Written by Zach Lyons, co-host of Football & Other F Words and The Flex, “The 4th Down Decision” will look at various fantasy topics from whether you should “Punt” or “Go For It”. When reading the advice please keep in mind: 12-team league, PPR, 6-pt passing TDs. All ADPs based on FantasyPros.com‘s website.
It was the Red Weddings of NFL Sundays. Injury after injury piled up all day long. As of this writing, your waiver process has likely passed and hopefully you’ve been able to recover.
I am also writing a weekly DFS column with some must-starts for the week. (check out last week’s plays here, pretty good right?), so let’s just jump right in with some fantasy football advice covering a different group of players in the Week 3 4th Down Decision.
Go For It: Devonta Freeman
This is really more of a future “Go For It” (hopefully you were able to get Devonta Freeman off waivers) because while I am bullish on Freeman’s long term prospects, this week may not be the time to rush him into your lineup.
I am one of those people who laughed at Freeman for holding out. I was proven right in the end, as he did not get nearly as much money as he wanted, but he ended up in a decent situation to try and finagle a big payday next year.
Yes, the Giants’ offensive line is a mess. Overall, this is not a good landing spot for any running back based on that. However, we often preach the value of opportunity, and in New York, Freeman will get plenty of volume.
Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman are essentially just random dudes off the street at this point in their careers. Freeman is a legit running back who does not have to come off the field on passing downs, and with the touches he should see in New York, he has legit RB2 upside right now for the rest of the season.
Now, I am not saying Freeman is Saquon Barkley, but this is a smart long-term play. He has fresh legs, a system dedicated to running the ball (albeit predictably), and no competition for workload.
Freeman is a receiving threat, in fact he scored 4 touchdowns last year through the air, and I think the Giants made the smart move in signing him as a Barkley fill-in.
The most telling thing is the reason behind Freeman choosing the Giants. He took less money because he said he’d have more opportunity with this team. This alone suggests he should be a safe start going forward — just wait until after this week.
Punt: Mike Davis.
I get it, pickings are slim on the waiver wire, and if you’re a Christian McCaffrey-based team, you probably need a fill in. However, I am here to tell you Mike Davis ain’t it. If you already picked him up, well, that’s too bad.
Davis is a 27-year-old J.A.G, and I think you should definitely worry about a timeshare in Carolina’s backfield. Reggie Bonnafon could be the guy to roster after this week, and if you’re dedicated to Mike Davis as the guy there, it may come back to get ya.
I get that Davis caught eight passes last week, but this was also a mid-game adjustment after CMC went down. Typically, a week later — after a team creates a new gameplan with their available personnel — those targets are redistributed. For the Panthers, the passes Davis caught last week are probably going to other guys like D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel going forward.
Speaking of Curtis Samuel, back in July, head coach Matt Rhule specifically talked about putting Samuel in the backfield more. It hasn’t happened much through two weeks, but this is a prime opportunity for that usage. I think you could see a lot of Samuel this week, thus driving Mike Davis’s value down further.
They play a Chargers defense that only has allowed one rushing touchdown in two weeks, and they’ve played Joe Mixon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who are both far superior talents to Mike Davis.
As Denny Crane would say, “Hope springs a kernel”, but this kernel ain’t popping off this week.
Go For It: Fire up all your Titans
All of them: Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown (if he plays), Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Derrick Henry. Hell, Anthony Firkser could be a deep sleeper in some formats.
The Vikings defense is one of the worst pass defenses in the league so far this year, and the Titans passing offense is firing on all cylinders. It’s really a no-brainer match up.
I’m not ready to call it quits on King Henry. Opportunity is also king, and until his carries go somewhere else, he still has value. This offensive line eventually will click. So play him, don’t bench him. He’s overdue for a touchdown.
Tannehill has elevated his game to another level, and his connection with both Smith and Davis should continue to thrive.
One name I haven’t mentioned yet is Adam Humphries. Hump is looking like he’s back to his Tampa Bay self and is creating separation with some pristine route running. He’s still the guy getting those crucial 3rd down catches and red zone targets.
This is such a stark contrast to the old Titans offenses when you’d have to be desperate to start anyone outside of the running back (and Delanie Walker). However, this offense is legit. Fire them up.
Punt: Braxton Berrios
We love to trash the Jets on this site. Braxton Berrios is not safe. People are going to go crazy trying to get him in their lineups, and ultimately, they will fail with that approach.
I’m sure Berrios is a nice guy, but if you’re putting him in your lineup after one good week, you may need to get your head examined. How bad is your team that you’re going to rely on a one-hit-wonder with the Jets of all teams?
Here is my excerpt from last week’s article:
This team stinks. The Jets gave us one of the worst offensive performances outside of Cleveland in Week 1, and I have no faith in Adam Gase to right the ship. We’ve seen it time and again; players with talent just disappear under Gase’s “leadership” (if you can call it that).
It’s still the worst offense in football, and the worst team as a whole. Just try to trade him at this point before he goes from Cinderella to a pumpkin this week.
Go For It: Starting Joshua and James
Give it up for the running backs who come out of no where: Joshua Kelley and James Robinson.
These guys had opposite camps. Kelley never really shined, but Robinson did. Then things fell in Robinson’s — and ultimately the Jaguars’ — favor when Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo both went down, and Leonard Fournette was booted.
Though the first two weeks, Robinson is RB14 in PPR formats. He’s a rare workhorse in the NFL right now, and I believe he is here to stay. Just watch the tape; dude is legit good and is going to be a future star. If you’re one of those who was able to snatch him up, you need to be popping yourself a bottle of champagne.
In a not-so-stunning development, you overdrafted Austin Ekeler. In a very stunning development, Joshua Kelley can now start for you every week.
Sure, Ekeler is RB19, but you didn’t draft him to be that, and what’s even worse is that Joshua Kelley is RB23 with only 3.2 total points separating them. Ekeler was a consensus top-15 pick overall. Kelly wasn’t drafted in most leagues.
That’s got to be a kick to the face of epic proportions if you’re an Ekeler owner and didn’t get his handcuff. On top of that, the Chargers face one of the worst run defenses in the league in Carolina this week.
Kelley is gonna eat.
Great Advice Couch: Trading for guys with a great backend schedule
Time for us all to take a seat on the “Great Advice Couch.” (Want to sponsor? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here is my good advice for the week: start eyeing end of the year fantasy schedules, and trade for the players who have a hard schedule at first but easy schedule in the end.
You’re probably thinking, “But Zach, it’s way too early to be thinking playoff push.” Well let me remind you that the trade deadline always sneaks up on you. So over the next two weeks, figure out which defensive trends are real and which are not.
Do the Vikings and Seahawks continue to give up yards through the air? Do the Panthers keep being losers against the run? Are the Chargers going to continue allowing the 2nd least points in the NFL? Is the Eagles defense complete trash or will they correct their horrid tackling as they get back into the groove of a season?
These are all questions that need to be answered over the next few weeks. Once you figure out who is legit and who isn’t on defense, plan accordingly before your trade deadline. And be aggressive, because hitting the wall around Week 10 is gonna hurt.
Thanks for sitting on the “Good Advice Couch.”
Love my opinions? Hate my opinions? Leave comments below, and let’s discuss!