Week 4 Fantasy Wrap: Quarterbacks continue record-breaking trends in 2018

Derek Carr continued a stunning trend of quarterback play this season in Week 4. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
Derek Carr continued a stunning trend of quarterback play this season in Week 4. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

Peyton Manning set the NFL record for passing yards with 5,477 back in 2013. After one month this season, Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr(!) are on pace to break that record. Ryan Fitzpatrick just became the first QB ever to throw for 400 yards in three straight games, and he was benched Sunday. Mitchell Trubisky was just the latest example of 2018’s passing outburst, as he entered Week 4 with just nine career passing TDs before tossing six seemingly with ease. Joe Flacco averaged 196.3 passing yards last year and looked washed up. He’s averaging a career-high 313.0 passing yards (his previous best was 279.1) at age 33 this season. Joe Montana‘s career Passer Rating is lower than 2018’s average Passer Rating.

Goff’s 10.5 YPA mark would shatter Kurt Warner’s modern era record of 9.9, and Patrick Mahomes (who entered the year with one career start) is on track to throw for 69 touchdowns with zero interceptions, as increased preseason scoring has only magnified during the regular season (thanks to a litany of reasons, with the rulebook a main one). Las Vegas can’t make some of these Over/Unders high enough, and fantasy owners are seeing more scoring (through the air) than ever before:

Cleveland Browns vs. Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr threw for 437 yards and four touchdowns against a solid Browns D after getting 8.9 YPA over the last two weeks, and he’s quietly on pace to throw for 5,492 yards (which, as mentioned above, would set an NFL record, as all bets are off in this insane passing year). The Raiders may be in yet another shootout against the Chargers in Week 5…Martavis Bryant dropped a wide open 50-yard touchdown, committing arguably the worst play of the day, while Jarvis Landry was a massive disappointment given his matchup…With Baker Mayfield taking over, Carlos Hyde looked ready to settle in as a nice RB1, but Nick Chubb may have something to say about that…The Browns lost their 23rd straight road game, but more importantly cost me a cover in the SuperContest despite holding a 10.5-point lead with 30 seconds left…Antonio Callaway was one of my favorite deep plays this week, and he proceeded to: be overthrown on a would-be wide open 50-yard TD, tackled at the one-yard line after another 50+ yard gain, mess up a carry at the goal line, drop a two-point conversion, drop a screen and lose a fumble on a kick return (later reversed). Other than that, he was great.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

C.J. Beathard threw for 298 yards (8.1 YPA) and two TDs and appears capable of keeping the 49ers offense afloat, although the team lost Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey to injury, so it’s unclear if the they can suit up 11 on offense…George Kittle is San Francisco’s clear No. 1 passing option and will be a top-five tight end until his inevitable injury. What a beastPhilip Rivers tossed three touchdowns, and the Chargers scored 29 points against a ravaged SF secondary, yet Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams were all held out of the end zone.

New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants

Alvin Kamara totaled 181 yards with three touchdowns, and owners wish Mark Ingram’s suspension wasn’t coming to an end. The advantage of having Kamara through the first month can’t be understated…The Saints are tough against the run so Saquon Barkley gets a pass, but Eli Manning couldn’t even produce against a prevent defense in garbage time, and his performance (6.2 YPA) was truly atrocious at home against a banged-up New Orleans secondary that entered allowing an NFL-high 11.2 YPA (and a 141.7 Passer Rating) and with the last-ranked pass defense DVOA…Odell Beckham has yet to score this season, and his frustration is growing.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Atlanta Falcons

Andy Dalton is playing great and concentrating his target share mostly to A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd (something that will only increase with Tyler Eifert unfortunately suffering another season-ending injury), and the team treats either Giovanni Bernard or Joe Mixon as a true lead back, so Cincinnati has quickly become terrific for fantasy purposes. Boyd is an easy WR2 moving forward…Julio Jones got 12 more targets for 173 yards without a score, while Calvin Ridley’s six touchdowns are the most ever by a rookie wide receiver through four games…Since a poor Week 1, Matt Ryan has gotten 10.5 YPA with 12 touchdowns and zero turnovers…The 1-3 Falcons travel to Pittsburgh in Week 5.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bears

Ryan Fitzpatrick entered leading the NFL in YPA (11.1) by a mile and off to a historic fantasy start, but rumblings of a short leash proved true as he was yanked for Jameis Winston, who now takes the keys to an offense that remains highly intriguing with Todd Monken calling plays for some explosive options…Jordan Howard managed 25 yards from scrimmage without a TD in a game the Bears were up 38-3 at halftime in a worst-case scenario other than injury, as Tarik Cohen’s big game (20 touches, 174 YFS) almost certainly means less work moving forward…

Tarik Cohen’s monster day may have further put a damper in Jordan Howard’s fantasy outlook. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Tarik Cohen’s monster day may have further put a damper in Jordan Howard’s fantasy outlook. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Mitchell Trubisky finished with 354 yards (13.6 YPA) and one fewer touchdown pass (six) than incompletions while also leading the Bears in rushing (53 yards) in the most unexpected performance of 2018.

Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys

Golden Tate entered with the rare disadvantage out of the slot, yet it didn’t matter, as he scored twice while Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones were held out of the end zone. Kerryon Johnson needs more work…Ezekiel Elliott capitalized on continued opportunities in the passing game, resulting in a career-high 240 yards from scrimmage, which is obviously big news for the feature back.

Buffalo Bills vs. Green Bay Packers

Josh Allen is fun to watch scramble, but he’s going to have some serious growing pains, especially with his teammates doing him no favors…Aaron Jones could be a monster and he gets a Lions run defense allowing an NFL-high 5.3 YPC in Week 5. It’d be great to see what he’d do with 20+ touches.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tennessee Titans

The Eagles stuff the run and are most vulnerable on the outside and Corey Davis took advantage, turning 14 targets into 161 yards and a touchdown in a breakout game many have been waiting for…Nelson Agholor has 39 targets for 167 yards this season…The Titans are 3-1, and Sunday marked the first touchdown by Marcus Mariota (who played well through injury) this season.

Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck threw 62 times, and while the loss of T.Y. Hilton hurts, the Colts utter lack of a rushing attack keeps his QB1 status afloat. Nyheim Hines saw 11 targets (with two TD catches) and is suddenly a hot commodity in PPR formats…

Will Fuller has never played a game with Deshaun Watson and not scored a touchdown (nor has he seemingly played a game without injuring his hamstring). Keke Coutee (15-11-109) is going to be an extremely popular FAAB add this week. Fuller is hurt, the Texans have no running game or tight end, and their defense is struggling. Coutee ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and has shown good rapport with Watson, so if Fuller’s injury looks serious, be aggressive.

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

Tom Brady unsurprisingly tossed three touchdowns as the Pats bounced back from two straight losses, but Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and Josh Gordon combined for just 101 yards without a score. Hogan saw one target and has been one of the biggest busts this year (although not as bad as Kenyan Drake — Hate the Drake), while Gronkowski is a legitimate concern for his owners. He’s aged fast…Sony Michel looked much better and saw 25 carries (although no targets) and should be treated as a top-15 RB moving forward, while James White is a borderline RB2 even in non-PPR formats.

New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Fournette killed his owners by playing, and he’s going to remain incredibly frustrating. All the offseason work to lose weight hasn’t resulted in improved durability for the sophomore back, and T.J. Yeldon has become important…The Jets entered with the No. 1 ranked pass defense DVOA, and Blake Bortles ripped them for 388 yards (10.2 YPA) and two scores, including this nice hookup with Donte Moncrief…It was comical listening to Jeff Fisher criticize the Jaguars coaching staff while announcing this game. Speaking of which, that staff showed no mercy going for two up 31-12 with 25 seconds left.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

Mike Davis replaced a surprisingly inactive Chris Carson (a killer during the later slate) and ran for 101 yards with two touchdowns, further complicating Seattle’s backfield situation, while Russell Wilson simply has chips stacked against him this season…Larry Fitzgerald clearly can’t be used at his current health, although David Johnson was utilized in space better…Tough break for Earl Thomas (who flipped off his sideline while getting carted off), but his absence makes Seattle a far less imposing opponent moving forward…Not sure if Josh Rosen can stay healthy, but he looked plenty competent and suffered from numerous bad drops (J.J. Nelson was especially egregious).

Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Michael Crabtree continued to battle drops, while John Brown gained 116 yards with a score on just three catches. He ranks third in the NFL in Air Yards, and Baltimore has become a much more dangerous team because of him…Alex Collins scored but should see even less work at the goal line moving forward after losing a fumble there Sunday night…Antonio Brown has opened the season held under 100 receiving yards in each game after never having such a four-game stretch all of last season….James Conner’s fantasy value has decreased by the week, while Week 5’s Pittsburgh/Atlanta matchup should feature a ton of fantasy fireworks, keeping with this year’s theme.

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