Analysis

Five Fantasy Takeaways from NFL Week 4

Week 4 Fantasy Takeaways

Welcome to The Five Takeaways! Every Monday morning from here on out, this article will bring you the top need-to-know storylines for Fantasy Football in 2022. All data included in this article comes from TruMedia.com. Enjoy!

Stream Tight Ends vs. the Seattle Seahawks

  • Through four weeks, Seattle has faced two teams who feature one main pass-catching tight end (Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions) and two teams who use tight end platoons (Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers sans George Kittle).
  • Eight tight ends earned at least one target against Seattle,  and they totaled 33 targets between them.
  • Five NFL tight ends have earned at least 30 targets this year, including Detroit’s T. J. Hockenson, who faced Seattle in Week 4.
  • The table below compares the aforementioned eight tight ends to four of the NFL’s five tight ends which have at least 30 targets. 
  • Hockenson has been included only in the “TE vs. SEA” sample.
Tight End Receptions/Targets-Yards Receiving-TD Yards per Reception Yards After Catch per Reception Yards per Route Run Targets per Route Run Rate
TE vs. SEA 22/33-411-3 18.68 10.36 3.37 27.0%
Travis Kelce 24/32-295-3 12.29 5.17 2.36 25.6%
Mark Andrews 24/36-260-3 10.83 3.13 2.05 28.3%
Pat Freiermuth 18/30-223-1 12.39 4.17 2.12 28.6%
Zach Ertz 22/31-181-2 8.23 3.14 1.12 19.3%
  • While the “TE vs. SEA” sample is perhaps imperfect, it is still helpful for our purposes. Seattle’s linebackers are completely incapable of covering tight ends without the help of 2019 All-Pro safety Jamal Adams. Adams suffered a torn quad in Week 1, ending his season. Seattle still has 2021 Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs patrolling the backend but at just 5-foot-9-inches, 198-pounds, Diggs is ill-prepared to handle big tight ends one-on-one.
  • For fantasy managers in desperate need of tight end help, New Orleans Saints tight end Juwan Johnson is a streaming option in Week 5, as is New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger in Week 8. Arizona tight end Zach Ertz (Week 6) and Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett (Week 7) are must-adds, in the event, they are available in re-draft leagues.

George Pickens’ Buy-Low Window Has Nearly Evaporated

  • Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens has ascended all season and is now looking to contend with incumbent No. 1 wide receiver Diontae Johnson. 
Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 Routes Run – Targets per Route Run Rate Week 2 Routes Run – Targets per Route Run Rate Week 3 Routes Run – Targets per Route Run Rate Week 4 Routes Run – Targets per Route Run Rate
WR George Pickens 36 – 8.3% 35 – 5.7% 29 – 24.1% 26 – 30.8%
WR Diontae Johnson 37 – 32.4% 37 – 27.0% 33 – 33.3% 32 – 12.5%
WR Chase Claypool 37 – 16.2% 37 – 16.2% 33 – 18.2% 29 – 6.9%
TE Pat Freiermuth 30 – 33.3% 29 – 24.1% 21 – 19.0% 25 – 36.0%
RB Najee Harris 15 – 13.3% 19 – 31.6% 15 – 20.0% 16 – 0.0%
  • Pickens earned just five total targets in Weeks 1 and 2. But thanks to crisp route running, highlight-reel catches and effective use of appeals via the media, Pickens received seven and eight targets in the last two weeks. 
  • Pickens’ six-catch, 102-yard performance in Week 4 was a career-high in both categories. It was a promising showing, but his buy-low window is still open since he has yet to deliver a dominant, touchdown-boosted fantasy performance. 
  • Do not fear Pittsburgh’s quarterback situation. Talent wins at the wide receiver position. Exhibit A: Garrett Wilson, New York Jets. Exhibit B: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons. Both of them have performed well this season despite uneven quarterback play. 

Subtle Role Change for Skyy Moore, Buy Low Now

  • Kansas City Chiefs rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore saw his workload decrease after Week 1, both as a returner and a receiver. He was a hot commodity among early fantasy football drafters.
  • Moore lost a fumble on his own 10-yard line while returning a punt in Week 3. The turnover led to an easy touchdown pass from Colts quarterback Matt Ryan to tight end Jelani Woods, which may have landed Moore in the doghouse. 
Skyy Moore Kick & Punt Returns Snaps – Routes Targets per Route Run Rate Yards per Route Run Receptions/Targets-Yards-TDs
Week 1 5 13 – 7 14.3% 4.29 1/1-20-0
Week 2 2 2 – 0 N/A N/A 0/0-0-0
Week 3 2 (Fumble) 8 – 4 14.3% 0.00 0/0-0-0
Week 4 1 22 – 11 36.4% 2.82 1/1-4-0
  • Moore’s one catch for four yards in the box score won’t draw the attraction of the fantasy masses. However, his increases in both offensive snaps and routes run, combined with the decrease in kick and punt returns, are extremely promising.
  • The route increase notably occurred independently of the game script. Moore was given three routes apiece in the first, second and third quarters, plus two more in the fourth. 
  • Moore was drafted with the hope he could become Tyreek Hill’s replacement. This quiet increase in passing game usage is his first step towards doing so. Buy-low before the production starts to follow.

Denver Broncos RB Javonte Williams Likely Suffers Major Knee Injury

  • Second-year running back Javonte Williams might have suffered a major knee injury on Sunday, NFL Media reported. If confirmed by Monday’s MRI, he will likely miss the remainder of the season.
  • Williams left the game with just more than 29-minutes left in regulation and was replaced by a tandem of Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone. It’s also important to note Gordon was listed on the injury report with a neck issue this week.
Denver Broncos RBs post-Javonte Williams Injury Total Snaps – 3rd/4th-Down & 3+ yards to-go Snaps  Carries-Yards-TD-Fumble Routes – Targets
Melvin Gordon 8 – 1 2-1-0-0 5 – 1
Mike Boone 14 – 5 2-7-0-0 12 – 3
  • Gordon was on the field for Denver’s lone snap in the Las Vegas Raiders’ green zone.
  • Gordon lost a fumble in the first half. It was his fourth fumble this year, and his second lost fumble.
  • Boone dropped one of his targets but was clearly playing ahead of Gordon on passing downs. 
  • Both players need to be added on waivers this week. Boone appears to be both the lead rusher and the passing down back, while Gordon is set to operate in a change-of-pace capacity. It also looks like Gordon will retain carries in the primary green zone.

A Look at Buffalo Bills Rookie Running Back James Cook

  • James Cook started his NFL career by losing a fumble, yet has quietly efficiently produced since.
Buffalo Bills Running Backs Snaps: Total – 3rd/4th-Down & 3+ Yards To-Go – 2-Minute Drill Carries-Yards-TD-Fumble Yards After Contact per Carry – Yards per Carry Per Route Run: Targets (Rate) – Yards
James Cook 33 – 4 – 4 13-58-0-1 4.08 – 4.46 58.3% – 3.08
Devin Singletary 190 – 29 – 30 34-129-0-1 2.65 – 3.79 18.1% – 1.22
Zack Moss 55 – 5 – 8 16-84-0-1 2.38 – 5.25 26.7% – 0.90
  • Cook needs to earn more reps for the efficiency to matter, but on a per-opportunity basis, Cook is roasting the other two members of this backfield. 
  • Buffalo’s short-term schedule (Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, bye) is conducive to an increase in Cook’s usage. 
  • Pittsburgh offers moderate competition, which could lead to high volume fourth-quarter touches for Cook as it did in Week 2 against Tennessee. 
  • Kansas City offers massive shootout potential in Week 6, which suits his pass-catching prowess well. The Week 7 bye is perhaps the most enticing. It’s not uncommon for rookies who were drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft to be worked into the game plan more heavily after the bye. The phenomenon is referred to as the “post-bye rookie bump”.
  • The Bills are also dealing with a trio of injuries in their pass-catching corps: wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (concussion), wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) and tight end Dawson Knox (hip and back). It is not unreasonable to think Cook has a shot at the No. 3 pass catcher role as early as this week. 

WATCH MORE: Josh Fewster Picks out Five Players You Should Trade for in Fantasy.

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