Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Time to panic or Week 4 antic?

2KCPWE8 Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) is seen during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 17, 2021. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto)

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow isn’t healthy (and it shows): It might be time for fantasy managers to move on from Burrow, who is still seeking his first performance as a top-20 fantasy quarterback in a given week.

Detroit Lions rookie Jahmyr Gibbs once again takes a backseat to David Montgomery: If things continue in this pattern, Gibbs will be doomed as a boom/bust RB3 for fantasy football the rest of the season.

Dallas Goedert sits as the TE31 this season: The Philadelphia Eagles have once again been among the league’s most productive offenses, but that hasn’t translated to production for their star tight end.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

With another week of the NFL season in the books, fantasy football managers are once again tasked to digest the production (or lack of) for those on their rosters to inform their waiver wire and trade decisions moving forward. To help, we’re back to highlight five stats showcasing various fantasy disappointments from Week 4 and give a temperature check — is it time to panic, or just a Week 4 antic?

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Joe Burrow goes another week finishing outside of the top-20

Things are looking quite dire for the Cincinnati Bengals to start the season after getting off to a 1-3 start in a competitive division while managing an injury to their star quarterback. Burrow has struggled to get things going this season, completing passes at just a 57.5% clip. The office looks stale. Burrow looks out of sync 63.4 passing grade that ranks 23rd among quarterbacks so far this season —and he is still seeking his first finish inside of the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks for a given week.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Burrow’s health (or lack thereof) is affecting his play, and that has trickled down to limit the upside of the rest of the offense in turn. The schedule doesn't get much easier in the weeks to come, either with matchups against the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens – each ranks bottom 10 in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks – on the horizon over the next two months. This team could probably benefit from sitting Burrow until he shows he’s healthy, but even if they don’t, it will be difficult to expect a bounceback in efficiency with a tough upcoming schedule. It’s time to attempt to trade Burrow, and if there are no takers, it’s back to the waiver wire for this Bengal.

Temperature check: Time to panic

Rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs has had five more carries all season than David Montgomery had in Week 4 alone

Remember that time the Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson said they’d use Gibbs in ways “people don’t quite think we might?” It’s increasingly clear that the big surprise he was alluding to was that he’d be taking a complete backseat to David Montgomery, who the team signed in free agency prior to the 2023 NFL Draft. Gibbs got his first career start in Week 3 while Montgomery was out nursing a thigh injury, leading the team with 18 total touches. That usage had some hopeful he might retain the role of lead back even once Montgomery returned healthy, but Week 4 proved otherwise.

Montgomery returned on a short week and was greeted with 34 touches on Thursday Night Football, on which he totaled 141 scrimmage yards and three total touchdowns. Though he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry to Gibbs’ 5.0, Montgomery outpaced Gibbs in most other categories.

Metric David Montgomery Jahmyr Gibbs
PFF rushing grade 76.3 63.9
Yards after contact/attempt 2.9 2.6
Missed forced tackle rate 25% 0%
Stuff rate 9.4% 12.5%

Gibbs hasn’t exceeded eight rush attempts in any of the three games he’s played with Montgomery healthy, which is a huge problem in terms of both his upside and floor. He’s yet to play a single snap inside of the five through four games this season, with all of that work going to Montgomery. Barring a huge shift in his usage moving forward, Gibbs should be considered a boom/bust RB3 on a weekly basis.

Temperature check: Time to panic

Calvin Ridley sees target share decrease for the third consecutive week

To the dismay of fantasy football managers, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley caught just two receptions for 38 receiving yards in Week 4’s international showdown. Thankfully, one of those two happened to be a 30-yard receiving touchdown from QB Trevor Lawrence to save his fantasy day, but it’s still been discouraging to see Ridley take a backseat to teammates Christian Kirk and Evan Engram.

Despite a decreasing target share in each game since his Week 1 breakout, Ridley still remained on the field, and most importantly, running routes. This offense still seems to be in the process of finding its groove overall, but Ridley’s opportunity running routes, a 22.2% deep target rate and 12.7-yard aDOT are all signs that there’s some regression back to the mean on the horizon for Ridley. 

Temperature check: Week 4 antic

Tank Dell takes a backseat to Nico Collins after a Week 3 breakout

Houston Texans WR Tank Dell had a monster breakout in Week 3, posting a 5/145/1 stat line on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a surprise upset. He followed that outing up with a dud, however, with just a single catch for 16 yards in Week 4 despite a productive day for the Texans on offense. 

Though there may be some volatility in terms of who it is that is featured on this offense on a week-to-week basis, all signs point to this Texans pass attack (and by extension, the receiving game) being legitimate. Through four weeks, rookie C.J. Stroud has been tasked with executing a high-volume passing game, totaling 160 pass attempts – the third most among all quarterbacks – with an 8.0 yards per attempt average that ranks only behind MVP favorite Tua Tagovailoa and 49ers prodigy Brock Purdy. Don’t panic drop Dell after a disappointing week, as all other signs are indicating that this passing attack is for real, and he’s run just three fewer routes than Collins all season long. Opportunity shall soon return.

Temperature check: Week 4 antic

Dallas Goedert disappears (once again) in a game where the Philadelphia Eagles scored 34 points

There should be more than enough opportunity in Week 4 for Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert to get in on the action alongside WRs A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. It was a 34-point outing for Philadelphia, including an overtime period, but still, Goedert produced just two catches on four targets for 22 yards on the day. Through the first four weeks of the season, Goedert ranks as the overall TE31, outscored by the likes of Andrew Ogletree (Indianapolis Colts), Durham Smythe (Miami Dolphins) and Josh Oliver (Minnesota Vikings) for crying out loud. So, what in the world is going on in Philly?

Goedert has unsurprisingly ranked third on the team in target share behind Brown and Smith so far this season. What is surprising, however, is that Brown has seen a significant increase in target volume that seems to be coming at Goedert’s expense. Through Week 4, Goedert is being targeted on just 13.5% of routes run, a career-low, meanwhile Brown is averaging over two more targets per game than he was in the 2022 season. There’s not much room for big play potential, either, with an average depth of target at just 5.8 yards (25th among 34 tight ends with 10-plus targets). Don’t be surprised if Goedert has a few big games this season, but unless there’s a shift in his overall usage, it will be tough to rely on him week-to-week, even if the Eagles are among the NFL’s most productive offenses.

Temperature check: Time to panic


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