Two minute warning: week 4

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October 4, 2017 by coachcarter717

(Courtesy of Adam Burt/The Nosebleeds)

Written by Carter Cotrupi

The 4th week of the NFL regular season tells us two things: which teams are favored to make a long postseason run and which teams can overcome injuries and survive until the postseason. The Patriots are struggling to fix their defense, The Jets need to decide if they want to go 3-13 or 7-9 and the Kansas City Chiefs are still waiting to lose. In the NFFL, the #1 and #2 seeds are going head-to-head in Week 5 meaning one team will get their first loss of the fantasy season. The field is starting to divide, so let’s analyze Week 4 of the NFFL.

Power Rankings

  1. Jimmy is My Homie G. (+1)

The move to 1st place marks the first time that Jimmy is My Homie G has surpassed Is Joe Flacco Elite for the highest point total in the season. Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but an incredible performance from two LA Rams players (Todd Gurley and Greg Zuerlein) has to be recognized in some format. Thanks guys.

  1. Is Joe Flacco Elite? (-1)

As mentioned above, next week’s matchup will finally make a clear-cut separation between #1 and #2. An unusually quiet day for Antonio Brown and Christian McCaffrey is what brought Matt’s team down below 100 points for the first time this season. It should be pretty easy for his starting lineup to bounce back.

  1. my f**king sick team (–)
  2. Wetty Squad (+1)
  3. Squish (+2)
  4. Deez Nuts (+2)
  5. Sunday Funday (-3)
  6. Mixon a Water Joe (-2)
  7. Free Kaepernick (+3)
  8. Big Country (–)
  9. Wreck League (–)
  10. YOU DON’T DO THAT (-3)
  11. Brian’s Team (–)
  12. Get in the bathroom (–)

Breakout Stars

Ameer Abdullah (18.40 points)- Last Sunday, Ameer Abdullah showed the coaching staff how much he wants to cement himself as the guy in Detroit. Abdullah has quietly become Mr. Consistent in the Lions’ offense. QB Matthew Stafford has always favored pass-catching RBs and with Theo Riddick struggling, Abdullah has been featured in both goal-line and open field looks. It helps that Detroit rarely strays from the run game even when the game-script is not in their favor. With the receiving core’s strength lying on the outside, Abdullah plays the check down role for Stafford when the deep ball is not presenting itself. His incredible effort on one play in particular against the Vikings will certainly not go unnoticed.

Jake Elliott (19.00 points)- In Week 3, we learned Jake Elliott’s name as he became the hero the Philadelphia Eagles needed with a 61-yard field goal in the last few seconds of the game to beat the division rival New York Giants.  Plucked right off the Bengals practice squad, Elliott has earned his spot in the roster as a reliable kicker to support the budding Eagles offense.

Ezekiel Elliott (27.90 points)- It was only a matter of time before Zeke would come back into fruition. It was a slow start to the season for Elliott, dealing with the back-and-forth suspension and appeal with Commissioner Roger Goodell. But Zeke is back and his shirt are only getting smaller as the season progresses. Part of the initial problem rested with Dallas’ offensive line, which has been praised as the best thing since peanut butter and jelly, not performing up to par. Seemingly everything is falling back into place and Elliott owners in fantasy can confidently start him as an RB1 no matter the matchup.

Busts

Jimmy Graham (8.10 points)- Graham is just not in sync with QB Russell Wilson like he was in 2016. The emergence of Luke Wilson as the more reliable TE option in the Seahawk’s passing game takes a huge cut into Jimmy’s fantasy production. There were a couple of instances on Sunday where Graham could not haul in errant throws by Wilson, one leading to a tip-drill interception by Colts’ safety Malik Hooker. With the success of Luke Wilson as a red zone threat, Graham is stuck wondering what to do with all these missed connections. My advice: try Craigslist, Jimmy.

Marshawn Lynch (1.20 points)- One of the hottest stories going into the 2017 season was what to expect from the unretired Marshawn Lynch. Behind one of the projected best offensive lines in the league, some experts were certain that this would be one of Lynch’s most productive seasons while others questioned if there was anything left in the tank for the 31-year-old running back. So far, the latter has been correct. While beast mode hasn’t entirely faded, Oakland’s O-line has been a severe let-down to the running game. Lynch has never been the speedy runner, instead relying on his power to truck over defenders in the open field. However, Lynch had the luxury of decent run-blocking back in Seattle to help get him in stride once he gets the ball. That has not been the case so far with the Raiders. With QB Derek Carr out for the next few weeks, the offense will rest of Lynch’s shoulders. Whether he has the strength to carry it is another question entirely.

Jonathan Stewart (4.80 points)- Stewart’s situation in the Panthers offense has been interesting. It has been obvious that Coach Ron Rivera and the rest of Carolina’s coaching staff favors Christian McCaffrey’s agility and skill in the passing game over Stewart’s between-the-tackles niche. While not considered a definitive “committee”, both of these Panthers backs have been victim to Cam Newton’s lethargic offense. It is clear that Coach Rivera wants McCaffrey to be the feature back in an offense that can utilize the running threat of both its QB and a pass-catching RB. However, Newton has not been himself lately due to an injury earlier in the preseason. McCaffrey seems to be the only consistent fantasy producer coming out of Carolina right now.

Key Injuries

Derek Carr (Raiders)- Carr went out of the game late in the third quarter after an awkward sack from Broncos DE Adam Gotsis. He was diagnosed with a transverse process fracture in his back after a CAT scan finally revealed the cause of his back spasms. Raiders Coach Jack Del Rio was concerned after initial X-rays and the MRI Monday morning were inconclusive, yet Carr was still expressing great pain in his back. Due to the nature of the injury, it is basically up to Carr’s pain tolerance when he can return to the field, but he will miss this week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. EJ Manuel will get the start with Connor Cook as the backup.

Chris Carson (Seahawks)- A curious decision to leave starting RB Chris Carson in the second half of a blowout win against the Colts led to an untimely injury for the young back. The MRI Monday morning determined that Carson had suffered a fracture below his knee cap and the rookie was placed on IR. He had surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss the rest of the season, an unfortunate end to Carson’s rookie year in the NFL. Pete Carrol is not a stranger to his grab-bag backfield after losing Marshawn Lynch to retirement, but Carson was proving himself to be the most consistent runner the Seahawks have seen in these past two seasons.

Dalvin Cook (Vikings)- Another rookie running back whose season has ended prematurely. After attempting to juke a Lions defender on a run early in the 3rd quarter, Cook can be seen collapsing to the turf before any contact was made. Very reminiscent of the play that injured Patriots RB Dion Lewis back in 2015 against the Washington Redskins. It was confirmed Monday by Coach Mike Zimmer that Cook had suffered a “nearly complete ACL tear” and will miss the remainder of his rookie season with the Vikings.

Matchup of the Week: my f**king sick team (116.44 v. 114.92) Free Kaepernick

Free Kaepernick was featured in Week 3’s matchup of the week as well, but this week it is for a different reason. John’s team came out with the narrowest margin of victory so far this season (1.52 points) to keep his team at 3-1.

This was a matchup where at least one change in the starting lineup meant the difference between a win and a loss for Free Kaepernick who had the highest losing score in the league this season. Left on the bench was Giovani Bernard (15.40 points) and Charles Clay (13.70 points) in favor of Marshawn Lynch (1.20 points) and Rob Gronkowski (10.00 points). But who could blame Shane for sticking with the bona-fide superstars?

I predicted that Free Kaepernick would come around to stun the rest of the league later in the season and this week confirms my expectations. Despite the loss, things are starting to heat up in Shane’s starting lineup and the pressure is on to rise up the rankings before it is too late to come back.

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