Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks, using the strict rules set, in the comment section below.
Among non-obvious start or DFS plays for Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM in Week 4 will come from ________.
Dalton — STERLING SHEPARD. He stepped up after Evan Engram suffered a knee injury last game that will also cost him Week 4, so Shepard should continue to see increased targets Sunday in a game with an over/under of 50 points. Moreover, the Saints have been gashed for an NFL-high 11.2 YPA with a 10:1 TD:INT ratio (and a whopping 141.7 Passer Rating against) and rank first in run defense DVOA and last in pass defense DVOA, so the setup at home Sunday (with Marshon Lattimore likely shadowing Odell Beckham) for Shepard is pretty much ideal.
Matt — KERRYON JOHNSON – After finally snapping the Lions 100-yard rusher curse last week, we’ll see the rookie’s first official smash stat line in Week 4. Johnson is clearly the Lions best running back and provides at least above replacement value as a receiver. The Cowboys will play without Sean Lee against the Lions on Sunday. He’s one of the biggest difference-makers in the entire NFL. The Cowboys allowed a full yard more per carry without Lee on the field last season. Johnson saw a team-high 18 touches against the Patriots in Week 3 and that should be Detroit’s blueprint going forward.
Brad — KENYAN DRAKE. Love or hate “The Drake?” Right now, most are on the latter side of the fence. Though he’s netted just over 60 percent of the opportunity share and a robust 2.97 YAC/att, the breakout sensation of last December hasn’t lived up to his RB2 promise. This week, though, he finally eases nerves. New England has surrendered 4.8 yards per carry and 170.7 total yards per game to RBs this season. If gifted 15 or more touches, Drake surpasses the 100-yard mark for the second time against the AFC East foe.
Conversely, among players started in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 4 BUST will be ________.
Brad — MARVIN JONES. Kenny Golladay’s ongoing breakout has overshadowed Jones’ steady WR2 returns the past. Against San Francisco and New England he found the end zone twice, ranking WR22 during the stretch. His sharp reductions in target share and yards per target, though, decrease long-term sustainability. This week’s matchup is more problematic. Byron Jones, Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 ranked CB, has played brilliantly. Fixed to the right side, he should matchup most often with Jones, blanketing him in the process. It’s doubtful Jones reached the 65-yard mark this week.
Dalton — ALEX COLLINS. His YPC is way down this year (3.4) compared to last (4.6) and after ranking fifth in Juke Rate (32.3%) last season, he’s No. 55 (4.9%) through three weeks in 2018. Collins continues to lose touches both in the passing game and at the goal line to Javorius Allen, and he gets a Steelers defense that’s ceded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Game script may also not be as favorable as usual for Collins as underdogs in Pittsburgh, so he’s someone to consider benching in Week 4.
Matt — KAREEM HUNT. The star running back popped in two touchdowns in Week 3 and many will be set to trust him as an every-week RB1. There’s no doubt about his attachment to an elite NFL offense, which is the most important factor for a fantasy running back. Yet, his lack of passing game work is a major issue for his floor. Hunt has just three targets through three games. Now he heads into a matchup with a Broncos defense that has shown vulnerability through the air but still allows under 3.5 yards per carry to running backs. Hunt makes for a good sell candidate right now.
Chuck a Hail Mary, one deeper player you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 4 is ______.
Brad — TARIK COHEN. The multidimensional Bear hasn’t exactly met the poor man’s Tyreek Hill expectations. Seeing a useless 24.7 percent of the opportunity share, he’s averaged 44.7 total yards per game without a touchdown. Matt Nagy is committed to hammering the opposition with Jordan Howard, but Chicago’s Week 4 matchup could lead to a touch uptick for the complementary weapon. Tampa Bay, stout in the trenches, is highly beatable beyond the line of scrimmage. The Bucs have surrendered 7.3 receptions and 73.7 receiving yards per game to RBs. With that in mind, look for Nagy to shift Cohen about in space to take advantage. North of 60 combined yards with a score is reachable.
Dalton — ANTONIO CALLAWAY. He went for 84 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 and saw 10 targets last week (when his day could’ve been much bigger if Tyrod Taylor didn’t miss him wide open for a 75-yard TD), as Baker Mayfield looked his way plenty after doing so throughout the preseason as well. All Browns get a huge fantasy boost with Mayfield taking over QB duties, and the rookie wideout gets a favorable matchup Sunday against an Oakland secondary that’s been burned for 8.7 YPA and are ranked 31st in pass defense DVOA and last in forced pressure rate.
Matt — DAVID NJOKU. It hasn’t happened for David Njoku just yet but this is the week it clicks. He’s dripping with talent and has run the fourth-most routes among tight ends He’s out there on passing plays and that should lead to more opportunities in a more effective aerial offense. Baker Mayfield is going to bring that. The Browns offense looked like an offense designed for Mayfield all along, despite Tyrod Taylor stating. A spread offense that calls for precision tempo passing should be able to take advantage of a strong middle-of-the-field-athlete like Njoku with a hyper-efficient passer like Mayfield. Raiders have been solid against TEs but they’ve faced the Rams, Dolphins and Broncos, who don’t have an established starter at the position. Njoku rips them wide open this weekend.
Handicapping Lounge: If I had to go to the window to punch a Week 4 against-the-spread ticket, my jelly beans would be on ______.
Brad — Minnesota +7.5. Recency bias be damned. The Vikes bounce back against the Rams’ injury-ravaged defensive backfield.
Dalton — Jacksonville -7.5
Matt — Lions +3