What Are the Comfort Levels for Fantasy Studs Heading into Week 4?
Week 3 of the NFL season was perhaps one of the stranger weeks we've seen in a while.
Not only did 12 underdogs cover their respective spreads, but eight outright.
Because of that, there were some surprising fantasy performances. Don't believe me? Just look at Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi. Heading into Week 3, Ajayi was pegged as a consensus RB1 going up against the New York Jets, but he couldn't even get to 20 rushing yards as the Jets totally dominated the Dolphins and quarterback Jay Cutler.
Our favorite fantasy studs can't always perform how we think they will, and this article tries to figure out if we could be unexpectedly surprised by a fantastic performance or one like Ajayi's.
There are seven guys here who rank all over the place in terms of comfort, but we're going to start with a player who will be across the pond in London in Week 4.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Coming off a spectacular performance against the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will try to replicate that success overseas.
That's right, people. Another London game.
At Wembley Stadium, Brees and the Saints will do battle against the Miami Dolphins. Yeah, the team that just lost to the New York Jets.
Let's be frank: The Dolphins have absolutely no one in their secondary that's anything to worry about.
This game will also mark the comeback of wide receiver Willie Snead, which just adds a problem for the Dolphins secondary.
With Snead back, Brees will have a plethora of targets: wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon Coleman and Michael Thomas, running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Coby Fleener.
Prepare for Thomas to just totally eat Dolphins cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Maxwell alive.
Brees is putting up three scores here.
Comfort Level: Did you see the Dolphins get roasted by Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson last week?
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
After popping off nearly 170 total yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook sets his sights on the Detroit Lions in Week 4.
In terms of yards per carry, the Lions do a decent job, holding opposing running backs to four per clip, but Cook is going to need to be the focal point of the offense for the Vikings.
Sure, quarterback Case Keenum had the game of his life in Week 3, but that's not likely to repeat itself—especially against Lions cornerbacks Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay.
For the Vikings to win, it's going to be all about ball control. Fortunately, the Vikings have a few serious pass-catching threats in wide receiver Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs and tight end Kyle Rudolph, so the Lions cannot afford to stack the box against Cook totally.
If you own Cook, go into Week 4 feeling confident. He should get plenty of work, and as the old adage goes in fantasy football: volume, volume, volume.
On the off-chance this does become a Lions domination, Cook is capable in the passing game as well, so don't be afraid of that.
Dial up Cook in Week 4.
Comfort Level: Like Joey Tribbiani from Friends going into Monica's fridge.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders
After coming off a totally disappointing performance in Week 3 against the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree will look to rebound against the Denver Broncos in Week 4.
Well, that isn't going to happen.
You see, while Crabtree may have been a touchdown-scoring machine to start the season, Broncos cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib got a thing or two to say about that.
This is simply a bad matchup. Not only for Crabtree, but for the entire Raiders offense.
Against these same cornerbacks, Crabtree posted a line of seven receptions for 74 yards and no scores in their two matchups last season.
It's going to be hard to sit Crabtree, but with him in the lineup, I wouldn't feel all that confident. Hope for a five-reception, 50-yard day. If you get that, consider it a win.
Comfort Level: Going into a sewer with Pennywise.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
After a terrible performance in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott bounced back in a big way in Week 3 on Monday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals.
In Week 3, Zeke ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and also caught three balls for 14 yards. Not totally efficient, but it worked fantasywise.
Guess who he gets to go up against in Week 4? The Los Angeles Rams, also known as the team who has allowed the most rushing touchdowns (five) and the second-most rushing yards (399) in the league.
The Rams offense has been a lot better than what most people expected, but their defense is not going to be able to contain Elliott.
It's really that simple. Elliott is going to erupt in Week 4.
Comfort Level: Beyond any feeling we'll ever feel here on Earth.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Did you see what Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton did to the Cleveland Browns secondary?
He totally scorched them for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Now, imagine them trying to guard Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
Look, the Bengals' first two weeks of the season were just terrible, but with the promotion of Bill Lazor at offensive coordinator, the offense looked different in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.
Hell, they almost beat them.
The Browns cornerbacks are going to have absolutely zero answer for Green in this one.
Though they've been pedestrian to start the season, the Bengals have too many quality skill position players to double Green the entire game.
Man, do I wish had Green in my fantasy league for this week.
Comfort Level: They're playing the Browns.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy comes with a bit of volatility in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons.
On the surface, it looks like a fantastic matchup. In a vacuum, it is, but not if the Bills get fall behind early.
The Bills defense has done a great job this season, but to be fair, the Falcons offense is a bit of a different animal.
Should the Bills fall behind, McCoy will still be featured in the passing game, but you'd prefer he get a healthy mix of both carries and targets.
In the end, touches are touches. If you're in a points-per-reception league, McCoy offers upside either way since he'll make up for his lost carries with receptions, but if you're in a standard league, there's a little bit more of a need for concern.
Offensively, the Bills are fairly anemic besides McCoy, so they'll need him to perform to have a chance at winning this game.
Comfort Level: Taking a shower where the water abruptly gets cold.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
The 2017 Chicago Bears defense has been strange to start the season.
Why does that matter when talking about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers?
Well, he's playing them at home this week.
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Bears limited the damage from Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, got beat up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jameis Winston and then held Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in check.
On a short week, it's tough to say how the Bears will respond to Rodgers and how Rodgers will fare against this defense.
It could go one of two ways: They could hold Rodgers in check and limit the damage or they could get beat up quickly.
Both of these are kind of bad, though, right?
If they limit his damage, that doesn't spell for a promising fantasy performance, and if they score quickly, Rodgers and the Packers could resort to the running game, limiting Rodgers' upside.
Of course, this is a risk you're willing to take, but it would be a bummer for Rodgers to replicate his Week 14 line in 2016 at Chicago last year: 252 passing yards, no touchdowns, no picks.
Just have the possibility of Rodgers not needing to pass and rack up points be in the back of your mind.
Comfort Level: It's Thursday Night Football, so is anyone really ever that comfortable?
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
A lot of the information in the slide pertaining to LeSean McCoy rings true here in regards to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Through three games this season, the Bills have allowed just 224 passing yards per game. Not only that, but they haven't even surrendered a passing touchdown.
Granted, they've faced guys like Josh McCown, Cam Newton and Trevor Siemian, but it's still noteworthy.
Ryan leads a Falcons offense that is nothing short of incredible. From top to bottom, there are guys who can change the game in just one play.
This has the feeling of a game in which the Falcons will just try to run the ball, limiting Ryan's upside.
Gut feeling: Ryan throws for less than 250 yards and has one touchdown.
Unfortunately, that's nothing to brag about, but it's not awful.
Comfort Level: Who's your backup quarterback?