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Mind games: Week 4 offers Daniel Jones reprieve, Bears ground game and more

Even though it lasts 16-17 weeks, fantasy football can sometimes feel like an exciting one-minute adventure. You’re up, you’re down, your stomach is in your throat and you’ve lost your voice from screaming at the TV. From the highs of the Dolphins, Bills, Chiefs and Chargers to the lows of the Cowboys, Falcons, Jets and one Charger in particular, Week 3 was quite the ride. Reacting to each new performance and news with emotion and instinct is what we do, myself included.

Our personal stake is a driving force in how we interpret victories, defeats, injuries, targets, abandonments, etc. It’s easy to have knee-jerk reactions, like outbidding free agents, agreeing to manipulative trades, deleting your account (but not this account). , Of course). Worse yet, I’ve seen people withdraw, ignoring their league for days or even weeks after upsetting and unexpected things happened to their fantasy team.

There are two saving graces that help me avoid such extremes. Playing in multiple leagues dilutes the impact of a single piece of information. Sure, I have my “favorite” and “most important” leagues, and I’m heavier on some players than others, but no single event is going to make or break my overall fantasy season. This helps me see the news for what it is: information to be used or discarded. It’s true, not all data is actionable for every fantasy manager (you don’t need to break the bank to add De’Von Achane or Tank Dell if they don’t improve your roster).

Plus, writing this article every week gives me the time and excuse to put aside my reactions in the moment and justify my thoughts and opinions with real data. Time and distraction are the antidote to knee-jerk reactions. I’m not going to tell you to bench a guy because he cost me a game without providing solid evidence that he’s likely to do it again. This is the NFL, and anything can happen any week.

We’re here to help everyone make the best decisions possible – to put ourselves in the best position to win based on the data we have. What happens next is the fun part. No one likes doing the same adventure over and over again, unless they’re nine years old.

With that said, let’s talk about a few players you might be tempted to bench after disappointing performances in Week 3, but whose outlook improves for Week 4. For those of you with the golden touch and who just can’t stop polishing a perfectly good game. programming, I have some suggestions that allow managerial intervention without unnecessary risk.

Don’t think too much:

Daniel Jones, quarterback, NYG — One of my favorite preseason picks, and many others, Jones has been 80 percent awful and 20 percent inspiring. That doesn’t make up for his fantasy points of 6.5 and 5.0 in weeks 1 and 3, respectively, but I encourage you to keep hope alive for one more week. The Giants have faced a series of tough defensive matchups — perhaps seeing Arizona trample Dallas makes Jones’ second-half comeback performance even more impressive — but there is a light in the tunnel. He comes from the Pacific Northwest as Seattle visits the Giants on Monday Night Football. Seattle continues to be a panacea for all the ills of struggling franchises. This is the fourth most generous fantasy matchup overall, ranking eighth to QBs, 10th to RBs, and second to WRs. Jones should have a lot more time in the pocket to make the best throw thanks to the Seahawks’ low pressure rate, and he can hopefully improve his stats with designed runs or play-action releases.

Najee Harris, RB, PIT — Look, Jaylen Warren is a legitimate concern for Harris’ managers. He’s been used more in the passing game and that shows in the box score (even though neither back has scored yet). I’m giving Harris one more week to do something for the following reasons: His volume is increasing – from 6 carries in Week 1 to 10 carries in Week 2 to 19 carries in Week 3. He averaged a mediocre 4.0 YPC for the season. , with its best effectiveness against the toughest run defenses – San Francisco and Cleveland. For the first time, Harris and the Steelers will face a fantasy Top 5 matchup against the Houston Texans. Kenny Pickett has just had his best game of the season in a friendlier passing game against the Raiders (235/2, zero interceptions) and has developed a nice connection with George Pickens. This all bodes well for Harris to put together the volume of Week 3 and the efficiency of Weeks 1 and 2 and make it his first touchdown of the season. Depending on the depth of your league, I also like Warren as a Flex this weekend.

CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL — I won’t dwell on the blowout loss to Arizona, but I will say that Dak Prescott and the offense looked lazy, tired and out of sorts in this game. I think it was an incident. If losing to an objectively less talented team doesn’t light a fire under you, you don’t belong at the top of your division, and that’s certainly where this Dallas team wants to be. While Prescott targeted Lamb seven times last weekend, that number has to be higher. In the Week 2 win over the New York Jets, Lamb was targeted 13 times, catching 11 for 143 yards. No Cowboys WR has scored yet this year – I believe that changes in Week 4 with Lamb getting at least one touchdown.

Tinker with:

Khalil Herbert or Roschon Johnson, RB, CHI — De’Von Achane and Raheem Mostert… nothing said? Neither Dolphins player possesses a preternatural skill set that allowed them to combine for 100 fantasy points in Week 3 against the Broncos. They’re fast, yes, and I’m not saying Mostert isn’t on pace to score 19 touchdowns this season after scoring in all three games so far, but even third-stringer Chris Brooks has managed 7.3 YPC vs. Denver. Note that the two Commanders backs also had their best performances in 2023 against Denver (with Brian Robinson scoring twice on the ground). One way the Bears can move Justin Fields forward is to pass the ball efficiently, like they did in Week 1. I agree they had tough matchups against Tampa Bay and, surprisingly, KC, but Denver is lucky to have Herbert. and Johnson (and Fields) return to fantasy relevance. Herbert generally saw a little more volume, but Johnson saw more utility in the red zone, particularly within five yards of the goal line… not that the Bears were there often. I’m calling a Bears breakout play in which either back could tip the scales in your favor.

Josh Downs, WR, IND — While we wait to see if Anthony Richardson passes concussion protocol this week as expected, ask yourself if your starting lineup has room for Downs this week. The Colts are favored over the Rams at home, and for our purposes the fantasy matchup is pretty neutral. Richardson and Downs have clicked over the summer, and although Michael Pittman Jr. is the only Colts receiver to see double-digit targets in every game so far, Downs has had 12 in the third week with Gardner Minshew at the helm. He caught eight for 57 yards as the Colts beat the Ravens in overtime. Regardless of who this team is quarterbacking, I like Downs’ chances of being a high-volume option with 8/95/1 upside potential. The floor is reasonable at 4/50.

Gerald Everett, TE, BAC — Donald Parham Jr. had the winning score in Week 3, but Justin Herbert turned to Everett six times. Everett achieved all of these goals, helping Los Angeles to its first victory. With Michael Williams out for the season, people are scrambling to fill the void. Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston (my pick) are popular pickups, but if you need help or don’t mind taking risks at TE, Everett will be easier to get and perhaps more predictable. While Justin Herbert searches for his giant Parham in the end zone (four targets, three touchdowns), Everett is available all over the field to help him pick up key first downs. I’ll take the volume Everett offers on Parham’s touchdown reliance in any PPR league.

(Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)


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