Overshadowing some of the players who had big games, were the players who got hurt. After going through last week relatively unscathed, this week we cannot say the same. The big blow happened to a first round pick during the early games. Jamaal Charles went down on a run, and right away you could tell it wouldn't be good. It was another one of those non-contact knee injuries that occurred, the same we saw with Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson. The early reports we got from Andy Reid are that Charles has a torn ACL, and the MRI today will most likely confirm this blow to the team.
We also saw a couple of minor injuries as well this week. Justin Forsett got hurt late in the game when it looked like his ankle got rolled up. He didn't go back in the game after his injury, but did stay on the sideline in pads. I would guess that it isn't anything major, but keep tabs on the situation. Unlike Forsett's injury, I am worried about the injury to T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon left the game with a groin injury, and never came back in. Groin injuries are tough, so I wouldn't be surprised if he is out for a couple games here.
Now that all but the Monday night game has been played, it is time for a weekly look at the top performers from the games on Sunday, and on Thursday. After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each position, I will also select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect some similar performances in the future from them or if it was a flash-in-the-pan, and also whether you should be worried about top picks in drafts that put up less than stellar performances. So without rambling on longer in this intro, let's take a look at those who performed well in week 4.
QB - Josh McCown 457 Passing Yards, 2 Passing TD's, 12 Rushing Yards and 1 Rush TD, 1 Two Point Conversion, 35 Fantasy Points
Can the real Josh McCown please step forward? Is this the 2013 Josh McCown, or the 2014 Josh McCown? I feel like if I buy into him, he will go into full Buccaneers McCown, leaving me frustrated. If I don't buy into it I will be frustrated when he goes back to being the Bears Josh McCown. I am leaning towards believing in him going forward, as the other QB options are underwhelming this year. While next week will be tough for him against the Broncos, look ahead at the Rams game and use that as a better indicator if he doesn't perform well next week.
QB - Eli Manning 441 Passing Yards, 11 Rushing Yards, 3 TD's and 1 INT, 28 Fantasy Points
Eli Manning had been quietly putting up good fantasy numbers. This now marks the fourth straight week he has thrown for 2 or more TD's and had 18+ Fantasy Points. With the other QB's not living up to their billing, Eli performing well has been needed. Starter the rest of the season, and may find a way to creep into the top 5 in the position when all is said and done.
QB - Blake Bortles 303 Passing Yards, 21 Rushing Yards, 4 TD's and 1 INT, 28 Fantasy Points
Another quietly productive QB the last four weeks. Including this 28 point performance, the last 4 weeks Bortles has averaged just over 20 points per game, with his lowest total in that span being 15. For deeper 14 and 16 team leagues he is in strong consideration for starting, and if you own one of the underwhelming guys so far this season, see if you can make room for Bortles to be on your team and play the matchups going forward.
RB - Doug Martin 24 Carries for 123 Yards and 2 TD's, 3 Catches for 35 Yards and 1 TD, 33 Fantasy Points
This was a guy I had completely written off in the preseason. Sure there had been talks about him showing up to camp in the best shape of his life, but how many other guys had that been said about in the past and they didn't live up to the billing? While this game was against Jacksonville, his performance the week prior against the Panthers is more indicative of him being a good option going forward. A bye week next week, but after that they get the Redskins, who Devonta Freeman just ran all over.
RB - Devonta Freeman 27 Carries for 153 Yards and 1 TD, 7 Catches for 44 Yards, 25 Fantasy Points
So this is now the third straight week of Devonta Freeman. Sadly he only scored one TD this week, but proved to us yet again he is a very talented back. I love his receiving ability, and his burst of speed is marvelous to look at. I said last week he was a legit top 15 option, and that now seems too low. A matchup against the Saints next week almost assures another great performance. Top 10 back the rest of the way, and probably top 5 next week.
WR - Andre Johnson 7 Targets, 6 Receptions for 77 Yards and 2 TD's, 19 Fantasy Points
Not really a great week for the Wide Receiver position. There were no receivers to get above the 20 point mark this week. Not only was the top end bad, but the ghost of Andre Johnson was tied for the highest scorer at the position. After seeing how he played in the first four weeks, there is no way I can believe in this performance. The stats between Johnson and Moncrief seemed to have flipped for this game. Not getting a reception the two weeks prior can't be forgotten, as he is still outside of my top 30 receivers easily going forward.
WR - Allen Robinson 9 Targets, 7 Receptions for 72 Yards and 2 TD's, 19 Fantasy Points
Well with the great performance by Blake Bortles, Robinson was the biggest beneficiary. Last week it was Hurns who made his way into this article. I mentioned that I would still rather have Robinson going forward, and that is looking like the right call. Not only did Robinson have a great game, but Hurns turned in another solid performance with 116 yards and a TD. The biggest mover for me here wasn't Robinson, as I already had him inside my top 20 and borderline top 15, but Allen Hurns. Going forward Hurns is in consideration for the top 20.
WR - Julian Edelman and Odell Beckham Jr. 18 Fantasy Points Each
Lumped these two together because the message is the same for both. Edelman and Beckham Jr. are both top 10 options the rest of the year and they already were. These games are just what you can expect them to give you multiple times throughout the year.
TE - Tyler Eifert 12 Targets, 8 Receptions for 90 Yards and 2 TD's, 21 Fantasy Points
This now marks Eifert's fourth and fifth TD's of the season. While he has done his damage against defenses that are susceptible to his position, Eifert has the natural skills to keep this up. Andy Dalton as I have mentioned in past weeks is playing like he did 2 years ago, and even better than that. As long as Dalton keeps playing like this, Eifert is a starter every week going forward, and will threaten to end the season well in the top 5.
TE - Gary Barnidge 10 Targets, 8 Receptions for 139 Yards and 1 TD, 19 Fantasy Points
Okay this marks three straight weeks he is in this column. This one is more surprising then Freeman getting in this article three straight times. This kind of feat from a TE is reserved for the Gronk's of the world, not Gary Barnidge. After producing for three straight weeks, and against a defense that has locked down the Tight End position all year, I can't deny him anymore. I mentioned last week that he is startable in deep 16 team leagues, but now I am willing to bump that up to all leagues. Josh McCown loves throwing him the ball, and I guess we need to just take it as it is and start him.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Matthew Stafford 188 Passing Yards, 1 TD and 3 INT's, 5 Fantasy Points
If you have been waiting for the old Matthew Stafford to come back, don't. That guy we saw over two years ago is gone. He has become Jay Cutler, as he is a walking turnover waiting to happen. If you still own him, drop him immediately for someone like Josh McCown. Sure Stafford has the better options to throw to, but until he starts playing well again, stay as far away as possible.
RB - Darren McFadden 5 Carries for 16 Yards and 0 TD's, 9 Catches for 62 Yards, 7 Fantasy Points
We have found the Lance Dunbar replacement. While everyone waits around for Christine Michael to get his opportunity, McFadden has become the forgotten man in the backfield. When Dunbar went down we knew someone would have to step up and get those targets. McFadden showed that he can be that guy, as he caught all but one of his targets. For PPR leagues he is intriguing going forward, as we will see if Matt Cassell, whom I expect to start the next game, uses him in the same way.
WR - Calvin Johnson 7 Targets, 5 Receptions for 67 Yards and 0 TD's, 6 Fantasy Points
The whole Lions team has been poor this year. I mentioned above how poorly Stafford is playing, and that is directly effecting Calvin Johnson. The surefire top 10 WR before the season, he is slipping in my rankings going forward. Even with a good matchup against the Bears next week, I can't envision myself putting him inside my top 15. He is probably still going to be around the top 20 for me each week, but until that Lions offense gets some traction, he is becoming less and less of that automatic starter.
Want thoughts on a specific player? Leave a comment on who it is, and I will respond with my thoughts on that guy's performance and where he stands going forward.