 5, but we won’t know much until Friday’s practice reports. While he was out, rookie Paxton Lynch came in and threw a touchdown while gaining 7.1 yards-per-attempt. They’re undefeated, but the QB situation will be up in the air all season.

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Detroit Lions

NFL Weekly Recap

Rookie running back Dwayne Washington was a hot waiver pickup once Ameer Abdullah was placed on IR, but he, too, was injured on Sunday. Washington left the game early and could not put weight on his left foot, with early indications looking like a mid foot sprain. If that’s the case, Washington will likely be out a while, meaning Zach Zenner moves up the waiver priority list.

On another note, Golden Tate was benched for running the wrong route yesterday and has had a miserable start to the 2016 season. He played just 35 snaps yesterday while hauling in one pass for one yard on four targets. It likely won’t affect his playing time moving forward, but he should be glued to your fantasy bench until he shows signs of life.

Houston Texans

NFL Weekly Recap

DeAndre Hopkins finished with just four yards on one catch Sunday afternoon while rookie Will Fuller led the team in all receiving categories against the Titans. Fuller had more targets than Hopkins (9 to 6) and hauled in seven passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Oh, he also returned a punt for a touchdown. You’d have to think Nuk will get on track soon, but he’s currently not close to returning value on his first round ADP. If you’re thinking about buying low, wait a couple more weeks until after his matchups with Denver and Minnesota.

Indianapolis Colts

NFL Weekly Recap

Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett tweaked his ankle in practice last week and was a game time decision in London against the Jaguars Sunday morning. He played and caught a 64-yard touchdown (his only catch), but T.Y. Hilton is the only consistent fantasy play in this receiver group. Hilton saw 10 targets on Sunday, while the next closest receivers tied for three targets (Dorsett and Chester Rogers). Given his volume, Hilton is a fantasy WR1 until Donte Moncrief returns.

Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Weekly Recap

This had the makings of a Chris Ivory game as the Jaguars led for a majority of the contest, but it was T.J. Yeldon who led the way on Sunday. He played 54 snaps to Ivory’s 18, and received 18 touches while Ivory handled just eight. This appears to be Yeldon’s backfield and he looked good in the lead role against the Colts with 117 total yards. It’s safe to drop Ivory in short bench leagues and probably even regular-sized leagues with bye weeks looming.

Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Weekly Recap

Jamaal Charles finally returned to action but played just 11 snaps on Sunday night, which was right in line with his pregame expectations of 10 to 15 snaps. Spencer Ware dominated the snaps and opportunities — he received 14 of the 19 backfield touches — but fumbled for the third time this season. His ball security could play a factor in Charles being featured sooner rather than later. Regardless, Ware is still an excellent running back and will have a fantasy role all season.

Los Angeles Rams

NFL Weekly Recap

Todd Gurley had another miserable day at the office, rushing for just 33 yards on 19 carries, a putrid 1.7 YPC. However, he did catch five passes for 49 yards to salvage his day in PPR leagues. His production is very concerning, especially considering the Rams’ 3-1 record. If the Rams are winning games, Gurley should be in line for huge production with positive game scripts. The silver lining now is that his usage in the passing game is a great sign moving forward, so even if they can’t get the running game going, he can still provide fantasy value.

Miami Dolphins

NFL Weekly Recap

Running back Arian Foster missed another game with his groin strain Thursday night, but the Dolphins’ backfield wasn’t any clearer than it was in Week 3. The snap/touch distribution for Thursday’s game against the Bengals:

Jay Ajayi: 14 snaps, 8 touches
Damien Williams: 13 snaps, 3 touches
Isaiah Pead: 9 snaps, 4 touches
Kenyan Drake: 7 snaps, 2 touches

Good luck figuring out this four man committee — it’s a clear avoid until Arian Foster returns and regains the majority of the playing time.

New England Patriots

NFL Weekly Recap

Jimmy Garoppolo was expected to start for the Patriots in Week 4 but couldn’t work it out Sunday morning, leaving rookie Jacoby Brissett under center for the Bills’ game. The Pats were shut out at home and many may blame Brissett’s performance for Rob Gronkowski’s poor output on Sunday. But Gronk wasn’t involved much more than he was in Week 3, playing 41 snaps and running just 13 routes. Albert Breer later reported that there is serious concern with Gronk’s hamstring, so even with Tom Brady returning next week, you’ll need to use a wait and see approach until Gronkowski is fully integrated in the offense.

New Orleans Saints

NFL Weekly Recap

Sean Payton must really hate Mark Ingram. With the Saints inside the five yard line on multiple occasions, the Saints opted to give fullback John Kuhn three touches — all three, surprisingly, led to touchdowns. Despite his lack of usage at the goal line, Ingram still tallied 22.5 PPR points. If he ever gets consistent usage in the red zone, Ingram could be the number one fantasy running back.

Also, this passing game continues to suffer serious home/road splits. They are must plays when playing in the Superdome but if you have viable alternatives to Drew Brees and his receivers, they’re worth consideration when the Saints are on the road.

New York Jets

NFL Weekly Recap

Early last week we learned that Jets’ wideout Eric Decker suffered a “severe shoulder injury.” When more details came in, it was revealed that Decker has a tear in his rotator cuff that could possibly require surgery. We won’t know if surgery is necessary until he attempts rehab, so at minimum he’s out for a few weeks. In a worst case scenario, he’ll be gone for the season. Quincy Enunwa, meanwhile, moves up the target pecking order and will be a great PPR play in most weeks.

In the backfield, Matt Forte was seen going to the X-Ray room after game, but there were no notes in post game conference about a potential injury. Keep an eye on reports throughout the week for any indication.

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Oakland Raiders

NFL Weekly Recap

In the not-so-surprising news department (at least if you’ve been reading this column weekly), it was reported Sunday morning that DeAndre Washington would see more action in the Raiders’ backfield. While Washington led the Raiders’ RBs on Sunday with 46 total yards, he still had less touches than Latavius Murray (10 for Murray, 8 for Washington). Regardless, things are trending in the wrong direction for Murray and his sell high window may already be closed.

Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Weekly Recap

Le’Veon Bell returned to action Sunday night and played 54 snaps in a blowout win versus the Chiefs. DeAngelo Williams saw 17 snaps and there were times, unfortunately for the opposing defense, where both Williams and Bell were on the field. Bell lined up in the slot, out wide, in the backfield, and generally all over the field in a do-it-all role. While he didn’t score a touchdown, he totaled 178 yards and should be viewed as the number one fantasy running back for the rest of the season.

San Diego Chargers

NFL Weekly Recap

Antonio Gates missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury and early indications leave him questionable at best for Week 5. While he was sidelined, rookie Hunter Henry has been great for fantasy owners — he scored 16.1 PPR points Sunday against the Saints. While rookie tight ends are rarely fantasy viable, it’s clear watching the tape that Henry has learned some of the nuances of the position while working behind Gates. It’s tough to rely on a rookie, but he is a good streaming tight end option until Gates returns.

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Weekly Recap

Vance McDonald, who didn’t practice much all week, was inactive Sunday leaving Garrett Celek as the starting tight end. The tight end will be productive in this offense regardless of talent level, as Celek finished with 5 receptions for 79 yards. It’s a short week for the 49ers, so if McDonald can’t suit up Thursday night, Celek will be a streaming option if you’re short at the tight end spot.

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Weekly Recap

News from early in the week revealed that Thomas Rawls will miss at least a month with his shin injury, prompting the Seahawks to sign former Saints RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller made his Seahawks debut on Sunday, but only played nine snaps. His playing time may increase as he gets more familiar with the playbook, but he likely won’t eat into starter Christine Michael’s production. Leave Spiller on the wire and let others chase his Week 4 touchdown reception.

The Seahawks have a bye in Week 5, so that will give receiver Doug Baldwin two weeks to recover from a hard hit he took early in the Jets’ game. They’ll need him at full strength, as we learned Sunday that WR Tyler Lockett has been playing with a torn PCL, which makes sense given his lack of playing time and production recently.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Weekly Recap

In a home matchup with the Broncos on Sunday, the Buccaneers’ offense was stifled, scoring just seven points. There isn’t very much we can take away from this game, as neither the passing or running game could get going. The one bright spot: Cameron Brate continues to shine as the starting tight end. He was the leading receiver on Sunday with five receptions for 67 yards and with Austin Seferian-Jenkins out of town, Brate is now a weekly fantasy option.

Tennessee Titans

NFL Weekly Recap

Kendall Wright finally returned from his preseason hamstring strain to play 25 snaps in the Titans’ Week 4 matchup and while he only saw three targets, he will play a larger role moving forward. With Andre Johnson’s age, Tajae Sharpe showing more inconsistencies as the weeks pass, and Harry Douglas a healthy scratch, it would be shrewd to pick up Kendall Wright on waivers this week.

In the backfield, this is DeMarco Murray’s show unless an injury occurs. Backup Derrick Henry played just nine snaps as Murray saw 27 touches and two touchdowns against the Texans. Value him as a top five fantasy running back.

Washington Redskins

NFL Weekly Recap

Starting running back Matt Jones finally got going against the Browns’ awful run defense, picking up 117 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown. Jones will be frustrating to own this season with the pass-heavy tendencies of the Redskins’ offense, but in games where the Redskins are favored to win, he is a good fantasy option. In games where the Redskins are expected to trail, he will lose playing time to Chris Thompson and won’t get the volume to be effective.

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