With the track towards Week 4 halfway gone as we approach the one-quarter mark of the fantasy regular season, it’s time for fantasy owners to do some self-assessment. It’s hard to do, but learning from the first three weeks of the season is critical.
For season-long leagues, are you confident in your team’s standing or have you scratched out a few lucky wins? In DFS, are you making poor decisions or are you just having a run of poor luck? Self-assessment is an underrated tool in fantasy sports and it is certainly hard to master, but it can be a season-saver if you identify a flaw in your weekly process and decision-making.
Week 4 looks like another week filled with injury-based decisions.
Let’s hit them all in Thursday’s Dose.
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Let’s remove some big injury news for the Thursday night matchup between Green Bay and Chicago out of the way first. After missing Week 3 with the same shoulder injury that derailed his 2015 campaign, Randall Cobb is off the injury report and likely to play in Week 4 on Thursday Night Football versus the Bears. Cobb started hot with 9-85 and 6-60 lines to start the year and he has 70 yards and/or a touchdown in six of his past seven games against the Bears. There is no denying that Randall Cobb has obvious upside versus Chicago. Any receiver attached to Aaron Rodgers who is averaging 2.9 passing scores per game when the Packers are in Lambeau and favored by at least a touchdown since 2014 is in play in any form of fantasy football. Still, Cobb can only be trusted in deep leagues to insulate his injury downside in Week 4. Particularly on a short-week, Cobb is at risk of playing shorter snaps and taking precaution if his shoulder is sore.
Through three games, Chris Carson has been the Seahawks’ lead back in snap rate (58%), percentage of team running back carries (64%), and red-zone opportunities (4). In Week 1-3, both Thomas Rawls and CJ Prosise handled two red-zone opportunities. However, C.J. Prosise (ankle) is injured again and will miss Week 4, effectively opening up the entire Seattle backfield to Carson alone. In the ‘Hawks opening three games, Prosise mainly handled passing-down duties, which will likely now rest on Carson’s shoulders. Per PFF, Prosise ran a pass route on 76% of his snaps played this year. Indianapolis’ front-seven has been better than expected, though, and the Seahawks have substantial and well-documented offensive line problems across the board. The Colts have allowed the fifth-fewest yards per carry to enemy backs in 2017 to-date, and Chris Carson does not have a broad sample of success, but we can’t shy away from a potential workhorse back as a home-favorite. Carson is smack-dab on the high-end RB2 radar this week in both seasonal leagues and for DFS contests.
A massive failure at his average draft position to-date, Bilal Powell will once again have a chance to shine as the Jets’ lead back in Week 4. Veteran back Matt Forte (turf toe) did not practice on Wednesday and is not expected to play at home vs. Jacksonville. It is a pristine opportunity for Bilal Powell to finally take over the Jets’ lead role. In fact, when healthy, Matt Forte has out-snapped Bilal Powell in 11 of their last 14 games together. Still, Powell had monster success in the final month of the 2016 season when Forte missed time due to a knee injury. Matt Forte played less than 15% of snaps or missed the game in Weeks 14-17 last year. Bilal Powell finished as the PPR RB2, RB4 and RB35 in Weeks 14-16 and added another top-10 fantasy finish to his docket in Week 17.
It’s tough to stomach using a Jet in fantasy football at this point, but the Jags are allowing the ninth-most rushing fantasy points to opposing backs this year and are presently dead last in FootballOutsiders’ Run Defense DVOA metrics. The Jets are not favored to win in Week 4, but game-script can go awry, and Powell will still likely be involved. In his Weeks 14-17 stretch with a very limited (or out) Matt Forte, Powell logged multiple receptions in each game with target totals of 5, 12, 3 and 3. Powell has been dead weight to-date, but his fantasy backers have to tee him up in Week 4.
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Rinse and repeat: Both Andrew Luck (shoulder) and Sam Bradford (knee) are not practicing to start the week. While the Vikings have been up-front about Sam Bradford’s knee woes — he went and got a second opinion plus HC Mike Zimmer was clear that he had no clue when Bradford would be back — the Colts have done the opposite. The complete opposite. Giving flimsy coach-speak and dishing out vague optimism, the Colts knew all along that Andrew Luck wasn’t close to playing in late-July. At one point before the season, Colts’ owner Jim Irsay was leaving Luck’s fate up to the “football gods” as Indianapolis’ fans and fantasy football players alike bought into Indianapolis’ lip service. It’s Week 4, and Luck hasn’t even passed the ball to a teammate in practice yet. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Luck was out until November. Even though T.Y. Hilton smashed the Browns in Week 3 (7-153-1), he has still only finished as a top-12 receiver in two of his 11 career games without Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, Donte Moncrief has receiving lines of 1-50, 2-18 and 2-44 to begin the year while TE Jack Doyle just failed in a fantastic matchup vs. Cleveland (2-16). The Colts are a full-on fantasy fade in Week 4 versus Seattle.
Offensive Quick Hits
Jay Ajayi (knee) did not practice Wednesday, but he is fully expected to play in Week 4. … Kelvin Benjamin (knee) did not practice Wednesday and remains day-to-day. … Seahawks’ HC Pete Carroll said the Seahawks are planning for Doug Baldwin (groin) to play this week. … Will Fuller (collarbone) is practicing in full for Week 4. … Corey Davis (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 4. … Packers RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle) is listed as doubtful for Thursday night’s Week 4 game against Chicago. … Rex Burkhead (ribs) remained sidelined at Wednesday’s practice. … John Ross (knee) did not practice Wednesday. … Colts C Ryan Kelly (foot) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. … Cardinals LG Mike Iupati (triceps) says there’s a “100 percent chance” he returns Sunday. The Cardinals are also expected to get LT D.J. Humphries (knee) back this week. … In his first practice in over two weeks, John Brown (quad) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. … FB Kyle Juszczyk (concussion) was limited at Wednesday’s practice.
Defensive Quick Hits
Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (concussion) returned to a full practice on Wednesday. … Ravens DT Brandon Williams (foot) returned to practice Wednesday. … Colts CB Vontae Davis (groin) is practicing in full for Week 4 against the Seahawks. … Packers DT Mike Daniels (questionable, hip) expects to be a game-time decision for Week 4 against Chicago. … Browns head coach Hue Jackson said DL Myles Garrett (ankle) could resume practicing this week. … Falcons SLB Vic Beasley (hamstring) has resumed running.
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