Week 4 of the 2017 NFL season is here, meaning the clock is officially ticking on your chances to make the playoffs in your fantasy football league.
It doesn’t matter if your team is 3-0, 1-2 or, for many, 0-3. As long as Week 4 ends in the win column, don’t pull the plug on the season just yet. Week 3 had some underwhelming performances from some of fantasy’s usual suspects. But Week 4 is a week of redemption. After all, it is the quarter mark of the season.
It’s time to start winning, and stop whining. Here’s this week’s “Boom or Bust” prospects heading into the weekend:
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
As important as it is to steer clear of running back committees in fantasy football, it’s still hard to look past Mark Ingram’s play, even with the likes of Alvin Kamara and Adrian Peterson stealing touches from him.
Ingram has been (by a large margin) the most effective tailback for the New Orleans Saints through three weeks. The Peterson experiment isn’t working. Kamara is only good on third down pass plays. Ingram is the back to own on this team, and here’s why.
Averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season, Ingram is gaining more yards on the ground than C.J. Anderson and Devonta Freeman each time he touches the ball in the backfield. In PPR leagues, Ingram has scored at least 18.10 points each week this season, two of which games he only had six and eight carries, respectively.
In Week 3, Ingram received the lion’s share of work for the Saints with 14 carries, even though he lost nine touches to Peterson and five to Kamara. The workload is slowly but surely trending towards Ingram as the Saints try to get their offense figured out.
Saints final HB snap count: Mark Ingram 31, Alvin Kamara 15, Adrian Peterson 13. Out of 58.— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 24, 2017
Ingram is the star of the show, and could elevate himself from FLEX to running back No. 2 status this week against the Miami Dolphins with a solid showing.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Without a doubt, DeAndre Hopkins is worthy of No. 1 receiver status in fantasy. But the amount of targets he is seeing with a rookie at quarterback is special, to say the least.
In the first two games of the season, Hopkins saw 29 targets (16 in Week 1, 13 in Week 2). While he “only” saw eight targets in Week 3, the potential Hopkins has in PPR and standard leagues is enormous.
DeAndre Hopkins has accounted for 48 percent of #Texans’ targets (29 of 60) and 44 percent of passing yards (128 of 289) through two games.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) September 22, 2017
While he isn’t hauling in every ball that comes his way, he has recorded seven receptions in each game this season, totaling 204 yards and a score.
As Watson continues to get comfortable under center and throwing the ball downfield where Hopkins does his best work, Hopkins’ fantasy value could go through the roof.
Going up against the Tennessee Titans this weekend with a defense that has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, Hopkins could have a field day in Tennessee’s secondary.
Continue putting Hopkins in your starting lineup. He won’t disappoint.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks
After a shaky start to the season, Jimmy Graham came alive in Week 3 - as did the rest of the Seattle Seahawks offense.
While he didn’t find the end zone, Graham hauled in a respectable seven receptions for 72 yards: a good output in PPR, a solid showing standard leagues.
After totaling nine targets in Week’s 1 and 2 combined, it wasn't shocking to see some owners overreact and look to place him on the waiver-wire.
I wouldn't be proactively dropping Jimmy Graham, but if you need to do something and he's in the convo, I am fine with it.— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) September 24, 2017
But Graham saw 11 passes come his way in Week 3 an there aren’t many options for Russell Wilson on offense to throw the ball to. Seeing Graham back to his normal self, even in a small sample size, could be a sign of things to come.
If he truly is looking to get back to being the No. 1 tight end in fantasy alongside Rob Gronkowski, Graham will need to put on a show against the Indianapolis Colts this week, who own the 29th-ranked pass defense in the NFL, according to NFL.com.
Have faith that Graham isn’t passed his prime at 30 years of age; he still has a lot left in the tank. Your loyalty to him will pay dividends against the Colts.
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
While it’s important to not overreact to Derek Carr’s performance in Week 3 against the Washington Redskins, it might be time to, at least, take a step back.
The Raiders, as a whole, were dismal against the Redskins. Not only is losing to Washington 27-10 embarrassing, but Carr’s play left a lot to be desired.
Derek Carr was stuck tonight. pic.twitter.com/P3luUSid9q— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 25, 2017
Scoring 11.22 fantasy points in Yahoo leagues this past week with 118 yards, one touchdown with two interceptions, it’s not that surprising to see Carr’s presence on the waiver wire increase by one percentage point in the past day.
Dropping Carr, regardless of how he played in Week 3, is a mistake. But playing him again against the Denver Broncos and their defense could be.
Allowing the fourth-fewest amount of yards in the league this season (263 yards allowed per game), the Broncos don’t give up a lot to opposing teams defensively, especially teams that rely on big plays downfield like the Raiders do.
It’s hard to trust Carr against Denver coming off one of the worst performances of his career. There are better options available against better matchups that could yield greater results.
Don’t hesitate to bench Carr this week until the Raiders prove their ready to roll.
Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints
Those who invested in Willie Snead stock will be excited to see Snead back from suspension and eligible to play, but starting him in Week 4 could be a misfire.
Not only is Snead coming back to play after three weeks away from the game, he also has a bit of a hamstring injury that has him officially listed as questionable heading into Sunday against the Dolphins.
#saints WR Willie Snead was working out on the side field during media viewing portion of practice. coming back from a 3 game suspension.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 27, 2017
If Snead is able to play, how much will be able to contribute right away? The only play for Snead, if he is healthy, is to start him in the FLEX. But even then, there is a lot of risk in doing so.
The Saints might be able to do some damage against Miami’s secondary, even without Snead as the Dolphins allow the fifth-most passing yards per game in the NFL.
Don’t put your faith in a gametime decision for a player who’s been out of action for awhile.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
Nothing against Lamar Miller, who is still considered the bell-cow for the Texans backfield, but his time might be running out.
Miller has averaged 3.7 yards per carry so far this season, failing to eclipse the 65-yard mark for a game since Week 1. He’s certainly getting enough touches to keep him somewhat relevant in PPR leagues, but the threat of rookie running back D’Onta Foreman is real.
Lamar Miller snap rate by week, starting with opener: 81%, 74%, 70%. D'Onta Foreman 2%, 26%, 24%.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 25, 2017
While Foreman is averaging less yards per carry than Miller (3.3 ypc), he could loom as a big threat in the passing game the more he lines up next to Watson on third down. Foreman rushed for 25 yards on eight carries last week, but also hauled in two receptions for 65 yards, scoring 19 points in PPR leagues.
If you own Miller, move quickly to handcuff Foreman a she is only owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Friday afternoon. Going up against the Titans, the Texans might be forced to play catch up against Tennessee’s multifaceted offense, meaning more time for Foreman to make plays in the passing game while Miller rests on the sidelines.
If Miller is the only option to play, by all means play him. Just be wary that his touches could slowly disappear if Foreman continues to impress in a limited role.
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