Week 4 Offensive Rankings Analysis
So here’s the issue with my boy Tom Brady. Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola aren’t playing. He certainly displayed better rapport with Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins in Week 3 (there was nowhere to go but up after the Jets game), but he himself didn’t play well. Brady plays the Sunday night game, which means you may not be able to wait for actives/inactives in case something changes. Brady is our 25th best rated QB, while Atlanta is about the middle of the road in terms of pass rush and coverage. Atlanta is also coming off a loss and playing at home. I wouldn’t put Brady anywhere near the top tier of QBs. Low-end QB1 at best, as his yardage might be okay, but I’ll be shocked if his TD count hits more than 2.
On the other side of mister Brady is Matt Ryan. Here’s what we do know: Ryan has good targets and a mediocre o-line. The Patriots defense has been good to this point, but they’ve faced EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, and Josh Freeman to date. Ryan’s quarterback rating at home versus the road in his career is nearly a 10 point differential. He’s also turned the ball over 19 fewer times at home despite only playing 4 fewer games. Ryan has 2 touchdowns in every game this season, and there’s no reason he can’t do the same 260/2 type line this week, especially in primetime. Ryan is the 8th best fantasy QB right now, and I’d play him as a top 8 QB this week, especially if you’re looking for a high floor.
Philip Rivers has been adjusting to his new scheme quite well, to the surprise of many (yours truly included). He’s amassed quite a few touchdowns, although he had a fairly paltry performance in Week 3. The Dallas defense becomes weaker and weaker each week with injuries, and though Malcom Floyd is gone, quick throws can still be kryptonite to a defense like Dallas. So why worry? His offensive line is in more shambles than it’s been all year, and Dallas can still rush the passer. This downgrades him a bit, and even though his scheme can mask these inefficiencies very well, I can’t recommend him as more than a top tier QB2. Our analysts who slot him at 13 and 15 have another vote in their corner.
If I asked you who the top 8 wide receivers in total targets were through Week 3, would you have guessed Torrey Smith? Probably not, considering his lack of touchdowns puts him outside the top 25 in PPR and standard scoring settings alike. The Bills don’t have Stephon Gilmore or Leodis Mckelvin, which means Smith should feast on Justin Rogers and whatever other pantry level replacements the Bills trot on the field. I’m completely on board with Smith has a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2 this week. If the Jets WRs can toast the Bills, he can too.
Josh Gordon had 19 targets last week. 19. Brian Hoyer probably won’t throw 54 times every week, but if he targets Hoyer at that pace, even 30 throws will still yield 10 or 11 targets. Yes, Leon Hall is PFF’s best rated CB to date, but Gordon can move all over the field and has a fat catch radius. He’s still a boom or bust type guy, but he oozes upside as a WR2. He’s in my top 24 for the week, and should be in yours as well.
With the news of Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski sitting, Julian Edelman is once again a low-end WR2 in standard leagues, and a great start in any PPR setting. Edelman has at least 7 catches in every game this season, and has caught a whopping 80% of his targets. I won’t be surprised if at some point during the game, the Patriots are forced to throw, especially in the 4th. Who do you think will be the beneficiary?
Feel like gambling? Ryan Broyles is likely to see a decent complement of snaps, and is now the de facto number two wide receiver on the Lions, and likely number three target in the passing game behind Megatron and Reggie Bush. This could be a game where Matt Stafford throws over 40 times, and if he does, Broyles’s target volume could benefit. He might be a longshot for a touchdown, but those in yardage or PPR leagues could do worse. Broyles currently sits at No. 46 in our rankings, but he could hit flex value this week, even against a stout Chicago D, as Charles Tillman will likely be facing off against Megatron.
Le’Veon Bell sits at No. 34 in our overall rankings, meaning on average, our staff thinks he’s a low end flex play. Including receptions, the Vikings defense is giving up the 4th most points to RBs on the young season. They’re not awful on the ground, but running backs have tallied a ridiculous 25 receptions in 3 games against them. That will happen when you play Reggie Bush and Matt Forte, but the fact remains that Bell could rack up some decent yardage through the air, especially since the Pittsburgh o-line’s awful state means Big Ben needs to check down more than he’d like. I’d actually have Bell in my top 30, as at the very least, he should hopefully see 15+ touches as he’s reportedly fully healthy.
Dallas has allowed shockingly little on the ground this season. They bottled up the Giants RBs in Week 1, Jamaal Charles in Week 2, and made the Rams thoroughly useless in Week 3. Ryan Mathews has a lower PFF rating than both Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. He hasn’t amassed more than 16 carries in a game yet, and his offensive line, as described above, is in worse shape now than Week 1. He’s ranked No. 27 on the week, and I agree. He’s a middling flex play at best.
Minnesota has given up 6 touchdowns to tight ends this season, including 3 to Jordan Cameron and 2 to Martellus Bennett. This week, the world is your oyster Heath Miller. Yes, he’s coming off an injury and won’t play every snap. However, he did see 24 pass plays last week, and will probably see a handful of targets this week. Throw in Minnesota’s ineptitude this season, and you have a guy you can plug in as a low-end TE1 or bye week filler.
Rob Gronkowski isn’t playing folks. Bench him. Jimmy Graham is playing the Dolphins, who are known for being completely inept against the tight end. If I’m playing against Graham this week, I’m terrified. Lastly, yes. You can play Coby Fleener against the hapless Jaguars.