Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Week 4 Preview: Tempest


Most of the time in Fantasy Football we can easily ignore outside interference and play our numbers game. There’s been a lot of distraction in the NFL over the years, but at least fantasy can operate because there’s still football games. That wouldn’t be the case if the NFL problems of the 1980s were what we faced today. Let’s count our blessings.

Okay, that’s as far as I want to go with league matters of that sort. It’s time for us to watch our fantasy players in action and the games they are playing in. That’s always the fun part, well, most of the time. If you get nearly an hour delay because of thunder and lightning like in Green Bay on Thursday, that’s not so good. Especially when top skill players get hurt.

Another London game means another wake-up call, especially for those on the west coast. Getting up at 6am on a Sunday to watch about 14 hours of football sounds pretty good, right?

2017 Fantasy Football Week 4 Preview

Apart from London, the AFC North teams are all against their own division rivals; plus four other divisional games are on the slate. This is the final week before the byes and you know what that means. Spot starts. So next week, I’ll be including some spot starts for those needing a late fill they forgot about. And yes, these are guys I would start as well. If we go down with the ship we go down together or we make safe port together with a bounty of fantasy treasure!

games to watch

Feature Game: Steelers at Ravens

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Those starting the Steelers beware. The last four times Pittsburgh has come into Baltimore, they have hit into a buzz-saw. Four straight losses scoring 20 points or less in each. Steelers team rushing averaged 79 yards in that period, including only 36 in 2016. Team passing yards averaged 224, with only three touchdown passes. So yeah, the Steelers are in tough when they go to Baltimore.

These are defensive battles, but Baltimore fares slightly better. Apart from Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, I’d sit almost every other player participating on either side. The Ravens are coming off a bad loss in London and the Steelers are off a devastating overtime loss to the Chicago Bears.

You may think that outside of fandom football, there isn’t much interest for this game for fantasy enthusiasts. To a point that is true, however, after the Ravens loss to the Jaguars, some sort of early reevaluation of gameplan substructure needs examination by the coaches. This may focus on defensive areas, but also on the running game and offensive line. This is where Alex Collins opened up an opportunity. Fantasy Pros included him as a buy-low candidate and a must grab if he’s out there by one of the writers, Ken Moody.

Sleeper: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsurgh Steelers

High OU Line Game (49.5): Saints vs Dolphins (London)

For the second consecutive week, we get a London game. These games often get lower tier NFL teams than this, but the matchup this week could explode into a fantasy feast. The Dolphins and Saints are doubtful as division winners, but remain very possible contenders for a wild-card spot come playoff time.

Willie Snead, off suspension now, may not play in this game. Friday’s injury report lists him with a hamstring issue, so you might see extra use from Brandon Coleman, Ted Ginn and Coby Fleener for at least one more game. Owners of all these players need to follow that news over the weekend closely because of the early time of the game.

DeVante Parker is shaping up as a fine high WR2 and is in a cocoon of ever-present upside. With Cutler’s style of desperado football, Parker could certainly light it up on Sunday. Check Alex Hamrick’s Starts and Sits for details on DeVante Parker.

Look for more involvement by Saints running back Alvin Kamara in this game. Over the past week, pundits include him as one of the uptick usage candidates moving forward. It should be interesting to see if this bears out. Adrian Peterson continues in decline as expected in this ill-suited offense, but because this is London and a great reputation precedes AP, then there’s that intangible notion which makes him the…

Sleeper: Adrian Peterson, RB, New Orleans Saints

Sunday Night Football: Colts at Seahawks

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The schedulers no doubt expected Andrew Luck for this Sunday night clash, but we’ll once again see Jacoby Brissett helming the team. Brissett is getting closer to NFL realization as a solid backup. His numbers aren’t a fantasy concern, but the pass-catchers surrounding him are.

Fantasy confidence is slowly returning to T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, but yes, slowly. Nonetheless, arrows up are still arrows up. The problem this week however, is that the Seahawks defense are a menace at home, so secure the china. The outlook for Frank Gore is troubling for owners, but Carlos Hyde came out with proof they can be run against. That only makes Gore a tepid flex at best, so if a better option is available, I’d prefer Gore for the bench if possible.

As for the Hawks, if you remove Chris Carson, there isn’t much to get excited about. Doug Baldwin‘s availability might come down to a game time decision and since this is the late game, you only have the option of Redskins or Chiefs receivers. Yeah, I know, not a lot. I’d sit Baldwin and run with Paul Richardson or Tyler Lockett if they are in the waiver pool.

Sleeper: J.D. McKissic, RB, Seattle Seahawks (PPR)

Monday Night Football: Redskins at Chiefs

The fourth week of MNF features the current top running back of the league. Kareem Hunt has passed every test so far and it all started with a fumble against the Patriots. Hunt has been on a mission ever since and no one is effective in stopping him so far. The Chiefs will pound him in there again and give the Redskins defense a handful with the improved offense overall.

For the Redskins, matters in the offense got a major boost with the big win over the Raiders last Sunday night. Yet, Terrelle Pryor struggles for relevance after three weeks. His yardage is not near where a typical WR2 would even be. It looks like Crowder is at least setting some kind of mark in the passing game.

Look for Chris Thompson in regular use again, but Gruden cautions that overloading Thompson may weaken his ability to hold a steady level all season long. Robert Kelley returns and Samaje Perine goes back to a relief role.

Sleeper: Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins

Players to watch

The sampling of games of several players so far is yielding ambiguous results. The wide receivers seem to be all over the place below the upper tiers. Amari Cooper, for example, has yet to settle into a regular workload of sorts. The young quarterbacks are really doing well and we shall continue viewing their progress.
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Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos (vs Raiders)

His involvement this season began clearly behind C.J. Anderson, but last week he moved to almost even money. The swagger of Charles has not yet returned, but the numbers show he’s on the way.

Kenny Britt, WR, Browns (vs Bengals)

Britt enters this game on the bust event horizon. The drops will flood aplenty after Sunday unless something, anything happens to restore some fantasy confidence. Even so, one good week may not be enough.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles (at Chargers)

It’s a new world without Sproles. How much changes? So it’s not just about Smallwood, but the entire backfield in general. The short outlet pass has to open up for somebody. Smallwood was the waiver grab of the week.

Zay Jones, WR, Bills (at Falcons)

So I guess that’s it? All the hopes of a breakout rookie in Buffalo are gone? Okay, Zay, one more chance.

D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texans (vs Titans)

Yes, I want to see more of this good football player. Were it not for Lamar Miller with high stock holdings, Foreman would be a weekly lock in all formats. He should be owned everywhere.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Jets (vs Jaguars)

Somewhere in the murk, there is another fantasy relevant player emerging from the Jets. Of all pass catchers, it’s still Jermaine Kearse I would own. ASJ at least may be streamable in appropriate matchups.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (at Patriots)

If Watson can do it, so can Newton, right? The Patriots are indeed a beatable defense, but Cam is so far just not feeling it in the Panthers adjusted offense of 2017. He’s a bit banged up too.

In the booth on sunday

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Dan Fouts

London Game (9:30am ET) FOX

Saints vs Dolphins: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis

CBS – Early Games

Steelers at Ravens: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Bills at Falcons: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Titans at Texans: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Bengals at Browns: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Jaguars at Jets: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

CBS – Late Game

Raiders at Broncos: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo

FOX – Early Games

Panthers at Patriots: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Rams at Cowboys: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Lions at Vikings: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman

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Fox – Late Games

Giants at Buccaneers: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Tiki Barber
Eagles at Chargers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
49ers at Cardinals: Sam Rosen, David Diehl

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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