Week 4 was not the best week for the elite guys. Almost all of the player listed below were not drafted in the first 5 rounds. The most surprising performance came from the same guy as last week. Honestly who would have predicted two straight weeks of 3 TD's for Devonta Freeman? Just goes to show how unpredictable the NFL can be at times. In a game where the Falcons score 48 points, Julio Jones finishes without being responsible for any of those points. We have escaped this week relatively unscathed in the injury department, but this feels like it is building up to something bigger now. Hopefully that isn't the case, but it seems that every week one big name player will go down.
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 - Philip Rivers 358 Passing Yards, 3 Passing TD's, 26 Fantasy Points
In what was Rivers best game of the season, it still leaves me wary on his value. Before this game he was a borderline top 15 option, and I really didn't see much to raise his value from this game. Going forward I would have him firmly in the top 15, but that is only because a few guys inside my own top 15 would drop down, like Ryan Tannehill. Going up against the Browns gave Rivers a good opportunity for this performance. Next week against the Steelers will be a true test for Rivers. If the return of Antonio Gates proves to be a positive one, I would be willing to jump him up more in my rankings.
QB - Sam Bradford 270 Passing Yards, 14 Rushing Yards, 3 TD's, 23 Fantasy Points
Well it is about time. The Eagles offense finally started to look like the Eagles offense, although they still couldn't do it for a full game. The first half was another poor half for the Eagles, and it wasn't until a deep bomb to Cooper that the offense started to get rolling. We saw the Eagles offense look good in the second half of week one against the Falcons, so I am not going to say the offense is fixed here. I would rather own the previous QB on the list, Rivers, than Bradford, as I still don't trust the Eagles to put it together for a full game. Maybe next week against the Saints will go well for him, but if they can't figure it out against that defense, it is time to give up.
RB - Devonta Freeman 14 Carries for 68 Yards and 3 TD's, 5 Catches for 81 Yards, 32 Fantasy Points
What exactly is going on in Atlanta? At no point would I have expected Freeman to have two weeks of 3 TD's, and have those back to back. I didn't even project him to score over 5 TD's for the entire season. I can't deny Freeman any longer, as he looks great. His burst of speed, and decisiveness when running has been sorely missing in the Falcons offense for years. His additions in the passing game make him all the more attractive for fantasy. Legit top 15 option now, and should put up a good game against the Redskins next week.
RB - Jeremy Hill 9 Carries for 40 Yards and 3 TD's, 1 Two Point Conversion, 24 Fantasy Points
In a game where I expected the Bengals to beat the Chiefs in the air, it was actually the ground game that did it. Hill had 3 of the 4 TD's from Running Backs, but did so with only 9 carries. Even with this performance, I am worried about Hill moving forward. The two previous weeks Hill had combined for 1 point. The Bengals are running a committee, and Bernard has done nothing to show that is wrong approach. With the limited touches Hill is getting, he is no longer a surefire top 10 option, but still warrants starting every week. If you get an offer for Hill after this performance, strongly consider it.
RB - Chris Ivory 29 Carries for 166 Yards and 1 TD, 22 Fantasy Points
Don't you just love the London games? Sure having to check your lineup earlier in the morning sucks, but waking up to watch football in the morning is just great, even if the Dolphins are involved in the game. I have been harsh on Ivory this year, but I will admit that he put forth a great outing. I was worried going into the game that Powell would take away some attempts from him, but that wasn't the case here. Injuries are the reason Ivory hadn't played like he did in week one. With him appearing to be healthy, and now a bye week, I think Ivory will be a strong option the rest of the season, potential top 15 guy.
WR - Tavon Austin 7 Targets, 6 Receptions for 96 Yards and 2 TD's, 2 Carries for 20 Yards, 23 Fantasy Points
I just can't buy Tavon Austin. He is a good real life player, but for fantasy I don't want any part of him. He is too hit or miss on a week to week basis, so I would never start him. Until he can start to show some consistency, I would stay away. I am a little encouraged by this game though since it came against the Cardinals. A flier on the waiver wire if you are shallow at WR, but don't consider starting until the consistency is there.
WR - Vincent Jackson 15 Targets, 10 Receptions for 147 Yards and 1 TD, 20 Fantasy Points
Jackson has been the best receiver in Tampa Bay this year, and it hasn't been close. Mike Evans hasn't been able to build on that great rookie season, and I think it is due to his injury. Now for Jackson, I thought there was a good chance for him to return to his 2013 form here as long as Winston could get him the ball better than the revolving door of QB's from last year. A strong game against the Panthers is nothing to look down on, and has a great chance of bringing that with him into week 5 against Jacksonville.
WR - Allen Hurns 15 Targets, 11 Receptions for 116 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
Speaking of Jacksonville, Blake Bortles has been flinging the ball all over the field, and providing value for two of his targets. Robinson is the consistent one of the two, and the other is Allen Hurns. Hurns burst onto the scene last year in week one, and has been slowly building upon that. This year Hurns has been getting targeted more often, and is a big play waiting to happen. While I doubt I will rank him near starter territory next week, I would consider picking him up over Tavon Austin, as the opportunities are greater for Hurns I believe.
TE - Martellus Bennett 13 Targets, 11 Receptions for 83 Yards and 1 TD, 14 Fantasy Points
Don't you just love when your Tight End is playing against the Raiders? Not much to write here other than Bennett is good, and having a matchup against the Raiders is even better. Borderline top 5 play, but we will see if he fades down the stretch again as he has in the past couple of years.
TE - Coby Fleener 12 Targets, 9 Receptions for 83 Yards and 1 TD, 14 Fantasy Points
With Dwayne Allen ruled out, Fleener was the starting Tight End, and played well even without Andrew Luck as his QB. While I would like to think that Fleener has staying power here, I just know that won't be the case. In games where Allen is inactive he is starter worthy, but other than that stay away at all costs.
TE - Gary Barnidge 6 Targets, 6 Receptions for 75 Yards and 1 TD, 13 Fantasy Points
I thought the performance from last week was a complete fluke and a byproduct of playing the Raiders, but boy did the Browns prove me wrong. Maybe it is just when Manziel is playing, but with McCown the last two weeks, Barnidge has been a go-to-guy for him. I am a little interested by this performance, and would say for deep 16 team leagues, he is starter worthy. If he puts up a couple more performances like this, then he may be a starter in all leagues going forward.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Ryan Tannehill 198 Passing Yards, 2 TD's and 2 INT's, 11 Fantasy Points
The Dolphins have looked awful this season. Joe Philbin is almost assured to be fired, so it will be interesting to see what happens next. With the bye week coming up, if you see something on the waiver wire that peaks your interest, I have no problem with you dropping Tannehill to get that guy. Until this offense appears to look like it did last year, Tannehill is unplayable, and not even a top 20 option.
RB - Todd Gurley 19 Carries for 146 Yards and 0 TD's, 2 Catch for 15 Yards, 15 Fantasy Points
Ran strong in the game, and got better down the stretch. In what was his first full game since the ACL injury last year, Gurley ran like the guy he was pre-injury. I thought it wasn't going to be until week 7 that he would approach the 20 touch mark, but I am glad he got there sooner. Gurley is a top 20 guy going forward, and with more performances like this, he will continue to move further up.
WR - Stefon Diggs 10 Targets, 6 Receptions for 87 Yards and 0 TD's, 8 Fantasy Points
With Charles Johnson out for the Vikings, Stefon Diggs stepped in as the starter. This was his first career NFL game, and played well in it. Johnson has looked out of sync this year, and this performance by Diggs just complicated things in Minnesota. Diggs is nothing but a deep league waiver wire addition, but keep an eye on him going forward, as he could emerge as a decent option with Bridgewater throwing the ball to him.
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.