News & Analysis

Jahnke: Fantasy football reactions from the Week 4 Monday Night Football doubleheader

After an eventful Sunday of NFL action, we were treated to a Monday Night Football doubleheader that started with the New England Patriots traveling to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs before moving on to the matchup between the 0-3  Atlanta Falcons and an undefeated Green Bay Packers team that was without its top two wide receivers.

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As always, this collection of fantasy reactions will include snap counts for skill players on each team along with notes on players who saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall during the action.

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots Kansas City Chiefs
WR WR
Damiere Byrd – 64 snaps Tyreek Hill – 52 snaps
N'Keal Harry – 57 snaps Sammy Watkins – 46 snaps
Julian Edelman – 46 snaps Mecole Hardman – 26 snaps
Isaiah Zuber – 9 snaps Demarcus Robinson – 24 snaps
Gunner Olszewski – 6 snaps
TE TE
Ryan Izzo – 64 snaps Travis Kelce – 43 snaps
Devin Asiasi – 8 snaps Nick Keizer – 19 snaps
Deon Yelder – 12 snaps
HB HB
James White – 40 snaps Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 41 snaps
Rex Burkhead – 26 snaps Darrel Williams – 15 snaps
Damien Harris – 23 snaps
Total – 75 snaps Total – 56 snaps

Winner: WR Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

This game didn't feature much in the way of offense. Hill and Travis Kelce were the only Chiefs receivers who topped 45 receiving yards, while Damiere Byrd was the only Patriot to reach that mark. Hill takes home the prize here thanks to his touchdown that extended his team's lead and helped put the game away for good. Every matchup the rest of the season should be more favorable for Hill going forward, so more big games are ahead.

Loser: WR Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Edelman was once again limited to only playing in three-receiver sets, further decreasing his playing time compared to past seasons. The veteran wide receiver was held to three targets for 35 yards, and while it doesn’t hurt his fantasy value, it was his drop that led to a game-clinching pick-six.

This was the kind of game where his usage hurt his fantasy value, as the Patriots used plenty of two-back sets with Damien Harris and fullback Jakob Johnson, as well as plenty of two-back sets with James White and Rex Burkhead. It was concerning to see this trend in a game the Patriots spent trailing, but it will be even more concerning if it continues in more competitive contests.

Waiver Wire Target: RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots

Harris came off injured reserve today while Sony Michel was put on it, opening the door for Harris to take the role Michel had been playing. The Patriots trusted Harris with 17 carries, and he repaid his team with 100 yards on the ground.

Harris will probably be a popular waiver wire addition in the leagues he is currently available in, though the committee approach in New England will almost certainly limit his upside. With the sheer number of injuries at the running back position this year, it can’t hurt to have Harris on the bottom of the bench for when he has a good matchup.

Buy Low: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

Edwards-Helaire burst out of the gate in Week 1 but has yet to put up similar numbers. This was his third straight game with less than 70 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns, and he also only had 27 receiving yards on three catches. The rookie running back remains one of the few workhorse backs in the NFL, and he has a decent schedule for the rest of the season, so there’s a chance he can be acquired via trade at good value.

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers

Atlanta Falcons Green Bay Packers
WR WR
Olamide Zaccheaus – 53 snaps Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 61 snaps
Russell Gage – 47 snaps Malik Taylor – 45 snaps
Calvin Ridley – 46 snaps Darrius Shepherd – 36 snaps
Christian Blake – 18 snaps Tyler Ervin – 23 snaps
Julio Jones – 15 snaps Reggie Begelton – 2 snaps
TE TE
Hayden Hurst – 46 snaps Robert Tonyan – 42 snaps
Luke Stocker – 33 snaps Jace Sternberger – 14 snaps
Jaeden Graham – 5 snaps Josiah Deguara – 6 snaps
John Lovett – 2 snaps
HB HB
Todd Gurley II – 38 snaps Jamaal Williams – 36 snaps
Brian Hill – 16 snaps Aaron Jones – 33 snaps
Ito Smith – 16 snaps A.J. Dillon – 3 snaps
Total – 70 snaps Total – 63 snaps

Winner: TE Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

Tonyan had a pretty good touchdown-to-catch ratio heading into the contest (four TDs on 21 career catches), but it got even better tonight after the fourth-year tight end hauled in all six of his targets for 98 yards and three scores.

Part of his production stemmed from Green Bay missing its top two wide receivers, but Tonyan should remain one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets even when they are back. He might be the biggest waiver wire target at tight end this season.

Loser: WR Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

Ridley was questionable coming into the game, so starting him was always going to be a little risky. He ended up playing a little less than usual, but his stat line was definitely one to forget, as he failed to come down with any of his four targets. The best-case scenario is that this particular performance was down to his injury and that he will be back to his usual self next week.

Waiver Wire Target: RB Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers

Concern about Aaron Jones‘ playing time hit an all-time high back in April when the Packers drafted A.J. Dillon, and most fantasy players forgot about Williams altogether. As things have turned out, Dillon has barely played this season, while Williams has maintained the role he had last season when healthy. This week it didn’t lead to much success on the ground, but he led the Packers in targets (8), catches (8) and yards (95).

He played 38% of offensive snaps over the first three weeks, and it was roughly 50% this week. It might be hard to ever start him given that he splits time with Jones, but Williams would have RB1 potential if Jones were to miss time.

Injury: WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Jones had been dealing with a hamstring injury coming into the game. It limited him to 15 of the first 27 offensive snaps before leaving the game before halftime and not returning.

He led the Falcons in targets (4) up until his departure, despite the reduced playing time. He caught all four passes thrown his way for 32 yards. His absence thrust Russell Gage into an every-done role and Olamide Zaccheaus into three-receiver sets. It wouldn't be surprising to see Jones back next week, although it could be in a limited role.

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