We can't go a single week in the NFL this season without a roster-changing, season-ending injury! This week it was RBs Dalvin Cook (torn ACL) and Chris Carson (broken ankle), both of whom need to be cut in all formats (outside of dynasty formats, obviously). Latavius Murray is likely to take over the feature role in Minnesota, while Seattle will likely use a committee of Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls.
Ty Montgomery suffered some sort of rib injury that knocked him out of the game in the first series. Reports are conflicting so far, ranging from broken ribs to bruised ribs. As if that wasn't enough, Davante Adams was carted off the field after an illegal hit from Bears ILB Danny Trevathan. Trevathan has been suspended two games, but Adams' return timetable from a concussion is unknown.
Raiders QB Derek Carr is going to miss 2-6 weeks with a transverse process fracture in his back. While he is out the Raiders will start E.J. Manuel, which is a clear downgrade to all of the skill players on the team.
Staying with quarterbacks, the Bears are finally benching QB Mike Glennon in favor of rookie Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky is a bump for the Bears skill players, but he is going to be overvalued on the waiver wire considering he will be throwing to Kendall Wright, Deonte Thompson, and Markus Wheaton at WR. If you are in a 2-QB league, he is worth grabbing, but I wouldn't play him until he shows signs of being able to overcome his offensive shortcomings.
Deshaun Watson – Texans: Watson has improved each week of his short NFL career, this week accounting for 283 passing yards, 24 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception. If you watched the game, you know that Watson could have doubled his yardage total had the Texans not blown out the Titans 57-14.
Watson and Kareem Hunt are in the lead for Offensive Rookie of the Year as of right now, but Leonard Fournette is close behind them. Watson needs to be owned in all formats now that speedster Will Fuller is back. Rookies are still prone to ups and down, so don't blindly play him.
Andy Dalton – Bengals: Dalton looked sharp against their intrastate rivals on Sunday as he completed 25 of 30 passes for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns, and added 29 yards rushing. He did lose a fumble, but hasn't thrown an interception since Week 1.
Next week the Bengals take on a Bills defense that has allowed the fewest points in the NFL at 54 this season. Dalton and Co. will be a tough start in Week 5 given the Bills defense, so make sure you have options.
Bilal Powell – Jets: This game was a weird one when you consider that Powell racked up 190 total yards and a touchdown, yet the Jaguars defense still ended up ranked as a top-5 fantasy defense. Powell broke off a 75-yard run that resulted in his touchdown, but it was a fluke play on which the Jaguars defenders thought he was down by contact.
Powell had a great game, but this was an aberration, not the norm. With Forte week-to-week battling turf toe, Powell will be worth using in the flex spot until we have a reason to think otherwise. However, don't expect any more games like this one from him this season.
Leonard Fournette– Jaguars: Fournette showed his dual-threat abilities against the Jets on Sunday, running the ball 24 times for 86 yards, and hauling in 4 of 5 targets for 59 yards and a touchdown. Fournette has now scored in each of his first four games, and is ranked 7th in the NFL with 285 rushing yards.
The Jaguars are featuring Fournette, and his owners couldn't be any happier with his production thus far. He has a tougher matchup in Week 5 against the Steelers, but he did well against the Texans and Ravens already this season. I'd keep him locked and loaded in the starting lineup.
Devin Funchess – Panthers: Funchess is owned in around 20 percent of fantasy leagues, with those leagues likely being the deeper formats. The Panthers' 3rd-year WR reeled in 7 of 9 targets for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Patriots' Swiss cheese defense.
Funchess has been ok this season with 10 catches for 146 yards coming into Week 4. But his numbers this week speak more about the Patriots defense than they do Funchess' ability. With the bye weeks starting in Week 5, Funchess can certainly fill in as someone's WR3 or flex play, I'm sure. Just don't expect multi-TD games from him.
Will Fuller – Texans: Fuller returned to action this week after suffering a broken collarbone in the preseason, and he did it at the right time with the Titans defense in town. Fuller was targeted 6 times, 2nd-most behind DeAndre Hopkins (12), and hauled in 4 of them for 35 yards and 2 touchdowns. The yards are lackluster, but the touchdowns make him one of the top WRs for Week 4.
I'd honestly say the receptions and yards are going to be his norm most weeks, but not the touchdowns. Fuller has been plagued by bad hands in his short NFL career. And even if he is past that bump in the road, Hopkins is the big dog in the passing game. Fuller should be owned in most formats as a bye-week filler, but don't expect to find gold on the waiver wire with him.
Tyler Kroft – Bengals: Tyler Kroft went from being virtually unknown by fantasy football owners before this week, to being heavily searched following his 6/68/2 line against the Browns on Sunday. Tight end is always a boom-or-bust position for fantasy owners, so when a guy on the waiver wire gets 22 fantasy points at the TE position, it gets people's attention.
Kroft is playing due to the injury to Tyler Eifert, and will continue to do so until Eifert is back. However, Kroft is much more of a 3/30/0 line guy than he is the 6/68/2 line we saw this week. If you really need a TE badly, I'd give Evan Engram from the Giants a look.
New Orleans Saints defense: The Saints are one of the few fantasy defenses that are virtually unowned in any format, largely due to the fact that New Orleans is an offensive minded team, with defense always suffering. However, playing the Dolphins seems to be the cure for whatever ails you as the Saints went on the road and shut them out this week.
Not only did the Saints not allow a single point, but they managed to get fantasy owners 4 sacks and 1 INT while they were at it. The Saints aren't worth owning, even after this performance.
Matthew Stafford – Lions: Stafford and the Lions offense struggled on Sunday, but it wasn't exactly unexpected against a tough Vikings defense. In the end, Stafford completed just 19 of 31 passes for 209 empty yards. While he didn't throw any touchdowns, he also didn't commit any turnovers. So there is that for owners to cling to.
The matchup gets slightly easier in Week 5 for Stafford as he takes on the Panthers at home. But this matchup is only slightly easier; he'll be a borderline bottom-end QB1 next week.
Matt Ryan – Falcons: Ryan has established himself as one of the more consistent fantasy QBs out there. But fantasy football is beast that can come up and bite you at any time, even with a history of producing. Ryan threw the ball 42 times in Week 4, but completed just 24 of them for 242 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and also lost a fumble.
The Bills defense is no joke this season, as Ryan and the Falcons found out this week. He gets a much easier matchup this coming week as he takes on the Dolphins.
Marshawn Lynch – Raiders: Marshawn Lynch owners can drown their tears with Adrian Peterson owners since neither player is worth using given their current roles in their respective offenses. Peterson was never going to work in New Orleans since they are a passing team; Lynch has a chance to have value, but that chance is getting slimmer now that Carr is out for a month and a half.
Lynch logged just 9 carries for 12 yards this week with the Raiders throwing from behind. With Manuel under center, my guess is defenses will continue to stop Lynch with an extra defender near the line of scrimmage. If there was realistically a better option on the waiver wire, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to cut bait with Lynch.
Isaiah Crowell – Browns: I had some high hopes for Crowell in the preseason given the Browns' limitations on offense. However, through 46 carries this season he has managed just 134 yards. As we all know, 2.9 YPC won't get it done in the NFL, or fantasy football!
This week Crowell accounted for 20 of those 134 yards, which is actually just slightly behind his season average of 38 YPG through Weeks 1-3. The reality is Crowell is a bust in a season in which it seems like running backs are getting hurt every third play. He's not worth playing until he shows he can move the ball at a reasonable rate.
Demaryius Thomas – Broncos: There won't be a better home matchup this season for Thomas than the Raiders this weekend, but Thomas couldn't capitalize on it. Thomas saw just 5 targets all game, catching just one of them for 11 empty yards.
If you watch the Broncos games you will see a QB that doesn't even look in Thomas' direction most plays. Trevor Siemian and Emmanuel Sanders have chemistry in Denver, but Thomas and his big-play game don't transfer well in the Broncos' new passing scheme. You can't cut him because of his immense ability, but you can't play him as long as he is an afterthought in the passing game.
Amari Cooper – Raiders: Cooper was able to draw 8 targets on Sunday, but he only managed to haul in 2 of them for 9 yards. With Michael Crabtree out, it wasn't hard for the Broncos to figure out who to cover between Cooper, Seth Roberts, and Cordarrelle Patterson.
The Raiders take on the Ravens at home in Week 5. Carr is out; Manuel is in. Cooper owners have to hope the offensive gameplan is built around short catches to move the chains. If he can rack up enough catches, he has a chance to have solid value in PPR formats.
Jason Witten – Cowboys: Witten started off the season hot for a TE, amassing 17 receptions for 156 yards and 2 TDs in the first two games. In Week 3 he managed just 1 catch for 3 yards, and followed that up with 1 catch this week for 9 yards.
This is what you get with the TE position in fantasy football unless you own Rob Gronkowski. I did expect a bounce-back game from Witten this week against the Rams at home. He did have a chance for a touchdown, but was overthrown by Dak Prescott.
New England Patriots defense: The Patriots defense has given up the most total yards per game this season at 423.8, and have allowed the 2nd-most points per game in the league at 32.2. This week they gave up 33 points to the Panthers, although they did manage to get fantasy owners 2 sacks, 1 INT, and a recovered fumble.
Even with the INT and fumble recovery, the points the Patriots are giving up each week are hurting fantasy owners more than the stats can make up for. If you're hanging on to the Patriots defense, it is time to cut them loose and just stream defenses like most everyone else.