In this week’s preview of the NFL slate, I'm shifting gears again (crazy, I know). For the second straight week, I joined the great minds at PFF to put together the NFL Week 4 Preview, where I put my fantasy spin on half of the matchups coming this week.
So for this preview, I'll focus on all remaining teams playing in Week 4 with an eye out for sleepers, busts, waiver wire options and consideration for injuries and other fantasy-relevant news and notes. It’s the behind the scenes look into my weekly fantasy rankings.
I’ll also add some suggested replacements for the players from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans since owners will not have the luxury of using anybody from those games due to their Week 4 matchup being postponed past this week. (Remember, if you don't see the matchup you're looking for here, check out the Week 4 preview here.)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is a nice quarterback option off the waiver wire to fill in for Ben Roethlisberger this week. But if you weren’t fortunate enough to grab Fitzmagic off the wire, you could do far worse than adding Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The Dallas Cowboys have allowed the third-most fantasy points to the quarterback position this season due in part to their league-high passer rating allowed (126.6). The Browns’ offense ranks third-to-last in passing attempts this season (28 per game) — a potential cause for concern regarding Mayfield’s volume in this game — but teams have averaged 36 passing attempts versus Dallas this year.
The Browns also rank fourth in percentage of plays (38%) leveraging play-action over the past two weeks, and the Cowboys have been downright putrid versus play-action throws: 17.1% passing touchdown percentage (30th), 164 receiving yards after the catch (30th) and 150.5 passer rating (31st).
Running back Kareem Hunt popped up on the injury report this week; in a corresponding move, the Browns promoted running back Dontrelle Hilliard from the practice squad. So should he be limited or miss the game, the Browns might not have any choice but to rely more on Mayfield’s arm against a weak passing defense.
In Hunt’s absence, Nick Chubb would most likely take over as three-down workhorse. Last year when he played in that role, Chubb was the RB6 in fantasy football and averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game. He also averaged over three receptions per game, and he has already been running more routes than Hunt (40 vs. 32) — he would be a strong candidate as a running back in DFS cash lineups at just $7,000 with involvement as a rusher and receiver.
Hunt’s absence could also increase the workload for tight end Austin Hooper, who up to this point has been a non-factor in the Browns’ offense. We know that running back and tight end targets are negatively correlated with one another, so Hooper could have his best game of 2020 versus Dallas who has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to the tight end position over the past two weeks.
We'll surely have Odell Beckham Jr. in starting lineups because Dallas has allowed the second-most fantasy points to the wide receiver position. But I also think that Jarvis Landry could be in an interesting position as the Browns' No. 1 slot receiver.
The Cowboys have allowed an average of six receptions, eight targets and 81 receiving yards to opposing slot wide receivers this season.
We won’t be sitting any Cowboys wide receivers based on the upside they offer each week, but Amari Cooper is an important name to note because he is so due for positive touchdown regression. He is second in the NFL in targets (34) and receptions (25) and seventh in receiving yards (267) but has zero touchdowns to show for it.
Browns No. 1 cornerback Denzel Ward is on the injury report with a groin injury. If he's out, that would further cement Cooper as a great play at $6,700 on DraftKings. He is a top-five wide receiver in my Week 4 rankings.