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Fantasy Forecast

Week 4 Fantasy Football Forecast

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: September 29, 2019, 12:01 pm ET

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, regardless if you're playing season-long fantasy, DFS, or are grinding player props.  If you're just looking for fantasy football rankings and only have 10 minutes to skim through for your sit/start decisions, then head over to the "Forecast" sections below where I project each player's PPR finish based on a 12-team league. But if you want to get your research on, then I have full player breakdowns. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions. 

 

Week 4 Forecast

 

Teams are listed in order of their implied points.

Page 1: KC, LAC, LAR, SEA, IND, HOU, BAL, NYG, ATL, NE

Page 2: DAL, DET, PIT, WAS,  NO, CAR, PHI, ARI, TEN, DEN

Page 3: TB, CHI, CIN, OAK, CLE, MIN, BUF, JAX, MIA

TNF: PHI, GB

Byes: SF, NYJ

 

1. Chiefs (30.5 implied points, -6.5 point spread) @ DET

Update: Damien Williams (knee) is out, so LeSean McCoy (ankle) is a boom-or-bust RB2, while Darrel Williams is an upside RB3.

Forecast: Patrick Mahomes QB1, Sammy Watkins WR1/2, Mecole Hardman WR3, Demarcus Robinson WR3/4, Travis Kelce TE1, LeSean McCoy RB2, Darrel Williams RB3

KCDET

Patrick Mahomes is the QB1 overall. Let’s move on. … The Chiefs’ running back situation is up in the air still. Damien Williams (knee) isn’t practicing, so he’s likely going to miss. … LeSean McCoy (ankle) has been limited after “re-tweaking” his ankle last week. Shady will likely play through the injury but is at-risk of re-injury. But there’s way too much upside to keep Shady on the bench in 12-team leagues. … Darrel Williams would be a boom-or-bust flex option if Damien is out after popping up for five receptions last week. … Darwin Thompson is a bench hold in deeper leagues. 

KCAY4

Tyreek Hill is out of a sling, but he’s highly questionable at best for Week 4. Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson will be in three-receiver sets. Watkins’ usage dropped last week, but he’s lining up against CB Darius Slay, who is questionable with a hamstring injury. Watkins is a candidate for a big play against the Lions Defense that’s in the bottom 20% in preventing 20+ yard passes. Watkins is a high-ceiling WR1/2. … Mecole Hardman has a major speed advantage against this Lions’ secondary, and he will benefit from playing indoors as the fastest guy on the field. Hardman is high-ceiling WR3. … Demarcus Robinson is more boom-or-bust than both Watkins and Hardman because of his target share, but he also has a ton of upside as a flex option. … If you are a tight end who sees 8-10 targets from Patrick Mahomes, you are the TE1 overall. I don’t care if the Lions’ have held tight ends’ in check with double teams.

 

2. Chargers (29.25, -15) @ MIA

Update: Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin (technically doubtful), and Justin Jackson are out, so targets and touches will be very concentrated. Keenan Allen is my WR1 overall and Austin Ekeler is a top-five RB. Melvin Gordon warrants flex consideration even if he has a "limited snap count." Dontrelle Inman is a volume-based WR4, but he has a low floor. 

Forecast: Philip Rivers QB1, Austin Ekeler RB1, Melvin Gordon RB2/3, Keenan Allen WR1, Dontrelle Inman WR4

LACMIA

The Chargers Offense is 29th in offensive plays per minute (1.76) in neutral situations per Football Outsiders, but Vegas doesn’t care. The Chargers have the second-highest team total and Philip Rivers is a low-end QB1 because of it. You don’t need me to tell you the Dolphins are bad.

Week 3

A. Ekeler

J. Jackson

Carries

9

5

Targets

7

4

Routes Run

32

17

Austin Ekeler has one more week of being the Chargers’ modified bellcow. Through three weeks, Ekeler is PPR’s RB3 overall. The Dolphins Defense has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs (see chart above) and Ekeler has 100% of the Charger’s inside-the-five carries, so Ekeler is a top-five RB this week. … Justin Jackson has some “Week 3 Tony Pollard appeal”. By that, I mean extended looks in garbage time since the Chargers are 15-point favorites. Jackson has some minimal standalone value even in closer matchups, so Jackson is a dart-throw flex option.

LACAY4

There’s a case for Keenan Allen as the WR1 overall this week. The Dolphins have allowed the third-highest percentage of their PPR points to opposing slot receivers this season per Josh Hornsby and Allen is already the most utilized receiver in the NFL. … Mike Williams is banged up right now (back, ankle), but he is still seeing valuable deep targets and the Dolphins are in the bottom 25% in 20+ yard passes allowed (see the first chart). There’s risk, but there’s plenty of reward with Williams as a WR3. Just check his status before lineups lock. … Travis Benjamin needs a random big play to be viable. … The Dolphins haven’t been able to defend opposing tight ends, but the Chargers don’t have a tight end either. 

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3. Rams (29.25, -9) vs. TB

Forecast: Jared Goff QB1, Todd Gurley RB2, Malcolm Brown RB4, Cooper Kupp WR1/2, Brandin Cooks WR2, Robert Woods WR2/3, Tyler Higbee TE2 

LARTB

The Rams Offense is running the second-most plays per minute (2.21) in neutral situations, per Football Outsiders, but Jared Goff just isn’t playing good football right now. The Bucs’ pass funneling defense and a home game should fix some of his early-season yips, though I’m concerned Goff won’t hit his ceiling with this average offensive line. The matchup puts him in the QB1 conversation.

Week 3

T. Gurley

M. Brown

Carries

14

3

Targets

1

1

Routes Run

24

12

The Bucs defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs this season (see chart above) and Todd Gurley isn’t seeing RB1 usage (see table above). That could change at any time, but banking on more volume this week would be based off “feel”, not evidence. Gurley is an RB2 that doesn’t look overly comfortable in his full-speed cuts, while Malcolm Brown remains one of the best handcuffs in fantasy.

LARAY4

Cooper Kupp has 10 more receptions and has more yards and touchdowns than Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. In terms of air yards, their usage is closer, but Kupp is still atop my Rams’ receiver rankings. Kupp’s matchup with slot CB M.J. Stewart is favorable, and he’s balled at home (18.6 PPR since 2018) since Goff can actually hear Sean McVay when McVay calls out coverages pre-snap. Kupp is on the WR1/2 borderline. … Cooks’ usage is slightly better than Woods’ and Cooks’ weekly upside is also slightly higher, so I’m firing up Cooks as an upside WR2 since there’s not a Bucs’ outside corner that can match Cooks’ speed. … Woods’ usage isn’t as strong as it was in 2018, but he’s still in the conversation as an upside WR2/3 while playing at home against a Bucs defense that’s been a pass funnel through three weeks (see the first chart). If Woods has a big game, I’d think about selling high next week. I’m not very convinced this offense can support three every-week fantasy receivers. … Tyler Higbee (lung) was limited earlier this week, but I don’t like to play players coming off injury. Higbee is a low-end TE2, even in an amazing matchup against the Bucs defense which has been exposed by tight ends (see the first chart).

 

4. Seahawks (26.5, -5) @ ARI

Update: Rashaad Penny is questionable, so Chris Carson is a boom-or-bust RB2. 

Forecast: Russell Wilson QB1, Chris Carson RB1/2,  Rashaad Penny (questionable) RB3, Tyler Lockett WR1, DK Metcalf WR3, Will Dissly TE1

SEAARI

The Seahawks Offense is 31st in offensive plays per minute (1.74) in neutral situations per Football Outsiders, but they should see a bump in total offensive plays with the Cardinals Offense playing the fastest in the league. The Cardinals’ secondary is awful, and Russell Wilson only needs 20-25 pass attempts to have a top-six QB performance. Wilson has a ton of upside while playing in the “Coors Field” of fantasy football. … Rashaad Penny (hamstring) hasn’t practiced yet. That’s wonderful news for Chris Carson, who has (randomly) lost three fumbles in three games. Pete Carroll remains confident in Carson, and the matchup is quite ideal as five-point favorites. Carson is a risky RB1/2 since he might be one fumble away from losing snaps and touches.

SEAAY4

The Cardinals have allowed the fifth-highest percentage of their PPR points to opposing slot receivers this season per Josh Hornsby, so Tyler Lockett has even more reason to eat this week. With 12- and 14-target games under his belt, Lockett is safely inside my top-10 receivers this week. … The Cardinals are in the bottom 10% in allowing 20+ yard passes because of poor safety play, and D.K. Metcalf has seen WR2 usage in terms of air yards (see chart above). Give me Metcalf in DFS. He’s a top-25 option at the position. … Will Dissly’s usage is creeping up (see chart above) and that should continue with the Nick Vannett trade. On top of that, Dissly has the best tight end matchup in fantasy (see Tweet below). Dissly is easily a top-10 fantasy tight end. 

 

5. Colts (26, -6.5) vs. OAK

Update: T.Y. Hilton is officially out, so there are targets and air yards up for grabs. I think this will be a "Marlon Mack game" but Deon Cain, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell are at least interesting.

Forecast: Jacoby Brissett QB2, Marlon Mack RB1, Deon Cain WR4, Chester Rogers WR4, Zach Pascal WR5, Parris Campbell WR5, Eric Ebron TE1/2, Jack Doyle TE2

INDOAK

 

The Colts Offense is 30th in offensive plays per minute (1.76) in neutral situations per Football Outsiders, but Vegas still gives the Colts the fifth-highest team total (26) because of the Raiders’ fantasy-friendly defense. Jacoby Brissett will be a QB2 since the Raiders are in the bottom 25% in QB points allowed and in the bottom 10% in passing DVOA (see chart above). However, if T.Y. Hilton is out, Brissett’s upside and floor will be lowered. 

Week 3

M.  Mack

N.  Hines

Carries

16

2

Targets

3

4

Routes Run

20

15

Marlon Mack has the most rush attempts (61) in the NFL and is averaging an above-average 4.9 yards per carry. With game script on his side as 6.5-point home favorites, Marlon Mack should eat (see Tweet below). Mack is an RB1 since Nyheim Hines is mostly a non-factor. 

INDOAK

T.Y. Hilton (28% target share) hasn’t practiced this week and remains highly questionable for Week 4. If he’s active, he’ll be a boom-or-bust WR3 given his injury. If Hilton is out, there will be a competition for snaps and touches between Deon Cain, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell. Helping their case is the fact that the Raiders have allowed the second-highest percentage of their PPR points allowed to opposing slot receivers this season per Josh Hornsby. If forced to rank these receivers in the event Hilton misses, I’d go Cain (upside WR4), Campbell (WR5), Rogers (WR5), and Pascal (WR6). … Eric Ebron’s usage with Hilton makes him a touchdown-dependent TE2, but if Hilton misses, Ebron should be more involved between the 20s. I’d upgrade Ebron to the TE1/2 borderline if the Colts’ leading receiver is ruled out. … A similar case can be made for Jack Doyle, who would be an upside TE2 if Hilton is out.

 

6. Texans (25.75, -4) vs. CAR

Forecast: Deshaun Watson QB1, Carlos Hyde RB2/3, Duke Johnson RB4, DeAndre Hopkins WR1, Will Fuller WR3/4, Kenny Stills WR4, Jordan Akins TE2/3

HOUCAR

Deshaun Watson has averaged 29.8 fantasy points with Will Fuller, per RotoViz. He’s a QB1 in any matchup, especially at home. The primary concern this week is in the trenches. The Texans Offense is in the bottom 10% in adjusted sack rate, and the Panthers Defense is in the top 10% coming after the quarterback (see chart above). Watson should be under a lot of pressure this week. Luckily, he’s used to that. Watson is a QB1. 

Week 3

D. Johnson

C. Hyde

Carries

2

10

Targets

3

0

Routes Run

23

15

Go hug a Duke Johnson fantasy owner, folks. They need it. Carlos Hyde is the Texans’ primary runner and is the goal-line back, which gives him upside RB2/3 value in an explosive offense like the Texans. The Panthers Defense is also a run funnel (top 20% in pass defense efficiency and bottom 20% in run defense efficiency), so this is setting up as one of the best matchups on the schedule. … Duke Johnson simply can’t be started. He likely needs the Texans to be trailing to see enough touches to warrant flex consideration. As four-point home favorites, this isn’t the week to bet on that. 

HOUAY4

DeAndre Hopkins was shut down by Chargers’ CB Casey Hayward in Week 3. This week’s matchup with similarly sized CB James Bradberry is a tough one as well, but I like Hopkins making the most of it at home after two slow games. Hopkins is obviously a WR1. … Will Fuller faces CB Donte Jackson, who is exactly as fast as Fuller. Fuller is just a boom-or-bust flex option. I anticipate Fuller becoming a buy low next week. … The Panthers have allowed the seventh-highest percentage of their PPR points to opposing slot receivers this season per Josh Hornsby. That primarily helps Kenny Stills, who is leading the Texans in slot snaps and targets, and to a lesser extent Keke Coutee. Stills is an upside WR4 with the best matchup on the team. … Jordan Akins is running a route on only 55% of the Texans’ dropbacks. Akins is a low-volume, low-end TE2. 

 

7. Ravens (25.75, -6.5) vs. CLE

Forecast: Lamar Jackson QB1, Marquise Brown WR2/3, Willie Snead WR5, Miles Boykin WR5, Mark Andrews TE1, Mark Ingram RB2, Justice Hill RB4/5, Gus Edwards RB4/5

BALCLE

Lamar Jackson’s passing predictably regressed in Arrowhead last week, but he still finished with a decent day thanks to his insane rushing ability (46 yards, one touchdown). Jackson is right there with Patrick Mahomes in terms of weekly upside. He’s a top-three QB, especially if the Browns are without their top corners. 

Week 3

M. Ingram

G. Edwards 

J. Hill

Carries

16

7

1

Targets

4

2

3

Routes Run

17

10

7

Mark Ingram is tied for the most inside-the-5 carries (5) in the NFL and has the out-right lead in inside-the-10 carries (9). Ingram’s goal-line role in a run-heavy offense gives him weekly upside as an RB1/2, especially as 6.5-point home favorites. … Gus Edwards and Justice Hill sprinkle behind Ingram but neither have enough usage to be flex options. There is an argument for them to be rostered as handcuffs, however.

BALAY4

Marquise Brown is arguably a buy low. Hollywood is third in air yards (466) and has a 26% team share of targets. He has WR1 usage. There’s no other way around it. This week’s matchup will either be against an injured Denzel Ward (hamstring) or a slow-footed backup. Brown is an upside WR2. … Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, and Seth Roberts aren’t fantasy options given their usage. … Mark Andrews has strong TE1 usage, even while playing through a foot injury. The Browns’ secondary is banged up, and only a handful of tight ends have more touchdown equity. Andrews is a fringe top-five play. 

 

8. Giants (25.75, -2.5) vs. WAS

Forecast: Daniel Jones QB1/2, Sterling Shepard WR2, Evan Engram TE1, Wayne Gallman RB2/3

NYGWAS

Daniel Jones set the quarterback record for most fantasy points in a rookie debut. It went perfectly. Danny Dimes had a few great passes, but more importantly,  he used his athleticism as a runner. With the Giants Offense running the sixth-most plays per minute (2.08) in neutral situations and with the Redskins in the bottom 15% in QB points against, Jones is a legit QB1/2 option this week. … With Saquon Barkley (ankle) out 4-8 weeks, Wayne Gallman will get the first crack as the Giants’ starter. Gallman should see 12-18 touches, though it’s worth highlighting the pass funnel nature of the Redskins Defense. Gallman is a volume-based RB2/3 with nobody on the roster as a legit threat behind him. 

NYGAY4

The Giants’ receivers behind Sterling Shepard are, well, not great. That means Shepard will see WR2-level volume just as he did last week when he posted 7-100-1 on nine targets and 110 air yards. The Redskins Defense has allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this season, and Shepard’s matchup with Josh Norman isn’t an issue. Shepard is a high-ceiling WR2. … Russell Shepard was placed on IR, so Bennie Fowler and Darius Slayton (107 air yards last week) will be on the field. They are zero-floor WR5s. … Where Evan Engram ranks among tight ends: Targets (tied for 1st), receptions (2nd), receiving yards (2nd), and touchdowns (tied for 2nd). He’s an elite tight end.

 

9. Falcons (25, -4) vs. TEN

Forecast: Matt Ryan QB1/2, Devonta Freeman RB2, Julio Jones WR1, Calvin Ridley WR3, Mohamed Sanu WR5, Austin Hooper TE1

ATLTEN

Matt Ryan and the passing attack has been the entire Falcons Offense. Whenever Matty Ice has Julio Jones and is at home, he’s at least on the QB1/2 borderline. The Titans Defense has limited big plays this season, but Ryan could reach 300 passing yards on volume and efficient dinks and dunks. … Devonta Freeman has seen the 27th-most carries (35) among running backs and is 34th in PFF’s grading among 38 backs with 25 carries. It’s not good over here, and the Titans Defense has played above average against the run (see above chart). Freeman might be more touchdown-dependent than he’s ever been, so he’s merely a low-end RB2 even as a home favorite.

ATLAY4

Julio Jones is Julio Jones. He’s a top-three fantasy receiver with a matchup against CB Malcolm Butler, who is PFF’s No. 81 coverage corner among 92 corners with 100 coverage snaps. … This is a bounce-back spot for Calvin Ridley, who was slowed by Indy’s zone and slow-paced offense on the road last week. Ridley has been 4.7 PPR points better at home and slides in as an upside WR3 this week against Adoree’ Jackson. … Mohamed Sanu has the toughest matchup of the group, per Rotoworld’s Ian Hartitz. He’s a low-ceiling WR5. … Austin Hooper is seeing low-end TE1 usage (see above chart) and the Titans’ defensive weakness through three weeks has been against opposing tight ends. I’m confidently firing up Hooper as a top-10 TE. 

 

10. Patriots (25, -7.5) @ BUF

Forecast: Tom Brady QB2, Julian Edelman WR2, Josh Gordon WR3, Phillip Dorsett WR4, James White RB2, Rex Burkhead RB2/3, Sony Michel RB3

NEBUF

The Patriots are one of the few teams worth trying to figure out what the coaching game plan will be week to week. This week, I’m guessing the running backs will be heavily involved. The Bills Defense is much worse against the run (35th percentile rank in run DVOA) than the pass (90th percentile rank). … James White returns and will be the primary pass-catcher as always. He is a candidate for more check-down targets given the Bills’ strong secondary. … Rex Burkhead has played way better than Sony Michel and deserves to inherit more and more of Michel’s carries. If Burkhead chips away at Michel’s 61.5% team share of inside-the-10 carries, then Burkhead would be an every-week RB2. For now, he’s on the RB2/3 borderline. … Michel is last in yards after contact per attempt per PFF and could lose snaps if the Patriots move away from 21 personnel with FB James Develin on injured reserve. Michel is as touchdown-or-bust as it gets. He’s a zero-floor RB3 with touchdown equity. … Tom Brady is playing great, but on the road against a top 15% defense against opposing QBs isn’t the matchup to start Brady in season-long leagues. Brady is a QB2 in one of the worst matchups on the slate. 

NEAY4

Julian Edelman (chest) is expected to play, and he has the best WR/CB matchup on the team against slot CB Kevin Johnson, who has allowed the fourth-most yards per slot coverage snap per PFF. Edelman’s 10-target projection makes him a strong WR2. … Josh Gordon had WR1/2 usage last week without Antonio Brown, but he’ll see a lot of top-10 coverage CB Tre’Davious White. Gordon is a boom-or-bust WR3. … Phillip Dorsett is catching a lot of breaks. No more Gronk. No more AB. Less 21 personnel. Dorsett is a high-ceiling WR4 for the foreseeable future.