The article below details one need-to-know takeaway from each NFL Week 4 contest, aimed at providing readers with immediately actionable fantasy football information.
Top Week 4 Takeaways
McLaughlin Shines After Williams’ Injury
Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams suffered a Week 4 hip flexor strain. Based on the in-game diagnosis speed, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Jeff Mueller suspects it’s a Grade 2 strain, likely sidelining Williams for one-to-two weeks. Dr. Mueller notes Denver’s Week 6 game is scheduled for Thursday Night Football, making a Week 7 return-to-play the safest bet.
Javonte Williams –
I’ll be your Schefter translator.
Hip flexor strain: as suspected, there was concern for soft tissue injury.
Could (likely) be compensatory from ramping up too quickly off of ACL.
RTP depends on pain & function.
— Jeff Mueller, PT, DPT (@jmthrivept) October 2, 2023
No. 3 RB Jaleel McLaughlin was a part-time player for Weeks 1-3, notably taking green zone snaps. He played far better in relief of Williams than No. 2 RB Samaje Perine did, though Perine maintained an edge on passing downs.
The table below reflects Denver’s running usage and results in the second through fourth quarters. “3rd + 4th-&-Long Snaps” refers to third and fourth down with three or more yards to go. “TPRR” refers to targets per route run rate. “YPRR” yards per route run.
|Denver Broncos RBs Qs 2-4||Samaje Perine||Jaleel McLaughlin|
|1st & 2nd Down Rush Att.||5||6|
|3rd + 4th-&-Long Snaps||6||0|
|Green Zone Snaps||16||13|
|Rush Att. – Yards – TD||5 – 9 – 0||6 – 66 – 0|
|Rec./Tgt. – Yards – TD||2/2 – 23 – 0||2/2 – 14 – 0|
|YPC – Yards After Contact/Rush Att.||1.8 – 0.67||11.0 – 10.83|
|TPRR – YPRR||22.2% – 2.56||33.3% – 2.33|
Both players will be must-add waiver wire targets this week.
Swift a PPR & Eagles’ RB1
Aside from two-minute drill snaps, Swift leads Gainwell in all usage and efficiency categories. He is a mid-tier RB1 moving forward.
The table below reflects Philadelphia’s backfield usage and results in Weeks 3-4.
|Philadelphia Eagles RBs Weeks 3-4||D’Andre Swift||Kenneth Gainwell|
|1st & 2nd Down Rush Att.||28||15|
|3rd + 4th-&-Long Snaps||11||8|
|2-Min. Drill Snaps||3||17|
|Green Zone Snaps||7||3|
|YPC – Yards After Contact/Rush Att.||6.2 – 2.57||3.2 – 2.50|
|TPRR – YPRR||15.0% – 0.78||11.1% – 0.33|
|PPR PPG||16.3 (RB9)||5.95 (RB43)|
Hall Progressing on Schedule
The table below reflects Hall’s Week 4 deployment in relation to New York’s backfield. Team-highs are denoted by asterisks. Hall’s green zone snap share is tied for the team lead.
|New York Jets RBs in Week 4||Breece Hall|
|Backfield Snap Share||42.6%*|
|Rush Att. Share||50.0%*|
|3rd + 4th-&-Long Snap Share||9.1%|
|2-Min Drill Snap Share||20.0%|
|Green Zone Snap Share||33.3%*|
|Red Zone Snap Share||44.4%*|
Hall’s 9.3 yards per rushing attempt, 6.67 yards after contact per rushing attempt and his 43-yard-long gain all rank No. 3 among 42 Week 4 running backs with at least six rushing attempts.
The Jets face the New York Giants (138 rushing yards allowed per game) in Week 8 and the Las Vegas Raiders (134.25 rushing yards allowed per game) in Week 10. Both rushing defenses are among the league’s eight softest.
Hall’s buy-low window is closing.
Reed Dominates Green Zone
Green Bay Packers rookie WR Jayden Reed has already established himself as one of the NFL’s best target earners in scoring position. Among 49 NFL wide receivers with at least 20 targets, Reed’s 71.4 percent green zone TPRR ranks No. 1.
Smith Limits Pitts to Part-Time Role
Smith (32.90 PPR points) has outscored Pitts (22.70 PPR points) thus far, and Smith’s Week 4 showing (six catches, six targets and 95 receiving yards) only strengthens his co-starter position.
Young RBs Increase Roles
Miami Dolphins RB De’Von Achane severely outplayed veteran Raheem Mostert, totaling 120 yards from scrimmage, three receptions (on five targets) and two touchdowns. He also took over as the primary green zone running back.
In Weeks 1-3, Buffalo Bills RB James Cook (six) totaled fewer green zone snaps than Latavius Murray (nine) and Damien Harris (eight). Still, Cook fielded 100 percent of backfield green zone snaps in Week 4. He successfully converted one of three green zone rushing attempts for a touchdown.
Vikings Backfield Results
Minnesota Vikings incumbent RB Alexander Mattison totaled 18 intended touches and played 100 percent of passing-down snaps. He split green zone snaps two-to-two with recent trade acquisition Cam Akers (seven intended touches).
Akers (8.0 yards per rushing attempt and 28.6 percent TPRR) played far more efficiently than Mattison (5.6 yards per rushing attempt and 10 percent TPRR).
Thompson-Robinson Melts Down
Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson (throwing-shoulder contusion) missed Week 4, leaving backup QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson to start in Watson’s place. Thompson-Robinson finished with 121 passing yards, three interceptions and took four sacks.
That performance rendered all pass catchers irrelevant besides TE David Njoku (six receptions and 46 receiving yards on seven targets). Njoku played despite suffering facial burns in a weekend fire-pit accident.
Pickett Suffers Knee Injury
.@steelers QB Kenny Pickett hobbled to the sideline after this play
— Sports Injury Central (@SICscore) October 1, 2023
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett suffered a left knee injury in which inward force was applied to the exterior of Pickett’s left knee. That could result in an MCL sprain. Quarterbacks average 3.8 weeks missed due to ambiguous knee injuries.
Stafford Due For Positive TD Regression
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford’s 307.25 passing yards per game ranks No. 2 among 34 NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 passing attempts. Yet, his 0.75 touchdowns passing per game is tied for No. 25.
Years of data studies suggest touchdown scoring follows yardage production. WR Cooper Kupp’s (injured reserve) practice window is expected to be activated on Monday, implying a return to play within 21 days.
Quarterback-needy fantasy managers should acquire Stafford now as significant, positive touchdown regression is likely on the way.
Kamara Returns, Evans Strains Hamstring
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans will have a chance to return from his newly suffered hamstring strain after Tampa Bay’s Week 5 bye. Per DPT Adam Hutchison’s Injury Report, a Weeks 7-8 return is more likely. Evans has five recorded hamstring strains since 2015.
Burrow’s Shallowing Passing, Higgins Fractures Ribs
He has the league’s second-most shallow average depth of target at 6.1 yards. That ranks 34th among NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 passing attempts.
No. 2 WR Tee Higgins likely will miss at least one game after his Week 4 rib fracture.
Adams, Herbert Briefly Sidelined
Las Vegas Raiders No. 1 WR Davante Adams likely suffered an AC joint sprain but returned to play after being taken to the locker room. Wide receivers average a -17.6 percent fantasy-point production decrease in the following week but quickly return to form thereafter, per DPT Adam Hutchison’s Injury Report.
Justin Herbert middle finger on non-throwing hand splinted/immobilized. Potentially fractured
— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) October 1, 2023
Patriots Lose Fourth CB To Injury
The New England Patriots entered the season with a talented four-player cornerback rotation, but the unit is now an exploitable weakness.
Both Jack Jones and Marcus Jones reside on Injured Reserve. Jonathan Jones has not played since spraining an ankle during a Week 2 practice, and first-round rookie Christian Gonzalez was forced from Week 4 with a shoulder injury.
Dobbs Enters Elite Rushing-QB Tier
Arizona Cardinals QB Joshua Dobbs’ 48 rushing yards per game in the past three weeks trail only Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s 60.67 (among 19 NFL quarterbacks with at least 10 rushing attempts). He is on the QB1 streaming radar against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5.