The Loop Fantasy Football Update Week 4: Lions’ two standouts will be watching from sideline Sunday – Yahoo News

  • October 1, 2022

UPDATE: 11:21 p.m. Friday
Turns out last week’s heartbreaking loss to the Vikings took more out of the Detroit Lions than we knew. Their two top playmakers, running back D’Andre Swift and wide receiver Amon-Ra St Brown, were banged up in that game and will now miss Sunday’s game against Seattle.
While we’ve already pointed out how that elevates RB Jamaal Williams, it also puts the focus on receivers D.J. Chark and Josh Reynolds. The problem is both are nursing injuries themselves. Our guess is Lions QB Jared Goff will be looking for star tight end T.J. Hockenson. A lot.
The Saints are also looking pretty depleted going into their London game with the Vikings. WR Michael Thomas has been ruled out. And QB Jameis Winston is likely to sit out, too. That might not be a bad thing, as Andy Dalton is a reasonable backup whose presence might actually be a boost to star RB Alvin Kamara. Might be a classic case of addition by subtraction?
As for the Vikings, it now looks like RB Dalvin Cook will start, so the Alexander Mattison Hype Train may not extend all the way to The Continent.
Others ruled out this week include Bears RB David Montgomery (Khalil Herbert Alert), Chargers WR Keenan Allen, Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow (Mack Hollins Alert) and Giants wideout Kadarius Toney.
Tampa Bay has two receivers who will be game-time calls, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, and Arizona WR Marquise Brown is now considered questionable.
ORIGINAL POST: 8:00 a.m. Wednesday
You’ll never see this position noted on an NFL roster, but fantasy football owners know one of the most important positions in their game is The Handcuff.
That’s the immediate backup to a star running back, often an up-and-comer who could post winning numbers if thrust into the spotlight. And in Minnesota, that handcuff goes by the name of Alexander Mattison.
When Dalvin Cook went down with a shoulder injury last Sunday, Mattison came in and racked up 44 total yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ comeback win over Detroit. He could be called on to start Sunday morning in London when the Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints.
Mattison often excels in this role. Last season, in three games in which he had major duty, Mattison averaged more than 100 rushing yards. If Cook can’t go, we could see a repeat performance.
Mattison isn’t the only significant handcuff you should keep your eye on this week and beyond. Here are five more:
Jamaal Williams (Lions) — D’Andre Swift mavens were already seeing red before his injury against the Vikings. That’s because Williams has been vulturing most of the goal-line carries. That’s why he’s tied for the NFL lead with four touchdowns, a total that will likely go up this week if Swift is unable to go against Seattle.
Khalil Herbert (Bears) — After Houston tacklers rolled up on David Montgomery’s ankle in Week 3, Herbert came in and immediately proved his worth. Two touchdowns and 169 total yards. With Montgomery questionable, Herbert could be starting this Sunday against a mediocre New York GIants run defense.
Tony Pollard (Cowboys) — The Loop has both of Dallas’ top RBs and usually starts the least effective one. Their time-share was frustrating again Monday night, as Ezekiel Elliott ran for 73 yards and a TD, while Tony Pollard managed 105 yards on only 13 carries. We still have a sneaking suspicion that, were Zeke to go down, Pollard would be The Next Big Thing.
Mark Ingram (Saints) — Alvin Kamara has been banged up and scoreless this season, and he’s falling way short of his usual numbers (111 total yards). So the 32-year-old Ingram has played a bigger role, tallying 100 total yards and a touchdown. The former Heisman winner could get the majority of goal-line looks on Sunday in London.
Brian Robinson (Commanders) — The rookie from Alabama appeared on track to supplant Antonio Gibson in the starting lineup until he was shot in the knee in an attempted carjacking. But Robinson is reportedly on track to return next week, and Gibson’s hold on the No. 1 RB job looks temporary with just 124 yards rushing through three games..
SITTING STARS
Chargers QB Justin Herbert looked decidedly unwell in their blowout loss to Jacksonville, so we’d be hesitant to count on him in Houston. … The Bengals are still not protecting Joe Burrow, so find another QB for the Thursday nighter against unbeaten Miami. … It was tough to watch Sunday night’s slog in Denver, but we saw enough to know the Broncos’ defense will be problematic for Raiders RB Josh Jacobs. … Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t faced a run defense like Tampa’s. … Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson and TE Mark Andrews are the only Ravens we’d be comfortable starting against an angry BIlls team … We’ve personally suffered through the inadequacy of Carolina WR D.J. Moore, but we may have no choice but to keep starting him against Arizona.
MATCHUP GAME
Jacksonville’s James Robinson has been a first-round level running back through three weeks, and he’ll still be a must-start against the 3-0 Eagles.… We’ve got a feeling this is the week Jets RB Breece Hall breaks out in PIttsburgh. .. Philadelphia WR Devonta Smith is finally showing his Heisman Trophy form and is a great starting option against the Jaguars. … Green Bay WR Romeo Doubs is fast earning trust from Aaron Rodgers, so start him against New England. … San Francisco needs more from WR Deebo Samuel, and they might just get it against the arch-rival Rams. … Seattle journeyman Geno Smith looked like an all-pro quarterback against Atlanta’s meager defense, and the same might happen this week for Cleveland journeyman Jacoby Brissett.
INJURY WATCH
There are a bunch of top receivers on the medical list. Two Saints (Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry) have injuries that, while not considered major, could sideline or limit them in London. … Tampa Bay will get MIke Evans back from suspension, but Chris Godwin and Julio Jones could miss Sunday’s night’s showdown with Kansas City. … The Chargers hope Keenan Allen’s hamstring allows him to play in Houston. … Giants WR Sterling Shepard is done for the year after blowing out his knee Monday night. … New England quarterback Mac Jones will be out a while with his high-ankle sprain, so grab the best available free agent QB you can find. … Others listed as questionable include two Thursday night notables: Cincinnati RB Joe MIxon and Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa. … And we’d really hate to see Detroit phenom Amon-Ra St Brown miss any time after injuring his ankle against the VIkings.
THE DEEPEST SLEEPER
Mack Hollins (Raiders WR) – This journeyman from North Carolina is pushing 30, and he had only 54 catches in his first five seasons bouncing between Philadelphia and Miami. But he suddenly became Derek Carr’s favorite last week with Hunter Renfrow sidelined. Eight catches for 158 yards and a touchdown, and his 10 targets tied all-world Davante Adams for the team lead. Even if Renfrow returns from the concussion protocols this week, Hollins could continue to have the hot hand for Las Vegas against the Broncos.
THE THURSDAY PICK
Dolphins at Bengals (-3½):
Pick: Dolphins by 3
BREAKING NEWS
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.
You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at [email protected].
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