College Football Pick’em
Week Four Recap
Talking the business of sports
Good morning. While you’re getting breakfast ready, there’s football being played, with the Vikings and Saints having kicked off at 9:30 a.m. ET from London. And, fittingly for Week 4, there are a ton of injuries in that game to worry about, with the Saints hit especially hard — they’re without starting QB Jameis Winston, star RB Alvin Kamara and star WR Michael Thomas, with Jarvis Landry also entering the game beat up.
This week features a simply ridiculous amount of injuries, with a number of big players already ruled out — and many up in the air for Sunday’s games. There’s a lot you need to sort through, and the Fantasy Football Today team is here to help. Jamey Eisenberg, Heath Cummings, and Dave Richard are on CBS Sports HQ at 10 a.m. to answer your questions and get you the latest up-to-date injury news live until kickoff. And if you want more direct answers to your questions, I’ve got two more ways for you to win: Go to Twitter and use the hashtag “#AskFFT”, where our whole team will be answering questions all morning; and go to the FFT YouTube channel to chat with Adam Aizer, Frank Stampfl and I starting at 11:30. We’ll be there right up until kickoff answering as many questions as we can, so make sure you’re in the chat early to get your questions in.
For more Week 4 help, here’s the rest of our preview content to get you ready:
For the rest of this morning’s newsletter, I have updates on the latest injury news as well as answers to your questions in an #AskFFT mailbag — email me at [email protected] throughout the week to get your emails included.
Zach Wilson (knee) is set to start for the Jets as expected, and there shouldn’t be any surprises or suspense today.
Andy Dalton starts for the Saints, Cooper Rush will start for the Cowboys, and Brian Hoyer will start for the Patriots. Of those three, Dalton is the only one I would come close to wanting to use in a two-QB league, but he’s a low-end No. 2 at best.
Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Jonathan Taylor (toe) were ultimately removed from the injury report and are expected to play their normal roles. Cook has experience playing through this shoulder issue in the past, but there is still some elevated risk of re-injury – not that you’re even considering sitting him. Dameon Pierce, Miles Sanders, James Conner, and AJ Dillon were all also removed from the injury report after being listed earlier in the week.
I’m expecting both to play, with some positive reports coming out about McCaffrey especially over the past few days. Patterson seems like he might be the longest shot to play seeing as he only got a limited session in during Friday’s practice and we haven’t gotten confirmation that he’ll play. He’s also the easiest to sit of the three if you’re wary, given his limited passing game role since Week 1. He’s an RB2, and if Patterson is out, I would only consider Tyler Allgeier an RB3, because I wouldn’t expect much of a passing game role.
No real surprises here – Scott’s absence could mean more opportunities for Kenneth Gainwell, though Scott only has 10 carries and one target through three games, so it isn’t a significant role he’s leaving behind. With Swift out, Jamaal Williams figures to be the Lions lead rusher, with Craig Reynolds likely to take on some passing downs. Williams is the Start of the Week for the matchup against the Seahawks, and it’s a great matchup – albeit one where Williams is playing in a very beat up offense that could struggle to move the ball. He’s more of an RB2 for me. Khalil Herbert is the better option in Davis Montgomery’s absence, if you ask me (and you are).
There are a ton of WR injuries to keep track of heading into today’s games, but at least the likes of A.J. Brown, Allen Lazard, DeVonta Smith, Greg Dortch, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Michael Gallup should be good to go Sunday, among others. Bears rookie Velus Jones Jr. is also set to make his NFL debut, per reports, and remains worth a look in deeper leagues just in case this passing game starts to figure something out.
The Buccaneers guys are obviously worth watching. My expectation is that Godwin is the least likely of the trio to play, with both he and Jones expected to be game-time decisions – Jones didn’t practice Friday, but with a “rest” tag, which complicates things. My preference would be to avoid non-Mike Evans receivers for the Buccaneers until they prove healthy enough to make it through a full game.
There is going to be plenty of interest in Josh Reynolds, given the absence of Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark, but I’ll just remind you that there was very little interest in starting Reynolds last season when he was playing without most of those guys. He did have a decent stretch where he caught 16 passes for 259 yards and a couple of scores over four games last season, albeit mostly after St. Brown broke out and took the offense along with him. Reynolds isn’t a terrible option, but I’m expecting that offense to mostly be pretty bad with all their injuries, and Reynolds may not be good enough to overcome that.
Otherwise, it looks like Valdes-Scantling and Davis are expected to play, as are Brown and Moore – Moore will be making his season debut, and his return makes it tougher to trust Dortch. Moore has a RB2/3 upside in this offense, but I’m not sure he’ll play a full complement of snaps just yet. He’s a stash.
Mack Hollins is coming off a huge game with Renfrow out, and he’s an interesting flier for this one. Josh Palmer has some appeal for the Chargers as well, and both of them are in the same WR3/4 range as Reynolds for me. If Landry plays, he’s not far from that role, though the absence of Winston adds some complications for the Saints offense as a whole – which includes Chris Olave coming off a massive game. Olave is my favorite of that whole crew, including the WR3/4 types already mentioned, but I’m a little worried about what the switch from Winston to Dalton means for him.
Both guys are expected to play, though with Schultz we have specific reporting indicating that, while Knox is more of an assumption – he was able to practice on a limited basis every day this week. Schultz is the better Fantasy option if he plays, though I wouldn’t be surprised if his role was limited, and he’s less of a must-start option than you’re typically used to with him.
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John, I’m going to be honest, I think you might be overthinking this one. Mariota has been decent, as I hoped he would be, but he also just had 19.6 points against a pretty bad Seahawks defense. Stafford was awful in the season opener and only had 10.2 points in Week 3, but he also had both Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson drop touchdowns, and he averaged 10 yards per attempt despite that. The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far, but they’ve also faced Justin Fields, Geno Smith, and Russell Wilson, and I’m not sure we can really say that’s a particularly impressive stretch at this point. I’m sticking with Stafford here.
I think both of these guys are a little less certain than they should be for exactly the reasons you give. I’m going to give Williams the edge simply because of his longer-term track record. He hasn’t been great this season overall, but he did have that huge game in Week 2 against the Chiefs, and you know he’s going to get downfield and red zone looks, at the very least. The truth is, we don’t really know what to expect Wilson’s usage to look like with his new QB. I think he’ll remain the No. 1 target for the Jets, but it’s worth noting that Elijah Moore has run 44 more snaps than Wilson this season, including 53 to 37 in Week 3. That uncertainty pushes Williams ahead.
I’m going with Dillon over Gibson – Gibson just isn’t getting the passing game usage we hoped for after Week 1, and the Commanders are set for another tough game against the Cowboys. I don’t think this is going to be a set up that works for Gibson. And Johnson is the obvious choice for me – the Steelers offense hasn’t taken the leap we were hoping for, but Johnson still has double-digit targets in each of the first three games, so he has both the high weekly floor and ceiling you’re looking for.
Conner has been a bit of a disappointment so far, mostly because the Cardinals offense has been a disappointment. I mean, sure, his 3.0 yards per carry isn’t helping much, but he’s been involved in the passing game like we hoped he would be and will still get a heavy share of the goal-line work when it arrives. I don’t mind Stevenson, but he’s in a timeshare in an offense that was pretty bad before losing its starting quarterback. Stevenson’s passing game role is solid, but it’s hard to argue he even has an edge on Conner in that regard, and I still have a lot more faith in Kyler Murray than Brian Hoyer.
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