The NFL season is 25% completed. Damn.
What's even harder to believe? Fantasy rankings. One fourth of the way through the season, Andy Dalton is the number two fantasy quarterback, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor and Carson Palmer are top five, Peyton Manning is 21st, Drew Brees is 22nd, and Andrew Luck is 29th. Yes, Luck missed week four with an injury, but he still only averaged about 13.5 points per game. He was, on average, the second quarterback taken in fantasy drafts.
At the running back position, Devonta Freeman (who appeared on this list last week) is the top point scorer after scoring just three fantasy points in week one. Karlos Williams, not LeSean McCoy, is the back in Buffalo putting up big numbers, ranking sixth at his position. Pretty frustrating considering McCoy was a late 1st/early 2nd round pick in most drafts and Williams went undrafted. Speaking of letdowns, Marshawn Lynch is ranked 43rd at that position and C.J. Anderson, a first round pick, is ranked 61st. How bad is that? Well, Chris Polk ranks five spots higher. Quick, what team does Polk even play for? Yeah, you have no clue (It's the Texans). In fact, if you check out the Houston Texans depth chart on ESPN.com, his name doesn't even show up.
Wide Receivers are not as much of a headache, with the likes of Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins and Randall Cobb all cracking the top ten at that position. The biggest surprise? Travis Benjamin of the Browns, who is tied for fifth at that position with 58 fantasy points. The guy with whom he's tied? A.J. Green. At the other end of the spectrum, Calvin Johnson ranks 38th and has only cracked double-digit points once. He was also responsible for the Lions' loss on Monday night (That bizarre fumble rule be damned, the artist formerly known as Megatron should have scored).
As far as defenses and kickers go, it's a crap shoot, but the Denver defense has been far superior to every other defense in the league, averaging four more points per game than the second-ranked defense (Arizona).
Speaking of standout Denver Broncos in the fantasy realm, Brandon McManus is the top-rated kicker (46 points) and the third-highest scoring Bronco in terms of fantasy behind the defense (65 points) and Peyton Manning (51 points).
How frustrating was week four of the NFL season? A kicker was the second-highest fantasy scorer. Cairo Santos attempted and made seven field goals. Not bad considering he was 3-4 through the first three weeks.
Here's The Awful Fantasy Team That Beat Your Team in week four:
QB Josh McCown: Cleveland Browns: 22 points. Owned in 1.4% of leagues, started in 0.4% of leagues
In his 13th season, the former 3rd round pick out of Sam Houston State is now with his sixth NFL team in eight years. Remember back in 2013 when he took over for Jay Cutler and threw 13 touchdowns to just 1 interception in eight games? The Bucs do, which is why they signed him the following season, only to experience 11 touchdowns to 14 interceptions in eleven games played. Now THAT sounds like the kind of quarterback that can play for Cleveland, so they signed him. McCown was somehow able to overcome a concussion in week one AND Johnny Manziel, and even though he is winless this season, he has been steady, throwing for 697 yards and 4 touchdowns in his last two games. His QB rating last week was 119.1. Pretty damn good. Too good, in fact, for McCown. That number is not sustainable for him and it is only a matter of time before Money Manziel takes over permanently.
RB Ronnie Hillman: Denver Broncos: 16 points. Owned in 46.7% of leagues, started in 9.6% of leagues
Much to the chagrin of Brandon Spano, this perpetual disappointment has earned himself a spot on this list. Hillman will be a very popular waiver wire pickup this week because most people, myself included, foresee him taking over the number one running back spot in Denver. Still, let's not get too excited. 13 of his 16 fantasy points came on a long touchdown run that 85% of the running backs in the NFL would have scored on (C.J. Anderson, however, is in the remaining 15%). Take that one run away, and Hillman rushed for 31 yards on 10 carries. Am I being a hater? Or am I simply trying to provide you with vital information so that you can make a conscientious decision regarding whether or not you should pick him up? Definitely the former. If you can, pick him up (*sigh* you're welcome, Spano).
RB Duke Johnson Jr: Cleveland Browns: 17 points. Owned in 49.6% of leagues, started in 10.9% of leagues
The rookie out of "The U" recorded a mere 31 yards on eight carries, but was the Browns leading receiver on Sunday with nine receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. DJJ has rushed the ball 31 times for 99 yards and no touchdowns in four games, however he has caught 15 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown the last two weeks. He seems to be a popular target for the aforementioned Josh McCown. With so many disappointing running backs this year, Duke could be a solid waiver wire pickup, especially in PPR leagues. Still, don't expect too many more double-digit fantasy efforts. He is, after all, a Cleveland Brown.
FLEX RB Terron Ward: Atlanta Falcons: 14 points. Owned in 0.2% of leagues, started in 0.1% of leagues
I googled "Terron Ward" and the search results said "who?" I'm joking, of course, but Google did make it abundantly clear that he is T.J. Ward's brother. But I digress. This game got way out of hand incredibly fast. The Falcons led the Texans 28-0 at halftime and 42-0 through three quarters. Thanks to the lopsided score, Ward received 19 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass for 18 yards. If Atlanta had kept Freeman in, there's a very real chance he could have scored five touchdowns. The rookie out of Oregon State (his brother went to Oregon…weird) should not be on your radar, especially with Freeman playing so well and Tevin Coleman set to return sooner rather than later. Closing thought: maybe it was smart for this Ward brother to not go to Oregon seeing as though every Oregon running back peaks in college. I'm pretty sure Ward scored more fantasy points last week and LaMichael James has in his NFL career.
WR Tavon Austin: St. Louis Rams: 23 points. Owned in 11.0% of leagues, started in 2.8% of leagues
The former 8th overall pick out of West Virginia has, to this point in his career, been a monumental disappointment for the Rams. However, he outscored every other fantasy wide receiver in week four, hauling in six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. He and Tedd Ginn Jr. were the only wide receivers last week to have more than one touchdown catch. It was a good week for stud college wide receivers who were drafted too high and have ultimately been huge disappointments in the NFL because they're basically just return men who have to play wide receiver because their teams suck at that position. Yup, it was one of those kinda weeks.
WR Allen Hurns: Jacksonville Jaguars: 17 points. Owned in 11.6% of leagues, started in 5.6% of leagues
For the second straight week, Hurns pissed you off because you have the wrong Jacksonville wide receiver named Allen on your team. Allen Robinson scored 27 points in week two, but has scored a combined 14 points since. Allen Hurns scored 6 points in week two but has scored a combined 30 points since. Honestly, I like Hurns as a fantasy pickup. The Jaguars will finally get a chance to play with Julius Thomas, and even though everybody in Denver (except me) hates him, he does open up the field and garner a lot of attention. His presence should only help Hurns and Robinson.
TE Coby Fleener: Indianapolis Colts: 14 points. Owned in 16.4% of leagues, started in 7.0% of leagues
Coby Fleener: Remember how good everyone thought Fleener would be? Not only did he go to college with Andrew Luck, but Sports Science did a whole nonsensical feature on him! Just in case you don't have the time to watch it, they basically make him dunk a football to test his vertical leap. SPOILER: the 6'6" tight end can dunk a football on a 10' basketball hoop. Thanks, Sport Science. Andrew Luck was hurt, so Fleener's production on Sunday was thanks to 57-year old Matt Hasselbeck. Don't believe me? Fleener had nine receptions on Sunday. He has NEVER, in his four year career with Andrew Luck, had more than eight receptions in a game. In fact, he only had one game in his career where he recorded eight receptions and two where he recorded seven. Yeah, Luck does not like throwing to him as much as everyone thought he would.
D/ST Atlanta Falcons: 18 points. Owned in 3.6% of leagues, started in 1.8% of leagues
The Falcons were pitching a shutout until the 4th quarter. They took their foot off the gas and gave up 21 4th quarter points. On the last play of the game, however, they put their foot back on the gas and scored their second defensive touchdown of the game. This defense scored nine total fantasy points through the first three weeks of the season. They doubled that mark in one game and are now technically a top-10 fantasy defense. They face Washington at home next week, so it might not be a bad idea to play them this week, especially with the Vikings, Jets and Panthers all on bye weeks (All are top-8 defenses).
K Cairo Santos: Kansas City Chiefs: 27 points. Owned in 3.0% of leagues, started in 2.2% of leagues
The fact that the Chiefs had to settle for seven field goals is a remarkable indictment on their offense. How does your quarterback throw for 386 yards and you don't score?! It is laughable. Seriously, they had 461 yards of total offense and 13 first downs on 73 plays! How in the hell do you take 73 offensive snaps and not score one touchdown?! LOL. Classic Chiefs.
Total points scored: 168 (Standard scoring)
In addition, here's The Really Good Fantasy Team That Let You Down in week four:
QB Peyton Manning-Denver Broncos: 8 points. Started in 86.1% of leagues (2nd highest)
RB Latavius Murray-Oakland Raiders: 3 points. Started in 94.2% of leagues (5th)
RB Eddie Lacy-Green Bay Packers: 9 points. Started in 96.2% of leagues (4th)
FLEX WR Odell Beckham Jr.-New York Giants: 3 points. Started in 99.1% of leagues (t-3rd)
WR Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons: 3 points. Started in 99.6% of leagues (1st)
WR Antonio Brown-Pittsburgh Steelers: 4 points. Started in 99.1% of leagues (t-3rd)
TE Jimmy Graham-Seattle Seahawks: 2 points. Started in 97.2% of leagues (1st)
D/ST Arizona Cardinals: 1 point. Started in 82.0% of leagues (3rd)
K Mason Crosby-Green Bay Packers: 4 points. Started in 84.8% of leagues (4th)
Total points scored: 37
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