Rich Hribar

The Worksheet

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The NFL Week 4 Worksheet

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Week 3 finally got our fantasy engines going. After we highlighted how slow of a start offenses had gotten off to the opening two weeks, 18 teams scored 26 or more points last week with 10 teams posting 30 or more points. After having 78 passing touchdowns total through two weeks, we had 62 passing scores this past week. Hopefully we continue to get more weeks like this going forward as teams find their stride.


As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.


Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. Remember, you control your own team. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 4 games with a PPR light…


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Bears @ Packers


ChicagoRank@Green BayRank
7   Spread -7  
19.3   Implied Total 26.3  
62.3 16 Plays/Gm 69.0 3
60.3 7 Opp. Plays/Gm 55.3 3
39.0% 19 Rush% 29.0% 31
61.0% 14 Pass% 71.0% 2
40.9% 16 Opp. Rush % 45.2% 25
59.1% 17 Opp. Pass % 54.8% 8


  • Aaron Rodgers is the only quarterback to throw for 300-passing yards in every game this season.
  • Rodgers has at least 40 pass attempts in three consecutive games for the third time in his career. All three times have come since the start of last season.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Ty Montgomery has run 110 pass routes on the season. The next closest running back is Le'Veon Bell with 88.
  • Montgomery has the most carries in the league (41) without a carry of 10 or more yards on the season. 15.6 percent of his carries in 2016 went for 10 or more yards, fifth in the league.
  • Martellus Bennett has the most targets in the league (21) without a single red zone target on the season.
  • Jordan Howard had a touch on 68 percent of his snaps in Week 3 after receiving a touch on 42 percent of his snaps in Week 1 and 29 percent in Week 2. His season-high rate in 2016 was 61 percent.


Trust: Aaron Rodgers (the Bears have been a solid run defense now dating back to last season and the Packers have not run it well with all their injuries, forcing them to continue to open things up and rely on the arm of Rodgers to build a lead), Jordy Nelson (he’s now scored at least one touchdown in 13 of 19 games since the start of last year, the most in the league), Ty Montgomery (he’s playing a ton of snaps and receiving too much passing opportunity as a big home favorite to have major concern with his pedestrian output on the ground paired with the Bears being stout versus the run and he lit the Bears up with two top-10 scoring weeks a year ago with 126 and 163 yards from scrimmage)


Bust: Zach Miller (Packers have allowed tight ends to total just 9-53-0 and are allowing the fewest points per target to opposing tight ends), Mike Glennon (he’s yet to finish in the front half of quarterback scoring and the Packers have yet to allow a passer to finish higher than QB15), Bears WRs (the Packers are a secondary to target for wideouts, but Chicago has no individual piece for you to plug into lineups with any level of confidence), Martellus Bennett (has gotten off to a slow start while the Bears have allowed just eight catches to tight ends through three games)


Reasonable Return: Jordan Howard (the Bears will give him a ton of touches while script allows against a Green Bay defense that is still nursing multiple injuries on a short week), Tarik Cohen (he’s one of just seven backs with at least 100-yards both rushing and receiving and a weekly RB2/flex), Davante Adams (he’s topped 60-yards receiving in just four of his past 12 games played, but remains on the weekly WR3 radar with his touchdown ability attached to Rodgers), Randall Cobb (he’s practicing in full, so all signs point to him being active Thursday after catching 15 passes over his first wo games)


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Saints @ Dolphins (in London)

New OrleansRank@MiamiRank
-2.5   Spread 2.5  
26.0   Implied Total 23.5  
59.7 23 Plays/Gm 65.5 9
64.7 23 Opp. Plays/Gm 56.5 4
36.3% 25 Rush% 35.9% 27
63.7% 8 Pass% 64.1% 6
42.8% 18 Opp. Rush % 42.5% 17
57.2% 15 Opp. Pass % 57.5% 16


  • New Orleans (9.39 yards) and Miami (9.35) both allow the two highest yards per attempt to opposing passers in the league.
  • The Saints have allowed 15 red zone possessions, the most in the league.
  • New Orleans is allowing 203.3 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backfields, the most in the league.
  • The Saints are one of just two teams (Seattle) to allow a top-12 scoring running back in each week of the season so far.
  • Coby Fleener's target per route rate over the first three weeks has gone from 27.3 percent to 14.3 percent to 11.1 percent.
  • Jarvis Landry has 38 percent of the Miami receptions, but just 28 percent of their receiving yards, the largest gap in team rates for all wide receivers.
  • Miami is allowing 10.8 yards per target to opposing wide receivers, the most in the league.


Trust: Drew Brees (it’s a road game overseas, but the Miami pass defense was one of the worst in 2016 and that has rolled right over into this season), Michael Thomas (he’s had 89 and 87 receiving yards the past two weeks while his target share has risen each week and he gets the best matchup he’s had to start the season), Jay Ajayi (his Week 2 was one to forget, and we wish he was involved in the passing game to take advantage of New Orleans’ weaknesses in that area to opposing backfields, but he leads all backs in share of team carries and the Saints are still allowing the ninth-most rushing yards  to opposing backfields), Jarvis Landry (the Saints have been beaten soundly out of the slot to start the season, whether it’s been P.J. Williams or Kenny Vaccaro)  


Bust: Adrian Peterson (he had the most desirable script you could hope for last week for his role in the offense and managed his best scoring week of the season at RB47), Alvin Kamara (even with the late touchdown last week, he’s still extremely hard to use in lineups as he’s had just four and five touches in each of the past two weeks), Julius Thomas (has started his Miami tenure as the TE27 and TE25), Willie Snead (Miami has been vulnerable in the slot, but given Snead’s preseason usage and Sean Payton’s ominous comments about Snead’s playing time, he’s going to need a prove it week before you can plug him in with high confidence) 


Reasonable Return: Jay Cutler (he was a massive disappointment last weekend, but there’s still reason to go back to him beating his seasonal output to date against a Saints defense that has allowed two top-3 scoring weeks out of the three weeks to start the season), Mark Ingram (it hasn’t been flashy caught in this timeshare, but Ingram has turned in three straight RB2/flex weeks inside of the top-30),  Coby Fleener (his usage has dropped each week and Snead is back to take away more opportunity, but Miami has allowed 15 receptions to opposing tight ends in two games if you’re still really thin at the position), DeVante Parker (he turned last week’s lemon into lemonade over the final two minutes of action while the passing game should rebound against a secondary that only slowed a depleted Carolina pass catching group), Ted Ginn (another #RevengeGame for those into narratives, but Miami is exploitable with speed receivers vertically as Robby Anderson showed a week ago), Kenny Stills (he’s not quite as touchdown or bust as Ginn as he’s had 15 targets through two games, but he’s had more than four catches in just three games since the start of last season)


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Panthers @ Patriots


CarolinaRank@New EnglandRank
10   Spread -10  
19.3   Implied Total 29.3  
62.7 15 Plays/Gm 68.7 5
54.0 2 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.0 24
46.8% 8 Rush% 41.8% 16
53.2% 25 Pass% 58.3% 17
40.1% 13 Opp. Rush % 39.0% 11
59.9% 20 Opp. Pass % 61.0% 22


  • 29.7 percent of Tom Brady's pass attempts have been 15 yards or further downfield, the highest of all quarterbacks in the league.
  • 17.4 percent of his passes in 2016 were that far downfield, which ranked 19th for all quarterbacks.
  • 87.5 percent of Brandin Cooks' receiving yardage has come on those throws downfield, the highest rate for all wide receivers in the league.
  • New England is the only team in the league to allow a 300-yard passer in all three weeks this season. It's the first they've allowed three consecutive 300-yard passers since Weeks 10-12, 2012.
  • Cam Newton has finished as a top-12 scoring quarterback in just two of his past 13 games played and the QB17 or lower in 10 of those games, including all three this season.
  • New England has allowed four touchdowns from outside of the red zone already in 2017 --tied with Seattle for the most in the league-- after allowing a league-low four all of 2016.
  • Christian McCaffrey has 29.7 percent of the Carolina receiving yardage, the highest rate for any running back.
  • 89.6 percent of the rushing attempts against the Patriots have gained positive yardage, the highest rate in the league.


Trust: Tom Brady (he’s come back from his Week 1 letdown to throw for 825 yards and eight touchdowns over the past two weeks and New England should struggle to run the ball again here), Rob Gronkowski (he leads the team in targets and has paced the position in yardage in each of the past two weeks), Christian McCaffrey (he’s just about all the Panthers have left on offense and the Patriots have had trouble covering backs out of the backfield, allowing the second-most receiving yards to backs to start the season)


Bust: Cam Newton (as poor as New England has been to start the year, Newton’s schedule to date has been just as favorable as you could wish and he’s steadily let down. Now with Greg Olsen out long-term and Kelvin Benjamin hobbled for the short term, the cupboard is getting scarce), Jonathan Stewart (the game script should force Stewart out of success in a similar fashion as it did last week), Danny Amendola (you can play him as a flex option, but he has run just 15 and 23 routes in his two games played, which makes his floor inherently the lowest of all the pass catchers here), Mike Gillislee (he’s always a threat to score a touchdown, but has yet to catch a pass and averaging 3.2 yards per carry while the Panthers have allowed the ninth-fewest rushing yards)


Reasonable Return: Devin Funchess (he’s received 17 targets over the past two weeks, but has just been flex worthy those weeks), Brandin Cooks/Chris Hogan (you just keep plugging each into lineups every week no matter the matchup, knowing there will be lows by default along the way, but the highs involve multiple scoring opportunities in a given week), James White (he should rebound in the flex against a Carolina team that has allowed 22 receptions to backs, the fourth most on the season), Kelvin Benjamin (keep an eye on his availability for practice this week as he should run into target volume by default if he’s active)


Jaguars @ Jets


JacksonvilleRank@NY JetsRank
-3   Spread 3  
21.3   Implied Total 18.3  
63.0 14 Plays/Gm 55.7 31
62.3 16 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.3 20
52.4% 3 Rush% 44.3% 12
47.6% 30 Pass% 55.7% 21
44.9% 23 Opp. Rush % 44.2% 21
55.1% 10 Opp. Pass % 55.8% 12


  • After allowing the third-lowest yards per attempt in 2016 (6.6 Y/A), Jacksonville is allowing a league-low 4.9 Y/A to start the season.
  • The Jets have reached the red zone just five times, the fewest in the league.
  • 42 percent of the Jaguars' offensive yardage has been gained through rushing, the third highest rate in the league.
  • Jacksonville has 99 rushing attempts on the season, tied for the league lead. It's the most rushing attempts they've had through three games since 2011.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins played 76 percent of the New York snaps Week 3, matching the team lead in targets with six (27 percent of the team total).
  • 40 percent of the receiving yardage against Jacksonville has been put up by tight ends, the highest rate in the league.
  • Jermaine Kearse's target per route rate has gone from 23.7 percent to 17.2 percent to 13 percent over the opening three weeks.


Trust: Leonard Fournette (he’s been the RB14 or better in all three games of the season against three top-10 run defenses as his volume and scoring potential are just as present here as they’ve been all season)


Bust: Josh McCown (he’s been the QB22 in two of his three games while Jacksonville hasn’t allowed a passer over QB19 so far on the season), Jermaine Kearse/Robby Anderson (we don’t force perimeter receivers against the Jaguars unless they’re elite talents, something neither of the Jets’ wideouts are)


Reasonable Return: Blake Bortles (we can’t count on another four touchdowns and he’s been under 250 passing yards in all three games this year, but the Jets are still a target, allowing 15 passing points per game to quarterbacks to start the year), Marqise Lee (he’s received 19 targets the past two weeks, but remains a low ceiling option as he’ll draw Morris Claiborne the most of the Jacksonville receivers), Allen Hurns (he’s the primary slot receiver, which means he’ll have the most favorable matchup and has scored in each of the past two games, but is still more of a flex play at best), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (his usage was high tied for the team lead a week ago the Jaguars funnel targets inwards since they are so good on the outside),  Bilal Powell (with Matt Forte now out, Powell gets a small runway, albeit in a tough matchup. Over the final four games in 2016 with Forte hurt, Powell was a top-10 scorer in three times, averaging 74 percent of the snaps and 51 percent of the team touches)



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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
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