Fantasy Football- Week Four’s Winners and Losers
by Nick Grott
Now that the 2017 NFL regular season is about a quarter of the way through, it is time to take a look back at the exciting, high scoring week four, where unexpected players made a massive impact.
Two unexpected names came up with majors points and performances that led their team to a win. The first was rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans. So far, so good for the 22-year-old, as, through three NFL starts, Watson has two wins and one of the best single-game fantasy point totals by a rookie quarterback in history. Watson's 33.72 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues was the seventh-best single-game effort by a rookie quarterback since 1950. Watson will most likely be the highest targeted QB on the waiver wire this week, as he was started in only 11.6 percent of ESPN leagues.
The other big, unexpected winner was the New York Jets running back, Bilal Powell. Powell scored 25.0 non-PPR and 29 PPR fantasy points on Sunday, in a game in which Matt Forte (toe) was sidelined. This was Powell's second-best single-game effort, behind only his Week 14 in 2016. In games where Forte has been injured, Powell has had control of the running game, averaging 12 points in non-PPR leagues. This performance should earn Powell the number one spot in the depth chart above Forte. He looks to continue his success in week 5, where the Jets will take on the defensively weak Cleveland Browns.
Other big winners include two of the best running backs in the game today: Le’veon Bell of the Steelers and Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams. The two powerhouses continue to barrel their way through defenses, putting up insane numbers week in and week out. Gurley has put up four consecutive games of more than 20 PPR points. However, that streak is at risk due to the Rams’s upcoming matchup against the strong Seattle defense. Le’veon Bell, who had a slow start, is now putting up his expected numbers, as he is one of the best running backs in the league.
There were many high-profile losers in week 4. The stars on the Oakland Raiders were limited, due to the Denver Broncos defense. Running back Marshawn Lynch is off to a terrible start this season, averaging 3.4 yards per carry and contributing just three catches through four games. Also, because the Raiders trailed through weeks 3 and 4, he became a non-factor. His 64.1 start percentage in ESPN leagues is sure to decline in week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens. If Lynch does not start to pick up the pace soon, he might soon face greater competition for carries from backup running backs. The other Raider who underperformed in week 4 was wideout Amari Cooper, who, despite having Michael Crabtree, sidelined with a chest injury, as his only competition for passes, was only able to muster 0.9 non-PPR and 2.9 PPR fantasy points. To make matters worse, Cooper's quarterback, Derek Carr, left with a back injury in the third quarter, which will have impact on receivers for weeks to come.
Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins is in the running for the biggest bust of 2017. An incredible 92% of leagues had the star running back starting. However, for the second week in a row, he has scored under 5.5 non-PPR points. Owners of Ajayi drafted him with high expectations, but he has yet to produce anywhere near his projections.