NFL Fantasy: Week 4 key performances

It was a mix of familiar faces, new faces, and some blasts from the past among this week’s NFL fantasy leaderboards.​

There was a serious amount of points put on a few scoreboards this week and that means there were plenty of great NFL fantasy stat lines. Here is the best of the bunch.

Quarterbacks lead the way

Six quarterbacks wound up with over 25 NFL fantasy points in Week 5. Jameis Winston threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns on the way to 26.48 points. That was enough to lead the Buccaneers to victory despite Giants quarterback Eli Manning using a rare rushing touchdown to tally 27.72 points. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson was the only passer to finish in the top five two weeks in a row. His 27.60 points helped Seattle put away the Colts – but none of these quarterbacks were the best.

QB #1: Deshaun Watson, Houston

Where does he go from here? Since taking over as the Texans’ starter, rookie Deshaun Watson has registered NFL fantasy point totals of 17.7, 20.14, and Week 4’s league-best 33.72 points. That is the seventh-best all-time rookie quarterback NFL fantasy score. He also tied a rookie NFL record with five touchdowns and did it all without reaching 300 yards. It looks like a good time to reevaluate the fantasy significance of some wide receivers in Houston.

QB #2: Cam Newton, Carolina

NFL fantasy owners were getting impatient with Cam Newton after the first three weeks’ lackluster point totals. He was on the bench in almost 80% of NFL fantasy leagues, largely wasting his 350 total yards and four touchdowns. The 33.04 points made him one of a trio of players to top 30 points this week. He’ll try to keep it going against the tougher Lions in Detroit next week.

QB #3: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati

Andy Dalton had many people calling him the sleeper of the week and a must-start against Cleveland. He proved them right and proved the 89% of leagues that didn’t start him wrong by throwing four touchdown passes for the first time since 2013. Only a lost fumble early on prevented him from topping 30 points. The Bengals host the surprising Bills next week.

Ground game grinders

There was a whole lot of running going on in New York this week as the fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-best NFL fantasy running back scores came from the Jaguars/Jets game. Bilal Powell was another sleeper who took his first handoff 75 yards for a touchdown, going on to have a 190-yard day and 25 fantasy points. Rookie Elijah McGuire liked the way Powell’s long touchdown looked, so he came up with a 69-yarder of his own and 19.9 fantasy point total. Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette was his usual workhorse self, accumulating 20.5 fantasy points on 145 total yards and a score. Houston’s Lamar Miller was better than them with two touchdowns and 25.1 points, but he wasn’t as good as these runners:

RB #1: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh

Le’Veon Bell announced that his preseason has finally ended. He handled 35 carries for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Pittsburgh in Week 4. He tallied the third-best score in the league (30.6) by adding 42 yards receiving. Pittsburgh is 3-1, and it looks like they just got their biggest star on track this week.

RB #2: Todd Gurley, LA Rams

Todd Gurley was crushed to find out after the Dallas game that he came up six yards shy of 100 yards receiving. Adding in his 121 yards rushing, Gurley only needed one touchdown to take the second-highest running back spot with 27.50 NFL fantasy points. This is the third week in a row that Gurley finished as the best or second-best fantasy rusher. In Week 1, he finished sixth. He will face a bigger challenge next week when the Rams host Seattle.

RB #3: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas

Ezekiel Elliott could not keep up with Todd Gurley, but his two touchdowns and 139 total yards were good enough for 25.9 points. This was the first time in three weeks that Elliott finished with a top ten RB point total.

Receivers off the hook

Not a single wide receiver topped 20 points and only five scored 15 or more points this week. Two of them came from the Houston Texans. DeAndre Hopkins tacked a touchdown onto his 107 receiving yards to score 16.7 NFL fantasy points, while teammate Will Fuller tacked 35 yards onto his two touchdowns to garner 15.9 – but three other receivers did better.

WR #1: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay

Thursday’s top wide receiver held off all challengers Sunday to maintain the best WR point total of Week 4. Jordy Nelson’s 19.5 points came via 75 yards and 2 touchdowns.

WR #2: Devin Funchess, Carolina

Devin Funchess was a widely touted sleeper candidate based largely on the notion that Kelvin Benjamin would not play in Week 4. Benjamin played and had 104 receiving yards, but Funchess gathered in two touchdowns among his seven catches and 75 yards in Carolina’s upset of the Patriots. In the two games since tight end Greg Olsen was lost for the season, Funchess has a team-leading 19 targets. He should graduate from sleeper conversations to must-start conversations this week.

WR #3: Tyrell Williams, LA Chargers

If you were one of the many who benched or waived Tyrell Williams this week… whoops! He’s back. Williams went over 100 yards (115) and had a touchdown against Philadelphia to give him a total of 17.5 fantasy points.

In a tight (end) spot

Buffalo’s Charles Clay caught five passes for 112 yards Sunday. He led all Buffalo receivers in targets again. Denver’s AJ Derby made a stellar one-handed grab of a sideline pass for a touchdown on the way to a third-best point total of 13.5. In Tampa Bay, the New York Giants ended their streak of not allowing a tight end to score a touchdown by allowing two TEs to find the endzone. OJ Howard scored on a busted coverage that went for a 70-yard TD. Cameron Brate finished second-best among tight ends with 14.4 total points on four catches and 80 yards, but he wasn’t as good as Cincinnati’s tight end.

TE: Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati

Tyler Kroft did his best Tyler Eifert imitation for Andy Dalton and the Bengals this week. The third-year backup snagged six of his seven targets for 68 yards and two touchdowns on his way to 18.8 fantasy points.

K: Greg Zuerlein, LA Rams

Kicker Greg Zuerlein outscored every wide receiver and tight end with a perfect day in Dallas. His seven field goals are a personal best. Along with two extra points, he accounted for 23 of the Rams’ 35 points and scored 23 fantasy points, too.

Getting defensive

Seattle (20 points) and Houston (19) points finished Week 4 as the top two defenses. Neither of those names will surprise many folks – but what is New Orleans doing as a top three D/ST again? One week after tying three other teams at the top with 14 D/ST points, they came up with 16 to take the third position. Whereas Seattle and Houston gained the top spots with defensive touchdowns, New Orleans shut out the Miami Dolphins to maintain their status.

And then there is…

There were too many top-rated wide receivers who failed to score over three points to name, but I mention it as a reminder that with so many three- or four-wide sets and receiving tight ends and running backs, you should think carefully of any wide receiver trades, especially trading a receiver for any other position. The WR talent pool is huge. It is so watered down that only a handful can be counted on for top weekly point totals.

The year of the rookie running back continues. While some highly discussed names like Christian McCaffrey, Tarik Cohen, and Joe Mixon fizzled in Week 4, there were seven rookie running backs who scored at least 11 NFL fantasy points, including newcomers Wayne Gallman (11), Austin Ekeler (11.8), and JD McKissic (18.5).

Keep up with all the latest news and updates here on RealSport. If you have an NFL fantasy football question why don’t you send it to us at [email protected] so we can answer it in our Wednesday Mailbag post?

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Pat Opperman


Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.