Fantasy Football Week 4: Matt Camp's Week 4 BS Meter
If you’ve already been working the waiver wire and making trades to improve your roster regardless of your record or standing in your league, that makes you a smart, proactive fantasy owner.
Doing whatever it takes to build the best roster is how you win a fantasy championship, but with three weeks in the books, you can get a fair assessment of how your top picks are performing. After a slow start players like Le’Veon Bell, Odell Beckham and A.J. Green finally lived up to their potential in Week 3.
However, if you took players like Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell to cover the top two RB spots in your starting lineup, it might be time to alter your personal depth chart. The lack of production from Terrelle Pryor has many concerned, so you might adjust your expectations on him being a weekly starter.
The B.S. Meter breaks down nine situations cover the most pressing issues in fantasy football. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true or 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts are also from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
Stefon Diggs Is a Must-Start Player
Did you bench Stefon Diggs in Week 3? You weren’t alone, and you probably won’t ever do it again.
Many were scared off by Case Keenum’s horrible performance in Week 2 on the road against the Steelers. He completed 20 of 37 pass attempts for just 167 yards. That limited Diggs to two receptions for 27 yards on six targets. The Vikings were back at home in Week 3, and the script was flipped. Keenum completed 25 of 33 attempts for 369 yards and three TDs. Diggs was a huge part of that with eight receptions for 173 yards and two TDs on 11 targets.
For the season, Diggs has 17 receptions for 293 yards and four TDs on 25 targets. He leads all receivers in TDs and trails just Antonio Brown (354) and teammate Adam Thielen (299) in receiving yards. It’s only three games, but it’s not like Diggs just burst onto the fantasy scene. When healthy in 2016, he was a good WR2 with WR1 upside, which is why you should have been high on him coming into 2017.
Would it be better if Sam Bradford returned to action in Week 4? Of course, but Diggs has enough talent to overcome a shaky QB situation. And now that he’s done it with Keenum, you shouldn’t have second thoughts about putting him in your lineup. Expectations don’t have to be as high with Keenum, but Diggs can dominate as long as he gets the opportunities.
B.S. Meter on Diggs being a must-start player: 1/10
Isaiah Crowell Will Remain a Frustrating Fantasy Option
If you live by the philosophy of avoiding bad teams, you probably steered clear of Isaiah Crowell during draft season. If you had him on your fantasy roster last season, you likely steered clear of him because you know how frustrating it is to deal with him on a weekly basis.
To be fair to Crowell, the frustration of having him on your fantasy roster is more about the Browns than his talent. They are clearly in a rebuilding process, which means they aren’t good, as evidenced by their 0-3 record. Game flow plays into Crowell’s usage, and if the team is trailing by a significant margin, he doesn’t get as many chances since he’s rarely used as a receiver.
In Week 3, the Browns trailed 14-7 with 10:06 to go in the second quarter. The closest they came after that was a score with 2:04 left in the fourth quarter that cut the lead to the eventual final score of 31-28. The lead was as wide as 28-7 with 2:41 remaining in the second quarter and 31-14 with 10:18 left in the game.
Those wide margins limited Crowell to just 12 carries for 44 yards on 53.2 percent of the snaps. In Week 2, the Browns lost 24-10 to the Ravens with Crowell playing just 45.1 percent of the snaps with 10 carries for 37 yards. He has just four receptions for 43 yards on six targets on the season.
Looking ahead, the Browns face the Bengals, Jets, Texans, Titans and Vikings before the Week 9 bye. Other than the game at home against the Jets, they could have a tough time keeping those games close enough to keep Crowell involved, at least enough to feel comfortable using him for fantasy. He’s a talented player in a bad situation, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.
B.S. Meter on Crowell remaining a frustrating player: 2/10
Golden Tate Is the Only Weekly Starter in the Lions’ Receiving Corps
Hype can be dangerous. After plenty of preseason hype, rookie Kenny Golladay posted four receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets in Week 1. He was a hot commodity on the waiver wire and has since caught three of eight targets for 33 yards without a TD.
A player who never seems to get much hype yet continues to perform well into his fourth season with the Lions is Golden Tate. While Golladay’s big Week 1 performance seemed to justify all his hype, Tate caught 10 of 12 targets for 107 yards in that same game and has only built on that performance since then while Golladay has been quiet.
During the Week 3 loss to the Falcons, Tate hauled in seven of 11 targets for 58 yards and a TD and almost scored the game-winning TD only for the call to be reversed. Theo Riddick and Tate are the only Lions to have at least five receptions in two games this season. He leads the receiving corps with 27 targets, 21 receptions and 190 yards.
Clearly, it’s too difficult to rely on Golladay, but what about Marvin Jones? He scored in each of the first two games, yet has just six receptions for 88 yards on 13 targets on the season. That’s a TD-or-bust player. Eric Ebron had five receptions for 42 yards and a TD on five targets in Week 2, yet he only managed two receptions for nine yards on seven targets in Week 3, as he continues to struggle with drops.
Do the Lions have a talented receiving corps? Yes, they do, but it doesn’t mean they all have consistent fantasy value. Other than Tate, it’s hard to trust Ebron, Golladay or Jones as anything more than matchup plays or desperation options for the last spot in your lineup. It’s not a knock on those players as much as it is recognition of how important Tate is to Matthew Stafford and the success of the Lions.
B.S. Meter on Tate being the only weekly starter in the Lions’ receiving corps: 3/10
T.Y. Hilton Can Be Used with Confidence Once Again
If you’ve been toying with the idea of using Hilton without Andrew Luck, the prospects appeared grim. In his first two games without Luck this season, Hilton had just seven receptions for 106 yards on 13 targets. Those came in Week 1 with Scott Tolzien and Week 2 with Jacoby Brissett, who had been with the team for two weeks when he got his first start as a Colt.
Sometimes, all you need is a matchup with the Browns to find your confidence. In Week 3, Hilton torched the Browns for 153 yards on seven receptions (nine targets), including a 61-yard TD. After ugly losses and performances against the Rams and the Cardinals to open the season, the Colts took advantage of a favorable matchup, and Hilton finally produced for fantasy.
Should you be rushing to get him back in your lineup? If you based that answer on the Week 4 opponent for the Colts, the answer is no. Indianapolis travels to Seattle to take on the Seahawks on Sunday night, which is a rough atmosphere for any quarterback, but especially Brissett in what would be his third start with the Colts and only the fifth of his career.
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, Luck is expected to begin practicing as early as this week, although he’ll likely need "three-to-four weeks of preparation" before he can start. That falls in line with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network's report that Luck could return in Week 6.
As I wrote about in the Week 1 B.S. Meter, Hilton wasn’t even a top-30 fantasy WR without Luck during his extended absence in 2015, which is why the first two, disappointing weeks of this season weren’t a surprise for Hilton. While it’s nice to see Hilton perform well with Brissett, be careful letting that excitement cloud your judgment, especially with a tough game against the Seahawks on deck.
B.S. Meter on using Hilton with confidence: 4/10
Jay Ajayi Will Remain an All-or-Nothing Player
Ajayi’s performance in Week 3 was a major disappointment and elicited this tweet from a concerned Ajayi owner on Twitter asking about the highs and lows of his production.
Last season, Ajayi burst on the fantasy scene with back-to-back games of 200-plus rushing yards in Weeks 6 and 7, which he followed up with 111 yards in Week 9 after a bye in Week 8. Ajayi failed to rush for more than 79 yards again until Week 16, when he had 206 yards. So his best performances were massive, but he failed to post 100 total yards in 11 other games.
After the forced bye in Week 1 of this season, Ajayi came out hot with 122 yards on 28 carries and two receptions for four yards in the Week 2 win over the Chargers. In the days leading up to the Week 3 matchup with the Jets, Ajayi missed practices with knee soreness, yet there didn’t seem to be major concern. He wound up rushing for just 16 yards on 11 carries and was briefly sidelined by an undisclosed injury.
Even though the Dolphins trailed throughout the contest, they were only down 10-0 at the half and then 17-0 with 9:48 left in the third quarter. Was that such a big lead that the Dolphins felt they couldn’t run it with Ajayi, or did his injury issues play a bigger role than the team let on? Ajayi played 94.1 percent of the snaps in Week 2, but that dipped all the way down to 52.4 percent in Week 3.
Game-flow issues shouldn’t be limiting Ajayi like they are for Isaiah Crowell in Cleveland, since the Dolphins are clearly a better team. Miami should be able to get back on track as a team against the Saints in Miami in Week 4, but Ajayi’s health in that likely win will be the real determination of how he’ll perform going forward.
B.S. Meter on Ajayi remaining an all-or-nothing player: 4/10
Ben Roethlisberger Will Finish as a Top-10 QB
In the first two weeks of the season, Ben Roethlisberger finished 14th and eighth among fantasy QBs with a finish outside the top-20 QBs in Week 3. Should we be waiting for him to snap out of it, or is this really what he’s become?
Last season, Roethlisberger finished 18th among QBs in 14 games. In 2015, he was the No. 20 QB in 12 games. You have to go back to 2014 to find the last time Roethlisberger finished inside the top-10, and that was a top-five finish. That was also the last time he played all 16 games in a season.
In the first three games of 2017, Roethlisberger has yet to throw for more than 263 yards. He had his worst performance of the season in a Week 3 trip to Chicago, which resulted in an overtime loss to the Bears. Roethlisberger completed 22 of 39 attempts (56.4 percent) for 235 yards and a TD. He took three sacks in that game and has now taken six on the season.
While he’s protecting the ball for the most part (five TDs, one INT, one fumble), the lack of yards is a concern, especially with Martavis Bryant back this season to join Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell as a formidable trifecta of weapons. Could the veteran just be slowing down in his 14th season? Considering how beat up he’s been over his career, that could be the case.
The schedule has been pretty favorable over the first three weeks, with games against the Browns, Vikings and Bears to open the season, yet Roethlisberger continues to underwhelm. It gets tougher in Week 4 with a trip to Baltimore. This wouldn’t be a good week to bet on Roethlisberger bouncing back, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll crack the top 10 QBs by the end of the season.
B.S. Meter on Roethlisberger finishing as a top-10 fantasy QB: 6/10
You Can Put Your Full Trust in Jared Goff
Before picking apart what Jared Goff has done this year and who he’s done it against, let's acknowledge this: Last season’s debacle of firing the head coach during the rookie season of a No. 1 pick is clearly behind Goff and the Rams. As a team, they’ve turned the corner and the results have been mostly positive for the first three weeks of the season.
Does that mean you should be running to snatch Goff off your waiver wire? If you’re thinking long-term, that answer is no. Goff opened the season with 306 yards and a TD against the Colts on 21-of-29 passing in an impressive home victory. He came back down to Earth with just 219 yards, one TD and one INT in a Week 2 home loss to the Redskins. In a Week 3 Thursday matchup in San Francisco, he sliced up the 49ers by completing 22 of 28 pass attempts for 292 yards and three TDs.
But the Colts have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game (283.7), making Goff's 306 less special. The 49ers dropped to 0-3 with their loss to the Rams, so while Goff took advantage of a beatable matchup, it wasn’t a strong test.
From a fantasy perspective, you have to be careful with Goff, because he’s been so efficient. He hasn’t attempted more than 29 passes in a game this season, so his 817 yards on 57-of-81 passing (70.4 percent) will be tough to keep up going forward. Also, note that the Rams’ schedule gets tougher with games against the Cowboys, Seahawks, Jaguars, Cardinals, Giants, Texans and Viking coming up over the next two months.
Another factor to consider for the immediate future is the health of Sammy Watkins. Goff’s top WR was evaluated for a concussion after taking a big hit following his second TD in Week 3, according to Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times. It’s the latest of a long list of injuries Watkins has dealt with in his short career.
While Goff’s performance over the first three weeks is encouraging, just be careful to limit your excitement when it comes to his fantasy value. He has a tough road ahead and is far from a finished product.
B.S. Meter on fully trusting Goff: 7/10
The Concern for Terrelle Pryor Is an Overreaction
If you were disappointed by Terrelle Pryor’s six-catch, 66-yard stat line in Week 1, you know it’s only gotten worse in the last two weeks.
Concerns about a lack of chemistry between Pryor and Kirk Cousins coming out of the preseason seemed a bit overblown, but not completely wrong. When Pryor saw 11 targets in the Week 1 loss to the Eagles, it looked like Cousins was at least trying to get him the ball. That hasn’t been the case in the last two games. Pryor has just four receptions for 50 yards on eight targets in Weeks 2 and 3, which were wins against the Rams and Raiders.
While Pryor is tied for the team lead in targets (19) along with Chris Thompson, more than half of those came in Week 1. Jameson Crowder is right behind with 18 targets, but has been more consistent with at least five targets in each game. The Redskins are 2-1, but in terms of reliability, Thompson has been their only useful fantasy option in each of the three games.
Unlike the Bengals getting off to a slow start and A.J. Green rightfully calling for more targets, Pryor isn’t really in a spot to do that and the Redskins are coming off an impressive victory over the Raiders. Pryor overcame shaky QB play during his breakout season in Cleveland last year, but he’ll need to find some chemistry with Cousins before anyone can have the same kind of expectations for this season. It won’t get easier with a trip to Kansas City in Week 4.
B.S. Meter on concern for Pryor being an overreaction: 8/10
Bilal Powell Saved His Fantasy Value in Week 3
If you watched last week’s edition of Waiver Wire Weekly, we told you to release Bilal Powell following two quiet performances on a bad Jets team to open the season. If you cut him and you’re having second thoughts after what he did in Week 3, don’t get stressed out.
In the first two games of the season, Powell had just 13 carries for 35 yards and five receptions for 17 yards on eight targets with a total of 48 snaps. In Week 3, his led the team with 15 carries, but wound up with 37 yards and didn’t have a target. However, he did score on a one-yard TD run and played 28 snaps (44.4 percent).
Powell was the first Jet RB to post double-digit carries this season, although none of them have run for more than 53 yards, which Matt Forte had in Week 2. The inclusion of Forte, Powell and Elijah McGuire makes this a three-headed mess. The only reason Powell had fantasy value is because he looked like the best player on a bad team. Continue to steer clear of this backfield.
B.S. Meter on Powell saving his fantasy value: 10/10