NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Mailbag: Dalvin Cook, D’Andre Swift Injuries; Trading for Travis Kelce
Getty Images. Pictured: Dalvin Cook (left), D’Andre Swift (right).
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Fantasy Stock Questions
Panic on Dalvin Cook and D'Andre Swift?
Michael asks via email: "Hello Samantha — What in the world do fantasy managers do about Dalvin Cook and D'Andre Swift? I went from feeling like having the 2nd best, top 2 round picks to feeling like they were the worst? Injuries aside for Swift, the lack of goal-line usage is killing me. Thanks again, and I hope you have a great week!"
Samantha: It stinks that both guys are banged up right now.
Cook had one bad fantasy performance in Week 2 in a game the Vikings were blown out 24-7, so it's understandable he wasn't necessarily "fed" in a negative game script like that. He is dealing with a shoulder injury that apparently isn't serious given he might travel with the team to London. He is the overall RB22 in half PPR so I'd hardly call him a "bust." His rest-of-season value remains solid.
I'm slightly more concerned about Swift long term even though he is the RB6 over three games.
Entering Week 3, Swift was questionable with an ankle injury and now might miss multiple weeks with a shoulder issue. His situation sounds way more serious than Cook's at this point.
The former Georgia Bulldog has dealt with durability issues throughout his NFL career. He missed seven games over his first two seasons (three in 2020, four in 2021), which has capped his full-season fantasy value.
Last week was also not great: Swift was out-snapped 35 to 32 by Jamaal Williams, who also out-touched Swift 22 to 10. While that feels more like a product of his injuries than an indictment of his talent, it's still concerning.
One positive thing I will say about Swift is that the Lions may be way more competitive than in previous seasons. This could lend itself to more run-friendly game scripts whenever he returns.
Buy Low On Jaguars Players?
@jeremykasperson asks via Twitter: "Is this the time to buy low on multiple Jaguars players?"
Samantha: I'm not entirely sure if any of the Jaguars are true "buy lows" given how good they've looked. The only true "buy low" I could see is running back Travis Etienne Jr., who has taken a backseat to James Robinson.
Robinson, an undrafted free agent in 2020, has out-snapped Etienne 123 to 95 and out-touched him 57 to 34. Robinson is the RB3 in half PPR through three weeks while Etienne is the RB37. I do think Etienne's role could increase as the season progresses, so I don't hate the idea outright. It really depends on what kind of value you think you can get, though I do think this will continue to be a 50-50 timeshare at best.
As for the other players, Christian Kirk is the WR6 so he's actually more of a sell-high candidate. Evan Engram has looked serviceable and is the TE18. He's also a nice waiver add if you are tight end-needy or in a deeper league.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is currently the QB10 ahead of Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady — just as we all predicted. He's only rostered in 58% of Yahoo leagues right now and should definitely be picked up, especially if you have a struggling QB like Brady.
AJ Dillon, Breece Hall Or Rhamondre Stevenson?
@filpaik asks via Twitter: "Who would you rather have [rest of season in] PPR? [AJ] Dillon or [Breece] Hall or [Rhamondre] Stevenson?"
Samantha: Rest of season, I would rank them exactly as you have them: Dillon, Hall and then Stevenson, though these are very frustrating backfield situations.
Dillion's stock has fallen a bit after struggling against the Buccaneers last week. Tampa Bay could have the best run defense in the NFL, so I don't want to put too much stock in that game.
It's encouraging that Dillon is splitting snaps fairly evenly with Aaron Jones (103 to 116), which is pretty much best case scenario, right? Dillion has actually out-touched Jones 48 to 41 so far. His usage has been encouraging and he is the RB27 in half PPR. That should continue or increase as the season progresses.
Hall's case is a bit different. He garnered a ton of hype in the offseason with freakish combine stats but has been splitting work with 2021 fourth-rounder Michael Carter. I never expected Carter to just fade into fantasy obscurity completely as he tallied 964 scrimmage yards in his rookie campaign and was drafted only two rounds later than Hall.
Carter has out-snapped Hall 131 to 97 and out-touched Hall 41 to 34. Overall, I'm slightly less optimistic about Hall than Dillon because the Jets offense has a lot less upside than Green Bay's.
The Stevenson situation confuses me, though not as much when put into context of Bill Belichick.
He has out-snapped Damien Harris 97 to 74 and the gap seems to be widening each week. Stevenson, though, has been out-touched by Harris 41 to 36, and Harris has been more productive for fantasy (RB15 vs. RB27).
I expected Stevenson's usage to increase with Ty Montgomery out, but that hasn't really been the case. Harris is probably the only Patriot I feel comfortable starting week in and week out, and comfortable is a pretty loose term.
Any New England running back comes with inherent risk given Belichick's mercurial nature: Either one is a fumble away from ending up in the doghouse.
Drop George Pickens for Curtis Samuel?
@FFBurner17 asks via Twitter: "In a 10 team PPR keeper league do you think it's worth dropping [George] Pickens to pick up Curtis Samuel? If I hold [Pickens] all year I could keep him in the 13th round next year. Thank you :)"
Samantha: My answer depends on the rest of your roster. If you need a starter immediately, I am okay with dropping Pickens for Samuel, who has posted double-digit fantasy points in every game this year in half-PPR scoring.
If you have the depth, you should definitely hang on to Pickens. He flashed absolute greatness in Week 3 against the Browns with an acrobatic, one-handed, Odell Beckham-esque catch.
He clearly has long-term upside and I love the keeper value you have with him. That said, Pickens can't be trusted in your lineup right now, as he has yet to score more than five fantasy points in a game this year.
Fantasy Week 4 Start/Sit Questions
Flex Brandon Aiyuk Or Romeo Doubs?
@flopgame1 asks via Twitter: "Thanks for the offer to answer questions. Would you start [Brandon] Aiyuk or [Romeo] Doubs for your flex. Current starting WRs are [CeeDee] Lamb, [Amon-Ra] St. Brown and [Elijah] Moore."
Samantha: I would roll with Aiyuk over Doubs this week.
As much as I am hyped about Doubs as a waiver wire pickup, I love Aiyuk's chemistry with Jimmy Garoppolo, which was on display in Week 3 when Aiyuk found the end zone for the first time this year.
Once he got out of the doghouse with Kyle Shanahan, Aiyuk was the WR13 in half PPR from Week 9 onward last season. I like his upside moving forward as a WR3/flex option.
One thing I'll add is I would consider starting Doubs over Moore. It's a riskier play, but higher upside in my opinion.
Doubs led Green Bay in every receiving category last week and caught all eight of his targets for 73 yards and a touchdown. He, too, appears to have solid chemistry with a quarterback who happens to be a four-time MVP. Doubs has a clear path to becoming the Packers' WR1.
As far as Moore is concerned, it's encouraging that he has seen the most offensive snaps of New York's wide receiver corps (also consisting of Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson). That said, he has been the least productive from a fantasy standpoint of the trio.
Garrett Wilson has looked insanely good and I honestly think the return of Zach Wilson could be a bit of a downgrade for the entire group. Moore a bit of a wild card heading into Week 4.
Fantasy Trade Questions
Travis Kelce For Kyle Pitts And Christian Kirk?
Tim asks via email: "Would you trade Kyle Pitts and Christian Kirk for Travis Kelce? My WRs are [Justin Jefferson], A.J. Brown, [Rashod] Bateman, [Garrett] Wilson and [Marquise] Brown."
Samantha: I like that trade even though you're giving up a lot.
I was elated to see Pitts hit season highs in every receiving category last week. He caught 5-of-8 targets for 87 yards after an abysmal start to the season. However, I am worried that his usage won't stay consistent based on some worrisome comments from head coach Arthur Smith.
Meanwhile, Kelce looks sharp as ever and has posted two top-three finishes at the position. He has finished top two or higher in each of the last six seasons and is on track to make that seven straight this year. Kelce is the clear-cut No. 1 option in the Chiefs offense with Tyreek Hill gone.
Kirk has been phenomenal through three games and is the WR6 in half PPR. That said, you have a ton of depth at the position and can afford to give up your WR4.
Side note: I would maybe consider countering with Bateman instead of Kirk.