Ryan McDowell

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Week Four Review

Monday, October 2, 2017


Week Four of the NFL’s regular season saw its share of surprises, headlined by the Cam Newton led upset of the Patriots by the Carolina Panthers. Also, one of the stars of the 2017 rookie class suffered a season-ending injury. Here’s a detailed of every Week Four Sunday game from a fantasy slant.

 

New Orleans- 20

Miami- 0

 

It has been a difficult season for the Dolphins, between the loss of their starting QB Ryan Tannehill before the season began to the ramifications of Hurricane Irma. The Dolphins have traveled cross country and now out of the country as they “hosted” the Saints in London. The Saints' defense looked like one that could be exploited, but on Sunday, they shut down and shut out the Dolphins in all facets of the game. While veteran QB Drew Brees led the way with a ho hum 268 passing yards and a pair of scores, the real story for New Orleans was rookie RB Alvin Kamara, who looked like the team’s best player. Kamara saw 10 targets from Brees and hauled in every one, totaling 71 yards and a touchdown. He also chipped in 25 rushing yards. The game’s announcers noted the Saints plan to use just two running backs moving forward and the odd man out is likely to be veteran Adrian Peterson, who carried four time for four yards against the Phins. Second-year WR Michael Thomas was in his 2016 form, catching eight balls for 89 yards and a well-earned touchdown.

 

Miami WRs DeVante Parker (6/69) and Jarvis Landry (6/40) once again saw enough garbage time volume to post decent stat lines, but never really made much of a difference in this game. RB Jay Ajayi continues to be a non-factor in the passing game, despite proving in the past he could be an asset in that way. Ajayi caught the only target thrown his way for eight yards, while rushing for 46 yards on 12 carries. After the game, HC Adam Gase had to face questions about a possible change at the QB position as veteran Jay Cutler continues to struggle, though Gase insisted that was not in play at this time. Cutler threw for just 164 yards, along with an interception as the Dolphins were never really in the game, despite trailing just 3-0 at halftime.

 

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Houston- 54

Tennessee- 14

 

This game was all about Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson. After a slow start to his career, Watson has taken advantage of soft pass defenses the past two weeks, racking up big numbers against the Patriots in Week Two and now the Titans. Watson started hot as the Texans led 14-0 after one quarter and he never let up. In the end, the rookie from Clemson accounted for five touchdowns, four through the air and one rushing, as he got everyone involved. RB Lamar Miller totaled 131 yards with two touchdowns, WR DeAndre Hopkins caught 10 passes for 107 yards and a score and WR Will Fuller, making his season debut after breaking his collarbone in the pre-season, caught a pair of touchdowns among his 4/35 line. A Texans stack would’ve worked quite well today.

 

Things did not go so well for the Titans. QB Marcus Mariota saved his fantasy day with his feet, rushing for 39 yards and two touchdowns, but only throwing for 96 yards and two picks before being forced from the game with a hamstring injury. Mariota will reportedly undergo an MRI tomorrow. There is little to take away from this shellacking, but the Titans did continue with their near even backfield split as starter DeMarco Murray carried seven times for 31 yards, while bruiser Derrick Henry could only manage seven yards on five carries.

 

Carolina- 33

New England- 30

 

It looked like the Panthers and the rejuvenated QB Cam Newton was going to run away and win easily in Foxboro, but QB Tom Brady and the Patriots weren’t going to let that happen. A fourth-quarter comeback tied the game before Newton and the Panthers drove for a last-second field goal to steal a win. After weeks of pitiful play, Newton took advantage of the Patriots' subpar pass defense and threw for over 300 yards, the fourth consecutive QB to do that this year, along with a trio of touchdowns. Maybe the difference for Newton was his role in the running game, rushing eight times for 44 yards. After missing much of last week’s game with a knee injury, WR Kelvin Benjamin was uncharacteristically efficient, catching all four targets thrown his way for 104 yards, but his running mate, WR Devin Funchess, stole the spotlight with two touchdowns on a 7/70 stat line. Electric rookie RB Christian McCaffrey had a quiet day with 49 total yards on 10 touches.

 

Trailing for much of the second half, Brady and the Patriots were forced to throw the ball, resulting in some heavy volume for the key pass-catchers. TE Rob Gronkowski failed to score, but did catch four balls for 80 yards to lead the team. Other key contributors included WR Chris Hogan (5/60/1), RB James White (10/47) and WR Danny Amendola (6/42/1). After his huge game a week ago, WR Brandin Cooks was shut down, catching three passes for 38 yards to the dismay of fantasy players everywhere. As it has for years, this offense will continue to rely on a variety of players and days like this will continue as long as Brady and HC Bill Belichick are around.

 

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NY Jets- 23

Jacksonville- 20

 

Many didn’t expect the Jets to win a single game this season and now they carry a two-game winning streak into Week Five, holding off the Jaguars' fourth quarter comeback attempt. The difference for the Jets was clearly their running game. Despite the absence of veteran Matt Forte, the Gang Green backfield was a force. RB Bilal Powell broke two long runs, including a 75-yard score in which he stumbled, got up and finished the run as Jags defenders watched. Powell finished with 190 total yards and the touchdown. Rookie RB Elijah McGuire got into the act and had a long touchdown run of his own. He finished with 131 total yards as both backs were active in the passing game, as well. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, playing his second game following an early season suspension, continued to be a solid contributor, catching all four targets for 46 yards.

 

The Jaguars continue to be a team that wants to base their offense on the running game. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette rushed for 86 yards on 24 carries and also led the team in receiving, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns had been the go-to options since star WR Allen Robinson suffered a Week One injury, but both were held in check. Especially disappointing was Hurns, who saw 10 targets but only caught four for 42 yards.

 

Detroit- 14

Minnesota- 7

 

The NFC North showdown had some high-scoring potential, but was one of the more boring contests of the day. As if that wasn’t bad enough, rookie RB Dalvin Cook is feared to have suffered a torn ACL on a simple run up the middle. Cook suffered the non-contact injury and fumbled the ball, leading to an eventual Lions score to take the lead. Cook did produce another strong stat line before exiting, totaling 74 yards and a touchdown. If Cook is lost for the year, as expected, the Vikes would be left with the duo of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, both of whom have been largely ineffective this season. For a team already missing their QB, this is a near disaster situation. Vikings WR Stefon Diggs continues to prove he is both QB and matchup-proof as he caught four passes for 88 yards, despite QB Case Keenum managing just 153 yards in the air.

 

Lions RB Ameer Abdullah posted a career-high 94 rushing yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown, his first of the year, but the rest of the Lions offense offered nothing for fantasy players. QB Matthew Stafford threw for 209 scoreless yards, while typical top WRs Golden Tate (3/29) and Marvin Jones (2/42) made little noise against the solid Vikings defense. Also noteworthy, but not in a good way, was the TE usage for the Lions. Veteran Darren Fells (4/40) was the team’s top producing TE, while starter Eric Ebron (2/27) once again disappointed. Even rookie Michael Roberts (1/15) ate into Ebron’s workload.

 

LA Rams- 35

Dallas- 30

 

One of the biggest surprises of the season, the Rams offense continues to roll. The top-scoring team in the league, QB Jared Goff and his crew went into Dallas and put up 35 points. Goff has put himself into the weekly fantasy starter conversation and today he threw for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Goff played well, but RB Todd Gurley was again the star of this offense, rushing for 121 yards and also leading the team in receiving with seven grabs for 94 yards and a score. Gurley is maintaining his high level of play and looks like a league-winner. Maybe the only disappointing part of the Rams offense Sunday was the play of WR Sammy Watkins, who saw only two targets, catching one for 17 yards. After his huge Week Three game, this is a letdown.

 

The Dallas stars performed well, but it just wasn’t enough. QB Dak Prescott threw for 252 yards and three scores, finding RB Ezekiel Elliott, TE James Hanna and WR Brice Butler. Elliott totaled 139 yards and two scores as the Cowboys were in control in the first half. WR Dez Bryant’s string of tough matchups continued as he saw 13 targets, but caught just five of them for 98 yards. After his early season splash, veteran TE Jason Witten has his second consecutive down week, posting a 1/9 line.

 

Buffalo- 23

Atlanta- 17

 

In another one of the day’s surprises, the Bills came into Atlanta and handed the Falcons their first loss of the season. While the Bills played well, especially on defense, a big part of the reason for Atlanta’s struggles was the loss of their top two wideouts, Julio Jones (hip) and Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) for the second half. After leading 10-7 at halftime, Atlanta was outscored 16-7 after the intermission. Little information has been released about the severity of Jones’ injury, but a bye in Week Five certainly comes at the right time. Bills RB LeSean McCoy totaled 108 yards, while TE Charles Clay continued to see a large share of targets, catching five passes for 112 yards to lead the team. Former Eagles WR Jordan Matthews caught his first touchdown as a Bill, though that was one of only two targets he saw on the day. Rookie WR Zay Jones also continued his disappointing play, hauling in one of five targets for 18 yards.

 

With Jones down, there was little to get excited about for fantasy purposes in Atlanta. Backup RB Tevin Coleman played his best game of the season, leading the team in rushing (9/79) and receiving (4/65) while starter Devonta Freeman took a backseat with a total of 78 yards and a score. Pretty good for a “down” game.

 


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Ryan McDowell is a senior writer for dynastyleaguefootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMc23.
Email :Ryan McDowell



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