Fluke or Truth: Week 4 Overperformers
Author: Matt Gifford
Welcome back to Fluke or Truth! Another week into the NFL season and another week of analyzing some of the largest fantasy performances to understand the repeatability and likelihood of similar performances in future games. As you continue to make start and sit decisions and waiver claims, it’s important to know which player’s performances you can trust. Let’s take a look at some Week 4 top fantasy scorers to determine whether they are the real deal.
Jameis Winston (TB): 28/41, 385 yards, 4 Pass TDs, 1 INT, 1 car, -1 yards - 30.30 points
One of the players that brings meaning to a love-hate relationship when rostered in fantasy football is Jameis Winston. Throughout the majority of his career, Winston has been known as a player who can look elite one week and be in risk of getting benched the next. Although, as this season has progressed, it appears that he may finally be figuring things out. For the last two weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense has been running on all cylinders with Winston recording over 300 yards and two touchdowns in both contests. One of the biggest factors in an improved Jameis Winston and Buccaneers’ offense is the introduction of long-time football coach, Bruce Arians. With Arians at the helm, the Buccaneers’ offense has looked as pass friendly as ever and Winston has appeared to show improved accuracy and the ability to squeeze passes into tight windows. Furthermore, Tampa Bay has proven their ability to exploit blitz packages as the offense has scored a touchdown or successful gained a new set of downs on 62% of throws when the defense is blitzing. Expect the Buccaneers offense and Winston to continue a similar pace especially with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, two of the current top five WRs in the league.
Nick Chubb (CLE): 20 car, 165 yards, 3 rec, 18 yards, 3 TDs - 33.5 points
Simply said, Nick Chubb is, by far, one of the most explosive players in the league. Anytime Chubb touches the ball, there is a possibility that he is taking it to the house. During the upset win over the Baltimore Ravens, Chubb recorded the fastest play of the season with an 88 yard touchdown run while recording a top speed of 21.95 mph. Although we always know that no one can keep the pace of three touchdowns in a game, Chubb is set on an offense with plenty of weapons that open up the run game. With any defense unable to focus on the run with stacked boxes, Chubb has plenty of opportunities to hit the second level and let his talent do the rest. Additionally, through interviews and press conferences, we have learned of Freddie Kitchen’s love for Nick Chubb and his work ethic. This will be increasingly valuable as the season progresses and Kareem Hunt comes off of his eight game suspension. With heavy approval from his coach, this could allow him to keep the starting role and the larger share of carries in the second half of the season. Chubb still has a lot left in the tank for this season and a late season schedule to offer more performances like this.
Jordan Howard (PHI): 15 car, 87 yards, 3 rec, 28 yards, 3 TDs - 31.0 points
Don’t be fooled by this mirage! Taking a look at the game logs for Jordan Howard over the first four weeks is enough to tell the story of this fluke of a game. After averaging 9 touches per game over the first three weeks and being on the field for 26% of snaps, the fourth year back and former Chicago Bear, doubled his usage, out-touching Miles Sanders with 15 carries and three receptions. Throughout the majority of the game, the Philadelphia Eagles relied heavily on the rushing game to push the offense downfield as shown by the combined 176 rushing yards. Much of this can be attributed to weakened state of the wide receiver corps. With Jeffrey back in the fold and Jackson following soon, expect more mixed passing and running in future games. Additionally, Howard’s rushing production and three touchdowns are not sustainable for a running back in the Philadelpha offense. Pederson has maintained the running back by committee approach through his time with the team and a running back in this offense has not eclipsed the 100 rushing yard mark since LaGarrette Blount in Week 4 of 2017. Now is the opportunity to leverage this performance in a trade and sell high!
Davante Adams (GB): 10 rec, 180 yards - 23.0 points
Welcome back Davante Adams! Throughout the 2018 NFL season, Davante Adams was a fantasy scoring machine, as he averaged over 18 points per game over a 15 game span. Over that period, Adams' worst performance was 12.1 points which was among the best floors of the season. With similar expectations this season, fantasy owners have been disappointed in the output of the sixth year wideout. Although, Thursday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles brought Adams alive with 10 catches on 15 targets. This is the reliance on Davante Adams that we have expected weekly from the Green Bay offense since the loss of Jordy Nelson in March of 2018 and the injury concerns of Randall Cobb last season. Unfortunately, Adams did not finish out the game after suffering a turf toe injury during the 4th quarter. Although he is likely out against the Cowboys in Week 5, this injury doesn’t appear to be of great concern to the training staff. Moving forward, Adams has plenty of time and opportunities in the remain schedule to put up similar performances and take his place as one of the most fantasy dominant receivers in the league.
A.J. Brown (TEN): 3 rec, 94 yards, 2 TDs - 22.9 points
One of the biggest surprises of Week 4 was the dominant performance of Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans over the struggling Atlanta Falcons. Rookie and 2nd round draft pick, A.J. Brown, offered up an eye-opening performance while finishing as a top five wide receiver for this week of play. Following this display, he will likely be one of the most sought-after waiver wire claims of the week as he currently rostered in less than ten percent of leagues. But is this production something we can expect out of him weekly? The simple answer is no. Brown’s current usage only makes him an option for desperate teams in deep league. Although finishing with just under 100 yards and two score, AJ Brown was only on the field for 28 snaps of which he ran 13 routes and was targeted three times. That kind of production just isn’t sustainable on a weekly basis with those numbers. Additionally, there is still a lot of variance in the play of the offensive line and Mariota. Mariota has been sacked 17 times over the first four games of the season and has been known to consistently make errors even when not pressured. Expect AJ Brown to be a boom or bust player and until we see more usage start him at your own risk.