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Fantasy Football Panic Index, Week 4: What happened to Jared Goff?

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Grading the panic level fantasy owners should have for Jared Goff, Odell Beckham Jr, and more.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Every week, some NFL player underperforms and it sends a shockwave through fantasy football. You wonder if that player just had a bad game or if suddenly this is going to become your new norm and you’re going to lose your league to your co-worker Dave simply because Kirk Cousins is a garbage quarterback and can’t throw the ball to any of his Pro Bowl receivers (more on him later). After a bad weekend of fantasy, it’s easy to come into Monday filled with panic and dread about your team and the season ahead.

If you’re looking for comfort, you’ve kinda come to the right place.

I’ve collected a bunch of fantasy names that I’m sure you’re worrying about to start the week and given each of them a rating of how much panic is the right amount of panic to have if these players populate your fantasy roster.

Let’s begin.

Get yourself a new quarterback

Jared Goff

I had a lot of people asking me about Jared Goff after his Week 3 performance against the Browns when he threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, and in general looked far from great. I gave everyone the same advice: Goff is heading up one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL, he’ll be fine, don’t count him out just yet. Welp, part of working in a world of more-or-less guessing, sometimes you guess wrong. My apologies everyone. Goff followed up his Week 3 outing with a three interception game where he lost yet another fumble. He’s now fumbled in every game this season and hasn’t thrown a pick in only one. Currently, he’s the QB17 behind guys like Gardner Minshew (14% owned on Yahoo), Josh Allen (64% owned) and, surprisingly enough, Marcus Mariota (11% owned). You know it’s a dark day when Mariota is tossing more touchdowns than you. If you’ve been relying on Goff as your QB1, it’s time to replace him.

Kirk Cousins

Let’s check-in and see how the Vikings are handling their loss Sunday to the Bears:

Oh shit! Defcon what-ever-the-highest-number-is! Things are not hunky-dory in Minnesota. And honestly, nor should they be. You don’t give $84 million guaranteed to a quarterback to help get you over the hump and become a Super Bowl contender, only to have to game plan to keep the ball out of his hands because he can’t win games by himself. That’s,,, not great. Cousins missed some big throws Sunday and was sacked six times, losing the ball twice. He’s also putting a very serious ceiling on Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, both of whom are losing fantasy value by the second. If for some reason Kirk Cousins is on your fantasy team, you need to move on from him two weeks ago.

Yea, I’m worried too

The entire Patriots offense

Look, the Patriots aren’t going to play a defense as good as the Bills every week but Sunday’s game certainly showed that this offense does not have the fantasy fire power we once thought it might. Julian Edelman looked all kinds of banged up after suffering an injury last week and has never been a reliable touchdown scorer. Josh Gordon, while flashing a few monster catches so far this season, also is banged up and couldn’t separate from anyone in Buffalo. As much as I love Phillip Dorsett, he’s a boom-or-bust guy who either gets you multiple touchdowns or absolutely nothing. I’ve already spoken at great length about Sony Michel in this column and James White hasn’t done much to speak of to start this season. The only fantasy relevant part of the Patriots is their defense. Obviously, the narrative is likely to change next week when the Patriots play Washington but it’s important to note that things are not as smooth in New England as we expected. It’s ok, it’ll all be fine when the Patriots trade for a disgruntled Adam Thielen in two weeks.

Sammy Watkins

After his massive breakout game in Week 1, Watkins has done a whole bunch of nothing since then. This week against the Lions was the final straw for me as the Lions were missing their number one cornerback Derrius Slay and it was easy to see a world where Watkins, the Chiefs number one receiver, would go off and show us all that his three touchdown game agains the Jaguars was far from a fluke. Instead we got three catches on six targets for 54 yards. Not even close to what I and Watkins owners alike were expecting or wanting. I’d start putting feelers out in your league to see what people would give up for Watkins in a trade.

It’s gonna be ok

Odell Beckham Jr

It might odd to have Beckham here after a game in which he more or less ignored during the Browns offensive explosion but I can promise you, now is not the time to panic. Freddie Kitchens finally showed us what his offense could look like Sunday, dropping 40 points and 530 total yards on offense on the Ravens. Baker Mayfield was sacked only once and seems to have gotten that mojo and magic back that made people fall in love with him last year. If this offense truly has turned the page, Beckham is in line for a sudden return to fantasy dominance. Don’t worry about Sunday, don’t do anything rash, fantasy points are coming his way.

Austin Ekeler

You may ask yourself, “But wait, why is Austin Ekeler on this list? He’s been nothing short of amazing to start the season!” You’re right Talking Heads, Ekeler has been a fantasy MVP through the first four weeks, but sadly that seemingly will come to an end as Melvin Gordon ended his holdout and returned to the Chargers last week. This means he’ll be back in the fold on offense and might even be given his starting job again (though I do hope not). Now, if you’re an Ekeler owner like I, you shouldn’t panic; we’ve seen Ekeler still have fantasy relevance as Gordon’s backup before—he finished the RB27 last year in the RB2 role. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw even more of a split backfield moving forward given how good Ekeler has been to start the season. While you don’t need to panic (I would not trade Ekeler if I were you, at least not just yet) it’s still a bummer to see his fantasy potential this year go flying out the window. Oh well, we’ll always have these four weeks to hold onto.

Wait, he’s still on your team?

Devonta Freeman

Freeman is RB34 through four games and is 98% owned. Jordan Howard is RB14 and is 56% owned. Freeman has been held to under 2.5 yards per carry three out of the first four games and has yet to record a touchdown. His work in the passing game is the only thing that’s keeping him afloat but nonetheless, I have you wonder if he’s really worth that roster spot you’re using for him. If you’ve been holding onto him, waiting for him and this Falcons offense to suddenly look like the offense we once knew and loved, let me tell you that that likely won’t happen this season and you should move on from him. If you just haven’t looked at your team in a while and realize you’ve been starting him along with Tyreek Hill this pass few weeks, might I suggest being a little more diligent with your fantasy team.