Top NFL Fantasy Football Performers, Week 4: Mitchell Trubisky Steals the Fitzmagic, More

Oct 01, 2018 2:16 AM EDT
  • Week 4 of the NFL season turned out to be an action-packed slate with high scores and wild finishes.
  • Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had the game of his life with six touchdown passes against the Buccaneers.
  • DeShawn Watson and Andrew Luck combined for more than 800 yards in an overtime thriller.

You may have laughed, or you may have cried. Ultimately, all of us were winners after experiencing yet another full Sunday of non-stop football.

This week’s action featured more than a little bit of scoring: The five individual 400-yard passing performances in Week 4 are the most in a single week in league history (per Adam Schefter).

More scoring means more fantasy points, and there were plenty of those to go around on a day in which 10 different teams managed to rack up at least 30 points. Still, the following four players were the brightest Week 4 stars at their respective positions.

Fantasy Quarterback of the Day: Mitchell Trubisky

It took Trubisky only 26 throws to find the end zone six times during the Bears’ blowout victory over the Buccaneers. Last season’s No. 2 overall pick threw just nine touchdown passes in his first 434 pass attempts prior to Sunday.

Trubisky is the 13th quarterback to throw at least six touchdowns in a game over the past 25 years, and just the 31st signal caller to do so in NFL history. He added 53 yards on the ground on just three attempts, finishing the day with an astronomical 46.5 DraftKings points with minute 1.5% ownership in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker.

Fantasy Running Back of the Day: Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott entered Week 4 as a home favorite with the week’s single-best spot in matchup-specific combined adjusted line yards per rush. He responded with perhaps the most complete performance of his career:

  • 25 carries, 152 yards, 6.1 yards per rush
  • 4 targets, 4 receptions, 88 yards, 1 receiving TD

Elliott even flashed next-level ability as a receiver, reeling in a game-clinching 34 yard reception on the game’s winning drive while split out as a receiver. Overall, the star running back’s 240 total yards were a new career high.

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) leaps Detroit Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (91).

Fantasy Wide Receiver of the Day: Corey Davis

Davis has dealt with a brutal combination of porous quarterback play and stiff competition entering Week 4. Still, his immense volume and status as the Titans’ undisputed No. 1 receiver made him a prime breakout candidate going into his matchup against the Eagles’ below-average group of cornerbacks.

All-in-all, Davis set career-high marks in targets (15), receptions (nine) and yards (161) on his way to scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Fantasy Tight End of the Day: Jared Cook

Cook has received a team-high 33 targets and a 20% target share after 16 quarters of football. His game Sunday against the Browns’ perennially bad tight end defense was a match made in heaven, and Cook accordingly caught 8-of-13 targets for 110 yards and two scores.

Most intriguing about Cook’s future is the nature of his targets. He’s one of just eight tight ends with at least 20% of his team’s air yard market share, and he entered Sunday as one of just five players with at least five targets inside the 10-yard line.

The Bengals are For Real

The Bengals have scored at least 30 points in three of four games this season. Their 37-36 victory over the Falcons featured another 300-plus yard performance from Andy Dalton in the air, with Giovani Bernard (96 total yards, two touchdowns), Tyler Boyd (11-100-0), and A.J. Green (4-78-1) once again proving worthy as fantasy-friendly assets.

Be sure to monitor our industry-leading NFL News feed this week to stay updated on whether or not Joe Mixon (knee) will be able to suit up for the team’s Week 5 matchup against the Dolphins.

Shootout in Indianapolis

Both Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson faced warranted questions surrounding their uncharacteristic performances in entering Sunday. Those concerns were evaporated for at least an afternoon, as the week’s fastest-paced matchup in combined situation neutral pace produced a total of 71 points of high-flying action:

  • Watson: 29-of-42 (69%) | 375 pass yards (8.9 Y/A) | 2 TD 1 INT
  • Luck: 40-of-62 (65%) | 464 pass yards (7.5 Y/A) | 4 TD

Both teams will entertain prime-time matchups in Week 5, as the Colts travel to Foxborough on Thursday night and the Texans host the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Baker Mania is Here to Stay

The Browns weren’t able to piece together their first winning streak since 2014, but the general performance of Baker Mayfield is still good news for Cleveland faithful. Overall, the 2018 draft’s No. 1 overall pick threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start.

The Browns’ target distribution during the last two weeks points toward Jarvis Landry working as the offense’s undisputed No. 1 receiver, and rookie Antonio Callaway as the deep threat, with Mayfield under center.

  • Jarvis Landry: 24 targets + 27% air yard market share
  • Antonio Callaway: 19 + 45%
  • Rashard Higgins: 8 + 13%
  • David Njoku: 8 + 10%
  • Duke Johnson: 6 + 3%

The Fitzmagic Era: Sept. 9, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2018

Ryan Fitzpatrick became the first quarterback in league history to throw for more than 400 yards in three consecutive games. He was benched fewer than seven days later.

The Fitzmagic era was never a long-term solution in Tampa Bay, and the 35-year-old’s 126-scoreless yards in the first half were all head coach Dirk Koetter needed to see before turning the offense over to Jameis Winston. It’s likely we won’t officially know who will be under center after the team’s Week 5 bye until just before kickoff of the team’s Week 6 matchup against the Falcons, but Winston is certainly the favorite at this point.

The Patriots Committee Backfield has Revealed Itself

It took potential season-ending injuries to Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead to get here, but it seems as though we’ve cracked the code on the Patriots’ latest running-back-by-committee backfield. Sony Michel worked as the offense’s clear lead back Sunday against the Dolphins, with James White working in on pass downs and two-minute situations.

  • Michel: 25 rushes, 112 yards, 1 TD, 0 targets
  • White: 8 rushes, 44 rush yards, 1 TD, 10 targets, 8 catches, 68 yards, 1 TD

Julian Edelman’s return from suspension in Week 5 isn’t great news for White, who has run 33% of his routs from the slot or out wide this season. White has averaged 3.5 fewer PPR and one less target per game with Edelman since 2015.

The Falcons are Explosive Again

Matt Ryan has accounted for 12 total touchdowns over the past three weeks and seems to have finally found some chemistry with play caller Steve Sarkisian. This partnership has made an early star out of first-round pick Calvin Ridley (15-264-6), while Mohamed Sanu managed to clear the 100-yard threshold Sunday for the first time since 2014.

Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sep 30, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder (73) and other Falcons players run onto the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

And then there’s Julio Jones, who has now failed to find the end zone in a career-long nine straight regular-season games despite leading the entire league in air yards (713) and air yards market share (51%). Sanu has thrown as many regular season touchdowns to Jones as Ryan since Week 12 of 2017.

Welcome Back Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles’ offense has struggled to challenge defenses vertically without Mack Hollins (hernia, IR) and Mike Wallace (ankle, IR) involved, so Jeffery’s much-anticipated return was especially crucial for the unit’s upside. Jeffery ultimately looked as healthy as ever, catching 8-of-9 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Nelson Agholor gained just 22 yards on 12 targets, and Zach Ertz posted a 10-112-0 line on 14 targets. Carson Wentz’s top three weapons in the pass game each carry solid workloads, but they’re yet to fully regain last season’s optimal form. A rematch of last season’s NFC championship game awaits in Week 5.

Winning Trends

DFS players and gamblers alike should utilize the FantasyLabs Player Props tool. Our industry-leading tool is composed of projections powered by Sean Koerner, the No. 1 in-season FantasyPros ranker for each of the past three seasons.

The props tool sorts through player props available at various online sportsbooks, compares them to our own set of internal projections, rates the quality of each potential bet on a scale of 1-10 and then identifies the book at which the bet can be made most favorably.

Entering Sunday, the 2018 NFL player props with a bet quality of 10 are 59-33-2 (63% win rate).

Sunday’s slate again demonstrated the value in directly comparing projections to props, as ‘sleepers’ such as Keke Coutee, Taywan Taylor and Phillip Dorsett each boasted middling prop bets for their projected roles. Ultimately, Coutee easily surpassed his 1.5 reception prop by catching 11 passes, Taylor’s 77 receiving yards crushed his 32.5 yard prop, and Dorsett’s four receptions were more than his 2.5 over/under.

Hurt in Battle and Returning Soldiers

Week 4 presented plenty of key injuries on both sides of the ball. We won’t know more about Week 5 availability until later in the week, but the following skill-position players will certainly be worth monitoring:

  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring)
  • Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle)
  • Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (knee)
  • Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (ankle)
  • Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring)
  • Chargers WR Travis Benjamin (foot)
  • 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin (leg)
  • 49ers WR Dante Pettis (knee)
  • Seahawks TE Will Dissly (knee)
  • Packers WR Geronimo Allison (concussion)
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (hamstring)

Additionally, there are a number of key players on both sides of the ball who will be back in action Week 5 after serving their respective four-game suspensions:

  • Patriots WR Julian Edelman
  • Saints RB Mark Ingram
  • Ravens CB Jimmy Smith
  • Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict
  • Cowboys DT David Irving
  • Colts RB Robert Turbin
  • Chargers DT Corey Liuget
Follow Ian Hartitz on Twitter
@IHartitz

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SCHEDULE
OPEN
CURR
# BETS
ATL
NYG
-4.5
54
-4
54
WAS
DAL
-1
42
+1
41.5
CHI
NE
+2.5
50
+3
48.5
TB
CLE
-3
49.5
-3.5
51.5
JAC
HOU
-3.5
44
-4
41
NYJ
MIN
+3
47
+3.5
46
SF
LA
+10.5
53
+9.5
52
IND
BUF
-7
42.5
-7
43
LAC
TEN
-7
45.5
-6.5
45
ARI
DEN
+1
41
+1
42
MIA
DET
+2.5
47
+3
46.5
KC
CIN
-6
58.5
-6
58.5
PHI
CAR
-4.5
45
-5
44.5
BAL
NO
-2.5
51
-3
49.5