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2020 Week 4 Wrap: Old Man Brady's pick-sixes might be a good thing for fantasy football

Dalton Del Don
·12-min read

Los Angeles Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In a matchup that featured the biggest age difference between quarterbacks in NFL history, 43-year-old Tom Brady threw five touchdowns despite missing Chris Godwin and Mike Evans clearly hobbled, while 22-year-old Justin Herbert countered with three scores of his own. The Bucs were down 24-7, but Brady overcame a slow start and Ronald Jones dropping three passes during the first half alone (Brady was also later helped by a turnover leading to a short field). Brady’s newfound propensity to throw pick-sixes is actually good news for his fantasy value, and he’ll be rooting for his wide receivers to get healthy during a short week with an upcoming Thursday night matchup in Chicago against a Bears defense that’s ceded the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

Josh Kelley struggled running and lost a fumble for the second game in a row (instead of just kneeling 90 yards away from the end zone with 15 seconds left in the first half, because NFL coaching), but he looks like a top-25 RB now with Austin Ekeler getting carted off with an injury that’s going to sideline him multiple weeks. Justin Jackson needs to be added in all formats as well, and he’s rostered in just five percent of Yahoo leagues. There’s plenty of upside in LA’s backfield given how impressive Herbert has looked.

Facing a Tampa Bay pass defense that entered ranked #3 in DVOA while allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to QBs, Herbert went on the road without Mike Williams (and Ekeler for a good chunk) and got 11.6 YPA in another eye-opening performance. Herbert was throwing dimes deep downfield (while getting hit) and connecting with the likes of Jalen Guyton and Donald Parham Jr., as it appears the Chargers hit a home run in their draft.

Herbert hasn’t just passed the eye test — he’s aced it. I’d now be surprised if he’s not a future star.

Keenan Allen is seeing more targets than any receiver in football with Herbert and is locked in as a borderline top-five WR in PPR leagues, while Ronald Jones remains a must-start as long as Leonard Fournette is out … O.J. Howard may be out for the season with a torn Achilles, and Evans really looked hobbled, so Rob Gronkowski and Scotty Miller could be busy Thursday.

New Orleans Saints @ Detroit Lions

Drew Brees looked great and threw downfield more despite missing Michael Thomas and Jared Cook, as the Lions have now somehow blown a double-digit lead in four of their past five games (and have lost six straight!). Matt Patricia also went for 2 down eight, so he’s an enigma … Latavius Murray has seen 13+ touches in three of four games this season and would easily be my No. 1 ranked fantasy RB should Alvin Kamara go down … Matthew Stafford got just 6.6 YPA and has disappointed this season, but he’s now thrown 15 touchdowns over five home games in this system since the start of last year … T.J. Hockenson scored but failed to record 10 yards against a Saints defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. The same could be said about Marvin Jones (nine yards) against a Saints secondary missing Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins.

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers

The Cardinals were dealing with a bunch of injuries, but this was still an ugly loss with Kyler Murray throwing for just 133 yards (4.3 YPA) against a Carolina pass defense that entered ranked #28 in DVOA. Of course, Murray added three TD tosses and 78 rushing yards, so fantasy managers aren’t complaining, but his development as a passer in Year 2 (while adding DeAndre Hopkins) hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as hoped … Kenyan Drake got 2.7 YPC and wasn’t targeted facing a Panthers defense that had been gashed for the second-most fantasy points by running backs. He was seemingly risky for health reasons, but it looks like Drake is going to be a fantasy bust while healthy. He probably belongs on fantasy benches against the Jets’ #3 ranked DVOA rush defense in Week 5. It’s official, you’ve got to hate the Drake

Another six targets and goal-line work for Mike Davis (he could’ve had another two touchdowns at least Sunday), and he should continue to be treated as a top-10 RB with CMC out.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon had a huge game, including his most targets (six) since 2018, which could be big news moving forward (the three scores were nice too) … James Robinson is on pace for 1,784 yards from scrimmage, and hopefully, DJ Chark’s two touchdowns weren’t on your bench (his return certainly helped Gardner Minshew) … Joe Burrow became the first rookie ever to throw for 300+ yards in three straight games, and with A.J. Green increasingly looking washed up, Tee Higgins should have serious fantasy value moving forward.

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28)
Finally, the big Joe Mixon game arrived. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Cleveland Browns @ Dallas Cowboys

While a high-scoring game was expected, 87 combined points is a bit absurd, with Baker Mayfield somehow throwing for just 165 yards (5.5 YPA) with his team nearly putting up a 50-burger. Dak Prescott is going to finish with a ridiculous fantasy season given his weapons and just how bad this Cowboys defense appears to be. The Browns entered ranked #32 in passing offense and were losing in the fourth quarter last week at home against Washington despite a +5 turnover margin … CeeDee Lamb saw nine fewer targets than Amari Cooper but scored the first two touchdowns of his career anyway, while Odell Beckham Jr. countered with three scores, including this nice 50-yard run as well as this catch on a throw from Jarvis Landry … One of the biggest stories of Week 4 was Nick Chubb suffering a leg injury, as he once again looked like the best player on the field before going down Sunday (and was in store for a monster game with Kareem Hunt banged up and barely seeing the field). The Browns’ backfield situation is unclear right now (hello, D’Ernest “Goes to Camp” Johnson), but if Chubb’s injury proves serious, and Hunt fully recovers from his groin injury, then the latter has legitimate top-five fantasy upside in PPR leagues … Prescott threw for 500+ yards, and Michael “Crawl” somehow had fewer than 30 receiving yards, while Cooper’s home/road splits remain extreme.

Minnesota Vikings @ Houston Texans

Kirk Cousins has gotten 9.3 YPA or higher in three of four games this season (11.8 in Week 4), and with Minnesota’s defense looking so beatable and Justin Jefferson looking so good (the rookie wideout is top-three in yards per route run this season and is worth more than whatever it took for you to get him on your fantasy team last week, as Minnesota has an extremely narrow target tree), Cousins should be an underrated fantasy QB moving forward … I’m not a clever enough writer to describe how good Dalvin Cook was, although he frustratingly lost a touchdown to Alexander Mattison when leaving banged up for one play. Cook’s durability remains a question mark, but he’s without a doubt one of the best running backs in football (he’s clearly better than Ezekiel Elliott, for instance, although I don’t think that’s particularly controversial) … David Johnson had a disappointing game in this matchup. He hasn’t looked good since Week 1 and is a poor bet moving forward … Will Fuller should continue to put up around top-12 fantasy WR numbers during the games in which he fully plays (although his TD was aided by a blown coverage after Harrison Smith was ejected).

Seattle Seahawks @ Miami Dolphins

Ryan Fitzpatrick helped fantasy managers with a late rushing TD but played poorly in a prime matchup against a Seahawks defense that had allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and was missing Jamal Adams. Considering the Dolphins had extra time to prepare, and Seattle flew across the country (although this marks the Seahawks’ 10th straight win during 10 am body clock start times), Miami’s performance was especially disappointing … It was nice to see DeVante Parker fight through the ankle injury he immediately aggravated, but whispers of Preston Williams not being fully recovered from knee surgery should get louder after a quiet outing against a Seattle secondary that had allowed 400 more receiving yards to wide receivers than the next closest team (and Adams was out) … It’s been a wild injury ride with Chris Carson over the last week, while Greg Olsen saw a team-high seven targets and nearly scored, making him a sneaky TE option moving forward.

Baltimore Ravens @ Washington Football Team

Dwayne Haskins held off getting benched for now, while Lamar Jackson bounced back despite missing his left tackle … If you asked me before the year which Ravens fantasy running back would be the one to have over the first month of the year, I promise my answer wouldn’t have been “None.“ … Marquise Brown won’t be this cheap in trades again for a very long time (he likely would’ve had a touchdown Sunday if John Harbaugh threw the challenge flag he considered but opted for first-and-goal instead), and Mark Andrews is on pace to finish with 48 catches and 16 touchdowns this season … Antonio Gibson now has 11 more NFL carries than he did during college, and his usage is extremely encouraging (and J.D. McKissic also lost a fumble). It’s not a stretch to suddenly call the rookie a top-15 fantasy back in PPR leagues.

New York Giants @ Los Angeles Rams

I’m happy as someone who didn’t play pot odds and backed the Rams in Survivor, but I’m not too pumped about ranking Darrell Henderson Jr. so high this week. Not only did Malcolm Brown see more carries, but he nearly matched the team lead with six targets, as the LA backfield is tough to predict on a weekly basis (albeit one that’s likely to be awfully productive moving forward). The Giants’ defense played well Sunday, and the Rams are lucky they escaped with a win (blame me for the lackluster performance, as I recently bet on them at 25/1 to win the SB) … Devonta Freeman’s 3.0 YPC should be considered his over/under moving forward, although at least the Giants’ nightmare schedule finally eases up in Week 5, with an inviting trip to Dallas to face a Cowboys defense that just allowed nearly 50 points to Baker Mayfield on the road. Don’t give up on Darius Slayton just yet.

Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears

The Colts entered allowing the fewest yards per play in the NFL and as the #1 defense in DVOA, so this wasn’t the easiest first start for Nick Foles (essentially the opposite from being indoors in Atlanta last week). This was the first game this season without two touchdowns scored until Allen Robinson pulled down this nice TD grab with 1:35 left … Jonathan Taylor is a buy-low candidate with an upcoming schedule that eases up, but he’s seen just four targets over the last three games after getting six in Week 1 in a discouraging development. Still, it’s going to help to play on a team with one of the league’s best defenses and offensive lines (and while Taylor hasn’t impressed, running backs can improve like other positions as well) … Philip Rivers badly overthrew a wide-open T.Y. Hilton, but it’s nevertheless worrisome he’s on the same path as A.J. Green and can no longer be trusted in fantasy lineups. Hilton had a tough matchup against a Bears defense that’s the only in the NFL yet to allow a touchdown to a wide receiver this season, and targets should be there with Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell on IR, but Zach Pascal currently looks like the Colts’ #1 WR.

Buffalo Bills @ Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Allen continued to play well (and avoided an injury scare), while Devin Singletary scored but managed just 3.1 YPC against a Raiders defense that had allowed the most fantasy points to running backs … Nelson Agholor had a 50-yard touchdown called back by an illegal formation that didn’t affect the play and scored again later, but Hunter Renfrow remains the team’s best WR in PPR leagues.

Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers

Carson Wentz got the Eagles their first win (moving them into sole possession of first place in the highly competitive NFC East) by playing less awful (although this pass was nice) than Nick Mullens, although it was a quiet fantasy night for Philadelphia (Miles Sanders was shut down by an SF defense that’s allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season despite their injuries) … Jerick McKinnon acted as SF’s clear workhorse back (with nine targets) and has now scored in all four games this season, and his future fantasy value is tied to Raheem Mostert’s health … Only Patrick Mahomes and Andrew Luck had thrown for more yards over the first nine starts of a career than Mullens, but he was benched during start #10 after throwing one of the worst interceptions you’ll ever see (and struggling throughout the night, with no help from his line).

C.J. Beathard nearly led SF to a comeback and likely became the 49ers’ new QB2 with the performance (even if it came against softer defenses), and it actually would’ve led to overtime if not for the Eagles choosing to go for two after scoring the game’s first touchdown … George Kittle had a monster game, securing 15-of-15 targets (from backup and third-string QBs) while returning from a sprained knee, finishing with 191 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown (he ranks second in the NFL in contested catches while playing 1.5 games) … Brandon Aiyuk (more like Ai-YAC) continued to impress, including this hurdle during his rushing touchdown ... The 49ers are 0-2 at home and 2-0 at MetLife Stadium this season.

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