Fantasy Football Fallout Week 4

Fantasy Football Fallout
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With another week of fantasy football in the books, we can now start to make more informed decisions based on how our starters versus the potential free-agent pickups are faring thus far. Naturally, the major focus will be on the early-round draft picks who are currently a cause for concern and the sleepers who we should be finding a spot for as a potential replacement. So, without further ado, let’s get to the football fallout from our fantasy duds and sleeper studs. 

*All points-based stats are from full PPR scoring formats.

Week 4’s Fantasy Football Fallout

Trade-For Stud

Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins

For panicked fantasy managers, the narrative for DeAndre Hopkins‘ two-week hiatus might revolve around an unbeaten Arizona Cardinals outfit, finally experiencing consistent success after building a more balanced offense for Kyler Murray. 

And sure, the editions of A.J. Green and Rondale Moore certainly offer more weaponry and thus less predictability to Arizona’s offensive scheme. However, this line of thinking could also provide an opportunity for fantasy managers to get Hopkins on the cheap.

Right now, the concern to capitalize on lies in Hopkins’ target share in the offense. His 21.09 percent stake in Arizona’s targets ranks 25th in the NFL among first-option pass-catchers. Last year, by contrast, Hopkins had the highest share of an offense in the NFL, commanding 30.89 percent of the Cardinal’s available targets.

But here’s the thing: Kyler Murray is currently projected to throw for over 5400 yards, (for context Patrick Mahomes is on course for 5176), compared to last season’s 17-game pace of 4219 yards. Yes, he is currently relying less on Hopkins, but he’s adding over 1000 yards of production, which will soon counter-balance the reduction in his main target’s lion share.

Hopkins’ blip, therefore, is nothing more than the volatility that is part and parcel of the wide receiver position in fantasy. And, what’s more, we should expect it from him. After all, he has already evidenced that he’s one of the more inconsistent stars of fantasy football. In 2020, for example, he was the WR4 overall but had seven games outside the top 30; the average number of bust games for the other four receivers in the top five was three.

Overall, he still leads the Cardinals wide receivers in targets, completions, touchdowns, and opportunities inside the red zone so he’s an excellent trade-for candidate. But what would he cost?

Hopkins’ Current Trade-Value

Trade scenarios are always dependent on your team’s personal needs, coupled with what position your league-mate is lacking at. Though you can at least equate the current value by using tiers. At this point, someone like Darrell Henderson Jr. (RB1/2 range) is an interesting one-for-one offer. 

Fantasy Dud

Wide Receiver Allen Robinson

What’s been cruel about Allen Robinson’s fantasy performance this year, is that there was genuine hope that this elite wide receiver was on the cusp of his best season with the Chicago Bears to date. Considering that Andy Dalton supported two top 24 wide receivers in Dallas, it stood to reason that Robinson was worth the investment in the middle of the third round. 

Now with four disappointing weeks on the bounce, is it time to bench someone you had projected as a WR1?

The short answer is yes.

Ever since Justin Fields has taken over at quarterback, the target share has tilted in favor of Darnell Mooney (15 plays 12). If this trend continues, Robinson will almost certainly be one of fantasy’s biggest busts, as Fields hasn’t proven reliable enough (as with most rookie quarterbacks) to sustain two pass-catching options, even in a PPR scoring mode.

Although, what’s perhaps equally concerning is that Robinson has also been out-snapped by Darnell Mooney in four straight games, which is already equal to the number of games where this happened last season.

Needless to say, as things stand, there are likely better upsides on your bench (Tim Patrick/Tyler Boyd/Emmanuel Sanders) or in free agency (Hunter Renfrow/A.J. Green). However, if Andy Dalton was to return to the starter’s role, you could probably play Robinson in the flex position. After all, he had 11 targets in Week 1 which was more reflective of the Bears’ talent pecking order.

Sleeper Studs

Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders

You never want to chase a big week, especially when you’ve potentially missed out on a depth players’ peak performance of the year. However, in the case of Emmanuel Sanders, it seems his 26+ points in full PPR in Week 3 is prescriptive of the Buffalo Bills plan for him in the offense.

So far, he’s been targeted 28 times across four weeks and is on the field more than any other Buffalo pass catcher (80.7 percent of snaps). What’s more, his role extends well beyond Gabriel Davis’ deep-threat target assignments. 

During his first four games, Sanders’ route tree has featured plenty of mid-range (10-20 yards) digs and comebacks alongside the occasional long-ball flyer. And it’s this variation that should excite fantasy managers.

The fact he’s being sought out by Allen ensures that Sanders has a PPR floor (like this week’s 12.5 points) with the promise of more, so long as they connect on the more adventurous passing plays. 

Sound the Alarm?

In this segment, we debate whether or not we need to seriously worry about a poor performer on the back of Week 4’s fantasy football fallout.

Running Back Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders seems to have lost favor as an offensive option with the Philadelphia Eagles. Worryingly his majority share of the backfield has evaporated over the past two weeks as both he and Kenneth Gainwell have entered into more of a committee (15 opportunities for the former and 13 for the latter).

That leaves Sanders with a paltry average touch count (receptions included) of 12, which ranks 31st in the NFL for RB1 opportunities.

Sound the alarm!

Wide Receiver Robby Anderson

Despite 11 targets in Week 4, Robby Anderson crashed and burned for the third consecutive game. 

At this stage, fantasy managers need to bench him until he can string two decent performances together. Though, it doesn’t seem likely that this is forthcoming, particularly if Christian McCaffrey returns this week, as he will wrestle a chunk of those targets back.

Worse still is the fact that in 30 games with Sam Darnold, Anderson has only finished inside the top 30 wide receivers once, when he doesn’t score a touchdown.

Sound the Alarm!

Wide Receiver Robert Woods

Robert Woods’ measly fantasy output is tied to Cooper Kupp taking over the alpha role in the Los Angeles Rams offense. In 2020, both were neck-and-neck in terms of target distribution but so far this season, Kupp (48) has almost double the tally of his partner (26).

With that having been said, it is not like Woods’ targets have dropped off the face of the earth (he’s averaging a shade over six compared to eight last season) and perhaps more importantly, his coach has also addressed the situation. On Tuesday, Sean McVay expressed the need to get him more involved: “We just need to get him some more opportunities and that starts with me”.  

Woods seems like a grin-and-bear-it flex option for the time being. Though adjust expectations as his potential might be in the WR 24-30 range at this rate.

*Stats for Fantasy Football Fallout via NFL Savant and Lineups.com.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images