What a WILD week of NFL and fantasy football action we all witnessed in Week 4 of the 2022 regular season. Some of the biggest stars lived up to high expectations, while others flopped. Some rookies made their presence known while others failed to live up to the hype.
Let’s break it all down with my fantasy football Week 4 takeaways.
Fantasy Football Week 4 Takeaways
- After a couple of lackluster weeks, fantasy managers who were regretting drafting Justin Jefferson so high breathed a sigh of relief after seeing the star receiver get 13 targets in London on Sunday morning. Jefferson caught 10 passes for 147 yards and should continue to see a high volume of targets as Kevin O’Connell continues to make a concerted effort to get Jefferson the ball. Hopefully you didn’t panic by selling low.
- While Dalvin Cook didn’t quite reach double-digit fantasy points in Week 4, his workload was incredibly encouraging given his shoulder injury. While harnessed up, Cook got 22 touches including 20 carries. While Cook (and any RB, really) carries injury risk, the volume he received this close to his injury foreshadows big things still to come this season.
- Austin Ekeler’s touchdown drought ended in a major way on Sunday. After getting blanked in that category in the first three weeks of the season, Ekeler scored three times against the Texans. Best of all? He was getting red zone carries/touches again—he had a 10-yard touchdown rush and a 14-yard touchdown reception. Fantasy managers can unclench their jaws.
- If there was any doubt after his 20-carry game last week, rookie Dameon Pierce is clearly “the guy” in Houston’s backfield. No other Texans player had a carry against the Chargers in Week 4 while Pierce toted the rock 14 times for 131 yards and a score—he also had six (!) catches after having just four combined through the first three weeks. The passing game volume might not continue, but this is his backfield and he should be a weekly starter in your lineup.
- While it was nice to see Darnell Mooney have a meaningful stat line again (4/94/0), he simply can’t be trusted right now. Despite Justin Fields getting a season-high in pass attempts, Chicago only threw 22 times in total—and Fields completed just half of those passes. If you can find someone to trade Mooney to after he nearly had 100 yards, do it. Otherwise, he doesn’t need to be a mainstay on your roster.
- There has been no bigger critic of Saquon Barkley and his fantasy value over the last two years than I. I’m officially throwing in the towel. Barkley is BACK back and will be in contention to be the overall RB1 this season. Barkley quite literally did it all against the Bears on Sunday and looks as good as ever. He’s the only Giant you can trust in fantasy.
- While the weather conditions played a major factor in his workload and success, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out Miles Sanders. With 156 total yards and a pair of touchdowns on 29 touches, Sanders is the biggest reason why Philadelphia remains undefeated. Continue to use Sanders as a flex play going forward, but while healthy, he looks like a more than effective weapon for the Eagles and your fantasy team.
- As mentioned in this space last week, the official shift in the Jets’ backfield has taken place. Rookie Breece Hall is now the RB1 in New York’s two-man backfield. Hall out-touched Michael Carter 19 to 11 and was in the game late to score the Jets’ game-winning touchdown to defeat the Steelers. He’s the man now and should be a weekly flex for you at worst. Carter is a matchup-based flex.
- The Kenny Pickett era is here! Mitch Trubisky was benched at halftime and Pickett has a very up-and-down first showing. The bad: He threw three picks. The good: He completed his other 10 passes for 120 yards and scored twice on the ground. Pickett is borderline roster-able in single-QB leagues but will be a weekly superflex option going forward, assuming Mike Tomlin doesn’t do an about-face.
- I am curious to see what George Pickens’ usage looks like going forward. He seemed to have some chemistry with Pickett—not a surprise given how often the two practiced together away from the first team. Pickens led all Steelers with 102 receiving yards and was second to tight end Pat Freiermuth in both receptions (6 vs 7) and targets (8 vs 9). I wouldn’t start Pickens next week, but put a gold star next to his name.
- After poo-pooing him in this column two weeks ago, David Njoku is proving me (and the rest of his doubters) wrong. After a monster game on Thursday Night Football in Week 3, Njoku led all Browns in receiving yards (73) and receptions (5, tied) on seven targets. Given the state of the fantasy tight end market right now, Njoku has elevated himself into weekly starter territory.
- Tyler Allgeier had some pep in his step this week, rushing for 84 yards on 10 carries while adding 20 yards in the receiving game. Cordarrelle Patterson came into the game banged up, so Allgeier and Caleb Huntley got a lot of work as a result. Neither player needs to be added right now, but if Patterson’s injury issues linger, Allgeier could become a matchup-based flex option.
- CeeDee Lamb and Cooper Rush have a strong connection and fantasy managers are taking advantage. Lamb went 6/97/1 in Week 4 and has three straight double-digit fantasy performances. I had Lamb ranked as a low-end WR1 this week and he will continue to be in the range going forward.
- It’s unlikely you played Michael Gallup in his first game back from an ACL injury, but it was nice to see him out there playing a significant amount of snaps. He caught two passes for 24 yards and a touchdown. I’m not rushing him back into my lineup in Week 5 against the Rams, but in Week 6 with a possibly healthy Dak Prescott? I’m open to the idea.
- Speaking of players returning from injury, J.K. Dobbins had a nice fantasy performance in his second game back. His 3.2 yards per carry left something to be desired, but he led all Ravens in carries and was involved in the passing game as well. He scored both on the ground and as a receiver on 17 total touches. While many fantasy managers are excited, he’s still not in pre-injury form yet and remains a flex play at best.
- We may need to pump the brakes on Rashod Bateman a bit. He shouldn’t be dropped on anything drastic like that, but many fantasy managers view him as a weekly WR3/flex must-start. The only Ravens in “must-start” territory are Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews. Otherwise, the passing game volume isn’t consistent enough. Bateman should be in the mix for your flex, but evaluate your other options for Week 5.
- Marquise Brown continues to be used differently in Arizona than he was in Baltimore. One of the positives of that is his target volume. Brown saw at least 11 targets for the third consecutive game, catching six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. He had a nice 23-yard touchdown grab, but a lot of his work is coming in the shorter areas. Brown’s floor is noticeably higher than it’s ever been and his ceiling hasn’t come down. He’s a weekly must-start.
- We finally got the big Christian McCaffrey receiving game we’ve been waiting for. In what was an overall lackluster Panthers offensive performance, McCaffrey saw a season-high nine targets and caught all of them. Let’s hope this receiving production becomes a trend again.
- While it got a little lost in the shuffle, Allen Lazard felt like a bigger part of Green Bay’s offense than he has at any point this season. While he didn’t score like he did in Week 2 or 3, he saw a season-high in targets (8), receptions (6), and receiving yards (116). His 32-yard catch was also his longest play of the season. Going forward, Lazard can be a matchup-based second flex in the short term. He has top-30 fantasy WR upside, though.
- Denver’s RB situation is a mess. Javonte Williams suffered a concerning injury in this game. Melvin Gordon fumbled his first carry of the game—his fourth of the season—and got just two more carries after that. Mike Boone got some work instead of Gordon and looked decent. If Williams is out next week, I’ll have Gordon as a flex play. Boone is probably not worth starting or adding unless Williams has a multi-week injury.
- So we finally got to see what the Raiders did with a late lead: pound Josh Jacobs. Jacobs had a whopping 28 carries for 144 yards and a pair of scores (in addition to five catches for 31 yards). It was a nice change after averaging 16.3 touches per game coming in. Odds are, you’ve been starting Jacobs every week anyway, but if the Raiders can turn things around record-wise, Jacobs is showing he has weekly RB1 upside in the right situation.
- For the first time since Week 1, Isiah Pacheco got some significant run with the Chiefs’ offense. His 11 carries for 63 yards showcased his fresh legs and powerful running style for his size. He’s still just a back end of the bench kind of fantasy player, but might be an interesting DFS dart throw moving forward.
If you have any specific fantasy football questions or want to know more about what I think of certain players in my fantasy football rankings this week, follow me on Twitter (@JaimeEisner) or Instagram (@JaimeEisnerTDN). I’d be happy to chat with you!