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2023 Fantasy Football: Takeaways From Every Week 4 Game

Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back D'Andre Swift (0) avoids tackle by Washington Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis (52) in overtime at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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. 

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

Philadelphia Eagles RB D’Andre Swift remains the team’s No. 1 running back following Kenneth Gainwell’s (absent in Week 2, ribs injury) return to the lineup. 

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

New York Jets RB Breece Hall appears on track to emerge from the team’s Week 7 bye as a full-time player, having already asserted himself as the backfield lead in most departments. 

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. 

Remaining Storylines

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

Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts (121 routes run, 17.4 percent TPRR) has failed to separate from No. 2 TE Jonnu Smith (86 routes run, 23.3 percent TPRR). 

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

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

New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael funneled RB Alvin Kamara 14 targets following Kamara’s return from suspension. Those 14 targets led all players in the early window. 

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

The Cincinnati Bengals’ passing game must rely on post-catch production from WR Ja’Marr Chase moving forward. Unable to fully drive off his strained right calf, QB Joe Burrow is limited. 

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.

Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert suffered an apparent middle-finger fracture on his non-throwing hand. He gets a Week 5 bye to recover. 

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.

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