Well injuries have happened yet again. We saw the top QB, Cam Newton, go down with a concussion on Sunday. This is a situation that needs to be monitored closely this week, and if I am a Newton owner, I would look to see who is on the waiver wire and has a decent matchup next week just encase he is unable to give it a go. Newton however wasn’t the only QB who went down with a concussion. Carson Palmer had to leave the game late to undergo the concussion protocol. Same thing that I said about Newton applies here with Palmer.
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. For the guys expected to be here, the write-up will be brief, while those who were a surprise will be written about at a little more length.
QB - Matt Ryan 503 Passing Yards, 4 TD’s, 1 INT, 14 Rushing Yards, 35 Fantasy Points
I wanted to see what Matt Ryan could do against a defense that was at least average. Well this week against a top defense in the Carolina Panthers, Matt Ryan not only showed his first three weeks weren’t a fluke, but he just went out and had his best performance yet. This will be his high point for the season, but I actually don’t know if this is going to stop now. At this point I have to consider him a top 10 QB, regardless of the defense he is going up against. If you can get top 5 QB value for him, then trade, otherwise you might as well keep him and continue to use him.
QB - Ben Roethlisberger 300 Passing Yards, 5 TD’s, 1 Two Point Conversion, 34 Fantasy Points
Big Ben now has all of his weapons at his disposal. The return of Le’Veon Bell gives Ben that dynamic player in the backfield who can contribute far more than DeAngelo Williams could in the passing game. Let’s just look at that Eagles game as an anomaly, as he has thrown at least 3 TD’s in his other 3 games this season. Top 5 QB moving forward.
QB - Blake Bortles 207 Passing Yards, 2 Passing TD’s, 36 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD, 25 Fantasy Points
It hasn’t been the best of starts for Blake Bortles this season. We have seen that the problems that plagued him last season have stuck around so far. His decision making has not improved. The good news though is that the running game still is struggling, and the Jaguars defense has been just as bad as last year. Bortles has slipped outside of my top 12 at this point, but that doesn’t mean he still isn’t useful. If you are someone who is relying on Bortles, you are best not to look at his statline throughout the game, as he is once again become a second half chucker for his stats.
RB - DeMarco Murray 25 Carries for 96 Yards and 2 TD’s, 2 Receptions for 24 Yards, 23 Fantasy Points
In what has been a poor passing offense, DeMarco Murray has been carrying them literally in the ground game. This now marks four consecutive weeks where he has over 13 fantasy points, and his second straight week where he is over 20 points. Murray has shown this season that he was just not suited to be running the ball constantly out of the shotgun to the edge. This Murray is similar to the one we saw in Dallas, minus the crazy amount of work he was getting. This is a top 10 guy easy the rest of the season.
RB - Ezekiel Elliott 23 Carries for 138 Yards and 1 TD, 1 Reception for 19 Yards, 20 Fantasy Points
Speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, Elliott has jumped right into the role Murray had back in 2014. Each of the first four weeks Elliott has had 20 or more carries, averaging 23.5 carries a game. That is the number you should expect going forward, which makes him a candidate to finish as the number one back when all is said and done this year.
WR - Julio Jones 15 Targets, 12 Receptions for 300 Yards and 1 TD, 36 Fantasy Points
This is going to be tough to top. I think we just witnessed the top receiver performance of the year in only week 4. Really though, this changes nothing, as he is still my second ranked receiver going forward behind Antonio Brown.
WR - Michael Crabtree 12 Targets, 7 Receptions for 88 Yards and 3 TD’s, 26 Fantasy Points
The consistent Crabtree just had a big game. Through the first three weeks we had seen Crabtree put up either 9 or 10 fantasy points in each game. This week he exploded with 26, thanks to the 3 TD’s he had against the Ravens. As of right now though, it is tough for me to see Crabtree as anything more than a top 30 guy, the perfect option as a WR3 or FLEX play each week. Once David Carr starts to look back towards Cooper more, we will see Crabtree’s value slip. Until that happens though, continue to enjoy the production.
WR - A.J. Green 12 Targets, 10 Receptions for 173 Yards and 1 TD, 23 Fantasy Points
If we take away the weather controlled game against the Steelers in week 2, Green is now averaging 10 receptions in the other 3 games. The downside right now is that he only has two TD’s on the year, but the yards more than make up for it. At this point I trust Green and his targets more than DeAndre Hopkins going forward, which makes Green my number four Wide Receiver going forward.
TE - Jordan Reed 10 Targets, 9 Receptions for 73 Yards and 2 TD’s, 19 Fantasy Points
Finally Reed has found the endzone. We were all waiting for this game to happen to show us that the Jordan Reed who was dominant at the end of last year has carried over to this season. This firmly plants Reed as my second best TE going forward behind Gronk who is getting Brady back next week.
TE - Greg Olsen 13 Targets, 6 Receptions for 76 Yards and 1 TD, 15 Fantasy Points
The guy I have ranked third at the Tight End position going forward is Greg Olsen. What is surprising about this performance is that the TD and some of the other production came when Derek Anderson stepped in. This just goes to show that it won’t matter who is behind center as it pertains to Greg Olsen’s value.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday’s games:
QB - Jameis Winston 179 Passing Yards, 2 INT’s, 19 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD, 10 Fantasy Points
Twice Jameis Winston has had a great game, but twice he has been awful. Luckily this week he salvaged another sub 5 point performance by running for a TD in the first quarter. After the first game I saw a QB who I thought had turned the corner already from his rookie season. Even with this last game against Denver, and his poor performance against Arizona, I still actually believe that. This is a buy low candidate I want to get. If you can though, I would actually wait to try and get him, as he is facing the Panthers next week and then has his bye. You may see him on the waiver wire in week 6, and if that is the case, jump all over it. The defenses he is facing after week 6 include the 49ers, Raiders, Falcons, Bears, and from week 14 through 16 (most playoff weeks) he is facing the Saints twice and the Dallas Cowboys. That is a stretch I want to take stock in, as he is going to be winning you a title.
RB - Terrance West 21 Carries for 113 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
With both Justin Forsett and Kenneth Dixon inactive this week, it was Terrance West’s turn to get a full workload. Over the first three weeks we saw West get 11 carries a game, averaging 3.6 yards per carry. This week against a terrible Raiders defense West averaged over 5 yards per carry. It wasn’t like the defenses he was facing in the first three weeks were good either, so I think this game is not what you can expect going forward. For as long as Dixon is inactive though, West will get you production based on the workload, but he won’t be efficient. A statline closer to 18 carries for 70 yards can be expected, which is okay to use as a FLEX option during the bye weeks.
WR - Alshon Jeffery 5 Targets, 3 Receptions for 46 yards, 4 Fantasy Points
Jeffery needs two things to happen to regain his top 12 Wide Receiver status with me. First he needs to get Jay Cutler back as his QB. Brian Hoyer, while doing well for the Bears, is bad for Jeffery’s value. Unlike Cutler, Hoyer isn’t the type of QB who will just start to force feed his top receiver 20 yards down the field. The other thing that needs to happen is Jeffery needs to get 100% healthy. He is suffering from knee and hamstring injuries, and while he has been able to play through them, I can’t help but feel that he isn’t playing at full strength yet. Until that happens, Jeffery is down to being close to only a top 20 guy in weeks with Hoyer.
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.