Shooting stars and crashing asteroids: Week 4 recap

October 6, 2020
By Michael Sicoli

COVID-19 tried to throw a wrench in the works, but we are officially a quarter of the way through the regular season. The NFC East is led by the 1-2-1 Philadelphia Eagles and Josh Allen is a legitimate MVP candidate. All is well in 2020. Time to run it back and review Week 4.

Shooting Stars

Tom Brady (QB2)

No Chris Godwin? No problem.

Brady looked terrific against a formidable Chargers defense, throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns. Mike Evans was the primary target and fantasy star but Scotty Miller stepped up in Godwin’s absence admirably, recording five receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. It was a dominant showing from Brady who had to deal with Ronald Jones dropping seemingly every target. He faces off against Chicago next week in what should be another tough game.

Justin Herbert (QB7)

On the other side of the table, Herbert looked the part of a No. 6 overall pick. The battle of the oldest quarterback versus the youngest quarterback may have favored the more experienced Brady, but the Chargers should be thrilled with what Herbert showed. His 290-yard, three touchdown day was highlighted by two beautiful deep throws to Jaylen Guyton and Tyron Johnson that both went for scores. The future is bright in Los Angeles, and Herbert is on the streaming radar in what could be a high-scoring game against New Orleans next week.

Joe Mixon (RB1)

The long-suffering owners who drafted Mixon as their RB1 are jumping for joy after a ridiculous Week 4 performance. The Bengals running back finished with three touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air along with 181 all-purpose yards and six receptions. After playing Week 1 and Week 2 on under 60% of the snaps, Mixon made the jump to 72% in Week 3 and INSERT HERE in Week 4. He’s on the field, finally, after weeks of puzzling misuse. With the offensive line being, well, offensive Mixon may be more hit or miss. When facing tough matchups like Philadelphia in Week 3, despite a high snap count, Mixon still struggled. But the talent is still there and he remains a weekly starter as a result.

Antonio Gibson (RB5)

The breakout was coming and here it was, and against a strong Baltimore defense no less. Gibson is the real deal and anyone that has followed him since Memphis would know that. The issue has been volume to date, but he set a season high in receptions (five) while matching his season high in carries (13). The volatility of this offense might restrict Gibson, but if he can maintain his receiving work it might not matter.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR1)

It would be disrespectful to talk shooting stars without talking about Beckham’s performance against Dallas. The star wideout took five receptions for 81 yards and two scores. It feels just like the “boom” games that Stefon Diggs had in Minnesota. Beckham has filled that role in Kevin Stefanski’s offense perfectly, the deadly deep threat over the top. With a talent like Beckham, there’s no reason to expect him to fall off. Like Diggs, it may be up-and-down. But these highs make the lows very bearable.

D.J. Chark (WR3)

It was about time. Chark had a game to remember, compiling eight receptions for 95 yards and a pair of scores. After injuries and strange game scripts derailed his start, Chark looks to be back on track. There’s no reason to expect him to drop off as the No. 1 target on a losing team. Fire him up as a WR2.

Robert Tonyan (TE2)

Yes, he’s on this list two weeks in a row. But when you play like Tonyan just did, you deserve it.

With Anthony Lazard out indefinitely, Tonyan appears to be a must-start tight end in a high-powered Green Bay offense. He has three straight weeks with a touchdown, while recording five receptions in each of his last two appearances. Aaron Rodgers has found his trusted asset and even when Davante Adams returns, Tonyan is a solid option. It’s tough to hold a tight end through the bye week, but Tonyan has earned that honor with this six reception 98-yard performance.

Dalton Schultz (TE4)

Schultz has been shooting up and down in the sky, but tight ends were slim pickings this week. The most important thing is that Schultz has seen at least six targets in three straight weeks. That type of volume at the tight end position is hard to come by. It certainly helps that Dak Prescott is averaging 50 attempts per game. Even if that comes down, Prescott will use Schultz as a safety blanket like he did Jason Witten in years past. The offense will continue to put up a ton of points — Schultz will be a part of that.

And, of course, three touchdowns.

Crashing Asteroids

Jared Goff (QB26)

All signs pointed to a good performance this week for Goff coming up against the Giants, unfortunately this was not the case. In a game where Goff had plenty of potential the Rams never got out to a commanding lead, throwing for just 200 yards and one touchdown on the way to a 17-9 victory. Over a quarter of that yardage came on Cooper Kupp’s 55-yard catch-and-run score in the fourth quarter. It was a disappointing performance but Goff should bounce back against a Washington unit that allows the seventh most points to the quarterback.

Baker Mayfield (QB21)

This is the new norm for Mayfield in Stefanski’s offense — efficient but not fantasy relevant. It was the same for Kirk Cousins last year who had a terrific season in the real world. However, for fantasy it was nothing more than a middling QB2. Mayfield was solid against the Cowboys but 30 attempts will only get you so far; in this case, 165 yards and two touchdowns. Without any rushing volume to pair with the passing game Mayfield is nothing more than a low-end streaming option in the best of days.

The Browns dropped 49 points on the Cowboys and Mayfield couldn’t be more than a low-end QB2. Think on that.

Jonathan Taylor (RB29)

It was an incredibly disappointing outing for Taylor, who inexplicably split work with Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines just like he did in Week 3. Most, including myself, chalked that up to the Jets being just awful, with the Colts resting their starters. However, Taylor saw just 46% of the snaps in Week 4 compared to 67% in Week 2. His passing game involvement will remain minimal so he must see immense rushing volume to succeed. Things should be better — the Colts won’t play a stout Bears defense every week — but it’s a reminder that Taylor’s workload isn’t secure and his lack of receiving work is a trend that likely won’t snap.

Darrell Henderson (RB44)

Man, if there was ever a player the fantasy community got wrong in a week, it would be Henderson. The second-year running back saw just eight carries after combining for 32 carries over the two weeks prior. It was a shocking disappearing act that makes even less sense considering Malcolm Brown only saw nine carries in turn. The Rams offense was simply a mess on Sunday. With second-round pick Cam Akers looking likely to return in Week 5, this backfield might be worth watching for a week before making any conclusions.

Julian Edelman (WR67)

Edelman and the Patriots desperately missed Cam Newton (reserve/COVID-19) in their Monday night loss to the Chiefs, but chalking up Edelman’s performance to a lack of Newton is unfair. The matchup was tough, with the Chiefs ranking among the best at containing the wide receiver. The Patriots also tried to slow the game down and win by running the ball, a classic tactic when facing a formidable offense without your starting quarterback. But Edelman deserves plenty of the blame. He dropped several key passes, including one that led to a Jarett Stidham interception. It’s worth noting that the 34-year-old slot receiver was also nursing a knee injury that made him questionable for the game. Edelman has a good bounce back opportunity vs. Denver next week who is allowing the fifth most points to wide receivers, but Newton’s availability must be monitored.

Michael Gallup (WR82)

Gallup’s fantasy production has been absolutely puzzling. He’s on the field, he’s shown his talent, the offense is great but somehow Gallup keeps falling short of the mark. The third-year wide receiver has been on the field for 80% of the snaps or more in each game this season, which is good but he’s only seen over five targets once. CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz appear ahead of him on Dak Prescott’s target list, not to mention Amari Cooper. You would think Prescott averaging 50 attempts a game would be enough to support Gallup, but apparently not. He has to be viewed as a FLEX until he can see sustainable volume. A matchup against the Giants could help him get back on track.

Hunter Henry (TE27)

Herbert’s best day came courtesy of Tyron Johnson and Guyton, who both caught deep touchdowns that ended their respective drives incredibly early. That is no excuse for Henry, who certainly disappointed in a game that the Chargers fell behind early. The game script was there but the volume wasn’t, with Henry seeing just three targets after seeing at least seven in each of his three games prior. The tight end has a get-right matchup against the Saints who allow the second-most points to the tight end. Fire him up.

Logan Thomas (TE52)

It’s time everyone removed their saddle from the Thomas horse and get a move on. Despite all the opportunity in the world Thomas has not made the most of it. Whether that can be blamed on Dwayne Haskins or Thomas himself, take your pick, but for now there’s no reason to keep trotting him out there. Yes, he runs a lot of routes. Yes, he sees red zone targets. But he has yet to do anything with them and this is a completely unproven player. This is not Gallup, who is on the field but disappointing because he has years of film showing his success. I do not apply the same benefit of the doubt to a 29-year-old quarterback-turned-tight end. Regardless, when your average depth of target is 4.5 yards, there is not much else you can do on one of the worst offenses in the league.