Fantasy Football Realities and Illusions: Week Four
I used to watch a lot of “trailers” on YouTube as a kid. Trailers is in quotes there because it would be for films like a fourth Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” movie, which obviously never happened and there was never any real trailer. Why did I watch them, even though I knew they weren’t real? Well, I liked imagining they would be. But, after some fits and starts (man, those Andrew Garfield movies were not good), we finally have good Spider-Man movies again, and I don’t watch fake trailers anymore. All of that is to say, even though it might be nice to watch something and believe it for a little while, you’re better off just searching for the real thing.
I used to watch a lot of “trailers” on YouTube as a kid. Trailers is in quotes there because it would be for films like a fourth Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” movie, which obviously never happened and there was never any real trailer. Why did I watch them, even though I knew they weren’t real? Well, I liked imagining they would be. But, after some fits and starts (man, those Andrew Garfield movies were not good), we finally have good Spider-Man movies again, and I don’t watch fake trailers anymore. Even though it might be nice to watch something that is not real and believe in it for a little while, you’re better off just searching for the real thing.
The End of FitzMagic
It finally happened; the clock struck midnight on Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Bears, and he turned back into your local hipster coffee shop’s barista. Fitzpatrick had an ugly first half, completing just nine of his 18 passes for 126 yards and an interception. And all of this came in the week that Jameis Winston was available to return from suspension, which he did at the start of the second half, surely closing the book on another chapter in the FitzMagic saga. Either another improbable stint with a different team or a biopic film series directed by Peter Jackson is coming next, it’s hard to say.
You Will Never Be Happy Owning a Jaguars Receiver
Blake Bortles apparently loves playing against AFC East teams. After dropping 376 yards and four touchdowns on the Patriots’ heads in Week Two, he threw for 388 and two scores in Week Four against the Jets. If you think that sounds like a recipe for a good game from Keelan Cole, who seemingly established himself as the number one option in that Week Two game, you would be wrong. Instead, Dede Westbrook led the way with nine catches for 130 yards on 13 targets. Donte Moncrief brought in all five of his targets for 109 yards and a score. Cole? He saw just three targets, bringing in two for 15 yards. Bortles’ inconsistency, both in his favorite targets and passing in general, makes me want to stay away from all the Jaguars’ receivers.
Surprise, Blaine Gabbert was Making the Titans Bad
Marcus Mariota’s situation last week—coming into a game after Blaine Gabbert got hurt despite not starting due to his own injury—was one of the stranger parts of a weird 9-6 win over the Jaguars. In Week Four, in his first start since Week One, Mariota looked like his better self, completing 30 passes for 344 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, plus a rushing score. One of those passing touchdowns was a beautiful connection with Corey Davis for the overtime win. While the ground game still wasn’t great—the Titans rushed for just 70 yards—the passing game looked loads better, especially Davis, who had nine catches for 161 yards and that touchdown. If you were panicking about one of your Titans pass-catchers (including Dion Lewis), you can relax now.
Marshawn Lynch is aging like a fine Monster Energy drink, as the 32-year-old put up his first 100-yard rushing day of the season with 130 against the Browns in Week Four. He did so on 20 carries for an average of 6.5 yards per tote. While that included a 51-yard rush, it should’ve included another big one that was blown dead right as he was breaking a tackle. He also added 27 yards on three catches, 17 of which came on one classic Beast Mode pinballing play. While he may not be the RB1 of old, he sure looks like a solid RB2.
Aaron Helping Aaron
Aaron Rodgers has been under constant pressure all year because of the lack of a rushing attack in Green Bay. Aaron Jones, however, picked up 11 carries for 65 yards and a three-yard touchdown Sunday. Jamaal Williams (11 carries, 27 yards) and Ty Montgomery (five carries, 18 yards) were mostly ineffective on the ground, which should only help Jones’ role in the offense. He brings a burst to the backfield that the Packers have been missing this season, and head coach Mike McCarthy should lean on him a little more to get the pressure off Rodgers. He should merit at the least solid flex consideration going forward.
The Alex Collins Hype Train Has Stalled
Things just haven’t gone right for Alex Collins this season after an electric end to 2017. He has yet to top 70 yards in a game this season, and has just 158 yards on 45 carries (3.5 yards per carry). And then last night he fumbled on the goal line, earning him a seat on the bench for the rest of the first half. He ended with 42 yards on 11 carries, plus one reception for a three-yard touchdown. While he’s been a disappointment, Javorius Allen still hasn’t done much to pose a threat beyond taking goal-line touches. His 10 rushes in Week Four were a season high, as were his 30 yards. Collins shouldn’t see the bench any time soon, but it might be time for him to sit insee your Fantasy bench for the time being.
You Need to Eat Something Besides Touchdowns, Calvin. Try Some Vegetables.
Calvin Ridley caught two touchdowns in Week Four after catching three in Week Three. His two touchdowns bolstered an otherwise pedestrian day, as he had four catches and 54 yards on six targets. He has now recorded a touchdown on a ridiculous 40 percent of his receptions. That is, in a word, unsustainable. In two words, very unsustainable. While he certainly has Matt Ryan’s trust, he is not as much of an automatic start as the touchdowns would lead you to assume. Temper your expectations.
Mohamed Sanu reportedly got in his coaches’ ears about wanting to have a big game against the Bengals, where he spent the first four years of his career. They apparently listened, as he pulled in six catches for 111 yards on nine targets. After reading my paragraph on Calvin Ridley and then that stat line, you could think Sanu is actually the WR2 in Atlanta. You would be incorrect. This was just Sanu’s third 100-yard receiving game of his career, with the other two coming with the Bengals in 2014. Ridley, not Sanu, is the Falcon receiver to own, non-Julio Jones division.
You would think a game the Bears won handily would feature a healthy dose of Jordan Howard just to kill time. You would have been very wrong this week, as he totaled just 11 carries for an ineffective 25 yards. Tarik Cohen saw a huge jump in touches, logging 13 carries and seven receptions for a combined 164 yards and a touchdown. However, I wouldn’t be too concerned about Howard playing second fiddle to Cohen. The Bears have been trying to jump-start their offense all season, particularly Cohen and Mitchell Trubisky. With both cooking in Week Four, Matt Nagy may have decided to just keep feeding the hot hand. Expect to see more Jordan Howard in Week Six after the bye.
Mitchell Trubisky Is Not That Good
On the topic of Mitchell Trubisky, I think it’s safe to say six touchdowns and 354 yards on just 19 completions is a bit of an aberration. We’re all in agreement, yes? This game should serve as a catalyst for Trubisky going forward, he still probably doesn’t finish as even a Top 10 QB this season. Things should be looking up for all his weapons, like Cohen, Allen Robinson and Trey Burton, but don’t rely on Trubisky for anything more than spot starts.
James Conner’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated
James Conner—and the Steelers’ offense as a whole—had a Sunday night to forget against the Ravens. Conner had nine carries for just 19 yards, plus another three catches (seven targets) for 25 yards. And while you will certainly read about him trending downward, I don’t think it’s necessarily because of a lack of ability; this is a game script issue. Week Three was a quarterback’s dream of a matchup against that horrendous Buccaneers defense, and then Week Four was a start-and-stop game for the offense against a stout Ravens squad. The Steelers get the Falcons next week, who will give up yards however their opponent would like them. Conner should remain a solid start next week.
The Patriots Are Not All the Way Back
Tom Brady and Co. looked much more like themselves in their 38-7 drubbing of the Dolphins. However, I’m not fully convinced they have completely righted the ship. The Patriots own the Dolphins when they play in Foxboro, for one thing. And now, of course, Rob Gronkowski has an ankle injury ahead of a short week Thursday Night game against the Colts. While it was good to see a solid performance out of the likes of Brady, Sony Michel and James White, I’d be hesitant to trust much else yet. Re-evaluate after Thursday’s game, which will include the return of Julian Edelman.