Fantasy Football Week 4 BS Meter
If you've been itching to make big changes to your roster, a proper sample size is necessary to assess where your players stand. Three weeks won't tell the whole story, but it's enough of a snapshot to at least make changes to your personal depth chart.
Aaron Rodgers has been good but not great in the first month of the season, so if you drafted him to carry your team, expectations may need to be adjusted. The same could be said for Russell Wilson, although his returns have been disappointing and it's hard to see him making it back into the top-five-fantasy-quarterback conversation on such a flawed team.
Of course, we also have the players who look like studs coming from the final rounds of your drafts or off the waiver wire. Mike Williams has been a consistent fantasy producer in his second season, while Calvin Ridley is coming off a star-making performance in Week 3. Both players should be in line for more snaps in the future.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 4. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true and 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. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
Check out Matt Camp on his Fantasy Camp podcast available every Tuesday and Thursday. Click to subscribe.
The Chargers Should Continue to Feature Mike Williams
Mike Williams didn't make his NFL debut until Week 6 of the 2017 season thanks to a back injury that kept him out of offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason. He struggled to find his way and wound up as a non-factor with just 11 receptions for 95 yards on 23 targets in 10 games. The year already feels like a distant memory following the first three games of this season.
Williams got off to a hot start in the 2018 opener with five receptions for 81 yards on six targets while playing just 53.7 percent of the snaps in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He followed that up with two receptions for 27 yards including a 10-yard TD on a 69.6 percent snap share in a win over the Buffalo Bills. Expectations weren't so high for Williams or any of the Los Angeles Chargers in a tough matchup with the Los Angeles Rams on the road.
The second-year wideout ended up turning seven targets into four receptions for 81 yards and a pair of TDs, including a 42-yard TD reception against a talented Rams secondary. Surprisingly, Williams' snaps dropped to 67.3 percent despite the team playing from behind with a clear need to throw to stay in the game.
By comparison, Tyrell Williams has just seven receptions for 78 yards and a TD on 11 targets. He's played 145 out of a possible 190 snaps (73.6 percent) but did have his lowest snap percent of the season at 73.1 in Week 3. That could be a sign his role is starting to decrease in favor of the younger Williams, who played just 118 of the 190 offensive snaps (62.1 percent) in the first three games.
Playing with Philip Rivers will be a boost to any wide receiver, but Mike Williams also has the luxury of sharing the field with Keenan Allen, a veteran who will typically draw more attention from opposing defenses. As a former first-round pick, it's completely fair to have high expectations for Williams in his second season after such a great start. The Chargers need to feature him more with an increase in snaps and targets.
B.S. Meter on if the Chargers should feature Williams: 1/10
The Lions Finally Have Their Lead Back in Kerryon Johnson
A dubious streak came to an end on Sunday night in Detroit when Kerryon Johnson became the first Lions' running back since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving Day 2013 to rush for 100 yards in a game. In a week full of upsets, Johnson was a big part of Detroit's 26-10 victory over the New England Patriots with 16 carries for 101 yards and a pair of receptions for nine yards on three targets—though he was only on the field for 44.6 percent of the offensive snaps.
In a bit of a head-scratching move, that snap share is a drop from the 46.8 percent Johnson had in Week 2, a game the Lions trailed throughout the second half in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Of course, he was also efficient, albeit not as busy in that matchup. Johnson carried just eight times for 38 yards but added five receptions for 23 yards on six targets.
By comparison, LeGarrette Blount, who left Week 1 with a shoulder injury and was ejected in Week 2, has 28 carries for just 83 yards and three receptions for 14 yards on three targets. However, he's never played more than the 35.1 percent of snaps he saw in Week 3, so while Johnson is clearly leading the way in snaps, he has just one more carry than Blount for the season. Blount matched Johnson's 16 carries in Week 3 but had just 48 rushing yards.
If the Lions brought Blount in to be insurance for Johnson, they shouldn't worry about the rookie anymore. While the Lions' offensive line deserves credit, Johnson has acclimated himself quickly and already looks like the man in this backfield. He can quickly turn into a reliable RB2 in fantasy, especially if Blount fades into the background, which is an obvious path for the Lions to follow this year.
B.S. Meter on the Lions finally having their lead back in Johnson: 2/10
The Saints Clearly Miss Mark Ingram
Alvin Kamara is the No. 1 fantasy back through three weeks, but lost in his hot start is an underwhelming New Orleans Saints rushing attack. Kamara leads the team with 141 yards on 37 carries with a pair of TDs. That puts him at 3.8 yards per carry. As a team, the Saints are a bottom-five rushing offense with just 248 yards on 63 carries (3.9 yards per game) over the first three games.
Even though the Saints are 2-1 with the league's No. 2 scoring offense and a massive role for Kamara as a receiver, they miss Mark Ingram. In 2017, New Orleans ranked fifth in rushing yards with 2,070, which came out to 129.4 per game and a 4.7-yards-per-carry rushing average (tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for tops in the league). During that season, Ingram averaged 4.9 yards per attempt, and Kamara was at 6.1 yards per attempt.
So what happened to Kamara? As a rookie, he had just five games with double-digit carries and no more than 12 carries in any game. This season, he's eclipsed that number twice. In Week 2, he ran 13 times for 46 yards (3.5 YPC) and in Week 3 he had 66 yards on 16 carries (4.1 YPC). After Kamara, Mike Gillislee has the next-most carries with 14 for 37 yards (2.6 YPC).
With 38 targets, 30 receptions and 289 yards through the air in the first three games, Kamara is taking on a major role as a receiver, so it's unfair to believe he can handle such a heavy workload and be an effective runner. That's why Ingram's presence is sorely missed. He can be the one who carries the team on the ground while Kamara can be a valued weapon as a runner and a receiver without overworking him.
When Ingram returns from his suspension in Week 5, the Saints have every reason to put him back into the role he played in 2017. If that's the case, he's easily a strong RB2 for fantasy with RB1 upside. If you can, try to acquire him before his asking price gets too high.
B.S. Meter on the Saints clearly missing Ingram: 3/10
Concern for Andrew Luck Is Warranted
The questions about Andrew Luck's arm strength have been coming in since August and will only grow after the end of the Indianapolis Colts' Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. With the Colts clearly needing a Hail Mary, Jacoby Brissett—not Luck—was called on to make the throw from the team's own 46-yard line.
That capped off Luck's worst performance of the season in fantasy or reality. He completed 25 of 40 attempts for just 164 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 33 yards to finish with just 13.9 fantasy points, which wasn't even good enough for a top-20 performance. That follows a No. 29 finish in Week 2 and a No. 11 finish in Week 1.
Besides the obvious concern about the Colts pulling Luck for Brissett to throw the Hail Mary, his yards per attempt have dropped each week from 6.0 to 5.8 to 4.1 in Week 3. In 2016, Luck's last healthy season, he averaged 7.8 yards per attempt, so that drop-off is alarming.
The Colts battled multiple injuries in Week 3, including the absences of tight end Jack Doyle and left tackle Anthony Castonzo, so Luck wasn't in the best situation to succeed, especially against the Eagles' pass rush. Other than T.Y. Hilton, the Colts don't have anyone to stretch the field, but that can't be the only reason for Luck's serious dip in yards per attempt.
It's still early, so it's too soon to completely give up on Luck for fantasy, but any expectations of him regaining top-five fantasy status seem too ambitious. Between his arm strength and lack of talent around him, Luck's fantasy value is down, and that takes him out of the weekly starter category.
B.S. Meter on concern for Luck being warranted: 4/10
Expectations Are Changing for Aaron Rodgers
When the excitement of Aaron Rodgers' memorable Week 1 performance wore off, concern about his long-term future set in thanks to the knee injury he suffered in the opener. Practice almost feels like a luxury since the last two weeks, Rodgers has only practiced on Saturdays.
Following his 286-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 1, Rodgers threw for 281 yards and a touchdown on 30-of-42 passing with three rushes for eight yards in a Week 2 tie with the Minnesota Vikings. He had a more attractive matchup on the road with the Washington Redskins in Week 3 and had another solid, yet far from spectacular effort with 265 yards and a pair of scores on 27-of-42 passing and 13 yards on a pair of carries.
After three weeks, Rodgers has finishes of No. 5, No. 18 and No. 12 at the quarterback position. As the consensus top fantasy quarterback entering the season, it's fair to consider this start to the season somewhat disappointing. Obviously, things are a bit different with this knee injury, yet Rodgers is still putting up solid numbers as it relates to his passing yardage, and he hasn't thrown an interception.
As long as Rodgers is starting, expectations should remain somewhat high, although maybe not that of a consistent top-three option. He's still one of the best in the game at less than 100 percent and should be used with confidence barring additional problems with the knee.
B.S. Meter on expectations changing for Rodgers: 5/10
Baker Mayfield Is Getting Too Much Fantasy Hype
It took too long, but the Cleveland Browns finally made the move to Baker Mayfield. When Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion toward the end of the first half of the Week 3 game against the New York Jets, Mayfield was called on in relief.
In his first five drives, Mayfield led the Browns to 21 points and completed a comeback that started when the team was down 14-0 when he entered the game. In just over a half of action, he completed 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards without a turnover. Even though Mayfield wasn't perfect, he clearly brought more of an aggressive nature to the position than Taylor ever showed in his short time as a starter.
After leading the Browns to their first win since the 2016 season, it was pretty obvious what was coming next. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, on Monday, head coach Hue Jackson said, "I informed the group this morning that we're going to start Baker Mayfield and Tyrod will be the backup if healthy."
The move should provide an immediate fantasy boost to all Browns. We already saw Jarvis Landry pull down eight of 15 targets for 103 yards against the Jets, but don't discount what Mayfield's presence can do for the rushing attack. Carlos Hyde turned 23 carries in 98 yards and the two touchdowns on Mayfield's drives in the second half.
This move also allowed for a reset button to be pushed on David Njoku's season. The second-year tight end has just nine receptions for 69 yards on 16 targets but may have more chances to contribute with Mayfield. Antonio Callaway had just four receptions for 20 yards on 10 targets in Week 3, but he has a shot to be a more consistent contributor with a better quarterback.
Even though the Browns may not turn into a playoff contender overnight with this switch, there has to be much more optimism for this offense in both fantasy and reality. The hype is real for Mayfield because he has the skills to succeed and plenty of talent around him. That doesn't make him a weekly fantasy starter, although he could be a useful streamer as early as this week against the Raiders in Oakland.
B.S. Meter on Mayfield getting too much fantasy hype: 6/10
The 49ers Will Be Fine Without Jimmy Garoppolo
Expectations for Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers were probably too high coming into the season, and the team and its fans have dealt with a lot of bad news in a short period of time. First, Jerick McKinnon suffered a torn ACL a week before the regular-season opener. On Sunday, Garoppolo went down with a knee injury that didn't look good. On Monday, head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed his quarterback's season was already over due to an ACL tear.
Even though the 49ers had been handling McKinnon's absence well thanks to Matt Breida and Alfred Morris, losing Garoppolo is a much tougher blow. Barring a major transaction, San Francisco will likely move forward at quarterback with C.J. Beathard. Before turning to Garoppolo for the final five starts of 2017, Beathard handled the starting job when he took over for Brian Hoyer.
In six extended appearances (five starts), Beathard completed 123 of 224 passes (54.9 percent) for 1,430 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions. He did top 285 yards against the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants, but he also failed to throw for more than 201 yards on two occasions and didn't hit the 250-yard mark four times.
Garoppolo wasn't lights-out to open the season, but he was playing well enough for fans to still feel confident about the 49ers from a reality and fantasy standpoint. Losing a starting running back and quarterback in less than a month is tough for any team to come back from, so lowering expectations makes sense, at least in the passing game.
Tight end George Kittle is off to a solid start as the team's leading receiver with 12 receptions for 191 yards on 20 targets. No other 49er has more than seven receptions or 14 targets. Kittle could remain active as a safety valve of sorts for Beathard, but Marquise Goodwin will likely see a downtick in fantasy production, especially if the big plays dry up without Garoppolo.
Breida and Morris might become even more important to the success of the offense, although they may also garner more attention from opponents knowing the quarterback is a significant downgrade. As a whole, this injury likely kills any chance of a playoff run for the 49ers, even though that would have been a difficult goal to achieve with Garoppolo in a tough conference.
B.S. Meter on the 49ers being fine without Garoppolo: 7/10
It's Too Early to Trust Tyler Boyd
Putting too much trust in Andy Dalton can be dangerous for fantasy production, yet Tyler Boyd has done nothing but improve in each game this season as an active part of the Cincinnati Bengals passing attack.
After opening the season with three receptions for 26 yards on five targets, he had an impressive six receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown on nine targets against a tough Baltimore Ravens defense in Week 2. Boyd followed that up with six receptions for 132 yards and a TD on seven targets in the best game of his career in a Week 3 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
Boyd trails A.J. Green in targets (25-21), receptions (16-15) and touchdowns (4-2), but he has Green beat in yards (249-219).
Boyd has clearly benefited from a higher volume passing attack than expected with Dalton averaging nearly 39 attempts per game over the first three weeks. Still, Boyd is making the most of his opportunities, and more should be coming, especially if Green is hampered by the groin injury he suffered in Week 3.
Dalton clearly feels comfortable going to Boyd, and sometimes rapport takes time to build. With Boyd in his third season, that connection has been on full display and should continue regardless of Green's status. Boyd already looks like a waiver-wire hero and should be considered a good WR3 moving forward.
B.S. Meter on it being too early to trust Boyd: 8/10
Russell Wilson Is Still a Top-10 Fantasy QB
It's been an ugly three weeks if you spent a high draft pick on Russell Wilson, and there may not be a light at the end of the tunnel.
After three games, Wilson is averaging just 16.9 fantasy points, which puts him outside the top 15 fantasy quarterbacks for the season. This isn't a case of not living up to high expectations but still having reliable fantasy value like Aaron Rodgers. This is Wilson falling short of playing at a low-end fantasy-starter level.
Losing Doug Baldwin to knee issues for an indefinite period in Week 1 has only been part of Wilson's problems. Seattle's offensive line might be the worst he's played behind, and that's saying something considering it has never been a strength with Wilson at the helm. Over the first three games, he's been sacked 14 times while rushing for just 21 yards and no touchdowns on seven carries.
Touchdowns are saving Wilson's fantasy value as a passer. He has seven scores to three interceptions. Unfortunately, he's failed to throw for at least 230 yards in each of his last two games and has just 716 yards on 57-of-95 passing for the season, which is just a 60 percent completion rate. Other than the big-play ability of Tyler Lockett, Seattle lacks reliable options for Wilson in the receiving corps.
If Baldwin returns soon, he won't be at 100 percent with problems in both knees, so it's not like Wilson will get a dominant receiver back to help cure him of his passing woes. The Seahawks are a flawed team without solutions to fix the problems, so don't expect Wilson to bounce back into his typical top fantasy form.
B.S. Meter on Wilson still being a top-10 fantasy quarterback: 9/10
Calvin Ridley Is Just a Fluke
Nobody told Calvin Ridley the transition for a rookie wide receiver from college to the pros is a tough one. In just three games, he went from getting blanked in his NFL debut to one of the best performances of the young season.
The New Orleans Saints looked like a good matchup for Ridley. Marshon Lattimore would likely see a lot of Julio Jones, which would leave Ridley to take advantage of a struggling Saints secondary. He did just that with seven receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard score, on eight targets. That made him the top fantasy wide receiver for Week 3 with 40.5 fantasy points.
In between his goose egg in Week 1 and monster performance in Week 3, Ridley caught four of five targets for 64 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, so his improvement has been steady over his first three games. Ridley still isn't playing a huge number of snaps. His snap percentages in the first three weeks are: 64.3, 55.6 and 61.8. Meanwhile, Mohamed Sanu hasn't played less than 76.2 percent in any game with just 10 receptions for 73 yards and a TD on 15 targets.
The Falcons should recognize just how useful Ridley can be to their offense and increase Ridley's snaps immediately. Jones is already missing practice time with a calf injury and Devonta Freeman remains sidelined by a knee injury, so the Falcons need playmakers. Ridley looks like the real deal and should provide a huge boost to both the Falcons offense and fantasy teams all year.
B.S. Meter on Ridley being just a fluke: 10/10